Archive for the ‘Religious News’ Category

From the grave, Pope Benedict XVI blasts sexual immorality, while from the Vatican, Pope Francis wants homosexuality de-criminalized

Thursday, January 26th, 2023

COGwriter

A book that the recently deceased Pope Benedict XVI wanted released after his death, blasts various aspects of sexual immorality:

Bombshell from grave! Pope Benedict, who is dead, unleashes on Catholics

Writes Church near ‘collapse,’ U.S. seminaries are centers of promiscuous homosexuality, perversion

January 24, 2023

A posthumous book written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, the former head of the Catholic church, claimed that pornography, homosexual clubs and pedophilia had taken root within the church. …

in the fifth chapter. Benedict discusses the effect that pornography has had on the church and expressed extreme displeasure that porn was often rampant in seminaries.

“A bishop, who had previously been rector, had allowed seminarians to be shown pornographic films, presumably with the intention of thereby enabling them to resist a behavior contrary to the faith,” Benedict wrote. …

The book also mentioned “homosexual clubs,” specifically in the United States, that had grown in popularity among seminaries and noted that seminaries did not encourage their priests to remain abstinent in the traditional view of the priesthood, but instead “changed the atmosphere of the seminaries.” Benedict largely blamed the “collapse” of the foundation of the priestly vocation on the 1960s sexual revolution which resulted in “complete sexual freedom, which no longer tolerated any norm.” …

It was Benedict’s firm wish that the book be released after his death and entrusted its publication to Dr. Elio Guerriero, who also wrote Benedict’s biography, https://www.wnd.com/2023/01/bombshell-grave-pope-benedict-dead-unleashes-catholics/

Now notice something that Catholic News Service reported last year:

Cardinal Hollerich says church teaching on gays ‘no longer correct’

February 3, 2022

The president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union said he believes the current church teaching on homosexuality is wrong, not based in science.

In an interview with the German Catholic news agency KNA, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg …  spoke to KNA about the public campaign by more than 100 Catholic Church employees who recently outed themselves as queer in Germany. Queer is a collective term for people who are not heterosexual and whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.

“I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct,” Cardinal Hollerich told KNA. He said it was time for a fundamental revision, and the way Pope Francis had spoken about homosexuality in the past could lead to a change in doctrine.

“What was condemned in the past was sodomy. At that time, it was thought that the whole child was contained in the sperm of the man, and that was simply transferred to homosexual men. But there is no homosexuality in the New Testament. There is only the mention of homosexual acts, which were partly pagan ritual acts. That was, of course, forbidden. I think it is time for a fundamental revision of the doctrine.”

The cardinal said it was important for the church to remain human. He added that he knew of homosexual priests and laypeople in the Archdiocese of Luxembourg. “And they know that they have a home in the church. With us, no one is dismissed because they are homosexual, with us no one has ever been dismissed because of that.” https://www.catholicnews.com/update-cardinal-hollerich-says-church-teaching-on-gays-no-longer-correct/

There are several points to make here.

The first is that Roman Catholic misunderstanding about sperm is of no relevance–plus lesbianism does not involve it.

The second is that homosexuality is condemned in the New Testament. Notice the following from a Roman Catholic translation of the Bible:

26 For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature.

27 And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. (Romans 1:25-27, Douay-Rheims)

Early Christian leaders, after the New Testament was written, including the second century Polycarp of Smyrna and Melito of Sardis –which the the Church of Rome consider to be saints–also condemned homosexuality:

Knowing, then, that “God is not mocked,” we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory …For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since “every lust warreth against the spirit; ” and “neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God,” nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

53. But in addition to this there were to be found among men many things still more monstrous and terrifying and brutal: father cohabits with his child, and son and with his mother, and brother with sister, and male with male, and each man lusting after the wife of his neighbor. (Melito’s Homily on the Passover)

Polycarp was appointed a church leader by the original apostles, knew the scriptures of the New Testament, and opposed homosexuality–and that was not based on Rome’s misunderstanding of science.

And the third is that the Church of Rome has long had a problem with homosexuality and other sexual sins in its clergy. A report from 2018 claimed that 1/3 of Catholic priests were active homosexuals and another 1/3 were active heterosexuals (see ‘Pope adviser urges rethink on Catholic celibacy’ Two-thirds of Catholic priests reportedly are NOT celibate). And of course, according to the Vatican’s supposed rules, there are to be none in either category.

Furthermore, Pope Francis made some comments related to being more accepting of sexual immorality in an interview:

January 25, 2023

Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church.

“Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” Francis said during an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press.

Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQ community, and he himself referred to the issue in terms of “sin.” But he attributed such attitudes to cultural backgrounds, and said bishops in particular need to undergo a process of change to recognize the dignity of everyone.

“These bishops have to have a process of conversion,” he said, adding that they should apply “tenderness, please, as God has for each one of us.” …

Francis quoted the Catechism of the Catholic Church in saying gay people must be welcomed and respected, and should not be marginalized or discriminated against. …

Starting with his famous 2013 declaration, “Who am I to judge?” when he was asked about a purportedly gay priest, Francis has gone on to minister repeatedly and publicly to the gay and trans community. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, he favored granting legal protections to same-sex couples as an alternative to endorsing gay marriage, which Catholic doctrine forbids. https://www.voanews.com/a/pope-francis-homosexuality-not-a-crime-/6933125.html

It is interesting, to me at least, that Pope Francis seems to be doubting the conversion of some of his church’s bishops. In theory, a bishop should be a converted person who believes and teaches the faith. As far as welcoming them, practicing homosexuals need to at least be striving to stop sinning to be properly welcomed in church.

That said, the Church of Rome has long had a major problem with its clergy and sexual immorality.

Here are some quotes from the book In The Closet of the Vatican put online by the National Catholic Reporter:

‘He’s of the parish,’ the priest whispers conspiratorially in my ear.

The first person who used that coded expression in front of me was an archbishop from the Roman Curia.

‘You know, he’s very practising. He’s of the parish,’ he stressed in a low voice, talking to me about the morals of a famous Vatican cardinal, a former ‘minister’ of John Paul II, who both of us knew well. …

About forty cardinals and hundreds of bishops, monsignori, priests and ‘nuncios’ (the pope’s ambassadors) agreed to meet me. Among them, alleged homosexuals, who were present in the Vatican every day, introduced me to their world of initiates. …

I installed myself in Rome, one week every month, regularly inside the Vatican, thanks to the hospitality of senior prelates who sometimes revealed that they too were ‘part of the parish’. And then I travelled across the world, through more than thirty countries, among the clergies of Latin America, Asia, the United States and the Middle East, to collect over a thousand statements. During that long investigation I spent more than a hundred and fifty nights a year reporting, away from home, away from Paris. …

The best-kept secret of the Vatican is no secret to Pope Francis. He knows his ‘parish’. Since arriving in Rome he has known that he is dealing with an organisation that is quite extraordinary in its way, and that isn’t restricted, as people believed for a long time, to a few lost sheep. It’s a system; and a huge herd. How many are there? … Let’s just say: they represent the great majority. …

The Vatican has one of the biggest gay communities in the world, and I doubt whether, even in San Francisco’s Castro, the emblematic gay quarter, though more mixed today, there are quite as many gays! …

‘How much filth there is in the Church,’ said Cardinal Ratzinger, who also discovered the extent of the ‘closet’ through a secret report by three cardinals, the content of which was described to me and that was one of the major reasons for his resignation. This report is said to reveal not so much the existence of a ‘gay lobby’, as was said, as the omnipresence of homosexuals in the Vatican, blackmail and harassment built into the system. There is, as Hamlet might have said, something rotten in the state of the Vatican.

The homosexual sociology of Catholicism also helps us to explain another reality: the end of vocations in Europe. For a long time, as we will see, young Italians who discovered that they were homosexual, or who had doubts about their inclinations, chose the priesthood. …

Here is the pope: threatened and attacked on all sides and generally criticized, Francis is said to be ‘among the wolves’.

It’s not quite true: he’s among the queens. https://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/excerpt-closet-vatican

Sexual immorality is a big problem for the Church of Rome.

This should make it clear to Roman Catholics that their clergy is NOT filled with holy men.

The Apostle Paul warned:

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

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

Note: Sodomites are homosexuals.

As far as change goes, the Bible says:

6 For I am the Lord, and I change not: (Malachi 3:6, Douay-Rheims)

Yet, a Roman Catholic cardinal was endorsing yet another unbiblical change.

The Bible prohibits and condemns homosexual behavior–the Bible calls it an abomination!

Here are some statements from the New Testament that are related to sexual immorality and specifically homosexuality and practices associated with homosexuality:

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man — and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

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

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

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:22-32)

The Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong and is dangerous. Early Christian leaders, like Polycarp of Smyrna and Melito of Sardis, also condemned illicit sexual behaviors including homosexuality:

Knowing, then, that “God is not mocked,” we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory …For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since “every lust warreth against the spirit; ” and “neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God,” nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

53. But in addition to this there were to be found among men many things still more monstrous and terrifying and brutal: father cohabits with his child, and son and with his mother, and brother with sister, and male with male, and each man lusting after the wife of his neighbor. (Melito’s Homily on the Passover)

Real Christianity does not condone homosexuality. Homosexuality is not good for anyone.

As far as welcoming practicing homosexuals (as opposed to people who have homosexual tendencies, but do not commit sexual immorality), the Bible itself DOES justify religious segregation from those who claim to be true Christians, but who violate God’s laws regarding matters including sexual immorality:

11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. (1 Corinthians 5:11).

Furthermore, notice:

3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:3-7)

The Bible condemns even the condoning of homosexual behavior (Romans 1:18-32).

The Bible says that true Christians can overcome practicing homosexuality and other forms of sexual immorality:

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:5-10, NIV)

But in this age, many who claim to be Christians, do not believe that.

Many do not know how to pray (to learn more about prayer, see Prayer: What Does the Bible Teach?).

Almost no one has the faith they should (to learn more about faith, see Faith for Those God has Called and Chosen).

Some items of related interest may include:

Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters? Some religions suggest this, but what does the Bible teach? What was the practice of the early church?
Did the Early Christian Church Practice Monasticism? Does God expect or endorse living in a monastery or nunnery?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, Early Heresies and Heretics, Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List, Holy Mother Church and Heresies, and Lying Wonders and Original Beliefs. Here is a link to that book in the Spanish language: Creencias de la iglesia Católica original.
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children. What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on? There are also three YouTube videos related to this, titled Transgender ‘Woe to those who call evil good’ and Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children and USA pushing gender confusion.
The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality and the LGBTQ agenda? Can homosexuals change? A related video sermon is titled: What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?
Pornography: A scourge on society Is pornography harmless fun? Does the Bible teach anything about it? What are the views of some involved with it? A related sermons is titled: Pornography, False Comfort, and False Religion. Here a shorter YouTube video Pornography: Harmless Fun or a Scourge on Society?

Persecutions around the world for many who profess Christianity

Friday, January 20th, 2023


COGwriter

Is persecution for Christians over?

Well, obviously not.

Even claiming Christianity is causing problems around the world as the following report points out:

Communist totalitarianism and Islamic fundamentalism are yet another year the main causes of persecution of Christians in the world.

It’s a persecution that “has grown exponentially” over the last 30 years. It’s the moment of the Christian NGO Puertas Abiertas [Open Doors], which reports annually on the persecution of Christians in the world. This year’s Report was published on January 18 and offers very alarming  data:

  • 5,621 Christians were killed worldwide because of their faith in 2022.
  • 4,542 Christians were arrested because of their faith over the last 12 months
  • 2,110 Christian churches were attacked during the past year.
  • 360 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination  because of their faith. Now only in the first 50 countries, 312 million Christians are suffering at present very high or extreme levels of persecution.
  • In 1993, Christians faced a high to extreme level of persecution in 40 countries. In 2023 this figure has almost doubled to 76 countries.
  • Two out of five Christians are persecuted in Asia, being the most hostile Continent to Christians because of Communism (in North Korea, China, Laos and Vietnam), Islam and Hindu nationalism.
  • One of every 15 Christians is persecuted in Ibero-America, where Communism (Cuba and Nicaragua) has become a growing cause of that persecution.

And, of course, it is not just those who claim to be Christians that are being persecuted. Various people around the world are being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

In Western cultures, persecution is more subtle and is more directed to those who espouse biblical ideas.

Big Tech and various governments have taken steps to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18) as the Apostle Paul warned. A while back, we put out the following sermon on our ContinuingCOG channel:

1;14:59

Cancel Culture and Christian Persecution

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

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

Jesus foretold persecution:

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:10-12, NKJV throughout unless otherwise specified).

43 You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44).

23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes (Matthew 10:23).

35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Mark 8:35)

29… Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time–houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions–and in the age to come, eternal life (Mark 10:29-30).

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”

5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all men for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved…” (Mark 13:3-13).

12… they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake (Luke 21:12).

20 If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you (John 15:20).

2… yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you (John 16:2-4).

Many are aware of some of the early persecutions, but few understand what teachings true Christians were persecuted for in the fourth century and beyond–some may seem shocking. At least two major persecutions are prophesied to come. Which doctrines are expected to be causes for the coming persecutions? Are the Greco-Roman churches planning on persecuting Sabbath-keepers, those who do not accept a non-biblical Mary, and those who do not wear crosses?

All the faithful will be subject to persecution and being betrayed by professing believers (Matthew 24:9-13, Mark 13:12-13; Luke 21:16-18; Daniel 11:32-35).

In the past (for details see Persecutions by Church and State), Christians in the Church of God were persecuted because they:

Almost all the above were beliefs of original first century Christians. Some of the others did not come on the scene until they were adopted by the Greco-Romans and then later denounced by the faithful.

In the future, according to Catholic teachings, they ALSO will be persecuted for:

Christians have been persecuted for holding doctrines that we in the Continuing Church of God hold and are clearly expected to be persecuted in the future for holding Continuing Church of God doctrines.

Sadly, in the 21st century, holding to many biblical positions is considered extremist and even dangerous by various government officials.

The Book of Daniel shows a two-part persecution coming from a European leader (I added the a and b below for emphasis):

25 a He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand b For a time and times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)

First of all (a), he shall persecute certain of the saints, which is consistent with what Jesus said was coming:

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:9-14)

Much of the above will affect the Philadelphian Christians (cf. Revelation 12:13), but they will later be protected (Revelation 3:8-10) in the wilderness for a time, times, and half a time (Revelation 12:14-16; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra). Part of why they will be persecuted is for proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and probably also for identifying the coming King of the North, who will not wish to be identified that way. This will likely result in internet and other restrictions on getting the truth of God out to the world (cf. Amos 8:11-12).

Second of all (b), the remaining saints will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. This is the portion of the COG, the non-Philadelphians, who are NOT protected in the wilderness as Revelation 12:17 shows this separation:

17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)

While many in the Church of God have experienced economic and social persecution in their walk with Christ, future severe persecution, beginning first with the Philadelphia remnant of Christians, is expected.

Murderous persecution is prophesied (cf. Daniel 11:33; Revelation 13:15).

Persecution is a fact of history. It has happened before and we should be prepared for the fact that much more of it will happen again. And during the time of the final persecutions, the Bible records:

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).

Thus, though the Philadelphian Christians will be subject to intense persecution first, before this, even the Laodiceans (The Laodicean Church Era) and other Christians will receive some praise if they endure the persecutions that will then come during the time of “the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world” (Revelation 3:10).

While many seem to not wish to pay attention to this subject, the reality is that persecution has existed throughout history against those with Church of God doctrines. Jesus predicted that as well as more persecution to come. Some may be shocked by certain doctrines that Christians have been persecuted for (and often persecuted by others who profess to be Christian).

Those in the true Church of God have always been on the side being persecuted and have never been on the side of the persecutors. And this will be true again in the future.

As it turns out, our most recent sermon has to do with coming persecution of true Christians:

1:14:48

Did Jesus says that persecutions would come at the end times? Does the persecution from the Beast in in Daniel 11:38-35 point to persecution of the Philadelphian Christian remnant? Are those remaining from Thyatira, Sardis, and Laodicea going to be subject to persecution from the Beast for 42 months, 3 1/2 years, also called a time, times, and half a time? Do both biblical and Greco-Roman prophecies point to some of God’s people getting killed and burnt? Could warnings about “Jewish” sects possible point to end time Christians? Will the Beast use deceit? Might some who “fall away” betray the most faithful Christians? What are some Greco-Roman warnings about the ‘secret sect’? Do Greco-Roman prophecies point to the Great Monarch persecuting God’s most faithful? Are there two periods of persecution prophesied in Daniel 7:25? Is there a persecution during the beginning of sorrows, followed by the opening of the 5th seal of Revelation and the start of the Great Tribulation? Is there a place of protection in the wilderness for the Philadelphian Christians? Were religious people dwelling in caves warned about by a Roman Catholic in the 12th century? What will happen to those who get the “mark of the Beast”? What have Christians been persecuted before in the past? What are some of the things Christians will be persecuted from in the future? How are Christians supposed to handle persecution?

Here is a link to the sermon: Christian Persecution from the Beast.

Yes, more persecution is coming.

Some items of related interest may include:

Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There are also three video sermons you can watch: Cancel Culture and Christian Persecution, The Coming Persecution of the Church, and Christian Persecution from the Beast. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
The Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions Was the Church of Rome really responsible for this? What happened? A video of related interest is titled: The Past and Future Inquisition.
Lost Tribes and Prophecies: What will happen to Australia, the British Isles, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and the United States of America? Where did those people come from? Can you totally rely on DNA? What about other peoples? Do you really know what will happen to Europe and the English-speaking peoples? What about Africa, Asia, South America, and the Islands? This free online book provides scriptural, scientific, historical references, and commentary to address those matters. Here are links to related sermons: Lost tribes, the Bible, and DNA; Lost tribes, prophecies, and identifications; 11 Tribes, 144,000, and Multitudes; Israel, Jeremiah, Tea Tephi, and British Royalty; Gentile European Beast; Royal Succession, Samaria, and Prophecies; Asia, Islands, Latin America, Africa, and Armageddon;  When Will the End of the Age Come?Rise of the Prophesied King of the North, and Christian Persecution from the Beast.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety,’ Zephaniah 2 to ‘gather together,’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on fleeing to a place–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. Two sermon-length videos of related interest are available Physical Protection During the Great Tribulation and Might Petra be the Place of Safety?  Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots.  They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 50+ Laodicean Prophetic Errors. See also Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors?
Europa, the Beast, and the Book of Revelation discusses the largest church since the second/third century, which in a real sense is the eighth church mentioned in the Book of Revelation (it also endorses “eighth day” worship). What church would support the Beast? Here is a link to a video titled: Europe and the ‘Holy Roman Empire’.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Will Philadelphian Christians instruct many in the end times? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work. Here is a link to another: Preparing to Instruct Many.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, Early Heresies and Heretics, Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List, Holy Mother Church and Heresies, and Lying Wonders and Original Beliefs. Here is a link to that book in the Spanish language: Creencias de la iglesia Católica original.

Valentine’s Day, Roman Catholics, and Muslims

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

COGwriter

February 14th is often celebrated as Valentine’s Day. Should you celebrate it?

Christians who may be tempted to compromise need to ask themselves about the origins of Valentine’s Day.

Notice what the Roman Catholics teach:

The roots of St. Valentine’s Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated on Feb. 15. For 800 years the Romans had dedicated this day to the god Lupercus. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a sexual companion for the year (The Origins of St. Valentine’s Day. http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/ValentinesDay/, January 31, 2004).

It is of interest to note that the same source states:

The Catholic Church no longer officially honors St. Valentine, but the holiday has both Roman and Catholic roots.

It is good that the Church of Rome no longer officially honors Valentine or the holiday. Roman roots refers to pagan roots.

Look at some of what the Muslims say about Valentine’s Day:

Question

What is the ruling on celebrating Valentine’s Day?

Summary of answer

Celebrating Valentine’s Day is not permissible because it is an innovated festival and it promotes love and infatuation. https://islamqa.info/en/answers/73007/ruling-on-celebrating-valentines-day accessed 01/01/2023

Celebrating the Valentine Day is not permissible because: Firstly, it is an innovated holiday that has no basis in the Sharee`ah…Christians were aware of the Pagan roots of Valentine’s Day. The way the Christians adopted St. Valentine’s Day should be a lesson for Muslims. In fact, the failure to fully separate Valentine’s Day from its pagan roots explains why Islamic scholars and a number of Muslims avoid adopting traditions of non-Muslims, even though they could possibly be Islamicized…We should avoid anything associated with pagan immoral practices -…- Islam does not encourage flirting or suggestions of romantic relationships before marriage – Love between families, friends and married people does not need to be celebrated on a day with such un-Islamic origins (Ruling on Celebrating Valentine’s Day. http://www.contactpakistan.com/news/news144.htm, January 31, 2004).

What is the ruling on Valentine’s Day?…Firstly: Valentine’s Day is a jaahili Roman festival, which continued to be celebrated until after the Romans became Christian. This festival became connected with the saint known as Valentine who was sentenced to death on 14 February 270 CE. The kuffaar still celebrate this festival, during which immorality and evil are practised widely…Secondly: It is not permissible for a Muslim to celebrate any of the festivals of the kuffaar, because festivals come under the heading of shar’i issues which are to be based on the sound texts…Partially joining in, at the very least, is disobedience and sin…it is not permissible to celebrate the festivals of the ignorant and the mushrikeen (polytheists). (fatwa No. 73007. What is the ruling on Valentine’s Day? http://islamqa.info/en/ref/73007 viewed 02/04/12)

So, according to Muslims, it is improper to celebrate pagan holidays and the so-called “Christians” clearly adopted a pagan holiday.

In Pakistan and other Islamic-dominated lands, steps to minimize its impact have been taken:

Conservatives in Pakistan tacked up posters urging people to boycott Valentine’s Day on Thursday, saying it’s a western-inspired event that’s spreading vulgarity in their country…

For them, Valentine’s Day is nothing but an occasion to encourage illicit relations between the country’s young unmarried males and females. It’s a sign that Western culture and values are eating away the fabric of Pakistan’s traditional, Islamic society. Valentine’s Day, they say, is not a Pakistani holiday and not part of the culture here…

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, government officials and clerics in Jakarta called for young people to skip Valentine’s Day, saying it was an excuse for couples to have forbidden sex. Santana R. Valentine’s Day under attack in Pakistan. AP, February 14, 2013 http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2013/02/14/valentines-day-under-attack-in-pakistan)

Pakistan’s Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, or PEMRA, sent a letter to TV and radio stations reminding them that the holiday is “not in conformity to our religious and cultural ethos.” The report warns that “a large segment of society” has complained about “Valentine’s Day celebrations” and blames Valentine’s Day for “depraving, corrupting and injuring morality of Pakistani youth.”…

The letter begins:

It is generally observed that in the past “Valentine’s Day” is celebrated on February 14 by all the satellite TV channels whether an Entertainment or News & Current Affairs channel. PEMRA has been receiving complaints from a large segment of society that Valentine’s Day celebrations are not in conformity to our religious and cultural ethos and has, therefore, condemned its unequivocal propagation through media. Furthermore, such events have been perceived as a source of depraving, corrupting and injuring morality of Pakistani youth as well as violating Code of Conduct developed by PEMRA in pursuance of Rule 15 & PEMRA Rules 2009. (Dewey C. Pakistani regulator warns media against promoting Valentine’s Day (Washington Post, February 14, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/02/14/pakistani-regulator-warns-media-against-promoting-valentines-day/

Notice that because of sexual immorality associated with Valentine’s Day, many of the states in Malaysia have taken proactive steps to try to prevent the sinning associated with Valentine’s Day:

PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hasan Tantawi said the Kedah, Kelantan and Selangor governments have directed all local authorities to work closely with police and Rela in order to carry out operations to check immoral activities during Valentine’s Day…He said the National Fatwa Council forbids Muslims from celebrating Valentine’s Day because of elements of Christianity and sin. (Move on Valentine’s Day ‘sins’ Malaysia Star – Feb 8, 2011. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/2/9/nation/8024821&sec=nation)

KUALA LUMPUR – More than 300 volunteers between 19 to 25 years-old today joined a programme to make Muslims wary of the importance of not celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director of Family, Social and Community Division, Saimah Mokhtar hopes parents take the ban on Valentine’s Day celebration seriously as it has elements of Christianity and mixed with vices forbidden by Islam.

The programme called “Jerat Hari Valentine” (Valentine’s Day Trap) targets several locations in Kuala Lumpur, said Jakim director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha. (Bernama. Now Jakim wants parents to ban Valentine’s Day celebration. Malaysian Chronicle. February 3, 2013. http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=51672:now-jakim-wants-parents-to-ban-valentines-day-celebration&Itemid=2)

Notice that many of the Muslims associate Valentine’s Day with Christianity (obviously the false compromising kind) and sin.

In other words, Valentine’s Day causes the name of Christ (through the term ‘Christianity’) to be blasphemed among the Gentiles (Romans 2:24; Isaiah 52:5)!

Which is something that the Bible warns against doing:

24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it is written. (Romans 2:24)

How does this pagan holiday help get the true gospel out?

It does not.

And that is the point.

Of course, Valentine’s Day is NOT a real Christian holiday and does have its basis in sinful pagan practices.

Jesus did not observe Valentine’s Day or anything close to it.

Valentine’s Day is not a biblical holiday.

It is essentially based upon lawlessness and does not edify Christ. 13 years ago, an article in Christianity Today stated:

There are more tales of the “origins” of Valentine’s Day than arrows in Cupid’s quiver. As expected, most have something to do with pagan ritual (pretty much every holiday—from Christmas to Mother’s Day—has something to do with pagan ritual). Four centuries before Christ, Romans had a day called Lupercalia. Without going too much into it, I’ll sum it up as a sexual lottery. Pull names out of a box at random and couple with a young member of the opposite sex. After a year, you get to pick another name (Olsen T. Then Again Maybe Don’t Be My Valentine. Christianity Today. February 12, 1999).

The modern practice of giving cards to ask/tell someone to “be my Valentine” seems to be a holdover from the ancient sexual lottery.

None who profess Christ should observe this February “holiday”–it simply is not a Christian holiday. It began as a sexual lottery and still has sexual ramifications, even in the 21st century. Modern Muslims and modern Catholics realize this, shouldn’t you?

For more information, please consider studying the following:

Valentine’s Day: Its Real Origins Christianity Today suggests that Valentine’s Day is good for Christians to observe. Is this true? There is also a YouTube titled Should Christians Observe Valentine’s Day?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2033, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.
Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. Two related sermon would be Which Spring Days should Christians observe? and Fall Holy Days for Christians.
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.
Are the Ten Commandment Still in Effect? This article quotes the ten commandments and combines some of the previous articles into one article about the ten commandments. The commandments are shown at Mount Sinai, before Mount Sinai, in the teachings of Jesus, after the crucifixion, and in the teachings of Paul. It addresses the most common “traditions of men” regarding them as well.
Were the Pharisees Condemned for Keeping the Law or Reasoning Around it? Many believe that the Pharisees were condemned for keeping the law, but what does your Bible say? If they were not condemned for that, what were they condemned for?
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?
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.
Differences Between Islam and the Continuing Church of God What are some of the main differences? Are there any similarities? A video of related interest is titled: Islam: Any Christian Concerns or Similarities?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Habakkuk’s message is for the USA now, but ‘Americans Don’t Realize They’re Being Cooked’

Saturday, January 14th, 2023

Original 1611 KJV leaf of parts of Habakkuk chapters 2 & 3
(Someone recently sent them to me)

COGwriter

Habakkuk was a Hebrew prophet. Some observe a memorial to him on January 15th. He had important messages for the 21st century–particularly for the USA.

The Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906 reports this about him:

HABAKKUK (; LXX. Ἀμβακούμ; Vulgate, “Habacuc”):

Prophet; author of the eighth in the collection of the twelve minor prophetical books. The etymology of the name of the prophet is not clear. It seems to be a loan-word representing the Assyrian “hambaḳûḳu,” a garden-plant (Friedrich Delitzsch, “Prolegomena,” p. 84; König, “Historisch-Kritisches Lehrgebäude der Hebräischen Sprache,” ii. 1. 473, on the vocalization), and has the appearance of being a writer’s pseudonym (F. E. Peiser, “Der Prophet Habakuk,” in “Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft,” 1903, i. 12). That he was a Levite has been urged on the strength of the postscript to ch. iii. (verse 19, “on my stringed instruments”), which indicates that he owned instruments: only a Levite was authorized to use an instrument to accompany his songs in the Temple. The superscription of the Septuagint apocryphon Βὴλ καὶ Δράκωυ, in the Codex Chisianus, also designates him a Levite.

Around 605-625 B.C. Habakkuk wrote a short book of the Bible that has a lot of implications for the time that we are now in.

Here are some passages from it (italics are not inspired but were headings in the translation):

1 The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw.

The Prophet’s Question

2 O Lord, how long shall I cry, And You will not hear? Even cry out to You, “Violence!” And You will not save. 3 Why do You show me iniquity, And cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; There is strife, and contention arises. 4 Therefore the law is powerless, And justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore perverse judgment proceeds.

The Lord’s Reply

5 “Look among the nations and watch — Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. 6 For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. 7 They are terrible and dreadful; Their judgment and their dignity proceed from themselves. 8 Their horses also are swifter than leopards, And more fierce than evening wolves. Their chargers charge ahead; Their cavalry comes from afar; They fly as the eagle that hastens to eat. 9 They all come for violence; Their faces are set like the east wind. They gather captives like sand. 10 They scoff at kings, And princes are scorned by them. They deride every stronghold, For they heap up earthen mounds and seize it. 11 Then his mind changes, and he transgresses; He commits offense, Ascribing this power to his god.” (Habakkuk 1:1-11)

Notice that the above states that the end time work will not be believed by many even though God will reveal it–which He does through His prophets, like Habakkuk. While some claim that this was only for the past and have despised my quoting of this, they seemingly forget that this is in the New Testament:

41 ‘Behold, you despisers,
Marvel and perish!
For I work a work in your days,
A work which you will by no means believe,
Though one were to declare it to you.‘” (Acts 13:41)

I believe that the Continuing Church of God is helping fulfill that. No xWCG group has had the type of growth in the 21st century that the CCOG has had–and this happened despite not having the large amounts of money like many groups have had available. Nor have any had the amount of signs that God promised (for details, check out the article: Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

Now, getting back to Habakkuk:

The Prophet’s Second Question

12 Are You not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. 13 You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness. Why do You look on those who deal treacherously, And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours A person more righteous than he? 14 Why do You make men like fish of the sea, Like creeping things that have no ruler over them? 15 They take up all of them with a hook, They catch them in their net, And gather them in their dragnet. Therefore they rejoice and are glad. 16 Therefore they sacrifice to their net, And burn incense to their dragnet; Because by them their share is sumptuous And their food plentiful. 17 Shall they therefore empty their net, And continue to slay nations without pity? (Habakkuk 1:12-17)

Notice that in the above the one getting punished will be punished by someone who, in certain ways, is worse than the one who will be punished. So while some believe that in certain ways the USA and its Anglo-allies are more “righteous” than the Beast power that will destroy it, the reality is that this is part of God’s plan.

2:1 I will stand my watch And set myself on the rampart, And watch to see what He will say to me, And what I will answer when I am corrected.

The Just Live by Faith

2 Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry. 4 “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.( Habakkuk 2:1-4)

Notice that the prophecy that is being discussed is for the appointed time of the end. It is a prophecy for our time–and will affect the proud. What will happen is so bad “That he may run who reads it.”

Yet, most do not take it seriously enough, and that includes most Christians:

Woe to the Wicked

5 “Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, He is a proud man, And he does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell, And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied, He gathers to himself all nations And heaps up for himself all peoples. 6 “Will not all these take up a proverb against him, And a taunting riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases What is not his — how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges’? 7 Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, All the remnant of the people shall plunder you, Because of men’s blood And the violence of the land and the city, And of all who dwell in it. (Habakkuk 2:5-8)

Actually, with an admitted debt of over $31 trillion dollars and plans to increase that much further, the USA has increased pledges more than any nation in the history of the planet. And on a per capita basis, the United Kingdom is one of the most indebted nations on the earth itself.

The above prophecy in Habakkuk will be fulfilled at the time of the end (cf. “The message was true, but the appointed time was long…in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come”, Daniel 10:1,14). Daniel 8:19, 11:27, 29,35 uses the same Hebrew term for “appointed time” as Habakkuk 2:3, while Daniel 10, using a different term, ties the latter days to the time in Daniel 8:19. Habakkuk 2 was not fulfilled in its entirety anciently. Also, it makes little sense that Habakkuk would be directed towards the modern nation of Israel as it does not have enemy creditors. It must be a nation or group of nations with some prominence at the appointed time of the end. As far as “violence of the land” as a contributing factor, this would seem to include crime, military missions, and perhaps riots/civil unrest, but might it also include promotion of violent sports? Is the USA government not giving shameful counsel regarding matters such as homosexuality and abortion?

Notice also the following from the Commentary on Habakkuk from the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls (roughly 2000 years old; translated in the 1950s by F.F. Bruce):

God commanded Habakkuk to write the things that were coming upon the last generation, but the fulfilment of the epoch he did not make known to him. (1Q p Hab. vii 1-5)

While ancient commentaries like this are NOT scripture, this particular one shows that those who understood the Hebrew language around 2000 years ago believed that Habakkuk’s words had NOT then been fulfilled and were for the time of the end.

The official US government debt nearly doubled under the Obama Administration:

According to the US Treasury, the debt of the USA as of 01/19/2009 (the day before Barack Obama took office) was 10,628,881,485,510.23 (https://treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/current).

According to the US Treasury, the debt of the USA as of 01/19/2017 (the day Barack Obama left office and the day before Donald Trump took office) was 19,944,429,217,106.77 (https://treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/current).

Those who thought that the Trump Administration would fix that are in error as the following shows:

According to the US Treasury, the debt of the USA as of 01/19/2021 was $27,752,835,868,445.35 (https://fiscaldata.treasury.gov/datasets/debt-to-the-penny/debt-to-the-penny)

And these debt figures do not include state and local government debt, nor consumer or corporate debt.

Furthermore, the debt has risen by over 3.6 trillion dollars in less than two years under the Biden-Harris Administration:

According to the US Treasury, the debt of the USA as of 01/11/2023 was $31,375,141,998,674.97 (https://fiscaldata.treasury.gov/datasets/debt-to-the-penny/debt-to-the-penny)

The USA has been setting itself up for the penalties prophesied by Habakkuk.

Notice a report related to the USA’s current situation:

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen notified Congress on Friday that the U.S. is projected to reach its debt limit on Thursday and will then resort to “extraordinary measures” to avoid default.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders, Yellen said her actions will buy time until Congress can pass legislation that will either raise the debt limit or suspend it again for a period of time. https://www.newsmax.com/finance/streettalk/janet-yellen-congress-debt-limit/2023/01/13/id/1104307/

Raising debt, not cutting spending, remains the US government’s plan.

Notice the following from Daily Reckoning:

Americans Don’t Realize They’re Being Cooked

January 11, 2023

We Americans are frogs. We are frogs wallowing blissfully in a pot of fatally warming water.

We boil gradually away, unaware… comfortable… arrogant… and ignorant.

That is, we the American people have grown so accustomed to the warmth enwombing us — and for so long — we are incapable of detecting the ratcheting heat.

We will never jump the pot. We are simply too comfortable inside it.

We refer specifically and unequivocally to the warming water of the American fiscal setting.

The nation is spending itself into hot water.

Why?

The United States national debt runs to $31.5 trillion, approximately. The nation’s debt-to-GDP ratio comes in at 124%…

Interest rates have been on the jump since the summer of 2020.

After guttering along near 0.50% that peculiar summer, the 10-year Treasury yield presently exceeds 3.5%. It recently exceeded 4%.

Interest payments on the debt have jumped in consequence.

In 2017 — merely five years distant — interest payments scarcely exceeded $200 billion.

During the plague year of 2020 they hovered near $300 billion.

In 2022 interest payments verged upon $400 billion.

Meantime, the Congressional Budget Office projects these expenditures will triple over the decade ahead.

Glancing further out, CBO projects interest payments will near $66 trillion over the following 30 years. They will likewise absorb nearly 40% of all federal expenditures by 2052.

The frog in its pot will be well and truly cooked.  …

Meantime, debt runs riot, the economy runs to conditions nearly recessionary, the debt-to-GDP ratio ticks remorselessly higher…

And the American citizen wallows away in the increasingly warming water that envelops him.

He mistakes it for comfort. He will one day learn otherwise.

Alas… he will learn too late. https://dailyreckoning.com/americans-dont-realize-theyre-being-cooked/

The biblical reality is that debt will be a major factor in the downfall of the USA, etc.

Perhaps it should be pointed out that the old Radio Church of God did teach that Habakkuk 1 had future fulfillment and tied it in with Isaiah 10 (Hoeh H. The Race Question. Plain Truth, July 1957 p. 22).

Furthermore, the old WCG did clearly teach that Habakkuk 2 had future application:

Habakkuk … God also said that this vision was to be written for our benefit today. … (Habakkuk 2:3). God showed Habakkuk that He will punish all the unrighteous at the end-time. … (Habukkuk 2:8, 10, 16-17) (Armstrong HW, editor in chief. THE MINOR PROPHETS SPEAK TO US! Youth Bible Lessons, Level 7, Lesson 9, 1986, p. 4)

So, yes, the old WCG understand that Habakkuk 2 was prophetic for the end time–not that it was full fulfilled thousands of years ago (which many in certain COGs wrongly believe).

On the other hand, some will discount Habakkuk because it is prophetic.

Do you believe the words that God inspired Habakkuk to write? If so, do you really understand what is going to happen to the USA, UK, and their Anglo-descended allies relatively soon?

There is also a YouTube video related to this: Was USA debt and destruction predicted 2,600 years ago?

Here is something that was written in 1973 for the old Ambassador College by Dean Blackwell:

Why do you think in Habakkuk, God said that He’d “revive His work in the midst of the years”? Would this be said if they were doing the work in all the time of the New Testament Church?

You might note that in Habakkuk 3:2, he says: O Eternal, I have heard thy speech and was afraid: O Eternal, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

He is referring to God reviving His work in the midst of man’s last century. He said that God would make known what is happening and what’s going to happen in man’s last years, in the day of His wrath. He requested that God remember mercy and hide His people in a place of safety.

The work needs to be done in the 21st century. Will you truly support it?

Whether or not Habakkuk himself died on January 15th, the reality is that since much of his message is for the appointed time of the end, his writing (that God inspired) is applicable today.

The rising USA debt cannot continue indefinitely–there is a major price to pay.

To learn even more, please, with your Bible, check out the following:

Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18? Here is a link in the French language: Est-ce que l’Église Continue de Dieu confirme les signes d’Actes 2:17-18? A related sermon in the English language is also available: 17 Last Days’ Signs of the Holy Spirit.
USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses Can you point to scriptures, like Daniel 11:39, that point to the USA in the 21st century? This article does. A related sermon is titled: Do these 7 prophesies point to the end of the USA?
CCOG.ORG Continuing Church of God The Philadelphian organization striving to be most faithful amongst all real Christian groups to the word of God. This page has links to materials in over 200 languages. To watch what has been happending in the CCOG so far, here are links to two sermons Continuing Church of God (CCOG) first year anniversary: What has been accomplished? and Continuing COG’s 10 Unique Years.
Who is the King of the West? Why is there no Final End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West? Here is a version in the Spanish language: ¿Quién es el Rey del Occidente? ¿Por qué no hay un Rey del Occidente en la profecía del tiempo del fin? A related sermon is also available: The Bible, the USA, and the King of the West.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? A related sermon is available titled Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word What is the ‘short work’ of Romans 9:28? Who is preparing for it? Will Philadelphian Christians instruct many in the end times? Here is a link to a related video sermon titled: The Short Work. Here is a link to another: Preparing to Instruct Many.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here are two related YouTube videos titled Final Phase of the Work: Need and Background and The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work? What did Herbert Armstrong and the old WCG teach about that and about prophets? Does Bob Thiel meet the criteria that the Bible and the old WCG set? What is the proof? What has the Continuing Church of God been doing? This is a sermonette length video.
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies for the Great Monarch point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States? In the Spanish language check out ¿Quién es el Rey del Norte? Here is a link to a video titled: The Future King of the North.
Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is are links to related sermons: Christian Election: Is God Calling YOU? and Predestination and Your Selection; here is a message in Spanish: Me Está Llamando Dios Hoy? A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? Two related sermons about this are also available: Real Repentance and Real Christian Repentance.

Just What Do You Mean — Repentance? Do you know what repentance is? Have you truly repented? Repented of what? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
When You Sin: Do You Really Repent? This is an article by Charles F. Hunting. A related sermon is Confess to God and truly repent.

‘Mainstream’ antisemitism and the Temple Mount

Friday, January 13th, 2023


Anti-Semitic protestor in Berlin (Boris Niehaus)

COGwriter

Israel365News posted the following:

Natan Sharansky issues warning that antisemitism has become ‘mainstream’

January 13, 2023

Speaking at the annual Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Advisory Board meeting last night, Chairman Natan Sharansky sais: “For the last 20 years, we could say antisemitism is on the rise, so what makes this year different? In the past, we’ve talked about antisemitism on the left, and antisemitism on the right. This year it became mainstream.”Sharansky was joined by fellow CAM Advisory Board members such as former Senator Joe Lieberman, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Irwin Cotler, former United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shaheed and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guatemala Mario Adolfo Búcaro Flores,

Sharansky also emphasized that the United Nations has attempted to “delegitimize” Israel, and holds double standards toward Israel. Board members joined from all over the world, including North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

All of this is happening within a context of extreme polarization everywhere, Sharansky added, making it “difficult to have one weapon” with which to help suppress antisemitism. “We need to unite people on the left and the right,” Sharansky said to the board, “against the new forms of antisemitism; and look for new allies. Against a huge rise in antisemitism today, we need a very broad front.”  …

Many board members also agreed on the need to deal with the more subtle forms of antisemitism, not just the obvious elements such as swastika graffiti. https://www.israel365news.com/365373/natan-sharansky-issues-warning-that-antisemitism-has-become-mainstream/

As far as antisemitism going mainstream, consider the following from the Temple Institute’s latest newsletter:

Tevet 20, 5783/January 13, 2023

The Time Is Ripe To Take Back The Temple Mount Ever since Israel’s new Minister of Internal Security Itamar Ben Gvir made an early morning ascent to the Temple Mount last week, the Temple Mount has been headlining in the international news. While the response of the western democrats to Ben Gvir’s walk on the Mount was both pathetic and despicable, the hypocritical uproar has prompted many writers and activists and public figures to publish articles not only defending ben Gvir’s act, but call for the elimination of the so called “status quo” which is nothing more than a racist which denies Jews their inalienable right to ascend and pray on the Temple Mount, but also allows Muslims unfettered freedom to destroy ancient Temple artifacts while repurposing buildings on the Mount to be used a mosques, all the while using the Temple Mount to incite hatred and violence to Jews, which has already cost many lives.

Truly, it was not wrong for a Jewish political leader to walk on the area in Israel called the Temple Mount.

But, yes, he was condemned for it (see Ben Gvir is criticized for going to ‘Temple Mount’ and is being pressured to push for Jewish Passover sacrifice).

Antisemitism was the official position of the pagan, sun-god worshiping, Roman emperor Constantine in the fourth century (who is considered as an Eastern Orthodox saint). Note that he stated:

Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way. ( Eusebius’ Life of Constantine, Book III chapter 18)

The way that Jesus, who was Jewish, taught differently was love. Jesus never taught to have ‘nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd.’ Roman Catholics refer to Constantine as ‘Constantine the Great,’ but he obviously held anti-semitic views.

Scholars, including the late French Cardinal Jean-Guenole-Marie Danielou. Dr. Danielou taught that church history has generally been mistaught and that the original Christian church was quite “Jewish.” And he specifically wrote that the misteaching of the Jewishness of the faith has led to a “false picture of Christian history” (Daniélou J, Cardinal. The Theology of Jewish Christianity. Translated by John A. Baker. The Westminster Press, 1964, Philadelphia, p. 2).

Anyway, it is well known by scholars that the first 15 bishops/overseers of Jerusalem were circumcised Jews that:

  • Kept the seventh day Sabbath
  • Kept the biblical Holy Days including keeping Passover on the 14th and not a Sunday morning.
  • Did not eat biblically unclean meat

These practices were also in Asia Minor as can be documented into the third century.

The early Christian church was considered a sect of the Jews by the Roman authorities. It was not considered to even be a separate religion for a time.

Constantine was not just objecting to Jews, but to those who held to original Christian practices that he declared were too Jewish. He also ordered Christians in Jerusalem should be killed if they would not eat pork.

Constantine never really understood, nor practiced, the Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

Instead of promoting Christian love, around 332, Constantine issued what is known as the Edict Against the Heretics which included persecution against Christians who held to the original faith and had practices, such as the date of Passover, the same as the Jews (see also Persecutions by Church and State).

Decades later, in 387, the Eastern Orthodox saint and bishop John Chrysostom preached the following:

The festivals of the pitiful and miserable Jews are soon to march upon us one after the other and in quick succession: the feast of Trumpets, the feast of Tabernacles, the fasts. There are many in our ranks who say they think as we do. Yet some of these are going to watch the festivals and others will join the Jews in keeping their feasts and observing their fasts. I wish to drive this perverse custom from the Church right now…If the Jewish ceremonies are venerable and great, ours are lies…Does God hate their festivals and do you share in them? He did not say this or that festival, but all of them together. (John Chrysostom. Homily I Against the Jews I:5;VI:5;VII:2. Preached at Antioch, Syria in the Fall of 387 AD. Medieval Sourcebook: Saint John Chrysostom (c.347-407) : Eight Homilies Against the Jews. Fordham University. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/chrysostom-jews6.html 12/10/05).

John Chrysostom preached the following in his Homily Against the Jews (of which there are at least eight anti-Semitic homilies):

But do not be surprised that I called the Jews pitiable. They really are pitiable and miserable (I:II:1).

So the godlessness of the Jews and the pagans is on a par. But the Jews practice a deceit which is more dangerous (I:VI:4).

Do you see that demons dwell in their souls and that these demons are more dangerous than the ones of old? (I:VI:7).

Since it is against the Jews that I wish to draw up my battle line, let me extend my instruction further. Let me show that, by fasting now, the Jews dishonor the law and trample underfoot God’s commands because they are always doing everything contrary to his decrees. When God wished them to fast, they got fat and flabby (VI:IV:2).

Indeed, the fasting of the Jews, which is more disgraceful than any drunkenness, is over and gone (VIII:I:5).

John Chrysostom is considered to be a major Roman Catholic saint. He is one of the four ‘doctors of the church’ who is shown supporting a large black chair that is called the Cathedra Petri (Chair of Peter) in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The late Joseph Tkach of the old Worldwide Church of God once referred to this chair as Satan’s throne (see Might Satan’s throne be the ‘Cathedra Petri’?).

The improperly named Protestant publication Christianity Today once had a link titled, “Person of the Week: John Chrysostom” which went to an article titled: John Chrysostom Early church’s greatest preacher. So, many Protestants too, endorse an anti-Semite. More on him can be found in the article John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite.

It perhaps should be pointed out that sometimes those in the true Church of God have been considered to be secretly Jews by some in Greco-Roman faiths:

In the Middle Ages, the Popes and the Councils were successful in destroying the Jewish revolutionary movements which appeared within Christianity in the form of false teaching and which were introduced by those who were Christians in appearance but Jews in secret. The latter then recruited upright and good Christians for the arising heretical movement by persuading the latter in a crafty way.

The secret Jews organised and controlled in secret manner the movements, which were the creative and driving force of wicked false teachings, such as those of the Iconoclasts, the Cathars, the Patarines, the Albigensians, the Hussites, the Alumbrados and others. (Pinay, Maurice. The Plot Against the Church, Part Four Chapter One. Translated from the German and Spanish editions of the same work. 1962)

The above book is still recommended by and for many Catholics (though some others distance themselves from it). Hence, some of the Greco-Romans have considered some of whom we in the Continuing Church of God include in our tracing of our spiritual ancestors (like some of the Cathars and Albigenses) to have been a secret Jewish group that only professed Christ.

As far as Protestant leaders themselves with anti-Semitic views, one can notice some of the teachings of Martin Luther, who wrote in the 16th century:

My heart is fuller of these thoughts than my tongue can tell. I have come to the conclusion that the Jews will always curse and blaspheme God as all the prophets have predicted. He who neither reads nor understands this, as yet knows no theology, in my opinion. And so I presume the men of Cologne cannot understand the Scripture, because it is necessary that such things take place to fulfill prophecy. If they are trying to stop the Jews blaspheming, they are working to prove the Bible and God liars (“Martin Luther’s to George Spalatin,” from Luther’s Correspondence and Other Contemporan, Letters, trans. by P. Smith (1913), Vol. 1, pp. 28-29).

Furthermore he wrote:

I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that those miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews and who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them…They are so blind and stupid that they see neither the words found in Genesis 17 nor the whole of Scripture, which mightily and explicitly condemns this lie…They are real liars and bloodhounds who have not only continually perverted and falsified all of Scripture with their mendacious glosses from the beginning until the present day. Their heart’s most ardent sighing and yearning and hoping is set on the day on which they can deal with us Gentiles as they did with the Gentiles in Persia at the time of Esther…The worse a Jew is, the more arrogant he is, solely because he is a Jew — that is, a person descended from Abraham’s seed, circumcised, and under the law of Moses. David and other pious Jews were not as conceited as the present-day, incorrigible Jews…I wanted to present this to us Germans so that we might see what rascals the blind Jews are and how powerfully the truth of God in our midst stands with us and against them (Medieval Sourcebook: Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543)

Martin Luther advised his followers:

…to burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).

Accordingly, it must and dare not be considered a trifling matter but a most serious one to seek counsel against this and to save our souls from the Jews, that is, from the devil and from eternal death. My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss in sulphur and pitch (Martin Luther (1483-1546): On the Jews and Their Lies, 1543 as quoted from Luther’s Works, Volume 47: The Christian in Society IV, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1971). pp 268­293).

Leaders esteemed by the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and Protestants have all advocated horrible antisemitism. They were NOT real Christians.

Many people hate others, and the Jews tend to be one of the more hated groups. But that is not how people are to live.

Notice something that God had Moses record:

8 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18)

It is not just Jews that are hated or will be in the future. Throughout history, true Christians have sometimes been called “Jews” and have been subject to persecution supposedly directed towards Jews. True Christians also had to suffer through the so-called Inquisition, which utilized torture against those that had Church of God beliefs–and more is expected in the future (see Persecutions by Church and State). Protestant leaders have also promoted antisemitism and Church of God persecution (see The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong) and Eastern Orthodox (see John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Antisemite).

There was a poem many years ago by Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The Bible teaches:

1 Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

Antisemitism is wrong. Pointing that sin out is in line with Isaiah 58:1.

Real Christians have always been on the side of being persecuted and have never been on the side of the persecutors. And this will be true again in the future.

People should not be antisemitic. People should not hate others.

Anyway although some Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders are trying to teach against antisemitism, prophetically, however, this will not last. The underlying antisemitism in Europe will again flourish when the time comes when the Beast’s government mandates it (Revelation 13:15-17).

Lessening of it now should be encouraged. Yet, many in the mainstream take the wrong and hateful view.

Some items of related interest may include:

Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church.
The Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions Was the Church of Rome really responsible for this? What happened? A video of related interest is titled: The Past and Future Inquisition.
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.
God’s Grace is For All Is being Jewish a hindrance to salvation? What about not being a descendant of Israel? What does the Bible really teach? Here is a link to a related sermon titled Race and Grace; Do you view race as God does?
John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Anti-Semite This late fourth/early fifth century Bishop of Constantinople is considered to be a ‘saint’ and ‘doctor’ by the Church of Rome, Church of England, and the Eastern Orthodox, but he did not teach Christ’s love.
The Similarities and Dissimilarities between Martin Luther and Herbert W. Armstrong This article clearly shows some of the doctrinal differences between in the two. At this time of doctrinal variety and a tendency by many to accept certain aspects of Protestantism, the article should help clarify why the genuine Church of God is NOT Protestant. Do you really know what the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther taught and should you follow his doctrinal example? Here is a related sermon video: Martin Luther and Herbert Armstrong: Reformers with Differences.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from 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.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? (And the Protestants) Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are?
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.
Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. Two related sermon would be Which Spring Days should Christians observe? and Fall Holy Days for Christians.
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?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, Early Heresies and Heretics, Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List, Holy Mother Church and Heresies, and Lying Wonders and Original Beliefs. Here is a link to that book in the Spanish language: Creencias de la iglesia Católica original.

Was Roman Bishop Hyginus the first of his ilk to ‘change times’?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2023


Vatican City (photo by Joyce Thiel)

COGwriter

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

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

Certain Claims

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

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

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

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes this about him:

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

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

For example, The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

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

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

It is of interest to note that:

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

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

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

Easter Sunday

The Bible has the following warning:

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

While that still has a future application (see The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast), to a degree, this happened with one or more Roman leaders in the second century.

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

The date was improperly changed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible? Did you know that Catholic scholars really do not believe that several of the claimed “apostolic sees” of the Orthodox have apostolic succession–despite the fact that the current pontiff himself seems to wish to ignore this view? Is there actually a true church that has ties to any of the apostles that is not part of the Catholic or Orthodox churches? Read this article if you truly are interested in the truth on this matter! Here is a link to a sermon: Claims of Apostolic Succession. Here is a related articlein the Spanish language La sucesión apostólica. ¿Ocurrió en Roma, Alejandría, Constantinopla, Antioquía, Jerusalén o Asia Menor?
“Pope” Hyginus (136-140) He is claimed to have come up with the idea of “godparents”. He may have been involved in the institution of a Sunday Passover. The heretic Valentinus appeared by his time.
Laying on of Hands Succession and List Does the Church of God have laying on of hands succession? Does the Continuing Church of God have a list of leaders from the time of the apostles? Here is a link to a related sermon: Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession.

Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes? Should Christians be Nazarenes today? What were the practices of the Nazarenes.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach? Why did Jesus die for our sins? There is also a detailed YouTube video available titled History of the Christian Passover.
The Passover Plot What was the first Passover plot? Which plots have Islam and the Greco-Roman faiths perpetuated about Passover? A sermon video of related interest is The Passover Plots, Including Easter.
Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? What do scholars and the Bible reveal?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, Early Heresies and Heretics, Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List, Holy Mother Church and Heresies, and Lying Wonders and Original Beliefs. Here is a link to that book in the Spanish language: Creencias de la iglesia Católica original.
Baptism and the Early Church Was it by immersion? Did it include infants? Does Polycarp prove infant baptism?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

‘Is the Russian-Ukrainian conflict a religious war?’

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2023


St Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv, Ukraine
(Photo by Paweł ‘pbm’ Szubert)

COGwriter

Israel365News reported the following:

Is the Russian-Ukrainian conflict a religious war?

January 3, 2022

The Russian Orthodox Church has been strongly pro-Putin, calling his rule a “miracle of God.”  Russian Patriarch Kirill publicly blessed the Russian invasion of Ukraine and promised forgiveness of sin to Russian soldiers who died in the war.

Putin views the invasion as a religious imperative. In a 2021 article published on the Kremlin’s official website and titled “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians”, Putin claimed that the basis for unifying Russia and Ukraine was religious. …

ZELENSKY’S ANTI-CHURCH BAN

Last month, Zelensky signed a ban targeting Russian-affiliated religious groups and imposing sanctions on a number of pro-Moscow bishops. The measures focused on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), an affiliate of the Russian Orthodox Church. Zelensky proposed a bill exclusively permitting churches that are subordinate to the recently-formed Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU).

“The National Security and Defense Council has instructed the government to propose to (parliament) a bill to prevent the activities in Ukraine of religious organizations affiliated with the centers of influence in the Russian Federation, in accordance with international law in the field of freedom of conscience and Ukraine’s obligations in connection with accession to the Council of Europe.”

“National security officials should intensify measures to identify and counteract the subversive activities of the Russian special services in the religious environment of Ukraine,” the president added, highlighting the Ukrainian government’s view that some Orthodox churches have become distribution centers for propaganda, and intelligence sources for Russian spies and collaborators.

The ban comes in the wake of raids on Orthodox churches, monasteries, and religious schools.

The OCU, which formally separated from the Russian Orthodox Church in a declaration called autocephaly, requested a ban on the UOC-MP.

Orthodox Christians are the largest religious population in Ukraine and despite the measures, the Russia-affiliated UOC-MP still constitutes more than 60% of the Orthodox Christians in Ukraine. …

RUSSIA: WESTERN NATIONS SUPPORT UKRAINE’S ANTI-CHURCH AGENDA

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Ukraine of “waging a war on the Russian Orthodox Church”.

This was echoed by Sergey Melnikov, chairman of the Russian Association for the Protection of Religious Freedom in an article in the business newspaper Vzglyad.

“The Ukrainian authorities stop at nothing and violate fundamental human rights, including the right to freedom of religion,” Melnikov said, criticizing Western countries for not relating to the Ukrainian offenses.

“Western human rights activists turned a blind eye to the violation of the rights of believers in Ukraine,” he said. “Currently, we see a full-fledged ideological war of Ukraine against Russia and the implementation of the Anti-Russia project. When implementing this project, the Ukrainian authorities stop at nothing and violate fundamental human rights, including the right to freedom of religion.”

Melnikov claimed that there was a motive behind the Western reluctance to challenge the anti-religious agenda of Ukraine which he claims is also taking place in the US.

“In particular, the Western media are extremely reluctant to report on forcing religious educational institutions in the United States and Great Britain to change the charters so that representatives of the LGBT community can comfortably study and teach there,” he said. “At the same time, a promotional video calling for voluntary demise [medically assisted euthanasia] was widely circulated in Canada.” https://www.israel365news.com/364820/is-the-russian-ukrainian-conflict-a-religious-war/

Last year, the Associated Press reported the following:

March 11, 2022

As Western leaders congratulate themselves for their speedy and severe responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, they’re also scratching their heads with uncertainty about what their actions will accomplish.

The U.S., NATO and the European Union have focused on strangling Russia’s economy and arming Ukrainian fighters. But it’s unclear how this will stop the war. No one knows what President Vladimir Putin is thinking, but there’s no reason to believe that even the toughest measures will shatter his determination to force the Western-leaning former Soviet republic back into Moscow’s orbit.

They may not say it publicly, but U.S. officials and their NATO allies don’t see a breaking point for Putin — either an economic toll so severe or battlefield losses so devastating — that would convince him to order his troops home and allow Ukraine’s leaders to govern in peace. … And no one is counting on an outright military victory by Ukraine. https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-nato-european-union-europe-aca0de34f3644058256f1fc700e2da54

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, leader of Russia’s dominant religious group, has sent his strongest signal yet justifying his country’s invasion of Ukraine — describing the conflict as part of a struggle against sin and pressure from liberal foreigners to hold “gay parades” as the price of admission to their ranks.

Kirill, a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had already refrained from criticizing the Russian invasion – alienating many in the Ukrainian Orthodox churches who had previously stayed loyal to the Moscow patriarch during a schism in their country. Several of these former loyalists are now snubbing Kirill in their public prayers, with some demanding independence from the Moscow church even as their country’s political independence is imperiled.

Kirill, in a sermon delivered Sunday before the start of Orthodox Lent, echoed Putin’s unfounded claims that Ukraine was engaged in the “extermination” of Russian loyalists in Donbas, the breakaway eastern region of Ukraine held since 2014 by two Russian-backed separatist groups. Kirill focused virtually all of his talk about the war on Donbas — 03/08/22 https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-religion-europe-moscow-0670305be2e010e02a4e195ced2b7523

Could religion being playing any role in this?

Yes, though it is more of a mixture of mainly politics with some religion.

Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church blamed Constantinople for causing a schism between the Eastern and Russian Orthodox churches in October 2018 (see Schism: Russian Orthodox meet with Vatican regarding Constantinople).

Shortly thereafter, leaders in Ukraine met to become independent of the Moscow patriarch:

15 December 2018

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced the creation of an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church, marking a historic split from Russia.

He said national security depended on “spiritual independence” from Russia.

He was speaking at a special council of orthodox priests in Kiev, where a new leader of the Church was selected.

The Russian Orthodox Church cut ties with the spiritual authority of the world’s Orthodoxy after it recognised the Ukrainian Church’s independence.

Russia also fears that its churches in Ukraine could be seized. …

The special council was held in the ancient St Sophia’s Cathedral – one of Kiev’s best known landmarks.

Ukrainian clerics of different Orthodox denominations – including some bishops from the Moscow branch – elected Metropolitan Epifaniy as the leader of the new church.

“This day will go into history as a sacred day… the day of the final independence from Russia,” President Poroshenko told a crowd of thousands outside the cathedral. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-46575548

The Russian church was concerned about this and asked for international assistance. And while the Vatican and the World Council of Churches were sympathetic to the Russia position, the Patriarch of Constantinople made a ruling in favor of the nationalistic Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

There was not some new doctrinal change in the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) that caused Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to recognize the Ukrainian Orthodox church as independent of the ROC.

Basically, the schism is due to politics.

Notice also the following about it back in 2018:

A council of Orthodox bishops has created a new Ukrainian church, marking an historic split from Russia which its leaders see as vital to the country’s security and independence.

The announcement on Saturday came after Ukrainian priests held a synod in capital Kiev’s 11th-century Saint Sophia Cathedral to establish an Orthodox church independent from Moscow. …

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that 39-year-old Metropolitan Epifaniy of the Kiev Patriarchate church is the head of the new church. His secular name is Sergiy Dumenko. …

“Ukraine was not, is not, and will not be the canonical territory of the Russian church,” Poroshenko said, adding that an independent Ukrainian Orthodox Church was now a “matter of national security”. …

In Moscow, the Russian Orthodox Church protested vigorously and dismissed the synod as uncanonical.

Vladimir Legoida, a spokesman for the Moscow church, told Russian state television that the Kiev synod had “no church, religious or evangelical meaning” and that it will have “no canonical consequences”.

Representatives of Ukraine’s three Orthodox Churches attended the synod, but only two from the branch loyal to Moscow showed up.

Russian bishop Metropolitan Hilarion in Volokolamsk on Saturday compared the two representatives of the Moscow-backed church to Judas. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/ukraine-creates-orthodox-church-independent-russia-181215171220016.html

Back in 2018, I posted:

The schism between Constantinople and the ROC has the potential to cause Ukraine to split with part supporting Russia. (Thiel B. Ukrainian Orthodox meet to become separate: Russian Orthodox ask for the UN to intervene. COGwriter, December 15, 2018)

This has now happened. The Donbas region is in support of Russia and aligned with it.

Last month, Joseph Farah, editor and founder of World Net Daily and a former supporter of Volodymyr Zelensky, posted the following:

December 8, 2022

Zelensky has banned opposition parties. He’s shut down critical media by force. He’s arrested his political opponents. He has sent soldiers into churches. Zelensky’s secret police have raided monasteries across Ukraine, even a convent full of nuns, and arrested dozens of priests for no justifiable reason whatsoever and in clear violation of the Ukrainian constitution, which apparently no longer matters. And in the face of this, the Biden administration has said nothing.

Last week, he announced his plan to ban an entire religion, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church – more than a thousand years old – and to seize its property, all for being insufficiently loyal to his regime. A free country does not ban a major religion.

Nor is it permissible in time of war to place soldiers in churches. It’s wrong to arrest dozens of priests. It’s a war crime. And he’s doing it to a Ukrainian church! … The Zelensky government bans all opposition voices and parties. Priests are arrested. Is that freedom?

I repent of my once-enthusiastic support of Zelensky and the immoral war in Ukraine. Not another dime for the U.S. war machine in Ukraine. Not now. Not ever. We were sold a bill of goods.

I regret my support for this quagmire – just one more permanent war for the war party. https://www.wnd.com/2022/12/admit-fooled-zelensky-ukraine/

Yes, there are religious aspects to this war, but also political ones.

Vladimir Putin is Russian Orthodox and has the support of its Patriarch Kirill.

Patriarch Kirill approves of Vladimir Putin’s restrictions against pushing the LGBTQ+ agenda to children in Russia. Patriarch Kirill also wants those in Ukraine to support his church.

As far as USA and Russian relations go, some may recall that when Hillary Clinton was US Secretary of State, she brought a box to her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. The box had a ‘reset button,’ that they were to push in order to ‘reset’ USA and Russian relations. That was supposed to bring about a new and better era of relations between the two countries. Later, then USA President Barack Obama also took some steps, including one that he was unaware was recorded, to try to appease Russia.

But then something happened.

Which was?

The Obama-Biden Administration’s global push of the LGBTQ+ agenda. They thought Russia would support it.

They were wrong:

Notice something that Hillary Clinton wrote that she did with Russia when she was Secretary of State:

When I pressed Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to do more to protect the rights of LGBT people, the normally cool and restrained diplomat turned nasty. …

Meanwhile, I looked for ways to make progress closer to home, by better supporting LGBT members of the State Department. . . . I supported the State Department’s annual Pride event, hosted by a group called GLIFFA, Gay and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies. (Clinton HR. Hard Choices. Simon & Schuster, 2014, pp. 577-578)

Sergey Lavrov basically told Hillary Clinton that the USA was not to dictate internal policies for Russia. He was offended at how hard Hillary Clinton was trying to push Russia to promote homosexuality.

USA-Russian relations have gone downhill since the State Department pressed the LGBT agenda and Russia would not go along with it.

Hillary Clinton and the Obama-Biden Administration was pushing a type of immorality that Russia wanted no part of.

From then on, that Administration turned against Russia, and that is part of what has been a reason for the distance between Russia and the USA.

The international reality is that Vladimir Putin has been the most influential political leader who has tried to publicly block aspects of the LGBTQ+ agenda.

Patriarch Kirill appreciates that, as well as other support Vladimir Putin has given the Russian Orthodox Church.

That being said, yes politics plays a role in what is happening between Russia and Ukraine.

But religion is also involved as political leaders have long invoked it when it comes to military conflict.

Pray to the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) for God’s kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Russia and Ukraine: Their Origins and Prophesied Future Russia in prophecy. Where do the Russians come from? What about those in the Ukraine? What is prophesied for Russia and its allies? What will they do to the Europeans that supported the Beast in the end? There is also a video sermon available: Russia in the Bible and in Prophecy as are two video sermonettes Russia, Ukraine, Babylonian Europe, and Prophecy and Ukraine in Prophecy?
Is Russia the King of the North? Some claim it is. But what does the Bible teach? Here is a link to a video, also titled Is Russia the King of the North?
Ezekiel 38: For Russia & Iran in Our Day? Is Ezekiel 38 about to be fulfilled? Are we close to the battle with Gog and Magog? Four related videos are available: Ezekiel 38 Gog and Magog War: Is it Soon?, Ezekiel 38: For Russia, Ukraine, & Iran Now?, Russia, Iran, Syria, & the Bible (Code), and Gog, Magog, Vladimir Putin, and Ezekiel 38?
Cross-dressing and other assaults against your children.  What should you do? Is there an agenda to turn your children and/or grandchildren away from biblical morality and towards practices promoted by homosexuals? What does the Bible teach about cross-dressing? What should parents do? If there is an agenda, what has been going on?  There are also three YouTube videos related to this, titled Transgender ‘Woe to those who call evil good’ and Cross dressing and Other Assaults Against Your Children and USA pushing gender confusion.
The Bible Condemns Homosexuality “Same-sex marriage” for “gays” and lesbians is becoming more acceptable to many. What does the Bible teach about homosexuality and the LGBTQ agenda?  Can homosexuals change? A related video sermon is titled: What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? A short video is available titled: Gay Gene? Born That Way?
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are? Here is a link to a related sermon: Eastern Orthodox 40+ Similar Beliefs to the CCOG.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to four related sermons:  The Fantastic Gospel of the Kingdom of God!, The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, and Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, and Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, and Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List.

Anti-millennialist Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI dies

Saturday, December 31st, 2022


COGwriter

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI died:

December 31, 2022

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who led the Catholic Church for nearly eight years before becoming the first pope to resign in six centuries, died Saturday at the age of 95. …

When he made the shock announcement in 2013 that he would be stepping down, Benedict said he no longer had the physical and mental strength to serve as pope. …

Born Joseph Ratzinger in 1927 in Marktl am Inn, Germany, he spent his youth in southeastern Germany near the Austrian border. …

Ratzinger spent more than 20 years serving as the prefect of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, …

Papal legacy

Benedict’s time as pope included the fallout from child sex-abuse scandals involving clergy that emerged during John Paul II’s papacy. His response included expelling priests and both apologizing to and meeting with victims.

A January 2022 report accused him of failing to act in four cases during his time as archbishop of Munich. In a letter released by the Vatican, Benedict acknowledged what he called “errors” in handling allegations of sexual abuse and said he could “only express to all the victims of sexual abuse my profound shame, my deep sorrow and my heartfelt request for forgiveness.”

In 2006, Benedict prompted protests from the Muslim world after a speech in Regensburg, Germany, in which he quoted a Byzantine emperor stating what for some Muslims was seen as an attack on Islam.

In 2013, his butler was convicted of taking sensitive and confidential documents from the papal chambers and leaking them to journalists. https://www.voanews.com/a/former-pope-benedict-dies-at-95/6898868.html

As far as the sexual scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, the National Catholic Register (NCR) reported the following:

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

April 11, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 11, 2019

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

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

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

A book claimed that around 80% of the Vatican’s clergy had problems with sexual immorality like homosexuality (see ‘Vatican Expels Former US Cardinal McCarrick’ and ‘Salacious new book says homosexuality is rampant at the Vatican’).

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

The Apostle Paul warned:

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

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

Note: Sodomites are homosexuals.

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

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

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

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

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

Clerical celibacy was NOT part of the original Christian faith.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That being said, I have seen reports from ‘fringe’ Catholic sites that claimed that Benedict was still pope while he was alive. Here is some reports related to that:

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

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

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

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

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

Was Pope Benedict XVI Forced to Resign?

October 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Leaked Emails Show Political Plot to Oust Benedict

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

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

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

Call for Investigation

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

Two Popes in the End Times

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps I should also add that despite various ones who tried to tell me over a decade ago that Pope Benedict XVI was the final Antichrist, in my book, 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect, published back in 2009, I wrote:

I also want to make it clear that I do not believe that Pope Benedict XVI is the final prophesied Antichrist … (Thiel B. 2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect.  Nazarene Books, 2009, p. 198)

And his death has shown that writing to be correct.

What most articles about his death have missed is that as Cardinal Ratzigner, he re-wrote the Catechism of the Catholic Church. That was the first new version in centuries.

Joseph Ratzinger was opposed the millennial kingdom of God.

In the twentieth century, some Roman Catholics apparently were concerned so much about the millennial teaching that the Vatican decided to act against it.

Why?

Well after Adolf Hitler’s “third reich,” which was supposed to be a millennial rule, was losing WWII, the Vatican decided to officially distance itself from millennial teachings. Notice the following:

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

Notice that the above suggests that Satan has been gone a thousand years. Does any thinking person believe that Satan was ever bound and away from the earth for 1,000 years after Revelation (which Greco-Roman Catholics often refer to as the Apocalypse) was written? This has never happened literally or spiritually–though it will in the millennium (see also The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance). Nor have I seen any credible Greco-Roman Catholic writer attempt to explain when planet Earth ever had one thousand years without being influenced by Satan.

Why might the Vatican have issued an anti-millennial decree in 1944?

I suspect that it may have been then, because by that time, Herbert W. Armstrong (a Church of God leader) was proclaiming Christ’sGospel of the Kingdom of God enough on radio throughout North America that the Roman Catholic leaders decided to more officially distance themselves from that belief. Also, at that time, it was fairly clear that Adolph Hitler was not going to bring in a thousand year German-dominated reign, as he had indicated he would. One or both of those facts may have been factors in the timing of the Vatican’s announcement.

And while this view seemed to soften in the mid 1960s, the Vatican has gotten tougher on this is in more recent history. Joseph Ratzinger was a major factor in that.

The Roman Catholic Church, in spite of the fact that it admits that many of its claimed early saints taught the millennium, now strongly condemns this belief. Notice something that Joseph Ratzinger approved for puboication:

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

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

Notice something else that Joseph Ratzinger wrote in a paper titled The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure prior to becoming pope:

“…both Chiliasm [the teaching of the Millennium] and Montanism were declared heretical and were excluded from the universal church; for they both denied this vision [the “Christ is the end of the ages” vision] and awaited still another period of more definitive salvation to follow after the age of Christ” (as cited in Birch, pp. 515-516; note the comments within [] were from the Roman Catholic writer Birch).

This is an odd statement for several reasons. It was the leaders in Asia Minor who stood for the Millennium and were the first to oppose Montanism–whom the Roman Catholics originally tolerated (please see the article Location of the Early Church)–hence the belief in one is NOT necessarily related to the other.

The other reason this condemnation is odd, is that even though Origen was opposed to the millennium Origen also taught that there was definitive salvation after what then Cardinal Ratzinger calls “the age of Christ” (please see the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism). Yet pontiff emeritus Benedict XVI has publicly praised Origin as a “true teacher” (for documentation, see What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation?).

It appears to me that the millennial view is being so definitely condemned now, because we are getting so close to that time when the Church of Rome is expected to compromise more and the Pope has prepared his followers to do that. It seems like the final revised Roman Church intends to warn against following any (like the actual two witnesses) who will be teaching the original millennial doctrine. Of course, there still are Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics who accept the biblical teaching on the millennium–but they are becoming more and more of a minority within their church.

Why else would certain of the Roman Catholics beginning in the 20th century take so many public stands against the millennial teaching?

I believe that there are basically two reasons.

The first is that as we get closer to the end of the Church age, Greco-Roman Catholic private prophecies indicate that an apparently small religion that denies the Greco-Roman Catholic view of the Godhead will rise up and cause them problems. Notice three such “prophecies” below:

Ven. Sor Marianne de Jesus Torres (17th Century)…Our Lady told Sister Marianne:…”But this knowledge will only become known to the general public in the 20th. Century. “During this epoch the Church will find itself attacked by waves by the secret sect…” (Birch, p. 326).

Jane Le Royer (d. 1798) Sister of the Nativity…”When the time of the reign of Antichrist is near, a false religion will appear which be opposed to the unity of God and His Church. This will cause the greatest schism the world has ever known. The nearer the time of the end, the more darkness of Satan will spread on Earth, the greater will be the number of children of corruption, and the number of Just will correspondingly diminish (Culligan, pp.127,128).

Nun Anne Catherine Emmerich (about 1820): “I heard that Lucifer (if I don’t mistake) will be freed again for awhile fifty or sixty years before the year 2000 A.D. I have forgotten many of the other dates were told (Emmerich AC. The Life of Lord Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations. Schmoger edition, Vol. IV. Nihil Obstat: D. Jaegher, 14 Februari 1914. Imprimatur: A.C. De Schrevel, Brugis, 14 Februari 1914. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 2004: pp. 353-354).

I believe that the Philadelphia-portion of the Church of God is the secret sect that is being discussed above and that we have affected the Roman Catholics in waves, starting with Herbert W. Armstrong–who put out the Plain Truth magazine for between 50-60 years before 2000 A.D. And thus, I suspect that it is Herbert W. Armstrong that the demons (I believe that demons influenced many Greco-Roman Catholic private prophecies) had Nun Emmerich see as Lucifer or more likely, being under Lucifer’s influence as Herbert Armstrong’s widely proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God message was the one that seems to best fit the precise timing of that prophecy.

The second reason I believe that the Philadelphia-portion of the Church of God is being discussed is that it can only be an anti-trinitarian group that Jane Le Royer could be referring to as the “trinity” is considered by Roman Catholics to represent the unity of God. It should be understood that although we in the CCOG accept “the unity of God” (deification) that early writers like Ignatius of the early 2nd century referred to (Ignatius, Letter to the Romans, Chapter 9), The Catholic Encyclopedia asserts the trinity is the “unity of God” (Lebreton J. The Logos; Joyce G. The Blessed Trinity). One of the reasons, the original catholics who were called Paulicians by the Romans were persecuted was because they denied the trinitarian “unity of God” (Gibbon E. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 4. BF French, 1830, pp. 5,28,29). This looks to be a reason some may cite for future persecution. It should also be pointed out that in the 21st century, the World Council of Churches still does not allow non-trinitarian churches to be members. Warnings against doctrinal and ecumenical compromise, see also found in the free online book: Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

The third reason is that I believe that Satan knows that eventually the true remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God will have successfully preached the gospel of the kingdom, which the Roman Catholic Church now condemns, with two coming rather large waves (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 11:3-7) to be followed by a final “wave.”

Notice that Jesus said that the gospel of the kingdom would be preached to the world immediately before the end would come:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).

Satan, who is familiar with scripture (Matthew 4:6), must know this–so our more successful preaching would be the next major “wave”. Now just before it is time to flee to a place in the wilderness (Matthew 24:20-21), this preaching abolut the millennial kingdom apparently will trigger the persecution in Daniel 11:32-35 and Revelation 12:13-15 (some Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies also seem to show that the Greco-Roman Catholic leaders will persecute those not of their fold just before and during the Great Tribulation, which appears to include those who successfully proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom as a witness).

One “wave” could be that the Continuing Church of God has already had its free online booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom of God translated into hundreds of languages–links to the various languages can be found at https://www.ccog.org. And during the time of the “short work” (cf. Romans 9:28; see also Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word), multiple millions, if not billions, will have the ability to learn about the good news of the kingdom of God–leading to the fulfillment of Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:14.

The two-horned beast along with the ten-horned beast will promote ‘human cooperation’ as the real way to peace as opposed to believing the God of the Bible that lasting peace will not come until Jesus returns to usher in the millennial Kingdom of God. One or both will make false declarations of peace (cf. Daniel 11:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:3) and support a peace deal that will bring temporal peace, but that will be broken (Daniel 9:27; see also The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27).

A major “wave” warned about would seem to be the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-12) and their supporters (please see the article Who Are The Two Witnesses?).

Other private Greco-Roman Catholic “prophecies” indicate that when their Great Monarch reigns (who is also discussed in the article Who is the King of the North?) there will be prophets (probably The Two Witnesses) who essentially will preach that Jesus is coming to establish His kingdom–but the Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies erroneously indicate that the prophets who do so will be false prophets.

The final “wave” will apparently be when Jesus comes and establishes His kingdom on the earth as a variety of private Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies specifically warn about one to come at the end who will say He is Jesus, will keep the Sabbath, will be opposed to idols, and essentially eliminate their version of Catholicism (e.g. Dionysius in Prophecy for Today by Edward Connor, 4th ed. TAN Books, Rockford (IL) 1984, p.85).

Because of this, I believe that Satan moved the Roman Catholics in the late 20th century to indicate that the millennial teaching is the major doctrine of Antichrist. (For more information, see also the article Do Greco-Roman Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus?).

It should also be understood that various Greco-Roman Catholic writings urge/suggest that their followers vigorously persecute those that they believe will be associated with the final Antichrist. Those who stand by the truth on the biblical doctrine on the millennium will be subject to intense persecution–and that time may not be too many years away. (See also Persecutions by Church and State). Joseph Ratzunger has helped to set the stage for this!

Anyway, from a Roman Catholic prophecy perspective, if the current Pope Francis is not counted as a pontiff in the old Malachy list (see The Malachy Prophecies and “Peter the Roman”) as Benedict XVI was alive for the past  nearly ten years of his pontificate, the one who comes after Francis may be the antipope of certain Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies.
The one who becomes pontiff after Francis will either be the final antichrist or at least further set the stage for him to arrive. By the way, I believe that the final Antichrist will be a type of ‘antipope’ that will betray the Church of the City of Seven Hills, consistent with the warnings of Revelation 17.

Some items of related interest may include:

Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters? Some religions suggest this, but what does the Bible teach? What was the practice of the early church?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to four related sermons:  The Fantastic Gospel of the Kingdom of God!, The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession? Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God?, Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, Early Heresies and Heretics, Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats, Tithes, Crosses, Destiny, and more, Saturday or Sunday?, The Godhead, Apostolic Laying on of Hands Succession, Church in the Wilderness Apostolic Succession List, Holy Mother Church and Heresies, and Lying Wonders and Original Beliefs. Here is a link to that book in the Spanish language: Creencias de la iglesia Católica original.
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? Three related sermons are available Let’s Talk About the Earthly Millennium, Millennial Utopia, and The Millennium.
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. Two related sermons are available: Trinity: Fundamental to Christianity or Something Else? and The Godhead and the Trinity. A brief video is also available: Three trinitarian scriptures?
The Great Monarch: Biblical and Greco-Roman Catholic Prophecies Is the ‘Great Monarch’ of Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies endorsed or condemned by the Bible? Two sermons of related interest are also available: Great Monarch: Messiah or False Christ? and Great Monarch in 50+ Beast Prophecies.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There are also two video sermons you can watch: Cancel Culture and Christian Persecution and The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
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? 2031 or ? 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?

NE on Protestant Samaritans

Monday, December 26th, 2022


Ancient Samaria

COGwriter

Sometime back, Shepherd’s Voice magazine had the following article by former GCG board member Norman Edwards:

For the mature Christian, the last words of Jesus Christ to His apostles are utterly vital. They certainly have application throughout the entire church age. They were not just for the first century.

Therefore, when they [the apostles] had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight ( Acts 1:6-9). …

Where to Witness

Once we recognize that the job of a believer is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and be a witness, we need to consider that last part of Christ’s statement which tells us where:

“…in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).

These areas were well known to the twelve apostles. They were in Jerusalem at the time (Acts 1:4); they had traveled through much of Judea during their ministry with Christ; they had traveled through Samaria, even though the Jews wanted little to do with the Samaritans (John 4:9); and to them, the “end of the earth” included the entire Roman Empire and whatever was beyond.

As we read the rest of the New Testament, we see that the Gospel went to all of those places. What do these four areas mean for believers today? Those in Jerusalem would be analogous to the believers in our congregation—those who are nearby us. Those in Judea would be those with similar beliefs to us, even though they are further away and lastly, the “end of the earth” is still everyone we know about—all seven billion of them—many with no knowledge of Christ or the Bible. But what about the Samaritans? Is Christ still telling us to evangelize the group of about a hundred people today who trace their lineage back to the original Samaritans and still practice that religion? Or is it something more important. The rest of this article will answer that question.

Who Are the Samaritans?

The Bible gives a lot of detail on who the Samaritans are and how their religion evolved. It is all worth reading to help us understand our situation today. Notice in 2 Kings 17:23:

23 Until the LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.

24 Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel; and they took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities. 25 And it was so, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they did not fear the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26 So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “The nations whom you have removed and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the rituals of the God of the land; therefore He has sent lions among them, and indeed, they are killing them because they do not know the rituals of the God of the land.” 27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, “Send there one of the priests whom you brought from there; let him go and dwell there, and let him teach them the rituals of the God of the land.” 28 Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the LORD.

29 However every nation continued to make gods of its own, and put them in the shrines on the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in the cities where they dwelt.

30 The men of Babylon made Succoth Benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, the men of Hamath made Ashima, 31 and the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak; and the Sepharvites burned their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32 So they feared the LORD, and from every class they appointed for themselves priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. 33 They feared the LORD, yet served their own gods—according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away. 34 To this day they continue practicing the former rituals; they do not fear the LORD, nor do they follow their statutes or their ordinances, or the law and commandment which the LORD had commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel, 35 with whom the LORD had made a covenant and charged them, saying: “You shall not fear other gods, nor bow down to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them; 36 “but the LORD, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, Him you shall worship, and to Him you shall offer sacrifice. 38 “And the statutes, the ordinances, the law, and the commandment which He wrote for you, you shall be careful to observe forever; you shall not fear other gods. 38 “And the covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget, nor shall you fear other gods. 39 “But the LORD your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”

40 However they did not obey, but they followed their former rituals. 41 So these nations feared the LORD, yet served their carved images; also their children and their children’s children have continued doing as their fathers did, even to this day.

Notice that God himself sent lions among the Samaritans because they did not fear Him at all. When they began to fear the true God to some degree, the lions stopped. Yes, God himself had a hand in creating this half-way religion. He commanded them to fully obey Him, but let them remain under His limited protection even when they did not fully obey. Today, we know that the ancient Samaritans had their own version of the Old Testament, altered in places, but largely the same. But even with this knowledge of the truth, they continued their worship of many false gods, and did not obey the truth of the writings that they did have.

So is there a large group of people like this today, to whom we must be a witness? Yes! Mainstream evangelical Christianity! They use the Bible—with a few alterations and ignoring many parts to fit their doctrines. They also mix in the practices of other religions. Many celebrate holidays that contain Santa Claus, Yule logs, easter bunnies, Halloween evil spirits, the Roman Cupid, Leprechauns, etc. Their church building construction frequently makes use of steeples, gargoyles and the trappings of other religions.

They have doctrines that are partly true and partly erroneous. Most picture God as a “trinity”, a “three in one” concept found in Hinduism, even though the word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible and the New Testament constantly refers to two divine beings (Acts 7:55-56; Rom 1:7; 15:6; 1 Corinthians 1:3, 9; 8:6; 2 Corinthians 1:2-3; Galatians 1:1- 3; Ephesians 1:2-3, 17; 5:20; 6:23; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2-3; 2:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-3; 3:11, 13; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2; 2:16; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3; 1 Peter 1:2-3; 2 Peter 1:2; 1 John 1:3, 2:22; 2 John 1:3, 9; Jude 1:1; Revelation 11:15). Most mainstream Christians teach an immortal, conscious soul that either goes to heaven or hell at death— rather than the Biblical “dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5) and are awaiting a resurrection (Daniel 12:1- 3; John 5:28-29; 1 Corinthians 15;51- 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Hebrews 11:13, 39-40). Some Christians falsely teach that their human leaders sat in between the believers and Christ, and had authority over their salvation (2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Peter 5:3).

It is not within the scope of this article—or even within the scope of the lifetime of this author—to cover all the arguments and resolve all doctrinal differences. He has written much on these doctrines and will probably write more. But it is on this author’s heart to help everyone see how Christ deals with “Samaritans” today, and how Bible-adhering Christians should deal with the mainstream evangelical Christians of today.

How Did Christ Deal with Samaritans?

Some believers might expect that Christ would have nothing to do with people who have a wrong concept of God or who hold false doctrines. As a matter of fact, that was the approach the early Apostles took to the Samaritans. They wanted to kill them for their persecution of the truth:

And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village (Luke 9:52-56).

But Jesus told them they were of the wrong spirit. And so today, when Christians have different beliefs, they often become upset with each other and sometimes want to destroy each other. Sure, it is easy to be angry at a group that wants to destroy you. But Christ said we are of a wrong spirit if we think like this. We can read and see how Christ dealt with Samaritans. He talked to them. He shared things with them He had not yet shared with His apostles. Jesus shocked His disciples and the Samaritans as well! Read the whole account beginning in John 4:4:

But He [Christ] needed to go through Samaria. 5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 “Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ 18 “for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”

27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her? 28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him. 31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 36 “And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 37 “For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 38 “I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word. 42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world .”

43 Now after the two days He departed from there and went to Galilee. 44 For Jesus Himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.

There are many principles that both Christ’s apostles then and we believers today need to learn:

1. Christ talked to the Samaritans apart from the disciples, while they were obtaining food— symbolic of spiritual knowledge— elsewhere. Even though the disciples had learned from the real Hebrew Old Testament and had learned much directly from Christ, they were not yet ready to realize that Christ could also work with people who knew substantially less than they.
2. The Samaritan woman asserts a doctrinal error, that Mount Gerizim is the place of worship rather than Jerusalem. Christ explains to the woman that Samaritans have doctrinal errors—that they don’t know what they worship, but then goes on to explain a greater truth that even his disciples did not understand: God wants believers who will worship in spirit and in truth anywhere.
3. The woman is convicted by Christ’s divine ability to show her sin. She quickly goes evangelizing others and brings them to Christ. They recognize Him as the “Savior of the world” in a spiritual way. They do not ask about setting up any kind of physical kingdom or whether Jews, Samaritans or somebody else will be in charge.
4. The Samaritans knew the Old Testament prophecies of a Messiah to come, and they accepted Jesus as that Messiah. This passage occurs shortly after the turning of water to wine at Cana (John 2:1- 11)—Christ’s first miracle! Many Samaritans accepted Jesus as Messiah long before His apostles realized He was the Messiah. See for yourself:

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:13-16).

5. The Samaritans whom Christ taught did not begin to meet with the Jewish believers. If they did, they would have known Jesus was the Messiah. Christ did teach them for two days. Does the “thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8) principle apply here? Will there be spiritual Samaritans—people who accept Jesus but misunderstand some of the Bible for two-thousand years?
6. Christ told His disciples not to say that it is four months until the harvest, but to realize that the fields were now ready for harvest. What did He mean? It was not too long since Jesus was at the Passover (John 2:23), which was in the first month of the year (Leviticus 23:5). Approximately 50 days later was the Feast of Weeks where all males were commanded to appear (Exodus 23:17; Leviticus 23:15- 16; Deuteronomy 16:16)—in the third month of the year. It would have been sensible that Jesus and His disciples left Jerusalem immediately after Pentecost, when it would have been four months to the great fall harvest, the Feast of Ingathering or the Feast of Tabernacles (Exodus 23:16; 34:22; Leviticus 23:34). Jesus’ disciples were continually looking to the Feast of Ingathering which pictures the return of Christ as King of the Nations. (Jude 1:14-15; Isaiah 9:6-7; Psalm 2:8-9; 149:5-9, etc.) Jesus was telling them to look at the spiritual Pentecost harvest four months earlier, with its two leavened loaves (Leviticus 23:17) perhaps representing a mixture of true and false doctrine. The Samaritans were ready then.

The parallels between the Samaritans and the modern day evangelical Christians are striking. Both understand that they are sinners in need of a Savior. They accept Jesus as that Messiah—more quickly than those with good knowledge of the Old Testament. They keep to themselves—do not mingle with the first century Jews or today’s Sabbatarian Christians. . .

This writer realizes that many Sabbatarian believers may be uncomfortable with this article.

(Norman Edwards granted me permission to post from that article as I normally do not post so much from sources where others may hold a copyright.)

While Norman Edwards goes into many points in that article that I disagree with (and most of those are not shown in the above extract), there are a couple of observations that I would make.

1) Protestants are among those who should be witnessed to (see also The Final Phase of the Work). Because they often claim to believe in the idea of sola Scriptura, those that really do believe they should rely on the Bible over tradition should be more open to the true Christian message and the true Christian Church (for information on the true church, see the free booklet Where is the True Christian Church Today?).

2) I consider the analogy between the Samaritans of old to various Protestants an interesting one; and I first wrote an article related to that back in 2010 (see Spiritual Samaritans: Old and New). I would point out that Jesus emphasized that the bulk of the Samaritans did not understand the truth about God nor how to worship Him. Jesus said this to the Samaritan woman after she talked about worshiping God:

22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:22-24)

Many do not believe that Protestants and others can worship Jesus in vain, but Jesus said:

8 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'” (Matthew 15:8-9)

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

This happens a lot in the USA, and we are seeing a tendency to see even more ‘lawlessness’ (see also Mystery of Iniquity). Lawlessness is a mark of Antichrist. See also The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.

Many Protestant leaders teach lawlessness (see Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants) as do most other leaders that profess Christ (see The Mark of Antichrist).

3) Many end time prophecies that mention ‘Samaria’ are referring to the United States (see Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel); watch also the video Do these 7 prophesies point to the end of the USA? and/or watch the sermon: USA in Prophecy: Samaria.

Because of point three, I found the article by Norman Edwards very interesting. It is further support of the idea that prophecies related to Samaria would apply to a nation like the USA. Notice some quotes from a Jewish source:

Samaria was one of the capitals of Northern Israel and possibly its most important city. (Davidiy Y. The Tribes, 4th edition. Russell-David Publishers, 2011, p. 242)

From the West of England and from Wales, Scotland, and Ireland the United States of America received approximately 87% (sic. 87%) of its British immigrants in its formative period. In other words, early American society was formed largely by groups from the Tribe of Manasseh. Even today, more than half the white population of the U.S.A. may trace its ancestry back to Britain and Ireland with the British side being slightly larger than that of Northern and Southern Ireland origin. (Davidiy, p. 426. #Kephart, apparently a reference to– Calvin Kephart, “Races of Mankind, Their Origin and Migration,” N.Y. 1960, pp.437-438).

While the USA was overwhelmingly made up of descendants of Manasseh centuries ago, because of immigration and other matters, it is more mixed. Perhaps not mixed quite like ancient Samaria, but enough so that references related to Samaria sometimes have applicability to it now.

Yair Davidiy reported that some believe that the term America (which most say comes from the explorer Amerigo Vespucce, actual derived from the term Machir, which itself was a derivative of Manasseh (Davidiy, pp. 400-401). While the Western Hemisphere is referred to as North, Central, and South America, when the term ‘Americans’ is used, this is almost universally used to refer to those of the USA.

It should probably be mentioned that portions of Bible prophecy seem to tie the descendants of Manasseh as being prophetic Samaria. Notice, for example, the following:

8 The Lord sent a word against Jacob,
And it has fallen on Israel.
9 All the people will know —
Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria —
Who say in pride and arrogance of heart:
10 ‘The bricks have fallen down,
But we will rebuild with hewn stones;
The sycamores are cut down,
But we will replace them with cedars.”
11 Therefore the Lord shall set up
The adversaries of Rezin against him,
And spur his enemies on,
12 The Syrians before and the Philistines behind;
And they shall devour Israel with an open mouth.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still…

21 Manasseh shall devour Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh;
Together they shall be against Judah.

For all this His anger is not turned away,
But His hand is stretched out still. (Isaiah 9:8-12,21)

1″When I would have healed Israel,
Then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered,
And the wickedness of Samaria.
For they have committed fraud;
A thief comes in;
A band of robbers takes spoil outside.
2 They do not consider in their hearts
That I remember all their wickedness;
Now their own deeds have surrounded them;
They are before My face.
3 They make a king glad with their wickedness,
And princes with their lies. (Hosea 7:1-3)

So, we see that Ephraim and Samaria are separate and at the end we see Ephraim and Manasseh (who was referred to as Samaria) as separate. Hence, while Ephraim is not Samaria, sometimes it appears that Manasseh is (cf. Hosea 7:1-7). Isaiah 9 seems to suggest that some of the peoples who are alluded to in Psalm 83 (discussed later) will also harass Ephraim and Manasseh after they have suffered. Isaiah 9 ties the identity of Manasseh in with prophetic Samaria; Obadiah 17-18 seems to as well.

In addition to the intermingling that occurred in ancient Samaria, Samaria was part of the old territory of Manasseh:

The hill of Samaria was in the tribal territory of Manasseh, but apparently was not significantly inhabited until the time of King Omri (Ahab’s father). For the next 160 years, the city was the capital of the northern kingdom, apparently reaching a size of 150 acres (as large as Jerusalem in Hezekiah’s time). Samaria is well situated with steep slopes on all sides. (Samaria (Sebaste). http://www.bibleplaces.com/samaria.htm viewed 02/19/14)

23 Omri became king over Israel, and reigned twelve years. Six years he reigned in Tirzah. 24 And he bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver; then he built on the hill, and called the name of the city which he built, Samaria, after the name of Shemer, owner of the hill. (1 Kings 16:23-24)

Northern Samaria is often referred to by its biblical tribal designation: Manasseh. (Killebrew A. Biblical peoples and ethnicity: an archaeological study of Egyptians, Canaanites, Philistines, and early Israel, 1300–1100 B.C.E. Society of Biblical Lit, 2005, p. 159)

Notice that Isaiah 9:9-10 ties the arrogant Samaritans in with making declarations to rebuild. After the attacks of 9/11/2001, various US politicians made statements consistent with the “we will rebuild” declaration. For example, notice the following quote that then Senator Tom Daschle made to Congress on 9/12/2001 related to the 9/11/2001 attack:

We will rebuild, we will recover.

Several other prominent US politicians have made similar statements. But notice that God calls those leaders, who leave God out, arrogant. While the USA has rebuilt in the area known as ‘ground zero,’ the USA is not finished being subject to attacks and ultimately, despite having the strongest military, it will be taken over (cf. Daniel 11:3).

The following also seems to be directed against the USA:

9 ‘Assemble on the mountains of Samaria; See great tumults in her midst, And the oppressed within her. 10 For they do not know to do right, ‘Says the Lord, ‘Who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.'” 11 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “An adversary shall be all around the land; He shall sap your strength from you, And your palaces shall be plundered.” 12 Thus says the Lord: “As a shepherd takes from the mouth of a lion Two legs or a piece of an ear, So shall the children of Israel be taken out Who dwell in Samaria — In the corner of a bed and on the edge of a couch! 13 Hear and testify against the house of Jacob,” Says the Lord God, the God of hosts, 14 ‘That in the day I punish Israel for their transgressions, I will also visit destruction on the altars of Bethel; And the horns of the altar shall be cut off And fall to the ground” (Amos 3:9-14).

While most in the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand believe that they will be protected by the USA, notice the following:

1 Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, And trust in Mount Samaria, Notable persons in the chief nation, To whom the house of Israel comes! 2 Go over to Calneh and see; And from there go to Hamath the great; Then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is their territory greater than your territory? 3 Woe to you who put far off the day of doom, Who cause the seat of violence to come near; 4 Who lie on beds of ivory, Stretch out on your couches, Eat lambs from the flock And calves from the midst of the stall; 5 Who sing idly to the sound of stringed instruments, And invent for yourselves musical instruments like David; 6 Who drink wine from bowls, And anoint yourselves with the best ointments, But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. 7 Therefore they shall now go captive as the first of the captives, And those who recline at banquets shall be removed. 8 The Lord God has sworn by Himself, The Lord God of hosts says: “I abhor the pride of Jacob, And hate his palaces; Therefore I will deliver up the city And all that is in it.” (Amos 6:1-8)

Those who think that they will be able to rely on the USA, possibly referred to as Mt. Samaria above, will be severely disappointed at a time in the future. And this includes those in the USA–including non-Philadelphian Christians “who are at ease in Zion.”

God seems to give a few reasons why those who are now the descendants (the Anglo-Saxons) of Israel will be punished:

6 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for silver, And the poor for a pair of sandals. 7 They pant after the dust of the earth which is on the head of the poor, And pervert the way of the humble. A man and his father go in to the same girl, To defile My holy name. 8 They lie down by every altar on clothes taken in pledge, And drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god. (Amos 2:6-8)

27 As a cage is full of birds, So their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have become great and grown rich. 28 They have grown fat, they are sleek; Yes, they surpass the deeds of the wicked; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the fatherless; Yet they prosper, And the right of the needy they do not defend. 29 Shall I not punish them for these things?’ says the Lord. ‘Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?’ (Jeremiah 5:27-29)

The Anglo-Saxons sin are wealth, having wicked deeds, and selling out morality for money. Also notice that they are wearing clothes taken in pledge. This would seem to mean that they have imported most of their clothes with pledges–debt that they will not pay back.

Notice also:

3 O My mountain in the field,
I will give as plunder your wealth, all your treasures,
And your high places of sin within all your borders.
4 And you, even yourself,
Shall let go of your heritage which I gave you;
And I will cause you to serve your enemies
In the land which you do not know;
For you have kindled a fire in My anger which shall burn forever. (Jeremiah 17:3-4)

What heritage have the Anglo-nations let go of? Well, basing their laws on the Bible and forgetting that they are descended from Israel!

Notice also the following:

16 Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. (Hosea 13:16, KJV)

How do we know that the Anglo-nations in general, and the USA in particular, and not just the land of Judea are the target of some of the punishments? Well, other than the reference to Samaria above (which was not part of Judea), another reason is found in Daniel 11:39:

39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. (Daniel 11:39)

The “he” is the final King of the North, the Beast of Revelation 13. The “strongest fortresses” in the world belong to the USA, and to a lessor degree, its Anglo-allies. The current nation of Israel does not have the strongest fortresses. And dividing the Anglo-lands would bring much more gain, than the land of Judea (see also Will the Anglo-Nations be Divided?). As many Bible commentators realize, at the time of the end there is no power that resembles the USA. Isaiah warns that “The fortress also will cease from Ephraim” (Isaiah 17:3)–but unlike Manasseh, Ephraim simply does not have the strongest fortresses. Some would call this attack World War III (WWIII; see also World War III: Steps in Progress).

The USA has some similarities to ancient Samaria and some prophecies related to ‘Samaria’ seem to be directed towards the USA (see Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel and also Germany in Biblical and Catholic Prophecy).

Some items of possibly related interest include the following:

COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
Spiritual Samaritans: Old and New Who were the Samaritans? Do the represent true Christianity or something else? Here is a link to a related sermon: USA in Prophecy: Samaria.
The Good Samaritan A public domain claymation for younger people.
Lost Tribes and Prophecies: What will happen to Australia, the British Isles, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and the United States of America? Where did those people come from? Can you totally rely on DNA? What about other peoples? Do you really know what will happen to Europe and the English-speaking peoples? What about Africa, Asia, South America, and the Islands? This free online book provides scriptural, scientific, historical references, and commentary to address those matters. Here are links to related sermons: Lost tribes, the Bible, and DNA, Lost tribes, prophecies, and identifications, 11 Tribes, 144,000, and Multitudes, Israel, Jeremiah, Tea Tephi, and British Royalty, and Gentile European Beast.
Mystery of Iniquity What is the mystery of iniquity? How did it start? How will it end? Two related sermons are also available: The Mystery of Iniquity and The Mystery of Lawlessness.
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?
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.
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed?
The Mark of Antichrist What is the mark of Antichrist? What have various ones claimed? Here is a link to a related sermon What is the ‘Mark of Antichrist’?
Overview: How Does the Church of God Agree and Disagree with Other Faiths Professing Christ? This overview answers that and explains what the Church of God basically stands for. In the appendices provides information about certain complaints and as well as an overview about many COG-related groups.
Behind the Work: Go Therefore and Make Disciples How is the Continuing Church of God making disciples. What has been happening in the Continuing Church of God related to this and aspects of the final phase of the work. This ‘behind the work’ video shows New Zealand, Africa, Jerusalem, Vatican City, the USA, and the United Kingdom as well as one from Asia. Teaching and baptisms are shown.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from lower level leaders? A related sermon is available titled Priority of the Philadelphia Work.
The Final Phase of the Work What is the final phase of the work? Who will lead it? Do you have the courage to support it? Here is a related YouTube video titled The Final Phase of the Work. The written article has been translated into Spanish La Fase Final de la Obra.
Leading the Final Phase of the Work Matthew 24:14 teaches “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come ” will be fulfilled and RCG is not the group doing this. Who is leading the final phase of the work?
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.
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.
Protestant and Church of God views of the United States in Bible Prophecy Is the USA mentioned in Bible prophecy? Some Protestants say yes, while others say no. What does the Bible really teach? Learn the truth about this. There is also a video available: Is The United States Mentioned In Bible Prophecy?
Who is the King of the West? Why is there no End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West? Here is a version in the Spanish language: ¿Quién es el Rey del Occidente? ¿Por qué no hay un Rey del Occidente en la profecía del tiempo del fin? A related sermon is also available: The Bible, the USA, and the King of the West.

Might the Muslims be right about New Year’s? What about the Church of Rome?

Monday, December 26th, 2022

COGwriter

A while back, a religious leader in Turkey publicly condemned New Year’s and Christmas as pagan:

Christmas and New Year celebrations are events where both pagan rituals and capitalist drives are intertwined, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate Mehmet Görmez said in a statement…

“What I will most object to as the religious affairs head is the Christmas consumer economy that causes cultural and identity-related erosion in children,” Görmez said…

“I see mass parties and celebrations similar to a form of revenge people take on the time phenomenon,” Görmez said. “Especially [celebrating] with drinking, gambling and lotteries… it is impossible to approve of such things.”

So, one who does not claim to be Christian has properly suggested that New Year’s parties are wrong and that Christmas’ influence on children is not positive for children.

The Bible teaches that God’s year begins in the Spring (Exodus 12:2).

Did you know that not only were Christmas and New Year’s not observed by early true Christians, even Roman Catholic supporting writers condemned the celebration associated with them?

The Catholic Encyclopedia reports:

Christian writers and councils condemned the heathen orgies and excesses connected with the festival … celebrated at the beginning of the year: Tertullian blames Christians who regarded the customary presents — called strenae (Fr. étrennes) from the goddess Strenia, who presided over New Year’s Day (cf. Ovid, Fasti, 185-90) — as mere tokens of friendly intercourse (De Idol. xiv). (Tierney J. New Year’s Day. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11, 1911)

Around 487 A.D., the Greco-Romans seemed to adopt the “Feast of the Circumcision” on January 1st. This, however, did not stop all heathen activity.

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:

Even in our own day the secular features of the opening of the New Year interfere with the religious observance of the Circumcision, and tend to make a mere holiday of that which should have the sacred character of a Holy Day. St. Augustine points out the difference between the pagan and the Christian manner of celebrating the day: pagan feasting and excesses were to be expiated by Christian fasting and prayer (P. L., XXXVIII, 1024 sqq.; Serm. cxcvii, cxcviii). (Ibid)

So it also states:

…towards the end of the sixth century the Council of Auxerre (can. I) forbade Christians strenas diabolicas observare.

The expression strenas diabolicas observare roughly translates from Latin to English as “observing the new time of the Devil.” It is likely that New Year’s resolutions are related to prayers and practices once given for the pagan goddess.

January 1st is not a biblical holiday, and even the Church of Rome has forbidden some of its attributes as demonic.

Various older Roman Catholic writings seem to condemn modern New Year’s celebrations can also be seen in the passages below:

Even in our own day the secular features of the opening of the New Year interfere with the religious observance of the Circumcision, and tend to make a mere holiday of that which should have the sacred character of a Holy Day. St. Augustine points out the difference between the pagan and the Christian manner of celebrating the day: pagan feasting and excesses were to be expiated by Christian fasting and prayer (P. L., XXXVIII, 1024 sqq.; Serm. cxcvii, cxcviii) (Tierney John J. Transcribed by Wm Stuart French, Jr. Feast of the Circumcision. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Tertullian blames Christians who regarded the customary presents — called strenae (Fr. étrennes) from the goddess Strenia, who presided over New Year’s Day (cf. Ovid, Fasti, 185-90) — as mere tokens of friendly intercourse (De Idol. xiv), and towards the end of the sixth century the Council of Auxerre (can. I) forbade Christians strenas diabolicas observare. (St. Augustine, Serm., cxcvii-viii in P.L., XXXVIII, 1024; Isidore of Seville, De Div. Off. Eccl., I, xli; Trullan Council, 692, can. lxii) (Tierney John J. Transcribed by Thomas M. Barrett. New Year’s Day. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Hence, it appears that Roman Catholic writings would condemn modern practices associated with New Year’s celebrations.

For more details, please see Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? and What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?

Also, notice what the Bible teaches:

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:12-14)

20 Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; 21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21)

1 Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower Which is at the head of the verdant valleys, To those who are overcome with wine! 2 Behold, the Lord has a mighty and strong one, Like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, Like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, Who will bring them down to the earth with His hand. 3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, Will be trampled underfoot; (Isaiah 28:1-3)

18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (Ephesians 5:18)

A night of drunken revelry is not a Christian holiday and should not be observed by the faithful.

The partying drunkard is also specifically condemned as part of those that will not inherit the kingdom of God:

9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

1…there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. (2 Peter 2:1-2)

Christians should not participate in pagan holidays, and especially those that involve drunken revelries. Does not the observance of New Year’s Day contribute to blasphemy by the Gentiles (at least by some of the Muslim ones) because many who profess Christ keep it? This should never be.

Those who are Christians and used to do those things are expected to repent:

3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. (1 Peter 4:3-4)

11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person. (1 Corinthians 5:11)

The fact that professors of Christ ignore clear scriptures causes a false version of “the Way” to be blasphemed by the Gentiles (Romans 2:24). The Turkish leader noticed the falseness of the practices of many who profess to be Christian.

Some items of related interest may include:

Is January 1st a Date for Christians Celebrate? Historical and biblical answers to this question about the world’s New Year’s day. A video of related interest is also available: God’s or Satan’s New Year?
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.
Differences Between Islam and the Continuing Church of God What are some of the main differences? Are there any similarities? A video of related interest is titled: Islam: Any Christian Concerns or Similarities?
Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but … Do Muslims believe that Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary/Maryam/Miriam? Do they believe He was the Messiah? What does the Koran teach about that? What about Him being the Son of God? Muslims teach that Jesus will return, but to do what? Will Jesus destroy the Antichrist? What are some issues that Muslims have with professing Christianity? Were original Christians different than most that Muslims have later encountered? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more in this video.
What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them?
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
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 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
Mardi Gras: The Devil’s Carnival?
Do you know that in Bolivia the carnival/Mardi Gras time is part of a celebration known as the Devil’s Carnival?
Is Smoking a Sin? What does the Bible teach? What have COG leaders written? Can smokers change?
Alcohol: Blessing or Curse? This is an article from the old Good News magazine that attempts to answer this question.
Binge Drinking, Health, and the Bible Many college students and others overindulge in alcohol. Are there health risks? What does the Bible teach? A related video is also available: Binge Drinking and the Bible.
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? A related video would be Eating Right, Eating Too Much, and Prophecy.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?