Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

Sermon: Pergamos Era and the Antichrist

Saturday, January 25th, 2020


Ancient Pergamos

COGwriter

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

1:19:52

Pergamos Era and the Antichrist

Pergamos is the 3rd of the seven churches listed in Revelation 1:11. The Pergamos church era seems to have been predominant from c. 450 to 1050 A.D. Jesus had the Apostle John write about it in Revelation 2:12-17. Those of Pergamos were praised for holding fast, despite being where ‘Satan’s throne’ was. But they had problems accepting Nicholaitan and Balaam doctrines–what were they? Those of the Pergamos era were called names like Paulicians, Bogomils, Vaudois, Nazarenes, Cathars, Patarenes, Albigenses, Bougres, Publicans, Lombardists, and Henricans, though they tended to referred to themselves as Church of God Christians. Some were in the British Isles and Celtic records showed them holding doctrines in opposition to the Church of Rome. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Fred Conybeare (Key of Truth), Eastern Orthodox, and various Armenian records gave us information about their beliefs. The faithful during the Pergamos era claimed apostolic succession for the ‘See of Ephesus’, opposed crosses, kept the Sabbath, opposed Sunday, claimed apostolic succession, opposed Christmas, kept Passover on the 14th, were binitarian, opposed Greco-Roman mass, were pacificists, opposed purgatory, were iconoclasts, had prophets, opposed Augustine, and suffered a lot of persecution because of having aspects of ‘Judeo-Christianity.’ Yet, even Catholic sources suggest that they were descendants of the original Christians: “Since Gibbon the Paulicians have often been described as a survival of early and pure Christianity, godly folk who clung to the Gospel, rejecting later superstitions, who were grossly calumniated by their opponents.” Catholic sources also point to the Paulicians as the originators of the ‘papal-antichrist theory’. Why? What were changes that got them to do so? Dr. Thiel goes over beliefs and problems of the Pergamos church era and ties some in with early apostolic Christianity and present day Christianity.

Here is a link to the sermon video: Pergamos Era and the Antichrist.

Some items of related interest may include:

1. The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc. Here is a link to a related video sermon: Ephesus Church Era.
2. The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc. Here is a link to a related video sermon: The Smyrna Church Era.
3. The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church. Here is a link to a related sermon video: Pergamos Era and the Antichrist.
4. The Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D. The Church during the Inquisition.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
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.
Joyce’s Photos of Pergamos Pergamos (also known as Pergamum, but currently known as Bergama, Bergamo, or Bergamum) was one of the seven churches of Revelation.
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?
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.
What Did the Early Church Teach About Idols and Icons? Did the early Church use icons? What was the position of Christians about such things? A related sermon is available: The Second Commandment, Idols, and Icons.
What is the Origin of the Cross as a ‘Christian’ Symbol? Was the cross used as a venerated symbol by the early Church? Two related YouTube videos would be Beware of the ‘Ecumenical Cross’, The Chrislam Cross and the Interfaith Movement, and Origin of the Cross.
Did The Early Christian Church Practice Monasticism? Or was monsticism unheard of in the early Christian church?
Should You Keep 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 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?
News Articles Related to Church History This link is to articles on Church history that were once published on the COG News Page.
Simon Magus, What Did He Teach? Sometimes called “the father early heretics” or the “father of heresies”, do you know what early writers claimed that Simon Magus taught? Sadly, most who profess Christ still hold to versions of his teachings. Here is a link to a related sermon: Simon Magus and ‘Christianity’?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 2 & 3.
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?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that 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.
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?
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You?
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.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free 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 three related sermons: 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.
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.

Church of Rome has things correct and incorrect about Church history

Thursday, January 23rd, 2020


Colosseum of Rome (Photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

Ran across the following on a Roman Catholic website:

Catholic Church

Founded by Christ, propagated by His apostles, from Jerusalem through Asia Minor to Rome as its permanent world center, from which it spread throughout the world according to the mandate of its Divine Founder:

Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28). (Catholic Church. Star Quest Production Network, Priest Roderick Vonhögen – Chief Executive Officer. http://saints.sqpn.com/catholic-church/)

Now, it is absolutely certain that the Church founded by Jesus began in Jerusalem as Acts 1 and 2 show. It is also absolutely certain that the apostles went from Jerusalem via Antioch to Asia Minor. BUT while it is true that the Apostle Paul went to Rome, there was no type of mandate that Rome would be its “permanent world center.”

Notice what Jesus taught in Matthew and Paul taught in Hebrews using the Rheims New Testament and the New Jerusalem Bible (both are approved Catholic versions/translations of the Bible):

22…and you shall be odious to all men for my name, but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved. 23 And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another (Matthew 10:22-23, RNT).

22 You will be universally hated on account of my name; but anyone who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23 If they persecute you in one town, take refuge in the next; and if they persecute you in that, take refuge in another. In truth I tell you, you will not have gone the round of the towns of Israel before the Son of man comes. (Matthew 10:22-23, NJB)

14 For we have not here a permanent city: but we seek that which is to come (Hebrews 13:14, RNT).

14 There is no permanent city for us here; we are looking for the one which is yet to be. (Hebrews 13:14, NJB).

Thus, to claim that a city such as Rome could possibly be the “Eternal City” for Christians is to go against scripture as even Catholic renderings of scripture effectively prove that no single city, including Rome, could have remained the headquarters of Christendom for nearly 2000 years, if people are willing to actually believe what is written in the Bible.

Furthermore, it should be mentioned if there was to be one city from the beginning to the end, it likely would have had to be Jerusalem (cf. Revelation 21:2) as the Christian church began there (Acts 2) according to Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, and Church of God scholars.

What about the claim that the Church of God in Rome was originally founded by Peter and Paul (which is what Irenaeus falsely suggested in the late second century)? Notice this comment from a Catholic priest and scholar about Irenaeus, Peter, Paul, and Rome:

Irenaeus focuses on the church of Rome which he describes as “greatest, most ancient and known to all, founded and established by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul.” Here we must acknowledge a bit of rhetoric, as the church of Rome was obviously not so ancient as those of Jerusalem or Antioch, nor was it actually founded by Peter or Paul (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 147).

The Catholic Encyclopedia also agrees with F.A. Sullivan here (and not Irenaeus) as it states this about Paul’s epistle to the Romans:

Paul would have worded his Epistle otherwise, if the community addressed were even mediately indebted to his apostolate (Merk A. Transcribed by W.G. Kofron. Epistle to the Romans. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, D.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Furthermore, the Bible clearly agrees with The Catholic Encyclopedia, and F.A. Sullivan here. The Bible shows that Paul did not start the Church in Rome–thus the apostolic tradition that Irenaeus relied on is a fraudulent one–as it is not true–it is a myth. For here is what Paul wrote to the church at Rome:

20. And I have so preached this Gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build
upon another mans foundation:
21. But as it is written, They to whom it hath not been preached of him, shall see: and they
that have not heard, shall understand
.
22. For the which cause also I was hindered very much from coming unto you (Romans 15:20-22, Rheims NT of 1582).

There is no way that Paul could have written the above if he considered that he founded or co-founded the church in Rome as in these verses he explains that he did not first come to Rome lest he build on another man’s foundation. (Note: I choose to use the Rheims New Testament of 1582 A.D. as this is considered to be the Catholic standard English translation of the New Testament).

Catholic scholar F.A. Sullivan also further agrees, as he wrote:

…it doesn’t appear that Paul ever appointed any one person as “resident bishop” over any of his churches…(Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 35).

Admittedly the Catholic position, that bishops are the successors of the apostles by divine institution, remains far from easy to establish…The first problem has to do with the notion that Christ ordained apostles as bishops…The apostles were missionaries and founders of churches; there is no evidence, nor is it at all likely, that any one of them ever took up permanent residence in a particular church as its bishop…The letter of the Romans to the Corinthians, known as I Clement, which dates to about the year 96, provides good evidence that about 30 years after the death of St. Paul the church of Corinth was being led by a group of presbyters, with no indication of a bishop with authority over the whole local church…Most scholars are of the opinion that the church of Rome would most probably have also been led at that time by a group of presbyters…There exists a broad consensus among scholars, including most Catholic ones, that such churches as Alexandria, Philippi, Corinth and Rome most probably continued to be led for some time by a college of presbyters, and that only in the second century did the threefold structure of become generally the rule, with a bishop, assisted by presbyters, presiding over each local church (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, pp. 13,14,15).

And that is certainly correct concerning Rome. There were no “bishops of Rome” in the first century and certain Roman Catholic scholars understand this, hence the idea that there is an unbroken line of bishops in apostolic succession from Rome and Rome being the “permanent world center” for the true Church is false (more information can be found in the article Apostolic Succession).

And as far as getting the gospel out to the world as a witness is concerned, the true church was not limited to Asia Minor. True churches were spread throughout many lands, such as northern Italy, France, Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Antioch, and elsewhere.

And where did those churches come from? Well, logically, they did not come from Rome, but from the Smyrnaeans (an earlier Church era) in Asia Minor and Palestine. According to A.N. Dugger, Dr. T.V. Moore noted:

“The type of Christianity which first was favored, then raised to leadership by Constantine was that of the Roman Papacy. But this was not the type of Christianity that first penetrated Syria, northern Italy, southern France, and Great Britain. The ancient records of the first believers in Christ in those parts, disclose a Christianity which is not Roman but apostolic. These lands were first penetrated by missionaries, not from Rome, but from Palestine and Asia Minor. And the Greek New Testament, the Received Text, they brought with them, or its translation, was of the type from which the Protestant Bibles, as the King James in the English, and the Lutheran in German, were translated.” — Dr. T. V. Moore, The Culdee Church, chapters 3 and 4, and Wilkinson, Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, pp. 25, 26 (As cited in Dugger AN, Dodd CO. A History of True Religion, 3rd ed. Jerusalem, 1972 (Church of God, 7th Day). 1990 reprint, pp. 90-91).

So, it was Asia Minor, and not Rome that was the main location of the true Church of God in the first and second centuries, and even into the third century. And while a confederation involving Rome rose up in the second through fourth centuries, it ended up changing doctrines and not holding to original Christianity in many ways.

Did you know that it was the written position of late 20th century Cardinal Jean-Guenolé-Marie Daniélou that church history has generally been mistaught and missed many aspects of what he called Jewish Christianity? He specifically wrote that this has led to a “false picture of Christian history” (Daniélou J, Cardinal. The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Translated by John A. Baker. The Westminster Press, 1964, Philadelphia, p. 2).

Most people, Catholic or otherwise, simply do not know enough about the real truth about early church history. But they can if they are willing to look at the truth of what really happened. Here is a link to a free online pdf booklet: Continuing History of the Church of God.

As far as Protestants go, they may wish to read the free online pdf booklet: Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants.

Some items documenting these and other items of possibly related interest include the following:

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?
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.
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?
The Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D. The Church of James, Peter, Paul, and John, etc. Here is a link to a related video sermon: Ephesus Church Era.
The Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D. The Church led by Polycarp, Melito, Polycrates, etc.Here is a link to a related video sermon: The Smyrna Church Era.
Was Peter the Rock Who Alone Received the Keys of the Kingdom? How should Matthew 16:18-19 be understood? Here is a link to a related sermon: Peter, the Rock, and the Keys.
The Apostle Peter He was an original apostle and early Christian leader. Where was Peter buried? Where did Peter die?
The Apostle Paul He was a later apostle, but also an early Christian leader. Here is a link to a related sermon: Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles.
The Apostle John He was an original apostle, early Christian leader, and the last of the original apostles to die. Here is a link to a related sermon titled Apostle John: The Disciple that Jesus Loved.
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.
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 that 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.
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.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. A sermon is also available: How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
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?

Martin Luther King, Jr. noted Mithraism’s influence on Greco-Roman-Protestant teachings

Monday, January 20th, 2020

COGwriter

Today is observed in the USA as Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Although I normally do not take this day off (nor presidents’ days unless sometimes when I am out of town), I thought it might be appropriate to quote some writings from the late Martin Luther King, Jr.

His birth name was Michael King, Jr. His father was also born Michael King, but the elder King changed his and his son’s names following a 1934 trip to Germany to attend the Fifth Baptist World Alliance Congress in Berlin in honor of the Protestant leader, Martin Luther.

Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister who became best known as a civil rights activist.

But he also noticed certain things about religion before he became well known as a civil rights leader.

In the middle of the last century, he wrote about many things, including Mithraism. Mithraism was a religion that observed Sunday and had followers such as the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century.

Here is some of what Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote about it in a paper dated November 23, 1949:

In Avesta, Mithra was the genius of celestial light…The doctrine of the immortality of the soul was another view which was very prominent in Mithraism …

Women were compelled to seek salvation in some other cult, for Mithraism excluded them entirely …

When Mithraism is compared to Christianity, there are surprisingly many points of similarity. Of all the mystery cults, Mithraism was the greatest competitor of Christianity …

That Christians did copy and borrow from Mithraism cannot be denied (King ML. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume 4. Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell editors/compliers. University of California Press, 1992, pp. 213-214, 217, 222, 224).

Here are some of his writings dated February 15, 1950:

Mithraism … was suppressed by the Christians sometime in the latter part of the fourth century A.D.: but its collapse seems to have been due to the fact that by that time many of its doctrines had been adopted by the church, so that it was practically absorbed by its rival.

… the Church made a sacred day out of Sunday partially because … of the resurrection. But when we observe a little further we find that as a solar festival, Sunday was the sacred day of Mithra: it is also interesting to notice that since Mithra was addressed as Lord, Sunday must have been “the Lord’s Day” long before Christian use. It is also to be noticed that our Christmas, December 25th, was the birthday of Mithra, and was only taken over in the Fourth Century as the date, actually unknown, of the birth of Jesus.

To make the picture a little more clear, we may list a few of the similarities between these two religions: (1) Both regard Sunday as a Holy Day. (2) December 25 came to be considered as the anniversary of the birth of Mithra and Christ also. (3) Baptism and a ritual meal were important parts of both groups …

In summary we may say that the belief in immortality, a mediator between god and man, the observance of certain sacramental rites…were common to Mithraism and Christianity. (King ML. The papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, Volume 4. Clayborne Carson, Ralph Luker, Penny A. Russell editors/compliers. University of California Press, 1992, pp. 307, 309.)

Notice that Martin Luther King, Jr. clearly understood that the Sunday churches dropped the Sabbath, that “the Lord’s Day” essentially first meant the day of Mithra, and that the worlds’ churches did adopt many practices from Mithraism. Much of what now is called “Christianity” is a compromise with the religion of Mithraism.

I wish that Martin Luther King, Jr. and others would have emphasized this aspect of his writings more. I would also add that Christians faithful to the original teachings of Christ, the apostles, and the New Testament did not adopt the practices of Mithraism.

Actually, early records show that there were basically two main groups that professed Christianity. One that was mainly based upon the Bible, and the other that accepted doctrines from those who followed Simon Magus and Mithras.

While Dr. King was most known for his civil rights protests, he figured out that much of what passed for Christianity in his day was really a form that adopted Mithratic practices.

Does that include your version of Christianity? Are you sure?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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?
Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis? Dr. Thiel is recorded in Vatican City and points to a variety of symbols and displays there and explains where some of them seem to have originated from. Specifically, he discusses the connection of the cave grotto and mitre to Mithraism as well as obelisks and certain other ties to Isis. He also briefly touches on some doctrines that those groups share.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. A sermon is also available: How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
God’s Grace is For All Is being Jewish a hindrance to salvation? What about not being a descendant of Israel? What does the Bible really teach? Here is a link to a related sermon titled Race and Grace; Do you view race as God does?
Early Church History: Who Were the Two Major Groups that 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.
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.
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god? Here is a link to a related sermon: What do Catholic and other scholars teach about Christmas?
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?
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
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”?
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.
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?
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
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.

Sermonette: Gregory Thaumaturgus, Signs, and Lying Wonders

Sunday, January 19th, 2020

COGwriter

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

20:46

Very few people realize how a demonically- influenced leader man from Neocaesarea impacted doctrines in the Greco-Roman church. Gregory the Wonder Worker claimed to receive messages from an apparition he believed was Jesus’ mother Mary. He pushed the trinity, an antichrist creed, and the immortal soul teaching. Gregory also is celebrated as a saint by the Roman Catholics for pushing profane entertainment and festivals to attract pagans. He allegedly had the power to cause death by tossing his cloak on someone. The Apostle Paul warned of signs and lying wonders–and said that started in his day–which it did with Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8) also known as Simon Magus. Gregory Thaumaturgus had demonic signs and wonders and said he learned them from apparitions. The prophet Isaiah warned about the virgin daughter of Babylon who used sorceries–this is the same mystery Babylon of Revelation 17 that comes to her end in Revelation 18. In this video, Dr. Thiel gives some background about Gregory and warns about those who walk by sight and not faith.

Here is a link to the sermonette: Gregory Thaumaturgus, Signs, and Lying Wonders.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Gregory the Wonder Worker Also known as Gregory Thaumaturgus, this third century Eastern Orthodox leader was one of the most dangerous heretics and his views have been adopted by many who profess Christ. Here is a link to ta related video: Gregory Thaumaturgus, Signs, and Lying Wonders.
Simon Magus, What Did He Teach? Sometimes called “the father early heretics” or the “father of heresies”, do you know what early writers claimed that Simon Magus taught? Sadly, most who profess Christ still hold to versions of his teachings. Here is a link to a related sermon: Simon Magus and ‘Christianity’?
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A related sermon is available: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else? A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Valentinus: The Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic He apparently was the first Christ-professing heretic to come up with the idea of three hypostases.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What happened at Fatima? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Eastern/Greek Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers? Here is a link to a YouTube video Marian Apparitions May Fulfill Prophecy. Here is a link to a sermon video: Why Learn About Fatima?
John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite This late fourth/early fifth century Bishop of Constantinople is considered to be a ‘saint’ and ‘doctor’ by the Church of Rome, Church of England, and the Eastern Orthodox, but he did not teach Christ’s love. Here is a link to a related sermon: John Chrysostom, Holy Days, and Holidays.

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.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free 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 three related sermons: 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. To see how CCOG has done so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? an CCOG: Four Years Revealing Philadelphia? Here is a written link to a version of that first sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
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.
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/

Did Jesus physically have children?

Friday, January 17th, 2020

COGwriter

Notice information about a book with false claims about Jesus and the gospels:

A … book claims even Jesus had his secrets.

It’s called “The Lost Gospel” and it’s based off of manuscripts found in British Library dating back more than 1,400 years written in Syriac – the language spoken by Jesus himself. It claims Jesus had a secret family made up of two sons and a wife.

The mystery woman is none other than Mary Magdalene – one of his closest followers, who attended his crucifixion and burial.

Their alleged romance has been suspected before. A writer for the Daily Mail points out in the ’50s, the book “The Last Temptation Of Christ” suggested that they married after Jesus was taken down from the cross. Martin Scorsese turned the idea into a film in 1988.

The significance of this latest book is that it’s based off of manuscripts. The authors studied it for six years and believe it has an “embedded meaning” and that they’ve uncovered a missing fifth gospel.

Experts are already lining up to dispute the controversial assertions that are being compared to the fictional storyline created by Dan Brown for his novel, “The Da Vinci Code.”

Mark Goodacre, a professor of religious studies at Duke University, told ABC News, “I don’t think that there is any credibility in these claims at all. There is simply no evidence in this text or anywhere else that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, much less that they had a couple of children.” http://www.aol.com/article/2014/11/11/book-claims-jesus-had-a-wife-and-kids/20991803/?icid=maing-grid7%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl21%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D561654

Later update:

two authors came out with a book about a … translated ancient text — a “Lost Gospel,” as the book calls it. The text has been in the possession of the British Library since 1847 but only in recent years attracted scholars’ attention. It suggests that Jesus was not only married but had two children, and that Mary Magdalene — long viewed as a close friend of Jesus — was indeed the Virgin Mary.

The text described in this newest “Lost Gospel” is said to be a translation from an original Greek manuscript, according to a letter dating to the sixth century that accompanied the Syriac text in the British Library, says a Daily Mail article on the book.

The Syriac story isn’t even directly about Jesus. It’s written in code, centering on a man called Joseph, a kind of Jesus substitute. His wife is called Aseneth and is said to stand in for Mary Magdalene. In this tale, Joseph is called the “son of God,” and there are passages that seem to parallel the language of Holy Communion.

Joseph and Aseneth are married by the Egyptian pharaoh, who pronounces at their wedding: “Blessed are you by the Lord God of Joseph, because he is the first-born of God, and you will be called the Daughter of God Most High and the bride of Joseph now and for ever.”

It’s worth recalling that many gospels were composed in the decades, even centuries, after Jesus — not only the four that Christians acknowledge. http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/12/opinion/parini-new-text-jesus-married-with-kids/

The Bible does not teach that Jesus went to Egypt as an adult nor that he got married (for more information watch Jesus: Married with Children?). The Bible also teaches that Mary Magdalene was not the same person as Jesus’ mother Mary (John 19:25). There was no such thing as ‘holy communion’ then as that term did not originate until later.

Others have claimed that the gnostic ‘gospels’ teach Jesus was married–but those ‘gospels’ did not come out until after the New Testament was written.

As far as an “embedded meaning” goes, the following is all that I have seen from the false Gospel of Mary Magdalane that mentions “two” anything:

5:10) I said to Him, Lord, how does he who sees the vision see it, through the soul or through the spirit?

5:11) The Savior answered and said, He does not see through the soul nor through the spirit, but the mind that is between the two that is what sees the vision and it is […]

There are some mentions of “two” in the false Gospel of Philip, which also does not state Jesus had two children. The false Gospel of Philip is sometimes cited as ‘proof’ Jesus was married (see also The Da Vinci Code: Some Good, Most Bad). That ‘gospel’ was not written by the Apostle Philip, nor does it claim to be.

Jesus was not married to any human female and did not have human offspring while on earth. In addition to the fact that the Bible does not teach that He was married, when He was dying, He made provisions for the Apostle John to take care of His mother Mary:

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25-27)

If He was married to Mary Magdalene and/or He had young children, Jesus obviously would have tried to make provisions for them, but He did not. Jesus did not have any children nor was He married to Mary Magdalene. The gospels record that people like Peter had a wife, and it would be logical that if Jesus had one that this would have been mentioned.

Perhaps I should mention that I have read what was released in the past about the so-called ‘Gospel of Mary Magdalene” as well as many other false gospel accounts that have circulated. False gospel accounts were sometimes created in the second century by those that did not hold to Church of God doctrines.

There is a 10th-11th century Arabic Islamic manuscript that has one chapter that reports about those considered to be Judeo-Christians. Shlomo Pines translated much of that chapter into English. The translation of one section of it (the term “Christian” below refers to apparently Latin supporters) about something that seems to have happened in Jerusalem in the 130s A.D.:

(71a)…(And the Romans) said: “Go, fetch your companions, and bring your Book (kitab).” (The Christians) went to their companions, informed them of (what had taken place) between them and the Romans and said to them: “Bring the Gospel (al-injil), and stand up so that we should go to them.”

But these (companions) said to them: “You have done ill. We are not permitted (to let) the Romans pollute the Gospel. In giving a favourable answer to the Romans, you have accordingly departed from the religion. We are (therefore) no longer permitted to associate with you; on the contrary, we are obliged to declare that there is nothing in common between us and you;” and they prevented their (taking possession of) the Gospel or gaining access to it. In consequence a violent quarrel (broke out) between (the two groups). Those (mentioned in the first place) went back to the Romans and said to them: “Help us against these companions of ours before (helping us) against the Jews, and take away from them on our behalf our Book (kitab).” Thereupon (the companions of whom they had spoken) fled the country. And the Romans wrote concerning them to their governors in the districts of Mosul and in the Jazirat al-‘Arab. Accordingly, a search was made for them; some (qawm) were caught and burned, others (qawm) were killed. (As for) those who had given a favorable answer to the Romans they came together and took counsel as to how to replace the Gospel, seeing it was lost to them. (Thus) the opinion that a Gospel should be composed (yunshi`u) was established among them…a certain number of Gospels were written. (Pines S. The Jewish Christians of the Early Centuries of Christianity according to a New Source. Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Volume II, No.13; 1966. Jerusalem, pp. 14-15)

True Christians (called ‘companions’ above) did not create nor accept the false gospel accounts that ones influenced by Roman authorities did back then (see The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History and also The Ephesus Church Era).

Anyway, there are no LOST GOSPELS that Christians need to believe are missing from the New Testament.

There are many who want to challenge the Bible and what it teaches about Jesus.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Jesus: Married with Children? Was Jesus the Christ married? Did He have two children as some claim the so-called “Lost Gospel” teaches? Was He married to Mary Magdalene as the “Da Vinci Code” and others have stated? How many gospels are there? Are the supposed ‘historical records’ that Jesus was married, simply false? When were the gnostic gospel accounts written? Did Polycarp of Smyrna list any of the extra or so-called “lost gospels” in his letter? Does the Bible clearly contract the assertions of the book “The Lost Gospel”? This is a video.
Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour Who was Jesus? Why did He come to earth? What message did He bring? Is there evidence outside the Bible that He existed? Here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour.
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 … These videos cover nearly all of the book, plus have some information not in the book.
Jesus is God, But Became Flesh Was Jesus fully human and fully God or what? Here is information in the Spanish language¿Es Jesucristo Dios?.
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.
The Da Vinci Code: Some Good, Most Bad Does The Da Vinci Code properly discuss Christianity? What does it have right and what does it have wrong about early Christianity and other gospel accounts?
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 three related sermons: 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, 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?

AP: Vatican tamps down clamor over Benedict’s new celibacy book

Monday, January 13th, 2020

Pope Benedict XVI Sitting & Wearing White
Former Pope Benedict XVI (Photo from Wikipedia)

COGwriter

The Associated Press reported the following:

Vatican tamps down clamor over Benedict’s new celibacy book

January 13, 2020

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican on Monday sought to downplay the decision by retired Pope Benedict XVI to reaffirm the “necessity” of a celibate priesthood at the same time that Pope Francis is considering ordaining married men, calling his book a mere contribution that was written in full obedience to Francis.

The Vatican’s editorial director, Andrea Tornielli, penned an editorial that sought to put Benedict’s bombshell book in the context of a continuity between the two popes. He noted that Francis, too, has upheld the “gift” of priestly celibacy and refused to make it optional across the board.

The French daily Le Figaro late Sunday published excerpts of the book “From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church,” co-authored with conservative Cardinal Robert Sarah; The Associated Press obtained galleys of the English edition, which is being published Feb. 20 by Ignatius Press.

Benedict’s intervention was extraordinary, given he had promised to remain “hidden from the world” when he retired in 2013, and pledged his obedience to the new pope. He has largely held to that pledge, though he penned an odd essay last year that blamed the sexual abuse crisis on the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

His reaffirmation of priestly celibacy, however, gets to the heart of a fraught policy issue that Francis is expected to weigh in on in the coming weeks, and could well be considered a public attempt by the former pope to sway the thinking of the current one.

The implications for such an intervention are grave, given that conservative and traditionalist Catholics nostalgic for Benedict’s orthodoxy are already deeply opposed to Francis, with some even considering Benedict’s resignation illegitimate. https://apnews.com/c88cf25fdbfbd4976cf3e53b5aced41c

There are people who consider that emeritus Pope Benedict XVI is the true pontiff, that his resignation did not count, and that Francis is not really the pope.

Related to celibacy last year, the National Catholic Register (NCR) reported the following:

In new letter, Benedict blames clergy abuse on sexual revolution, Vatican II theology

April 11, 2019

Vatican City — Retired Pope Benedict XVI has published a new letter blaming the continuing Catholic clergy abuse crisis on the sexual revolution, developments in theology following the Second Vatican Council, and modern society’s aversion to speaking about God.

The letter, one of a handful the ex-pontiff has shared publicly since his resignation in 2013, immediately drew criticism from theologians and Vatican watchers. They noted it does not address structural issues that abetted abuse cover-up, or Benedict’s own contested 24-year role as head of the Vatican’s powerful doctrinal office.

The former pope instead points the finger at a range of esoteric issues, from a supposed societal “mental collapse” brought on by the protests of 1968, to a claim that the sexual revolution declared pedophilia to be “allowed and appropriate,” and to “vehement backlashes” by theologians against a 1993 encyclical by Pope John Paul II.

“Among the freedoms that the Revolution of 1968 sought to fight for was … all-out sexual freedom, one which no longer conceded any norms,” Benedict says at the beginning of his text.

“The mental collapse was also linked to a propensity for violence,” the ex-pope continues, claiming: “That is why sex films were no longer allowed on airplanes because violence would break out among the small community of passengers.”

“At the same time, independently of this development, Catholic moral theology suffered a collapse that rendered the Church defenseless against these changes in society,” says Benedict. …

Benedict continues. “At individual points it becomes suddenly apparent that what is evil and destroys man has become a matter of course.”

“Why did pedophilia reach such proportions?” asks the ex-pope, answering: “Ultimately, the reason is the absence of God.” …

Julie Hanlon Rubio, a professor of social ethics at Santa Clara University’s Jesuit School of Theology who was written extensively on sexual morality, called the ex-pope’s analysis “deeply flawed.”

“The willingness to blame a permissive culture and progressive theology for a problem that is internal and structural is stunning,” said Rubio.

Brian Flanagan, an associate professor at Marymount University in Virginia whose most recent book focuses on the church’s need for continual purification, called Benedict’s text “embarrassing.”

“The idea that ecclesial abuse of children was a result of the 1960s, a supposed collapse of moral theology, and ‘conciliarity’ is an embarrassingly wrong explanation for the systemic abuse of children and its coverup,” wrote Flanagan. https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/new-letter-benedict-blames-clergy-abuse-sexual-revolution-vatican-ii-theology

April 11, 2019

Pope Emeritus Benedict has allowed the publication of a letter he addressed to bishops and cardinals who met in February to discuss the problem of child abuse. …

The Emeritus Pope’s argument is explosive. (The full text can be read here.) In summary, Benedict charges that a revolutionary spirit from the world entered the Church in the 1960s. Possessed by that spirit, arrogant theologians determined on creating “another Church” destroyed the traditional moral theology of the Faith, leading to a complete breakdown of moral discipline in the clergy and even a generalized spirit of blasphemy, which Benedict intimately and unforgettably connects with the phenomenon of child abuse. Along the way, he points out how, having abandoned a traditional understanding of the Catholic faith, bishops and cardinals felt no compulsion to protect the Faith itself, and allowed the rights of accused clergy to develop in such a way that they totally obliterated the prerogative of serving God and passing on the faith to the next generation. “The Church is dying in [people’s] souls,” he observes in a spirit that reads equally mordant and mournful. https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/04/pope-emeritus-benedict-letter-child-abuse-catholic-church/

So, the emeritus pontiff is blaming worldly society and apparently his church’s Vatican II for the raping of children by the Roman Catholic clergy.

A relatively recent book pointed out the pervasiveness of homosexuals and others in the clergy of the Church of Rome.

It claimed that around 80% had problems that way (see ‘Vatican Expels Former US Cardinal McCarrick’ and ‘Salacious new book says homosexuality is rampant at the Vatican’).

Various published reports have stated that the majority of priests have violated their vows of celibacy (see ‘Pope adviser urges rethink on Catholic celibacy’ Two-thirds of Catholic priests reportedly are NOT celibate and ‘Gay Priests, Secret Rules and the Abuse of Nuns: Some of the Vatican Controversies as Bishops Meet’).

The Apostle Paul warned:

9 Do you not realise that people who do evil will never inherit the kingdom of God? Make no mistake — the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, the self-indulgent, sodomites,

10 thieves, misers, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers, none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, New Jerusalem Bible–a Roman Catholic approved translation)

Note: Sodomites are homosexuals.

It should be clear that many of those that have taken the vow of celibacy have not demonstrated that this leads them to be better spiritually.

The Bible shows that bishops and presbyters/elders were supposed to have a wife and children. This was partially to demonstrate they could handle a church as Paul wrote per the Roman Catholic approved Rheims New Testament:

1. FAITHFUL saying. If a man desire a Bishops office, he desireth a good work.
2. It behoveth therefore a Bishop to be irreprehensible, the husband of one wife,
sober, wise, comely, chaste, a man of hospitality, a teacher,
3. Not given to wine, no fighter, but modest, no quarreler, not covetous,
4. Well ruling his own house, chaving his children subject with all charity.
5. But if a man know not to rule his own house: how shall he have care of the Church of
God? (1 Timothy 3:1-5).

5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest reform the things that are
wanting, and shouldst ordain priests by cities, as I also appointed thee:
6. If any be without crime, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not in the
accusations of riot, or not obedient.
7. For a Bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not angry, nor
given to wine, no striker, nor covetous of filthy lucre (Titus 1:5-7).

Note that the term translated as priest in verse 4, presbyter, simply means elder. Also notice that the Bishop is also allowed to be married. In Eastern Orthodox circles, while their priests are allowed to be married, their bishops are not.

Clerical celibacy was NOT part of the original Christian faith.

Even the Apostle Peter had a wife (Matthew 8:14).

And sources like The Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledge that from the beginning, celibacy was not a requirement for church leaders:

Turning now to the historical development of the present law of celibacy, we must necessarily begin with St. Paul’s direction (1 Timothy 3:2, 12, and Titus 1:6) that a bishop or a deacon should be “the husband of one wife”. These passages seem fatal to any contention that celibacy was made obligatory upon the clergy from the beginning (Thurston H. Transcribed by Christine J. Murray. Celibacy of the Clergy. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Celibacy became an ideal for the clergy in the East gradually, as it did in the West. In the fourth century we still find St. Gregory Nazianzen’s father, who was Bishop of Nanzianzos, living with his wife, without scandal. But very soon after that the present Eastern rule obtained. It is less strict than in the West. No one can marry after he has been ordained priest (Paphnutius at the first Council of Nicaea maintains this; the first Canon of the Synod of Neocaesarea in 314 or 325, and Can. Apost., xxvi. The Synod of Elvira about 300 had decreed absolute celibacy for all clerks in the West, Can. xxxiii, ib., pp. 238-239); priests already married may keep their wives (the same law applied to deacons and subdeacons: Can. vi of the Synod in Trullo, 692), but bishops must be celibate. As nearly all secular priests were married this meant that, as a general rule, bishops were chosen from the monasteries, and so these became, as they still are, the road through advancement may be attained (Fortesque A. Transcribed by Marie Jutras. Eastern Monasticism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus, the celibacy requirement for the Greco-Roman clergy did not occur until the fourth century–and many did not abide by it for centuries in various areas. Furthermore, a requirement for clerical celibacy contradicts the biblical teaching on this matter.

When the subject came up in the fourth century, a Greco-Roman bishop denounced it:

Paphnutius then was bishop of one of the cities in Upper Thebes: he was a man of such eminent piety, that extraordinary miraclas were done by him. In the time of the persecution he had been deprived of one of his eyes. The emperor honoured this man exceedingly, and often sent for him to the palace, and kissed the part where the eye had been torn out. So devout was the emperor Constantine. Having noticed this circumstance respecting Paphnutius, I shall explain. another thing which was wisely ordered in consequence of his advice, both for the good of the church and the honour of the clergy. It seemed fit to the bishops to introduce a new law into the church, that those who were in holy orders, I speak of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, should have no conjugal intercourse with the wives which they had married prior to their ordination. And when it was proposed to deliberate on this matter, Paphnutius having arisen in the midst of the assembly of bishops, earnestly entreated them not to impose so heavy a yoke on the ministers of religion: asserting that ” marriage is honourable among all, and the nuptial bed undefiled;” so that they ought not to injure the church by too stringent restrictions. ” For all men,” said he, ” cannot bear the practice of rigid continence ; neither perhaps would the chastity of each of their wives be preserved.” He termed the intercourse of a man with his lawful wife chastity. It would be sufficient, he thought, that such as had previously entered on their sacred calling should abjure matrimony, according to the ancient tradition of the church: but that none should be separated from her to whom, while yet unordained, he had been legally united…The whole assembly of the clergy assented to the reasoning of Paphnutius (Socrates Scholasticus. Book 1, Chapter XI. A History of the Church in Seven Books: From the Accession of Constantine, A.D. 305, to the 38th Year of Theodosius II, Including a Period of 140 Years. Published by S. Bagster, 1844. Original from Harvard University, pp. 53-54)

So as late as the early fourth century, the idea of required celibacy was opposed by most of the clergy.

The fruits of a supposed celibate priesthood have not been good.

It is not just because of the ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s.

Thousands and thousands have been sexually abused by Roman Catholic clerics.

That being said, as the Associated Press suggested there are Catholic sites (‘fringe’ ones) that claim that Benedict is still pope as he is still alive. Here is some reports related to that:

Is Benedict XVI the REAL pope? 4 factors fueling Vatican conspiracy theories

Benedict used incorrect Latin in his formal resignation letter, so it is invalid; alternately, they say, the cardinals in the March 2013 conclave that elected Francis violated certain procedures, so his election is null and void. …

“Juridically there is only one pope. A ‘pope emeritus’ cannot exist,” Manuel Jesus Arroba, a professor of canon law at the Pontifical Lateran University, warned in the days after Benedict announced the innovation. …

When Benedict retired, he said he would remain “hidden to the world,” living in seclusion in a monastery inside the Vatican walls. But Francis has encouraged Benedict to come out once in a while, and the former pope has not only taken part in some public events but also made his views known in letters and other communications.

No surprise, not all of his views seem to be in sync with those of Francis, which raises alarms among some, and hopes among others. https://religionnews.com/2014/11/26/benedict-xvi-real-pope-4-factors-fueling-vatican-conspiracy-theories/

Was Pope Benedict XVI Forced to Resign?

October 20, 2017

Almost five years since his momentous resignation from the papacy on February 11, 2013 for health reasons, the undeniable fact is that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI remains in the peak of health and in full control of his faculties. He has also chosen to remain in the Vatican. He has also chosen to retain the title of “pope”, as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

In his last general assembly on February 27, 2013, 2 weeks after announcing his intent to resign, Benedict XVI said that the petrine ministry is “always” and “forever”:

He who assumes the Petrine ministry no longer has any privacy. He belongs always and totally to everyone, to the whole Church. His life is, so to speak, totally deprived of the private sphere. […] The “always” is also a “forever”—there is no returning to private life. My decision to forgo the exercise of active ministry, does not revoke this. I do not return to private life, to a life of travel, meetings, receptions, conferences and so on. I do not abandon the cross, but remain in a new way near to the Crucified Lord.

And we have to ask: Why did Benedict XVI resign in the first place, if the petrine ministry “is forever”? Was his resignation out of his own full volition and will? Was it valid in the first place?

New revelations have come to light which give us more information on the circumstances surrounding Benedict’s mysterious resignation.

Leaked Emails Show Political Plot to Oust Benedict

A group of Catholic leaders cite new evidence uncovered in emails released by WikiLeaks that the conservative Pope Benedict did not actually resign on his own initiative, but was pushed out of the Vatican by a coup that the group of researchers are calling the “Catholic Spring.”

The group of Catholic leaders includes Christopher A. Ferrara, President of The American Catholic Lawyers Association, Michael J. Matt, Editor of The Remnant, David L. Sonnier, LTC US ARMY (Retired), Chris Jackson of Catholics4Trump.com, and Elizabeth Yore, Founder of YoreChildren.

Last January 20, 2017, the group wrote and published a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, formally requesting him to to launch an official investigation

Call for Investigation

In their letter to President Trump, the group of Catholics leaders write: “After this e-mail discussion, which was never intended to be made public, we find that Pope Benedict XVI abdicated under highly unusual circumstances and was replaced by a pope whose apparent mission is to provide a spiritual component to the radical ideological agenda of the international left. The Pontificate of Pope Francis has subsequently called into question its own legitimacy on a multitude of occasions.” …

Two Popes in the End Times

In a message dated April 12, 2012, Your Jesus said that His Second Coming will happen very soon, and that Benedict XVI was the last true pope on earth:

My beloved Pope Benedict XVI is the last true pope on this Earth…I must warn you that many new self-proclaimed prophets will now emerge, who will contradict My Holy Word given to you, the end time true prophet…They, My daughter, are being sent to prepare God’s children to accept the next pope, who comes after My beloved Vicar, Pope Benedict. This pope may be elected by members within the Catholic Church, but he will be the false prophet. His electors are wolves in sheep’s clothing and are members of the secret Masonic and evil group led by Satan. This is how Satan will try to destroy My Church.

We recall here the remarkably accurate prophecy of the popes by St. Malachy.

(Simeon, Paul. Was Pope Benedict XVI Forced to Resign? Veritas Vincit, October 20, 2017. https://veritas-vincit-international.org/2017/10/20/was-pope-benedict-xvi-forced-to-resign/ accessed 03/13/18)

So, some believe that Francis may not be the legitimate successor of Benedict. Various Catholics have had issues with Vatican II and Benedict’s writing on the sex scandals indicates that he may as well.

Anyway, from a Catholic prophecy perspective, if Francis is not counted as a pontiff in the old Malachy list (see The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman”), the one who comes after him may be the antipope of certain Catholic prophecies. The fact that Benedict is still alive and writing would be further reason to think that various ones will interpret the list that way.

The one who becomes pontiff after Francis will either be the final antichrist or at least further set the stage for him to arrive. By the way, I believe that the final Antichrist will be a type of ‘antipope’ that will betray the Church of the City of Seven Hills, consistent with the warnings of Revelation 17.

Irrespective of that, pushing celibacy for the Catholic priesthood has had terrible fruits and is not something that should be promoted.

Some items of related interest may include:

Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters? Some religions suggest this, but what does the Bible teach? What was the practice of the early church?
Did the Early Christian Church Practice Monasticism? Does God expect or endorse living in a monastery or nunnery?
What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? Were early church services mainly scriptural, emotional, or sacramental? Who follows the basic original liturgy today? A related video is also available: What were early Christian church services like?
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.
Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was there Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
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. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There are also three YouTube videos related to this, titled Transgender ‘Woe to those who call evil good’ and Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children and USA pushing gender confusion.
The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality and the LGBTQ agenda? Can homosexuals change? A related video sermon is titled: What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? A related sermons is titled: Pornography, False Comfort, and False Religion. Here a shorter YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?
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?
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video of related interest could be Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy? Pope Francis has taken many steps to turn people more towards his version of ‘Mary.’ Could this be consistent with biblical and Catholic prophecies? This article documents what has been happening. There is also a video version titled Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?
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 three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
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?
Christ or Antichrist? 1961 article by David Jon Hill, originally published in the old Good News magazine.
Will You Be Deceived by Antichrist? 1964 article by David Jon Hill, originally published in the old Good News magazine.
Satan’s Plan Does Satan have a plan? What is it? Has it already been successful? Will it be successful in the future? Here are links to a two-part sermon series: What are Some of the Parts of Satan’s Plan? and Satan’s Plan is More Dramatic than Many Realize.
Do Certain Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus? Will the final “Anti-Christ” be Jewish, insist on Saturday, be opposed to the trinity, and bring in the millennium? Certain Catholic writings indicate this, while others take a different view, but what does the Bible show? A related sermon is Will Jesus Christ be called the Antichrist?
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?
Could Pope Francis be the Last Pope and Antichrist? According to some interpretations of the prophecies of the popes by the Catholic saint and Bishop Malachy, Pope Francis I is in the position of “Peter the Roman,” the pontiff who reigns during tribulations until around the time of the destruction of Rome. Do biblical prophecies warn of someone that sounds like Peter the Roman? Could Francis I be the heretical antipope of Catholic private prophecies and the final Antichrist of Bible prophecy? This is a YouTube video.
The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman” An Irish bishop allegedly predicted something about 112 popes in the 12th century. Pope Benedict XVI was number 111. Francis would seem to be number 112–if he is that one–and if so, he is to reign until Rome is destroyed. May he be an antipope/final 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. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
The Last Pope Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Why might Pope Francis be the last pope? What happens if he is? Biblical and other prophecies help explain what to expect.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Amazon Book What does the Bible say about a pope near this time? Is the final pope to be an antipope and antichrist? Does Catholic prophecy point to Pope Francis as being the dreaded “Peter the Roman”? This 186 page book provides information and answers.
The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle This electronic version of the printed book which is available for only US$2.99. And you do not need an actual Kindle device to read it. Why? Amazon will allow you to download it to almost any device: Please click HERE to download one of Amazon s Free Reader Apps. After you go to for your free Kindle reader and then go to The Last Pope: Do Biblical and Catholic Prophecies Point to Pope Francis? Kindle.
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.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free 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 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?
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 from 31 A.D. to present: information on all of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3. There is also a YouTube video: The Seven Church Eras of Revelation. There is also a version in the Spanish language: Las Siete Iglesias de Apocalipsis 2 & 3.
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?
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 that 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.

Have you seen the first Christian church building?

Sunday, January 12th, 2020


Hagia Sion (left) and Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Wall (right)
Mosaic (4th century) in Church of Santa Pudenziana, Rome

COGwriter

Do you know about the two early church buildings that were in Jerusalem in the fourth century?

The late fourth century historian Epiphanius recorded that in Jerusalem in Judea a Christian building was mentioned existing no later than 135 A.D.–and that it was built in the first century.

Epiphanius wrote the following (a portion of which I have bolded for clarity):

{Hadrian} found the temple of God trodden down and the whole city devastated save for a few houses and the church of God, which was small…it had been built, that is, in that portion of Zion which escaped destruction, together with blocks of houses in the neighborhood of Zion and the seven synagogues which alone remained standing in Zion, like solitary huts, one of which remained until the time of Maximona the bishop and Constantine the king. (The Epiphanius of Salamis, Weights and Measures, chapter 14. (1935), pp.11-83. English translation transcribed by Roger Pearse. www.tertullian.org viewed 01/03/13)

That building may been the first Christian building. It looked more like a rectangular synagogue than the type of rounded buildings that people in the world today consider to be a church.

The “church of God” structure Epiphanius mentioned in the fourth century is believed to have been the building which has sometimes been called the ‘Cenacle.’ It was located on a Jerusalem western hill that is often called Mt. Zion/Sion (there is some controversy associated with the actual biblical Mount Zion).

In the fourth century, the sun-god worshiping Emperor Constantine had a rounded building built next to it, which is known as the Hagia Sion. Notice something from a Catholic scholar about the two buildings:

In 333 the Bordeaux pilgrim found there a basilica erected “by order of Constantine”. By then the holy place had passed from the hands of the Judaeo-Christians, who had held it until then, to those Gentile Christians. (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Gentiles in Palestine. Nihil obstat: Ignatius Mancini, 1 Februari 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 26 Februari 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 28 Februarii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, p. 61)

The “holy place” mentioned above had been the general location of the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill, which could have been the original worship building that Christians built. This is the place that has been called Sion and the Cenacle. The Greco-Romans eventually added a shrine and a variety of relics (Ibid, pp. 27-28,69). The basilica was a different building.

Although they did not have cameras back then, a representation of both buildings still exists. A mosaic of Jerusalem at the time was constructed and placed in a church in Rome known as Santa Pudenziana. My wife and I visited it in June 2013 and she photographed the mosaic of Jerusalem in its main apse.

I was able to see the remains of these buildings in Jerusalem in October 2013, but they look different than they did in the fourth century. But Constantinine’s building still is rounded like the buildings of the sun-god he worshiped. Despite also professing Christianity, Constantine was buried in a sun-god related grave.

Here is a photo I took in October 2013 of some of the original bricks of the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill:

Photo of Jerusalem in Church of Santa Pudenzenia

Here is another report about the possible original age of this building:

It was first suggested by Pixner (Pixner, Paths , 333) that the lower course of ashlars are Herodian in the style of 12 their cut and this has not been disputed so far as I am aware. However, this does not automatically mean that the ashlars were cut in the time of Herod the Great, only that the style is consistent with that originating in Jerusalem in the late 1 st century B.C.E. In 1922, L. H. Vincent noted that the lower cours es of ashlars are irregular in shape suggesting that this was due to secondary usage (Vincent, Jérusalem , 435) . In other words, the stones were not cut for this building but were taken from other (demolished?) structures and used to fashion this one . This fact is consistent with the story of returning Jewish Christians arriving in Jerusalem in the mid – 70s after the city’s (partial?) destruction by the Romans and finding that they had to make do with what materials were available in order to construct their building. (Clauson DC, Department of Religious Studies University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Can the Cenacle on Mount Zion Really be the “Upper Room” of Jesus’s Last Supper? c. 2017 https://www.bibleinterp.com/PDFs/Is%20the%20Cenacle.pdf)

Here is more information from Bargil Pixner:

Their adherence to Jewish customs, especially circumcision and observance of Jewish holy days, naturally alienated them from the church of the gentiles. The fissure became a gaping canyon with the strongly anti-Judaic positions taken by the Byzantine church after the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.).

Though recognizing the authenticity of the place, the gentile Christians looked with suspicion and almost contempt at the synagogue of the Judeo-Christians on Mt. Zion, considering their way of life outdated, if not heretical…This was the situation during the second half of the fourth century A.D…

To fend off gentile influence, both pagan and Byzantine (that is, gentile Christian), the Judeo-Christians of Mt. Zion built a wall around their ancient sanctuary. It was this kind of ghetto wall that the Bordeaux Pilgrim referred to when he visited Mt. Zion in 333 A.D. He entered and exited through a wall, he reported…

In 1985, while a sewage channel was being dug in front of the Dormition Abbey, I took the occasion to examine the area archaeologically and was able to locate the foundation of the facade of this Crusader church. The southwest corner of the church is in an exact alignment with the southern wall of the building of the ancient Judeo-Christian synagogue (see Crusader remains). The bases of nine Crusader pilasters and the western section of the northern wall of the Crusader church were also discovered and preserved.

Thus, it was the Crusaders who first included the walls of the ancient Judeo-Christian synagogue, which had become the Church of the Apostles, into their own basilica. As the Madaba map clearly shows, even the big rectangular Byzantine Hagia Sion was separate from the remains of the older Church of the Apostles. (Pixner, Church of the Apostles Found on Mt. Zion, pp. 29-30,34)

So, Dr. Pixner reported that the building was separate from the Constantinian one, but later the Crusaders decided to incorporate some of the original church/synagogue into theirs. The Muslims ended up taking it over and adding their own symbols in the building. It did not remain as the ‘headquarters’ of the faithful Christian church throughout the church age (see also Does the Church of God need to be headquartered in Jerusalem?).

A part of the wall of the COG building still remains above ground, and various foundation stones below ground (it was on the front cover of the first Bible News Prophecy magazine).

Here is a view of the side of the building, I photographed, with the additional bricks which were added by the Crusaders and others:

Photo of Jerusalem in Church of Santa Pudenzenia

The original COG building may have future interest. The Church of Rome wants this building and has often taken steps to try to acquire it (see, for example, Jews claim that they have been improperly blocked from visiting the ‘tomb of David’ since the Pope’s visit to Mt. Zion).

Though some feel otherwise, since Christians are ‘the temple of God’ in the New Testament, there is not a biblical requirement that a Jewish temple must be rebuilt before the millennium begins (see Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required?).

But might there be a physical building before then?

The Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill, was a Christian building constructed shortly after 70 A.D. and was composed, to a great degree, of stones/bricks from the previous Jewish temple.

It is possible that it will play a role in end time prophecy (see Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications?) as there is a chance the man of sin (the Beast of Revelation 13 and King of the North of Daniel 11) may sit in it (Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2?).

Perhaps the Church of Rome will end up, for a time, with the building it wants.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill Could this building, often referred to as the Cenacle, possibly have been the oldest actual Christian church building?
Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications? After a 20 year negotiation, the Church of Rome has negotiated the right to have Catholic mass in the building known as the Cenacle. It is in the area where the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill once stood. This is believed to be the location of the earliest Christian church building. How does the Bible define the ‘temple of God’ in the New Testament? Could this be the area where the ‘man of sin’ will sit in the “temple of God’ that Bible prophecy discusses in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4? This is a YouTube video.
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
Nascent Sanhedrin structure and high priest: The plan is to start animal sacrifices this would fulfill prophecy! The reconstituted Sanhedrin wants the reimplementation of animal sacrifices. A related video is titled Sanhedrin pushing animal sacrifices.
The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here are links to two related videos in English: Red Heifers and the Fate of the World and The Red Heifer and the End of the World.
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?
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?
Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future What does the Bible say about Jerusalem and its future? Is Jerusalem going to be divided and eliminated? Is Jesus returning to the area of Jerusalem? There is also a related YouTube video you can watch titled Jerusalem To be divided and eliminated.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: 主编: 谁是’大罪人’?Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
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.

Sabbath after the New Testament

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

COGwriter

Did early Christians keep Saturday or Sunday? While there are various opinions about this, some of those opinions are not based upon biblical or historical fact.

The Bible Sabbath Association, which is not a Church of God group (though it has members that are in the COGs, as well as members who are not), published a series of articles from me on this subject.

The following is in the January-February 2018 edition of its The Sabbath Sentinel magazine which helps give additional historical information:

Sabbath–Post New Testament

By Bob Thiel, Ph.D.

This is the fifth part of a five-part series explaining why certain early documents that are claimed against the seventh-day Sabbath are misunderstood and not actually against it.

In my previous articles, I explained that the Greek word Κυριακήν did not mean Sunday and many have misinterpreted writings from the Didache and Ignatius of Antioch’s Letter to the Magnesians as endorsing Sunday. Thus, the earliest claimed post-New Testament documents cited as “proof” that the seventh-day Sabbath was done away truly did not do so.

Is there other proof?

Yes.

If Jesus and/or His apostles did away with the Sabbath as many claim, then it would be reasonable to conclude that the later faithful disciples would not keep it. Yet, other records and writings demonstrate that the faithful did continue to keep the seventh-day Sabbath.

It is well know that from the first century until about 135 A.D. the first fifteen bishops/pastors of Jerusalem all kept the seventh-day Sabbath and were all circumcised Jews (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book III, Chapter V, Verses 2,3.& Book IV, Chapter 5, Verses 2-4, pp. 45, 71).

Although they have their own biases, even the historians Philip Schaff and Johann Gieseler correctly noted:

The Jewish Christians, at least in Palestine, conformed as closely as possible to the venerable forms of the cultus of their fathers, which in truth were divinely ordained, and were an expressive type of the Christian worship. So far as we know, they scrupulously observed the Sabbath, the annual Jewish feasts, the hours of daily prayer, and the whole Mosaic ritual (Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, Chapter 9. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc. 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner’s Sons by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.)

While the Jewish Christians of Palestine retained the entire Mosaic law, and consequently the Jewish festivals, the Gentile Christians observed also the Sabbath and the passover (1 Cor. v. 6-8), with reference to the last scenes of Jesus’ life, but without Jewish superstition (Gal. iv. 10 ; Col. ii. 16) (Gieseler, Johann Karl Ludwig. A text-book of church history, Volume I, Chapter II. New York : Harper & brothers. Date 1857-80).

It is known that early Jewish Christians did keep the Sabbath and biblical holy days. And as prophesied by Isaiah (Isaiah 56:1-7), so did the faithful Gentile Christians (and the Isaiah prophecy still has future application).

Ignatius and Polycarp

The faithful Gentile Christians were also keeping the Sabbath outside of Jerusalem. In the early second century, Pastor/Bishop Ignatius of Antioch wrote:

…to Polycarp, bishop of the Smyrnaeans…So approving am I of your godly mind, which is as it were, grounded upon an unmovable rock, that my praise exceeds all bounds…Do not let those who appear to be trustworthy yet who teach strange doctrines baffle you. Stand firm, like an anvil…Grace will be…always…with Polycarp [Ignatius. Letter to Polycarp. In: Holmes, pp. 194-201].

And according to the later testimonies of Irenaeus, Polycrates, and Tertullian, the leader of the Sabbath-keeping Smyrnaeans [The Martrydom of Polycarp. Verse 8.1. In: Holmes, p. 233], Polycarp, did just that in Asia Minor.

Polycarp also taught that Christians should keep the commandments [Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians. In: Holmes, pp. 206-221].

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. (1889) from J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 3.2, pp. 488-506]

(Note: While some claim Polycarp also kept Sunday, that appears to be a later edition to the text [Monroy MS. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 31].)

According to the The Martyrdom of Polycarp by the Smyrnaeans [The Martyrdom of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Verses 7.1 & 8.1. Charles H. Hoole’s 1885 translation] and other sources [Sozomen. THE ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY OF SOZOMEN. Book VII, Chapter XIX.], Christians in Polycarp’s area kept the Sabbath after he died.

And since Polycarp referred to Ignatius as ‘blessed’ and endorsed Ignatius’ letters in his Letter to the Philippians [Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, verse 13.2. In: Holmes, p. 219], it is logical to conclude that Ignatius was faithful to the same teachings and practices that Polycarp did.

Theophilus

In the late second century, Pastor/Bishop Theophilus of Antioch wrote:

And on the sixth day God finished His works which He made, and rested on the seventh day from all His works which He made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it; because in it He rested from all His works which God began to create…Moreover, [they spoke] concerning the seventh day, which all men acknowledge; but the most know not that what among the Hebrews is called the “Sabbath,” is translated into Greek the “Seventh” (έβδομάς), a name which is adopted by every nation, although they know not the reason of the appellation…God having thus completed the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and all that are in them, on the sixth day, rested on the seventh day from all His works which He made (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 2, Chapters XI, XII, XIX. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885, pp. 99,102).

The early faithful Gentile Christians kept the Sabbath. Until the early third century, there was harmony between the faithful Christians in Antioch and Asia Minor.

Conclusion

Early Jewish and Gentile Christians kept the seventh day Sabbath. The faithful did not believe that the Sabbath was done away.

As explained in early parts of this article, neither the Didache or Ignatius’ Letter to the Magnesians actually mention the term Sunday or directly refer to the first day of the week. The Didache is not an endorsement of early Sunday observance.

Ignatius, himself, would have had to be a supporter of the seventh day Sabbath and would not have written against it. Nor, if properly translated, do Ignatius’ letters ever truly write against the seventh day sabbath–instead they endorse the concept that Christians are to keep the Sabbath in accordance with the commandments and the Lord’s way of living, but not according to the ways endorsed by unbiblical Jewish tradition.

There is no evidence whatsoever that any who professed Christ regularly worshiped on Sunday when Ignatius was alive. The simple fact is that Ignatius’ writings do not support the idea that the early New Testament Church observed Sunday.

The Greek expression he used in Magnesians (κυριακήν ζωντες) simply did not mean Sunday when Ignatius wrote his letters. And there is no other contemporaneous reference that any professing Christian at the time of Ignatius observed Sunday. Available evidence (including the Bible, i.e. Acts 13:42-44; Hebrews 4:9) clearly supports the idea that early Christians kept the seventh day Sabbath.

The first clear reference to Sunday worship, even according to Roman Catholic sources, was from Justin Martyr [Slater T. Sunday. Transcribed by Scott Anthony Hibbs. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York]. Yet he held so many heretical positions [e.g. see Justin Martyr. The First Apology and Letter to Trypho], it makes no sense to this author that any could truly consider him to be a true Christian.

On the other hand, Polycarp and those faithful Christians who remained in Asia Minor and Antioch did continue to keep the Sabbath for centuries after Jesus died. Faithful Christians still keep the Sabbath to this day.

Here is a link to the first article I had published in The Sabbath Sentinel: The Sabbath Sentinel: The Didache and the Sabbath.

The published article is basically an extract from my article Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath. Because of the restrictions in article length for The Sabbath Sentinel, I submitted just a few pages which they published.

It is my hope and prayer that those who read the submitted articles will see that early church history supports Saturday, and not Sunday, as the Christian day of rest. This article should be able to reach people we have not been able to reach in other ways. It is also my hope and prayer that those who read the articles will see that we in the Continuing Church of God have a true and proper grasp of early church history.

The series of articles expected to be published in The Sabbath Sentinel should also help non-Sabbath keepers realize that the historical evidence points to early, faithful, Christians resting on Saturday and not Sunday.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath Did Ignatius write against the Sabbath and for Sunday? What about the Didache? What does the actual Greek reveal? Are there intentional mistranlations? A related sermon is available: The Didache, Ignatius, and the Lord’s Way.
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.
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.
Early Sabbath Keeping in North America When did Europeans first keep the Sabbath in North America? Did the pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower keep Saturday or Sunday?
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.
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true? Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 一个不合理的神?
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?
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?
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?
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. 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.
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
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.
Theophilus of Antioch This is one of the second century leaders of some Christians in Antioch and is considered a Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch.
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.

Dreams and the Radio & Continuing Church of God

Friday, January 10th, 2020

Artist’s representation of Jacob’s ladder dream (Genesis 28:10-17)

COGwriter

Were dreams involved with the Philadelphia era of the Church of God?

Do dreams and prophets have any place in the Christian Church today?

Did any dreams precede the start of the old Radio Church of God? What about the Continuing Church of God (which did not officially form as a declared entity until December 28, 2012)?

The Bible records that God often has used dreams to give messages (Genesis 20:3-7, 28:10-17, 31:10-13, 31:24, 37:5-10, 40:5-18, 41:1-32; Numbers 12:6; Judges 7:13-15; 1 Kings 3:5-15; Daniel 2:3-45, 4:4-27, 7:1-28; Matthew 1:20-25, 2:12, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22; Acts 16:9).

I had a couple of dreams prior to the start of the Continuing Church of God, and someone I did not know had one who lived in New Zealand.

While some may wish to discount what happened with me, let us also look at something that the late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about dreams:

Let me say here that in about 99,999 times out of 100,000, when people think GOD is speaking to them in a dream or vision in this day and age, it is pure imagination, or some form of self-hypnotism or self-deception. I have only come to believe that this dream was a bonafide call from God in the light of subsequent events. (Autobiography of Herbert Armstrong, (Volume 1), chapter 10, 1973, p. 194)

And that is correct. Most dreams are not from God, even if people think that they are. Notice what the Bible teaches:

7 For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God. (Ecclesiastes 5:7)

Dreams from God are shown to be correct in the light of subsequent events (though just because a dream ends up being correct, that does of itself, not prove that it was from God as there can be other factors, cf. Deuteronomy 13:1-5, but God Himself does sometimes use dreams, Numbers 12:6; Acts 2:17-18).

There are also false dreams:

2 For the idols speak delusion; The diviners envision lies, And tell false dreams; (Zechariah 10:2)

Though many discount all dreams, many also forget that Herbert W. Armstrong believed that his wife Loma D. Armstrong had a dream from God, although it took him some years to accept the validity of it:

Within 30 or 60 days after our marriage God spoke to my wife in what might have been an intense unusual dream, or a vision — but it was years later before we came to realize that this really was a message from God. (Armstrong HW. Brethren and Co-worker letter, November 28, 1956)

One night my wife had a dream so vivid and impressive it overwhelmed and shook her tremendously. It was so realistic it seemed more like a vision. For two or three days afterward everything else seemed unreal — as if in a daze — and only this extraordinary dream seemed real.

In her dream she and I were crossing the wide intersection, only a block or two from our apartment, where Broadway diagonally crosses Sheridan Road. Suddenly there appeared an awesome sight in the sky above. It was a dazzling spectacle — the sky filled with a gigantic solid mass of brilliant stars, shaped like a huge banner. The stars began to quiver and separate, finally vanishing. She called my attention to the vanishing stars, when another huge grouping of flashing stars appeared, then quivering, separating, and vanishing like the first.

As she and I, in her dream, looked upward at the vanishing stars, three large white birds suddenly appeared in the sky between us and the vanishing stars. These great white birds flew directly toward us. As they descended nearer, she perceived that they were angels.

“Then,” my wife wrote a day or two after the dream, in a letter to my mother which I have just run across among old family pictures, “it dawned on me that Christ was coming, and I was so happy I was just crying for joy. Then suddenly I thought of Herbert and was rather worried.”

She knew I had evidenced very little religious interest, although we had attended a corner church two or three times.

Then it seemed that, from among these angels in her dream, that, “Christ descended from among them and stood directly in front of us.

At first I was a little doubtful and afraid of how He would receive us, because I remembered we had neglected our Bible study and had our minds too much on things apart from His interests. But as we went up to Him, He put His arms around both of us, and we were so happy! I thought people all over the world had seen Him come. As far as we could see, people were just swarming into the streets at this broad intersection. Some were glad and some were afraid.

“Then it seemed He had changed into an angel. I was terribly disappointed at first, until he told me Christ was really coming in a very short time.”

At that time, we had been going quite regularly to motion – picture theatres. She asked the angel if this were wrong. He replied Christ had important work for us to do, preparing for His coming — there would be no time for “movies .” (Those were the days of the “silent” pictures.) Then the angel and the whole spectacle seemed to vanish, and she awakened, shaken and wondering!

In the morning, she told me of her dream. I was embarrassed. I didn’t want to think about it, yet I was afraid to totally dismiss it. I thought of a logical way to evade it myself, and still solve it. …

Do not hastily ascribe a dream to God. True, the Bible shows that God has spoken to His own chosen servants by this means of communication — primarily in the Old Testament, and before the writing of the Bible was completed. But most dreams mean nothing. And false prophets have misled people by telling false dreams, representing their dreams to be the Word of God (Jeremiah 23, where God sa ys, “I am against prophets who recount lying dreams, leading my people astray with their lies and their empty pretensions, though I never sent them, never commissioned them” — verse 32, Moffatt translation).

Certainly I did not ascribe this dream to God. It made me feel a little uncomfortable at the time, and I was anxious to forget it — which I did for some years. I was twenty – five at the time. God left me to my own ways for five more years. But when I was age thirty, He began to deal with me in no uncertain terms… (The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 1973, pp. 187,193-194).

Loma and Herbert Armstrong were married in 1917. They were specifically told that they would have a work to do. Furthermore, the bright lights in the dream may have had to do with doing a work (cf. Matthew 5:16)–a work that seemed to vanish and return (flash). Thus, there was a dream from God given to a woman in the 20th century that preceded the start of the old Radio Church of God that Herbert W. Armstrong led. The Radio Church of God represented the start of the Philadelphia era and the Philadelphian work–a work that is not finished (cf. Matthew 24:14-15)–and Herbert W. Armstrong claimed that a dream given to his wife was from God, prior to the start of the Philadelphia era.

Since the Philadelphia era was raised up years after that dream, a question to ponder is, would God do anything similar to point to the continuation of the end-time COG remnant of the Philadelphians? Consider that in Loma Armstrong’s dream that there were two sets of flashing stars–there were two parts to the dream. Herbert Armstrong is now dead and there was a pause between the work God had him to do and the completion of the final phase of the work to finally fulfill Matthew 24:14 (cf. Isaiah 29:14).

In the past, like in 2013 and 2014, I have called the time between his death and the formation of the Continuing Church of God the transitional phase (see also The Final Phase of the Work)–which is consistent with Loma Armstrong’s dream. God will cut that final work short (Romans 9:28) which results in the famine of the word (Amos 8:12; see also Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word) which is consistent with the vanishing stars in Loma Armstrong’s dream (though there could be other interpretations–we in CCOG are continuing the Philadelphia work and expect to be the ones God will use on earth to help finish it).

Herbert Armstrong mentioned the dream from time to time publicly, here are two nearly identical accounts:

I’m usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn’t really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast-approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the Coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At the time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, November 25, 1955)

I’m usually pretty skeptical about God speaking to anyone today in visions or dreams. God speaks to us thru His Son, Jesus Christ — the WORD of God — and the Bible is the written Word. I didn’t really believe it then, 38 years ago, but subsequent events have verified that God did speak to my wife at that time, shortly after we were married, revealing thru an angel in a vision that He was calling us to the mission of WARNING the world of the fast- approaching END OF THIS WORLD, the coming of Jesus Christ, and the world-ruling Kingdom of God. At that time I was unconverted, not bothering to attend church, interested only in business and making money. I was embarrassed — a little awed — but immediately tried to put it out of my mind. But at age 30 God took away my business, struck me down, took away my idol of money-making and business prestige. (Armstrong HW. Co-worker letter, February 21, 1956)

Notice that the dream was to go until the end of the world and the coming of Jesus–since Herbert Armstrong has been dead since January 16, 1986–if the dream was from God then, does it not make sense that the second half of the dream would be fulfilled by another in the 21st century? We in the Continuing Church of God are fulfilling that second part of stars.

Perhaps it should be mentioned, Herbert Armstrong had more information about what I am referring to as the first set of stars in the dream. He wrote:

It was a dazzling spectacle…People by the hundreds came running into this broad intersection looking up to see the strange phenomena … A vast multitude of eyes were upon us… I have only come to believe that this dream was a bonafide call from God in the light of subsequent events. (Armstrong HW. The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong, 9th installment. Plain Truth, August 1958, p. 18).

Eyes of a vast multitude suggest that the dream was saying that the work to be done was to have a witness to many. This happened with the old Radio and Worldwide Church of God under Herbert Armstrong’s leadership in the 20th century. The second set of stars in the dream, which he did not mention in the August 1958 Plain Truth, article, but did in his published Autobiography, may pertain to what I have called, for years, The Final Phase of the Work. But even if it had applicability to the ministry of Herbert Armstrong only, the dream, which shortly before his death he confirmed he believed was from God (per Aaron Dean, who I discussed this with on October 30, 2015), shows that one did precede the COG work he was involved in.

Consider that Herbert W. Armstrong considered that his wife Loma’s dream was from God. He also believed the first part of it had to do with the start of the Philadelphia era of the Church of God via the Radio Church of God. He did not discuss the fulfillment of the second part of the dream directly, however he taught another work would be done.

Dale Schurter, a former WCG minister, reported that Herbert W. Armstrong stated the following in 1984/1985 (shortly before he died in January 1986). Here are two accounts of this:

“A few months before Mr. Armstrong’s death, my wife and I had the opportunity to spend several hours with Mr. Armstrong in his home in Pasadena. He spoke freely of the mighty work God had commissioned him to accomplish, and related certain heartfelt comments: ‘I can say that I have finished the work God has given me to do, and am at peace about it. I have preached and taken the Gospel of the Kingdom of God into all the world as a witness to all nations.’

“Mr. Armstrong went on to say, ‘I have come to realize there will be an even greater work to follow—to go again, to “prophesy again” to all nations tongues and peoples (Rev. 10:11) before the work of the two witnesses—but with more power and with a stronger warning message. But that will be for others to do.’ He continued, ‘It will be a short work (Rom. 9:27-29), compared with the longer time to complete the work I was given, and it will be cut short. That’s when the Great Tribulation will begin, as will the work of the two witnesses. These will last for three and one-half years, at the end of which Christ will return in glory.’” (“The Greatest Work Lies JUST Ahead…” as stated in RCG letter of May 31, 2013)

When Mr. Armstrong was age 91 — about 1984 — Mona and I had opportunity to spend several hours with him in his home in Pasadena to visit and further report on work he had commissioned us to do. We were to report directly back to him. He talked freely of the mighty work God had given him to accomplish. He went on to tell us there was yet a bigger work still to be done, to go again and repeat what has been done, but with more power and with a stronger warning, just before the work of the two witnesses would begin. He said it would be a “short work” (Rom. 9:27-29) compared with the longer time to complete the work he had been given, and that it would be “cut short.” That’s when the great tribulation would begin, as would the work of the two witnesses. These would last for three and one-half years. (January 7, 2012 Dale Schurter Speaks Out: UCG Resignation Letter http://www.rcgtruth.com/2012/01/dale-l-schurter-resignation-letter_06.html)

Herbert Armstrong’s part of the work lasted over 50 years, and he seemingly felt that the “short work” would be much shorter than his work. And that is correct.

Here is what was in Herbert W. Armstrong’s last letter:

The greatest work lies ahead…Never before in the history of the Church has it been possible to reap so great a harvest. It has only been made possible through modern technology, beginning with the printing press, radio, television...Each of you must commit yourself to support God’s Work…God’s work must push ahead as never before. God is opening up new doors in television (Letter, 1/10/86).

Consider that since Herbert Armstrong did not teach that the second part of his wife Loma’s dream was fulfilled and that he also taught a greater work was going to happen after his death. It is greater because it will fulfill Matthew 24:14, etc. That is the work that we in the Continuing Church of God are leading (see The Final Phase of the Work and Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word). It appears that the second part of Loma D. Armstrong’s dream was pointing to the Continuing Church of God–the group that best represents the remnant of the Philadelphian portion of the Church of God.

Dreams are a sign that God has used to confirm ‘Philadelphia.’

The Bible teaches:

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

So, does it not make sense that if God granted a dream to a woman prior to the formation of the Radio Church of God that God could have done that prior to the formation of the Continuing Church of God?

The fact that there were also other dreams related to the Continuing Church of God that were confirmed is consistent with the fact that God has used dreams related to the Continuing Church of God.

Of course, many do not want to believe that God uses dreams or will discount the ones they hear about.

Yet, the Bible shows that God often chooses to work with prophets through a dream:

6 “Hear now My words:
If there is a prophet among you,
I, the Lord, make Myself known to him in a vision;
I speak to him in a dream. (Numbers 12:6)

Notice that the above says that God will speak to His prophet in a dream. Notice also:

28 The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream (Jeremiah 23:28)

Several years ago I had a dream, which while I did not understand it at first, as it became more and more fulfilled over the years, I began to understand it and believe it was from God.

I was 50 at the time (which essentially makes me an ‘old man’ per Numbers 8:25; cf. John 8:57). In my dream, there seemed to be two parallel lines. Living Church of God (LCG) evangelist Roderick Meredith was on the top line and I was on the line much below. In the dream, I kept calling up to Dr. Meredith, but he never would respond. This lack of response made no sense to me during the dream. Then after what seemed to be a long time, the lines-crossed with his line dropping and my line going up.

One reason that I did not understand it at the time was that I was on relatively close speaking terms with Dr. Meredith then (he repeatedly told me he considered me to be his friend, plus he had appointed me an adviser to LCG on matters of doctrine and prophecy), so that aspect of the dream made no sense. Also, since I had no intentions of leaving Living Church of God then (and certainly no plans to start a separate church), it was not clear what the dream was saying. Another reason I was unsure about the dream then was that I had not had any anointing for the Holy Spirit beyond baptism when I had that dream.

But these matters changed eventually. For one, I was unexpectedly anointed for a ‘double-portion’ of God’s Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9) on December 15, 2011 by an LCG minister named Gaylyn Bonjour.

Furthermore, over time, Dr. Meredith became more distant from me, would not keep various promises to me, and ultimately stopped speaking with me. And after I got a letter from him on 12/28/12, it was clear to me that there was no way that the Philadelphia mantle could be with him or any of his leaders. These subsequent events showed me that the dream was being fulfilled.

Related to dreams, the Bible also teaches:

8 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:28-29)

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them,

“Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:14-18)

28 And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? (1 Corinthians 12:28-30).

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ– 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love (Ephesians 4:11-16).

Despite what the Bible supports, most Church of God groups do not seemingly accept that there are any prophets today, nor do they seem to accept that God actually sometimes speaks in dreams in the 21st century–some, oddly, seem indignant of the very idea. Part of the reason for this is that those self-proclaimed ‘prophets’ outside of the Continuing Church of God have tended to be proven to be false (see also Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders?).

But that does not mean God doesn’t ever use dreams or have any in the office of prophet or ever pour out a ‘double-portion’ of His Spirit (cf. 2 Kings 2:9-15) as happened when an ordained minister so prayed and anointed me on December 15, 2011 (see also How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God).

The Bible shows that the Apostle Peter and the prophet Joel mentioned that there would be some with prophetic dreams in the end times.

Fesilafai Fiso Leaana Had a Dream

In addition to my dream (which seemed consistent with Number 12:6 and Acts 2:17), there also seems to have been at least one other dream related to the Continuing Church of God that I would like to mention in some detail here that someone else had.

Unbeknownst to me until late September 2013, a woman named Fesilafai Fiso Leaana of New Zealand had a dream after going to bed on December 8, 2012. Here is a report that Fesilafai Fiso Leaana wrote about her dream:

A few months before my dream, my husband and I noticed a contradiction in practice, regarding the sabbath commandment in LCG, from there we started to pray continuously for God to lead us to where the truth is. It seems God has answered our prayers through the dream.

The dream began with myself and approximately 70 New Zealand Living Church of God brethren, then suddenly LCG vanished (I was wondering where is LCG?) and I was left standing with approximately 10 people excluding myself, on a very high building. We were standing on the very top of the building, where I couldn’t see the bottom, there were no other buildings, just this building. I could not see the bottom of the building but just clouds below the building and clouds surrounding the building which led to a beautiful white mountain – a mountain that had no ends on either side. The building was pretty close to the mountain, I could see the top of the mountain. The mountain was all white and so beautiful. I remember that I began to be filled with joy and peace. But also wondering how we got up on this building and confused why there were no other buildings but the clouds seemed like it was hiding the building and I felt protected or it felt like a safe place. I looked around there were still only about ten people there, the only person I could clearly recognize was Shirley constantly working, the approximate ten others were just sitting and standing around. So I walked around the building looking for the large crowd from LCG, but all I kept returning to was that Shirley was working and doing different types of work alone while the others were still sitting and standing around the building with me. I wondered why she was working a lot. I could not find LCG.

Then suddenly a message came to my mind: “There is a secret in the mountain”. And I was so happy to know that, I was still feeling elated and could still see the beautiful white mountain and wondered about the secret. Then I asked: “What is the secret?” Then the message said, nobody knows the secret in the mountain but only you have received this message that there is a secret in the mountain. Then I asked ‘what is the secret in the mountain?’ I received a message to my mind that told me that “the secret in the mountain is the Ark of the Covenant”. Then the dream abruptly ended because I woke up. And immediately, I woke up my husband and recounted the dream to him, and I told my husband that it reminded me of when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on the mountain and that the mountain was also covered with clouds.

On the same day after my dream, at church service Mr Penman warned us to be careful what we read from Bob Thiel’s Obama book, because they do not support everything he wrote in it. At the time I kept your name in my mind as I did not know who you were then.

Then 3 weeks later Shirley contacted me regarding your Chronology – the exit from LCG. Shirley had all of the Chronology and gave us all a print out of it and went over it with my husband and I. Shirley kept stressing the integrity of the LCG leadership and administration was compromised as proven by your Chronology account. Then my husband and I had to make a decision whether we would continue with LCG or go with Bob Thiel (you) since Shirley, John and Kayla had already decided to be with you 🙂

We decided to go with Bob Thiel and then left the meeting but a letter from Mr. Penman and a visit from the new New Zealand minister Paul attempted to obstruct our departure and tried to dissuade us from leaving LCG and coming with you. This forced us to carefully rethink our decision.

My husband and I were alone, that’s when my husband said to me, “remember your dream? This is what your dream means, that we need to leave this church and go with Shirley”. That’s when we knew what to do. And this dream is the reason most of us in the kiwi CCOG knew that we are in the right Church, God told us to come to this Church. We reaffirmed with Shirley and others that we were going to go with Bob Thiel and my husband told them the dream for the first time and that the dream is the reason my husband and I decided to come.

Not having all the details of the dream, Shirley then prayed about the dream. She asked God for more understanding on the dream. Then the next day she was reading the book of Psalm and Psalm 25:14 JUMPED out at her: “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant.” (email 9/29/13)

Within several weeks of the dream, ten people in New Zealand, including Shirley Gestro (the Shirley above) began to attend the newly formed Continuing Church of God.

Biblically, mountains can symbolize government (Psalm 30:7; Isaiah 11:9; Daniel 2:35; Zechariah 4:7) and white purity or cleanness (Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 7:14, 19:14). Clouds around a mountain (or at least the top of it) could show a separation—maybe a separation that keeps many from seeing all of the truth (cf. Job 22:14; Lamentations 3:44) or recognizing top leadership?

The dream seemed to be a signal to confirm that the Philadelphia mantle was not with the Living Church of God, but instead was associated with someone that had something to do with the ark of the covenant. Prior to the dream Fesilafai Fiso Leaana indicated that she had problems with how the leadership in LCG viewed the Sabbath, and that was one of the issues that I dealt with within weeks of the formation of the Continuing Church of God.

Now, I (Bob Thiel) never heard of, nor learned of, this dream until after the start of the Feast of Tabernacles in September 2013 in New Zealand (which is where my wife Joyce and I began keeping the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013).

Why is that potentially significant?

Back in 2006, when I was first asked to give a sermon at the Feast of Tabernacles, it occurred to me that never in WCG, GCG, nor LCG did I recall anyone actually fulfilling the requirement in Deuteronomy 31:10-13 about reading the “words of the law” in Deuteronomy every seven years at the Feast of Tabernacles (see also The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law). So, when the opportunity to give a sermon came up (in Guatemala), I attempted to go through that book of the law. In 2012, it occurred to me that since this was to be done every seven years, that somehow I would need to do this in 2013 (seven years later), but I was not sure how this would be done. However, once the Continuing Church of God formed, I realized that this would be done at the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013 (sermons were given related to that, links to which are found in the article Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013).

After I began to cite Deuteronomy 31:10-13 and started reading the book of the law at the Feast of Tabernacles in New Zealand in 2013, Fesilafai Fiso Leaana came up to me and told me about her dream. We discussed some points about it and the ark of the covenant, etc. As it turns out, one of the items that was kept besides the ark of the covenant was the very same “Book of the Law” (Deuteronomy 31:26) that I was reading in its entirety publicly during that Feast of Tabernacles. This is a connection that, humanly speaking Fesilafai Leaana could not have known. (There are also other potential ramifications related to the ark of the covenant that I may attempt to publicly address in the future.)

Subsequent events, events that Fesilafai Leaana could not have known on December 8/9, 2012, confirmed her dream. She had no idea that the Continuing Church of God was going to form, and I had not made the decision to actually form it until after getting a letter on December 28, 2012. Fesilafai Leaana’s dream is another witness as to the proper start, etc. of the Continuing Church of God.

Senhor Pires Had a Dream

On March 28, 2014, I flew into London for a two night stopover, before heading to Kenya for a CCOG leadership conference. Within an hour of arriving at my hotel, Senhor Pires came for baptismal counseling. As we walked from the hotel lobby to my room, he wanted to tell me about a vision he saw in a dream that he had.

Here is what he said:

I had this dream. In it was a vision of a congregation of the Continuing Church of God inside a transparent glass bubble (like a balloon). And everyone, I mean everyone apart from the speaker, was black. The speaker was white. And I was asking myself inside that bubble…”why is everyone black here?”

It made no sense to me. I wondered why I would see this.

When Senhor Pires told me the above, I began to laugh. I said to him, “Didn’t you know that the vast majority of people in the Continuing Church of God were black?”

And he said, “No, I figured that most would be white.”

I then told him, “This is quite interesting. Your dream seems to be one of three or more directly related to the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) that has had confirmation.”

I also told him that I was to fly to Kenya in two days, and that those who were to attend a Continuing Church of God leadership conference from Kenya and Tanzania were also black, and that I, the main speaker, would be the only one who was white. And that is what happened.

Also as it turns out, not only was Senhor Pires black, the others who came to attend Sabbath services with us the next day in the United Kingdom were also black. Neither Senhor Pires nor I were aware of this until March 30, 2014.

While this may not seem to be a massive ‘earth-shattering’ dream, it is yet additional confirmation that God has used dreams/visions to communicate to at least three individuals who all later became part of the Continuing Church of God. Dreams and visions are something that God intended to use during the end times (cf. Acts 2:17-18; Joel 2:28-29). Elijah apparently once thought that God would be in something dramatic, but then only was in “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:11-13).

I believe that they are partial confirmations that the Continuing Church of God was to lead (two dreams happened prior to CCOG’s formation), and now is leading, the final phase of the work . The truths that we teach should be accepted as the other proof:

45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. (John 8:45)

Believe the truth, at least for the truth’s sake. Christians are to believe and know the truth (1 Timothy 4:3). The truth sets Christians free (John 8:32) from all types of error (including Laodicean ones, cf. Revelation 3:14-22). The Laodiceans and remnant of Sardis have so many prophetic misunderstandings that they will not possibly know when the Great Tribulation will start until it is too late!

Although some have chosen not to believe all the facts about how and why the Continuing Church of God began, recall that the Bible teaches:

16 ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ (Matthew 18:16)

19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. (1 Timothy 5:19)

Of course, since Gaylyn Bonjour always freely stated that he did the ‘double-portion’ anointing, there long had been a second witness (though various ones have their own opinion about how to interpret that).

Yet, in addition to various facts, the dream from Fesilafai Leaana looks like perhaps God was planning on making it clearer for true Philadelphians (who are in various organizations/fellowships) to see that the mantle location had truly changed. And the one from Senhor Pires showing that God had a major plan for Africans within that.

And there were others.

One, by Frederick Ochieng in Kenya,said that his father (Evans) needed to support Bob Thiel and the CCOG and indicated that would lead to major growth. There has been at least a sixteen-fold increase since that dream roughly five years ago.

To see a chart of seven affiliated with CCOG who had dreams that were later confirmed–including one confirmed only last week!–check out the following: Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God.

Can you accept the word of God that He would use dreams in the end times?

How many witnesses do you need?

Email

Received the following unsolicited email by a CCOG member in the eastern USA, after he watched the sermon Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule:

Dr. Thiel,
Thank you for a needed sermon to inform those who have doubts about the use of dreams by God and to make it clear who God is using now to finish the final phase of His work. I know many are skeptical of one who claims they are the one God is using to lead His Work/Church. This is understandable since there are those who make such claims and are in it for themselves. Clearly you are doing what God has commissioned/called you to do. I can see no reason why you would dedicate so much time and energy in starting and leading the CCof G (what material benefit do you receive?). Materially you would be better off putting that time and energy into your business. However, the only wise option you really have is to allow God to use you as He wants since ones reward is in heaven. Therefore one should store up treasure in heaven. I do not believe you sought/seek power and prestige as some do in other so called Church of God groups.
I believe God has lead me to CCofG. He heard and answered my prayer. I finally became so disgusted with GCI and where it had lead God’s people. I had so many issues with their doctrine, and tearing down of everything God built through HWA. But I did not know where to go. I believed God called and chose me and that His church would never die out. For many years I thought the mantel passed from HWA to Mr. Tkach senior, since Mr. HWA chose him as his successor, and then Joe Jr. Of course I was wrong. I looked to the example of unfaithful kings in Israel and Judah and waited for God to appoint a faithful leader. The example of David waiting for God to remove Saul was misunderstood by me.
The last straw was a message DXX RXXXXX gave on church history about 4 years ago. He traced church history through the Catholic Church and he marginalized Mr. Armstrong’s work. I finally woke up. I asked God to lead me where His most faithful leader and body of believers was. In time and after much study of church history and those who were most faithful to the faith once delivered God lead me your website. He answered my prayer. Interestingly it was not until I had re-studied early church leaders such as Polycarp and Polycrates plus the Passover/Easter issue on other web sites, etc. that I discover Cogwriter by “accident”.
I recalled what HWA taught about church history and realized there still must be a Church of God group still faithful to biblical teachings and contending for the faith once delivered. But where and who?
The main reason I never considered a break off group from WCG in the 1990′s was because I first came in contact with Jerry Flurry’s group. I reject his teaching on the man of sin and other doctrines and his leadership style. Also, when Global started and other break off groups there was such confusion and governance issue it seemed to me it was better to stay where I was in WCG. Of course being in Connecticut we were far from Pasadena and had little first hand information.
However, I knew from scripture God did not want Christians to go it alone. He formed His church and it was ones duty to support His work as well as develop a personal relationship with God. Many of my friends just left WCG or became members in churches of this world. Some stayed with WCG. But I believed God raised up HWA to start the 6th church era and to proclaim the second coming of Jesus Christ. Therefore, how could I just be content to go it alone, (outside of His Church)? Thankfully in time God answered my prayer and I believe has led me to CCofG.
Hopefully others will wake up. Thank you for your faithful service.

It is good this member found the sermon helpful. As far as his observation that I was not seeking power and prestige, I would add that he has met with me and seen me both in the USA and Canada, and realizes that my profession, etc. could give me more of that. And yes, I would concur with his position that I would be better off financially (as well as the related stresses of ‘the burden’ associated with the work, cf. Malachi 1:1; Numbers 11:11) if I did not lead the Continuing Church of God (CCOG).

While the Bible says that ministers are entitled to be compensated per the Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 5:17-18), it also warns against worthless shepherds:

1 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” (Ezekiel 34:1-6)

While there is nothing wrong with wearing wool clothing, many in the ministry ended up with better clothes than perhaps they otherwise would have. Often their focus has been wrong.

Why do I not take a salary?

Two basic reasons:

1) The work would be affected too much negatively–the Apostle Paul, himself, worked in his profession at times (Acts 18:3). We must feed the flock spiritually, and that does take funds to reach people. Costs are incurred for literature, the internet, video production, graphics, printing, postage, and travel–including sending Evangelist Evans Ochieng, myself, and/or others to differing locations to minister.

2) If I took a salary a lot more people would go hungry, especially in Africa (cf. Galatians 2:10). The salary amount that would be appropriate for me by historic Worldwide Church of God standards would be more than all the money we currently send to Africa each year. That being said, while I wish we had more money to send to Africa (and sometimes Asia), as we cannot satisfy all the hungry and other needs there, we are sending what we can. We try to feed the flock physically where we can (yet, even the Apostle Peter could not always give to the needy per Acts 3:6), and that takes funds.

My not taking a salary, car, housing allowance, etc. does not mean I would never consider taking a salary, but with the ‘present distress’ (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:26) I have chosen not to do it and God has blessed our business enough that our family has our needs, etc. met.

The Work is Being Done

The work (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Galatians 2:10) is being done, and CCOG is a work that God has blessed with at least 3 dreams prior to its start and several since (the latest one we learned of was earlier this month and is mentioned in the post CCOG in Manipur, India).

The CCOG has also been the fastest growing of the COG groups in the 21st century.

But many do not believe that God will work using dreams in the 21st century, despite the reality that most once part of the old WCG supposedly believed that God did in the 20th century (see also Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God).

Of course, some will discount dreams and their confirmation as proper proof of anything they do not wish to believe. Many want more dramatic signs (Matthew 12:38; 1 Kings 19:11-12), but God does not always do it that way (Matthew 12:39-42; 1 Kings 19:12-14).

Can you believe?

If so, are you willing to support the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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 is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work.
Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the Continuing Church of God How has God used dreams in the past? Does God still use dreams? Did He use any involving those in the Continuing Church of God? A related sermon is also available: Dreams, COGs, and One Man Rule.
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.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 will be fulfilled. 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.
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.
Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18? Here is a link in the French language: Est-ce que l’Église Continue de Dieu confirme les signes d’Actes 2:17-18?
Church of God Leaders on Prophets Have there been prophets throughout the church age? Are any supposed to be around in the last days? What have COG leaders stated or written about prophets? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Leaders on Prophets.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
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.
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 three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
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.
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.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God.

Hyginus: Did this Roman leader try to change times?

Friday, January 10th, 2020


Vatican City (photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

January 11th is the feast day of the Church of Rome for a leader called Hyginus. Although the claimed early leaders of Rome in the Catholic “succession lists” refer to him as a pope, that title was not used by leaders there until the latter part of the fourth century.

The generally touted Catholic position is that Hyginus was the ninth pope and that all subsequent leaders of the true church passed through him. Is that correct?

Certain Claims

While visiting the Vatican in 2004, I purchased a book in its basilica museum bookstore titled The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history (Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni, Roma, 1997). The book states that it is sponsored by the “Pontifical Administration, which has tutelage over the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter”.

It makes many claims about the early “bishops” of Rome including this about Hyginus:

9. HYGINUS, ST. (136-140) Born in Athens, he was considered a philosopher and he behaved like one…During the baptism of children, he ordered the presence of a godfather or a godmother who would guide and direct them in leading a Christian life. He ordered that churches should be dedicated. His pontificate was marked by persecution and his martyrdom (Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni, Roma, 1997, p. 3).

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes this about him:

The ancient authorities contain no information as to his having died a martyr (Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Joseph P. Thomas.The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

There is also no evidence that he came up with godparents or requiring churches to be dedicated. Actually, these are unlikely to have been done then. Essentially, the Roman Catholics now teach that the godparent repents and accepts Christ on the behalf of infants that they baptize—godparents are part of the justification they have for infant baptism (please see article on Baptism).

For example, The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

When infants are solemnly baptized, persons assist at the ceremony to make profession of the faith in the child’s name. This practice comes from antiquity and is witnessed to by Tertullian, St. Basil, St. Augustine, and others. Such persons are designated sponsores, offerentes, susceptores, fidejussores, and patrini. The English term is godfather and godmother, or in Anglo-Saxon, gossip (Fanning W.H.W. Transcribed by Charles Sweeney, S.J. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Note that Hyginus is not listed as coming up with this as many Catholic scholars realize that there simply was no record that he did.

It is of interest to note that:

…the Gnostic Valentine came to Rome in Hyginus’s time, remaining there until Anicetus (Ibid).

According to the Catholic historian Eusebius, it was Polycarp of Smyrna who had to deal with that heretic as Hyginus apparently did not. This helps show that it was the leadership in Asia Minor, which at that time was clearly “Church of God,” that dealt with various heresies and heretics that the Church of Rome tolerated.

According to Tertullian, the Church of Rome tolerated Valentinus for decades after he was denounced by Polycarp of Smyra.

Easter Sunday

The Bible has the following warning:

25 He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. (Daniel 7:25)

While that still has a future application, to a degree, this happened with one or more Roman leaders in the second century.

Although most who profess Christianity now celebrate it, Easter-Sunday was not observed by the second century Christians in Asia Minor. They observed Passover.

The date was improperly changed.

Beginning with possibly the Roman leader Telesphorus or possibly Hyginus (or possibly Sixtus, there are no contemporaneous records, only an unclear report 5-6 decades later written by Irenaeus), what is now called Easter began to be observed in Rome. First, it was apparently a change in the date of Passover from the 14th of Nisan to a Sunday. This is believed to have happened because there was a rebellion by Jews and that any distancing between Jews and Christians seemed physically advantageous (at least to some in Rome and the Greeks in Jerusalem). It was due to cowardice and antisemitism that the Sunday date was chosen (the fact that cowards often were killed anyway, does not prove they were not cowards).

The late SDA scholar Samuele Bacchiocchi noted that the change to Easter-Sunday and to a weekly Sunday was due to persecution (the new Gentile hierarchy he is referring to are Greek bishops in Jerusalem, which took over after the rebellion was crushed):

The actual introduction of Easter-Sunday appears to have occurred earlier in Palestine after Emperor Hadrian ruthlessly crushed the Barkokeba revolt (A.D. 132-135)…

The fact that the Passover controversy arose when Emperor Hadrian adopted new repressive measures against Jewish religious practices suggests that such measures influenced the new Gentile hierarchy to change the date of Passover from Nisan 14 to the following Sunday (Easter-Sunday) in order to show separation and differentiation from the Jews and the Jewish Christians…

A whole body of Against the Jews literature was produced by leading Fathers who defamed the Jews as a people and emptied their religious beliefs and practices of any historical value. Two major causalities of the anti-Jewish campaign were Sabbath and Passover. The Sabbath was changed to Sunday and Passover was transferred to Easter-Sunday.

Scholars usually recognize the anti-Judaic motivation for the repudiation of the Jewish reckoning of Passover and adoption of Easter-Sunday instead. Joachim Jeremias attributes such a development to “the inclination to break away from Judaism.” In a similar vein, J.B. Lightfoot explains that Rome and Alexandria adopted Easter-Sunday to avoid “even the semblance of Judaism” (Bacchiocchi S. God’s Festival in Scripture and History. Biblical Perspectives. Befriend Springs (MI), 1995, pp. 101,102,103).

It is likely that Telesphorus made this change at the time to attempt to distance himself from the Jews in Rome. If he was the one who did it, and if he thought that this would spare his life, he was wrong as he was later killed by the Roman authorities (circa 136 A.D.). On the other hand, it is perhaps more likely that it was Hyginus, who was also possibly Greek, that decided to introduce the Passover Sunday tradition, perhaps to decrease the wrath of the anti-Jewish Roman authorities.

Since Anicetus’ account claimed that this practice was begun by presbyters who preceded him (see Easter), it would need to have been no later than the Greeks Telesphorus or Hyginus, as they were followed by Pius who was then followed by Anicetus (it probably did not originate with Sixtus as he preceded Telesphorus, he was not believed to have been Greek, and he was dead, if he even existed, circa 125 A.D.).

It is probable that Hyginus either began, continued, or started the practice of observing Passover on a Sunday, but there is no specific information that proves he did. But if he did, he obviously is not someone who should be celebrated by Christians as the Bible teaches that Passover was held on the 14th of Nisan.

Historical records demonstrate that the Apostles John and Philip, as well as their spiritual descendants in Asia Minor, did not change or compromise on this point–they continued to follow the Bible. But Hyginus might have compromised, and the Church of Rome at some point in time most certainly did.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

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?
“Pope” Hyginus (136-140) He is claimed to have come up with the idea of “godparents”. He may have been involved in the institution of a Sunday Passover. The heretic Valentinus appeared by his time.
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.

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.
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?
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.
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.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Baptism and the Early Church Was it by immersion? Did it include infants? Does Polycarp prove infant baptism?
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. 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.
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?