Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

Sermon: The Three Angels’ Messages

Saturday, May 28th, 2022


Artist’s 14th century portrayal of the third angel giving his message
(Wikipedia)

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce this sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:

1:11:10

The 14th chapter of the Book of Revelation tells of messages from three angels. Are these messages from humans or three actual angels? Have these messages been going forth since the time of Jesus or are any or all of them for the future? Has Babylon fallen? What did leaders during the Sardis era teach about it? What did the Radio Church of God teach about the three angels messages? How about Herbert W. Armstrong? Will any respond to the warning of the three angels? Are the three angels’ messages part of the final phase of the work? Should Philadelphian Christians support the preparation, for the three angels to come, now? Should Christians be separate from Babylon? Should Christians be supporting the work of proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom of God? What is the position of the Continuing Church of God on many of these matters? Dr. Thiel addresses these and other matters in this sermon message.

Here is a link to the sermon video: The Three Angels’ Messages.

Some items of related interest include:

Church of God on the Three Angels’ Messages and ‘Babylon‘ Revelation 14 tells of messages from at least three angels and Babylon. Do you know about this aspect of the final phase of the work. Here is a link to a related sermon: The Three Angels’ Messages.
CG7-S: Church of God 7th Day, Salem (West Virginia) This group formed by A.N. Dugger in 1933 when he split from the CG7 group he was once president of.
Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors? Most real Christians in the last days are Laodicean and hold to prophetic errors which, unless they repent, will prevent them from being protected from the coming Great Tribulation. Here is a link to a related video: 50+ Laodicean Prophetic Errors.
Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle Herbert Armstrong claims God had him raise the Philadelphia up. Are there reasons to believe that the Philadelphia mantle in now within the CCOG? Here is a link to a related sermon: Herbert W. Armstrong and the Philadelphia Mantle.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety,’ Zephaniah 2 to ‘gather together,’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on fleeing to a place–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. Two sermon-length videos of related interest are available Physical Protection During the Great Tribulation and Might Petra be the Place of Safety?  Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses some early history of the Seventh Day BaptistsSeventh-day AdventistsCG7-SalemJerusalem 7DCG, and COG-7th Day-Denver. Here are two historical sermons: Sardis Church Era: Beginnings, Doctrines, and Leaders and Sardis: SDBs, SDAs, & CG7s.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy. See also Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors?
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: ApocatastasisUniversal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be SavedMysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3)Is God FairWill God Pardon the Ignorant?Can God Save Your Relatives?Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here are links to seven related sermons: Proof Jesus is the MessiahProphecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and deathJesus’ prophesied divinity200+ OT prophecies Jesus filled; Plus prophecies He madeWhy Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus, and Facts and Atheists’ Delusions About Jesus. Plus the links to two sermonettes: Luke’s census: Any historical evidence? and Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but …
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is are links to related sermons: Christian Election: Is God Calling YOU? and Predestination and Your Selection. A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! Would you like Christian answers to give atheists? This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. Here is a link to a related sermon: Evolution is NOT the Origin of Life. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God? , Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, MeatsTithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?The GodheadApostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG HistoryThe First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & CharacterThe New Testament, Martin Luther, and the CanonEucharist, Passover, and EasterViews of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & BaptismScripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. SundayChurch Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s PlanSeventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of SalvationCrosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean MeatsThe Godhead and the TrinityFleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s PlanMysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s PlanMystery of Race, and The Mystery of YOU. Here is a link to a video in Spanish: El Misterio del Plan de Dios.

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to four related sermons: The Fantastic Gospel of the Kingdom of God!The World’s False GospelThe Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
CG7.ORG This is a website for those interested in the Sabbath and churches that observe the seventh day Sabbath.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations YouTube channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs. Also available at BitChute COGAnimations https://www.bitchute.com/channel/coganimations/
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced hundreds of videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. You can find them at them on YouTube at BibleNewsProphecy https://www.youtube.com/user/BibleNewsProphecy, plus also on Vimeo at Bible News Prophecy https://vimeo.com/channels/biblenewsprophecy as well as on Brighteon Bible News Prophecy https://www.brighteon.com/channel/ccogbnp and Bitchute Prophecy https://www.bitchute.com/channel/prophecy/
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo. Also available at BitChute COGAfrica https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogafrica/
CDLIDDSermones channel. This contains messages in the Spanish language
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos. Also available at BitChute COGTube https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogtube/
Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God “Contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV), “Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1) ” & continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs–the Statement gives answers? Here is a related link in Spanish/españolDeclaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese ~ç~íy^v„eYOv„OáNðXðf. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’Église Continue de Dieu. Here is a related link in the Chichewa language: ZIKHULUPIRIRO ZA MPINGO WA CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD. Here is a link in Romanian: Declarația de credințe a continuării Bisericii lui Dumnezeu. Here is a link in Portuguese: Declaração de Crenças da Continuação da Igreja de Deus. Here is a link in Russian: Утверждение верований о продолжении Церкви Божьей. Here is a link to a related English-language sermon: Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God. Here is a link to a booklet titled: Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

CG7 on Biblical Accuracy

Friday, May 27th, 2022

COGwriter

In a past (March-April 2017) edition of its Bible Advocate magazine, CG7-Denver’s David Ross wrote:

A defense

Defending the Christian world – view has biblical basis. First Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” The word defense in this passage is translated from the Greek apologia, which basically means “to give a rational defense of an opinion or belief” — that is, to provide reasons for how one thinks or believes. Christian apologetics , then, is the rational defense of Christianity as an accurate truth claim. Several other scriptures corroborate the biblical mandate to defend Christianity (Acts 17:2; Philippians 1:17; Titus 1:9; Jude 3).

Christianity’s legitimacy depends on the integrity of the Bible — specifically, the New Testament, the record of Jesus Christ’s miraculous birth, life, death, and resurrection. The New Testament assumes the reliability of the Old by referencing it often. In fact, Jesus quoted the Old Testament verbatim. If the New Testament is not historically reliable, our religion — contained in both Testaments — crumbles because Jesus Christ is the central figure of our faith. Therefore, one of the best ways to defend the Christian faith is to defend the reliability of the New Testament.

Manuscript accuracy

The primary lines of evidence supporting the trustworthiness of the New Testament are the accuracy of its surviving manuscripts and the reliability of it authors. To support this evidence, we must assert two facts: 1) The New Testament has earlier, more numerous, and more reliable surviving manuscripts than any other book from antiquity; 2) The people recording the events and teachings in these manu – scripts were reliable. This claim is validated by the number of concurring writers 1 ; the historical and archaeological confirmation of the people, culture, and places listed in the New Testament; and the critical examination of legal experts regarding its acceptability and credibility. …

Manuscript quantity, dating

The number of New Testament manuscripts is overwhelming compared with other books from antiquity, which typically range from ten to twenty copies. By contrast, the New Testament has approximately 5,800 surviving Greek manuscripts. The most for any other ancient book is Homer’s Iliad , with 643, according to Norman L. Geisler in Christian Apologetics 2nd ed. (Baker Academic, 2013).

In addition, the lapse of time between the composition and the earliest copy of a book from the ancient world is roughly a thousand years. Contrast this with the earliest manuscript of a writing from the New Testament, the John Ryland Papyri ( ad 117- 138). This manuscript survived within a generation of the time scholars believe it was written (c. ad 95). Entire books (the Bodmer Papyri) are available from ad 200, only a little over a century after the New Testament was completed. The entire New Testament is actually available in the Codex Vaticanus, which dates from ad 325 to ad 350. Geisler says it was completed within 250 years of the original writing, still much less of a time lapse than any other book from antiquity.

No other book from the ancient world has as small a time gap between composition and earliest manuscript copies as the New Testament.

There are other ways to prove that the Bible has integrity, but the fact that no other ancient manuscript has as much proof is one that Christians should keep in mind when dealing with skeptics.

Let me also add that as far as ‘canonization’ goes, it is the position of the Continuing Church of God that all the books of the New Testament were known to the Apostle John and that he passed that knowledge on to people, like his successor, Polycarp of Smyrna.

Here is some information related to that from our free online book Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete?:

While some believe that because the Church of Rome, along with the Eastern Orthodox, held meetings to determine the canon for itself (and that to a major degree the Protestants followed many of the decisions), that they came up with the canon. Yet, the reality is that the Church of God had the books, and thus the canon, from the beginning (meaning once the Book of Revelation was finished). Early Christians would not have considered the canon to be fluid (Kruger, p. 31).

This is confirmed in many sources (some of which have already been cited).

Notice also the following related to the New Testament:

To whom then was the New Testament given for preservation and transmission?

Greeks Preserve New Testament

Romans 1:16 reveals the answer. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ . . . to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’’

God raised up the Apostle Paul to go to the Greeks. They received the New Testament oracles — and became responsible for their preservation and transmission.

We saw the principle in Romans 1:16 that God was going to use the Greek-speaking world to preserve and copy the New Testament Canon. The leading Apostles and officials of His New Testament Church WROTE and under divine inspiration were led to COMPILE THE CANON. The Greeks had nothing to do with these two great functions. The apostolic era of the Church of God completed these two great acts.

But the Greeks were given the responsibility to copy and transmit the New Testament Canon.

The truth of Romans 1:16 dovetails with many interesting historical developments that took place in the first century A.D.

Where was the Apostle John when he wrote the book of Revelation? He was on the island of Patmos (Rev. 1 :9). Where was this island? In the Greek-speaking world!

Where were the churches to which the Apostle Paul wrote most of his epistles? In Asia Minor-the Greek-speaking world! (I Pet. 1:1). …

The point is that the original copies of the manuscripts were in the Greek-speaking world to begin with. They were NOT in Latin-speaking Italy! They were originally written in Greek. … around 150 A.D. Polycarp of Greek Asia Minor was still preserving the Truth! He was a disciple of the Apostle John. (Kroll, p. 18)

We in the Continuing Church of God assert that the Apostle John, believed to have died in Asia Minor and to have lived past the deaths of the other original twelve apostles, had the entire canon from the time Jesus had him pen the last book of the Bible.

Another reason it is logical to conclude that the Church in Asia Minor would have the entire New Testament is because most of the New Testament was written to or from church leaders in Asia Minor (none were written to or from Alexandria, Egypt).

There are a total of 27 books in the New Testament.  At least 9 books of the New Testament were directly written to the church leaders in Asia Minor. The ones clearly written to those in Asia Minor include Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy (Timothy was in Ephesus), Philemon, 1 Peter, 3 John, and Revelation. According to The Ryrie Study Bible John’s Gospel, 1 Corinthians, 1 & 2 John, and possibly Philippians, were written from Ephesus. In addition to these, 2 Peter, and possibly Jude may have also been mainly directed to one or more of the churches in Asia Minor.

The Book of James was written to “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (James 1:1). Some of them were in Asia Minor. Others according to the historian Josephus were “beyond Euphrates.” It is also likely that some other books were written at least partially from Asia Minor. For example, the Book of Acts mentions “Ephesus” and “Ephesians” a dozen times and “Asia” 15 times (NKJV).

So probably 14 to 20 New Testament books were written to or from Asia Minor. Plus it has been claimed by one or more that all four gospel accounts were as well, though this is less certain (though one or more other than John may have been).

There is only one book written to those in Rome (it never mentions any of the so-called Roman bishops), with 2 to Corinth, 2 to Thessalonica, and 1 to Crete (Titus), – a total of 7 letters neither sent from nor addressed to those in Asia Minor.

What this clearly shows, is that although there were Christians in various areas, the focus for the New Testament writers was the churches in Asia Minor. And interestingly, the last book of the Bible is specifically addressed to the churches of Asia Minor (Revelation 1:4,11). It was in Asia Minor that the NT canon was originally formed. There is no other place that could have had it earlier. And the Apostle John did have the full canon before his death.

Historical Confirmation from the Didache and Irenaeus

A writing from the late 1st or early 2nd century, called the Didache, contains the following:

Forsake in no way the commandments of the Lord; but you shall keep what you have received, neither adding thereto nor taking away therefrom. (Didache, 4)

The above writing supports the view that by the end of the first century, some understood that Christians had a closed canon (cf. Kruger, p. 203).

Furthermore, Irenaeus, a Roman supporter, around 180, wrote:

After this fashion also did a presbyter, a disciple of the apostles, reason with respect to the two testaments, proving that both were truly from one and the same God …

For all the apostles taught that there were indeed two testaments among the two peoples; but that it was one and the same God who appointed both for the advantage of those men (for whose sakes the testaments were given) who were to believe in God. (Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book IV, Chapter 32, Verse 1,2. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885)

Hence, Irenaeus is claiming that one or more of the apostles knew the books of the Old and New Testaments. Thus, he seemingly believed that the early church did have the entire canon of the Bible. It may be that the presbyter, a disciple of the apostles, Irenaeus is referring to was Polycarp of Smyrna (whom he claimed to have known) or Melito of Sardis. And if so, this is additional evidence that the church in Asia Minor had the complete biblical canon very early on. Furthermore, Irenaeus’ strong insistence elsewhere that there were four and only four gospels (Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses, Book III, Chapter XI, verse 8) points to the view that at least their part of the canon was clearly known by Irenaeus. It should also be noted that in fragments ascribed to Polycarp or perhaps pseudo-Polycarp, each of the four Gospels are correctly named (Polycarp/pseudo-Polycarp. Fragments from Victor of Capua. Translated by Stephen C. Carlson. 2006).

An anonymous Letter to the Corinthians commonly called 1 Clement,  states:

For you know the Holy Scriptures right well, beloved, and you studied the words (logia) of God. (Chapter 53 as translated in Dehandschutter B. Polycarpiana, Selected Essays. Leuven University Press, 2007, p. 286)

So, the authors claimed that the Corinthians knew the Holy Scriptures.

Furthermore, its 36th chapter quotes Hebrews 1:3-4 whereas its 56th chapter quotes Hebrews 12:6, demonstrating it was written after the Book of Hebrews was. Research suggests that this letter was written in the late first century by the faithful in Rome shortly after the Apostle John was exiled from Rome to Patmos. These people perhaps had at least distant, temporal, contact with John, and thus, likely knew the proper books.

Furthermore, in his Letter to the Philippians, Polycarp quotes Hebrews 12:18; 1 Peter 1:8, 2:11,21,22,24, 3:9, 4:47; and 1 John 4:3. He also refers to 2 Peter 2:1-2, while alluding to passages in James 2:8-9, 5:10; 2 Peter 1:3, 3:15; 1 John 2:15, 4:9; 2 John 6, and 3 John 4 (Thiel, Trinity Journal). …

 Polycarp Was a Disciple of John and Originally Knew the Books

Historians understand that: “A direct link to the apostles themselves can be seen in the work of Polycarp from the early second century A.D. Polycarp was actually a disciple of the Apostle John. Significantly, he wrote his own ‘Epistle to the Philippians,’ where he referenced and cited Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments” (Holden, p. 125).

Furthermore, this author’s published research pointed out that all the New Testament books are quoted from or alluded to in Polycarp’s letter (Thiel B. Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians with New Testament Scriptural Annotations. Trinity Journal of Apologetics and Theology, June 2008).

Polycarp of Smyrna, himself, made it clear that those he wrote to in Philippi had the correct canon, otherwise he would not have written:

For I trust that ye are well versed in the Sacred Scriptures. (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885)

One could not be ‘well versed in the Sacred Scriptures’ without knowing what they were. Notice this observation from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, and St. Polycarp, of Smyrna, had been disciples of Apostles; they wrote their epistles in the first decade of the second century (100-110). They employ Matthew, Luke, and John. In St. Ignatius we find the first instance of the consecrated term “it is written” applied to a Gospel (Ad Philad., viii, 2). Both these Fathers show not only a personal acquaintance with “the Gospel” and the thirteen Pauline Epistles, but they suppose that their readers are so familiar with them that it would be superfluous to name them. (Reid, Canon of the New Testament).

Irenaeus of Lyon (c. 170) wrote in his letter to Florinus:

Polycarp related all things in harmony with the Scriptures. (Eusebius. The History of the Church. Book V, Chapter XX, verses 5-8, p. 112)

It would be difficult to relate all things in harmony with the Scriptures if Polycarp did not know them.

This may be part of why Ignatius of Antioch wrote:

Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to Polycarp, Bishop of the Church of the Smyrnæans …  For I trust that, through grace, you are prepared for every good work pertaining to God. Knowing, therefore, your energetic love of the truth, I have exhorted you by this brief Epistle. (Letter to Polycarp, Chapters 0, 7)

Polycarp was energetic for the truth — God’s word is truth (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17). Ignatius, himself, quoted sixteen or so New Testament scriptures in the letters we have from him in a manner that suggests that he and those in Asia Minor recognized their scriptural authority (cf. Kruger, pp. 189-193). That Polycarp was “prepared for every good work” also implies that he must have “known the Holy Scriptures” (cf. 2 Timothy 3:15-17).

Now, let’s look at the following written about Polycarp:

And on the following sabbath he said; “Hear ye my exhortation, beloved children of God. I adjured you when the bishops were present, and now again I exhort you all to walk decorously and worthily in the way of the Lord … Watch ye, and again Be ye ready, Let not your hearts be weighed down, the new commandment concerning love one towards another, His advent suddenly manifest as of rapid lightning, the great judgment by fire, the eternal life, His immortal kingdom. And all things whatsoever being taught of God ye know, when ye search the inspired Scriptures, engrave with the pen of the Holy Spirit on your hearts, that the commandments may abide in you indelible.” (Life of Polycarp, Chapter 24. In: J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, 1889, pp. 488-506)

Polycarp advanced greatly in the faith that is in Christ and that pursues a virtuous life. And in his untiring diligence, he from his Eastern stock bore (if one may so say) blossom as a token of good fruit hereafter to come. For the men who dwell in the East are distinguished before all others for their love of learning and their attachment to the divine Scriptures … Thus reflecting on this with a godly delight he offered himself day and night wholly and entirely as a consecrated sacrifice to God, exercising himself in the oracles contained in the divine Scriptures and in continual services of prayer and in devotion to all those who needed either attention or relief and in contentment of living. (Ibid, Chapter 6)

Such was his behaviour towards those from whom no benefit could be got. But bad men he avoided as mad dogs or wild beasts or venomous serpents; for he remembered the Scripture. (Ibid, Chapter 7)

… proving this from all the Scriptures. (Ibid, Chapter 13)

For he would extend his discourse to great length on diverse subjects, and from the actual Scripture which was read he would furnish edification with all demonstration and conviction. (Ibid, Chapter 18)

So also he pursued the reading of the Scriptures from childhood to old age, himself reading in church; and he recommended it to others, saying that the reading of the law and the prophets was the forerunner of grace, preparing and making straight the ways of the Lord, that is the hearts, which are like tablets whereon certain harsh beliefs and conceptions that were written before perfect knowledge came, are through the inculcation of the Old Testament, and the correct interpretation following thereupon, first smoothed and levelled, that, when the Holy Spirit comes as a pen, the grace and joy of the voice of the Gospel and of the doctrine of the immortal and heavenly Christ may be inscribed on them. (Ibid, Chapter 19)

The wealth of the grace given by Christ to Polycarp has led us on, while recording his course of life, to explain in turn the character of his teaching likewise. How he used to interpret the Scriptures, we will defer relating till another time, setting it forth in order and showing our successors also how to minister correct instruction in the holy and inspired Scriptures. (Ibid, Chapter 19)

And all things whatsoever being taught of God ye know, when ye search the inspired Scriptures, engrave with the pen of the Holy Spirit on your hearts, that the commandments may abide in you indelible.’ Thus speaking in this way from time to time, and being persistent in his teaching, he edified and saved both himself and his hearers. (Ibid, Chapters 24-25)

Polycarp is clearly communicating with people he felt were familiar with the true canon when he said they knew all things taught by God through searching the inspired scriptures. The original writer of the Life of Polycarp understood that Polycarp had all the scriptures.

Polycarp, himself, seems to quote directly from a Byzantium (like now part of the Textus Receptus) manuscript of the Bible, when, for example, he was quoting from Matthew’s gospel.

Related to Matthew 26:41, he wrote (c. 135) in his Letter to the Philippians (7:2):

το μεν πνύεμα προθυμον η δε ϲαρξ αϲθενηϲ

The Textus Receptus has:

το μεν πνύεμα προθυμον η δε ϲαρξ αϲθενηϲ

Yet, the Alexandrian Codex Sinaiticus has:

το μεν πνα προθυμον η δε ϲαρξ αϲθενηϲ

While the meaning of all three is basically the same, the wording that Polycarp used was identical to the Byzantine text as Polycarp used the same Greek word for spirit (πνύεμα), which differed from the Alexandrian text (πνα) — which may have been an abbreviation.

Other quotations that Polycarp made, that this author checked, also were identical or essentially identical to the Textus Receptus (by ‘essentially identical’ meaning that the Greek words were the same, but that their endings may have varied for grammatical reasons — yet it should be pointed out that often the quote is also the same as in the Codex Sinaiticus).

Polycarp was quoting from a Greek source and not from a Hebrew version of Matthew (some have claimed that Matthew was originally written in Hebrew).

Also, a similar situation occurs with Ignatius of Antioch who knew Polycarp. When he quotes part of Matthew 19:31 in chapter 6 of his Letter to the Smyrnaeans, the Greek he used is essentially identical to the Textus Receptus, but differs a bit from of the Alexandrian Codex Sinaiticus.

Polycarp received the texts from the apostles, like John. Consider the following from Irenaeus:

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna … always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time. (Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4)

Polycarp was appointed by the apostles and taught what was received (“handed down”). He respected and highly quoted scripture.

Furthermore, it also should be mentioned that there is an ancient historical document known as the Harris Fragments (ca. 2nd or 3rd century) that also discusses Polycarp. The University of Notre Dame Press states that it is “an important, if little known, text on Polycarp of Smyrna, Bishop and martyr, and his association with the apostle John.”

Basically, the Harris Fragments stress Polycarp’s connection with the Apostle John, teach he was appointed bishop of Smyrna by John, and that he died a martyr’s death at age 104. Here are some translated quotes from the Harris Fragments ([ ] in source):

There remained [—]ter him a disciple[e —] name was Polycar[p and] he made him bishop over Smyrna … He was … old man, being one hundred and f[our] of age. He continued to walk [i]n the canons which he had learned from his youth from John the a[p]ostle. (Weidman, Frederick W. Polycarp and John: The Harris Fragments and Their Challenge to Literary Traditions. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame (IL), 1999, pp. 43-44)

By mentioning the term “canons” the Harris Fragments could possibly be suggesting that John passed the knowledge of the proper books of the Bible to Polycarp — and that would seem to be the case. But even if canon(s) meant only the measure of the right way to be a Christian that early, that strongly supports the view that the Apostle John would have passed on his knowledge of the books of the Bible to Polycarp—plus he likely would have passed on the parchments of the actual New Testament books. The canon was known by the Church of God in Asia Minor in the 2nd century. All should realize that to be faithful to apostolic Christianity that one should imitate Polycarp and John as they themselves did Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1).

There was a chain of custody of the New Testament scriptures from the apostles to Polycarp and others in the 2nd century.

The true Church of God has had confidence in the New Testament scriptures as soon as they were available.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete? Are there lost gospels? What about the Apocrypha? Is the Septuagint better than the Masoretic text? What about the Textus Receptus vs. Nestle Alland? Was the New Testament written in Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew? Which translations are based upon the best ancient text? Did the true Church of God have the canon from the beginning? Here are links to related sermons: Let’s Talk About the Bible, The Books of the Old Testament, The Septuagint and its Apocrypha, Masoretic Text of the Old Testament, and Lost Books of the Bible, and Let’s Talk About the New Testament, The New Testament Canon From the Beginning, English Versions of the Bible and How Did We Get Them?, What was the Original Language of the New Testament?, Original Order of the Books of the Bible, and Who Gave the World the Bible? Who Had the Chain of Custody?
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading. Here is a link in Mandarin Chinese: 读圣经 Here is a link in the Spanish language: Lea la Biblia.
CG7.ORG This is a website for those interested in the Sabbath and churches that observe the seventh day Sabbath.
CG7-D: Church of God, (Seventh Day): History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace part of their history through some affiliation with this group. Loren Stacy is the president of the largest CG7 USA group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
CG7-S: Church of God 7th Day, Salem (West Virginia) This group formed by A.N. Dugger in 1933 when he split from the CG7 group he was once president of.
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses some early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, CG7-Salem, Jerusalem 7DCG, and COG-7th Day-Denver. Here are links to two historical sermons: Sardis Church Era: Beginnings, Doctrines, and Leaders and Sardis: SDBs, SDAs, & CG7s.
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
How to Study the Bible David Jon Hill wrote this initially and Dr. Thiel added scriptures, tips, and suggestions to it. A 2015 sermon is available and is also titled How to Study the Bible.
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
Is Matthew 28:19 in the Bible? Some have claimed that Matthew 28:19 has added words as part of a trinitarian plot. Is that true?
What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood? What do the writings of the Bible, Origen, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Augustine show?
Bible and Historical Resources on the Internet Electronic bibles, Two Babylons, early Christian literature, photos, and even links to old Herbert W. Armstrong materials.
Polycarp of Smyrna: The Heretic Fighter Polycarp was the successor of the Apostle John and a major leader in Asia Minor. Do you know much about what he taught? A YouTube video or related interesy may be: Polycarp of Smyrna: Why Christians should know more about him.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Gospel writer Mark, Venice, and Apostolic Succession

Thursday, May 19th, 2022

The Casket Claimed to be that of Mark of Alexandria in Venice (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

My wife Joyce and I have gotten to visit St. Mark’s Square and the related church in Venice, Italy on several occasions.

People in Venice repeatedly have been told, and often believe, that they have the body of Mark, the Gospel writer. Essentially, the old Venetians stole a body from Alexandria, Egypt centuries ago. This was the body that the Alexandrians claimed was Mark, the writer of the Gospel bearing his name.

Here is the story behind one of the mosaics at the square:

The mosaic (said to be of Saint Alipio) that overlooks the first portal on the right hand side dates back to 1260. It tells the story of two merchants: Rustico from Torcello and Bruno from Malamocco who in 828 secretly stole the body of San Marco from Alessandria (Egypt). From the picture you can see the two merchants avoid the Muslim guards by hiding the body of St Mark underneath pork meat, (food considered dirty according to Islam) and calling out ‘canzir’ that in Arabic means pork. The disgusted guards reacted by not inspecting the load, enabling the corpse to be taken aboard the ship that set sail immediately for Venice. http://www.tours-italy.com/venice-about-st_marks_basilica.htm

San Marco means “Saint Mark.”

As it turns out, some believe that the arrival of the corpse of “Mark” in Venice fulfilled a private prophecy, which is one reason that this is accepted. Some also believe the idea that Mark indirectly founded Venice by founding a bishopric in Aquileia (which is about 125 km away). This seems to be based upon legends found in eighth century writings (Sethre J. The souls of Venice. McFarland, 2003, p. 28). Because of these legends, the Venetians claim that the gospel writer Mark founded their church (the Alexandrians also claim Mark).

As far as the ‘prophecy’ of Mark’s body goes, here is one account of it:

In the “legend of predestination,” ratified by Andrea Dandolo, Mark of the Gospel becomes Mark of Venice. An angel brings him a message while he pauses amidst the Venetian marshes. at the very site where Rivus Altus/Venice will rise centuries later: “Pax tibi, Marce, evangelista meus.” The message foresees Mark’s spiritual presence in the city. The arrival of his relics in 828 “confirms” the truth of that prophecy. (Sethre J. The souls of Venice. McFarland, 2003, p. 28).

Whether or not Mark was in Venice, many believe the Venetians taking of a body in Alexandria fulfills this prophecy. Yet, as will be discussed later, Mark’s body was not actually in Alexandria, thus in the physical sense, the prophecy is clearly false.

Some Religious History of Venice

Those in the ‘Patriarchate of Venice’ believe that the gospel writer Mark may have visited some of the outlying islands or at least one he ordained came to their area. Notice also the following:

The Venetian islands at first belonged to the diocese of Altino or the diocese of Padua, under jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Aquileia, believed to be the successor of St. Mark.

It is certain that during the Lombard invasion (568-572) many bishops of the invaded mainland escaped under protection of the Byzantine fleet in the eastern lagoons. The Archbishop himself took refuge in Grado, where he was claimed as Patriarch, during the schism of the Three Chapters. At the end of the invasion, many of the ancient diocese of the mainland were restored by the Lombards, while the Exiles supported the new sees in the lagoons. Two patriarchs emerged from the war and from the schism (at least solved in 698): Patriarchate of Old-Aquileia on the mainland and Patriarchate of Grado…

774. In that year, with the consent of pope Adrian I and the Patriarch of Grado John IV, an episcopal see was erected on the island of Olivolo (afterwards called Castello) with jurisdiction over Gemini, Rialto, Luprio and Dorsoduro. The first bishop, Obelerius, was invested and enthroned by the Doge of Venice, Maurice Galbaio, and ordained by the Patriarch. After Obelerius’ death, the doge named Christopher from Damiata in 798, a member of the Greek party (that is, the partisans of the Eastern Emperor). Patriarch John, a member of the Frankish party (the partisans of Charlemagne) refused to consecrate him, due to his extreme youth. A subsequent confrontation led to the murder of Patriarch John. John was succeeded by his nephew Fortunato from Trieste, who placed himself under the protection of the Frank-Lombard Kingdom and to a confused period, during which the chair of Olivolo was a long struggle. The same Duchy was invaded by the Franks, that besieged the (political) Metamaucus and were defeated and expelled only in 810. The victorious Greek party, led by the new ducal family of Parteciaci, in 812 moved the ducal see from Metamaucus to the more secure Rialto, at the center of the lagoon. A new city was created by the merger of the central islands, including Olivolo: that city was Venice. Finally, after the death of Patriarch Fortunato in 825, Orso, son of the doge John I Pateciacus, became bishop of the city. Under him, the relics of the Evangelist St. Mark were transferred from the Muslim dominated Alexandria of Egypt and brought to Venice…

In 1074 Bishop Henry, from the noble family of Contarini, was the first to bear the title of Bishop of Castello, indicating the complete merger of the island of Olivolo with Venice…Patriarchs of Grado began to reside in Venice more and more until in 1105 they definitely transferred to the city, with their own church at St. Silvestrus. For the next three centuries, three bishops resided in Venice: the Patriarch of Grado, the Primicerius of St. Mark and the Bishop of Castello, each one with his own jurisdiction.

The city gathered relics, especially from the East, and especially after the conquest of Constantinople. After 1204, the icon of the Madonna called Nicopoeia, which is still in St. Mark’s, arrived. (Patriarch of Venice, Wikipedia, viewed 06/09/13)

The diocese of Venice was basically created in 774 as suffragan of the Patriarchate of Grado. It is alleged that because the Venetians did not wish to have to fully accept papal authority that they decided to take the alleged body of Mark from the Eastern Orthodox of Alexandria Egypt in order to claim an apostolic tie that was not directly part of Rome. At this time, the “Great Schism” of 1054 (which is how the Eastern Orthodox describe it, had not happened yet and Rome officially still recognized their claimed ‘apostolic sees’).

This seemed to work for the Venetians for a while, especially when they were in the height of their power (they basically had a monopoly on making clear glass for some time, which made them fairly wealthy). But they eventually reunited with Rome.

In 1457, basically because in consideration of the political influence of the city, its bishops were accorded the title of patriarch by the Pope.

Within the Latin Church, Rome recognizes five Latin sees, including the Diocese of Rome. The others, which it accords the title of Patriarchate, also include Venice, Lisbon, the East Indies, and Jerusalem.

By tradition, the Patriarch of Venice is created a cardinal at the consistory following his appointment, although the Pope is not bound by law to do this. So, basically the Venetians feel special and have more influence than the average Catholic diocese.

The fact that the biblical Mark was not part of a faith that would have encouraged the collection and adoration of relics does not seem to bother the Venetians.

Mark, the Alexandrians, and the Body

As far as Mark being the bishop of the Alexandrians, that is simply not true.

The fact that it is, at best highly-questionable, has long been known by the Church of Rome. Notice what the old The Catholic Encyclopedia taught:

A widespread, if somewhat late, tradition represents St. Mark as the founder of the Church of Alexandria. Though strangely enough Clement and Origen make no reference to the saint’s connection with their city…the chronology of the Apostolic age is admittedly uncertain, and that we have no earlier authority than Eusebius for the date of the foundation of the Alexandrian Church, we may perhaps conclude with more probability that it was founded somewhat later…the New Testament is silent in regard to St. Mark, for his activity in Egypt. (MacRory, Joseph. “St. Mark.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 17 Aug. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09672c.htm>)

A “late tradition” means that it was likely made up over a century later. The fact is that the biblical Mark could not have been the first “Bishop of Alexandria,” and probably did not even visit Alexandria. Origen wrote so much that it is almost inconceivable that he would not have pointed to a biblical connection to Alexandria, if one actually existed. The fact that the New Testament does not mention Mark in Egypt (but instead mentions him in many other places) should show that there are major problems with the later tradition. Despite the facts, in late 2012, the then Pope Benedict XVI referred to the Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria as the “See of Saint Mark,” which it could not be (Pope Benedict’s Message to His Holiness Tawadros II. From the Vatican 11/14/12;. Zenit.org, November 19, 2012).

Perhaps it should also be noted that the body that is in Venice now is not even certain to be the body that was taken from Alexandria as the Venetians lost it. Here is an explanation:

In 1063, during the construction of a new basilica in Venice, St. Mark’s relics could not be found. However, according to tradition, in 1094 the saint himself revealed the location of his remains by extending an arm from a pillar. The newfound remains were placed in a sarcophagus in the basilica. Copts believe that the head of St. Mark remains in a church named after him in Alexandria, and parts of his relics are in St. Mark’s Cairo’s Cathedral. (Wikipedia, viewed 06/03/2013)

Thus, the body is at best incomplete. It is not Mark’s body, and even what is there now may have been just thrown together from some bones not even from Alexandria. Mark is dead and in his grave and he did not appear to tell the Venetians where some of his body parts were.

It is not possible, according to the scriptural accounts, for Mark to have been the Bishop of Alexandria when the Alexandrians (and Copts) claim that he was. Those who falsely believe that (and those that falsely believe a lot of other theological lies) would not have that problem if they would truly heed Jesus’ words:

31 “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Allegory and fable is not on the same level as the literal truth of the word of God.

Mark is Not Mentioned as Being in Alexandria or Venice in the Bible

Since Mark is mentioned many times in the New Testament (never with the title of apostle or Bishop), the apparent dates and events in the Bible that mention Mark demonstrate that Mark could not have been the Bishop of Alexandria at that time. The Bible clearly shows that Mark was in, or traveling to, many other places. The area of Venice is not mentioned either, though it is theoretically more possible that Mark could have visited Venice than been Bishop of Alexandria.

As far as Mark and his locations, around 43-44 A.D., Mark is mentioned first in Acts 12:12, when he is praying in Jerusalem. Herod is noted as dying in Acts 12:20-23, which was in 44 A.D. (Radmacher, p. 1813). Sometime after Herod’s death, notice:

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark (Acts 12:25).

Thus, Mark was in Jerusalem and then went with Paul and Barnabas.

In A.D. 46, Mark spent time with Paul and Barnabas in the Antioch Church before he accompanied them as a helper on their first missionary journey.

Mark apparently went with Paul and Barnabas from around 47-49 A.D.

But Paul was not pleased with Mark and did not want him to accompany him on the next trip:

37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. 39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus (Acts 15:37-39).

Notice that Paul considered Mark unfaithful, and that Mark then went to the island of Cyprus (not Alexandria). There is no way anyone should have considered the unfaithful Mark to have been a faithful “apostle” at that time, around 50-53 A.D.

Later, Paul apparently changed his mind about Mark.

10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him) (Colossians 4:10).

This occurred around 60 A.D. and Mark is believed to have been with Paul in Rome then. He could have possibly passed by the islands near Venice then, but the Bible does not specify.

Around 64-67 A.D., Paul declared that Mark was useful:

11 Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).

It should be noted that the Bible never mentions that Mark was ever in Alexandria, and gives no indication that he was a “bishop” over any area.

Instead, the biblical account clearly contradicts the position of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria that Mark was its bishop from 42-62 A.D. as Mark was in Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Cyprus, and other areas during this time. Plus, according to various historians, he was still alive in 67 A.D.

Also notice what other scholars have noted:

… Alexandria, the second home of Judaism, occupies no place in the development of the Church as depicted for us in the Acts. (Ramsay WM. The Church in the Roman Empire before A.D. 170. (London, 1893.) as cited/discussed in Studies in early church history: collected papers. C.H. Turner,editor, Clarendon Press, 1912, p. 165)

Alexandria and Mark’s connection to it should have been in the Book of Acts if Alexandria was founded and led by him.

Furthermore, even though Eusebius mentions Mark, he noted that there was a problem with those who professed Christ early in Alexandria:

1. And they say that this Mark was the first that was sent to Egypt, and that he proclaimed the Gospel which he had written, and first established churches in Alexandria.

2. And the multitude of believers, both men and women, that were collected there at the very outset, and lived lives of the most philosophical and excessive asceticism was so great, that Philo thought it worth while to describe their pursuits, their meetings, their entertainments, and their whole manner of life. (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book II, Chapter XVI, Verses 1-2, p. 33)

When Nero was in the eighth year of his reign, Annianus succeeded Mark the evangelist in the administration of the parish of Alexandria (Ibid, Chapter 24, p. 42).

It should be noted that Eusebius’ source or conclusion regarding Annianus/Anianos seems to be in error. The eighth year of Nero’s reign would be 61-62 A.D. and the Orthodox does claim that Anianos was a bishop there from 62 A.D.

However, this would seem to be a historical problem if he succeeded Mark upon his death.

Why?

Because according to Peter, Mark was alive when Peter wrote 1 Peter 5:13, which states:

13 She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son…

Furthermore, according to Irenaeus (c. 175 A.D.), Mark was alive after Peter died:

Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter…(Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book III, Chapter 1, Verse 1. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), p. 414.)

While it is not certain that Peter actually preached in Rome, if Irenaeus is correct that Mark functioned as Peter’s interpreter and later wrote after the death of Peter, then it would seem that Mark could not have died before 67 A.D., nor could he have been functioning as the Bishop of Alexandria. Thus, if there was an “Apostle” Mark in Alexandria in the 1st century, he would have been a false apostle and not the Mark who the New Testament discusses.

Probably little of this mattered to the old Venetians. They basically wanted to pretend enough to be Catholic that the Church of Rome could not brand them as heretics or apostates worthy of punishment. Having a body and claiming to have been related to Mark was politically-expedient. And whether or not this was a factor, for a long time the Church of Rome left Venice basically alone.

Pope Francis, however, teaches that Mark was the one that the Alexandrians, and thus by semi-extension Venice, had apostolic succession from (see Pope Francis’ appeal to Pope Tawadros II should concern Catholics and others).

Doctrines That Mark Would Have Held Should Matter

Of course, the gospel writer Mark would have had doctrines that the faithful and real Christians had.

Notice something that Mark was inspired to write:

19…Jesus…27 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:19, 27-28)

But neither the Venetians nor the Alexandrians keep the seventh-day Sabbath as Jesus and Mark would have.

Mark was also inspired to write:

11 And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that

‘Seeing they may see and not perceive,
And hearing they may hear and not understand;
Lest they should turn,
And their sins be forgiven them.'” (Mark 4:11-12)

30 Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? 31 It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; 32 but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.” (Mark 4:30-32)

Yet neither the Venetians nor the Alexandrians teach or understand about the mystery of the Kingdom of God nor the real meaning of the Parable of the Mustard Seed.

To a great degree, the Venetians and Alexandrians hold to tradition above scripture in many areas. Jesus noted the same problem in His day, as Mark was inspired to report:

6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men — the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. (Mark 7:6-9)

For those who want to learn more about what God inspired Mark to write, we have a series of sermons that cover every verse of Mark’s Gospel:

MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark: What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark? Here is a link to six sermons covering all the verses in the Gospel of Mark: Mark 1-2: Author, Prophecy, & Miracles, Mark 3-5: Healing, Demons, and Parables, Mark 6-9: Tradition, John’s beheading, Elijah, and Restoration, Mark 10-12: Marriage, Divorce, Needle Eye, Greatest Command, & Taxes, Mark 13: Temple, Four Horsemen, Troubles, Great Tribulation, and Gospel Proclamation, and .

Mark, like the other Gospel writers, reported about Passover:

12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?”

13 And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. 14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”‘ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.”

16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.

17 In the evening He came with the twelve. (Mark 14:12-18)

That Passover was on the fourteenth of Nisan as nearly all scholars will admit. But that day was condemned by the Greco-Roman faiths, but Mark would have kept it then. Yet, those associated with the Venetians and Alexandrians do not.

The following also would have been doctrines that Mark would have held to that the Patriarchs of Alexandria and Venice do not hold:

Baptism was by immersion and did not include infants.
A Binitarian view, that acknowledged the Holy Spirit, was held by the apostolic and post-apostolic true Christian leaders.
Birthdays were not celebrated by early Christians.
Born-Again meant being born at the resurrection, not at the time of conversion.
Celibacy for Bishops/Presbyters/Elders was not a requirement.
Christmas was not observed by any professing Christ prior to the third century, or ever by those holding to early teachings. Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
Confession of sins were not made to priests and did not require penance. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.
Duties of Elders/Pastors were pastoral and theological, not predominantly sacramental–nor did they dress as many now do.
Easter per se was not observed by the apostolic church.
The Fall Holy Days were observed by true early Christians.
Heaven was not taught to be the reward of Christians. Here is a link to a related sermon: Heaven and Christianity.
Holy Spirit was not referred to as God or as a person by any early true Christians.
Idols were taught against, including adoration of the cross.
Immortality of the soul or humans was not taught. Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
The Kingdom of God was preached. You can also see a YouTube video sermon The Gospel of the Kingdom.
Leavened Bread was removed from the homes of early Christians when the Jews did the same. See also the video : Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Lent was not observed by the primitive church.
Limbo was not taught by the original church.
Military Service was not allowed for true early Christians. A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Millenarianism (a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth, often called the millennium) was taught by the early Christians. A related sermon is titled The Millennium.
Monasticism was unheard of in the early Christian church.
Passover was kept on the 14th of Nisan by apostolic and second century Christians in Asia Minor. There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
Pentecost was kept on Sunday by certain Jews and was observed then by professing Christians. Here is a YouTube sermon titled Pentecost: Feast of Firstfruits.
Purgatory was not taught by the original apostolic church.
Salvation was believed to be offered to the chosen now by the early Church, with others being called later, though not all that taught that (or other doctrines) practiced “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
God’s Six Thousand Year Plan for humankind to rule itself was believed by early professors of Christ. There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up?
Sunday was not observed by the apostolic and original post-apostolic Christians.
Tithes and Offerings were given to support the ministry, the churches, the needy, and evangelical travels and gospel proclamation.
Tradition had some impact on the second century Christians, but was never supposed to supercede the Bible.
The Trinity was not a word used to describe the Godhead by the apostolic or second century Christians, though a certain threeness was acknowledged.
The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous? There is also a sermon-length video on this: Christians and Unclean Meats.

The fact that the Alexandrians and Venetians of the Middle Ages did not have the same teachings or practices of the gospel writer Mark probably did not matter to the Venetians of old either.

Sadly, the fact that those associated with the Venetian and Alexandrian patriarchs today do not hold those practices should give them pause to consider that if Mark was their founder, how can they claim that if they do not do what he would have done or believe as he did?

Why is any of this important to Christians?

There are basically two reasons.

The first is the reality that the so-called ‘apostolic sees’ that the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox claim simply do not hold to the teachings of the original apostles, hence none truly have ‘apostolic succession.’

The fact that their origins are often, directly or indirectly (such as the non-fulfilled “prophecy” about Mark returning to Venice), based on false or implausible information should show all that they do not have “the love of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10).

The second is that we who have that “love of the truth” need to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15, KJV) as to why we do not accept the improper Greco-Roman versions of church doctrine or history. The truth of church history needs to be restored and brought to light (cf. Matthew 5:14-16; 17:11).

The time is coming when the Beast power will rise up and, at first, I expect that he and his supporters will give lip service to the idea of the Greco-Roman apostolic sees as partial proof why they, and not groups like the Continuing Church of God have ties to apostolic Christianity. They will be wrong, of course. But we of the faithful flock need to be able to explain why they are wrong and that is part of why I posted this about the claimed ‘see’ of Venice.

Only those who have the same teachings and practices of the apostles can possibly have true apostolic succession.

Which brings to the third point: we in the Church of God do have apostolic succession.

In the Continuing Church of God we trace our succession through what has been called the “Apostolic See of Ephesus,” but also sometimes called the “See of Smyrna.”

Some items to assist in your studies may include:

MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark: What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark? Here is a link to six sermons covering all the verses in the Gospel of Mark: Mark 1-2: Author, Prophecy, & Miracles, Mark 3-5: Healing, Demons, and Parables, Mark 6-9: Tradition, John’s beheading, Elijah, and Restoration, Mark 10-12: Marriage, Divorce, Needle Eye, Greatest Command, & Taxes, Mark 13: Temple, Four Horsemen, Troubles, Great Tribulation, and Gospel Proclamation, and .
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God? , Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. Is telling the truth about the early church citing Catholic accepted sources anti-Catholic? This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church. There is also a YouTube sermon on the subject titled Church of God or Church of Rome: What Do Catholic Scholars Admit About Early Church History?
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Who were the Nazarene Christians? What did they believe? Should 21st century Christians be modern Nazarenes? Is there a group that exists now that traces its history through the Nazarenes and holds the same beliefs today? Here is a link to a related video sermon Nazarene Christians: Were the early Christians “Nazarenes”?
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Laying on of Hands This is an elementary principle of Hebrews 6. Have you properly had hands laid upon you? Here is a link to a related sermon: Laying on of Hands and Succession.
Laying on of Hands Succession and List Does the Church of God have laying on of hands succession? Does the Continuing Church of God have a list of leaders from the time of the apostles? Here is a link to a related sermon: Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession.

Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a link to a sermon: Claims of Apostolic Succession. Here is a related articlein the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups? A related sermon is also available Christianity: Two groups.
What Was the Original Apostles’ Creed? What is the Nicene Creed? Did the original apostles write a creed? When was the first creed written? Are the creeds commonly used by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics original?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years. It also discusses the concept of church eras. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

HWA, the ‘Falling Away,’ & Zechariah 13

Friday, May 13th, 2022

GOTKOG Book Cover 2016 BOTH FINAL

COGwriter

Herbert W. Armstrong, the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, wrote the following article of warning:

Some of You May Not Make It Into God’s Kingdom – Does It Mean YOU?

MOST PEOPLE who follow this world’s traditional “Christianity” take it for granted that, if sometime in their life they “accept Christ,” they will go to heaven when they die. But in GOD’S Church we talk about “making it into God’s Kingdom.”

I wonder if YOU really do understand the difference! This world is SATAN’S world — not God’s. Satan is a DECEIVER! This world is DECEIVED! But often I wonder, dear brethren, how many of YOU have really come to see the difference! How many of OUR brethren just substitute “the Kingdom” for going to heaven, and think we “get into the Kingdom” the same way they think they shall go to heaven — just by having somehow professed to have “accepted Christ”!

This deceived world lives the way of “GET.” And “GET” is the way that TRANSGRESSES God’s LAW! They want to “GET” salvation. They “RECEIVE” Christ — they profess to “ACCEPT” Christ. And they think that’s ALL THERE IS TO IT. Once they have declared they “accept” — that is, “GET” Christ — there is nothing more to do. It is all settled. They go to church once in a while and sing that old hymn, “It Was All Settled Long Ago.” They were THEN “saved.” They are never told to REPENT. They are not instructed on what REPENTANCE really is. Instead they are taught that if they obey God’s law they will be “LOST.” Obeying God’s spiritual LAW, they are taught, is “works,” and their preachers quote Ephesians 2:8-9:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” But the preachers NEVER read right on the next words, verse 10, which says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
They MISS God’s whole PURPOSE in saving us. Do NOT SOME OF YOU, ALSO? Just WHAT is this important matter of salvation all about?

The first created man, Adam, disobeyed God. He followed his wife Eve in choosing SATAN’S “GET” way of life, rejecting God’s spiritual LAW, which is God’s WAY OF LIFE love to God and outflowing LOVE to other people!

God had, long before creating Adam, set the super archangel LUCIFER on the THRONE with power to RULE over all the earth. When Lucifer rejected God’s LAW — God’s WAY OF LIFE — he abrogated the GOVERNMENT OF GOD on earth, and he became SATAN THE DEVIL. But it is the law of God’s government over the universe that SATAN must remain on that throne, with SUPERNATURAL POWER OVER ALL THE EARTH, UNTIL the government of God is restored, and CHRIST is sitting on that throne with supreme POWER to rule all the earth — when Satan shall be banished from the earth.

So Satan was still there to deceive Eve and lead Adam into SIN. After the beginning of the New Testament Church, SATAN was still there. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted” (II Cor. 11:3). Satan is still on that throne today, deceiving, misleading the world. And I have to often wonder, as Paul did in writing the church at Corinth, if Satan is deceiving some of YOU dear brethren? So I appeal earnestly to you to listen and to THINK ABOUT THIS!

Adam cut himself and HIS FAMILY off from God — from God’s LAW — from God’s GOVERNMENT! Now WHAT IS GOD’S PURPOSE? WHY did He create humans and put us humans here on earth? LISTEN! UNDERSTAND THIS! God is reproducing Himself! He is begetting human PEOPLE as HIS very own CHILDREN. His children together with Him and with Christ will become the GOD FAMILY! There will be, in His Kingdom, God the FATHER, Christ the SON and we of the Church as Christ’s WIFE — married to Christ at the time of the resurrection at His Second Coming to earth — at the final making of the NEW COVENANT, which is the NEW Covenant! It will make us of the Church — then made immortal GOD BEINGS composed of immortal spirit — both the children of God and the Wife of Christ — the GOD FAMILY — and called also THE KINGDOM OF GOD!

Now we talk about “making it into the Kingdom.” What do we mean? We mean making it into God’s own FAMILY! We shall be a FAMILY — the GOD FAMILY!

Now to train us to be a part of that divine FAMILY, God made us male and female. God ordained the marriage union and the human FAMILY. God intended us to LEARN HIS KIND OF FAMILY RELATIONSHIP in our own FAMILY LIFE here in this present life! Now keep that in mind. I’m coming back to it. But keep also in mind something else.

Since Adam failed to resist Satan and to restore the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, none of Adam’s children could overcome Satan and qualify to replace Satan on that throne over all the earth and to RESTORE the government of God. So finally God sent His OWN Son, His only-begotten Son, to become human as well as divine. Jesus was GOD in human flesh — God as well as MAN. He was the ONLY human ever able to obey God’s great spiritual LAW perfectly, resist and conquer Satan and QUALIFY to RESTORE the GOVERNMENT OF GOD on earth!

More than that, He was able to set us an example of living THE WAY of God’s spiritual LAW, to die for us, paying for us the penalty of our sins, and to be resurrected by the FATHER, thus making our resurrection and immortal life possible — so that WE may become God’s CHILDREN in GOD’S FAMILY, and born GOD BEINGS.

We together with God and with Christ shall form THE KINGDOM OF GOD, RULING ALL THE EARTH WITH THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD. Satan then shall be banished.

Now Adam cut himself and HIS family OFF from God and from receiving God’s Holy Spirit. God made Adam’s decision BINDING on Adam’s FAMILY who form the whole world — UNTIL the GOVERNMENT OF GOD is RESTORED and Satan is banished, so Satan cannot lead humanity any longer AWAY FROM GOD! And that means UNTIL the Second Coming of CHRIST and restoration of GOD’S GOVERNMENT by the Kingdom of God.

Meanwhile God made an exception in cutting Adam’s FAMILY off from God. God called Abraham out of Satan’s world, and 430 years later Abraham’s children to become God’s NATION. To them He gave the OLD Covenant — a marriage covenant that made them the wife of Yahweh who was to be born as Jesus later. God gave them His spiritual law but they, like the first Adam, refused to obey it. Only the prophets of Israel obeyed, and only they shall be in God’s KINGDOM WITH GOD’S CHURCH!

Then when Jesus came and QUALIFIED to depose Satan and RESTORE the GOVERNMENT OF GOD and for Himself to sit on that THRONE with power to rule the whole earth, God the Father called certain ones HE chose. He called them to come OUT OF THIS WORLD — out of SATAN’S world — to receive His Holy Spirit. This begat them as His CHILDREN, in His BEGOTTEN FAMILY.

He called us out of the world, to be SEPARATE FROM the world. To Live a FAMILY LIFE to prepare us for the FAMILY LIFE that shall be HIS KINGDOM!

Now UNDERSTAND THIS! I’m afraid many of you have NOT understood it!

The KINGDOM is the divine FAMILY of God. If we cannot live as a FAMILY should live, according to God’s SPIRITUAL LAW, now, while in God’s Church, WE SIMPLY WON’T MAKE IT INTO God’s KINGDOM (which is His divine FAMILY!).
Now PLEASE! PLEASE, dear brethren, HEED THIS! Many of you are NOT living the kind of FAMILY LIFE that is preparing you for God’s Kingdom. And if you DON’T repent, and reorder your whole FAMILY life, YOU SIMPLY WON’T MAKE IT INTO THE KINGDOM! I MEAN THAT! It is LIFE AND DEATH for ALL ETERNITY!
We found at the summer SEP camp at Orr, Minn., that in many cases the children DO NOT EAT WITH THEIR PARENTS AT HOME!

It is reported to me that many of you are LAX in child training and in teaching your little children! You ARE NEGLECTING YOUR FAMILY LIFE. And you may be NEGLECTING SO GREAT SALVATION.
Listen to what God SAYS! “How shall we [we in the Church] escape, if we NEGLECT so great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3).

… many of you are NEGLECTING your very salvation!

God says to YOU: “For the time IS COME that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if… the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (l Pet. 4:17-18). (Good News, January 1981)

Five years after the above was published Herbert W. Armstrong died.

In the radio broadcast he did, titled End Time Falling Away, Herbert Armstrong taught that the New Testament shows there will be falling away related to the Church of God in Acts 20:28-29, as well as a massive turning aside towards fables for the world in 2 Timothy 4:3 (note, all oral quotes in this document are from my notes and may not always be verbatim but do accurately convey what he taught):

Men to turn away from the truth … Acts 20:29 and 30 … Paul … wanted to meet with the leaders of the church … What church? The Church of God! … “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”

See what the prophecy was? Falling away. Departing from the truth!

And then go to second Corinthians eleventh chapter and the 13th, 14th, and 15th verses.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light… Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Many false prophets will deceive many…Second Timothy fourth chapter third verse…

For the time will come when they will not endure—THAT’S the PEOPLE the Western world—sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” the world will fall away after fables. (Armstrong HW. End Time Falling Away, HA103A.MP3)

His successor was NOT faithful and led what was perhaps one of the largest ‘falling aways’ in the history of the Church of God (see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).

Thus, Herbert W. Armstrong was correct to warn people who thought they were Christians that they may not make it into the Kingdom of God.

There is a prophecy in Zechariah that may be relevant here. Notice:

7 “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
8 And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the Lord,
“That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it:
9 I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.'” (Zechariah 13:7-9)

While the above seems to have other applications, the fact is that two-thirds of those in the old WCG accepted total apostasy after the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, and about one-third did not, makes the possible application of the Tkach apostasy seem to fit.

Nowadays, most remaining Christians do not accept proper church governance–even though Herbert W. Armstrong emphasized that a lot in his final years on Earth for Philadephian Christians.

He also taught about those who would not fully fall away, but would be Laodicean:

… the final generation of the Church shall be LUKEWARM — not less emotional, but more ‘liberal,’ more secular and less spiritual — less strictly biblical –” “Speaking of the present ‘Philadelphia’ era, it says … because we have kept God’s Word faithfully, not liberalizing nor watering down, God will keep us from the ‘hour of temptation, which shall come upon all them that dwell on the earth’ to try and test them. (Armstrong HW. Personal from Herbert W. Armstrong. Plain Truth, August 1980).

But, the BAD NEWS, as it appears today, my dear brethren, is that we, undoubtedly of the Philadelphian era…are in serious danger of BECOMING also the Laodicean era. I am personally much concerned about that. If YOU are NOT concerned, then indeed we are in mortal DANGER. (Armstrong HW. Personal from Herbert W. Armstrong. Good News, August 1979).

Now, here we find, while it’s pictured as seven churches, it’s really seven stages of the one True Church … in seven successive times. Also, you’ll find every one of the seven conditions in the church at all times but, in the early years, the Ephesus condition dominated and the tail end of it the Laodicean condition is to dominate on the earth and there you are. (Armstrong HW. History of the True Church – Part 4. Radio broadcast, transcript)

Well, now then, I have said that the Laodicean condition will dominate at the tail end. But I have said that all of those conditions—all the way from Ephesus up to Laodicea, all seven—are present at all the time in the Church; but that now, in the Philadelphian Era, we have the Laodicean condition. That’s what I am talking about today. It’s here. (Armstrong HW. Warning To The Church. Sermon, July 1, 1978)

These seven messages DO apply to seven successive church eras. BUT they also apply to the WHOLE CHURCH through ALL eras. In other words, the Ephesus characteristics DOMINATED in the first era, and the Laodicean will dominate in the last, but SOME of these characteristics are found in EVERY era. (Armstrong HW. Human Nature, Did God Create It? 1976)

You may have to give your present life in order to make the Kingdom of God. Are you going to try to live on and save it? Or are you willing…? There is one place in the 12th chapter of Revelation where, after Satan has had the battle in heaven once again and has been sent back down to earth, where the “saints loved not their lives unto death.” And that’s speaking of our time, and our people, and those of the Laodicean Church to follow us almost immediately. And the Laodicean Era of the Church has not yet come, but it will; and I think that we are doing a whole lot to raise it up. (Armstrong HW. Mark of the Beast. Sermon, December 11, 1982)

The Apostle Peter wrote:

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11)

After Herbert W. Armstrong’s death, not only was there a falling away (see The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings), it has become clear that the Laodicean era has been upon us.

Sadly, most who did not fall away from Christianity have drifted into Laodiceanism.

Jesus told those Christians to repent:

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked — 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘” (Revelation 3:14-22)

In the end times, MOST true Christians will be Laodicean. It is not that the Laodiceans cannot enter the Kingdom of God, but they have issues that they need to change–and risk severe chastisement in this life if they do not repent.

Do not remain Laodicean.

To answer the question, JUST WHAT IS THE WORK?, Herbert W. Armstrong personally wrote:

But Christ said to His Philadelphia era Church, that because we have but little strength, He would OPEN THOSE DOORS TO US (Rev. 3:8)” (Letter 11/19/76).

The PURPOSE for which Christ built the Church exemplifies its WORK … 1) To ANNOUNCE to the world for its witness the coming Kingdom of God…2) To prepare the people to whom God adds to the Church…God has always worked with humans. He has worked with O N E M A N at a time … The WORK consists of proclaiming the Gospel, by radio, by television, in print (Armstrong HW. JUST WHAT IS THE WORK? PASTOR GENERAL’S REPORT – VOL.3, NO.6 February 6, 1981)

God has always, in dealing with humans, worked through ONE MAN at a time — one who believed God! Some in ancient Israel challenged this one-man leadership. Some, like-wise, have challenged it today! … In founding God’s Church, Jesus worked primarily through one man, Peter, even though He originally chose His 12 disciples. Few have ever noticed how Peter was the real leader. Jesus had told His disciples to go NOT to the gentiles, but to the “lost sheep of the House of Israel.” … Notice now PETER’S preeminence. Few have ever put all these scriptures together as I shall now do. This shows PETER was leader. … And, though there were other apostles, God worked primarily through ONE man –PETER! Has God changed? Or is He the SAME still today? … The Jerusalem conference (Acts 15) showed that PETER was predominant over even Paul, although Paul was the ONE MAN God worked through primarily in the ministry to gentiles. The CHURCH is GOD’S Church. (Armstrong, Herbert W. And NOW Christ Sets Church Back On Track Doctrinally. Good News, April 1979).

Notice that Herbert Armstrong believed that God mainly worked through the leadership of one man at a time to lead various phases of the work. Scripture, shows for example, that the mantle passed from Elijah to Elisha (2 Kings 2:9-15). The ‘mantle’ would currently be with the person/group that truly functioned as the ‘pillar and ground of truth’ (1 Timothy 3:15).

For fifty years in the second century, according to Herbert W. Armstrong, that man was Polycarp:

It is significant that after his release John trained Polycarp elder of Smyrna, a city near Ephesus in the province of Asia. … At neighboring Smyrna, Polycarp presided over the Church of God for half a century after John’s death. Polycarp stood up boldly for the truth while many fell away and began having fellowship with the Catholic bishops of Rome. History relates that following the example of Peter, Paul and John, Polycarp wrote many letters to congregations and individuals, though all these have perished, save one in an edited version. (Armstrong HW. The Church They Couldn’t Destroy. Good News, December 1981)

For over 50 years in the 20th century, it was Herbert W. Armstrong.

And in the 21st century, that one man is not in any of the independent or more structured Laodicean groups (see also Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle).

Support the remnant of the Philadephian era and God’s work today.

Do not delay (cf. Zephaniah 2:1-3).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings Who is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 referring to? Are there multiple falling aways? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: La Apostasía: Enseñanzas de la Biblia y de la WCG. There are also two YouTube videos on the subject that you can watch The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? Two related sermons are available The Work per HWA and the Bible and Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work. Here is a link to another: Preparing to Instruct Many.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here are two related YouTube videos titled Final Phase of the Work: Need and Background and The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to four related sermons:  The Fantastic Gospel of the Kingdom of God!, The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is are links to related sermons: Christian Election: Is God Calling YOU? and Predestination and Your Selection. A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? Two related sermons about this are also available: Real Repentance and Real Christian Repentance.

Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle Herbert Armstrong claims God had him raise the Philadelphia up. Are there reasons to believe that the Philadelphia mantle in now within the CCOG? Here is a link to a related sermon: Herbert W. Armstrong and the Philadelphia Mantle.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy. See also Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Sermon: Cancel Culture and Christian Persecution

Saturday, May 7th, 2022


(from Pixabay)

COGwriter

The Continuing Church of God is pleased to announce this sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:

1;14:59

Cancel Culture and Christian Persecution

What did Jesus teach about persecutions? Should Christians expect name calling and being falsely taught against? Did the Apostle Paul warn about this as well as evil deceivers increasing in the end times? Were early Christians ever murderous persecutors? Did Emperor Constantine stick to his religious tolerance ‘Edict of Milan’ in 313? What about his edict against heretics in 331? What types of persecution did Emperor Theodosius implement? Has there been a history of attempting to cancel Christian speech and practices, which were sometimes followed by physical persecution? Have Greco-Roman Catholics been involved with persecutions again st believers? What about Protestants like Martin Luther or John Calvin? What about Big Tech? What about actions from Facebook Google, YouTube, and Twitter? Is shadow banning consistent with cancel culture? Is more persecution coming? Do Greco-Roman prophecies about the ‘Great Monarch’ look forward to Christians being persecuted? Could the European Union’s Digital Services Act and European Public Prosecutor’s Office be factors in future persecution? Will faithful members of the holy covenant instruct many? Will indentifying the coming King of the North trigger persecution? Will there be more persecution of the Philadelphian Christians prior to the start of the Great Tribulation? What will happen to the Laodiceans? Which Christians will be protected from the coming hour of trial, which starts with the Great Tribulation? Will the persecuting Beast, False Prophet, and those with the mark of the beast be punished? Will God reward the faithful Christians who endure persecution? Dr. Thiel addresses these and more in this sermon video.

Here is a link to our sermon: Cancel Culture and Christian Persecution.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There are also two video sermons you can watch: Cancel Culture and Christian Persecution and The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Will Philadelphian Christians instruct many in the end times? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work. Here is a link to another: Preparing to Instruct Many.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here are two related YouTube videos titled Final Phase of the Work: Need and Background and The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here are links to seven related sermons: Proof Jesus is the Messiah, Prophecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and death, Jesus’ prophesied divinity, 200+ OT prophecies Jesus filled; Plus prophecies He made, Why Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?, Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus, and Facts and Atheists’ Delusions About Jesus. Plus the links to two sermonettes: Luke’s census: Any historical evidence? and Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is are links to related sermons: Christian Election: Is God Calling YOU? and Predestination and Your Selection. A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! Would you like Christian answers to give atheists? This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. Here is a link to a related sermon: Evolution is NOT the Origin of Life. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God? , Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History; The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character; The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon; Eucharist, Passover, and Easter; Views of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & Baptism; Scripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. Sunday; Church Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s Plan; Seventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?; Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of Salvation; Crosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean Meats; The Godhead and the Trinity; Fleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, Mystery of Race, and The Mystery of YOU. Here is a link to a video in Spanish: El Misterio del Plan de Dios.
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: Apocatastasis, Universal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be Saved, Mysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3), Is God Fair, Will God Pardon the Ignorant?, Can God Save Your Relatives?, Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to four related sermons: The Fantastic Gospel of the Kingdom of God!, The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
CG7.ORG This is a website for those interested in the Sabbath and churches that observe the seventh day Sabbath.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations YouTube channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs. Also available at BitChute COGAnimations https://www.bitchute.com/channel/coganimations/
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced hundreds of videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. You can find them at them on YouTube at BibleNewsProphecy https://www.youtube.com/user/BibleNewsProphecy, plus also on Vimeo at Bible News Prophecy https://vimeo.com/channels/biblenewsprophecy as well as on Brighteon Bible News Prophecy https://www.brighteon.com/channel/ccogbnp and Bitchute Prophecy https://www.bitchute.com/channel/prophecy/
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo. Also available at BitChute COGAfrica https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogafrica/
CDLIDDSermones channel. This contains messages in the Spanish language
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos. Also available at BitChute COGTube https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogtube/
Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of GodContend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV), “Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1) ” & continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs–the Statement gives answers? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese ~ç~íy^v„eYOv„OáNðXðf. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’Église Continue de Dieu. Here is a related link in the Chichewa language: ZIKHULUPIRIRO ZA MPINGO WA CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD. Here is a link in Romanian: Declarația de credințe a continuării Bisericii lui Dumnezeu. Here is a link in Portuguese: Declaração de Crenças da Continuação da Igreja de Deus. Here is a link in Russian: Утверждение верований о продолжении Церкви Божьей. Here is a link to a related English-language sermon: Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God. Here is a link to a booklet titled: Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

 

Mike Gendron on the Islam-Roman Catholic Connection

Friday, May 6th, 2022


COGwriter

Former Roman Catholic, Mike Gendron reported the following in one of his newsletters:

Common Bonds Between Islam and Catholicism

Will the world’s two largest religions converge and be the catalyst for the prophesied one-world religion? At first glance, the two faiths appear to be vastly different but under close inspection, they have more common bonds than differences. In 1994 the Vatican issued a publication entitled: “Spiritual Bonds Which Unite Us: 16 Years of Christian-Muslim Dialogue.” After extensive study and research, I put forth 10 common bonds that will help unite these two religions.

1. Both Esteem and Honor Mary – Muslims and Catholics both call her, “Our Lady.” and venerate her as a pure and holy saint. Mary is mentioned more in the Qu’ran than the Bible.
2. Both Seek Messages from Apparitions of Mary– Many of the messages make it clear she is coming for all her children including Muslims, Catholics and Protestants and that people of all religions can be saved apart from Jesus Christ as long as they are good.
3. Both Are Anti-Semitic – The Vatican has issued over 100 anti-semitic documents and taught the Jews should be cursed because they killed Christ. Mohammed words recorded in a hadith say, “The last day will not come until the Muslims destroy the Jews.”
4. Both Embrace Another Jesus – Catholicism has a counterfeit Jesus whose death on the cross was not sufficient to save them. Islam also has a counterfeit Jesus (Isa) who did not die on a cross and is not God, only a prophet.
5. Both Seek World Dominion – Both religions rule with an autocratic government and have a history of forced conversions, and killing those who oppose them. Could these religions which control people with indoctrination, intimidation, and fear be a precursor to the rule of Anti-christ?
6. Both Deny the Authority of Scripture – The pagan beliefs of both religions stand opposed to the Bible. Muslims reject the Bible as the final revelation from God declaring that God has revealed a final testament: the Qu’ran which is their supreme authority.
7. Both Use Prayer Beads to Avoid Punishment – Catholics pray the rosary to remit punishment for sin. Muslins use 99 beads that correspond to the names of God. Praying to Allah five times a day is an act of obedience to escape the punishment imposed on those who do not pray.
8. Both Take Pilgrimages to Obtain Favor from God – Catholics take pilgrimages for religious purification and the promise of indulgences. Muslims take pilgrimages to Mecca, a mandatory religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime.
9. Both Have Human Mediators – Catholics rely on the priesthood to dispense salvation through sacraments and seek Mary to intercede with God on their behalf. Muslims rely on the intercession of Muhammad on judgment day. He will prostrate himself before Allah who will say, “O Muhammad! speak, it will be heard; and be given; intercede, and it will be approved.”
10. Both Have a Works-Righteousness Salvation – Allah will place one’s good and evil works on the divine scale: “Those whose scales are light are those who lose their souls in hell” (Sura 23:102,103). In Catholicism, sacraments, good works and obeying the law are necessary for salvation.

These two religions represent a huge mission field with nearly 3 billion precious souls. They need to know the true Jesus and submit to His Word as their supreme authority. Only then will they repent of their works-righteousness salvation and believe the glorious Gospel of grace. As ambassadors for Christ let us sow the seed of His Word.

Mike Gendron is correct that Christians are to be ambassadors for Christ (see Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian).

Though I would not necessarily word things as he has, there are several similarities between Islam and Roman Catholicism.

Both are overly involved with Marianism and apparitions.

May is the month that Roman Catholics have dedicated to their version of Mary. Many believe that Jesus’ mother Mary appeared in Fatima, Portugal on May 13, 1917.

Interestingly, Muslims claim that Mohamed’s daughter Fatima was the one that would appear.

Pope Francis has made many pro-Muslim statements (e.g., see ‘Pope Francis: God Desires Solidarity Among Catholics and Muslims’). Plus the Vatican even put together what could be called the Chrislam cross in 2019.


(Vatican News showed the above ‘Chrislam Cross’)

The Continuing Church of God (CCOG) put out the following videos on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:

20:30
What is Chrislam? What are the two forms of it? Did the Vatican unveil the Chrislam Cross? How does it look? Are Christianity and Islam theologically compatible? What does the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’ say? What about the Bible and the Quran? Did Pope Francis and Sunni Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb sign an important interfaith document on February 4, 2019? Do biblical and Islamic prophecies point to a deal between the Europeans and Arabs that will be broken? Do Catholic and Islamic writings support the view that Mary and/or apparitions of ‘Mary’ may lead to temporary cooperation between the Arabs and Europeans? Will such cooperation bring lasting peace or war? Have any of the Eastern Orthodox warned of the danger in using ‘Mary’ to push the interfaith and ecumenical movements? Is there a ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus mosque? Should you wish to be part of the Chrislam movement? What does the Bible teach? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

On February 4, 2019, at the ‘ Global Conference on Human Fraternity,’ Pope Francis and leading Sunni Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb signed a document that some suspect may lead towards a “one world religion.” The World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary, Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, who also attended, pushed for religious leaders and institutions to push towards a particular cooperative agenda to help bring world peace. Will there be real peace or just a temporary one? Will destruction come to the USA and nations in the Middle East and North Africa? What will be some characteristics of this “one world religion”? Will all have the same religious practices? Might it have commonalities with the ancient Roman Empire? The Grand Mosque in the UAE was renamed “Mary, Mother of Jesus.” Will Catholic, Islamic, and even Hindu reverence for Marian figures play a role? Is that part of the plan? Should real Christians support the interfaith and ecumenical agendas or remain separate from them? What does the Bible teach? What did Jesus teach? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to the sermonette videos: The Chrislam Cross and the Interfaith Movement and Pope Francis signs ‘one world religion’ document!

Anyway, as far as views of the Bible go, Muslims believe that Christians and Jews corrupted it and hence it cannot be trusted. They do believe God used Jesus, but deny His deity and resurrection.

Roman Catholics accept scripture, but believe that how the Vatican interprets it, as well as traditions it has held since at least the time of Emperor Constantine, have equal value to scripture. Hence, Roman Catholics do not believe many scriptures the same way that people like Mike Gendron or I do.

As far as Roman Catholics and Muslims making a deal, that will happen.

The deal, however, will be temporary (cf. Daniel 11:27,40).

As I have written before, it is possible that if some apparition claiming to be Mary appears in some Arabic location[s] that this might temporarily persuade the Arabs and their allies to somewhat accept the Beast (see also Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions).

Lest any have the mis-impression that the Arabs are not a discerning people, it needs to be understood that they will apparently be the first major block to recognize the falsehood of this European power.

Probably because of its attempts to dominate the world and its religions by the nominally Roman Catholic king of the North, the prophesied Arabic king of the South will become displeased.

The idea of a Roman Catholic-Islamic alliance that will be temporary is also consistent with Greco-Roman Catholic and Islamic prophecy.

Some of which seems to be related to this prophecy in the Book of Daniel

26 And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate (Daniel 9:26-27).

The above discusses a seven-year deal that will be broken in the middle (see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27).

The idea of this being related to a seven-year, end-time period was also understood by the Catholic theologians Irenaeus of Lyon (second century) and Hippolytus (died 235) of Rome:

And the angel Gabriel, when explaining his vision, states with regard to this person: “And towards the end of their kingdom a king of a most fierce countenance shall arise, one understanding [dark] questions, and exceedingly powerful, full of wonders; and he shall corrupt, direct, influence (faciet), and put strong men down, the holy people likewise; and his yoke shall be directed as a wreath [round their neck]; deceit shall be in his hand, and he shall be lifted up in his heart: he shall also ruin many by deceit, and lead many to perdition, bruising them in his hand like eggs.” Daniel 8:23, etc. And then he points out the time that his tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight, they who offer a pure sacrifice unto God: “And in the midst of the week,” he says, “the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation [shall be brought] into the temple: even unto the consummation of the time shall the desolation be complete.” Now three years and six months constitute the half-week. (Irenaeus. Against Heresies, Book V, Chapter 25, verse 4)

With respect, then, to the particular judgment in the torments that are to come upon it in the last times by the hand of the tyrants who shall arise then, the clearest statement has been given in these passages. But it becomes us further diligently to examine and set forth the period at which these things shall come to pass, and how the little horn shall spring up in their midst. For when the legs of iron have issued in the feet and toes, according to the similitude of the image and that of the terrible beast, as has been shown in the above, (then shall be the time) when the iron and the clay shall be mingled together. Now Daniel will set forth this subject to us. For he says, “And one week will make a covenant with many, and it shall be that in the midst (half) of the week my sacrifice and oblation shall cease.” By one week, therefore, he meant the last week which is to be at the end of the whole world of which week the two prophets… will take up the half. For they will preach 1,260 days clothed in sackcloth, proclaiming repentance to the people and to all the nations…(Hippolytus. On Christ and Antichrist, Chapter 43. Online edition Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight).

As these things, therefore, of which we have spoken before are in the future, beloved, when the one week is divided into parts, and the abomination of desolation has arisen then, and the forerunners of the Lord have finished their proper course, and the whole world, in fine, comes to the consummation, what remains but the manifestation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God, from heaven, for whom we have hoped; who shall bring forth fire and all just judgment against those who have refused to believe in Him? For the Lord says, “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be; for wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” (Hippolytus. On the End of the World, Chapter 36. Translated by J.H. MacMahon. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0504.htm)

So, the idea of this deal somehow having a seven-year component, that is broken in the middle, with Jesus coming afterwards is not simply a recent one.

Despite Hippolytus’ understanding, based upon what the Bible teaches about the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3, it is my position that the seven-year component of the peace deal will not be clear enough to, not only Greco-Roman Catholics and Protestants, but also to most who claim to be in the Church of God (COG) for them to realize this is the peace deal. Just like they do not consider certain prophetic matters clear enough (e.g. How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God), the vast majority will not truly understand the prophetic implications when the related deal is made.

While the leader in Daniel 9:27 is only referred to as a prince when he confirms the one week covenant, he probably will not be known as the “King” until shortly before he breaks the covenant at the mid-week point (most likely he will be considered simply one of several leaders negotiating a treaty when this deal in Daniel 9:27 is initially made). The two witnesses (who are prophets) rise up around the mid-point of the week (3 1/2 years into it). The iron and clay mingled together refers to a power (like Europe) that is not totally cohesive.

Interestingly, notice the following Catholic prophecy about betrayal:

Nostradamus: The Great Arab shall progress well forward, But betrayed shall be by the Byzantines. (Turks).

Comment on above from Catholic writer Yves Dupont: Here, we are told that Turkey will break its faith with the rest of the Arab world. (Dupont, Yves. Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1973, p. 107).

The “Great Arab” is probably supposed to represent the Mahdi/Caliph, the final King of the South. The Turks currently control Byzantium and have for many centuries. Hence, Roman Catholic prophecy indicates that Turkey will betray the Islamic Arabic power. In the Bible, Daniel 11:25-26 is quite clear that an ally of the King of the South will betray the King of the South:

25 “He shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South with a great army. And the king of the South shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand, for they shall devise plans against him. 26 Yes, those who eat of the portion of his delicacies shall destroy him; his army shall be swept away, and many shall fall down slain. (Daniel 11:25-26)

Presuming that Daniel 11:25-26 has a future fulfillment (and as it seems to parallel Daniel 11:40-43 so it may), there will be close allies (like Turkey) that will betray the King of the South according to scripture as well. Many events will not turn out well in the Arab World for a time–watch also the video War is Coming Between Europeans and Arabs.

As it turns out, a seven year deal is in Islamic prophecy:

Rasaullah [Muhammed] said: “There will be four peace agreements between you and the Romans [Christians]. The fourth agreement will be mediated through a person who will be the progeny of Hadrat Haroon [Honorable Aaron — Moses’ brother] and will be upheld for seven years (Richardson J. Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah. Pleasant Word, 2006, p. 48)

The above sounds similar to the seven year (one week in biblical language) agreement discussed in Daniel 9:27 that involves a “prince” who appears to be the one the Bible warns will become the King of the North and apparently the nation of Israel. It certainly would make sense that there would be Muslim representation in a peace deal.

Here is something else along those lines:

{Muslim} Adnan Oktar, a media personality and prolific author, about what Islam expects to happen as the world grinds down to the last days. …

There are bad djinn and good djinn, with the good djinn being Muslim.

“Yes the Mahdi will communicate with the djinns,” Oktar says in the film. “Mahdi is the leader of both djinns and men. Muslim djinns, djinns that believe in God, will assist the Muslims in making Muslims prevail throughout the world.”

Oktar goes on to explain that the Mahdi will rule for seven years, which eerily resembles the reign of another character that the Bible warns Christians to beware of in the last days. (Hohmann L. Popular Muslim personality: ‘Jesus Christ is among us’ New documentary sheds light on Islamic views about end times. World News Daily, October 26, 2014. http://www.wnd.com/2014/10/popular-muslim-personality-jesus-christ-is-among-us/#Llx0l0MmRdAXVu5w.99 viewed 10/27/14)

Notice also:

The last days, as described in Islam, are marked by the figures of Gog and Magog (Juj wa Jajuj), the Mahdi, the Antichrist (Dajjal), and Jesus…Gog and Magog, representing the forces of chaos, have been kept at bay…At the end of time, chaos will break through the wall of Divinely imposed order, and the world will succumb to “outer darkness”. At the same time, it is believed, there will be a countercurrent, or a brief return to the state of spiritual lucidity and primordial integrity that obtained at the dawn of time. This is the reign of the Mahdi, the “rightly guided one”…

The reign of the Mahdi will be followed by that of the Antichrist… once the Antichrist has led away his followers, Jesus will then come to destroy the Antichrist in the closing moments of the cosmic drama. (Glasse C. New Encyclopedia of Islam: A Revised Edition of the Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, 3rd edition, 2008, pp. 143, 316).

Some in Islam seem to essentially understand that the reign of the Beast and Antichrist will happen after the Mahdi’s death. Now this is true, for the Arab lands. However, the Beast (King of the North) will rule in Europe and in some of the American lands, though, prior to his reign over Arab lands as the Great Tribulation begins with Daniel 11:39, and not Daniel 11:40 when the Kings of the North and South fight.

The time of the ‘Mahdi’ is the time that Islam believes it will be rising up. This is consistent with the prophesied rise of the King of the South in Daniel 11:27, 40. Because of this rise, they will not pay enough attention to the deal.

Notice that this too, seems to be consistent with some Islamic prophecy:

5 General anarchy and bloodshed, that no Arab household will be spared from it 6 Then a life of peace as a result of a peace agreement between you and the Banil Asfaar (Romans) which they will break and attack you with a force consisting of eighty flags and under each flag will be an army of twelve thousand men. (Ibn Zubair Ali, Mohammed Ali. The minor signs of Last Days from: The Signs of Qiyamah. http://www.islamawareness.net/Prophecies/minor.html viewed 08/11/12).

5 General anarchy and bloodshed, that no Arab household will be spared from it
6 Then a life of peace as a result of a peace agreement between you and the Banil Asfaar
(Romans) which they will break and attack you with a force consisting of eighty flags and under each flag will be an army of twelve thousand men.” (Hadith: Sahih Bukhari). (From “Signs of Qiyamah” (excerpts) by Mohammed Ali Ibn Zubair Ali. The Minor Signs of the Last Day. http://www.islam.tc/prophecies/qiyaam2.html viewed 07/03/14)

Notice that not only biblical and Greco-Roman Catholic prophecy indicate that the King of the South/Great Arab will be betrayed, even Islam indicates that the Roman “Catholics” will turn against its leader, the Madhi (the King of the South) (see also The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy).

Notice a biblical prophecy showing the Arabic power will be defeated:

40 At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. (Daniel 11:40-42, NKJV).

43 and he hath ruled over treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the desirable things of Egypt, and Lubim and Cushim are at his steps. (Daniel 11:43, Young’s literal translation)

The following scriptures are also related to a coming King of the South and the defeat of nations which are primarily Islamic at this time:

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“‘Wail and say, “Alas for that day!” 3 For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near- a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations. 4 A sword will come against Egypt, and anguish will come upon Cush. When the slain fall in Egypt, her wealth will be carried away and her foundations torn down.

5 Cush and Put, Lydia and all Arabia, Libya and the people of the covenant land will fall by the sword along with Egypt.

6 “‘This is what the LORD says:

“‘The allies of Egypt will fall and her proud strength will fail. From Migdol to Aswan they will fall by the sword within her, declares the Sovereign LORD. 7 “‘They will be desolate among desolate lands, and their cities will lie among ruined cities. 8 Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I set fire to Egypt and all her helpers are crushed.

9 “‘On that day messengers will go out from me in ships to frighten Cush out of her complacency. Anguish will take hold of them on the day of Egypt’s doom, for it is sure to come (Ezekiel 30:1-9, NIV).

So, yes, expect cooperation between Islamic and Greco-Roman Catholic leaders.

Yes, expect some deals.

Yet, they will end up not turning out well for many Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa.

The stage for these prophecies to be fulfilled is being set.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? Some no longer believe there needs to be a future King of the South. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi or Caliph? What does the Bible say? A YouTube video of related interest may be: The Future King of the South is Rising.
The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What about the Imam Mahdi? What lies ahead for Turkey, Iran, and the other non-Arabic Muslims? An item of possibly related interest in the Spanish language would be: Líderes iraníes condenan la hipocresía de Occidente y declaran que ahora es tiempo para prepararse para el Armagedón, la guerra, y el Imán Mahdi.
Differences Between Islam and the Continuing Church of God What are some of the main differences? Are there any similarities? A video of related interest is titled: Islam: Any Christian Concerns or Similarities?
Iran in Prophecy Is Iran in Bible prophecy? If so, what does the Bible teach? What names, other than Persia, may be used to describe Iran? There is also a related YouTube video titled Iran In Prophecy.
The Prophesied ‘Islamic’ Confederation Where is an Islamic caliphate prophesied? Will one happen? Should you be concerned about it? A related video is Will an Arabic Calphiphate Destroy the West?
How Will Middle East Peace be Brought About? Can humans bring peace to the Middle East? Here is a link to a related video: Middle East Peace? When?
Why Terrorism? Is Terrorism Prophesied? What does the Bible teach? Which nations may be affected? Here is a link to a related sermon: Terrorism, Christianity, and Islam.
The Muslim Brotherhood and the Rise of the King of the South The Bible tells of the formation of a power of nations that are in the Middle East and North Africa that are part of the final “King of the South” (Daniel 11:40-43) The Muslim Brotherhood wishes to have an Islamic empire with basically the same nations. This YouTube video explains what to expect from such a confederation.
Differences Between Islam and the Continuing Church of God What are some of the main differences? Are there any similarities? A video of related interest is titled: Islam: Any Christian Concerns or Similarities?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to four related sermons:  The Fantastic Gospel of the Kingdom of God!, The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2031 or 20xx? There is also a video titled 6000 Years: When will God’s Kingdom Come? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
Might the U.S.A. Be Gone by 2028? Are there prophetic reasons to believe that the USA will not last two complete presidential terms? Yes. There is a tradition attributed to the Hebrew prophet Elijah that humanity had 6,000 years to live before being replaced by God’s Kingdom. There are scriptures, writings in the Talmud, early Christian teachings that support this. Also, even certain Hindu writings support it. Here is a link to a related video: Is the USA prophesied to be destroyed by 2028? In Spanish: Seran los Estados Unidos Destruidos en el 2028?
The Great Tribulation: What Happens First? What events have happened? What are some events that are now happening? And what events need to happen for the Great Tribulation to start? Here is a link to a related sermon video: Counting Down to the Great Tribulation. Here is a video in the Spanish language: Contando los eventos y el inicio de la Gran Tribulación.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2022, 2023, or 2024? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede la Gran Tribulación comenzar en el 2020 o 2021? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? A related video is: Great Tribulation: 2026 or 2027? A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation start in 2022 or 2023? Here is a video in the Spanish language: Es El 2021 el año  de La Gran Tribulación o el Grande Reseteo Financiero.
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
How Will Middle East Peace be Brought About? Can humans bring peace to the Middle East? Here is a link to a related video: Middle East Peace? When?
Can the Final Antichrist be Islamic? Is Joel Richardson correct that the final Antichrist will be Islamic and not European? Find out. A related sermon is titled: Is the Final Antichrist Islamic or European? Another video is Mystery Babylon USA, Mecca, or Rome?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.

Pope: Protestant religions are inspired by the devil

Saturday, April 30th, 2022


Pope Pius V

COGwriter

Today, April 30th, is the Roman Catholic “Feast day” for one who has been designated as “St. Pope Pius V.”

Here is some of what Catholic.org says about him:

Pope from 1566-1572 and one of the foremost leaders of the Catholic Reformation…As pope, Pius saw his main objective as the continuation of the massive program of reform for the Church, in particular the full implementation of the decrees of the Council of Trent. He published the Roman Catechism, the revised Roman Breviary, and the Roman Missal…

In 1571, Pius created the Congregation of the Index to give strength to the Church’s resistance to Protestant and heretical writings, and he used the Inquisition to prevent any Protestant ideas from gaining a foot hold in Italy…His reign was blemished only by the continuing oppression of the Inquisition; the often brutal treatment of the Jews of Rome; and the ill advised decision to excommunicate Queen Elizabeth I http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=5515

The Inquisition and brutal treatment of Jews are more than blemishes, they help demonstrate that Pius V was not a successor of Peter or the other apostles.

Here is something about him and Protestantism:

Priest P. Kramer (21st century): Pope St. Pius V teaches in his Catechism, the Roman Catechism — also known as the Catechism of the Council of Trent — that all of the Protestant religions are false religions, they’re inspired by the devil; and therefore their fruits are evil…The Protestant religions, as such, are inspired by the devil, as Pope St. Pius V teaches in his catechism. (Kramer P. The Imminent Chastisement for Not Fulfilling Our Lady’s Request. An edited transcript of a speech given at the Ambassadors of Jesus and Mary Seminar in Glendale, California, September 24, 2004. THE FATIMA CRUSADER Issue 80, Summer 2005, pp. 32-45 http://www.fatimacrusader.com/cr80/cr80pg32.asp viewed 4/15/08)

While the Continuing Church of God is not Protestant, likely Pius V included our spiritual ancestors in the above as the general Roman Catholic position is that those who profess Christ that are not Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic are some type of Protestant. The Church of God preceded the confederation that became the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox (see also Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church and Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism).

Nowadays, Pope Francis wants unity with the trinitarian Protestants (watch Vademecum: Rome’s Trinitarian Ecumenical Handbook), and many of them are interested (see the free online books: Continuing History of the Church of God and Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism).

Notice that Pope Pius V’s late 16th century Catechism says only the Roman Catholic church is faithful and has salvation, with others (like Protestants) are part of the “false Church”:

The third mark of the Church is that she is Catholic…To this Church, “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets”, belong all the faithful who have existed from Adam to the present day, or who shall exist…She is, also, called universal, because all who desire eternal salvation must cling to and embrace her, like those who entered the ark, to escape perishing in the flood…This, therefore, is to be taught as a most reliable criterion, by which to distinguish the true from a false Church…

The true Church is also to be recognised from her origin, which can be traced back under the law of grace to the Apostles; for her doctrines are neither novel nor of recent origin, but were delivered, of old, by the Apostles, and disseminated throughout the world. Hence, no one can, for a moment, doubt that the impious opinions which heresy invents, opposed, as they are, to the doctrines taught by the Church from the days of the Apostles to the present time, are very different from the faith of the true Church…But as this one Church, because governed by the Holy Ghost, cannot err in faith or morals, it necessarily follows, that all other societies arrogating to themselves the name of Church, because guided by the spirit of darkness, are sunk in the most pernicious errors both doctrinal and moral. (The Catechism of the Council of Trent: published by command of Pope Pius the fifth , pp. 77-78)

Related to that last paragraph above, it needs to be understood that by making those claims, Pope Pius V seems to be saying that the true Church should not have changed the doctrines of the Apostles. And while that is true of the Continuing Church of God, it cannot be said of the Church of Rome.

In the 16th century, Pope Pius V’s Catechism claimed:

…the Church of God has in her wisdom ordained that the celebration of the Sabbath should be transferred to “the Lord’s day:” as on that day light first shone on the world…(The Catechism of the Council of Trent: published by command of Pope Pius the fifth. Translated by Jeremiah Donovan. F. Lucas, Publisher. Original from Harvard University, Digitized, Apr 26, 2006, p. 267)

Of course, the true and faithful “Church of God” did no such thing (nor did any of the original Apostles authorize it in scripture or elsewhere), it was the Church of Rome that made this change.

Greco-Roman Catholics, and others, may find the following three translations of some passages in the New Testament book of Hebrews of interest (note this using one Protestant and two Catholic translations):

4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.”…9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience (NIV).

4 as one text says, referring to the seventh day: And God rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing…9 There must still be, therefore, a seventh-day rest reserved for God’s people, 10 since to enter the place of rest is to rest after your work, as God did after his. 11 Let us, then, press forward to enter this place of rest, or some of you might copy this example of refusal to believe and be lost. (NJB)

4 For he said in a certain place of the seventh day thus: And God rested the seventh day from all his works…9 Therefore there is left a sabbatisme for the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, the same also hath rested from his works, as God did from his. 11 Let us hasten therefore to enter into that rest; lest any man fall into the same example of incredulity. (Original Douay-Rheims of 1582)

When Pius V wrote of changing the Sabbath, he and those that followed him apparently wanted to reinterpret the above to not mean what they literally state (note: the more “modern” Douay-Rheims that many use no longer uses the term “sabbatisme” so many modern Catholics are unaware of what that verse really says–also most Protestants are unaware as most Protestant translators have chosen to mistranslate the verse).

Protestants, who claim not to follow Rome, may wish to ask themselves why they tend to observe Sunday, as this is a day that Rome claims it adopted and changed the Sabbath to. As well as do they want unity with a church whose ‘infallible” leader condemned them like Pope Pius V did?

While the Church of Rome is pushing its ecumenical agenda, Protestants would be wise to contend for the original faith–which is NOT Protestantism (see Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism) or Roman Catholicism (see also Continuing History of the Church of God).

As far as the Church of Rome goes, it continues to push further away from the original faith. Some of its clergy has noticed this as well. Here are complaints some have regarding a recent Swiss directive:

Catholic priests criticize new code of conduct in Swiss diocese as ‘attempt to implant LGBT ideology’

April 29, 2022

A group of priests in the Swiss diocese of Chur has raised concerns over a new code of conduct for the prevention of assault, claiming that it violates “the doctrine and discipline of the Catholic Church” in several instances.

The clerics described the diocesan code as an attempt to “implant LGBT ideology in the Church under the guise of assault prevention, thereby undermining the Church’s doctrine of faith,” reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

Bishop Joseph Bonnemain of Chur signed the code of conduct himself in early April.

In a letter to all parishes seen by CNA Deutsch, the bishop said that the code would be “binding for all leaders and employees from the middle of 2022 onwards.” …

According to the code, priests must agree with the following sentence: “I refrain from sweeping negative assessments of allegedly unbiblical behavior based on sexual orientation.”

The Circle of Priests said: “Anyone who signs this sentence would no longer be allowed — even by invoking the overriding fundamental right of religious freedom — to proclaim the Church’s teaching on homosexuality as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

The Catechism says that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.

The new code of conduct also says: “In pastoral conversations, I do not actively take up topics related to sexuality. In any case, I refrain from offensive questioning about intimate life and relationship status. This also applies to conversations I have as a supervisor.”

Agreement on this point would prohibit priests and deacons from asking the obligatory questions in marriage preparation, the priests’ group claimed, such as whether the future spouses “agree to marriage as a ‘sacramental community of life and love between a man and a woman’ for their own lives.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/251091/catholic-priests-criticize-new-code-of-conduct-in-swiss-diocese-as-attempt-to-implant-lgbt-ideology

Despite some opposing the Swiss directive, the Church of Rome often contradicts scripture as well as the Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. ‘

But neither do the Protestants as well. For documented proof, check out the free online book: Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism.

Those interested in learning more about early Christianity, who is faithful and who is not, and changes that many have adopted may wish to carefully study the following items:

Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
The Christian Sabbath. This is a series of articles from the Catholic Mirror essentially proving that the biblical Sabbath was Saturday, that the Lord’s day in Revelation 1 is not a reference to Sunday, that the Church of Rome implemented Sunday, and that nearly all Protestants followed Rome. Here is a link to a related sermon: Catholic teachings on the Sabbath, Sunday, and Protestantism.
The Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions Was the Church of Rome really responsible for this? What happened? A video of related interest is titled: The Past and Future Inquisition.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a link to a sermon: Claims of Apostolic Succession. Here is a related articlein the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
Why Should American Catholics Should Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History; The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character; The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon; Eucharist, Passover, and Easter; Views of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & Baptism; Scripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. Sunday; Church Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s Plan; Seventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?; Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of Salvation; Crosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean Meats; The Godhead and the Trinity; Fleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the Continuing Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example?
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
How to Observe the Sabbath? How should you keep the Sabbath? This is an old article by Raymond Cole, with updated information for the 21st century.
Sunday and Christianity Was Sunday observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians? Who clearly endorsed Sunday? What relevance is the first or the “eighth” day? A related sermon is also available: Sunday: First and Eighth Day?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups Professed Christ in the Second and Third Centuries? Did you know that many in the second and third centuries felt that there were two major, and separate, professing Christian groups in the second century, but that those in the majority churches tend to now blend the groups together and claim “saints” from both? “Saints” that condemn some of their current beliefs. Who are the two groups?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Pope Leo IX, the Eastern Orthodox, and the Sabbath

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022


Pope Leo IX

COGwriter

April 19th is a date that some in the Church of Rome honor, as one of their saints, Pope Leo IX (whose name had been Bruno). Here is some of what they teach about him:

Son of Count Hugh of Egisheim. Cousin of Emperor Conrad II. Chapter canon of Saint Stephen’s, Toul, France. Deacon. Soldier and officer in the imperial army. In 1021, while still in the military, he was chosen bishop of Toul, France, a position he held for 20 years. Commanded troops under emperor Conrad II in the invasion of Italy in 1026. http://saints.sqpn.com/pope-saint-leo-ix/

Although it is known that Christians were not militaristic, the Greco-Roman faith became militaristic around the time of Emperor Constantine (see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?). Yet despite claims of being a Christian, Bishop Bruno was certainly militaristic.

We in the Continuing Church of God do not consider that Pope Leo IX was a real Christian, despite him being considered a saint of the Church of Rome.

Leo IX was believed to have been a factor in causing the Great Schism between the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox in 1054.

While politics and other doctrines are believed to have played a major role in the schism, some have suggested that the Orthodox tendency to somewhat honor the seventh day Sabbath (in addition to Sunday) was also a factor:

[A] treatise, entitled in Latin Adversus Graecorum Columnias was composed in the form of a debate about the year 1054 by Cardinal Humbert. The Cardinal had been sent by Pope Leo IX early in 1054 as the papal nuncios to Constantinople to endeavor to bring the Greeks into conformity with the religious practices of the Roman (Latin) Church. The mission however did not succeed. The treatise was composed as a further attempt to dissuade the Greeks from holding on to certain divergent religious practices such as veneration of the Sabbath…The Cardinal argues that the Latins in no way resemble the Jews in their observance of the Sabbath…He proceeds then to show the Greeks that they are the ones who judaize as they observe the Sabbath in the identical manner of the Jews.

Dr. Bacchiocchi observed:

R.L. Odom has persuasively brought out that the Roman insistence on making the Sabbath a day of fast contributed greatly to the historic break between the Eastern and Western Christian Church which occurred in A.D. 1054. (Cited in Bacchiocchi Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday, p. 67)

So, Pope Leo IX had a Cardinal that was opposed to officially honoring the Sabbath and this was apparently one of various factors for the split with the Eastern Orthodox.

A split that has gone on for close to a thousand years, but one that the Church of Rome and the Eastern Orthodox are looking to resolve.

As far as Sabbath fasting goes, that seemed to originate with the heretic Marcion :

Marcion who fasted on the Sabbath to show his contempt for the God of the Old Testament whom he considered to be evil (Bacchiocchi S. Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday. The Pontifical Gregorian University Press, Rome, 1975, p. 62).

Fasting on the Sabbath was a practice adopted by the Roman Church, but not the Churches in Asia Minor in the second and third centuries.

The Catholic and Orthodox saint Irenaeus noted that the faithful Church of God leader/bishop Polycarp opposed Marcion:

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time — a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles — that, namely, which is handed down by the Church. There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.” And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, “Dost thou know me?” “I do know thee, the first-born of Satan.”(Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Polycarp, and other true early Christian writers, kept all the ten commandments that were first mentioned in the Old Testament (an article of related interest may be The Ten Commandments and the Early Church). This is how Polycarp (and others) differed from many of the early heretics like Marcion (more on Cerinthus can be found in the article Cerinthus: An early heretic).

Another to specifically oppose Marcion was Church of God leader/bishop Theophilus of Antioch (late 2nd century). The Syriatic version of Eusebius’ Church History notes:

BUT as to Theophilus, concerning whom we have said that he was Bishop of Antioch, there are three treatises by him against Antolycus, and another which is inscribed “Against the heresy of Hermogenes,” in which he uses testimonies from the Revelation of John; and there are other books by him which are suitable for teaching. But those, who pertained to heretical doctrine, even at that time like tares were corrupting the pure seed of the doctrine of the Apostles; but the Pastors which were in the churches in every country, were driving them like beasts of the wilderness away from the flock of Christ; at one time by teaching and exhortation to the Brethren, but at another time openly before their faces they contended with them in discussion, and put them to shame; and again, also, by writing treatises they diligently refuted and exposed their opinions. But Theophilus, together with others, contended against them; and he is celebrated for one treatise, which was ably composed by him against Marcion, which, together with the others that I have already mentioned, is still preserved. And after him Maximinus received the Bishoprick of the Church of Antioch, who was the seventh after the Apostles.

But Philip, respecting whom we have learned from the words of Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth,2 that he was Bishop of the church of the city of Gortyna, he also composed with accuracy a treatise against Marcion (Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, Syriac version, Book 4 (Extract), Chapter 24. Spicilegium Syriacum (1855). This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2003. Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font/Polytonic Greek).

This is of interest because it shows that both Philip and Theophilus also wrote against the heretic Marcion (though the document, while apparently available to Eusebius, is currently unavailable).

Notice what the Protestant historian Kenneth Latourette stated:

Marcion insisted that the Church had obscured the Gospel by seeking to combine it with Judaism (Latourette KS. A History of Christianity, Volume 1: to A.D. 1500. HarperCollins, San Francisco, 1975, p. 126).

In other words, the original true Church of God truly did combine faith in Christ with practices that Marcion considered to be too Jewish. And Marcion was denounced by leaders from Asia Minor for rejecting the true faith.

In the third century, Hippolytus of Rome wrote:

But Marcion, a native of Pontus, far more frantic than these (heretics), omitting the majority of the tenets of the greater number (of speculators), (and) advancing into a doctrine still more unabashed, supposed (the existence of) two originating causes of the universe, alleging one of them to be a certain good (principle), but the other an evil one. And himself imagining that he was introducing some novel (opinion), founded a school full of folly, and attended by men of a sensual mode of life, inasmuch as he himself was one of lustful propensities. This (heretic) having thought that the multitude would forget that he did not happen to be a disciple of Christ, but of Empedocles, who was far anterior to himself, framed and formed the same opinions,–namely, that there are two causes of the universe, discord and friendship. For what does Empedocles say respecting the plan of the world? Even though we have previously spoken (on this subject), yet even now also, for the purpose, at all events, of comparing the heresy of this plagiarist (with its source), we shall not be silent. This (philosopher) affirms that all the elements out of which the world consists and derives its being, are six: two of them material, (viz.,) earth and water; and two of them instruments by which material objects are arranged and altered, (viz.,) fire and air; and two of them, by means of the instruments, operating upon matter and fashioning it, viz., discord and friendship. (Empedocles) expresses himself somehow thus:- “The four roots of all things hear thou first: Brilliant Jove, and life-giving Juno and Aidoneus, And Nestis, who with tears bedews the mortal font.” (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies (Book VII), Chapter XVII. Translated by J. H. Machmahon. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight)

Marcion taught against the law and the Creator’s Sabbath–the seventh-day Sabbath. Marcion eliminated or overlooked many portions of the Bible. His attitude seems to have been similar to Luther’s in this respect (Martin Luther’s attitude toward the Bible can be found in the article Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible?).

While the Church of Rome eventually condemned Marcion, sadly, its Pope Leo pushed for at least one of his non-biblical practices.

As far as the Sabbath being biblical, let me point out that a series of articles in the Catholic Mirror, called The Christian Sabbath, essentially proved that the biblical Sabbath was Saturday, that the Lord’s day in Revelation 1 is not a reference to Sunday, that the Church of Rome implemented Sunday, and that nearly all Protestants followed Rome. The change from the Sabbath was not biblical and Catholic scholars have admitted this.

Some items of related interest may include:

Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.
Marcion: The First Protestant? Considered to have been an organized heretic, he taught against the Old Testament, the law, and the Sabbath. Some have considered him to be the first Protestant reformer. But was he? Here is a link to a related sermon: Marcion: The first Protestant reformer?
The Coming Persecution of the Church Jesus foretold persecution. Many are aware of some of the early persecutions, but few understand what teachings true Christians were persecuted for in the fourth century and beyond–some may seem shocking. At least two major persecutions are prophesied to come. Which doctrines are expected to be causes for the coming persecutions? Are the Greco-Roman churches planning on persecuting Sabbath-keepers, those who do not accept a non-biblical Mary, and those who do not wear crosses? This is a video.
Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord? Most Protestant scholars say Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but is that what the Bible teaches?
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Why Should American Catholics Should Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The Christian Sabbath. This is a series of articles from the Catholic Mirror essentially proving that the biblical Sabbath was Saturday, that the Lord’s day in Revelation 1 is not a reference to Sunday, that the Church of Rome implemented Sunday, and that nearly all Protestants followed Rome. Here is a link to a related sermon: Catholic teachings on the Sabbath, Sunday, and Protestantism.

Do Greco-Roman Catholic Scholars Know the Truth About Easter?

Sunday, April 17th, 2022

COGwriter

Many people will be observing Easter today. Is it an original holiday of the Church? What was it supposed to be? What do religious scholars teach about it?

What does the Church of Rome teach about it?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

1170 At the Council of Nicea in 325, all the Churches agreed that Easter, the Christian Passover, should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon (14 Nisan) after the vernal equinox (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 332).

From this, notice that it is taught that what is now called Easter was originally observed as a change in the date of Passover. It originally was not a Christian resurrection holiday.

Easter itself is not a Christian term, and its celebration contains pagan elements. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring…Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter…The connection between the Jewish and the Christian Pasch explains the movable character of this feast. Easter has no fixed date, like Christmas, because the 15th of Nisan of the Semitic calendar was shifting from date to date on the Julian calendar. Since Christ, the true Paschal Lamb, had been slain on the very day when the Jews, in celebration of their Passover, immolated the figurative lamb, the Jewish Christians in the Orient followed the Jewish method…For this observance they claimed the authority of St. John and St. Philip.

In the rest of the empire another consideration predominated. Every Sunday of the year was a commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ, which had occurred on a Sunday. Because the Sunday after 14 Nisan was the historical day of the Resurrection, at Rome this Sunday became the Christian feast of Easter…

Men and women…In the Neumark (Germany) on Easter Day the men servants whip the maid servants with switches; on Monday the maids whip the men. They secure their release with Easter eggs. These customs are probably of pre-Christian origin (Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Das festliche Jahr, 118)…

(Holweck F. G. Transcribed by John Wagner and Michael T. Barrett. Easter. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V. Copyright © 1909 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus, the Romans admit that the name Easter is the name of a pagan goddess, many of its practices are of pagan origin, and that the churches in Asia Minor (which they call the Orient) continued to observe Passover on the date that the Jews did, Nisan 14.

As far as other scholars go, notice something from the Smithsonian:

April 14, 2022

Easter is a celebration of spring and new life. Eggs and flowers are rather obvious symbols of female fertility, but in European traditions, the bunny, with its amazing reproductive potential, is not far behind. …

Bede noted that in eighth-century England, the month of April was called Eosturmonath, or Eostre Month, after the goddess Eostre. He wrote that a pagan festival of spring in the name of the goddess had become assimilated into the Christian celebration of the resurrection of Christ.

While most European languages refer to the Christian holiday with names that come from the Jewish holiday of Passover, such as Pâques in French or Påsk in Swedish, German and English languages retain this older, non-biblical word: Easter.

Recent archaeological research appears to confirm the worship of Eostre in parts of England and Germany, with the hare as her main symbol. The Easter bunny therefore seems to recall these pre-Christian celebrations of spring, heralded by the vernal equinox and personified by the goddess Eostre. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-ancient-origins-of-the-easter-bunny-180979915/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

The Bible itself also condemns certain practices, now associated with Easter, such as hot Easter buns/cakes (Jeremiah 7:14), the worship towards the sun in the east (Ezekiel 8:15-18), and the worship of Astarte/Ishtar/Ashtaroth/Eostre (other spellings of the word Easter).

Notice the following:

The first Christians celebrated the death of Jesus with a Pascha meal (eucharist) on the lunar date of the Jewish Passover (note 1 Cor. 5:7-8).

At first there was no annual celebration of the resurrection. Eventually, in the gentile world, the day of resurrection was added to the Pascha festival. That day was Sunday. At the Council of Nicea (325) it was ruled that Easter Sunday would be celebrated on the Sunday immediately following that full moon which came after the vernal equinox. At the same time the Council decided that the vernal equinox would be March 21 in the Julian calendar (Eusebius, Vit. Const. 3.18). (Synder GF. Irish Jesus, Roman Jesus: the formation of early Irish Christianity. Trinity Press International, 2002, p. 183)

So, according to Roman Catholic history (which is correct on this point) Christians did not observe a resurrection holiday, instead they kept Passover–and the lunar date was only rarely (probably about once every seven years) on a Sunday.

A writing from the Roman Catholic-supporting Epiphanius may be of interest here. Epiphanius wrote:

The Quartodecimans contentiously keep Passover on the one day, once per year…They keep the Passover on whichever day the fourteenth of the month falls…Christ had to be slain on the fourteenth of the month in accordance with the law (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section IV, Verses 1,3;1,6;2,6. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, pp. 23-25).

It is of interest to note that Epiphanius recognized that Jesus HAD to be slain on the 14th of the month. It is sad that he and others did not believe they needed to observe it when and how Jesus taught.

But you may be saying to yourself, so what? What does that have to do with Easter Sunday? Well in order to try to justify the Sunday observance, that noted Catholic leader claimed the following:

We observe the fourteenth day, then, but we wait until after the equinox and bring the end of our full observance to the sacred Lord’s day…we will miss no one of the observances of this life-giving <festival> of the Passover as the whole truth prescribes them (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section IV, Verses 3,4. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, p. 25).

Now this should cause major concern for people who observe Easter Sunday.

First, it truly is supposed to be some type of Passover observation. Thus this holiday really is supposed to have its “Jewish” name, instead of the pagan one it now is commonly called in English and German.

Second, Epiphanius is admitting that none of the Passover observances are to be missed. So why don’t Protestants, Orthodox, and Roman Catholics wash feet? Why do they generally not take wine as part of their observances?

Thirdly, any who observe Easter Sunday are truly submitting to the authority of the Roman Church as this change of date, emphasis, and observation is due to the decisions of Roman Catholic supporting leaders–it in no way comes from the Bible. And while Catholics may see no problem with that, even they should understand that Easter is a change and not an original tradition of their church.

I perhaps should also add here that Sunday IS NOT the Lord’s day according to the Bible (an article of related interest may be Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord?).

Furthermore, contrary to the insistence of many who rely on a misunderstanding of the Bible and/or traditions of men, Jesus was not and could not have been resurrected on a Sunday. For biblical and historical proof, please read the article What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?

Notice also the following report (written by a Catholic priest and scholar):

Pope Vitalin…supported efforts of the king of Northumbria, following the Synod of Whitby (664), to establish in England the Roman, as opposed to the Celtic, date for Easter (that is the Sunday after the Jewish Passover, rather than the Passover itself) and other Roman practices as well (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., p. 109).

Notice that the above account acknowledges that Rome changed Passover in Britain from the biblical date (which apparently the Celts observed into the 7th century) to the Roman date.

Here is a report from a non-Catholic writer:

I wonder how many will consider that it was the Passover meal which Jesus (or Yeshua as He is called in Hebrew) celebrated in what has become known as the ‘Last Supper’? It was on this date, 14th Nisan in the Biblical calendar, that Yeshua asked His followers to remember His death, yet very few actually do this.

Rather Gentile (later non-Jewish) Christians replaced the Passover of the Lord as set in place by God with its rich symbolism of the sacrifice of the Passover lamb and God freeing His people, with the man-made institution of ‘Easter’ named after a pagan deity ‘Eostre’ (invariably appearing as ‘Ishtar,’ ‘Astarte,’ or the Old Testament ‘Ashtoreth’). ‘Easter’ emphasised the Resurrection, not Yeshua’s death…

When the women came to the tomb before dawn on Sunday they found Yeshua had already risen, making it likely that it was at the end of the Saturday Sabbath. If we count back from the end of the Saturday Sabbath (which ends at sunset) 72 hours we will arrive at Wednesday afternoon, the time which according to His own words, Yeshua would then have been crucified. Tradition states that Yeshua died on a Friday, but the word Friday is not mentioned in the Gospel accounts. (Nevin C. The real dates of the resurrection Bristol Evening Post, UK – April 5, 2012. http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/real-dates-resurrection/story-15722780-detail/story.html)

Note: The faithful Gentile Christians in Asia Minor did not change Passover to Easter, this was a change of the Greco-Roman “Orthodox” confederation and not adopted by the true Church of God.

But despite what scholars do and/or should know, most who profess Christ tend to ignore the fact that early Christians kept Passover on the 14th, but instead tend to observe a compromised Sunday holiday with elements of paganism called Easter. Catholics realize that Easter was a change from Passover and that the change included the adoption of pagan elements.

Since Easter was not the practice of the original church, should you be observing it?

Those who wish to learn more should also study the following:

What Happened in the ‘Crucifixion Week’? How long are three days and three nights? Was Palm Sunday on a Saturday? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter? (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Murió Jesús un día miércoles o un viernes?) A sermon of related interest is titled What did and did not happen in the ‘Crucifixion week’?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? Is Easter supposed to be Passover? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Here is a link to a related video: Amazing Facts About Easter.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
The Passover Plot What was the first Passover plot? Which plots have Islam and the Greco-Roman faiths perpetuated about Passover? A sermon video of related interest is The Passover Plots, Including Easter.
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria?
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2033, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Greco-Roman Catholic saint taught what Rome calls a doctrine of antichrist

Friday, April 15th, 2022


“Orthodox” 16th Century Representation of the “Apocalypse”

COGwriter

April 15th is when some in the Church of Rome will honor one of their “saints” and bishops named Victorinus. Here is some of what The Catholic Encyclopedia reports about him:

St. Victorinus

An ecclesiastical writer who flourished about 270, and who suffered martyrdom probably in 303, under Diocletian.

He was bishop of the City of Pettau (Petabium, Poetovio), on the Drave, in Styria (Austria); hence his surname of Petravionensis or sometimes Pictaviensis, e.g. in the Roman Martyrology, where he is registered under 2 November, which long caused it to be thought that he belonged to the Diocese of Poitiers (France). Until the seventeenth century he was likewise confounded with the Latin rhetorician, Victorinus After. According to St. Jerome, who gives him an honourable place in his catalogue of ecclesiastical writers, Victorinus composed commentaries on various books of Holy Scripture, such as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Isaias, Ezechiel, Habacuc, Ecclesiastes, the Canticle of Canticles, St. Matthew, and the Apocalypse, besides treatises against the heresies of his time…

Like many of his contemporaries he shared the errors of the Millenarians, and for this reason his works were ranked with the apocrypha by Pope Gelasius. (Clugnet, L. (1912). St. Victorinus. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved April 1, 2013 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15414a.htm)

Notice that like MANY GRECO-ROMAN LEADERS just prior to Constantine, Victorinus taught the millennium. That was both a biblical doctrine as well as the teaching of most professing Christians prior to Emperor Constantine. The millennium was certainly part of the apostolic tradition (the Apostle John, after all, wrote about it in Revelation 20), thus any who challenge or dismiss it are not being faithful to biblical doctrine nor apostolic tradition.

Victorinus wrote the following about the Book of Revelation, in likely the late 3rd century:

FROM THE TWENTIETH CHAPTER.

1–3. “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a chain in his hand. And he held the dragon, that old serpent, which is called the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be finished: after this he must be loosed a little season.”]…

For we know not of those who seem to stand whether they shall not fall, and of those who are down it is uncertain whether they may rise. Moreover, that he says that he is bound and shut up, that he may not seduce the nations, the nations signify the Church, seeing that of them it itself is formed, and which being seduced, he previously held until, he says, the thousand years should be completed, that is, what is left of the sixth day, to wit, of the sixth age, which subsists for a thousand years; after this he must be loosed for a little season. The little season signifies three years and six months, in which with all his power the devil will avenge himself under Antichrist against the Church. Finally, he says, after that the devil shall be loosed, and will seduce the nations in the whole world, and will entice war against the Church, the number of whose foes shall be as the sand of the sea. (Victorinus. On the Apocalypse. Translated by Robert Ernest Wallis. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. [Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.], p. 359. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf07.vi.ii.xviii.html).

He also wrote:

…that true and just Sabbath should be observed in the seventh millenary of years. Wherefore to those seven days the Lord attributed to each a thousand years; for thus went the warning: “In Your eyes, O Lord, a thousand years are as one day.” Therefore in the eyes of the Lord each thousand of years is ordained, for I find that the Lord’s eyes are seven. Wherefore, as I have narrated, that true Sabbath will be in the seventh millenary of years, when Christ with His elect shall reign. (Victorinus. Commentary on the Creation. Translated by Robert Ernest Wallis. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 7. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight).

The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

…a large number of Christians of the post-Apostolic era, particularly in Asia Minor, yielded so far to Jewish apocalyptic as to put a literal meaning into these descriptions of St. John’s Apocalypse; the result was that millenarianism spread and gained staunch advocates not only among the heretics but among the Catholic Christians as well … Papias of Hierapolis, a disciple of St. John, appeared as an advocate of millenarianism. He claimed to have received his doctrine from contemporaries of the Apostles … A witness for the continued belief in millenarianism in the province of Asia is St. Melito, Bishop of Sardes in the second century (Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. Millennium and Millenarianism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

COG leader Papias is consider a saint by Greco-Romans and the CCOG. Notice the following:

These things are attested by Papias, an ancient man who was a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp … there will be a period of some thousand years after the resurrection of the dead, and that the kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this very earth. (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Chapter XXXIX, Digireads, 2005, pp. 68-69)

Greco-Romans and the CCOG consider Melito of Sardis a saint. He also taught the millennium as attested by various Roman Catholic writers. Here is one example:

Melito of Sardis, a well-known bishop and his followers defended millennialism. He undoubtedly borrowed some of his theories from his compatriot, Papias and relied on the Apocalypse. It is interesting to note that Melito knew how to associate with millennialism in all confidence under the Roman Empire; the Empire raised up and grew at the same time as the new religion, in order for him to be considered her defender he (Melito) had to prevail. It was a test to bring to life (introduce) (the) millenarianism while isolating it from the theories on the final destruction of the earthly empires and this before all the other empires under the Roman Empire; theories which until then, were an integral part of that doctrine and to a certain extent served as a starting point: but in itself was a disastrous test which shook the old dogmatic foundation.(Gry L. Le millenarisme dans ses origines et son developpement. Alphonse Picard, Paris, 1904, pp. 81-82. Translated into English by Gisele Gaudet, March 2015)

Irenaeus of Lyon, who is considered to be a major saint by the Greco-Romans, wrote:

John says … : “And he will cause a mark [to be put] in the forehead and in the fight hand, that no one may be able to buy or sell, unless he who has the mark of the name of the beast or the number of his name; and the number is six hundred and sixty-six,” that is, six times a hundred, six times ten, and six units. [He gives this] as a summing up of the whole of that apostasy which has taken place during six thousand years.For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. And for this reason the Scripture says: “Thus the heaven and the earth were finished, and all their adornment. And God broughtto a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works.” This is an account of the things formerly created, as also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year…. He says, “Whosoever shall have left lands, or houses, or parents, or brethren, or children because of Me, he shall receive in this world an hundred-fold, and in that to come he shall inherit eternal life.” … These are [to take place] in the times of the kingdom, that is, upon the seventh day, which has been sanctified, in which God rested from all the works which He created, which is the true Sabbath of the righteous …If, however, any shall endeavour to allegorize [prophecies] of this kind, they shall not be found consistent with themselves in all points, and shall be confuted by the teaching of the very expressions [in question].(Irenaeus. Adversus haereses, Book V, 28:2-3,33:2, 35:1. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885)

The Roman Catholic Church, in spite of the fact that it admits that many of its early saints taught the millennium, now strongly condemns this belief. Notice:

676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism. (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194).

It should be noted that the millennial teaching appears to be the only doctrine associated with Antichrist that is condemned in the current official Catechism of the Catholic Church (which was the first new one in hundreds of years). The one that has the imprimatur of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger who is now called Pope Emeritus and formerly Benedict XVI.

Notice something else that Victorinus wrote:

And when for man’s salvation He was made man to overcome death, and to set all men free, and that He offered Himself a victim to the Father on our behalf, He was called a calf. (Commentary on the Apocalypse, Chapter 4 verses 7-10)

And it is true that Jesus came for all, not just the elect.

Perhaps it should also be added that researcher and Professor Ilaria Ramelli felt that Victorinus taught Apokatastasis (Ramelli I. The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae). Brill, 2013, pp. 608-614), which was something that Cardinal Ratzinger has condemned.

It tends to amaze me that some associated with the Church of Rome do not realize that many of their “saints” held positions that are so strongly condemned by the current Roman Catholic Church.

Some articles of related interest, which contain many scriptures to search to verify what I am saying, include the following:

Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? Two related sermons are available Millennial Utopia and The Millennium.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2030 or or 2031 or 20xx? There is also a video titled 6000 Years: When will God’s Kingdom Come? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2022, 2023, or 2024? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede la Gran Tribulación comenzar en el 2020 o 2021? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? A related video is: Great Tribulation: 2026 or 2027? A shorter video is: Can the Great Tribulation start in 2022 or 2023? Here is a video in the Spanish language: Es El 2021 el año  de La Gran Tribulación o el Grande Reseteo Financiero.
Is a Great Reset Coming? Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum has proposed a societal change that has been basically endorsed by the Vatican and many world leaders. Does the Bible prophesy a major reset? Here is a link to a related video: Will there be a “Great Reset”?
The Times of the Gentiles Has there been more than one time of the Gentiles? Are we in it now or in the time of Anglo-America? What will the final time of the Gentiles be like? A related sermon is available and is titled: The Times of the Gentiles.
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: Apocatastasis, Universal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be Saved, Mysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3), Is God Fair, Will God Pardon the Ignorant?, Can God Save Your Relatives?, Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
All the Prophets Spoke of Apocatastasis The Apostle Peter said all the prophets spoke about “apokatastasis. Do you know what that is? Watch also ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.

The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist? This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666 and the identity of “the false prophet”. Plus it shows that several Catholic writers seem to warn about an ecumenical antipope that will support heresy. You can also watch a video titled What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L’Histoire Continue de l’Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.