Archive for the ‘Doctrine’ Category

Complain less and be thankful

Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

COGwriter

Are you grateful for what you have or are you mainly a complainer?

I regularly hear from poor, and often hungry, people in Africa. Their situations and problems remind me how grateful those of us in Western cultures should be for at least the physical blessings we have.

Do you give thanks to God? Does the Bible actually say to do that?

Does the Bible say anything about people who are not thankful?

Should you be giving thanks to God? For what?

What are some of the fruits of not being thankful?

This article will address those subjects and more. (Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Ingratitude and Giving Thanks.)

Unthankfulness was prophesied.

The New King James Version of the Bible has the word ‘thank’ 25 times, ‘thanks’ 75 times, ‘thankful’ 3 times, and ‘thanksgiving’ 32 times. It also has the word ‘praise’ 237 times and ‘praises’ 11 times.

Thanks and praise must be important to God. And God must think it is important for us to know.

Yet, the Bible teaches that in the last days, people will be selfish and unthankful:

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! (2 Timothy 3:1-6)

Notice that God does not want His people to associate much with the selfish who are unthankful. God wants His people to have gratitude, not ingratitude.

Unthankful people are often unhappy, and often unloving.

Notice what is prophesied towards those who will not serve God with joy:

47 “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49 The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. (Deuteronomy 28:47-51)

Oddly, people seem to think that complaining makes them happy. Many are selfish and seem to think that complaining is better for them than giving thanks.

Some seem to complain because they are Christian! Yet, God expects His people to be joyous:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-24)

People who are joyous and longsuffering tend to be thankful.

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


1:14:34

Are you thankful? Does the Bible teach that you are supposed to be? What did Dibar Apartian write was ‘the most common sin’? What does the Bible say about thanks and praise? Is ingratitude warned against? Is unthankfulness prophesied? Can the thankful commit the unpardonable sin? What should you be thankful for? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to the sermon: Ingratitude and Giving Thanks.

Some items of related interest may include:

Giving Thanks Are Christians supposed to give thanks? Why? Is unthankfulness warned against? Here is a link to two related sermons titled: and Ingratitude and Giving Thanks.
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it? Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son.
Praises to Jesus Christ or Biblical Hymns: Which Should Christians Primarily Sing? This biblical article on music is in response to an advertisement critical of WCG’s 1974 The Bible Hymnal. It also address early church practices here.
The Bible Hymnal via Amazon. This is the paperback edition of the hymnal used by the Continuing Church of God. It consists of all the songs that were part of the 1974 edition of ‘The Bible Hymnal’ used by the old Worldwide Church of God, plus ten other hymns that Herbert Armstrong approved that were written by Ross Jutsum. The songs in this book are essentially the Psalms and other passages in the Bible set to music. To access it free online, click: The Bible Hymnal. Amazon sells a hard copy of The Bible Hymnal for $8.99.
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.

Ignatius, the Sabbath, and the ‘Lord’s Day’

Saturday, November 21st, 2020

History of Early Christianity

COGwriter

Since Jesus and the Apostles kept the Sabbaths and the Holy Days, why do most who profess Christ not observe them? Many claim that Ignatius of Antioch had a writing that showed that the Sabbath was done away by the early second century. This misinformation is all over the internet. Actually, because the Living Church of God continued to knowingly publish and distribute incorrect information about this, I concluded that was strong proof that it was not doing the work of God in truth (it also compounded it with another inaccurate publication on church history after I left).

As it turns out, the Catholics of Rome consider October 17th as the day to honor Ignatius of Antioch. And based upon intentional mistranslations of one of his writings (and many renowned Protestant scholars have participated in this), many falsely claim that he showed that the Sabbath was done away.

Yet, that is not true.

Here is what the Greek shows Ignatius wrote in verse 9.1:

Εί ούν οί έν παλαιοîς πράγμασιν άναστραφέντες είς καινότητα έλπίδος ήλθον, μηκέτι σαββατίζοντες, άλλά κατά κυριακήν ζώντες, έν ή καί ή ζωή ήμών άνέτειλεν δι’ αύτού καί τού θανάτου αύτού, <öν> τινες άρνούνται, δι’ ού μυστηρίου έλάβομεν τò πιστεύειν, καί διά τούτο ύπομένομεν, ïνα εύρεθώμεν μαθηταί ‘Iησού Χριστού τού μόνου διδασκάλου ήμών· [16]

Here is a fairly typical 19th Century translation of verse 9.1, by Dr. J.B. Lightfoot:

If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer observing sabbaths but fashioning their lives after the Lord’s day, on which our life also arose through Him and through His death which some men deny — a mystery whereby we attained unto belief, and for this cause we endure patiently, that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ our only teacher [17].

But is that translation correct or giving an improper understanding?

It should be noted that the word for ‘day’ is not in the Greek text.

A more literal (though not grammatical) translation of the relevant portion from Ignatius’ letter appears to be:

8.1 Be not seduced by strange doctrines nor by antiquated fables, which are profitless.

8.2 For if even unto this day we live according to the manner of Judaic concepts, we admit that we have not received grace: for the godly prophets lived after {the manner of} Christ Jesus. For this cause also they were persecuted, being inspired by His grace to the end that they which are disobedient might be fully persuaded that there is one God who manifested Himself through Jesus Christ His Son, who is His Word that proceeded from silence, who in all things was well-pleasing unto Him that sent Him.

9.1 If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer keeping sabbaths contrariwise according to the Lord’s way of life, on which our life also arose through Him and through His death which some men deny – a mystery whereby we attained unto belief, and for this cause we endure patiently, that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ our only teacher –

9.2 if this be so, how shall we be able to live apart from Him? Seeing that even the prophets, being His disciples, were expecting Him as their teacher through the Spirit. And for this cause He whom they rightly awaited, when He came, raised them from the dead.

According to a scholar of koine Greek who I consulted with, Dr. Theony Condos (a non-Sabbathkeeper), the first portion of 9.1 would grammatically be better translated as:

“If then those who had walked in ancient practices attained unto newness of hope, no longer {Judaically} keeping sabbaths but according to the Lord’s way of life…” [26]

This is because she insisted that the term ‘but’ (or ‘contrariwise’ as translated earlier above) had to refer to the “Lord’s way” instead of the Sabbath.

There are at least two reasons for this. The first is that the godly prophets had been keeping the seventh day Sabbath. And the second is since the portion of the Greek term translated as the first part of “no longer” is a ‘qualified negative’ [27] the context supports that the ‘Judaic concepts’ (verse 8.2) are part of the qualification. It may be of interest to note that the terms first, day, or Sun are not in the above passages.

Dr. Condos confirmed with me that this section is certainly speaking about the same ancient prophets throughout, hence since they actually kept the Sabbath (and not Sunday), she felt that the idea of Judaically would have had to been in Ignatius’ mind. And that this type of reference was required in English to properly understand what Ignatius was writing (and I also had this confirmed by others with a working knowledge of koine Greek).

This assessment is also consistent with later testimony from the Catholic saint and doctor of their church, Jerome, who mentioned that the Sabbath-keeping Christians he ran into did not adhere to the Jewish traditions–in other words, although they kept the Sabbath, the Nazarenes did not keep the Sabbath Judaically:

Jerome declares:

“On Isaiah 9:1-4

“The Nazarenes, whose opinion I have set forth above, try to explain this passage in the following way: When Christ came and his preaching shone out, the land of Zebulon and Naphtali [the region of Galilee] first of all were freed from the errors of the Scribes and Pharisees and he shook off their shoulders the very heavy yoke of the JEWISH TRADITIONS. Later, however, the preaching became more dominant, that means the preaching was multiplied, through the gospel of the apostle Paul who was the last of all the apostles. And the gospel of Christ shone to the most distant tribes and the way of the whole sea. Finally the whole world, which earlier walked or sat in darkness and was imprisoned in the bonds of idolatry and death, has seen the clear light of the gospel” (p.64).

In this passage, we find that the Nazarene Christians — like Yeshua the Messiah, Peter, James, John and especially Paul — rejected Jewish traditionalism, invention, and additions to the Torah or Old Testament. They referred to them as the “very heavy yoke of the Jewish traditions.” [28].

Thus, instead of proving Sunday and disproving the Sabbath, Ignatius (and indirectly even Jerome) seems to be warning against incorrectly observing the Sabbath as certain Pharisaical Jews insisted, with their antiquated fables.

Without going into all the reasons that prove Ignatius was mistranslated here (which I do in more detail in the article Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath), let’s look at some of Ignatius’ other writings.

Notice something that he wrote in his Letter to the Magnesians:

It is fitting, then, not only to be called Christians, but to be so in reality: as some indeed give one the title of bishop, but do all things without him. Now such persons seem to me to be not possessed of a good conscience, seeing they are not stedfastly gathered together according to the commandment.

The commandment that involves meeting together is the fourth commandment. It is the commandment that says to:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8).

Part of the way the Sabbath day is kept holy is by meeting together for church services (referred to as “an holy convocation” in Leviticus 23:1-3). There is no direct statement anywhere in the Bible requiring a weekly convocation on Sunday. In his Letter to the Romans, Ignatius observed that true Christians kept the commandments:

I also salute in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father: to those who are united, both according to the flesh and spirit, to every one of His commandments…

But if any one preach the Jewish law unto you, listen not to him. For it is better to hearken to Christian doctrine from a man who has been circumcised, than to Judaism from one uncircumcised. But if either of such persons do not speak concerning Jesus Christ, they are in my judgment but as monuments and sepulchres of the dead, upon which are written only the names of men. Flee therefore the wicked devices and snares of the prince of this world, lest at any time being conquered by his artifices, ye grow weak in your love.

Notice that Ignatius is once again complaining about Judaic customs that are not from the Bible. How do we know that the practices that Ignatius is referring to are not from the Bible? Because Ignatius is clearly saying to avoid snares from “the prince of the world”. The prince Ignatius is referring to is Satan (see Ephesians 2:2), and since the Sabbath did not come from Satan, as it came from God (see Genesis 2:1-3), Ignatius would not refer to something that God made as wicked. Furthermore, notice that Ignatius mentioned keeping “every one of His commandments”, thus this is not simply an admonition to love, but to keep all the commandments. In his Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ignatius wrote about false Christians:

But I guard you beforehand from those beasts in the shape of men, whom you must not only not receive, but, if it be possible, not even meet with; only you must pray to God for them, if by any means they may be brought to repentance, which, however, will be very difficult. Yet Jesus Christ, who is our true life, has the power of [effecting] this. But if these things were done by our Lord only in appearance, then am I also only in appearance bound. And why have I also surrendered myself to death, to fire, to the sword, to the wild beasts? But, [in fact,] he who is near to the sword is near to God; he that is among the wild beasts is in company with God; provided only he be so in the name of Jesus Christ. I undergo all these things that I may suffer together with Him, He who became a perfect man inwardly strengthening me. Some ignorantly deny Him, or rather have been denied by Him, being the advocates of death rather than of the truth. These persons neither have the prophets persuaded, nor the law of Moses, nor the Gospel even to this day, nor the sufferings we have individually endured. For they think also the same thing regarding us.

Since he writes that some of the false Christians do not have “the law of Moses” it is reasonable to conclude that Ignatius believed that he did have the “law of Moses,” in regards to the ten commandments, including the Sabbath commandment. It may be of at least passing interest to note that Ignatius referred to the church as the “church of God” four times in his writings (see Letter to the Philadelphians 0:0, 10:1; Letter to the Trallians 2:2; Letter to the Smyrnaeans 0:0).

Ignatius did not do away with the seventh-day Sabbath nor write that it had been somehow done away.

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

Is Revelation 1:10 talking about Sunday or the Day of the Lord? Most Protestant scholars say Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but is that what the Bible teaches?
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
The Christian Sabbath. This is a series of articles from the Catholic Mirror essentially proving that the biblical Sabbath was Saturday, that the Lord’s day in Revelation 1 is not a reference to Sunday, that the Church of Rome implemented Sunday, and that nearly all Protestants followed Rome. Here is a link to a related sermon: Catholic teachings on the Sabbath, Sunday, and Protestantism.
Early Sabbath Keeping in North America When did Europeans first keep the Sabbath in North America? Did the pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower keep Saturday or Sunday?
How to Observe the Sabbath How should you keep the Sabbath? This is an old article by Raymond Cole, with updated information for the 21st century.
Can You Keep Your Job, Get Your Degree, and Keep the Sabbath? This article has some information on that. Here is a link to a related video titled: Can you keep the Sabbath and your job? What about college?
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true? Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese NN*N Ttv„y^ÿ
The Dramatic Story of Chinese Sabbathkeepers This reformatted Good News article from 1955 discusses Sabbath-keeping in China in the 1800s.
Is God Unreasonable? Some have suggested that if God requires Sabbath-keeping He is unreasonable. Is that true? Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 一个不合理的神?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays.
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.
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.
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: Fall Holy Days for Christians.
Sunday and Christianity Was Sunday observed by the apostolic and true post-apostolic Christians? Who clearly endorsed Sunday? What relevance is the first or the “eighth” day? A related sermon is also available: Sunday: First and Eighth Day?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
CG7.ORG This is a website for those interested in the Sabbath and churches that observe the seventh day Sabbath.
Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings Are traditions on equal par with scripture? Many believe that is what Peter, John, and Paul taught. But did they?
Another Look at the Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath
Did Ignatius write against the Sabbath and for Sunday? What about the Didache? What does the actual Greek reveal? Are mistranslations of these early writings relied on for false doctrinal positions?

Sermon: Purgatory or Apocatastasis?

Saturday, November 21st, 2020

COGwriter

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

Video thumbnail: Purgatory or Apocatastasis?

1:18:29 

Purgatory or Apocatastasis?

The Church of Rome teaches about a place of punishment that comes after death to believers who have not truly repented of “venial sins” or who have not paid the “temporal punishment” for sins called Purgatory. The Continuing Church of God, Eastern Orthodox Church, and most Protestants do not teach the purgatorial doctrine. Is the idea of the “great news of Purgatory,” the “gospel of Purgatory” the true gospel of the kingdom? Does the Bible teach the idea of a place called purgatory or does it teach about a restoration (Greek: apokatastasis)? Does the Bible teach Purgatory? What about 1 Peter 3:19, 1 Peter 4:6, and 1 Corinthians 3:15? What did early Christians believe? Does 2 Clement contradict the notion of Purgatory? Should we rely on visions purportedly given to Thecla and Perpetua in the late second century? Was Purgatory part of the original faith or was in added later after ‘Origenism’ was condemned by the Greco-Roman Council of Constantinople in 543 A.D.? Could that have led to the doctrine of Purgatory? Where did Purgatory come from? What did the Roman Pope ‘Gregory the Great’ teach about it? Was Purgatory condemned by some called Cathari, Albigensian, and Waldensian? Did Greco-Roman saints such as Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus teach apocatastasis? Was Purgatory a factor in the “great schism of 1054” between the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholic churches? Did the God of love make the “pain of Purgatory, … {to surpass} all the pains of this life” as Thomas Aquinas taught? Does the Bible teach universalism? Did Anne Catherine Emmerich have a vision of Purgatory? Has Pope Francis indicated God will save all? Will God offer salvation to everyone? Can purchasing indulgences reduce the amount of “temporal punishment” people supposedly in Purgatory are to receive? Did Plato and Jesus condemn something like that? What about the Apostle Peter? Does the Bible support Purgatory or Apocatastasis?

Here is a link to the sermon: Purgatory or Apocatastasis?

Some items of related interest may include:

Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life? Here is a link to a related sermon: Purgatory or Apocatastasis?
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: Apocatastasis, Universal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be Saved, Mysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3), Is God Fair, Will God Pardon the Ignorant?, Can God Save Your Relatives?, Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
All the Prophets Spoke of Apocatastasis The Apostle Peter said all the prophets spoke about “apokatastasis. Do you know what that is? Watch also ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
The 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.
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.
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.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You? A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die? When did Limbo start being taught? What is the truth about dead babies?
What is the Unpardonable Sin? What is it? Can you repent of it? Do you know what it is and how to avoid it? Here is a link to a related sermon video The Unpardonable Sin and the Prodigal Son. Here is a link to a shorter video The ‘Unpardonable Sin’ and ‘Climate Change’?
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?
I have made the decision to follow God. Now what? Have you proven all things? Will you hold fast to that which is good? This article will help you do so. Here is a link to a related video: You Want to Follow God? Then Prove the Truth!
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? Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von GottBerufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章. Here are links to the sermons Christian Faith and Increasing Faith.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You? A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?

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
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. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator?and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
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.
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 Prop
hets’.
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.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You? A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.AFRICA This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
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.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
CG7.ORG This is a website for those interested in the Sabbath and churches that observe the seventh day Sabbath.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations YouTube channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs. Also available at BitChute COGAnimations https://www.bitchute.com/channel/coganimations/
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced hundreds of videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. You can find them at them on YouTube at BibleNewsProphecy https://www.youtube.com/user/BibleNewsProphecy, plus also on Vimeo at Bible News Prophecy https://vimeo.com/channels/biblenewsprophecy as well as on Brighteon Bible News Prophecy https://www.brighteon.com/channel/ccogbnp and Bitchute Prophecy https://www.bitchute.com/channel/prophecy/
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo. Also available at BitChute COGAfrica https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogafrica/
CDLIDDSermones channel. This contains messages in the Spanish language
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos. Also available at BitChute COGTube https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogtube/
Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of GodContend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV), “Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1) ” & continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs–the Statement gives answers? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese ~ç~íy^v„eYOv„OáNðXðf. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’Église Continue de Dieu. Here is a related link in the Chichewa language: ZIKHULUPIRIRO ZA MPINGO WA CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD. Here is a link in Romanian: Declarația de credințe a continuării Bisericii lui Dumnezeu. Here is a link in Portuguese: Declaração de Crenças da Continuação da Igreja de Deus. Here is a link in Russian: Утверждение верований о продолжении Церкви Божьей. Here is a link to a related English-language sermon: Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

Roman Catholics claim the Bible is their book, but …

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

COGwriter

While looking over news items, I saw something related to the book shown above.

Here is some of what the book has written on the inside flap:

Many Roman Catholics claim that their church gave the world the Bible.

Partially because of that, I have been working on a new book, titled Who Gave the World the Bible?

Here are some statements from the current draft of that book:

Catholic Bible 101 put forth the following question and answer:

Does the Bible come from the Church, or does the Church come from the Bible?

The answer is that the Church gave the world the Bible. The Bible does not exist apart from the church, nor does the Church exist apart from the Bible. The Church was established by Jesus Christ around 33 AD, and the New Testament was not finalized in its present form until 382 AD, about 350 years later. Pope St. Damasus I, at the Council of Rome, in 382, proposed the current canon of scripture with 73 books (46 OT + 27 NT). Subsequent councils at Hippo in 393 AD, and at Carthage in 397 AD, ratified this canon as being inspired and complete. Pope Innocent I sent a letter out in the year 405 AD that listed all 73 books as being the total and complete canon of the Christian Bible. The Catholic Bibles of today still have all of these 73 books. …

Jesus Himself created the Church, about 350 years before the Bible in its present form was canonized by the Church at the Councils of Rome, Hippo, and Carthage. (The Role of The Church According to the Bible. Catholic Bible 101 www.catholicbible101.com/theroleofthechurch.htm accessed 04/13/17).

So, the above claims that after Christians lived for over three centuries, the Bible was determined by Greco-Roman Catholic Church councils. (It, perhaps, should be pointed out that the Bishop of Rome did not take the title Pope until the time of Damasus’s successor Siricius and that 31 A.D. is a closer year as to when Jesus’ established the church than 33 A.D.).

Here is something, unedited, from the Roman Catholic EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network):

Question from Bill Pick on 01-04-2005:

This is a question that was asked of me by a member of the church of christ can you please [sic} help with a {sic} answer? If the Roman Catholic church gave the world the Bible, being infallible, then why did Rome reject or question the inspiration of James and Hebrews, then later accept it? Conversely, Rome accepted as scripture books that were later rejected. If the Catholic church really is illuminated by the Holy Spirit so that men can trust her as ‘God’s organization’, why was she so wrong about something so simple? Should not the ‘Holy See’ have known?

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 01-06-2005:

The recognition of the canon of Sacred Scripture was not accomplished in an instant and by an audible voice of declaration from Heaven, but over time and in light of what the Church universally recognized as the works of the Bible. Over time and under the authority of the Church the canon became solidified, and knowing the promise of Christ to Saint Peter and the Church to bind and loose, once the canon was formally declared, we had assurance thereafter that it comprised the whole of the inerrant Word of God.

Thanks, Bill

Father Echert

P.S. Never was the Church ‘wrong’ on such a matter, as She never infallibly declared a ‘wrong’ canon. It is one thing to discern over time prior to making an infallible declaration, it is another to declare that which is wrong, which the Church has never done. (Bible and the Church. Question from Bill Pick on 01-04-2005. EWTN Catholic Q&A. www.ewtn.com/v/experts/showmessage_print.asp?number=424051&language=en — accessed 04/14/17).

This author would not agree with Priest Echert’s position that his church was never wrong on the canon matter. The FACT is that the Church of Rome admits that it taught that some non-inspired books were scripture, plus, for a time, it taught at least seven inspired books were possibly not scripture: “the Epistle to the Hebrews, that of James, the Second of St. Peter, the Second and Third of John, Jude, and Apocalypse” (Reid G. Canon of the New Testament. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York). Thus, Priest Echert’s assertions suggesting otherwise are misleading.

Furthermore, the length of time for the Church of Rome to make an ‘infallible declaration’ on the canon was excessive by all reasonable theological standards.

The New Catholic Encyclopedia specifically states that the dogmatic canon list was not finalized for the Church of Rome until the Council of Trent in the 16th century:

According to Catholic doctrine, the proximate criterion of the Biblical canon is the infallible decision of the Church. This decision was not given until rather late in the history of the Church (at the Council of Trent). Before that time there was some doubt about the canonicity of certain Biblical books, i.e., about their belonging to the canon. (The New Catholic Encyclopedia, McGraw Hill, Copyright 1967, Volume 3, ‘Canon, Biblical’, p. 29)

Although most Protestants do not accept the canon approved by the Council of Trent, their scholars essentially tend to agree that it took centuries to determine the canon (e.g. Bruce FF. The Canon of Scripture. InterVarsityPress, 1988).

Yet, consider something God promised:

5 I will never leave you nor forsake you.  6 So we may boldly say:

“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Would God have forsaken His church by not letting it know what His word was for centuries?

If so, God was not then acting as a “helper” that way.

The true canon was known much earlier than the Greco-Roman-Protestant-Secular scholars often tend to believe.

Even some non-Church of God scholars have realized the truly canonical books were always the word of God:

Although it is out of vogue in some critical circles today, Christians have traditionally believed that the canon is a collection of books that are given by God to his corporate church.  And if the canonical books are what they are by virtue of the divine purpose for which they were given, and not by virtue of their use or acceptance by the community of faith, then, in principle, they can exist as such apart from that community. After all, aren’t God’s books still God’s books—and therefore still authoritative—prior to anyone using them or recognizing them? (Kruger MJ. Question of Canon, InterVarsity Press, 2013, p. 39)

One thing must be emphatically stated. The New Testament books did not become authoritative for the Church because they were formally included in a canonical list; on the contrary, the Church included them in her canon because she already regarded them as divinely inspired, recognizing their innate worth and generally apostolic authority, direct or indirect. (Bruce FF. The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003, p. 27)

Yes, it is correct to conclude that councils of men did not change books to be inspired by God. Those that God inspired were always inspired, despite the fact that various Greco-Romans were confused about them. …

The Church of God Had the Full Canon from the Beginning

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

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

Notice also the following related to the New Testament:

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

Greeks Preserve New Testament

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There are a total of 27 books in the New Testament.  At least 9 books of the New Testament were directly written to the church leaders in Asia Minor. The ones clearly written to those in Asia Minor include Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Timothy (Timothy was in Ephesus), Philemon, 1 Peter, 3 John, and Revelation. According to The Ryrie Study Bible John’s Gospel, 1 Corinthians, 1 & 2 John, and possibly Philippians, were written from Ephesus. In addition to these 14, there seem to be more as 1 & 2 John and 2 Peter, and possibly Jude may have also been mainly directed to one or more of the churches in Asia Minor.

The Book of James was written to “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (James 1:1). Some of them were in Asia Minor.  Others according to the historian Josephus were “beyond Euphrates.” It is also likely that some others, were written at least partially from Asia Minor. Acts, for example, specifically has a portion written to Christians in Ephesus.

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

There is only one book written to those in Rome (it never mentions any of the so-called Roman bishops), with 2 to Corinth, 2 to Thessalonica, and 1 to Crete (Titus), a total of 7 letters not sent from nor addressed to those in Asia Minor.

What this clearly shows, is that although there were Christians in various areas, the focus for the New Testament writers were the churches in Asia Minor. And interestingly, the last book of the Bible is specifically addressed to the churches of Asia Minor (Revelation 1:4,11). It was in Asia Minor that the NT canon was originally formed. …

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

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

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

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

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

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

By mentioning the term “canons” the Harris Fragments could possibly be suggesting that John passed the knowledge of the proper books of the Bible to Polycarp — and that would seem to be the case. (It seems to be in the singular form in the actual Greek — Weidman, oddly displays what appears to be a combination of upper- and lower-case Greek characters ‘ΚαΝΝωΝ’ as the original source for the translation on p. 25.) But even if canon(s) meant only the measure of the right way to be a Christian that early, that strongly supports the view that the Apostle John would have passed on his knowledge of the books of the Bible to Polycarp. The canon was known by the Church of God in Asia Minor in the 2nd century. All should realize that to be faithful to apostolic Christianity that they should imitate Polycarp and John as they did Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:1).

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

Papias was a Church of God leader in Hieropolis in Asia Minor. He was born in the 1st century, died in the 2nd century, and knew the Apostle John as well as Polycarp of Smyrna. Here is what Papias wrote that John, called the ‘presbyter,’ told him:

  1. This also the presbyter said: Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely. (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book 3, Chapter XXXIX; Digireads, pp. 68-69)

So, Papias said that it was John who told him that Mark wrote a gospel account, based upon information Mark got from Peter — and that the information Mark wrote was accurate. This further demonstrates that John and the faithful in Asia Minor knew the New Testament and believed it.

A later leader in Asia Minor, Polycrates of Ephesus, claimed that he had the complete Bible (circa 193 A.D.):

For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep … Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, … John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord  … Polycarp in Smyrna,  … Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis …

Ihave gone through every Holy Scripture. (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book V, Chapter XXIV, Verses 2-7. Translated by A. Cushman McGiffert. Digireads.com Publishing, Stilwell (KS), 2005, p. 114)

And Polycrates would have agreed with the earlier list that Melito of Sardis put together as he also referred to Melito as being faithful. Polycrates could not have declared he went “through every Holy Scripture” if he did not know what the scriptures were. …

Some of the evidence from Papias, Polycarp, and Polycrates may have been part of why some scholars, such as the late James Moffatt, have understood that Asia Minor had the complete canon:

Was not the Apostolic Canon of scripture first formed … in Asia Minor? (Excerpt of James Moffatt’s review, p.292. In: Bauer W. Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity, 2nd ed. Sigler Press Edition, Mifflinown (PA), 1996)

The true Church of God was predominant in Asia Minor until the early third century and it had the original and true canon. The fact is that the Church of Rome states it did not have the canon until centuries later.

Anyway, there is more proof that the true Church of God had the canon and had originally preserved the books. But most Roman Catholics have not had that pointed out to them.

God gave the world the Bible, and while He has allowed the Greco-Roman-Protestants to publish versions of it, He had a plan all along which involved His church.

Hopefully, this post will assist in all having a better understanding of who gave the world the Bible.

As far as which church actually represents the “original Bible Christians” goes, the article Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? helps demonstrate (often from Roman Catholic approved sources) why it is not the Church of Rome.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete? Are there lost gospels? What about the Apocrypha? Is the Septuagint better than the Masoretic text? What about the Textus Receptus vs. Nestle Alland? Was the New Testament written in Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew? Which translations are based upon the best ancient text? Did the true Church of God have the canon from the beginning? Here are links to related sermons: Let’s Talk About the Bible, The Books of the Old Testament, The Septuagint and its Apocrypha, Masoretic Text of the Old Testament, Lost Books of the Bible? and Let’s Talk About the New Testament.
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
The Apostle John He wrote a lot that people should study. John was an original apostle, early Christian leader, and the last of the original apostles to die. Here is a link to a related sermon titled Apostle John: The Disciple that Jesus Loved. John is the final original apostle that we in the Continuing Church of God trace our ecclesiastical succession through.
Laying on of Hands This is an elementary principle of Hebrews 6. Have you properly had hands laid upon you? Here is a link to a related sermon: Laying on of Hands and Succession.
Lost Books of the Bible? Is the Bible missing books? What about the Book of Jasher and the Book of Enoch? What are the pseudepigrapha?
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading. Here is a link in Mandarin Chinese: 读圣经
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 Matthew 28:19 in the Bible? Some have claimed that Matthew 28:19 has added words as part of a trinitarian plot. Is that true?
What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood? What do the writings of the Bible, Origen, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Augustine show?
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.
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?

Gregory Thaumaturgus: A worker of Satanic wonders

Tuesday, November 17th, 2020


Eastern Orthodox Rendering of Gregory Thaumaturgus

COGWriter

November 17th is observed by some Greco-Roman Catholics in honor of the third century bishop known as Gregory Thaumaturgus, whom they also call saint Gregory of Neocaesarea.

Although I had heard of him over a decade ago, until I was doing research related to Fatima, I had not realized how much he affected the history of the Greco-Roman-Protestant churches, as well as, to a degree, the Church of God. Yet, many have never heard of him.

Around 238-244 A.D. Gregory (died roughly 270 A.D.) seems to have been the first to have claimed to have seen an apparition of Mary. This apparition allegedly appeared to him before he became a bishop. Gregory is also known as “Gregory the Wonder Worker” and Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus (wonder worker). He had been trained by allegorical teacher Origen in Alexandria.

Related to Gregory, Roberts and Donaldson reported:

He was believed to have been gifted with a power of working miracles, which he was constantly exercising…the demons were subject to him…he could cast his cloak over a man, and cause his death…he could bring the presiding demons back to their shrine.

Because Gregory’s power over demons and other “wonders” were apparently accepted by many, he had influence. It seems that Gregory’s enchantments and/or sorceries (cf. Isaiah 47:5-12; Nahum 3:4), along with Imperial persecutions, may have greatly assisted the Greco-Roman faction in essentially eliminating the organized faithful in Asia Minor. Gregory was also a factor in the Marian cults that began to rise up around that time. His writings teach praise and excessive devotion to the “Holy Virgin,” including the blasphemous teaching that Mary “blotted out” Eve’s “transgressions.” He was amongst the earliest ones to promote the expression the “Holy Trinity” and the pagan idea that humans had an immortal soul.

Here the mystery of the Holy Trinity was revealed by the archangel to the Holy Virgin according to the gospel (Gregory Thaumaturgus, Homily concerning the Holy Mother of God, Section 35. Translated from the Armenian by F. C. CONYBEARE The Expositor 5th series vol.3 (1896), p. 173. http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/gregory_thaumaturgus_homily.htm viewed 11/13/12).

We prove, then, that the soul is simple…that what is simple is immortal…If, therefore, the soul is not corrupted by the evil proper to itself, and the evil of the soul is cowardice, intemperance, envy, and the like, and all these things do not despoil it of its powers of life and action, it follows that it is immortal. (Gregory Thaumaturgus. On the Soul, Chapters 5, 6. Translated by S.D.F. Salmond. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886. Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0608.htm> viewed 06/05/11)

The gospel never uses the expression trinity, much less “Holy Trinity” nor does it teach that the soul is immortal (to the contrary, in Ezekiel 18:4 the Roman Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible teaches ” the soul that sinneth, the same shall die” and “The soul that sinneth, the same shall die” in Ezekiel 18:20), but Gregory put his own interpretation on scripture (in the trinity case, he was referring to Luke 1:35, which does not prove that doctrine; and for the immortality of the soul he did not cite scripture). Gregory was a major reason that the trinity started to get accepted much outside of Montanist circles (Origen, too, was a factor). Protestants, of course, accepted the trinity, yet few realize that Gregory’s ‘Marian visions’ played a role in this.

The Catholic Encyclopedia claims Gregory the Wonder Worker developed the first creed with the word meaning “Trinity”:

The first creed in which it appears is that of Origen’s pupil, Gregory Thaumaturgus. In his Ekthesis tes pisteos composed between 260 and 270, he writes:

There is therefore nothing created, nothing subject to another in the Trinity: nor is there anything that has been added as though it once had not existed, but had entered afterwards: therefore the Father has never been without the Son, nor the Son without the Spirit: and this same Trinity is immutable and unalterable forever (P.G., X, 986).

It is manifest that a dogma so mysterious presupposes a Divine revelation.

The last statement should give many pause as it was allegedly from seeing one or more apparitions of Mary (and supposedly the Apostle John) that Gregory the Wonder Worker gained his “revelations.” Gregory was a supporter of Rome and Alexandria was a major factor in spreading more acceptance of the trinitarian position, especially throughout Asia Minor and Antioch.

Because of his “miraculous abilities,” his ideas apparently had more acceptance than what the Bible taught, and many were adopted. Noticed something else he wrote:

O holy virgin…She is the ever-blooming paradise of incorruptibility, wherein is planted the tree that giveth life, and that furnisheth to all the fruits of immortality…Thus the holy Virgin, while still in the flesh, maintained the incorruptible life…the holy Virgin has surpassed even the perfection of the patriarchs (Gregory Thaumaturgus. The Second Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary. http://www.tertullian.org/fathers2/ANF-06/anf06-24.htm#TopOfPage viewed 11/13/12)

The Bible does not teach that Mary led an “incorruptible life.” The Bible teaches that all have sinned (Romans 3:23), except Jesus (Hebrews 4:14-15). Stating or implying that Mary did not is in biblical error. Perhaps it should be added that Dr. Ludwig Ott’s 20th century book Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma teaches:

The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary is not explicitly revealed in scripture… Neither the Greek nor the Latin Fathers explicitly (explicite) teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary. (Ott L. L. Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 4th ed . TAN Books, Rockford (IL), Nihil Obstat: Jeremiah J. O’ Sullivan. Imprimatur: + Cornelius, 7 October 1954., Printed 1974, TAN Books, pp. 200-201)

But it was more than Marian ideas that Gregory Thaumaturgus influenced.

Bishop “Gregory the Wonder Worker” was involved in the councils looking into Paul of Samosata who at the time was considered the Greco-Roman Bishop of Antioch (Roberts A, Donaldson J, Volume 20, p. 3).

Gregory assisted in getting Greco-Roman influence to succeed there. The Prophet Isaiah warned that the “Lady of the Kingdoms” used sorceries since her “youth” (Isaiah 47:5,12), and Gregory’s use of “powers” in the formative years of the Greco-Roman confederation seems consistent with that biblical prophecy (he also had influence in various parts of Asia Minor. Gregory Thaumaturgus. Canonical Epistles IV,VII. Ante-Nicene Fathers; also Drijvers JW, Watt JW. Portraits of spiritual authority: religious power in early Christianity, Byzantium, and the Christian Orient, Volume 137 of Religions in the Graeco-Roman world. BRILL, 1999, pp. 107-108).

Actually, in Antioch with the successor to Paul of Samosata, we seem to see for the first time, a bishop outside of Italy that was apparently installed because of direction from the Church in Rome, and the mystic Gregory Thaumaturgus was involved in this. This, to a degree, marked a major expansion of influence of the Church of Rome outside of Italy (it also had some previous influence in Corinth).

The Catholic Encyclopedia credits his influence in expanding their church (which it calls “the Christian Church” below):

Among those who built up the Christian Church, extended its influence, and strengthened its institutions,…Gregory of Neocaesarea holds a very prominent place…To attract the people to the festivals in honour of the martyrs, we learn that Gregory organized profane amusements as an attraction for the pagans who could not understand a solemnity without some pleasures of a less serious nature than the religious ceremony.

Sadly, it is partially because of Gregory that “Christianity” took on more of the trappings of pagan worship and the Marian cults had been allowed to grow and flourish.

Gregory greatly influenced theological thought and several widely accepted false doctrines were originated and/or promoted by him. The fact that he reportedly caused the death of enemies by throwing his cloak upon them has not sufficiently diminished his influence–but should have.

The Continuing Church of God put out this sermonette on its ContinuingCOG channel related to him:

20:46

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

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

For more information, please check out the following:

Gregory the Wonder Worker Also known as Gregory Thaumaturgus, this third century Eastern Orthodox leader was one of the most dangerous heretics and his views have been adopted by many who profess Christ. Here is a link to ta related video: Gregory Thaumaturgus, Signs, and Lying Wonders.
Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity? Most act like this is so, but is it? Here is an old, by somewhat related, article in the Spanish language LA DOCTRINA DE LA TRINIDAD. A related sermon is available: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else? A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
Did Early Christians Believe that Humans Possessed Immortality? What does John 3:16, and other writings, tell us? Did a doctrine kept adopted from paganism? Here is a YouTube video titled Are humans immortal?
Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions Do you know much about Mary? Are the apparitions real? What might they mean for the rise of the ecumenical religion of Antichrist? Are Protestants moving towards Mary? How do the Orthodox view Mary? How might Mary view her adorers?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

The Bible, the Jews, and the Gap Doctrine

Monday, November 16th, 2020


Sketcher’s view of the Gap Theory

COGwriter

Genesis 1:1 has the ‘In the beginning statement” and Genesis 1:2 has the “chaos and void” statement.

The time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 has been called the Gap Theory.

A while back, The Temple Institute had the following in its newsletter:

“In the beginning”

(Genesis 1:1)

Tishrei 26, 5779/October 5, 2018

“In the beginning… “ A lot of things happened in six days. Between “chaos and void” to “be fruitful and multiply,” an entire world came into being.

“In the beginning,” or to be more true to the exact Hebrew grammar employed, “In the beginning of… “ In the beginning of what, we are not told.

Yes, there was a gap starting with chaos and void.

Before going into some old quotes, it should be pointed out that in the Hebrew of the Masoretic text, there a pause/gap symbol between the first and second verses of Genesis.

Furthermore, in the Masoretic text in which Jewish scholars tried to incorporate enough “indicators” to guide the reader … is one small mark which is technically known as Rebhia which is classified as a “disjunctive accent” intended to notify the reader that he should pause before proceeding to the next verse. Such a mark appears at the end of Genesis 1:1. This mark has been noticed by several scholars including Luther. It is one indication among others, that the waw (וּ‬) which introduces verse 2 should be rendered “but” rather than “and,” a disjunctive rather than a conjunctive. (Custance AC. Without Form and Void. 1970, pp. 18-19)

This shows a gap, not a conjunctive connection, between verses one and two, therefore verse one is NOT an explanation of verse two as some wish to believe.

So we see that, anciently, there is an actual gap symbol between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis. And that instead of Genesis 1:2 beginning with “And” like the KJV and Douay Rheims have, it should begin with “But.”

Now, one anti-Gap article asks, “WHY CAN’T WE JUST BELIEVE THE BIBLE?” It then refers to the biblical gap view as an “imagined theory” and claimed it was based on non-biblical evidence (Closing the Gap. co-written by Brian and Kenneth Hoeck for Truth On The Web Ministries. http://www.truthontheweb.org/gapclose.htm accessed 07/23/18), yet it failed to mention that there is an actual pause/gap in the Masoretic text of scripture.

And a correct translation of the Bible makes the point more apparent.

Let’s now see two translations of something else in the Bible:

28 And God blessed them; and God said unto them: ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.’ (Genesis 1:28, Jewish Publication Society Tanakh 1917)

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:28, KJV)

The Original Douay OT (1610) also teaches to “replenish the earth, and subdue it” (though the version I checked uses old English spelling, like “fubdew it”).

To replenish (Strong’s word 4390, transliterated from Hebrew into uwmil°uw) means to “restore (a stock or supply of something) to the former level or condition.” There would be no reason to “replenish” if there had not been a previous time when the Earth existed.

Furthermore, consider that this was the same command (with the same Strong’s word 4390, transliterated from Hebrew into uwmil°uw) God gave Noah after the Great Flood:

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Genesis 9:1, Jewish Publication Society Tanakh 1917)

1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. (Genesis 9:1, KJV)

Adam was told to replenish as Noah had.

Now, did any old Jewish writings outside the Bible point to some type of gap?

Yes.

Here is something from an old Jewish source:

The ancient work known as The Book of Light or Sefer Hazzohar, sometimes simply Zohar was traditionally ascribed to one of Akida’s disciples, a certain Simon ben Jochai. In this work … there is a comment on Genesis 2:4-6, which, though difficult to follow, reads thus:

These are generations of heaven and earth. … Now wherever there is the word ‘these’ the previous words are put aside. And these are the generations of the destruction which is signified in verse 2 of chapter 1. The earth was Tohu and Bohu. These indeed are the worlds of which it is said that the blessed God created them, and destroyed them, and, on that account, the earth was desolate and empty. (Custance, p. 20; see also Nurho de Manhar. Library of Alexandria. The Sepher Ha-Zohar, Or, The Book of Light: Bereshith to Lekh Lekha, Chapter VIII)

So, there is a Jewish work which supports a type of ‘gap’ understanding of Genesis 2.

Here is a slightly different version of that work from the late first century/early second century:

“These (aleh) are the generations (children or races) of the heavens and the earth” (Gen. xi., 4). It has been stated that in every passage of Scripture that the word aleh occurs, there is no connection with what precedes it. This is the ease with the passage just quoted. Its logical reference and connection is with the words “tohu,” and “bohu” (without form and void) in the second verse of Gen. i. There are those who say that the Holy One created worlds and then destroyed them. Why were they destroyed? Because, as the Scripture says, “the earth was tohu and bohu,” indicating the state of former worlds before their destruction. (Nurho de Manhar. Library of Alexandria. The Sepher Ha-Zohar, Or, The Book of Light: Bereshith to Lekh Lekha. 1900-1914, pp. 127-128)

(Note that the above author meant Genesis 2:4, not 11:4 as an editor improperly added the ‘x’ instead of ‘i’ by accident as ‘aleph’ is not in Genesis 11:4, but is in 2:4.)

Thus, it should be clear that no later than the second century A.D. some version of the gap theory was documented.

As far as worlds go, while scripture does not teach that multiple worlds were destroyed (unless we are talking about what happened to the Earth after Satan and during the Great Flood, notice what the New Testament teaches:

3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

More than one ‘world,’ more than one ‘age’ (the Greek is aioónas) was framed/repaired (the Greek is katartizo) by God.

The Onkelos Targum is a Jewish document, also dating from the late first or early second century (the Jewish Targums, essentially paraphrases usually in Arabic date from that period). Here is a report about it:

“Among the early Jewish writings there are a number of Aramaic paraphrases of the Old Testament. The oldest of these so-called Targums is that of Onkelos, which is confined to the Pentateuch. According to the Babylonian Talmud, Onkelos was a proselyte who was the son of a man named Calonicas, and was the composer of the Targum which bears his name, which he in turn had received from Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua, both of whom lived toward the end of the first and the beginning of the second century A.D. However, in the Jerusalem Talmud the very same thing is related by the same authorities (and almost in the same words) of the proselyte Aquila of Pontes, whose Greek version of the Bible was much used by the Greek-speaking Jews down to the time of Justinian; so it is sometimes argued that Onkelos is but another name for Aquila. Aquila Ponticus was a relative of the Emperor Hadrian, living in the second century A.D. Thus even if Onkelos is not an absolutely authentic figure, the works attributed to him must still be placed very early in the Christian era.

In dealing with the first chapter of Genesis, Onkelos gave the following Aramaic paraphrase of verse 2: W’are’ah hawath tsadh’ya In this passage, the composite verb form (tsadh’ya) means ‘was destroyed,’ being the Aramaic form of the verb to be (hawath) with the feminine passive participle of the verb tzadhah, which means ‘to cut’ or ‘to lay waste.'” – Arthur C. Custance, The Doorway Papers, Vol. 6, Part 3, Ch. 3, p. 3 (as cited in Old Earth, Old View at http://www.dispensationalfriends.org/articles/envoldview.html accessed 08/02/18)

So, this is another early document supporting at least aspects of the gap theory.

Here are some comments from the later Babylonian Talmud:

‘And the earth was without form and void.’ There seems to be some reason for the earth’s despondency, as though she was aware of her lot beforehand. (Genesis Rabba 2. p. 59 http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/tmm/tmm07.htm accessed 08/02/18)

“Other worlds were created and destroyed ere this present one was decided on as a permanent one.” – Genesis Rabba 3 (as cited in Old Earth, Old View at http://www.dispensationalfriends.org/articles/envoldview.html accessed 08/02/18)

The idea that there was some type of a gap was NOT simply a modern idea to deal with evolutionists as various anti-gap writers have claimed.

Here is something that the late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God, Herbert Armstrong, wrote about this:

It will come as news to most readers that angels were created before the earth and the physical universe were brought into existence. Job 38:1-7 shows the angels shouted for joy when God first created the earth. It is stated in both Genesis 1 and 2 that the earth was created at the same time as the entire physical universe. …

Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning [of the physical universe] God created the heavens and the earth.” These are material and physical.

As previously stated, in the Authorized Version will be found the word heaven in the singular. But this originally was written by Moses in Hebrew. And in the Hebrew the word is in the plural–heavens–thus including not only our earth, but the entire material UNIVERSE.

It is therefore indicated that at that time–after the creation of angels–the entire universe was brought into existence at the same time as the creation of our earth. I find strong indication of this in other biblical internal evidence, and also it is definitely stated in Genesis 2:4.

The Perfect Creation

The original Hebrew words (the words written by Moses) imply a perfect creation. God reveals himself as Creator of perfection, light and beauty. Every reference in the Bible describes the condition of any completed phase of God’s creation as “very good”–perfect.

This first verse of the Bible actually speaks of the original PHYSICAL creation in its entirety–the universe–including the earth, perhaps millions of years ago–as a perfect creation, beautiful and perfect as far as its creation was a finished, completed work. God is a perfectionist!

In Job 38:4, 7, God is speaking specifically of the creation of this earth. He said all the angels (created “sons of God”) shouted for joy at the creation of the earth. This reveals that angels were created before the creation of the earth–and probably before the material universe. The suns, planets and astral bodies are material substance.

Angels are individually created spirit beings, composed solely of spirit.

It will come as a surprise to many to learn that angels inhabited this earth BEFORE the creation of man. This passage from Job implies it.

Angels on Earth Sinned

Other passages place angels on earth prior to man.

Notice II Pet. 2:4-6. First in time order “angels that sinned.” Next in time sequence, the antediluvian world beginning with Adam, carrying through to the Flood. After that, Sodom and Gomorrah. …

Angels inhabited this earth before the creation of man.

It is revealed in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, that God placed the archangel Lucifer, a cherub, on a throne on the earth. He was placed there as a ruler over the entire earth. God intended him to rule the earth by administering the government of God over the earth. And the government of God was administered on earth until the rebellion of the sinning angels.

How long these angels inhabited the earth before the creation of man is not revealed. It might have been millions–or even billions–of years. More on that later. But these angels sinned. Sin is the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4). …

By this angelic sin, Lucifer became Satan the devil and his angels became demons.

God is Creator, Preserver and Ruler.

Satan is destroyer!

So, now we read in Jude 6-7: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”

Now back to Genesis 1:1-2. Verse 1, as stated above, implies a perfect creation. God is the author of life, of beauty, of perfection. Satan has brought only darkness, ugliness, imperfection, violence. Verse 1 shows the creation of a perfect, if unfinished earth, glorious and beautiful. Verse 2 reveals the result of the sin of the angels.

“And the earth was [became] without form, and void.” The words “without form, and void” are translated from the Hebrew tohu and bohu. A better translation is “waste and empty” or “chaotic, in confusion and in a state of decay.” The word was is elsewhere in Genesis also translated became, as in Genesis 19:26. In other words, the earth, originally created perfect and beautiful, had now become chaotic, waste and empty, like our moon, except earth’s surface was covered with water.

David was inspired to reveal how God renewed the face of the earth: “Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth” (Ps. 104:30).

A Surprising Truth

Now another surprise for most readers. Here is another bit of the missing dimension in knowledge, actually revealed in the Bible, but unrecognized by religion, by science and by higher education.

From verse 2 of Genesis 1 on, the remainder of this first chapter of the Bible is not describing the original creation of the earth. But it is describing a renewing of the face of the earth, after it had become waste and empty as a result of the sin of the angels.

What is described from verse 2 on, in the supposed creation chapter of the Bible, did occur, according to the Bible, approximately 6,000 years ago. But that could have been millions or trillions of years after the actual creation of the earth described in verse 1! …

When God placed angels–apparently a third of all (Rev. 12:4)–on the newly created, perfect, beautiful and glorious earth, he set over them, on a throne, to administer the government of God, an archangel–the great cherub Lucifer. …

What Caused the Angels’ Sin?

What caused the angels on earth to sin, to turn to lawlessness? Certainly the ordinary angels did not persuade this great superbeing to turn traitor. No, it was in him that iniquity was found. But, after how long? We don’t know. God does not reveal that! It could have been any number of years from one or less to millions times millions.

And then, even after Lucifer himself made the decision to rebel and try to invade God’s heaven to take over the universe, it is not revealed how long it took him to persuade all of the angels under him to turn traitor and follow him.

I know well the method he used. He uses the same method still today in leading deceived humans into disloyalty, rebellion, and self-centered opposition against God’s government. First, he turns one or two to envy, jealousy and resentment over an imagined injustice–then into disloyalty. Then he uses that one or two, like a rotten apple in a crate, to stir up resentment, feelings of self-pity, disloyalty and rebellion in others next to them. And, as each rotten apple rots those next to it until the whole crate is rotten, so Satan proceeds.

If, in the government of God on earth today, the “rotten apples” are not thrown out early enough, they would destroy the whole government. But, once thrown out of the crate, they cannot do any more damage to those in the crate.

But think how long it must have taken the soured and embittered Lucifer to turn millions of holy angels into resentment, bitterness, disloyalty, and finally open and vicious rebellion. It could have taken hundreds, thousands or millions of years. This was all before the first human was created.

All this happened after the original creation of the earth, described in verse 1 of Genesis 1. Verse 2 of this creation chapter describes a condition resulting from this sin of the angels. The events described in verse 2, therefore, may have occurred millions of years after the original creation of the earth.

The earth, therefore, may have been created millions of years ago. But continue this passage in Ezekiel 28: “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as proface out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy [remove] thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground…” (verses 16-17). (Armstrong HW. Mystery of Angels and Evil Spirits part of Chapter 2 in Mystery of the Ages, 1985).

Scriptures about angels provide additional support for the ‘gap’ position.

The Continuing Church of God recently put together a sermon related to the Gap Theory which is at its ContinuingCOG channel:

1:15:25

Must the Earth be less than 6000 years old? Was there a gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2? Was the Earth created without form and void? What are tohu and bohu? Does the second chapter of Genesis support the idea that the Earth was completed, hence indicating that there was a time it was not? Was the ‘gap theory’ produced to deal with Darwinism? Did angels have dominion over the earth and did they lose it? Does the Masoretic Old Testament provide direct support for some type of a gap? Did any ancient Jewish writers support a re-creation? Did any second century Church of God leaders teach any part of the gap theory? Did any Greco-Roman-Catholic saints teach the idea of a re-creation? What about Protestants like Martin Luther and Thomas Chalmers? What does the ‘Kolbrin Bible’ teach? Are there statements in the actual Bible that clearly support the gap doctrine? What are some of the arguments raised against the gap theory? Is the gap theory an early doctrine or a relatively new heresy? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to this sermon: Gap Theory: Doctrine or Modern Heresy?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Gap Theory? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Were the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long? Here is a link to two sermons: Gap Theory: Doctrine or Modern Heresy? and Genesis, ‘Prehistoric man,’ and the Gap theory. Here is a link to a related article in Spanish: ¿Cuán vieja es la Tierra? ¿Cuán largos fueron los Días de la Creación? ¿Teoría de la brecha?
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. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
Does it Make Physical Sense to believe in God? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true? Here is a link to a YouTube sermon titled Is it logical to believe in God?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Is There Another View of Evolution? and another titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.
Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? Does God have 7,000 year plan? What year may the six thousand years of human rule end? When will Jesus return? 2028 or 20xx? There is also a video titled 6000 Years: When will God’s Kingdom Come? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?

Is God Calling You? This is a booklet discussing calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You?
Nascent Sanhedrin structure and high priest: The plan is to start animal sacrifices this would fulfill prophecy! The reconstituted Sanhedrin wants the reimplementation of animal sacrifices. A related video is titled Sanhedrin pushing animal sacrifices.
The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here are links to two related videos in English: Red Heifers and the Fate of the World and The Red Heifer and the End of the World.

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 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.

Sermon: Let’s Talk About the New Testament

Saturday, November 14th, 2020


COGwriter

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

1:11:19

In this sermon Dr. Thiel goes over information related to the New Testament (NT) and answers questions many want to know. Are there really only 27 books of the NT? Was the New Testament predicted in the Old Testament? Was the New Testament intended to be published? Could the New Testament been canonized in the first century A.D.? When were the New Testament books written? What about the role of Mark, Peter, Paul, and John? Were the four gospels known in the first or second century? Is Rylands P52 the oldest known NT manuscript? Is the Byzantine text more accurate than the Alexandrian text? Which is the ‘Traditional Text’? What about the so-called Received Text (Textus Receptus)? Did Desiderius Erasmus make revisions to his 1516 text? Where did the Stephens 1550 text come from? Did the Apostle John lead the true Church of God from Ephesus? How do we know approximately when the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation? How do we know approximately when the Apostle John died? Does the NT itself give clues on how it was put together?

Here is a link to the sermon: Let’s Talk About the New Testament.

Some items of related interest may include:

Who Gave the World the Bible? The Canon: Why do we have the books we now do in the Bible? Is the Bible complete? Are there lost gospels? What about the Apocrypha? Is the Septuagint better than the Masoretic text? What about the Textus Receptus vs. Nestle Alland? Was the New Testament written in Greek, Aramaic, or Hebrew? Which translations are based upon the best ancient text? Did the true Church of God have the canon from the beginning? Here are links to related sermons: Let’s Talk About the Bible, The Books of the Old Testament, The Septuagint and its Apocrypha, Masoretic Text of the Old Testament, and Lost Books of the Bible and Let’s Talk About the New Testament.
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. Is the King James Version completely trustworthyy? 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.
How to Study the Bible David Jon Hill wrote this initially and Dr. Thiel added scriptures, tips, and suggestions to it. A 2015 sermon is available and is also titled
How to Study the Bible.
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?
I have made the decision to follow God. Now what? Have you proven all things? Will you hold fast to that which is good? This article will help you do so. Here is a link to a related video: You Want to Follow God? Then Prove the Truth!
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? Marque aquí para ver el pdf folleto: Fe para aquellos que Dios ha llamado y escogido. In German: Glaube für die von Gott Berufenen und Auserwählten. In French: La Foi pour ceux que Dieu a Appelés et Choisis. Here is a link to a related sermon titled: Faith for the Called and Chosen.and here is a link to another sermon Faith and Courage. Here is a link to shorter version of the written article in Mandarin Chinese 一篇关于信仰的小文章. Here are links to the sermons Christian Faith and Increasing Faith.
Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach? This free booklet contains 28 biblically-based tips on improving the effectiveness of your prayers. This is a pdf. A related two part sermon is available: What Does the Bible Teach About Prayer? and What does the Bible Teach About Prayer (& Healing)?
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You? A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?

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
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. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
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.
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 Prop
hets’.
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.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You? A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The group striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. There are links to literature is about 100 different languages there.
Congregations of the Continuing Church of God This is a listing of congregations and groups of the Continuing Church of God around the world.
Continuing Church of God Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Africa, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Canada, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
Continuing Church of God, Europe, Facebook page This has news and prophetic information.
CCOG.AFRICA This is a website targeted towards those in Africa.
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.
CCOGCANADA.CA This is a website targeted towards those in Canada.
CDLIDD.ES La Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. This is the Spanish language website for the Continuing Church of God.
CG7.ORG This is a website for those interested in the Sabbath and churches that observe the seventh day Sabbath.
PNIND.PH Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. This is the Philippines website Continuing Church of God. It has information in English and Tagalog.
CCOG Animations YouTube channel. The Continuing Church of God has some animations to teach aspects of Christian beliefs. Also available at BitChute COGAnimations https://www.bitchute.com/channel/coganimations/
Bible News Prophecy channel. Dr. Thiel has produced hundreds of videos for the BibleNewsProphecy channel. You can find them at them on YouTube at BibleNewsProphecy https://www.youtube.com/user/BibleNewsProphecy, plus also on Vimeo at Bible News Prophecy https://vimeo.com/channels/biblenewsprophecy as well as on Brighteon Bible News Prophecy https://www.brighteon.com/channel/ccogbnp and Bitchute Prophecy https://www.bitchute.com/channel/prophecy/
CCOGAfrica channel. This has messages from African pastors in African languages such as Kalenjin, Kiswahili, Embu, and Dholuo. Also available at BitChute COGAfrica https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogafrica/
CDLIDDSermones channel. This contains messages in the Spanish language
BibleNewsProphecy Podcast. This has audio-visual podcasts of the Bible News Prophecy channgel. It plays on i-Phones, i-Pads, and Windows devices that can play i-Tunes.
Bible News Prophecy online radio. This is an audio version of the Bible News Prophecy videos. It is also available as a mobile app.
ContinuingCOG channel. Dr. Thiel has produced scores of YouTube video sermons for this channel. Note: Since these are sermon-length, they can take a little longer to load than other YouTube videos. Also available at BitChute COGTube https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogtube/
Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of GodContend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV), “Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1) ” & continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs–the Statement gives answers? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese ~ç~íy^v„eYOv„OáNðXðf. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’Église Continue de Dieu. Here is a related link in the Chichewa language: ZIKHULUPIRIRO ZA MPINGO WA CONTINUING CHURCH OF GOD. Here is a link in Romanian: Declarația de credințe a continuării Bisericii lui Dumnezeu. Here is a link in Portuguese: Declaração de Crenças da Continuação da Igreja de Deus. Here is a link in Russian: Утверждение верований о продолжении Церкви Божьей. Here is a link to a related English-language sermon: Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.

‘Believing Without Evidence Is Always Morally Wrong’?

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

COGwriter

Pocket suggested the following ago:

Believing Without Evidence Is Always Morally Wrong

You have probably never heard of William Kingdon Clifford. He is not in the pantheon of great philosophers – perhaps because his life was cut short at the age of 33 – but I cannot think of anyone whose ideas are more relevant for our interconnected, AI-driven, digital age. This might seem strange given that we are talking about a Victorian Briton whose most famous philosophical work is an essay nearly 150 years ago. However, reality has caught up with Clifford. His once seemingly exaggerated claim that ‘it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence’ is no longer hyperbole but a technical reality.

In ‘The Ethics of Belief’ (1877), Clifford gives three arguments as to why we have a moral obligation to believe responsibly, that is, to believe only what we have sufficient evidence for, and what we have diligently investigated. accessed 11/21/19 https://getpocket.com/explore/item/believing-without-evidence-is-always-morally-wrong?utm_source=pocket-newtab

The Bible teaches:

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV)

But most people do not do that.

If they did, to cite one example, no one would believe in evolution as the origin of life.

Consider the following from our free online book Is God’s Existence Logical?:

 

Notice something

Charles Darwin saw people making too much out of his writings when he was alive:

Darwin himself said: “I am in a hopeless muddle concerning the origin of things. Our ignorance of the derivation of things is very profound. I must be content to remain agnostic.”

However, as he lay dying, he embraced the concept of creation. He also reflected on his life work, saying: “I was a young man with unformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything; to my astonishment the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion out of them. (Keith B. Scopes II: The Great Debate : Creation Vs. Evolution. Huntington House, 1982, p. 47)

Sadly, many who wanted reasons NOT to believe in God pointed to his writings and claimed that they were more enlightened and/or scientific than the biblical account. They made a religion out of his theories.

Nobel Prize winner Dr. George Wald, from Harvard University, stated the following:

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. Yet here we are, as a result I believe, of spontaneous generation. (Scott I. The God Solution: Are You Ready? Xlibris Corporation, 2013, p. 41)

This is an astounding admission. Dr. Wald is saying that he chose to believe the impossible. And “scientists” claim that those who believe in a Creator have blind faith with no proof, but instead believe the impossible!

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines impossible as “incapable of being or of occurring.”

It is a falsehood to believe in something that is impossible.

So, no scientist has truly proved evolution as the origin of life as it is impossible to occur.

But sadly, academia and much of the world accept the moral outrage of evolution. So, it is little wonder that they also do not accept the true God of Bible or His true Church.

The fact is that evolution functions as a false religion that many cling to. Therefore, many who hold to it do not bother to look into the truth about why they are on this planet nor what their life really is supposed to be about.

The Continuing Church of God put out two short animations related to this general topic on our  CCOG Animations channel:

 13:48

Big Bang: Nothing or Creator?

Colleges and universities teach variations of a godless ‘Big Bang theory’ as science. But is it scientific or simply the musing of scientists? The late Dr. Stephen Hawking stated that there was nothing before the Big Bang. Is it logical that nothing became everything? What should have happened then according to scientists? What happens to radioactive materials like uranium? What does the Bible teach about errors called science? Is God’s existence more logical than a godless ‘Big Bang’? Which has more actual proof? In this animation, a university student asks a professor questions and provides information that students and those out of school should know. A free online booklet is also available:

Here is a link to our video: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator?

15:06

Did life just spring up on its own? Is this possible according to a Nobel-prize winning scientist who believes in ‘spontaneous generation’ and other aspects of evolution? Is there any possibility that life could have just started on its own and thrived to the point of being able to reproduce? Is the academic community biased against those who believe in a Divine Creator God? Does it make scientific sense to believe in the atheistic position? Is there more proof of God’s existence than there is for ‘spontaneous generation’? What about DNA and Charles Darwin? What about the RNA first hypothesis? What about matter, entropy, biogenesis, and abiogenesis? Is evolution possible, probable, or impossible? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to our animated video: A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?

The Apostle Paul warned:

20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge — 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. (1 Timothy 6:20-21, NKJV)

20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.  (1 Timothy 6:20-21, KJV)

Problems of contradictions of what is called ‘knowledge/science’ exist to this day. If there ever is an apparent contradiction between the Bible and what is called ‘science’ remember that the Bible teaches:

4 …  Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.  (Romans 3:4)

The Bible is scientific and reliable. Not all scientists are. Nor are all theologians.

The Apostle Paul also wrote the following to Timothy about some who were:

7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, (2 Timothy 3:7-9)

Believe the truth. Belief in God is logical.

And as far as His true Church goes, those who are willing to accept the Bible (see also Where is the True Christian Church Today?) and the truth about church history (see also Continuing History of the Church of God) can prove this to themselves if they are willing to believe and act on the truth.

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. Two animated videos of related interest are also available: Big Bang: Nothing or Creator? and A Lifegiver or Spontaneous Evolution?
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.
Does it Make Physical Sense to believe in God? Some say it is not logical to believe in God. Is that true? Here is a link to a YouTube sermon titled Is it logical to believe in God?
Is Evolution Probable or Impossible or Is God’s Existence Logical? Part II This short article clearly answers what ‘pseudo-scientists’ refuse to acknowledge. Here is a link to a YouTube video titled Is There Another View of Evolution? and another titled Quickly Disprove Evolution as the Origin of Life.
How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Does the Bible allow for the creation of the universe and earth billions of years ago? Why do some believe they are no older than 6,000 years old? What is the gap theory? Were the days of creation in Genesis 1:3 through 2:3 24 hours long? Here is a link to a sermon:
Genesis, ‘Prehistoric man,’ and the Gap theory. Here is a link to a related article in Spanish: ¿Cuán vieja es la Tierra? ¿Cuán largos fueron los Días de la Creación? ¿Teoría de la brecha?
How is God Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient? Here is a biblical article which answers what many really wonder about it.
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.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.

Veteran’s Day and the CCOG on military participation for Christians

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

By COGwriter

November 11th is called Veteran’s Day in the USA. It is a day to remember those who served in the military.

For what it’s worth, I happen to be a veteran myself, as I served four years in the US military. And while it is a day off for most in the USA, I do not take the day off.

The historical position of the true Christian Church is that its members do not become part of the military, and if they are in for some reason, that they “do violence to no man” (Luke 3:14, KJV).

In my own case, perhaps I should mention that I was NOT raised in a Church of God (COG) family, and entered the military before being baptized by a Worldwide Church of God (WCG) minister.

Since the break-up of the old WCG decades ago some relatively few, affiliated with the COGs, publicly changed and have improperly taught that it is acceptable for true Christians to be part of the military and kill others.

Furthermore, some of these few have seemed to wish to poke fun at those of us who hold to the original Christian teachings on this matter.

The Continuing Church of God (CCOG) still holds to the original position.

The Journal: News of the Churches of God had some articles in years past by some who seem to support Christian participation in war. The headline of an article on this subject back in 2007 was:

Are there CO hawks in the Churches of God?

By Wes White

Wes White was named as the president of the Ronald L Dart Evangelistic Association in August 2017 (see ‘Ronald L Dart Evangelistic Association’ announcement).

Anyway, his satirical article basically hints that many in the COGs advocate military intervention, but we hold to a pacifist position because we are afraid that we or our children may be hurt in war. The term “hypocrite” seems to be used to describe those that Wes White felt are “chicken hawks” (those who favor military intervention, but are afraid to participate in the military).

While there are hypocrites pretty much everywhere, those of us who hold to actual Christian teachings know full well that we hold to them because we believe that the Bible teaches them. The fact that many in the COGs understand why governments will intervene militarily neither makes us “hawks” (war-mongers) nor “chickens” (pacifists due to cowardice).

Actually, while those unrepentant sinners who break the commandment against killing will not be in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 22:15), neither will the “cowardly” (Revelation 21:8).

It is not cowardice to stand up for true Christian teachings–even if people call us names that imply we are cowards.

Whaid Rose, while president of the ‘Sardis-leaningChurch of God, Seventh Day-Denver (CG7-D) correctly wrote:

Christians should renounce such carnality and the weapons of human strife, and should not participate in military combat through the armed forces (Rose, Whaid. E-Vision, October 1, 2001)

Yet, Whaid Rose admitted he was considering changing his view back then as he concluded with:

You should know that over the years I have defended the church’s pacifist stance, but that the events of September 11th has me thinking much about this. Would you say that this “different kind of war against America” calls for an exception to the rule? (ibid)

No, I would not say that circumstances should change doctrine. Jesus taught (Revelation 3:11) that the Philadelphian Christians should ‘hold fast’ (it should be added that I am not implying that CG7 is part of that era, as we in the COGs have tended to view CG7 as part of the Sardis-era remnant).

A non-Philadelphia COG group that did not hold fast, CGOM, was discussed as follows:

THE JOURNAL asked what is the CGOM’s view on the appropriateness of members serving in the military. A couple of the men in the meeting said whether to serve or not is a personal decision for any member of a CGOM-affiliated church. The CGOM has no official doctrine on it. Military service is not mentioned in the CGOM’s statements of belief. But Mr. Gregory’s personal view “is that we need to stress that God’s Kingdom is not of this world, and we’re called to be separate from this world and trust in faith for protection. I believe personally it is better not to come under the military because of personal sovereignty one must necessarily lose by being in the military. “But I don’t condemn anyone who makes a different decision, as long as they allow me that courtesy” (Cartwright, Dixon. CGOM happy with response to USA Today ad. The Journal. November 30, 2001: 15).

CGOM came out of CGI, and here is some information from CGI,

Bronson James of the Church of God International, Tyler, Texas…The CGI differs…in the matter of military service and war. Mr. James told The Journal that the CGI “has no policy” against members serving in the military (Overton, Mac. COG leaders react to terrorist attacks. The Journal. September 30, 2001: 1,14).

The late Ron Dart, who was once part of CGI, and headed up the non-Philadelphian Christian Education Ministries, wrote:

Paul was surely a citizen of God’s Kingdom, but he did not hesitate to demand his rights as a Roman citizen. We don’t hesitate to demand our rights as American citizens, but how can we exercise our rights while we avoid our responsibilities? Our country is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. We have, just as God said, judges and officers in all our gates. Why should we, as saints, decline to serve as judges and officers? Who is better able to sit on a jury and judge God’s people?..I am persuaded that it is not only permissible for a Christian to serve on a jury if called; it is an obligation. I think God will hold us accountable for responsible government in our communities at least to the extent of doing what we can…We should clean out that rat’s nest called the Taliban and avenge the murder of our citizens. For us as individuals to turn the other cheek, we need a government that will take up our cause and defend us. This is not vengeance taken with a spiteful heart. It is justice, and it is right. We should have done it a long time ago (Dart, Ron. Take a new, hard look at vengeance. The Journal. 10/31/01).

When later specifically asked about this subject, Ron Dart responded:

A Christian could serve in the military (email from Ron Dart to TW 6/7/02).

Ron Dart later posted:

I saw some satellite images, shot at night over the Korean peninsula, which made me think long and hard about it. What the dictator of North Korea has accomplished since the war could just as easily have been the picture of South Korea. We can talk endlessly about the evils of war, but one does have to look at results when all is said and done. The images below are night time satellite views of the Korean peninsula. Do you see any difference at all between north and south? I am anti-war, too, but I believe there is a time to fight…On this day of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for what it means to be free. (Dart, Ronald L. Anti-War. http://www.rondart.com/. November 23, 2006).

CCG of Texas, another non-Philadelphian group, was covered in The Journal:

Jeff Booth believes the Churches of God have gotten it all wrong. Mr. Booth, founder of the Christian Church of God and pastor of the CCG congregation in Amarillo, Texas, says young Church of God men should feel free to join up to help fight America’s war on terrorism, and in fact they should feel an obligation to do so. Mr. Booth, 53, made his remarks on Oct. 2, the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, at the CCG’s Feast site near St. Petersburg, Fla…He quoted from Luke 3:13. The writer of the third Gospel reports that some soldiers asked John the Baptist what they should do to please God. “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages,” the baptist advised the military men. John did not say “You’ve got to go AWOL or resign,” said Mr. Booth. He did not say “You’ve got to put down your weapons” (Cartwright, Dixon. Pastor says COG member should support war on terrorism, including militarily. The Journal. 10/31/01).

Down deep, Mr. Booth always had a problem with the old WCG’s view that Christians should never fight. “Somewhere in the back of my mind I always believed good should fight against evil. I kind of felt like we were copping out and letting somebody else fight our battles for us. That always bothered me.” However, he was officially a conscientious objector as a young man during the Vietnam War, which was raging at the time of his graduation from AC. Theology status “Like I say, I did embrace it, but I did so reluctantly. I had some internal conflicts. Once I resolved those conflicts, I came to the conclusion that there was absolutely nothing wrong with serving in the military and defending your country…”My point was not that I was saying that people should serve in the military,” said Mr. Booth. “I’m just saying that there is no prohibition for a Christian to serve in the military…”All I’m saying is that we cannot tell our young people that they cannot join the military. I can’t support it in Scripture to deny them military service if they feel moved to serve” (Cartwright, Dixon. Pastor explains his stance on military and war. The Journal. 10/31/01).

So here is a pastor of a group who clearly favors military involvement.

Shameful.

If these leaders think they are in the true Church of God, do they not understand the New Testament and the historical teachings of the Church of God?

(There were also others associated with various COGs with similar views–more quotes are in the article Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence?)

It should also be pointed out that there is near universal agreement that early Christians did NOT participate in military service (see Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence?). But compromisers finally did (see also Continuing History of the Church of God).

Back in the 1800s, there was a lot of controversy among those who claimed to be in the Church of God, and military service was one of the many controversies.

I should probably mention that the position of the U.S. government used to essentially be that conscientious objectors could pay a fine in lieu of military service and that that is what Church of God members, Quakers, and members of other pacifist religions did until about the end of the Civil War.

One publication, called the Hope of Israel, which began publishing in 1863, was put out by a Sabbath-keeping group (they were among those that refused to affiliate with the Seventh-day Adventists).

Here are two reports from the late Richard Nickels on the history of the Church of God that suggest those associated with the Hope of Israel (who Nickels called an ‘Advent’ group) tended to be strong conscientious objectors, while the Seventh Day Adventists had less objections (as they seemed to feel being drafted made military participation possibly acceptable):

One clear indication of the beliefs of the Hope of Israel supporters generally was their conscientious objection to participation in the Civil War.

It appears that some Advent groups attempted to buy exemption from the draft for their male members. Eli Wilsey of the Hartford “Church of Christ” spent at least four months in prison “for refusing to fight with carnal weapons.”

Frequent news articles on the progress, and staggering costs, of the war were published, with the exhortation to the brethren to have nothing to do with the “war, revenge and murder.”

One news report was that brother William Cronk of Casco was drafted, passed examination, “But was declared exempt from field service on account of his religious principles. He is in the government service in the hospital.”

N. Wallen and R.C. Horton reported in a letter dated January 16, 1865 from South Haven, Michigan that the brethren of Hartford and Casco were going to try and raise $300.00 to clear all the brethren who may be drafted.

The April 23, 1865 issue contained a quote from the Harbinger expressing sorrow at the death of President Lincoln, thanking God that Lincoln made laws to deliver Christians from participating in war.

John L. Staunton, a one-time president of the Michigan Conference, enlisted in the Union army, and the Waverly church disfellowshipped him, maintaining that only non-resisters could be in their church.” (Nickels RC. Conscientious Objectors During the Civil War. In History of the Seventh Day Church of God. 1988: 31-32).

H.E. Carver was conscientiously opposed to Christians fighting with carnal weapons, that is, in warfare. He believed that the church should adopt the same position and urged that the question be discussed in the columns of the Advent Review. This occurred at the outbreak of the Civil War, shortly before the foundation of the Seventh Day Adventist denomination.

The Whites stated at a council in Lisbon, Iowa that the subject should not be discussed because of the danger of being destroyed by the war elements in the country for seeming to be unpatriotic. James White wrote in the Review that to engage in war would be a violation of two of God’s commandments, but in case of being drafted, the government would be responsible for an individual’s violation of God’s commandments. In effect, he said that it was all right to break God’s law! This error was so obvious that Ellen G. White had to apologize in the Review for her husband, but maintained that something had to be said on this delicate subject.

Conscientious objection was too controversial for Mrs. White to pronounce a vision concerning it. Yet she did publish a vision purporting to foretell the outcome of the Battle of Bull Run, after it had been fought and the result was known.

The Iowa Church of God brethren were firmly convinced that it was wrong for Christians to engage in warfare. During the initial phase of the Civil War, Elders B.F. Snook and J.H. Waggoner prepared a petition to the Iowa state government, asking their church be exempted as non-combatants. The petition was circulated among the brethren for signatures, and sent to the state capital. Battle Creek did not sanction this effort, terming it “fanaticism”. Due to the Church of God petition, a law was enacted exempting non-combatants from bearing arms. Carver termed the non-action of the Battle Creek Seventh Day Adventists as “cowardly”.

However, Uriah Smith reported that the Seventh Day Adventist General Conference did indirectly exempt Seventh Day Adventists by petitioning the government to exempt them through an already existing law (Nickels RC. James White Counsels Breaking God’s Law in the Civil War. In History of the Seventh Day Church of God. 1988: 47-48).

When the United States entered the war in 1917, {A.N.} Dugger {Church of God, Adventist}, with a Missouri congressman, had a personal interview with President Woodrow Wilson, obtaining Church of God exemption. (Nickels RC. History of the Seventh Day Church of God, p. 92)

Historically the Church of God has been against military service for its members. And while many in the early Church of God Advent groups were not truly COG, some were likely partially attracted by its strong stance against military participation.

Here is something from Theophilus of Antioch (who looks to have been part of the Church of God) perhaps written about 180 A.D.:

Consider, therefore, whether those who teach such things can possibly live indifferently, and be commingled in unlawful intercourse, or, most impious of all, eat human flesh, especially when we are forbidden so much as to witness shows of gladiators, lest we become partakers and abettors of murders. But neither may we see the other spectacles, lest our eyes and ears be defiled, participating in the utterances there sung. Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book III, Chapter XV. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition)

So, true Christians did not believe that they were to fight nor even watch the violent sports that were popular in the second century.

Notice that this is also the position of the third century Roman Catholic theologian and bishop Hippolytus, who also adds various occupations to those that reject one from being a follower of Christ:

16:6 A charioteer, likewise, or one who takes part in the games, or one who goes to the games, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 7 If someone is a gladiator, or one who teaches those among the gladiators how to fight, or a hunter who is in the wild beast shows in the arena, or a public official who is concerned with gladiator shows, either he shall cease, or he shall be rejected. 8 If someone is a priest of idols, or an attendant of idols, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 9 A military man in authority must not execute men. If he is ordered, he must not carry it out. Nor must he take military oath. If he refuses, he shall be rejected. 10 If someone is a military governor, or the ruler of a city who wears the purple, he shall cease or he shall be rejected. 11 The catechumen or faithful who wants to become a soldier is to be rejected, for he has despised God. (Hippolytus. The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome. From the work of Bernard Botte (La Tradition Apostolique. Sources Chretiennes, 11 bis. Paris, Editions du Cerf, 1984) and of Gregory Dix (The Treatise on the Apostolic Tradition of St. Hippolytus of Rome, Bishop and Martyr. London: Alban Press, 1992) as translated by Kevin P. Edgecomb http://www.bombaxo.com/hippolytus.html viewed 08/06/09)

Around 250 A.D., COG elder/presbyter Pionius of Smyrna asked:

To whom have we done wrong? Have we perchance murdered someone? Or, do we persecute anyone? Or have we obliged anyone to venerate idols? (Martyrdom of Pionius as translated in Monroy, Mauricio Saavedra. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 155)

He asked those questions knowing full well that real Christians had not done any of those things.

As late as the beginning of the fourth century, the Catholic apologist Lactanus/Lactanius wrote:

For when God forbids us to kill, He not only prohibits us from open violence, which is not even allowed by the public laws, but He warns us against the commission of those things which are esteemed lawful among men. Thus it will be neither lawful for a just man to engage in warfare (Lactanus. Divine Institutes, Book VI (Of True Wisdom and Religion), Chapter 20).

Or why should he carry on war, and mix himself with the passions of others, when his mind is engaged in perpetual peace with men? {The Christian} considers it unlawful not only himself to commit slaughter, but to be present with those who do it, and to behold it (Lactanus. Divine Institutes, Book V (Of True Wisdom and Religion), Chapter 18).

So, those in and out of the COG taught against military participation and watching intentionally violent sports.

Here is something that the late G.G. Rupport, once affiliated with part of the Church of God (Seventh-Day), taught in 1917:

I prefer to lose my life than ‘killing someone’ under a fit of enthusiasm or imaginary loyalty. (Rupport G.G. Remnant of Israel, May 1917. As quoted in The Remnant of Israel. Richard Nickels’ Reprint 1993).

Notice what the late Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

We believe that Christian disciples of Christ are forbidden by Him and the commandments of God to kill, or in any manner directly or indirectly to take human life; by whatsoever means; we believe that bearing arms is directly contrary to this fundamental doctrine of our belief; we therefore conscientiously refuse to bear arms or to come under the military authority.” (Armstrong, Herbert W. Fundamental Beliefs of the Radio Church of God. As quoted in Early Writings of Herbert W. Armstrong, Public domain articles written from 1928-1953.)

Here is the position of the Continuing Church of God from its Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God:

NOT OF THIS WORLD

Jesus taught, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). John the Baptist taught, “Do violence to no man” (Luke 3:14, KJV). Historically, those of the Church of God have considered military service as wrong for its members. From Revolutionary War times to the Civil War and to present, countries like the United States have tended to have had provisions to exempt Church of God members and congregants from military participation because of conscientious objections. Early Christians did not participate in military warfare nor watch violent sports.

The Apostle Paul taught “we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 6:20; see also Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian). The Apostle Peter taught that God’s people were “a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out” (1 Peter 2:9). The Bible also teaches that this world has been deceived by Satan the devil (Revelation 12:9) and that God’s people need to be separate from the world (John 15:19; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; James 4:4; Revelation 18:4). Since a Christian is God’s ambassador and  this responsibility is our duty above any arising from human relationships (Acts 4:18-20; 5:26-31), it is our normal religious practice to not participate in voting for national elections nor participate in jury duty, nor do we voluntarily join the military. Historically, the faithful Church of God has long taught that its members should not participate in secular juries and secular politics.

However, Christians are expected to listen to (and pray for, 1 Timothy 2:1-3) governmental authorities (1 Peter 2:13-17) and pay their taxes (Matthew 22:17-21), yet if there is a conflict between the laws of men and the laws of God, “We must obey God rather than any human authority” (Acts 5:29, NLT). (Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God)

Jesus had some comments that should be mentioned here:

“You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Thou shalt not commit murder’, and whoever commits murder will be answerable to the magistrate. But I say to you that every one who becomes angry with his brother shall be answerable to the magistrate; that whoever says to his brother ‘Raca,’ shall be answerable to the Sanhedrin; and that whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the Gehenna of Fire. (Matthew 5:21-22, Weymouth New Testament)

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder…” (Matthew 19:18, NKJV)

As Jesus’ comments in Matthew 5:21-22 demonstrate, He expanded the restrictions against murder. Those expansions generally do not condone carnal warfare nor encourage violence in sports. Many get inappropriately angry who are fans of violent sports.

As far as Veteran’s Day itself, we in the COGs, even though we are pacifists, do respect the fact that many have made the ultimate physical sacrifice for their own ideas of duty or some other calling. But we do not advocate carnal warfare and do not believe that true Christians should be part of the military in this age as Jesus taught in John 18:36.

Some items of related interest may include:

Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare or Encourage Violence? Here are current and historical perspectives on a matter which show the beliefs of the true church on military participation. Is war proper for Christians? A related sermon would be: Christians, Violence, and Military Service.
Christian Soldiers How are Christians to be like soldiers? How are they to be different?
Self-defense and Christians In these perilous times, how should a Christian view defense for self or family members? Here is a link to a related video: Christians and Self-Defense.
Is American Football Evil? Is the most popular spectator sport in the USA something that Christians should watch? What do the Bible and early writings show? There is also a YouTube video available titled Should Christians watch American football?
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..Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of GodContend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3, NKJV), “Let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1) & “continuing stedfastly in the teaching of the apostles” (Acts 2:42 YLT). So, what does that really mean in terms of specific beliefs? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Here is a related link in Mandarin Chinese ~ç~íy^v„eYOv„OáNðXðf. Here is a related link in Kiswahili: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Dutch: Verklaring van geloofspunten van de Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Deutsche (German): Glaubenserklärung der Continuing Church of God. Here is a related link in Italiano: Dichiarazione del Credo della Continuing Church of God. Here is related link in the French language: Déclaration des croyances de L’Église Continue de Dieu.
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God–and here is a link to a related article in Spanish: Los primeros cuatro mandamientos: Amar a Dios. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese SAga‹ëT}f>y:r1ÿ ÝSÍ‹ëT}v„\1f/ª`vv„
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The 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.

Junk food, synthetic nutrition, and your health

Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

COGwriter

Some foods commonly consumed by Americans in the USA and Canada gross foreigners out:

Our food doesn’t exactly have a good reputation abroad; we might be best-known for exporting McDonald’s Big Mac hamburgers overseas.

Business Insider reports that Reddit recently asked its non-American users which U.S. foods they consider gross or weird.

From grits to Velveeta cheese and Hershey’s chocolate, the foods that made the icky list turn out to be kitchen staples in many American kitchens.

Cheese Whiz, a cheese-like product that squirts out of a can, topped the list.

One user reported, “It tastes like plastic and cancer.”

Another Reddit user couldn’t believe that Pop-Tarts, rectangular pre-baked toaster pastries with a sugary filling, were considered a morning meal.

“They were revolting,” homovore wrote. “People actually eat them for breakfast?”

Red Vines candy also made the list for tasting like “soap”, supermarket bread was deemed “too sweet”, and casseroles using Campbell’s soups were likened to a “sodium bomb.”

Root Beer floats — root beer soda with a scoop of ice cream in it — are a special treat to many Americans, but one foreigner called it “disgusting”. To be fair, many Americans might agree with the latter opinion.

President Obama has been photographed eating number 11 on the list. The most powerful man in the world might enjoy a snow cone — crushed ice with sugary, flavored syrups poured over it — but the rest of the world doesn’t appear to share his tastes.

And while many American children love the colors and treats that come in sugary cereals, our overseas friends do not.

“It has all these different colors and weird tastes, and there are marshmallows in some of it too,” wrote a user called TheInsaneDane. “That’s not ideal for a breakfast meal. No wonder why many kids struggle with obesity.”

Other foods on the gross list as selected by non-Americans include Twizzlers candy, beef jerky, grits, corn dogs, biscuits and gravy, meatloaf and bacon. http://blogs.voanews.com/all-about-america/2014/10/27/17-all-american-foods-that-foreigners-find-gross/

There is a lot of questionable items that Americans eat. I have never tasted Cheese Whiz. Grits, which once were made of ground, whole organic corn, are now made with degerminated GMO corn, ‘fortified’ with synthetic vitamins. After corn was ‘degerminated’ many people in the Southern USA died from a disease called pellagra. Instead of going back to whole corn, chemically-derived synthetic vitamins were added, which I consider to be dangerous.

As far as sodas go, they are not healthy and most should avoid them. In general, junk food is not good for your health.

As far as bacon (biblically unclean), biscuits, and gravy go, a study came out last year that the typical Southern diet (which tends to contain those) was unhealthy and increased risk for strokes (see Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible).

Furthermore, the Bible warns about eating things that are not really food:

2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good (Isaiah 55:2).

Refined processed “breads,” refined and artificial sweeteners, chemical additives, and some other items commonly associated with junk foods and hydrogenated fats would seem to be consistent with that warning.

Breakfast cereals used to be one of the original ‘health foods’ when Dr. Kellogg first introduced Corn Flakes at his clinic in Battle Creek, Michigan. It was basically made of whole organic corn. Now, it seems to be made with GMO corn (its label does not state otherwise, which in the USA means the corn source is almost always genetically-modified) and is ‘fortified’ with synthetic vitamins.

Many other breakfast cereals, especially the ones targeted towards children are made of refined, degerminated grains, synthetic vitamins, a lot of sugar, and artificial colors. Pop-Tarts made of refined, degerminated grains, synthetic vitamins, fruit, sugar, gelatin (probably biblical unclean; see also The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats), and artificial colors.

Many Americans (and others) consume synthetic vitamins that they tend to consider to be “health food.” Synthetic vitamins are often in forms that are foreign to the human body (i.e. there is no such thing as isolated thiamin hydrochloride (thiamin HCL) in a natural food, but that is one form that refined foods are ‘fortified’ with–foods mainly contain vitamin B-1 as thiamin pyrophosphate. Most USP vitamins are petroleum derivatives and/or processed with formaldehyde and/or acetone.

Synthetic/USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) vitamins are not only isolates, they tend to be crystalline in structure. Vitamins complexed in foods appear rounder. Notice some electron microscope photos of food and synthetic vitamins:


Food Thiamin vs. USP Thiamin HCL


Food Vitamin C vs. USP Ascorbic Acid

Perhaps I should comment that most minerals Americans (and others) purchase are basically ground up industrial rocks with acids added to them. While plants can properly convert rocks into food, humans are supposed to eat food. Unless people consider bones or shells to be foods (which do contain hard mineral salts), foods simply do not contain the type of two word mineral salts that are used in most vitamin-mineral formulas.

Here are electron microscope photos of food and rock zinc:


Food Zinc vs. USP Zinc Chloride

Most people consuming minerals are consuming ground up rocks. The chemical forms of these mineral salts can be ‘natural,’ but they are not natural for humans to eat. Actually, eating ground up rocks/dirt is considered as a medical condition called ‘pica.’ Yet, many ‘health food’ supplements contain these substances for minerals that are totally foreign to human foods.

An Iowa study involving over 30,000 older women found that those that regularly consumed a synthetic vitamin pill died years before women that did not. In 2017, a study found that smokers who took high doses of synthetic vitamins B6 and B12 had a significantly increased risk of developing lung cancer than smokers who did not.

Synthetics are not good!

What should you eat? You should eat real food and be careful about your quantities.

2…Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good (Isaiah 55:2).

People should try to eat real, not artificial, foods. And if you take vitamins and minerals, take the type whose nutrients are 100% food (which is what I personally do).

Notice also the following:

Americans love to eat hotdogs; they spent $2.5 billion on this processed food last year. But a food analytics lab has found that there are unwanted and potentially dangerous ingredients lurking in hotdogs that consumers are not aware of.

Clear Labs, a startup that uses genomic technology to analyze foods at a molecular level, looked at 345 hotdogs and sausages from 75 brands sold at 10 different food retailers. The company found that 14.4 percent of the products examined contained ingredients that were not disclosed on the label.

The DNA analysis revealed unexpected ingredients as well with some of the products found to contain meat not found on the label such as meat in vegetarian products. Human DNA was also found in 2 percent of the samples and even in some of the vegetarian samples. Some of the ingredients that were advertised on the labels were not likewise found.

“The food industry has been a black box for too long. Food consumers have to trust that food labels are accurate, but that isn’t always the case,” said Clear Labs CEO Sasan Amini. “We’ve found a 10 to 15 percent rate of discrepancy between labeled ingredients and actual ingredients across our internal tests to date.”

Some individuals opt for chicken and turkey sausages to avoid pork but there were evidences of pork substitution in 3 percent of the samples tested. Pork was found to make its way to chicken and turkey sausages.

“Pork is a particularly unwelcome substitution in any food when you consider that significant numbers of people do not eat pork for religious reasons,” the report reads “Pork substitution was an issue in products across the price spectrum being sold at a wide variety of retailers.”

Based on the analysis, Clear Labs recommended that consumers who want to avoid pork steer free of chicken products and opt for Kosher brands like Hebrew National as the Kosher products that were tested were found to be 100 percent pork-free. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/99306/20151025/hotdogs-may-have-undisclosed-ingredients-clear-labs-finds-mystery-meat-human-dna-in-sampled-brands.htm

False labeling is bearing false witness. This is a violation of the ninth commandment. No human should be eating humans or pork.

The American and Anglo-Saxon descended nations are not setting the right example when it comes to diet and obesity and this does not bode well for them in the future (Proverbs 12:24; Daniel 11:39).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

American foods that gross out foreigners A study done in the Fall of 2014 found out which foods that non-USA Americans considered weird or gross that Americans eat. This video discusses those foods, ingredients in some of those foods, and warns against consuming ‘that which is not bread’ (Isaiah 55:2). Dr. Thiel also warns about synthetic vitamins and some of the issues associated with them. He also discusses something promoted by the late Seventh-day Adventist, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg.
Obesity, processed foods, health risks, and the Bible Does the Bible warn about the consequences of being obese? Is overeating dangerous? Is gluttony condemned? What diseases are associated with eating too much refined foods?
Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy Are there disadvantages to being overweight? Is junk food really bad for you? Does the Bible discuss overeating and/or obesity? Is overeating having an effect on the US military? What are the ramifications of personal and national health for overeating? What should you eat? This is a sermonette-length YouTubevideo.
GMOs and Bible Prophecy What are GMOs? Since they were not in the food supply until 1994, how could they possibly relate to Bible prophecy? Do GMOs put the USA and others at risk? Here is a related YouTube video GMO Risks and the Bible.
Chimeras: Has Science Crossed the Line? What are chimeras? Has science crossed the line? Does the Bible give any clues? A video of related interest is Half human, half pig: What’s the difference?
Ten Simple Rules that Lead to Health Herbert Armstrong gives his opinions on this.
Does God Heal Today? What does the Bible teach? Herbert Armstrong tries to explain this.
UK Study Supports Daniel Diet Daniel and his companions looked better eating more vegetables and avoiding strange meats. Has modern science confirmed this?
The New Testament Church, History, and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous? There is also a sermon-length video on this: Christians and Unclean Meats; a short video is also available: Did Jesus declare all animal flesh food?
The Ten Commandments Reflect Love, Breaking them is Evil Some feel that the ten commandments are a burden. Is that what Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John taught? For a more detailed discussion of the first four commandments, please see the video The Ten Commandments: Loving God. For a more detailed discussion of the last six commandments, please see: The Ten Commandments: Loving Your Neighbor. Here is a link to a related article in Mandarin Chinese 十条诫命显示爱,违反诫命的就是邪恶的
Was the Commandment to Love the Only Command? Some have stated that John’s writings teach this, but is that what the Bible really says?
The Ten Commandments and the Early Church Did Jesus and the Early Church keep the ten commandments? What order were they in? Here are quotes from the Bible and early writings. A related sermon is titled: Christians and the Ten Commandments.
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.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, English, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Saxon (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo-Saxon nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first? Here is a link to the Spanish version of this article: Anglo-América & las Tribus Perdidas de Israel. Information is also in the YouTube sermons titled Where are the Ten Lost Tribes? Why does it matter? and British are the Covenant People. A short YouTube of prophetic interest may be: Are Chinese threats against Australia for real?
Will the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people? Here is a link to a video titled Will the USA and other Anglo-nations be Divided and Their People Made Slaves? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Serán divididas las naciones anglosajonas?
British are the Covenant People What do ‘British’ and ‘Britain’ mean in Hebrew? Are the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons people of the covenant? Does the British royal family connect to the throne of David? What does the Bible teach? What does history show us? Is there any DNA evidence related to British-Israelism? When did Christianity make it to the British Isles? Could Jeremiah have made it to the British Isles? What type of Christians made it to the British Isles? Did the last King of England believe in British Israelism?
Canada in Prophecy: What Does Bible Prophecy, Catholic Prophecy, and other Predictions Suggest About the Future of Canada? There are prophecies that suggest involvement with Canada. And many are not positive about its future. A sermon of related interest is also available: Canada in Prophecy.
Australia and New Zealand in Prophecy Do biblical prophecies help explain the wealth blessings for Australia and New Zealand? Might cursings from disobedience come in the 21st century? Here is a link to a related sermon: Australia and New Zealand: Origins and Prophecy.