Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

The Day of Atonement and Satan

Wednesday, October 5th, 2022


17th Century Depiction of the Binding of Satan

COGwriter

The Day of Atonement lasts from sunset October 4th until sunset October 5th in 2022. (A version of this article is also available in Spanish: http://www.cdlidd.es/el-macho-cabrio-degollado-representa-a-jesus/).

A unique ceremony related to the Day of Atonement is discussed in the Old Testament:

5 And from the assembly of the sons of Israel he shall take two he goats of the goats for sin, and one ram for a burnt-offering. (Leviticus 16:5, Smith’s Literal Translation; Note that this verse does not state that the goats are both for sin offerings. We see in verse 15 only one of the goat’s is described as “the sin offering.”)

8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for Jehovah, and the other lot for Azazel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat upon which the lot fell for Jehovah, and offer him for a sin-offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell for Azazel, shall be set alive before Jehovah, to make atonement for him, to send him away for Azazel into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:8-10, ASV)

8 ‘And Aaron hath given lots over the two goats, one lot for Jehovah, and one lot for a goat of departure; 9 and Aaron hath brought near the goat on which the lot for Jehovah hath gone up, and hath made it a sin-offering. 10 ‘And the goat on which the lot for a goat of departure hath gone up is caused to stand living before Jehovah to make atonement by it, to send it away for a goat of departure into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:8-10, YLT)

Christians note the parallels between the first of the two goats with Jesus being the sin offering in verse 9 and the second of the two goats tied in with Satan (the Azazel goat).

Now as the goat representing Jesus does get killed, but the goat representing Satan does not (which parallels him being placed in the bottomless pit for 1000 years in Revelation 20).

As far as ‘Azazel,’ notice the following:

R. Menachem interprets Azazel of Samael, the angel of death, the devil, the prince that hath power over desolate places: there are several Christian writers of great note, that understand this of the devil as Origen (b), among the ancients; and of the moderns, Cocceius (c), Witsius (d), and Spencer (e), who think that by these two goats is signified the twofold respect of Christ our Mediator; one to God, as a Judge, to whom he made satisfaction by his death; the other to the devil, the enemy with whom he conflicted in life; who, according to prophecy, was to be delivered up to Satan, and have his heel bruised by him; and who was to come, and did come into the wilderness of this world…(Gill, John. Exposition of the Entire Bible. [1746-63])

So, basically a Jewish rabbi (“R.” is an abbreviation for Rabbi) and certain leaders who professed Christ believed that the Azazel goat represented Satan. And that is consistent with the passages in Leviticus 16 and other scriptures.

Notice more about part of an Old Testament ceremony that occurred on the Day of Atonement:

And when he has made an end of atoning for the Holy Place, the tabernacle of meeting, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat. Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness…And he who released the goat as the scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp (Leviticus 16:20-22,26).

Notice that the atonement is over after the first goat is sacrificed. The atonement is not part of the symbolism of the second goat. While some Protestant commentators understand this correctly, others either do not know what the Azazel goat represents or think it represents the physical life of Christ. Yet, that latter explanation would not seem to be consistent with the statements in Leviticus 16:26 (bolded above).

Why?

Because notice that it is a fit man that takes the goat into the wilderness and he has to wash himself after he has released the aza’zel goat. If the second goat represented Christ, the fit man would have to wash BEFORE touching the goat (cf. Leviticus 16:4) and not AFTER releasing it. Touching the one representing Satan would make one unclean, not touching the one representing Christ. Washing in Leviticus 15 clearly was shown to be required after touching/being exposed to various things considered to be unclean.

Notice also:

17 If a person sins, and commits any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD, though he does not know it, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity. (Leviticus 5:17)

15 Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. (Leviticus 24:15)

Unrepentant sinners are to bear their sins. Satan is unrepentant and has had a part if causing others to sin–Satan will bear his sins, which includes his part in pushing others to sin–not to take the sins of others away, but in order to reap what he has sowed (cf. Galatians 6:7).

Moreover, the following is also applicable to him:

52 … bear your own shame also, because the sins which you committed were more abominable than theirs; (Ezekiel 16:52)

Consider the following related to Satan and his influence:

2 … prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Ephesians 2:2-3)

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)

The new Testament is clearly assigning blame to Satan–and we also know that God did as well starting with Satan deceiving Eve (Genesis 3:1-14).

The old Worldwide Church of God taught:

The English word scapegoat is not a correct translation of the Hebrew word God inspired. Most Bibles with marginal renderings show that the original word was azazel. Azazel refers to none other than Satan the devil!

The modern word scapegoat carries an entirely wrong connotation. Originally it was escape goat — the goat allowed to escape in the wilderness — that the translators took to be the meaning of azazel. But today the English word scapegoat signifies “one who bears blame or guilt for others.” As we shall see, azazel — Satan — will bear his own guilt! (MINISTUDY: The Day of Atonement in God’s Great Master Plan. Good News, August 1983)

What happened to the live goat in Leviticus 16 is symbolic of Satan for three basic reasons:

  1. The term scapegoat is an inappropriate translation into English, as it implies that blame is being placed where blame is not due. The Hebrew term is actually aza’zel. This is a term that some Jewish people have historically ascribed to a Satanic adversary.
  2. Satan will reap what he sows (Galatians 6:7) and yes, does bear blame for sin–including sins of others as he has been involved i influencing from the time of Adam and Eve to present.
  3. What happens with the Azazel goat and what happens to Satan is quite similar, if one compares Leviticus 16:20-22,26 to Revelation 20:1-3.

The New Testament Fulfillment of the Binding of Azazel/Satan


Place called ‘Devil’s home’ in New Zealand

The New Testament shows that Satan will be bound for a thousand years to be kept away from humanity during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ:

1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. (Revelation 20:1-3)

Since the above is consistent with the ceremony in the Old Testament about bringing (essentially casting) the Azazel goat into the wilderness, it appears that the binding and casting of Satan into the bottomless pit will occur on the Atonement.

Notice that the Old Testament shows that it is a fit man that places the Azazel goat, which bares blame for sins into the wilderness and in the New Testament it is an angel that places Satan, who brought sin into the world, into the wilderness of the bottomless pit.

Some Roman Catholic leaders, oddly, believe that this already happened physically or spiritually:

Revelation 20:1-3 . . . God has always respected our freedom of choice between covenant fidelity to him and to apostasy. That seems to be the theological point of this thousand-year period that is relatively free from Satanic temptations. (Kurz, W. What Does the Bible Say About the End Times? A Catholic View. Servant Books, Cincinnati. Nihil Obstat: Kistner H., Schehr T.P. Imprimi Potest: Link F., Paul J.M. Imprimatur: Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004, p. 168, 173-174)

Millenium {sic}: Since the Holy Office decreed (July 21, 1944) that it cannot safely be taught that Christ at His Second Coming will reign visibly with only some of His saints (risen from the dead) for a period of time before the final and universal judgment, a spiritual millennium is seen in Apoc. 20:4-6. St. John gives a spiritual recapitulation of the activity of Satan, and the spiritual reign of the saints with Christ in heaven and in His Church on earth. When Christianity triumphed over the Beast (in its sixth head, the pagan Roman empire) Satan was chained. With the re-appearance of the Beast in the anti-Christian world empire (the seventh head), he will be unchained, and muster all his forces against the Church until the peak of the persecution under Antichrist. Meanwhile, the church enjoyed its milleniun {sic} with Christ enthroned among the nations. (LeFrois, Bernard J. Eschatological Interpretation of the Apocalypse. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. XIII, pp. 17-20; Cited in Culleton RG. The Reign of Antichrist, 1951. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1974, p. 9).

Notice that the above suggests that Satan has been gone a thousand years. Does any thinking person believe that Satan was ever bound and away from the earth for 1,000 years after Revelation (which Roman Catholics often refer to as the Apocalypse) was written? This has never happened literally or spiritually–though it will in the millennium (see also
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?).

Contrary to the claims of those who do not take this portion of Revelation literally, this 1000 year binding of Satan has certainly not taken place since John was inspired to pen Revelation.

The New Testament shows that the Gentile Gospel writer Luke knew about the Day of Atonement, when he wrote:

9…sailing was now dangerous because the Fast was already over (Acts 27:9).

The Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God states this about the Day of Atonement (and more detail is in the article The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance):

The Day of Atonement, called “the Fast” in the New Testament (Acts 27:9), helps show our own weaknesses and need to be closer to God (Isaiah 58:5,11). This day shows that Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for our sins now (1 John 4:9-10; cf. Leviticus 16:15-16) and those that will be called in the “age to come” (Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; cf. Acts 3:21). It also helps picture that Satan has a role in the sins of humankind and that he will be punished by being bound for one-thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3; cf. Leviticus 16:20-26; Isaiah 14:12-16).

While some believe that what the Old Testament pictures is past, the reality is that the Holy Days help show God’s plan of salvation, and in the case of the Day of Atonement, it also shows Satan’s role in sin and his coming binding for 1000 years.

As far as Satan’s fate goes, the Continuing Church of God put out the following sermon on its ContinuingCOG channel by the late deacon Richard Close:

1:41:10

Is Satan immortal? Does he have eternal life? Or will he perish? Will you believe what the Bible says about this? Richard Close examines many scriptures indicating that Satan’s final fate has been revealed.

Here is a link to the sermon: Destiny of Satan.

Those who have more interest may wish to study the following:

The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Ayuno –Su significado cristiano.
Sermon: The Bible and the Day of Atonement The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? Was it observed in the New Testament? What did some of the ancient Hebrew ceremonies surrounding it mean? Does one goat in Leviticus represent Jesus and the other Satan? How does the New Testament help answer this?
Sermon: Atonement, Fasting, and Jesus What does the Bible teach about the Day of Atonement? What was Jesus’ role? Why fast?
The Atonement Plan How does the Day of Atonement tie into God’s plan of salvation? Two sermons of related interest are available God’s Atonement and Fasting Plan and God’s Atonement Plan.
Atonement Offertory Jesus Was the Atoning Sacrifice Should an offering be taken up on the Day of Atonement? What does the Bible seem to teach about that? Was Jesus a type of atonement offering? If you send an offering, how does that support the work? Dr. Thiel goes over scriptures and facts related to this. Here is a link to the donation page of the Continuing Church of God, which includes the ability to use PayPal: http://www.ccog.org/donations/
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History; The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character; The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon; Eucharist, Passover, and Easter; Views of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & Baptism; Scripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. Sunday; Church Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s Plan; Seventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?; Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of Salvation; Crosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean Meats; The Godhead and the Trinity; Fleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, PassoverWhat Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & CelibacyEarly Heresies and HereticsDoctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, MeatsTithes, Crosses, Destiny, and moreSaturday or Sunday?The GodheadApostolic Laying on of Hands SuccessionChurch in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession ListHoly Mother Church and Heresies, and Lying Wonders and Original Beliefs.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Michael’s Day of Atonement Quiz Another free on-line Bible quiz by my son Michael.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should Christians keep the Fall Biblical Holy Days?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not? What does the Feast of Trumpets, which the Jews call Rosh Hashanah, help teach?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach? A related sermon video is Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.
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. Two related sermons would be Which Spring Days should Christians observe? and Fall Holy Days for Christians.
The Last Great Day: Shemini ‘Azeret What is the ‘eighth day’ of the Feast? What does it help picture? A sermon on this topic is also available: Shemini Azaret: The Last Great Day.
Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims? Should Christians sojourn? What does the Bible and Feast of Tabernacles teach? A related video sermon is titled Christian Pilgrims.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2033, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.

Jesus is the slain goat of the ancient atonement ceremony

Wednesday, October 5th, 2022

COGwriter

It is the Day of Atonement.

In the original Hebrew, the Bible calls the day Yom Hakippurim (which is Hebrew for “Day of the Atonements”).

The original rites and practices for the Day of Atonement are set forth in the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus (cf. Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 23:27-31, 25:9; Numbers 29:7-11). It is considered to be a time for fasting, during which no food or drink are to be consumed:

26 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. 27 It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls…32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath (Leviticus 23:26-27,32).

This fasting is historically how the phrase “afflict your souls” has been interpreted by the Jewish community to mean fasting (this is also verified by such passages as Psalm 35:13; 69:10 and Isaiah 58:5) , unless one is somehow ill, and thus is already afflicted. Evening to evening means from sunset to sunset.

In the New Testament, the Day of Atonement is referred to as “the Fast” (Acts 27:9). The fact that this day was referred to that way (or even at all) is an indication that it was observed by Christians after Christ’s resurrection. The Bible clearly shows that so-called Jewish holy days, such as Pentecost were observed by Christians after Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 2:1).

A unique ceremony related to the Day of Atonement is discussed in Leviticus 16:

8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for Jehovah, and the other lot for Azazel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat upon which the lot fell for Jehovah, and offer him for a sin-offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell for Azazel, shall be set alive before Jehovah, to make atonement for him, to send him away for Azazel into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:8-10, ASV)

8 ‘And Aaron hath given lots over the two goats, one lot for Jehovah, and one lot for a goat of departure; 9 and Aaron hath brought near the goat on which the lot for Jehovah hath gone up, and hath made it a sin-offering. 10 ‘And the goat on which the lot for a goat of departure hath gone up is caused to stand living before Jehovah to make atonement by it, to send it away for a goat of departure into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:8-10, YLT)

Christians note the parallels between the first of the two goats with Jesus and the second of the two goats with Satan (the Azazel goat).

Such as Jesus does get killed, but that Satan does not.

The slain goat represents Christ who actually dies for our sins. Notice Leviticus 16:15-19:

15 Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. 16 So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel. 18 And he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD, and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. 19 Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

Christ’s sacrifice is an atonement sacrifice to reconcile us to God. Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:

18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

The late Herbert W. Armstrong wrote:

Now the goat which God selected through lot, to represent Christ was slain, as Christ, its antitype was slain. But the other goat selected by God to represent Azazel was not slain, but was driven, alive, into an uninhabited wilderness. It was not a resurrected goat, symbolizing the resurrected Christ, for it never died. The uninhabited wilderness, to which this goat was driven, cannot, as we shall show, represent heaven, where Christ went. Heaven is neither uninhabited, nor a wilderness.

After God designated which goat represented Christ and which Azazel, the high priest (verse 11) killed the bullock for a sin offering for himself, then took the burning coals of fire and the sweet incense into the Holy of Holies, also sprinkling the blood of the bullock before the mercy seat, typical of the throne of God, covering the tables of testimony (the law). This the high priest was required to do in order to purify himself to officiate, and to represent Christ as High Priest. In the antitype, this was not done, for Christ, our High Priest, had no need of this purification as the typical substitutionary priests did.

Now the Levitical high priest was ready to go out and officiate.

Next, the goat which God selected by lot to represent Christ, as the sin offering of the people, was killed. Thus the sins of the people were borne by the goat, even as Christ, finally, once for all, bore our sins on the cross. But Christ rose again from the dead, and ascended to the throne of God in heaven.

Now, who, or what, from this point on in the Levitical ceremony, typified the resurrected Christ, who went to heaven? Some say the goat representing Azazel. Let us see.

The risen Christ, now at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven (I Peter 3:22), is called what? Our High Priest! What was the earthly type of God’s throne? The uninhabited wilderness? No! That is where the live goat went!

The earthly type of God’s throne was the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. After Christ died, He went to the heavenly mercy seat interceding for us, as our High Priest. “. . . Entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:19-20).

Now, again, who, or what, in the Levitical ceremony of the Day of Atonement, typified the risen Christ, our High Priest, who went within the veil to God’s throne in heaven? The one goat had been slain. It represented the slain Christ. It can no longer represent the risen Christ. The slain Christ was not our High Priest, because the Levitical priesthood, with its high priest, did not end until Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven as a High Priest after the order of Melchisedec. But the risen Christ was High Priest. Now WHO took this part in the Levitical ceremonies, temporarily re-enacted year by year, on this eternal Holy Day? Why, so obviously a child could see, it was the Levitical high priest, not the goat representing Azazel!

The High Priest Type of Christ

As soon as the slain goat was dead, who went within the veil, presenting the blood of this goat before the typical throne of God?

Leviticus 16:15-16 “Then shall he [the high priest] kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and [now the high priest himself typifying the work of the risen Christ] bring his blood within the veil . . . and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat: and he shall make an atonement for the holy place. . . .”

And so it was the high priest taking blood within the veil, to the mercy seat, that typified the risen Christ figuratively taking HIS blood, once for all, within the veil to the very throne of God in heaven, there to intercede for us as High Priest. Surely this is so plain a child can see.

The slain goat represented the crucified Jesus. The high priest, by taking the blood of this slain goat into the veil to the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies, a type of God’s throne, represented and did the work of the risen Christ, who ascended to the right hand of the Majesty on high, there interceding as our High Priest. (Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days Which?)

The Holy Days of the Hebrew scriptures have applicability now and all help point to Jesus Christ. As far as why Jesus is shown in Passover and Atonement, that is discussed in our sermon: God’s Atonement and Fasting Plan.

In the Old Testament, the Day of Atonement included a ceremony where the Azazel goat was sent to the wilderness (Leviticus 16:1-10). Christians see this sending of the Azazel goat away as picturing the time during the millennium when Satan will be bound and sent away for a thousand years in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-4). This means that Satan will not be able to tempt and deceive during that time. The Azazal goat was not slain, nor is Satan pictured being slain.

Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, a goat is not sacrificed by Christians to observe this day (cf. Hebrews 10:1-10).

Yet, although Jesus was our Passover lamb sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7-8) and He was slain only once (Hebrews 9:28), we also see a time other than Passover where Jesus is ceremonially slain.

Why?

Many have speculated, but there look to be scriptural clues, along with the fact that this happens before the release of the second goat.

Why two sacrifices since Jesus was only sacrificed once?

Because of how the biblical holy days picture God’s plan of salvation.

The biblical festivals begin with the sacrifice of Jesus (Passover), putting out sin (Days of Unleavened Bread), and the calling of the firstfruits in this age (Pentecost)–which is the beginning of the Church age (cf. Acts 2). The Church age ends when Jesus returns after the last trumpet is blown (Feast of Trumpets sets off a sequence of seven trumpets). The Day of Atonement comes after the Feast of Trumpets and, in sequence, happens AFTER the church age ends.

Jesus’ Passover sacrifice pictured His sacrifice for those called during the Church age, whereas the Atonement sacrifice pictures that Jesus did NOT JUST DIE FOR THE ELECT but for all (cf. John 3:16-17). That is also related to Him returning the second time for salvation!

This is a truth that has been restored in the Continuing Church of God.

This age lasts until Jesus returns, which He does on the seventh and last trump (1 Corinthians 15:52), which is one of the trumpets pictured by the Feast of Trumpets. After the church age is over, Jesus’ sacrifice will be accepted by more than the elect of the church age. It is NOT because Jesus will get sacrificed again.

Jesus is the “author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Passover shows part of why He is the author and the Day of Atonement helps show us He is the finisher (as does His return with the last trumpet on pictured by the Feast of Trumpets).

So, although the Greco-Roman-Protestants tend to think the atonement was just a past event, this understanding of the Day of Atonement points to a future time–and shows an aspect of God’s plan of salvation that most seem to have missed.

As Christians, this picturing of Jesus as the goat of the atonement also shows us that we are not ‘better’ than others (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31) and that although we are the ones who have accepted Jesus’ Passover sacrifice now, others will accept His atoning sacrifice later (see also Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).

Since the Bible calls Satan “the god of this age” who has “blinded” the world (2 Corinthians 4:4), most have been blinded and have not yet been covered by the sacrifice of Jesus. Yet this will happen for nearly all who will be called–either in this age or the age to come (Matthew 12:32). Showing the sacrifice, ceremonially after the church age ends on the Day of Atonement, helps demonstrate that the sacrifice of Jesus was not just for those called in the church age, as God’s plan includes offering salvation to all, and not just today’s elect.

By showing the sacrifice prior to the other goat being released, this shows that Jesus was not taking away the sins of Satan.

Jesus took the penalty of all human beings. But it doesn’t apply to humans until after God calls us and grants us repentance (John 6:44) and we come to be willing to repent and we come to believe. Not only in Jesus, but we believe the Son and we believe the Father, that is, we believe what They say. Also, we prove it by repenting, being baptized, being granted the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) and actually trying to live as They would have us live (cf. 1 John 2:6).

People attempting to be faithful to the Bible have observed the Day of Atonement and we faithful in the Continuing Church of God continue to do so in the 21st century.

We are pleased to announce this Day of Atonement offertory from its ContinuingCOG channel:

11:15

Atonement Offertory: Jesus Was the Atoning Sacrifice

The Bible teaches various ordinances were done by the children of Israel, including the annual Day of Atonement. Did Jesus give a better and more essential sacrifice? Can you buy God’s favor with money? Does the work of God require your money? What about the widow who gave all she had? Should Christians give offerings? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more. To give donations either through the mail or online via PayPal, please go to: https://www.ccog.org/donations/

Here is a link to an offertory for the Day of Atonement: Atonement Offertory: Jesus Was the Atoning Sacrifice.

Here is a sermon made and recommended for 2022:

1:12:04

God’s Day of Atonement Plan

The Day of Atonement is discussed in the Old Testament and is referred to as “the Fast” in the New Testament. How does it picture in God’s plan? Did Jesus pray that we would be at one with God/ Why fast? Do those who can fast avoid food and drink from sunset to sunset and not work on the Day of Atonement? What about nursing infants and small children? Did Jesus just die for those called in this age? What about everyone else? Since the Bible shows that Jesus only needed to die once, why do we see ceremonies related to Passover and Atonement which both picture His death? Is the timing of the Day of Atonement help point to its part of God’s plan? Are we to consider others as we “afflict our souls”? What about Satan and his role in our sins? Will there come a time of no sorrows? How can fasting help you? Dr. Thiel addresses these matters and more.

Here is a link to the sermon: God’s Day of Atonement Plan.

Here is a sermon made and recommended for 2021:

1:11:14

Jesus THE Atonement

The Jews call it Yom Kippur and Christians call it the Day of Atonement. In transliterated Hebrew, the Bible calls the day Yom Hakippurim, which is Hebrew for “Day of the Atonements.” What do Old Testament scriptures say about it? Why is fasting associated with it? Did Jesus shed His blood only for Christians in this age? What about the age to come? If Jesus is only to be sacrificed once, why is He symbolically sacrificed as the Passover lamb as well as one of the goats associated with the Atonement ceremony in the Book of Leviticus? Is the Day of Atonement referred to in the Book of Acts? Is there evidence that Christians kept the Day of Atonement throughout the church age? Why should Christians observe it? Dr. Thiel addresses these topics and more in this video sermon.

Here is a link to the sermon: Jesus THE Atonement.

Those who have more interest may wish to study the following:

The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? What is the Jubilee? Is fasting healthy? Here is a link to a sermon: Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Expiación –Su significado cristiano.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is are links to related sermons: Christian Election: Is God Calling YOU? and Predestination and Your Selection. A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? Two related sermons about this are also available: Real Repentance and Real Christian Repentance.

The Atonement Plan How does the Day of Atonement tie into God’s plan of salvation? Two sermons of related interest are available God’s Atonement and Fasting Plan and God’s Atonement Plan.
Atonement Offertory
Should an offering be taken up on the Day of Atonement? What does the Bible seem to teach about that? Was Jesus a type of atonement offering? If you send an offering, how does that support the work? Does God need your money or do you need to give? Dr. Thiel goes over scriptures and facts related to this. Here is a link to the donation page of the Continuing Church of God, which includes the ability to use PayPal: http://www.ccog.org/donations/
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Michael’s Day of Atonement Quiz Another free on-line Bible quiz by my son Michael.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
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.
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should Christians keep the Fall Biblical Holy Days?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not? What does the Feast of Trumpets, which the Jews call Rosh Hashanah, help teach? A related sermon video would be Feast of Trumpets and the Book of Life as well as The Trumpet Release. The article has links to hear shofar blasts.
Feast of Trumpets: Why Should You Keep It? What does the Bible say? What does this festival picture?
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.
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: Apocatastasis, Universal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be Saved, Mysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3), Is God Fair, Will God Pardon the Ignorant?, Can God Save Your Relatives?, Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2033, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.

Day of Atonement 2022; La expiacion, Jesus y Satanas y Sermon del Dia de Expiacion 2022

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022


People Fasting in New Zealand

COGwriter

From sunset October 4th through sunset October 5th, it is the Day of Atonement in 2022. We have online sermons in English and Spanish.

The Day of Atonement is one of God’s feasts and is considered to be a time for fasting, on which no food or drink are to be consumed:

1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. (Leviticus 23:1-2; NKJV throughout unless otherwise specified)

26 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.” (Leviticus 23:26-32).

7 ‘On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall afflict your souls; you shall not do any work. 8 You shall present a burnt offering to the Lord as a sweet aroma: one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year. Be sure they are without blemish. 9 Their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil: three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the one ram, 10 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs; 11 also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, besides the sin offering for atonement, the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings. (Numbers 29:7-11)

Evening to evening means from sunset to sunset.

Fasting is historically how the phrase “afflict your souls,”Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance word 6031, has been interpreted by the Jewish and Church of God communities–unless one is somehow ill, and thus is already afflicted.

The Hebrew words kaphar (Strong’s #3722) and kopher (Strong’s #3724), from which the word translated as “Atonement” Kipuriym (Strong’s #3725 is kippur) in Leviticus 23:27 comes from, literally means “to cover or cover over” (and Strong’s #3722 is used in passages such as Numbers 29:5 to refer to the atonement sacrifice. The New Testament discusses the idea of covering over sins through Jesus sacrifice. Notice what the Apostles Paul and Peter were inspired to write:

5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” (Romans 4:5-8)

21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:21-25)

This is something Christians need to realize, and the Day of Atonement (as well as Passover) serves as an annual reminder.

Christians kept the Day of Atonement after the New Testament was written.

A Muslim document, dated from the period of the fifth-tenth century, states that Jesus and His disciples kept the fast on the same days as the Jews. It indicates that Judeo-Christians were still keeping the Day of Atonement while the Greco-Romans came up with a 50 day Lenten-like fasting period that Jesus did not keep (Tomson P. Lambers-Petry L. The Image of the Judaeo-Christians in Ancient Jewish and Christian Literature, Volume 158 of Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament. Mohr Siebeck , 2003, pp. 70-72; Stern SM. Quotations from Apocryphal Gospels in ‘Abd Al-Jabbar. Journal of Theological Studies, NS. Volume XVIII, (1) April 1967: 34-57).

Reports from other historians support this view (cf. 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. 32-34).

This is further substantiated in a Jewish account (reported in the Talmud) which has been related by a Catholic scholar. Priest Bellarmino Bagatti stated that it is recorded that an early second century Christian named Jacob (100-120 AD) held a discssion with a Jewish scholar about the Day of Atonement. In it, the Christian Jacob explained how it was a reminder which helped show “Christ head of the angels” and that we are to be “blameless” in our “conduct” (Bagatti, Bellarmino. Translated by Eugene Hoade. The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970. Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, p.97).

And of course, when God has an angel bind Satan (Revelation 20:1) this will be another related fulfillment for the Day of Atonement and it does help show that Christ is the head of the angels (and that Satan is not).

Furthermore, it is known that in the first and second century, Polycarp of Smyrna kept both the Spring Holy Days and the Fall Holy Days. Polycarp also knew that Satan was behind sin:

“For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist”(1 John 4:3), and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts, and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan. Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from the beginning (Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians, Chapter VII. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1 as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson; American Edition, 1885; Reprint Hendrickson Publishers, 1999, pp. 33-36).

In the early third century, Origen of Alexandria taught that:

A DAY of atonement is necessary for all who have sinned, and for this reason among the festivals of the Law, which contains visions of heavenly mysteries, one certain festival is held which called a day of atonement.” (Origen. Gary Wayne Barkley editor. Homilies on Leviticus, 1-16. Homily 9 (1), p. 176),

But he discouraged keeping that day by fasting (Ibid, Homily 10 (3-5), p. 205-207). This indicates that there were others who were fasting then and that Origen disapproved.

It is reported that early Christians kept the Day of Atonement in Antioch the same time the Jews observed Yom Kippur in the third and fourth century (Ben Ezra DS. The Impact of Yom Kippur on Early Christianity: The Day of Atonement from Second Temple Judaism to the Fifth Century. Mohr Siebeck, 2003, pp. 2, 261, 277)

Canons 37 & 38 of the Council of Laodicea of the fourth century prohibited the observation of the unleavened bread and other festivals of the Jews and there was a similar condemnation in Canon 69/70 of the Syrian Apostolic Canons near this time which also prohibited in Jewish fasts (Seaver JE. Persecution of the Jews in the Roman Empire (300-438), Issue 30 of University of Kansas publications: Humanistic studies. University of Kansas Publications, 1952. Original from the University of Virginia, Digitized Apr 29, 2009, pp. 34-35; also at http://vlib.iue.it/carrie/texts/carrie_books/seaver/text.html).

Notice a translated quote from the falsely named Syriac ‘Apostolic Canons’:

If any bishop, presbyter, or deacon, or any one of the list of clergy, keeps fast or festival with the Jews, or receives from them any of the gifts of their feasts, as unleavened bread, any such things, let him be deposed. If he be a layman, let him be excommunicated. (The Apostolic Canons, Canon 70. Translated by Henry Percival. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 14. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1900.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3820.htm>.)

Hence this practice of Christians keeping the Holy Days also must have been going on then in Asia Minor and elsewhere or there would not have been such condemnation–others scholars share that opinion (Seaver, p. 34; Bagatti B, Priest. The Church from the Circumcision, pp. 87-88).

Furthermore the keeping of these days was condemned by John Chrysostom near the end of the fourth century, thus confirming that professors of Christ were keeping the biblical holy days. John Chrysostom specifically condemned observing the Day of the Fast that the Jews also kept (see Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days?):

The festivals of the pitiful and miserable Jews are soon to march upon us one after the other and in quick succession: the feast of Trumpets, the feast of Tabernacles, the fasts. There are many in our ranks who say they think as we do. Yet some of these are going to watch the festivals and others will join the Jews in keeping their feasts and observing their fasts.

This condemnation, though, is specific proof that some who professed Christ still observed the Day of Atonement into the fourth century.

Additionally, comments by Jerome and Epiphanius near that time concerning the Nazarene Christians would also seem to support that those who kept the Holy Days, such as Atonement, were located in several areas at that time (see Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes?).

In the 21st century, we in the Continuing Church of God continue to observe the Holy Day.

We are pleased to announce this Day of Atonement offertory from its ContinuingCOG channel:

11:15

Atonement Offertory: Jesus Was the Atoning Sacrifice

The Bible teaches various ordinances were done by the children of Israel, including the annual Day of Atonement. Did Jesus give a better and more essential sacrifice? Can you buy God’s favor with money? Does the work of God require your money? What about the widow who gave all she had? Should Christians give offerings? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more. To give donations either through the mail or online via PayPal, please go to: https://www.ccog.org/donations/

Here is a link to an offertory for the Day of Atonement: Atonement Offertory: Jesus Was the Atoning Sacrifice.

Here is a sermon made and recommended for 2022:

1:12:04

God’s Day of Atonement Plan

The Day of Atonement is discussed in the Old Testament and is referred to as “the Fast” in the New Testament. How does it picture in God’s plan? Did Jesus pray that we would be at one with God/ Why fast? Do those who can fast avoid food and drink from sunset to sunset and not work on the Day of Atonement? What about nursing infants and small children? Did Jesus just die for those called in this age? What about everyone else? Since the Bible shows that Jesus only needed to die once, why do we see ceremonies related to Passover and Atonement which both picture His death? Is the timing of the Day of Atonement help point to its part of God’s plan? Are we to consider others as we “afflict our souls”? What about Satan and his role in our sins? Will there come a time of no sorrows? How can fasting help you? Dr. Thiel addresses these matters and more.

Here is a link to the sermon: God’s Day of Atonement Plan.

For those who want a second sermon, here is another:

1:11:14

Jesus THE Atonement

The Jews call it Yom Kippur and Christians call it the Day of Atonement. In transliterated Hebrew, the Bible calls the day Yom Hakippurim, which is Hebrew for “Day of the Atonements.” What do Old Testament scriptures say about it? Why is fasting associated with it? Did Jesus shed His blood only for Christians in this age? What about the age to come? If Jesus is only to be sacrificed once, why is He symbolically sacrificed as the Passover lamb as well as one of the goats associated with the Atonement ceremony in the Book of Leviticus? Is the Day of Atonement referred to in the Book of Acts? Is there evidence that Christians kept the Day of Atonement throughout the church age? Why should Christians observe it? Dr. Thiel addresses these topics and more in this video sermon.

Here is a link to the sermon: Jesus THE Atonement.

If you want a third sermon, here is another:

1:25:38

What does the Bible say about the Day of Atonement? Is it mentioned in the New Testament? What does Yom Hakippurim mean? Why is fasting associated with Yom Kippur? Does everyone who observes it have to fast? Are there health and other exemptions? Why should people fast? Passover shows Jesus’ sacrifice, so why do we see a second sacrifice related to the Day of Atonement? Does Jesus get sacrificed once or twice? Is there any relationship between the two Old Testament sacrifices and what happened before and after the church age? What might the timing of the atoning sacrifice telling us? Did early Christians keep the Day of Atonement. Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to the sermon: The Day of Atonement – God’s 5th Holy Day.

And, we also have the following two sermons in the Spanish language:

1:16:36

La expiacion, Jesus y Satanas

¿Qué es el Día de la Expiación? ¿Qué enseña la Biblia al respecto? ¿Cómo se relaciona este día santo con el Nuevo Testamento? ¿Qué significa “expiación”? ¿Cómo fue Jesús el sacrificio expiatorio? ¿Tiene Satanás el diablo alguna parte en el pecado? ¿Qué es el Azazel? ¿Será Satanás castigado por su papel de alentar a los humanos a pecar? ¿Por qué la gente piensa que la aflicción del alma tiene que ver con el ayuno? El Dr. Thiel aborda estos problemas y más.

Here is a link to the sermon: La expiacion, Jesus y Satanas.

Also, here is another in Spanish:

Here is a link to that sermon made for 2022: Sermon del Dia de Expiacion 2022.

Some items of related interest may include:

The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Ayuno –Su significado cristiano. Here is a link to the sermona: Jesus THE Atonement and God’s Atonement and Fasting Plan.
Sermon: The Bible and the Day of Atonement The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? Was it observed in the New Testament? What did some of the ancient Hebrew ceremonies surrounding it mean? Does one goat in Leviticus represent Jesus and the other Satan? How does the New Testament help answer this?
The Atonement Plan How does the Day of Atonement tie into God’s plan of salvation? A sermon of related interest is titled God’s Atonement Plan.
Atonement Offertory Should an offering be taken up on the Day of Atonement? What does the Bible seem to teach about that? Was Jesus a type of atonement offering? If you send an offering, how does that support the work? Does God need your money or do you need to give? Dr. Thiel goes over scriptures and facts related to this. Here is a link to the donation page of the Continuing Church of God, which includes the ability to use PayPal: http://www.ccog.org/donations/
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History; The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character; The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon; Eucharist, Passover, and Easter; Views of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & Baptism; Scripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. Sunday; Church Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s Plan; Seventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?; Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of Salvation; Crosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean Meats; The Godhead and the Trinity; Fleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Michael’s Day of Atonement Quiz Another free on-line Bible quiz by my son Michael.
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should Christians keep the Fall Biblical Holy Days?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not? What does the Feast of Trumpets, which the Jews call Rosh Hashanah, help teach?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach? A related sermon video is Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.
The Last Great Day: Shemini ‘Azeret What is the ‘eighth day’ of the Feast? What does it help picture? A sermon on this topic is also available: Shemini Azaret: The Last Great Day.
Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims? Should Christians sojourn? What does the Bible and Feast of Tabernacles teach? A related video sermon is titled Christian Pilgrims.
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law The Bible teaches that every seven years that the law should be read at the Feast of Tabernacles. This is what I did at the first Feast site were I gave an actual sermon (as opposed to a sermonette) in 2006.
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2020 This is information on the Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God in 2020. The Feast in 2020 Services began the evening of October 2nd and runs (including the Last Great Day) until sunset October 10st.
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.
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2033, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
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.

Make Your Prayers Count!

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

PRAYER Book Cover - Front Final

COGwriter

The old WCG published the following article by Clayton Steep in the August 1985 edition of the Good News magazine:

Make Your Prayers Count!

Could you be overlooking some of the most basic principles regarding answered prayer?

A major blunder. That’s exactly what Henry had just made.

“I simply don’t understand why God didn’t give me the wisdom to make the right decision,” Henry sighed, shaking his head.

Actually, Henry had made a double mistake. Double, because if we were to inquire of him, “Did you specifically ask God for the wisdom you needed?” Henry’s reply would be something like: “Er, well, no — not specifically. But,” he would hastily add, “God knew I needed it. He knows all things.”

True, God knows all things. He is fully aware of our needs. As Jesus stated, “Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8).

But does that, therefore, render prayer unnecessary?

Not at all! The Bible clearly points out that one of the reasons we sometimes do not receive the blessings we could enjoy is simply that we do not ask God for them (James 4:2).

“Ask, and it will be given to you,” Jesus declared (Matthew 7:7). To illustrate, He gave the example of a child asking his father for some food. “If you then, being evil,” Jesus continued, “know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things…”

How? With no conditions? Always automatically? As a matter only of due course? Just because He knows we need them? Whether or not we ask? No! Read it: “… to those who ask Him!” (verse 11).

Henry should have read James 1:5 more closely. This verse doesn’t say that if you need wisdom, God will automatically supply it because you are a Christian and He knows you need it. Rather, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

God is filled with mercy and compassion. He knows what we need. He stands ready to give liberally. But He wants us to ask anyway.

Why? The fact that God tells us to is certainly good enough reason all by itself. But let’s see if we can understand why God tells us to.

A vital factor

Prayer is not an isolated and optional religious exercise. It is a vital factor, significant in determining our eternal destiny!

The supreme purpose that God is working out here on earth is the expansion of His Kingdom – His Family. He wants to make out of human beings immortal members of His ruling Family.

These must be individuals who, by their own free choice, come to fully support God’s way of doing things, who want to think as God thinks, perceive as God perceives, react as God reacts. They must want with all their hearts to be involved in whatever God is doing.

Such an attitude is essential in order to maintain, throughout eternity, harmony and peace in the God Family.

God has made us temporarily human. This existence is a testing ground so our Creator can try us and know what is in our hearts, whether or not He can trust us to live by His rules and laws (Deuteronomy 8:2). He must be sure. He is looking at us, closely examining our actions and reactions.

God takes note of what we say when we are talking to Him. Of course He knows our hearts and intents. And the Holy Spirit helps where we cannot adequately express ourselves (Romans 8:26-27). Still, as Jesus showed, the actual words we use are also important, and they ought to be meaningful, rather than vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7).

One of the obstacles to effective prayer is not often identified: It is the fact that we live in the age of devalued language. Words have never been so cheap, so frequently meaningless. All around us language is misused in advertising, politics, entertainment and casual conversation.

Because we have been disillusioned more than once by broken promises, exaggerations, shading of the truth, even outright lies, we have come to automatically doubt that words mean what their face value would indicate.

This is one reason some have difficulty believing God’s promises. It also could be one of the reasons some prayers are not as effective as they should be.

Remember that God really didn’t have to ask Adam and Eve the series of questions about what they had done (Genesis 3:9-13). He already knew the answer. He didn’t have to ask Cain where Abel was (Genesis 4:9). He didn’t have to come down to earth to verify how evil Sodom was (Genesis 18:20-21). He didn’t have to allow Jacob to contend with him all night (Genesis 32:22-30). But He wanted to — and wants to — hear from humans themselves what they have to say, and see their reactions.

Prayer changes things

The great Creator God is working out His plan. He keeps it on course, intervening when necessary in human affairs to do so. But do you realize that He allows humans with whom He is dealing to determine many of the details of how His plan develops?

Twice, Moses directly influenced, by prayer, the course of history. Because of the rebellion of the children of Israel, God on two separate occasions proposed rejecting them all and bringing forth through Moses a new nation to inherit the promises made to Abraham (Exodus 32:9-14, Numbers 14:11-20). Had Moses not fervently prayed to God to change His mind, the implication is that God would have done exactly what He had proposed.

Either way would not have impeded the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan. But Moses’ prayers did determine the course that fulfillment took.

Prayer does make a difference. It changes things.

“The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest,” Jesus urged (Luke 10:2). Whether or not or in what numbers laborers are sent out to do God’s work must therefore depend at least partly on prayers or the lack of them.

Make no mistake about it: God will accomplish His work of preaching the message preparing the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ — even if He has to cause the very rocks of the earth to cry the message out loud (Luke 19:40). Let us not take for granted the privilege we have of taking part in what God is doing! He doesn’t need us. But He gives us the opportunity to participate. Are you participating?

Listen to the apostle Paul: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (I Timothy 2:1-2). Whether or not or to what degree God’s work has peaceful conditions in which to function also depends therefore, at least in part, on how diligently we pray.

If we don’t ask, there is no promise we shall receive.

Do you pray every day for the work of God and for the human instruments carrying it out? You should.

Do you pray every day for God’s blessings on others as well as on your own endeavors? You should. Do you pray every day for protection and help as you function and move about in this evil and dangerous world? You should.

“Be anxious for nothing,” Paul wrote, “but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known [even though God is already aware] to God” (Philippians 4:6). This means bringing God into every — yes, every — facet of your daily existence.

Believe and obey

Jesus said, “And all things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22). So in addition to simply asking, we must believe. There is a definite and close relationship between the degree of one’s sincerity and surrender to God and the degree to which one is able to believe and pray in faith.

If you are, for example, lusting for something when you know better, if your mind is entertaining thoughts you know you should not have, you automatically cannot at the same time be asking God in unswerving faith to grant you a request. It just doesn’t work that way.

Here’s how the apostle John expressed it: “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God” (I John 3:21). And our hearts won’t condemn us if we are doing what is right.

“And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (verse 22).

What does it mean to be always in an attitude of prayer? It doesn’t mean you are talking to God every second. Even Jesus didn’t do that. But He was always in the right attitude — His conscience was undefiled before God — so He could talk directly to His heavenly Father on the spur of the moment. His thoughts were on those things that are above.

Being able to pray at any moment and total surrender to God go hand in hand. On one occasion when Jesus suddenly began to pray, He said: “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me” (John 11:41-42).

How did Jesus know that? Why did God always hear Him? For the simple reason that Jesus always did those things that pleased His Father (John 8:29).

Wanting to pray or be in an attitude of prayer in “all things” is actually a valuable incentive to be obedient in all things.

Prayers of intercession

Our prayer life not only reveals to God how deeply we want Him to be involved in our lives and how deeply we want to be involved in what He is doing, but prayer also shows how interested we are in other people.

In all members of God’s Family, God wants to see a spontaneous and universal expression of outgoing concern for the welfare of others. That’s the only way to guarantee peace and harmony. It is the way of giving. Love for one’s neighbor is the very essence of God’s law (Leviticus 19:18).

One of the greatest gifts you can give to others, when you are close to God, is to pray for them. God loves it when people pray for each other. Certainly God will hear the prayers of an individual praying for his own needs. But the Bible leaves no doubt that God particularly enjoys hearing and answering the prayers of one person for the needs of another.

The apostle Paul wouldn’t have petitioned the saints to “pray for us” (Hebrews 13:18) if it didn’t make any difference whether they did.

If you want a specific request from God, have you ever thought to pray that the identical request be granted to someone else who needs it? In so doing, you get your mind off yourself and on the welfare of others. This is well pleasing to God.

In Jesus’ sample prayer outline (commonly, though mistakenly, called the “Lord’s Prayer”) the words I, me or my do not appear once (Matthew 6:9-13). All the way through the words used are we, us and our, demonstrating an unselfish concern.

God wants to hear prayers of intercession (Isaiah 59:15-16). It was through the prayers of Abraham that Abimelech was forgiven (Genesis 20:17-18). Job’s friends were forgiven through Job’s prayers (Job 42:7-10). John wrote about praying for one another to be forgiven (I John 5:16). The Bible records numerous instances of people praying for one another.

For whom have you interceded recently?

In Jesus’ early childhood, there was an elderly woman named Anna, “who did not depart from the temple, but served God [the word God is in italics to show it was added by translators] with fastings and prayers night and day” (Luke 2:37).

You can be sure that most of that prayer and fasting was not to seek Anna’s own needs and desires.

There were probably many people in the area who, over the years, went to Anna when they had a problem, because God heard and answered her prayers and everyone knew it.

King Solomon recorded a vital principle in life that reflects on this subject: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

You who are sick or afflicted, is someone praying with you for healing? The instruction from James is to “pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16). It makes a difference!

Don’t lose heart

One of Jesus’ parables was given to show us we ought to be persistent in prayer, that we “always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1-8).

Have you ever “lost heart” because you, along with others, have been asked to pray for someone, for example, who is terminally ill, and the person dies anyway? Have you immediately assumed something was wrong with your prayers, with your exercise of faith?

Maybe there was. On the other hand, that may not always be so. Maybe your prayers were what they should be. Maybe you did not waver in faith. But maybe enough others did not pray effectively. Did you ever think of that?

In any case, do not lose heart. Keep at it. Try again.

Being able to pray effectively does not come overnight. It has to be worked at. But it is eternally worth the effort, for through prayer you get to know God. And, just as importantly, He gets to know you.

Prayer is not just about asking God to give us things or to think God should be pleased because we address Him.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? People talk a lot about prayer. Many pray in public. Does God listen? What does the Bible teach about prayer? How can your prayers be more effective? Does the Bible give particular positions to pray in? What does God want you to pray for? What if what you want is difficult? What if what you want is humanly impossible? Why doesn’t God seem to answer all prayers? This free booklet answers all those questions and more. This contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
What Should I Pray About? An old article by Lynn Torrance on prayer.
Does God Heal Today? This historical article is by Herbert Armstrong and provides his views circa 1952, which he seemed to later modify, at least to some degree.
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject.
Faith for those God has Called and Chosen What is faith? Can faith be increased? Are you saved by faith? What about works? Do Christians need to keep the Ten Commandments? What is the ‘faith chapter’? How do the just live by faith? Is faith one of the weightier matters of the law? How does faith come? Here is a link to a pdf. booklet titled Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen. Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido.Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章
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 world of make-believe biology: Babies don’t have heartbeats but men can give birth

Monday, October 3rd, 2022


(UnSplash photo)

COGwriter

Notice the following item written by Ethan Huff:

The radical Left’s world of make-believe biology: Babies don’t have heartbeats but men can give birth

The corporate-controlled media is once again going to bat for Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who continues to lie about the humanity of unborn babies.

In a recent statement, Abrams falsely declared that “there is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks,” referring to embryonic development at the month-and-a-half stage of gestation. (Related: Remember when the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists called for the word “baby” to never be used in reference to pre-born human life?)

“It is a manufactured sound designed to convince people that men have the right to take control of a woman’s body,” Abrams alleges.

A six-week-old embryo does have a heartbeat, by the way. And mainstream media “fact checkers” should know this, except for the fact that they conveniently forgot because they really, really want Abrams to win the election.

“FWIW (for what it’s worth), ‘fetal heartbeat’ is a misnomer,” responded Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post,  …

Abrams is desperate to win, as well as desperate to dehumanize unborn human life to appeal to her baby-hating base.

If she can score a few more points with some LGBT talking points, perhaps by explaining how men are able to pass a child through their genitalia (let alone create a baby inside their stomach?), will it be a winning strategy this November?

“Cardiovascular development in a human embryo occurs between 3 and 6 weeks after ovulation,” explains a study published in The Journal of Prenatal Medicine, defying the false claims of Abrams and Kessler. https://www.naturalnews.com/2022-10-02-radical-left-make-believe-biology-babies-heartbeats.html

Abortion is evil.

The Bible warns:

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight!  (Isaiah 5:20-21)

As far as to the reason much of this is happening, notice the following from the Book of Romans:

18 … men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32)

13 “Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:13-18)

Notice the following about the government of the USA:

America’s Ruling Regime Doesn’t Fear Disinformation. It Fears Truth.

Casting critics as terrorists and threatening to sic the most powerful, pervasive and sophisticated security state in the history of the world on them is of course not about defending democracy or protecting the truth — it’s about intimidating democratic opposition into silence and submission to an official narrative.

In Joe Biden’s America, attempting to cancel Joe Rogan is just counter-terror policy.

This is because our ruling class — in the name of “defending democracy” — classifies those who question the regime on any matter of consequence as a threat to the homeland, and pledges to pursue them accordingly.

Our ruling elites have engaged in an overt war on wrongthink masquerading as a domestic counter-terror mission since at least Jan. 6, 2021.

As part of this effort, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently issued a speech-chilling National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin.

It claims the U.S. is in a “heightened threat environment fueled by several factors, including an online environment filled with false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information.”

Among the greatest contributors to the current “threat environment,” according to the bulletin, is the “widespread online proliferation of false or misleading narratives regarding … COVD-19.” …

The administration has flip-flopped on virtually every aspect of the coronavirus to positions that its social media adjuncts used to ban people over. It did so not because “the science” has changed, but because the politics have changed.

Biden’s White House says its critics are dangerous — not to the public, but to its rule, as if that rule is equivalent to America or democracy itself, as Dr. Anthony Fauci is to science.

As the DHS bulletin notes, the first key driver of the “heightened threat environment” is the “proliferation of false or misleading narratives, which sow discord or undermine public trust in U.S. government institutions.”

Never mind what those government institutions themselves have done to sow discord or undermine public trust, like, say, calling for Twitter and Facebook to censor people.

It’s the critics, the dissenters — those with no monopoly on force or multi-trillion-dollar budgets — who are the real scourge. …

That strategy calls for confronting long-term contributors to domestic terrorism, including:

“… enhancing faith in government and addressing the extreme polarization, fueled by a crisis of disinformation and misinformation … We will work toward finding ways to counter the influence and impact of dangerous conspiracy theories that can provide a gateway to terrorist violence.”

Linking speech that does not comport with regime orthodoxy to terror, and using that pretext to police thought — with an armed “Ministry of Truth” operating out of our national security and law enforcement apparatus — therefore manifestly is “counter-terror” policy

Casting critics as terrorists and threatening to sic the most powerful, pervasive and sophisticated security state in the history of the world on them is of course not about defending democracy or protecting the truth, but intimidating democratic opposition into silence and submission to an official narrative. 02/17/22 https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/america-ruling-regime-disinformation-truth/

As a scientist who has attempted to publish certain truthful information related to COVID-19, I have been censored by both Facebook and YouTube. Not because any information I provided was not true, but basically because they think it is ‘dangerous’ to go against the current narrative.

Many in the government of the USA, as well as Big Tech and the media, fear truth. Furthermore, they are often deceived themselves and look to be fulfilling the following end time prophecy:

13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13, KJV)

YouTube censored me for quoting the same scriptures I have quoted for years regarding LGBTQ matters, as it claimed this violated its “community standards,” which apparently changed to support a changed narrative as the scriptures never changed. Anyway, here is a link to that YouTube removed video: Disney’s abominable promotions!

The Book of Proverbs has the following prophecy:

12 There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes,
Yet is not washed from its filthiness.
13 There is a generation — oh, how lofty are their eyes!
And their eyelids are lifted up.
14 There is a generation whose teeth are like swords,
And whose fangs are like knives,
To devour the poor from off the earth,
And the needy from among men. (Proverbs 30:12-14)

Yes, we are in a time when the generation of leaders does not fear God, but thinks its ideas are right. They, who promote hate and censorship, claim they are promoting love and inclusiveness.

Notice also another end time prophecy:

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

And now, the government has also found it useful when private companies (like Pinterest, Facebook, Google, the mainstream media, etc.) do censorship for them.

A lot of this brings to mind Orwell’s dystopian 1984 ‘New World Order. Year ago, we made a short video:

Orwell’s 1984 by 2024? In 1949, the late George Orwell wrote a disturbing book about a totalitarian government called “nineteen-eighty four.” Despite laws that are supposed to protect freedom of speech and religion, we are seeing governments taking steps consistent with those that George Orwell warned against. We are also seeing this in the media, academia, and in private companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. With the advent of technology, totalitarianism beyond what Orwell wrote is possible. Does the Bible teach the coming a totalitarian state similar to George Orwell’s? What about the Antichrist and 666? Will things get worse? What is the solution? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more in this video.

Here is a link to that video: Orwell’s 1984 by 2024?

Sadly, there has long been a trend away from biological truth.

The whole evolutionary theory nonsense is not scientific. Notice a statement from Nobel Prize winner Dr. George Wald, from Harvard University related to the origin of life:

The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation (life from nothing); the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position . . . One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. (Scott I. The God Solution: Are You Ready? Xlibris Corporation, 2013, p. 41)

Believing something that is impossible is not scientific–accepting evolution as the origin of life is another false religion.

The Bible warns of “science, falsely so-called’ (1 Timothy 6:20, KJV).

Most with ‘higher education’ go along with the evolutionary nonsensical explanation, because of peer-pressure, anti-biblical bias, as well as to appear to be properly ‘educated.

Yet, those of us who have studied cellular biology should realize that spontaneous generation of life is illogical–and I do have a Ph.D. in a biological field.

Even Charles Darwin made an interesting admission in his book, The Origin of the Species:


Charles Darwin

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down (Darwin C. The Origin of Species. In Chapter 6, Difficulties on Theory. Cricket House Books LLC, 2010, p. 124).

And although he did not believe that was demonstrated to his satisfaction when he wrote that, the truth is that cellular life was simply much more complex than he at that time realized (DNA was discovered shortly after he wrote the above).

But most of the modern ‘educated’ act contrary to biological reality.

But it is more than that.

For our fourth, consider the following:

If you wonder where “progressivism” is headed, look no further than the self-mutilation movement where LGBT followers physically maim their own bodies to become so-called “nullos” by cutting off their nipples and reproductive organs. The next escalation in this war on biology will, I predict, involve parents maiming their newborn infants by slicing off their penis and scrotum shortly after birth in order to “rid” the child of gender inequality.

This physical maiming of newborn infants will be embraced by the Democrats and Leftists as a “progressive” way to achieve “gender equality.” …

The LGBT community already absurdly claims that children are born “genderless” and then “assigned” a gender by the doctor. This dangerous, delusional thinking will justify parents grabbing scalpels and physically maiming their newborn children in order to achieve a “correction” for their genderless status by violently removing all organs and tissues that are not gender-neutral. Yes, it’s completely insane and criminal, but this is exactly the way the lunatic Left now thinks. …

My question is: Will any institution in society stand up against the increasingly deranged, child-killing and child-mutilating “progressivism” that’s now being pushed everywhere? Are there any doctors in America who will denounce parents maiming their own children in the pursuit of gender equality? Somehow, doctors are more than willing to call the police on parents who refuse to have their children subjected to toxic chemotherapy, but there’s little question those same doctors will stand by and say nothing while parents commit felony assault against their own children with a scalpel and an ice pack… all in the name of “progressivism.”

The Left in America today has become a dangerous obedience cult that’s obsessed with death and self-mutilation. Until they are stopped, their agenda will continue to become more twisted, insane and psychopathic. https://governmentslaves.news/2019/05/25/lgbt-progressivism-horrors-parents-to-start-physically-maiming-their-own-babies-to-slice-off-all-gender-organs-in-the-name-of-progressivism-and-equality/

Males are different than females.

One need only look at male and female bodies to realize that.

But even beyond that, scientists also realize there are many unseen genetic differences.

Beware of those who cannot accept clear biological truths.

Beware of those that contradict scripture.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! Would you like Christian answers to give atheists? This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. Here is a link to a related sermon: Evolution is NOT the Origin of Life. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Will Philadelphian Christians instruct many in the end times? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work. Here is a link to another: Preparing to Instruct Many.
Internet Censorship and Prophecy Are concerns about internet censorship limited to nations such as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. But what about the USA, Canada, and Germany? What about the European Union? What about internet media companies such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, or email services like MailChimp? Has the attempt to control information been made by various ones over the centuries? Was the New Testament affected by it? What about the church throughout the centuries? Has the Bible already been partially censored? Which Bible prophecies point to coming Internet censorship? What about the Book of Amos? What about the coming 666 Beast and final Antichrist? Is there anything that can be done about this? Should Philadelphian Christians be working on anything now? Will preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God vs. a highly media-supported alternative lead to a ‘famine of the word’? More internet censorship is coming as various statements in the Bible support.
The Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions Was the Church of Rome really responsible for this? What happened? Here is a link to a related video sermon: The Past and Future Inquisition.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
Orwell’s 1984 by 2024? In 1949, the late George Orwell wrote a disturbing book about a totalitarian government called “nineteen-eighty four.” Despite laws that are supposed to protect freedom of speech and religion, we are seeing governments taking steps consistent with those that George Orwell warned against. We are also seeing this in the media, academia, and in private companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter. With the advent of technology, totalitarianism beyond what Orwell wrote is possible. Does the Bible teach the coming a totalitarian state similar to George Orwell’s? What about the Antichrist and 666? Will things get worse? What is the solution? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more in this video.
Canadian censoring of the Bible In 2017, Lauri Skori of the Battle River School board told a religious school in Alberta, Canada that it could not teach/read certain portions of the Bible. In 2002, a court in Canada ruled against one who referred to certain scriptures that some homosexuals objected to. In 2017, there was “An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code” related to those who wish to be considered transgendered. Government officials in Canada and elsewhere have been ruling against the Bible. Is any of this prophesied? Will this get worse? What was the prophet Amos inspired to write? This is a video.
Internet Control, Famine of the Word, and 666 Is the internet going to be used to suppress the teaching of the word of God? This is a video.

Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? Two related sermons about this are also available: Real Repentance and Real Christian Repentance.

Day of Atonement Fasting Tips

Monday, October 3rd, 2022


People Fasting in New Zealand

COGwriter

From sunset the 4th of October through sunset the 5th is the Day of Atonement for 2022.

On the Day of Atonement, the Bible says to “afflict your souls” (Leviticus 23:32).

In Isaiah 58:5 the Bible teaches that a fasting day is a day to afflict one’s soul. Furthermore, notice something else from Isaiah:

12 And in that day the Lord God of hosts
Called for weeping and for mourning,
For baldness and for girding with sackcloth.
13 But instead, joy and gladness,
Slaying oxen and killing sheep,
Eating meat and drinking wine:
“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

14 Then it was revealed in my hearing by the Lord of hosts,
“Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you,
Even to your death,” says the Lord God of hosts. (Isaiah 22:12-14)

Notice that not avoiding food when told to is equated to having no atonement. And while the word translated as atonement in Isaiah 22:14 is not the identical Hebrew word in Leviticus 23, it is similar and apparently has similar connotations.

The Day of Atonement was called “the Fast” in Acts 27:9.

Thus, those in the Church of God who are faithful and able fast on the Day of Atonement. That is, they avoid all food and drink for the entire 24 hours of that day.

Are there any benefits associated with that?

First notice what the Bible teaches:

5 Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord?
6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

“If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In. (Isaiah 58:5-12)

So, the Bible teaches both physical and spiritual benefits and responsibilities from fasting.

Here are some comments from Herbert W. Armstrong about fasting:

FASTING AND PRAYER: There is . . . NOTHING like fasting and prayer for drawing close to God, re-establishing contact, being filled with His Spirit. For this purpose it is better to fast completely — no fruit-juice of any kind. In Bible times they sometimes fasted without even water, but sometimes water was used. Personally I think results will be obtained if one drinks water, but nothing else.

For purely spiritual purposes a fast of from one to three days is usually sufficient. You may expect headaches, and a very thick-headed feeling the first few days. It is not pleasant. It is, in Bible language, AFFLICTING THE SOUL. It takes courage and will-power, and self-denial. I recommend, for this purpose, dividing your time three ways: about one third in studying the subject of fasting in the Bible, and other Bible study. Use a good concordance, and your marginal references if your Bible has them. If not you should get one which has. Look up all you can find under fasting. Then about a third of your time in meditation — turning over in your own mind by yourself WHY you have not been closer to God, thinking out just HOW you have been letting the worldly things creep in, meditating on what you have read in the Bible, applying it to yourself and your spiritual condition. Then, spend one full third of your time in earnest PRAYER.

Did you ever spend one solid HOUR in prayer, alone with God in some private room, on your knees? Very few ever have. If you haven’t, the first time you do it you’ll find it will take as much will-power and self-denial as forcing yourself to stay on a fast and resisting that gnawing hunger feeling. In five or ten minutes, or less, every excuse in the world will come into your mind. You aren’t in the mood now — why not do it later? You just think of something that ought to be done, and you think you must go do it right now. Yes, I know what will come to your mind, for I have done it and I know by experience. But if you will resist every temptation, and STAY on your knees, even though you think your prayer isn’t going as high as the ceiling, in at least 30 or 40 minutes the devil will probably give up and let you alone and you’ll find you are establishing contact with God, and you’ll find you are beginning to really ENJOY talking to Him — just pouring out your soul to Him — telling him all about it. Pause, once awhile, and meditate, and let God talk to you. (Armstrong HW. Importance of Fasting. July 7, 1948)

In addition to humbling ourselves and helping us to realize how much we need to rely on God and drawing closer to him, fasting is considered to have certain physical benefits. Some, though sadly not yet most, in the medical world are realizing that there seem to be health benefits from fasting:

The power of intermittent fasting

Scientists are uncovering evidence that short periods of fasting, if properly controlled, could achieve a number of health benefits, as well as potentially helping the overweight, as Michael Mosley discovered…

Calorie restriction, eating well but not much, is one of the few things that has been shown to extend life expectancy, at least in animals. We’ve known since the 1930s that mice put on a low-calorie, nutrient-rich diet live far longer. There is mounting evidence that the same is true in monkeys…

IGF-1 levels can be lowered by fasting. The reason seems to be that when our bodies no longer have access to food they switch from “growth mode” to “repair mode”.

As levels of the IGF-1 hormone drop, a number of repair genes appear to get switched on according to ongoing research by Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California…

Current medical opinion is that the benefits of fasting are unproven and until there are more human studies it’s better to eat at least 2000 calories a day. If you really want to fast then you should do it in a proper clinic or under medical supervision, because there are many people, such as pregnant women or diabetics on medication, for whom it could be dangerous. August 4, 2012 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19112549

Fasting Reduces Risk of Heart Disease.

In a study of more than 4,500 Mormons in Utah, researchers examined behaviors that were associated with lower risk of coronary artery disease—heart disease. After accounting for other factors (smoking, alcohol use, coffee and tea ingestion), researchers discovered that those who fasted routinely (without food or drink) were at lower risk for heart disease than those who did not fast. Fasting was also associated with lower diabetes risk (The American Journal of Cardiology, October 1, 2008)-WA Update.

Fasting twice a year rebuilds Immune System

A New Study Has Suggested That Fasting Could Help The Body To Fight Off Disease By Regenerating The Immune System. The Study Added That Fasting For Two Days Can Regenerate The Immune System.

June 8, 2014

For the study, the effects of fasting for two to four day periods for six months on both mice and humans were tested by the researchers. In both cases, it was found that long periods of not eating significantly lowered white blood cell counts.

And in mice, each cycle of fasting then ‘flipped a regenerative switch’ that led to the regeneration of new white blood cells, which in turn renews the defence system of the body.

Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California, said: “It gives the OK for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system. And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting.”

He added that a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or aging, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.

The study also revealed that levels of the enzyme PKA, reduces as a result of fasting. This increases longevity in simple organisms, as well as levels of the hormone IGF-1, which has been linked to ageing, tumour progression and cancer risk. http://www.delhidailynews.com/news/Fasting-regenerates-immune-system-1402181003/

Fasting is a health booster for many and also seems to increase longevity.

Of course, those who risk death or major health problems should not fast. But for others, it can be a healthy thing to do from a physical, as well as spiritual, perspective.

Some people, especially those who consume caffeine regularly, find fasting difficult. Those who wean down off of caffeine sometimes find fasting easier than they would have otherwise.

Here are some Jewish tips to prepare for fasting:

Tips for Easier Fasting

Tips to prepare for the fast include: drinking at least two liters of water a day (10 cups) on the days before the fast, and eating whole grains and vegetables on the day before, while avoiding sugar,spicy, fried and salty foods that cause thirst.

Those who drink significant amounts of beverages containing caffeine daily (coffee, non-herb teas, colas) are advised to reduce the amount gradually, starting several days before the fast to prevent caffeine addiction symptoms which can include headaches and nausea.

The last meal before the fast, known as the seudah hamafseket, should not include unfamiliar, spicy, or fried foods, and should omit vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli.

After the fast, those who have abstained from drinking and eating are advised to rehydrate slowly, with a sweet drink, and begin eating with a snack, followed approximately one hour later by a light meal. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/148579

In my own case, I tend to drink more water the day before fasting and avoid saltier foods. Also, those who fast more regularly throughout the year tend to have less difficulties fasting than those that do not (people with hypoglycemia, etc. excepted).

The Christian Day of Atonement, comes after the Feast of Trumpets (also known as Rosh Hoshana or Rosh Hashanah) and is considered to be part of God’s plan of salvation as shown in the biblical (though often called ‘Jewish’) holy days.

In its Statement of Beliefs , the Continuing Church of God states:

The Day of Atonement, called “the Fast” in the New Testament (Acts 27:9), helps show our own weaknesses and need to be closer to God (Isaiah 58:5,11). It also helps picture that Satan has a role in the sins of humankind and that he will be bound for one-thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3; cf. Leviticus 16:20-26; Isaiah 14:12-16).

Thus, because of its New Testament references, the Day of Atonement is something that should be highly relevant for Christians.

Those who can in the Continuing Church of God fast annually on the Day of Atonement as well as periodically throughout the year.

1:15:08

The Day of Atonement is part of God’s plan. It pictures that Jesus paid the penalty for sins and that Satan will bear guilt for his actions. What does it mean to ‘afflict your soul’? Why do many connect this with fasting? If Christians should fast, is drinking water okay as part of a biblical fast? What are some of the lessons of the Day of Atonement and fasting? Are there benefits from fasting? Did Jesus expect His followers to fast? Did the Apostle Paul fast? Is there any particular day Christians should fast? What does the Azazel goat of Leviticus represent? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more.

Here is a link to the video: God’s Atonement and Fasting Plan.

Here is a link to a related offertory: Atonement Offerings?

Here is the sermon made and recommended for 2021:

1:11:14

Jesus THE Atonement

The Jews call it Yom Kippur and Christians call it the Day of Atonement. In transliterated Hebrew, the Bible calls the day Yom Hakippurim, which is Hebrew for “Day of the Atonements.” What do Old Testament scriptures say about it? Why is fasting associated with it? Did Jesus shed His blood only for Christians in this age? What about the age to come? If Jesus is only to be sacrificed once, why is He symbolically sacrificed as the Passover lamb as well as one of the goats associated with the Atonement ceremony in the Book of Leviticus? Is the Day of Atonement referred to in the Book of Acts? Is there evidence that Christians kept the Day of Atonement throughout the church age? Why should Christians observe it? Dr. Thiel addresses these topics and more in this video sermon.

Here is a link to the sermon: Jesus THE Atonement.

Several items of possibly related interest include:

The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement.” Does it have any relevance for Christians today? What is the Jubilee? Is fasting healthy? Here is a link to a sermon: Christians, the Day of Atonement, and Fasting; here is another sermon: Day of Atonement: How Jesus fulfilled His part for the Atonement. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: El Día de Expiación –Su significado cristiano.
Importance of Fasting An old article by Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject. Here is a link to it in Mandarin Chinese 禁食的重要性.
The Atonement Plan How does the Day of Atonement tie into God’s plan of salvation? Two sermons of related interest are available God’s Atonement and Fasting Plan and God’s Atonement Plan.
Does God Heal Today? This historical article is by Herbert Armstrong and provides his views on healing circa 1952, which he seemed to later modify, at least to some degree.
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.
How to Keep God’s Festivals Many have heard of God’s Holy Days and wonder how they are kept in the 21st century. This is an overview article. A related sermon is also available titled: How to Keep God’s Feasts.
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.
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days. (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Calendario Anual de Adoración –Una crítica basada en la Biblia y en la Historia: ¿Hay un Calendario Anual de Adoración en la Biblia?
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? The ‘Fall’ Holy Days come every year in September and/or October on the Roman calendar. Some call them Jewish holidays, but they were kept by Jesus, the apostles, and their early faithful followers. Should you keep them? What does the Bible teach? What do records of church history teach? What does the Bible teach about the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day? Here is a link to a related sermon: Should Christians keep the Fall Biblical Holy Days?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2033, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: OUeåf/y^v„W#eåÿ Ù‘Ìf/NNýy^v„W#eåeåS†NÎ2013^tó2024^t0.
Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful to the word of God and original Christianity.

Should modern Christians keep the Feast of Tabernacles?

Sunday, October 2nd, 2022


COGwriter

The Feast of Tabernacles begins at sunset October 9, 2022.

The ”Feast of Tabernacles” is a 7-day Biblical pilgrimage festival, also known as the Feast of Booths, the Feast of Tabernacles, or ”Tabernacles (it is immediately followed by an eighth day, so normally it is considered to be a pilgrimage of at least 8 days).

Can Christians keep it? Must it be kept in palm-branch booths in Jerusalem? How would Christians keep it now in the 21st century?

Jesus, His apostles, and their faithful immediate followers kept it. It is documented that it was kept for centuries by Christians after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Christians point out that Jesus kept the Feast of Tabernacles. This is discussed in detail in John chapter 7:

10 But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. 11 Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?” 12 And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” 13 However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews. 14 Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. 15 And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?” 16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. 19 Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” 20 The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?” 21 Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. 22 Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? 24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” 25 Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill? 26 But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? (John 7:10-26)

Jesus kept the Feast and taught on what we tend to refer to as “the Last Great Day” (see also The Last Great Day: ‘Shemini Azeret).

The Apostle Paul, after the Christ’s death and resurrection indicated that it was important to keep the Feast in Jerusalem–and this may have been the Feast of Tabernacles. As it is noted in Acts 18:21:

21 I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.

So, the Apostle Paul traveled to keep the Feast. Jesus kept God’s Feasts (Luke 22:8,14-16) and traveled to do so (John 7:11-39).

Jude wrote “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints”(Jude 3)–and keeping the Feast of Tabernacles was part of that original faith as even many Roman Catholic scholars have acknowledged.

In modern times in the 7th day Church of God groups, the Feast of Tabernacles is one of the most important holy days as it lasts the longest and normally requires a great deal of preparation and travel to be able to attend (see also Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims?). But it is normally the physical and spiritual highlight of the year for those that do observe it.

The Feast of Tabernacles also helps give us a glimpse into the coming millennial Kingdom of God which motivates us to live as Jesus wants us to and to teach what Jesus wanted proclaimed. That Kingdom is closer than it ever has been before and will become reality in the 21st century.

The Continuing Church of God wants to mention the following sermon from its ContinuingCOG channel:

1:09:46

Christian Feast of Tabernacles

The ”Feast of Tabernacles” is a 7-day Biblical pilgrimage festival, also known as the Feast of Booths or simply ”Tabernacles” (Jews tend to call it Sukkot or Sukkah). It occurs in September and/or October each year on the Roman calendar. Should Christians keep it? Where is it kept? How is it financed? Did God partially create the moon to mark it in Genesis? Did Jesus and the Apostle Paul keep it? Does the New Testament show that Paul observed it and tied lessons in with it? Did early Jewish and non-Jewish Christians keep it? Does it have any relationship to the weekly Sabbath and the millennium? What about Nepos of Alexandria? What is the Feast of Tabernacles supposed to represent? Is the book of the law to be read every seven years at it, like 2006,2013, 2020, and 2027? Has any of that been done? What did Papias of Hieropolis, Polycarp of Smyrna, and Irenaeus of Lyon write about it? Did Methodius of Olympus teach that it was commanded and that those who did not keep it would not enter the Kingdom? What did Didymus the Blind and Cyril of Alexandria write about its importance? What did Jerome write that the Judeao-Christian Nazerenes taught about it? Was this festival kept by early, middle ages, and modern Christians? Should you keep it today? Dr. Thiel discusses these matters and more.

Again, here is a link to the sermon: Christian Feast of Tabernacles.

For those who would prefer to read about it, or get more written information, check out the article: The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach? Two related sermon videos include Should Christians keep the Feast of Tabernacles? and Feast of Tabernacles from Israel.
The Last Great Day: Shemini ‘Azeret What is the ‘eighth day’ of the Feast? What does it help picture? A sermon on this topic is also available: Shemini Azaret: The Last Great Day.
Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims? Should Christians sojourn? What does the Bible and Feast of Tabernacles teach? A related video sermon is titled Christian Pilgrims.
Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2022 This is information on the Feast of Tabernacles’ sites for the Continuing Church of God in 2022. The Feast Services for 2022 are to begin the evening of October 9th and run (including the Last Great Day) until sunset October 17th.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to four related sermons:  The Fantastic Gospel of the Kingdom of God!, The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? A related sermon is titled The Millennium.
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.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. 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? and The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation. Here is a written link to a version of that sermon in the Spanish language: Aniversario del primer año de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios: ¿Qué se ha cumplido?
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.
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.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos as well as some ContinuingCOG channel sermons. 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.

Should you literally believe the Bible?

Sunday, October 2nd, 2022

COGwriter

Many people feel that the Bible should interpret itself and hence can be read literally.

But, the percentage of people doing so has been dropping.

furthermore, I have seen ‘theologians’ try to reason around that.

Should you try to read the Bible literally?

At theological schools they teach that there are various forms of biblical interpretation. Theological schools (and their graduates) tend to emphasize one or more styles of what they call biblical exegesis–some of them, such as an excessive emphasis on allegorization, are vain and overlook what the Bible teaches.

One of the early men who pushed allegorical interpretation was an apostate named Cerinthus.

Irenaeus indicates that the Apostle John was very seriously opposed to him:

There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.” (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4)

So, the Apostle John was not a fan of an early apostate allegorist.

A while back I ran across a Catholic writer who espoused an odd form of “literal” reading of scripture. The writer is Mark Shea and he wrote:

Periodically, folks ask about whether we are supposed to read the Bible literally.

The Church does require a literal interpretation of biblical texts. But that does not mean what most Americans imagine it means. It does not mean we have to believe, for instance, that the universe was made in six 24 hour days, or profess faith in talking snakes. Rather, by the “literal sense”, the Church means we must read the text looking for what the author intended to say, the *way* he intended to say it, and distinguish from that what is incidental to what he was saying. That’s the literal interpretation…the Church also says we are not at all bound to read it *literalistically* as though it was always a newspaper account. So, for instance, CCC 390 says:

The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents.

Note that: Genesis describes a real primeval event (the fall) but it uses figurative, not newspaper, language to do it. Other times, of course, Scripture does uses something like newspaper language (“David hid from Saul in a cave.”) in order to tell the story. Common sense and the interpretive tradition of the Church help us discern what from what.

Likewise, the Church does not commit us to reading the account of Noah literalistically…

For a quick rundown on on the senses of Scripture, see CCC 115-119:

115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. The profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.

116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.”83

117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God’s plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs.

1. The allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ’s victory and also of Christian Baptism.84

But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me.
http://www.ncregister.com/blog/mark-shea/the-senses-of-scripture#ixzz2JqpQGS52

(Note: ‘CCC’ means the Catechism of the Catholic Church.) Mark Shea is not really advocating reading the Bible literally. Actually, when I personally started to read the Gospels, I realized that the Church of Rome was too removed from the Bible to truly represent the true church (they have made many changes that the true Church of God has not, for details, please check out Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?).

And let me add that although Mark Shea teaches that his “Church does not commit us to reading the account of Noah literalistically,” Jesus of the Bible did teach the account of Noah as did the apostles. Here are some of the words of Jesus:

37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24:37-39)

26 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26-27)

Notice some additional writings from the New Testament about Noah:

7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Hebrews 11:7)

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. (1 Peter 3:18-20)

4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; (2 Peter 2:4-5)

Those of us who actually believe the Bible believe the account of Noah–and the New Testament confirmed many of the literal events of the account of Noah in the Book of Genesis. Those parts of the Church of Rome claim they accept the Apostle Peter’s authority, so perhaps they should believe the biblical account of Noah.

The Bible Supports the View that It Tends to Literally Interpret Itself

Notice what the prophet Isaiah taught:

Whom will he teach knowledge? And whom will he make to understand the message?…For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little”… But the word of the LORD was to them, “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little,” (Isaiah 28:9,10, 13 NKJV).

In other words, the Bible was supposed to be understood based upon what it says in many places.

Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV).

In other words, scripture is given by God for doctrine and contains enough information that the man of God may be complete.

Notice what the Apostle Peter taught:

15…also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Thus, even back then people who would not learn from the apostles were twisting scriptures–claiming they meant something other than what they said.

Allegorizing May Have First Developed in Alexandria And Was Held By Followers of Simon Magus and Valentinus

Gnostic and pre-gnostic leaders took a different approach to biblical interpretation in the first and second centuries. They tended to accept allegory over what the Bible actually taught.

This practice may have first developed in Alexandria, Egypt. Here is some of what Eusebius said Philo (c. first century) taught about those who made some profession of Christ in Alexandria (any bolding mine) (Cerinthus was an Egyptian):

3. In the work to which he gave the title, On a Contemplative Life or on Suppliants, after affirming in the first place that he will add to those things which he is about to relate nothing contrary to truth or of his own invention, he says that these men were called Therapeutæ and the women that were with them Therapeutrides. He then adds the reasons for such a name, explaining it from the fact that they applied remedies and healed the souls of those who came to them, by relieving them like physicians, of evil passions, or from the fact that they served and worshiped the Deity in purity and sincerity.

4. Whether Philo himself gave them this name, employing an epithet well suited to their mode of life, or whether the first of them really called themselves so in the beginning, since the name of Christians was not yet everywhere known, we need not discuss here…

7. Philo bears witness to facts very much like those here described and then adds the following account: “Everywhere in the world is this race found. For it was fitting that both Greek and Barbarian should share in what is perfectly good. But the race particularly abounds in Egypt, in each of its so-called nomes, and especially about Alexandria

9. And then a little further on, after describing the kind of houses which they had, he speaks as follows concerning their churches, which were scattered about here and there: “In each house there is a sacred apartment which is called a sanctuary and monastery, where, quite alone, they perform the mysteries of the religious life. They bring nothing into it, neither drink nor food, nor any of the other things which contribute to the necessities of the body, but only the laws, and the inspired oracles of the prophets, and hymns and such other things as augment and make perfect their knowledge and piety.”

10. And after some other matters he says:

“The whole interval, from morning to evening, is for them a time of exercise. For they read the holy Scriptures, and explain the philosophy of their fathers in an allegorical manner, regarding the written words as symbols of hidden truth which is communicated in obscure figures.

11. They have also writings of ancient men, who were the founders of their sect, and who left many monuments of the allegorical method. These they use as models, and imitate their principles”…

15…Philo’s words are as follows:

16. “Having laid down temperance as a sort of foundation in the soul, they build upon it the other virtues. None of them may take food or drink before sunset, since they regard philosophizing as a work worthy of the light, but attention to the wants of the body as proper only in the darkness, and therefore assign the day to the former, but to the latter a small portion of the night.

17. But some, in whom a great desire for knowledge dwells, forget to take food for three days; and some are so delighted and feast so luxuriously upon wisdom, which furnishes doctrines richly and without stint, that they abstain even twice as long as this, and are accustomed, after six days, scarcely to take necessary food.” These statements of Philo we regard as referring clearly and indisputably to those of our communion.

19. For they say that there were women also with those of whom we are speaking, and that the most of them were aged virgins who had preserved their chastity…by their own choice, through zeal and a desire for wisdom

20. Then after a little he adds still more emphatically: “They expound the Sacred Scriptures figuratively by means of allegories. For the whole law seems to these men to resemble a living organism, of which the spoken words constitute the body, while the hidden sense stored up within the words constitutes the soul. This hidden meaning has first been particularly studied by this sect, which sees, revealed as in a mirror of names, the surpassing beauties of the thoughts”…

23. In addition to this Philo describes the order of dignities which exists among those who carry on the services of the church, mentioning the diaconate, and the office of bishop, which takes the precedence over all the others (Eusebius. Church History, Book II, Chapter XVII. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

So Eusebius claims that Philo (c. 1st century) reported that those in Alexandria were ascetic, had mysteries, seem to have been gnostics (ones who claimed to have special knowledge/wisdom which was essential for salvation), had some promotion of celibacy, allegorized scripture, and had a bishop–and Eusebius seems to claim that they are part of the Catholic Church (see vs. 17 above)–even though the Roman Church did not have celibacy rules at that time (please see the article Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters?). This seems to have been where a major departure from the true faith occurred.

Hippolytus, who also appeared to be a Roman supporter, in the early third century, wrote this about the heretic Simon Magus:

Now Simon, both foolishly and knavishly paraphrasing the law of Moses, makes his statements (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book VI, Chapter IV. Translated by J. H. Machmahon. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Simon then, after inventing these (tenets), not only by evil devices interpreted the writings of Moses in whatever way he wished, but even the (works) of the poets. For also he fastens an allegorical meaning on (the story of) the wooden horse and Helen with the torch, and on very many other (accounts), which he transfers to what relates to himself and to Intelligence, and (thus) furnishes a fictitious explanation of them. (ibid Chapter XIV).

Simon Magus came on the scene about the same time Philo wrote about the Alexandrians.

Alexandria was also the original home of the heretic Valentinus (who later went to Rome), and it seems like some of the leaders in Alexandria adopted some of his traits. The historian HOJ Brown noted:

Alexandria was the home of the celebrated gnostic Valentinus. Valentinus adopted Philo’s method of allegorical interpretation…For a time, Valentinus and his followers existed with the orthodox Christians of Alexandria. (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 86).

Valentinus, even though condemned by Polycarp of Smyrna, when Polycarp visited Rome, ca. 155, was also tolerated by, and existed in, the Roman Church until at least the 170s A.D. when he was finally put out after he had greatly influenced the church there.

Speaking of Polycarp, in his famous Letter to the Philippians he uses essentially a literal, not allegorical approach to understanding scripture. The simple truth is that the actual early (prior to the third century) leaders of the church (outside of Alexandria), that the Roman Catholics consider non-heretical, did not try to promote an allegorical method of understanding scripture. But the heretics did.

While there are some passages in the Bible that are intended to be understood allegorically, God’s actual servants believe the word of God over opinions of men who do not truly have sufficient love of the truth.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood?
Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete? Are there lost gospels? What about the Apocrypha? Is the Septuagint better than the Masoretic text? What about the Textus Receptus vs. Nestle Alland? Was the New Testament written in Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew? Which translations are based upon the best ancient text? Did the true Church of God have the canon from the beginning? Here are links to related sermons: Let’s Talk About the Bible, The Books of the Old Testament, The Septuagint and its Apocrypha, Masoretic Text of the Old Testament, and Lost Books of the Bible, and Let’s Talk About the New Testament, The New Testament Canon From the Beginning, English Versions of the Bible and How Did We Get Them?, What was the Original Language of the New Testament?, Original Order of the Books of the Bible, and Who Gave the World the Bible? Who Had the Chain of Custody?
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading, certain ancient texts, and discusses translations. Here is a link in Mandarin Chinese: ‹ûW#~Ï Here is a link in the Spanish language: Lea la Biblia..
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. An animated video of related interest is also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator?
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.
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’?
Cerinthus: An early heretic What did he teach? What did the Apostle John do about him?

Marcion: The First Protestant? Considered to have been an organized heretic, he taught against the Old Testament, the law, and the Sabbath. Some have considered him to be the first Protestant reformer. But was he? Here is a link to a related sermon: Marcion: The first Protestant reformer?
Valentinus: The Gnostic Trinitarian Heretic He apparently was the first Christ-professing heretic to come up with the idea of three hypostases.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God? , Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Pope Francis calls Dante a ‘prophet of hope’

Saturday, October 1st, 2022


Title page of 1555 edition of Dante’s Divine Comedy
(photo by Fivedit)

COGwriter

Dante Alighieri wrote something that became known as the Divine Comedy. It gives a misleading and false understanding about what happens after death as well as obfuscates God’s plan of salvation (more on God’s plan is in the free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).

Yet in 2021, Pope Francis praised the poet Dante as a prophet of hope according to the Roman Catholic publication called Crux:

Pope Francis calls Dante a ‘prophet of hope’

March 25, 2021

Pope Francis on Thursday released a document reflecting on the life and work of Italian poet Dante Alighieri, calling him a prophet of hope in a historic moment where inhumanity and lack of prospect loom large.

“At this particular moment in history, overclouded by situations of profound inhumanity and a lack of confidence and prospects for the future, the figure of Dante, prophet of hope and witness to the human desire for happiness, can still provide us with words and examples that encourage us on our journey,” Francis wrote in the closing lines of Candor Lucis Aeternae (“Splendor of Light Eternal”). …

His prophetic mission, the pope writes, entailed denouncing those believers – from popes to ordinary faithful – who betray Christ and turn the Church into an instrument to advance their own interests, idolizing power and riches while ignoring the Beatitudes and the duty of charity towards the defenseless and the poor.

“Yet, even as he denounces corruption in parts of the Church,” Francis writes, Dante also “an advocate for her profound renewal and implores God’s providence to bring this about.”

Francis’s latest apostolic letter is the latest of a long list of papal documents and reflections on the author of The Divine Comedy, who died 700 years ago. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2021/03/pope-francis-calls-dante-a-prophet-of-hope/

Dante did not teach true hope. Dante also did not hold to the Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church (that link is to a free online book with numerous biblical and historical references).

Furthermore, we in the Church of God do not consider that Dante could have been God’s prophet.

For more on prophets, check out the following:

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

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?

As far as Dante’s poem goes, we believe it contributed to doctrinal error and the pushing of unbiblical fear.

The late Pastor General of the old Radio then Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote the following related to some of this:

Common Idea of Hell

First, what IS the generally accepted common belief in our Western world about hell? Here’s the terse and brief summation of this popular belief, which I quote from the Encyclopedia Americana: ”

… As generally understood, hell is the abode of evil spirits; the infernal regions … whither lost and condemned souls go after death to suffer indescribable torments and eternal punishment…. Some have thought of it as the place created by the Deity, where He punishes with inconceivable severity, and through all eternity, the souls of those who through unbelief or through the worship of false gods have angered Him. It is the place of divine revenge, untempered, never ending.”

Now where, and how, did this popular belief about hell originate? The Encyclopedia Americana states further: “The main features of hell as conceived by Hindu, Persian, Egyptian, Grecian and Christian theologians are essentially the same.” The Western religious leaders from Roman times through the Middle Ages borrowed the doctrine of eternal torture from the pagan philosophers. Certain writers of the Middle Ages had such tremendous influence on the Christian-professing world, that their writings and teachings came to be generally accepted and believed, until it became the doctrine of the Christian-professing world. Among these influential writers were Augustine and Dante Alighieri.

Some years ago, I ran across a book in a large library, titled Dante, and His Inferno. It summed up the history of the Christian-professing doctrine of hell. This factual history is rather amazing! Dante lived A.D. 1265 to 1321. Dante, remember, wrote a tremendously popular book, titled Divine Comedy, in three parts — “Hell,” “Purgatory” and “Paradise.”

From the Pagans

Now I quote from the aforementioned book of history:

“Of all poets of modern times, Dante Alighieri was, perhaps, the greatest educator. He possibly had a greater influence on the course of civilization than any other man since his day…. He wrote, in incomprehensible verse, an imaginative and lurid account of a dismal hell — a long poem containing certain phrases which have caught the attention of the world, such as, all hope abandon … ye, who enter here!’ This had a tremendous impression and influence on the popular Christian thought and teaching. His Inferno was based on Virgil and Plato.”

Dante is reported to have been so fascinated and enraptured by the ideas and philosophies of Plato and Virgil, pagan philosophers, that he believed they were divinely inspired. Here is an article on Virgil, from the Americana:

“VIRGIL, pagan Roman poet, 70-19 B.C. Belonged to the national school of pagan Roman thought, influenced by the Greek writers. Christians of the Middle Ages, including Dante, believed he had received some measure of divine inspiration.”

Plato was a pagan Greek philosopher, born in Athens, 427 B.C., a student of Socrates. He wrote the famous book Phaedo, on the immortality of the soul, and this book is the real origin of the modern belief in the immortality of the soul. I have before me, a copy of the Phaedo, and in the introductory pages, I read this about Plato: “In fact, he acknowledges … three kinds of gods: superior, inferior, and intermediate.”

There is the general statement of the popular belief about hell, and where that belief came from — actually from the imaginations of pagans who knew not God! …

Incorrectly Translated “Hell”

Remember we merely read a translation of the Bible from its original languages. A leading Bible dictionary, called A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by James Hastings, says this:

“In our Authorized Version the word ‘hell’ is unfortunately used as the rendering of three distinct words, with different meanings. It represents, (1) the ‘sheol’ of the Hebrew Old Testament, and the ‘hades’ of … the New Testament…. It is now an entirely misleading rendering, especially in the New Testament passages. The English revisers, therefore, have substituted the original Greek word ‘hades’ for ‘hell’ in the New Testament. In the American revision the word ‘hell’ is entirely discarded in this connection…. The word ‘hell’ is translated (2) as the equivalent of the Greek word tartaros,(II Peter 2:4; compare with Jude 6), and, (3) as the equivalent of the Greek word ‘gehenna.’ ”

The original Hebrew word sheol and the Greek hades mean the same — the GRAVE, and these original words are so translated in many places. Hell is an old English word, and 370 years ago, when the Authorized Version was translated, the people of England commonly talked about putting their potatoes in HELL for the winter — a good way of preserving potatoes — for the word then meant merely a hole in the ground that was covered up — a dark and silent place — a GRAVE. But PAGAN teachings that gained popular acceptance have caused people to apply to the English word the meaning of “hell” which came out of the imaginations of Dante.

The Greek word tartaros occurs only once in the New Testament and does not refer to humans, but the place of fallen angels. Its meaning, translated into English, is “darkness of the material universe,” or “dark abyss” or “prison.”

And now the Greek word gehenna. Here is the official DEFINITION of that very Greek word which was inspired by God, and written originally by Mark. I quote from Hastings:

“Gehenna: the word occurs twelve times in the New Testament. This term ‘gehenna’ represents ‘the Valley of Hinnom’ (Nehemiah 11:30, II Kings 23:10, etc.). The place was … a deep narrow gorge in the vicinity of Jerusalem, understood to be on the south side. It is repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 19:6, etc.). It became an object of horror to the Jews, and is said to have been made the receptacle for bones, the bodies of beasts and criminals, refuse and all unclean things. The terrible associations of the place … the fires said to have been kept burning in it in order to consume the foul and corrupt objects that were thrown into it, made it a natural and unmistakable symbol of dire evil, … ABSOLUTE RUIN. So it came to designate the place of future punishment.”

Hell — a Place of Destruction

Gehenna was a place of DESTRUCTION and DEATH — not a place of living torture! Jesus was talking to Jews who understood all about this Gehenna or Valley of Hinnom. Utter DESTRUCTION by fire was complete. NOTHING was left, but ashes!
Every text in the Bible translated from this Greek word gehenna means complete destruction — not living torture — NOT eternal LIFE in torment! THE Bible says, in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is DEATH” — not ETERNAL LIFE in torture. The PUNISHMENT revealed in the BIBLE is DEATH — the cessation of life. Eternal life is the GIFT OF GOD!

Then WHY have we been believing that PUNISHMENT is ETERNAL LIFE in fire? And WHY have we been believing we already have eternal life and don’t NEED to come to God through Christ to receive it as HIS GIFT?
The PUNISHMENT is DEATH. It is the second death, from which there shall be no resurrection! The PUNISHMENT is for ETERNITY — DEATH for eternity — ETERNAL punishment — but NOwhere does THE BIBLE say anything about the PAGAN teaching of eternal punishING. It’s eternal punishMENT, not eternal punishING!

When Jesus spoke of being cast into “gehenna FIRE,” he was using this expression as an illustration of the LAKE OF FIRE, which THE BIBLE reveals is to be THE PLACE of this final punishment — this second DEATH. He referred to Revelation 20:14: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”

THAT fire will be much hotter than Dante’s imaginary HELL!

What Happens to “Hell”?

Do people go at DEATH to the fictitious hell of Dante’s imagination to be TORTURED by flames of fire forever — and then are they to be brought OUT, to go into a JUDGMENT, to see if God had made a mistake in having punished them so long in this “hell”?
Notice Revelation 20:13-15: “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” The LAKE OF FIRE which JESUS referred to is a place of DEATH, not of eternal life — the SECOND DEATH — ETERNAL punishment!

Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 10:28: “… fear him which is able to DESTROY both soul and body in [GEHENNA].” Here in plain language JESUS said the SOUL could be destroyed — and that it would be DESTROYED in this GEHENNA that has been falsely translated by the English word hell! Gehenna is a place of DESTRUCTION! (Is there a Hell? Plain Truth, May 1955)

Later the old Worldwide Church of God published the following:

The Inferno

Possibly the best-known “journey” of all is that of Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), the medieval Italian poet. His travels among the damned are recorded in The Inferno. It is the first part of his three-part Divine Comedy, an account of his imaginary journeys through hell, purgatory and heaven.

Dante is conducted through hell by the spirit of the Roman poet Virgil. The trip begins on Good Friday, A.D. 1300, in a wooded area near Jerusalem. Over the gate of hell the two travelers find a fearful and now famous inscription:

ABANDON EVERY HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER HERE.

Dante then witnesses in his imagination the eternal torments of the wicked. He describes hell as being divided into various levels, descending conically into the earth. Souls suffer punishments appropriate to their sins. Hypocrites, for example, wear gowns brilliant outwardly, but made of heavy lead instead of cloth. They must bear the weight of them forever. Gluttons are doomed to forever lie like pigs in a foul-smelling sty under a cold, eternal rain. Dante’s descriptions are vivid — and frightening.

Though Dante’s primary purpose in writing the poem was to satirize persons and circumstances of his day, the theology of his work is based firmly on the system of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Italian theologian and philosopher. The Divine Comedy is a relatively accurate dramatization of medieval Christian theology. Some simple-minded of Dante’s day actually believed Dante had really visited hell! His work had a tremendous impression and influence on popular Christian thought.

Concentration Camp?

Dante’s medieval picture of hell as a gigantic concentration camp — a nightmarish place of eternal torment, horrible beyond imagination, presided over by Satan and his demons — largely represents the thinking of significant groups of professing Christians to this day. The concept of a “hell” can be found in one form or another among all the world’s principal faiths. (Stump K. To Hell and Back. Plaint Truth, December 1981)

Sadly, most who profess Christianity hold on to at least some of the false notions put forth in Dante’s poem.

This is part of why MOST do not understand God’s plan of salvation.

God does not have a plan to torture people for eternity.

God has a plan to offer salvation to all who ever lived and to annihilate those who will, after the second resurrection, refuse to accept His offer of salvation through Jesus. For details in a book that also mentions Dante, check out the free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation.

Now, it is NOT just Roman Catholics who have accepted improper aspects of Dante’s poem–so have many Protestants.

The Protestant group behind Chick Publications had the following at their website:

The King James Bible is a true and direct translation from the original languages. … What if you found out it’s the one English Bible that deserves your complete trust? … the King James … should be the only Bible that you need —and can completely trust. … trusting the KJV. Build your faith in God’s Word by learning why you can trust the KJV alone and why it is the most accurate translation in English. https://www.chick.com/products/item?stk=1425 accessed 03/15/20

Is that accurate?

No.

While the KJV is superior in many ways to many translations, it was translated by men.

Men are fallible.

Now, one of the things that Chick Publications likes about the KJV is that it often uses the word ‘hell.’ Chick Publications indicates that using the actual Greek words of the New Testament transliterated into English results in people not understanding about God’s punishment. Notice some of what it says about that:

Question: Gehenna is not hell, is it? It was a valley where outcasts, thieves and infected people where thrown when they died. The Bible refers to “Gehenna” as the place of death and pain. The word “hell”, as you so often use, where eternal pain and fire awaits is actually “Gehenna”. If you have read a bible written before 1400, you will notice a very important thing: “HELL” is missing. Instead it says “Gehenna”. There is no fire breathing eternal pain demon hell!! In fact YOU are committing a sin here. Telling people, or lying to people about hell, when you should know about “Gehenna”. There is no hell. Only the valley of “Gehenna”. A graveyard!!

Answer: The word “Gehenna” is properly translated “hell” in the King James Bible. …

Even though the word “Gehenna” comes from the Valley of Hinnom, simply rendering it as “garbage dump” or “valley of waste disposal” or “burning garbage” could not be an accurate translations, because that’s not what Jesus and the apostles meant when they used the word. It meant “the place where people go when they die.” That’s what we mean when we say “hell”. …

Not until Young’s Literal Translation in the late 1800s, followed by the Catholic New American Bible of 1970 was the untranslated “Gehenna” put in. … And “hell” accurately translates the meaning of the word “Gehenna.” “Gehenna” is not a translation; it is just a transliteration (translating letters, but not meaning). https://www.chick.com/information/article?id=does-gehenna-mean-hell accessed 03/15/20

In other words, Chick Publications is saying that IT KNOWS BETTER WHAT THE WORD IS SUPPOSED TO MEAN THAN THE WORD JESUS HIMSELF USED.

Now, we in the Continuing Church of God rarely use the word “hell.” The word “hell” originally meant to cover or to hide. Another old meaning of the word was “a tailor’s receptacle” according to Merriam-Webster. In time, it tended to mean being underground.

Furthermore, consider that the KJV IMPROPERLY TRANSLATES THREE DIFFERENT WORDS TO MEAN THE SAME THING!

There are three different words in the New Testament–Hades, Gehenna, or Tartaroosas–which the King James Version of the Bible translated as “hell.” And not one of them means what most people think the word hell means.

The fact of the three different Greek words, as well as various understandings and traditions, has resulted in confusion concerning what hell means.

Now, since the term has become highly used in cursing and in various vulgarities it is often not appropriate to use.

Furthermore, because of influence from Dante’s book The Divine Comedy, the area he called the Inferno/Infernus many people got the wrong impression that God has a place of torturing that would last forever. And later the term hell got attached to it, and that is how most Protestants (including Chick Publications as its tract Some Like It Hot shows) and Roman Catholics now view it.

Yet, Chick Publications and others should know better. Even in its post against Gehenna, it had the following:

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). No power on earth can destroy a soul. The soul is a part of a person that exists beyond physical death (Revelation 20:4). “Gehenna” has to be a place to destroy both the body and the soul. https://www.chick.com/information/article?id=does-gehenna-mean-hell accessed 03/15/20

Note Chick Publications admits that the body and soul are destroyed in Gehenna. In Jesus’ time what was tossed into Gehenna burnt up and was no more. In the Gehenna to come, the same thing will happen. But sadly, its teachings are closer to Dante’s than the words of Jesus!

Chick Publications also has the following:

“Hades” has a big pagan meaning that is completely divorced from the Bible. “Sheol” is a Hebrew word without any meaning at all to an ordinary reader. Have you ever heard people say they don’t want to “go to gehenna?” … We need a Bible with a lot of hell in it. We need to know where we are not going. The whole purpose of evangelism is to save people from hell. … That forceful warning word, “hell,” is found in the King James Bible. https://www.chick.com/information/article?id=Who-Needs-Hell accessed 03/15/20

No, the whole purpose of proclaiming the good news of the Bible is not to save people from the type of hell that Chick Publications wants to believe in. One of the main purposes of evangelism, according to Jesus is to have “gospel of the kingdom … preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations” (Matthew 24:14) and to “make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). This way, those converted will build godly character so that they will be able to give love in a unique way to make eternity better for them and all who ultimately will accept Jesus (see also our free online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?).

What about Gehenna? This Greek word represents “the Valley of HINNOM which lay just outside of Jerusalem and was the place refuse was constantly being burned up.” It is first referred to in scripture in Joshua 15:8. It was also associated with pagan fire practices in 2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chronicles 28:3, 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31-32, 19:2-6, & 32:35.

Trash, filth, and the dead bodies of animals and DESPISED CRIMINALS were thrown into Gehenna. Ordinarily, everything thrown into this valley was DESTROYED by fire. Christ used it to picture the terrible fate of UNREPENTANT SINNERS! Please understand that JESUS USED THE WORD GEHENNA 11 TIMES IN THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS (the text that the KJV was translated from). Jesus knew what it meant! But instead, Chick Publications (and others) want you to not comprehend what Jesus was really teaching!

Now, consider that Chick Publications says that Hades has a pagan meaning, but apparently overlooks the true meaning of the word Easter (the name of one or more pagan goddesses – Ishtar and Eostre). That being said, JESUS USED THE WORD HADES 5 TIMES IN THE TEXTUS RECEPTUS (the text that the KJV was translated from). Jesus was NOT trying to teach a pagan concept. Hades means the ‘grave.’ It does NOT mean an ever burning hell fire of torture.

On the use of the word “hell” in the New and Old Testament, let’s read what an old Bible dictionary, edited by James Hastings, a leading authority on such technical matters, says:

In our Authorized Version the word ‘hell’ is unfortunately used as the rendering of three distinct words, WITH DIFFERENT. It represents, 1. the ‘sheol’ of the Hebrew Old Testament, and the ‘hades’ in the New Testament … It is now an entirely misleading rendering, especially in the New Testament passages. The English revisers, therefore, have substituted ‘Hades’ [going back to the original Greek word] for ‘hell’ in the New Testament …. In the American revision the word ‘hell’ is entirely discarded in this connexion ….

The word ‘hell’ is used 2. as equivalent to [the Greek word] ‘tartaros’ (II Peter 2:4), … and, 3. more properly as the equivalent of [the Greek word] ‘gehenna’ (Hastings J., ed. Dictionary of the Bible, Vol. 2. 1900, pp. 343-344)

So, we see that the real MEANINGS of three different Greek words – “hades” (“sheol” in Old Testament), “tartaros,” and “gehenna” – have been confused with each other because translators, like those of the KJV, have attempted to make the ONE English word “hell” cover all THREE meanings! But now let us amplify the foregoing facts.

The original Old Testament HEBREW word “sheol” and the New Testament Greek word “hades” mean basically the same thing. These original words have been translated “grave” in many places in the Bible.

THE WORD “SHEOL,”… It is never used by Moses or the Prophets in the sense of a place of torment after death; and in no way conflicts with the statement already proved, that the Law of Moses deals wholly in temporal rewards and punishments.

This position, also, I wish to fortify by the testimony of Orthodox critics, men of learning and candor. They know, and therefore they speak.

  1. CHAPMAN. “Sheol, in itself considered, has no connection with future punishment.” Cited by Balfour, First Inquiry.
  2. DR. ALLEN, quoted above, says: “The term sheol does not seem to mean, with certainty, anything more than the state of the dead in their deep abode.”
  3. DR. CAMPBELL. “Sheol signifies the state of the dead without regard to their happiness or misery.”
  4. DR. WHITBY. “Sheol throughout the Old Testament signifies not the place of punishment, or of the souls of bad men only, but the grave only, or the place of death.” (Thayer TB. THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE Doctrine of Endless Punishment. 1855; Universal Publishing House 1871)

Sheol is a reference to the grave, as is the word hades.

Note that the Greek word TARTAROS, which has also been translated into the English word “hell” in the KJV, occurs only once in the New Testament (2 Peter 2:4) and does not refer to humans, but to the RESTRAINED condition of fallen angels. Its meaning, translated into English, is “darkness of the material universe,” or “dark abyss,” or “prison.”

More on ‘Hell’ can be found in the following: Study the Bible Course Lesson 15: What is “Hell”?

Protestants do NOT understand God’s plan of salvation and have other doctrinal errors. To learn more about them, check out the free online book: Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism.

Dante was not a prophet of hope.

To learn more about the hope, check out the free online books Proof Jesus is the Messiah, The Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?

One of the reasons that most who profess Christianity have been deceived about God’s plan of salvation is that they, unlike early faithful Christians, do not keep the biblical holy days. Here is a link to a free online booklet on them: Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Study the Bible Course Lesson 15: What is “Hell”? What are the different words translated as “hell” in English? Does Gehenna mean something different than Hades. What happens? What about worms dying not?
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: Apocatastasis, Universal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be Saved, Mysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3), Is God Fair, Will God Pardon the Ignorant?, Can God Save Your Relatives?, Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete? Are there lost gospels? What about the Apocrypha? Is the Septuagint better than the Masoretic text? What about the Textus Receptus vs. Nestle Alland? Was the New Testament written in Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew? Which translations are based upon the best ancient text? Did the true Church of God have the canon from the beginning? Here are links to related sermons: Let’s Talk About the Bible, The Books of the Old Testament, The Septuagint and its Apocrypha, Masoretic Text of the Old Testament, and Lost Books of the Bible, and Let’s Talk About the New Testament, The New Testament Canon From the Beginning, English Versions of the Bible and How Did We Get Them?, What was the Original Language of the New Testament?, Original Order of the Books of the Bible, and Who Gave the World the Bible? Who Had the Chain of Custody?
The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, and The Mystery of YOU.
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.
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. We also have the book translated in the Spanish PRUEBA de que JESÚS es el MESÍAS and French PREUVES QUE JÉSUS EST LE MESSIE languages.

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?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List, and Holy Mother Church and Heresies.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History; The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character; The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon; Eucharist, Passover, and Easter; Views of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & Baptism; Scripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. Sunday; Church Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s Plan; Seventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?; Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of Salvation; Crosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean Meats; The Godhead and the Trinity; Fleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
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. Two related sermon would be Which Spring Days should Christians observe? and Fall Holy Days for Christians.

Sermon: The Apple of God’s Eye

Saturday, October 1st, 2022

richardclose
Richard Close speaking at the Feast of Tabernacles in New Brunswick

The late deacon Richard Close had notes put together for a sermon he intended to give in the Continuing Church of God.  So, another version was put together after his death as follows:

1:11:03

‘Does anyone know where the love of God goes …?’ Are Christians the ‘apple of God’s eye’? What does the Bible teach about that? Do you truly appreciate and understand the love of God? In this sermon, Dr. Thiel uses notes from the late deacon Richard Close about the being the apple of God’s eye. He goes over parts of God’s plan for individuals to have actual sons and daughters in His Kingdom. The priority of love is discussed as is God singing when Christians are resurrected to be born into His very family.

Here is a link to the sermon video: The Apple of God’s Eye.

Some items of related interest may include the following:

The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s PlanMysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s PlanMystery of Race, and The Mystery of YOU. Here is a link to a video in Spanish: El Misterio del Plan de Dios.The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here are links to seven related sermons: Proof Jesus is the MessiahProphecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and deathJesus’ prophesied divinity200+ OT prophecies Jesus filled; Plus prophecies He madeWhy Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus, and Facts and Atheists’ Delusions About Jesus. Plus the links to two sermonettes: Luke’s census: Any historical evidence? and Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but …
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is are links to related sermons: Christian Election: Is God Calling YOU? and Predestination and Your Selection. A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
Is God’s Existence Logical? Is it really logical to believe in God? Yes! Would you like Christian answers to give atheists? This is a free online booklet that deal with improper theories and musings called science related to the origin of the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and evolution. Here is a link to a related sermon: Evolution is NOT the Origin of Life. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God? , Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, MeatsTithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?The GodheadApostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism The CCOG is NOT Protestant. This free online book explains how the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants. Several sermons related to the free book are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG HistoryThe First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & CharacterThe New Testament, Martin Luther, and the CanonEucharist, Passover, and EasterViews of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & BaptismScripture vs. Tradition, Sabbath vs. SundayChurch Services, Sunday, Heaven, and God’s PlanSeventh Day Baptists/Adventists/Messianics: Protestant or COG?Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of SalvationCrosses, Trees, Tithes, and Unclean MeatsThe Godhead and the TrinityFleeing or Rapture?; and Ecumenism, Rome, and CCOG Differences.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to four related sermons: The Fantastic Gospel of the Kingdom of God!The World’s False GospelThe Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url www.ccog.asia which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址 www.ccog.asia, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 Here is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.
CCOG.IN This is a website targeted towards those of Indian heritage. It has a link to an edited Hindi translation of The Mystery of the Ages and is expected to have more non-English language materials in the future.
CCOG.EU This is a website targeted toward Europe. It has materials in more than one language (currently it has English, Dutch, and Serbian, with links also to Spanish) and it is intended to have additional language materials added.
CCOG.NZ This is a website targeted towards New Zealand and others with a British-descended background.
CCOGAFRICA.ORG This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
CG7.ORG This is a website for those interested in the Sabbath and churches that observe the seventh day Sabbath.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations YouTube channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs. Also available at BitChute COGAnimations https://www.bitchute.com/channel/coganimations/
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced hundreds of videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. You can find them at them on YouTube at BibleNewsProphecy https://www.youtube.com/user/BibleNewsProphecy, plus also on Vimeo at Bible News Prophecy https://vimeo.com/channels/biblenewsprophecy as well as on Brighteon Bible News Prophecy https://www.brighteon.com/channel/ccogbnp and Bitchute Prophecy https://www.bitchute.com/channel/prophecy/
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo. Also available at BitChute COGAfrica https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogafrica/
CDLIDDSermones channel. This contains messages in the Spanish language
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos. Also available at BitChute COGTube https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogtube/
Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God “Contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV), “Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1) ” & continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs–the Statement gives answers? Here is a related link in Spanish/españolDeclaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese ~ç~íy^v„eYOv„OáNðXðf. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’Église Continue de Dieu. Here is a related link in the Chichewa language: ZIKHULUPIRIRO ZA MPINGO WA CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD. Here is a link in Romanian: Declarația de credințe a continuării Bisericii lui Dumnezeu. Here is a link in Portuguese: Declaração de Crenças da Continuação da Igreja de Deus. Here is a link in Russian: Утверждение верований о продолжении Церкви Божьей. Here is a link to a related English-language sermon: Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God. Here is a link to a booklet titled: Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.