Archive for the ‘Religious News’ Category

The Jewish Seder is not really the Passover

Friday, March 27th, 2020


Table Prepared for Jewish Seder (datafox)

COGwriter

After sunset on April 8th in 2020 is the 15th of Nisan. Many Jews will claim to celebrate the Passover then, but Passover was actually the night before (see Passover on the 14th or 15th?).

The Bible says Passover is on the 14th:

5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD (Leviticus 23:5-6, NKJV throughout, unless indicated).

16 ‘On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the Lord. 17 And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast; unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days. (Numbers 28:16-17)

Here is proof from the Jewish Encyclopedia that the Jews should realize that Passover is on the 14th:

Lev. xxiii., however, seems to distinguish between Passover, which is set for the fourteenth day of the month, and … (the Festival of Unleavened Bread; ἑορτή τῶν ἀζύμων, Luke xxii. 1; Josephus, “B. J.” ii. 1, § 3), appointed for the fifteenth day. Passover. (Passover. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906)

Here are three other explanations as to why there has been confusion among the Jews:

Two Passovers

The gospels appear to say that the Messiah ate a Passover meal with the twelve on the evening beginning Nisan 14, and John appears to say Jews were having their Passover meal one day later. There are different theories to explain this.

1. The Sadducees and Pharisees disagreed on the day of Passover. The Sadducees (more conservative group) believed the Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread were separate feast days. They held Passover on the fourteenth as God decreed in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers. Those of the majority opinion, including the Pharisees, held Passover on the fifteenth. Jesus may have been following both dates by having Passover with the disciples on the fourteenth and becoming the Passover lamb on the fifteenth.

2. Thousands of people would come to Jerusalem to have their lambs ritually slain in the Temple. If they only had one day in which to prepare for the Passover, it would have been extremely difficult to have slaughtered all the lambs brought in to be sacrificed. Therefore, they worked on two different time scales. The northern part of the country went with the old way of dating (starting from morning and going to the following morning). The southern part of the country followed the official dating method (from evening to evening). Thus, there were two times when lambs were being killed in the Temple for sacrifice (Sampson R & Pierce L. A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays. Heart of Wisdom Publishing June 2001, p. 112)

Thus this shows, for whatever reason, the Jews got a little bit confused. With some keeping the correct date–the same date that Jesus kept (and He would have known which date was biblically correct).

Notice one explanation as to why the Jews got confused:

Why Nisan 15?

You would think that the Jews need to learn to read their own Scriptures, for they seem to be illiterate in regard to the Passover. God tells us, in the clearest of language, that the Passover is to be held on the evening of Nisan 14. Nowhere in the Bible does it state otherwise. But they keep Nisan 15. Where did such a practice come from?

The answer to this is found in the history of the Jews in the third century before Christ.

From 301 B.C. to 198 B.C., the Palestinian Jews came under the control of Egyptians. These Gentiles imposed their philosophies and religious beliefs upon the Jews in profusion.

Dr. Lanterbach, one of Judaism’s greatest historians, admits that this period was one of religious anarchy among the Jews of Palestine (Rabbinic Essays, p. 200). They accepted, on a very large scale, many outright Egyptian customs. For example, Herodotus who visited Egypt in the fifth century before Christ, reported that the Egyptians would only drink out of pots and pans which had been scoured every day. They would religiously bathe themselves twice each day-they shunned all foreigners, especially Greeks, and would destroy any vessel or utensil which had been touched by a Greek. Such silly laws were inaugurated by the thousands by the Egyptians, said Herodotus (Book 11, pp. 37-41).

Prior to the Egyptian domination of Palestine, the Jews possessed none of these absurd customs, but after that period of religious anarchy, the Jews began practicing, with utmost vigor, those same EGYPTIAN laws. See Matthew 15:2 and Mark 7:3-8. There can be no question of this.

But what about the Passover? It can be shown that prior to this Egyptian domination, the Jews always kept the Passover on Nisan 14. Notice especially Ezra 6:19-22. Here it shows Nisan 14 as Passover and Nisan 15 as the first day of Unleavened Bread (which it is), not as the Passover day. But, after the Egyptian period, the Jews began to ob- serve Nisan 15 for Passover.

Why?

Corruption From Egypt!

The answer again is found in Egyptian customs. The Egyptian day customarily commenced with sunrise (Wilkinson, Vol. 11, p. 368). God’s day, however, begins at sunset (Lev. 23:32). This is where the trouble lay with the Passover reckoning after this period of Egyptian influence on the Jews. While the Egyptians allowed the Jews to retain their ancient calendar, there was a change made in the beginning of the day-it became common to begin the day at sunrise. This custom was adopted, and persisted among the Jews even down to New Testament times (see The Jewish Qziarterly Review, April, 1946). …

With the 14th of Nisan supposedly beginning at sunrise, that puts what God calls the evening of Nisan 15 as still being on Nisan 14. This is where the problem arises. Even later on, when the Jews finally got back to an evening-to-evening reckoning for the day, they refused to abandon what had become the traditional way of observing Passover. The principle, “What was good for my fathers, is good enough for me,” was too strong for the Jews to leave it. So, today, they are still one day out of phase with God (Martin E. The Jews DON’T Observe Passover. Good News magazine. April 1963, pp. 11-12)

Notice another reason given as to why the Jewish date is different (Pesahim means Passover) is that one Rabbi said/hinted that the Jews made various changes to distinguish their Passover from what the faithful Christians were doing:

This new emphasis on the ten plagues was made in order to nullify the blood idea that was taken over by the Christian Church that claimed that the Paschal lamb was the crucified Jesus whose blood was to bring redemption…Pesahim according to our new interpretation (Wolf G. Lexical and Historical Contributions on the Biblical and Rabbinic Passover. George Wolf, 1991, pp. 16, 74)

In a short work on the Passover, Rabbi George Wolf examines some of the changes that he considers the early Rabbis introduced to the Passover in response to the observance by the early church. Scholars have long studied the New Testament without a serious consideration of other literature that impinges on its understanding. Fortunately that has begun to change in the last half century.

The action of Jesus Christ with his disciples the night of his betrayal has most often been seen as a point of disjuncture with the established practices of Judaism of that day. This reaches its apex with the apostle Paul who speaks of the “Lord’s Supper,” which most exegetes wish to see as the proto-eucharist and the start of a Christian festival cycle independent of the Jewish Holy Days.

Wolf, like some Jewish scholars sees it differently. He sees both Jesus and Paul keeping the Passover in such a manner that it prompted the Rabbis of the second and third centuries to bring changes to the Jewish practice to distance the Jews from the emerging church…

Paul’s references to Jesus Christ as “our Passover” (1 Corinthians 5:7) and the cup of blessing representing the blood of the covenant (1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:25) are instructive to Wolf in his considerations (Nathan P. Passover Considerations Rabbinic changes to the Passover to distance it from the early Church. April 9, 2008. Vision.org).

So while I knew that the Catholics wanted to distance themselves from practices that they considered to be Jewish, it seems that perhaps part of the reason that the Jews may have stopped observing Passover on the 14th was to distance themselves from the faithful Christians, who were in Jerusalem until about 135 A.D. (and who came back later).

Now the following is what the Jews tell themselves:

Second Days of Festivals.

The second-day holy day, although a rabbinical institution established because of the uncertainty of the calendar, was still regarded by the Rabbis as of equal sanctity with the first day… (Holy Days. Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/7828-holy-days viewed 09/04/14 )

Question:…Why in Israel do families celebrate one Passover Seder and in North America Jews celebrate two seders?

Answer:…In ancient times, the beginning of a new lunar month had to be determined by direct observation of the new moon. Among Jews, the only observation that was “official” was the one certified by the authorities in Jerusalem. This was necessary to make sure that all Jews observed the same calendar dates.

However, many Jewish communities, including the large Jewish community in Babylon, could not reliably get word from Jerusalem about the day of the new moon before the holiday began on the fifteenth day of the month. For this reason, Jewish communities outside the land of Israel adopted the practice of observing an extra day of the pilgrimage holidays (Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot and Sh’mini Atzeret), just in case they had gotten the date of the new moon wrong.

This practice for Jews outside the land of Israel continued even after mathematical models made it possible to calculate the date of the new moon. (Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser. Why do Jews in America have two Passover Seders? http://judaism.about.com/od/holidayssabbath/f/seders_two.htm viewed 04/06/09).

But the above makes little modern sense, as apparently, for over two thousand years the Jews have used a Holy Day calendar that includes postponements. With a calculated calendar, two days really were not needed. It seems logical to believe that the practice of a 15th Passover really began because the Passover night was always followed by the The Night to Be Observed, and that this reason has been forgotten by most Jews. How the 15th in Numbers 33 fits in is explained in the article The Night to Be Observed, which is the night that the children of Israel left Rameses (Exodus 12:34-39) which was probably a 7-10 hour walk from where many of them had lived.

Perhaps I should also mention that the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who also observe Passover on the 15th (though they seem to think it is the 14th), may do so because they do not observe the other Holy Days.

When does the Panarion of Epiphanius actually state that the Passover was kept? Well on the 14th:

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

It is of interest to note that Epiphanius recognized that Jesus HAD to be slain on the 14th of the month. It is sad that Epiphanius and others did not believe they needed to observe it when and how Jesus taught. The term “Quartadecima” means fourteenth, not fifteenth, which would be Quintadecima (check an online translator). The Greco-Romans often speak of the Quartodeciman controversy, not a Quintadeciman one.

Irrespective of Jewish confusion or anti-COG views, true Christians have always kept Passover on the 14th. Notice something in the late 2nd century from Polycrates of Ephesus:

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord’s coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead ? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ‘ We ought to obey God rather than man’…I could mention the bishops who were present, whom I summoned at your desire; whose names, should I write them, would constitute a great multitude. And they, beholding my littleness, gave their consent to the letter, knowing that I did not bear my gray hairs in vain, but had always governed my life by the Lord Jesus (Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book V, Chapter XXIV, Verses 2-7 . Translated by A. Cushman McGiffert. Digireads.com Publishing, Stilwell (KS), 2005, p. 114).

Nisan 15, however, is a biblical celebration and it does resemble the Jewish celebration in that the emphasis is on a meal and the departure from Egypt (representing the sinning world for Christians).

Anyway, notice what the Bible calls this celebration:

42 It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations (Exodus 12:42, KJV).

And it is a time to reflect on Christ’s Passover sacrifice and that Christians are to come out of the world and not be part of it. (The Night to Be Observed begins after sunset on April 8, 2020.)

This year we have an animated video that some may wish to watch the evening of the 15th:

What is it? When is it? The KJV refers to it as “THE NIGHT TO BE MUCH OBSERVED.” This scripture-packed animation includes background and specific information related to the children of Israel. It also gives some of the Old and New Testament prophetic ramifications of this event. How the NTBO is typically observed is also covered. The animation also includes a chart of scriptures and biblical dates to determine when that NTBO actually is. Furthermore, the animation provides information from the “Jewish Encyclopedia” which, through scripture, shows that many Jews have confused Passover with the “night to be observed.” This is a great animation to give background on the NTBO and is also appropriate to be watched on the NTBO.

Here is a link: Night to Be Observed,  which begins after sunset on April 8, 2020.

The next morning continues the official first day of unleavened bread, and is observed by faithful Christians as it has been for centuries (Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?).

Some items of related interest may include:

The Night to Be Observed What is the night to be much observed? When is it? Why do Jews keep Passover twice and emphasize the wrong date? A related animation is available and is titled: Night to Be Observed.
Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread How should Christians keep Passover, especially if they are by themselves. Why does the Church of God not require lambs for Passover? How does one keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? For a step-by-step video for Christians to keep it, check out a CCOG Passover Service. Here is a link to a related article in the Spanish language: Guardando la Pascua y los Días de los Panes sin Levadura.
Examine Yourself before Passover This article goes into some of why real Christians are to do this. Two related sermons are Really examine yourself before Passover and Passover Examination.
Preparing for Passover The Apostle Paul taught that Christians should examine themselves prior to taking Passover. This YouTube video sermon gives suggestions on how to prepare.
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.
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well. Here is a related sermon, also titled Melito’s Homily on the Passover.
TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th? While the real COG observes Passover on the 14th, some observe it on the 15th. Why is the 14th correct? A related sermon is titled Is Passover on the 14th or 15th for Christians?
Unleavened Bread recipes A Serbian COG member, now CCOG elder, sent these recipes for those who would like more ways to prepare unleavened bread. Here is a link to recipes in Spanish: Recetas de Recuerdo.
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers. Here are two YouTube videos intended to be viewed for the first day of unleavened bread:Leaven and Sin and Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
The The Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread What happened? Does this day have any type of fulfillment in the Book of Revelation? A related sermon video is also available: 7th Day of Unleavened Bread: Prophecy and Lessons.
Early Christianity and the Eucharist? What does ‘eucharist’ mean? Did early Christians tie it in with Passover? Should it be a rounded host? Here is a link to a related sermon: Eucharist, Passover, and Easter.
EXODUS When was the Exodus? Did it Happen? Some deny the biblical account of the Exodus. Was Ramses II the pharaoh then? When did the Exodus occur? Is there proof outside of the Bible that there was an Exodus? Here is a related article in the Spanish language: ¿Cuándo fue el Éxodo? ¿Ocurrió realmente? Also: Reasons, Proofs, and Ramifications of the Ten Plagues of Exodus What do you know about these plagues? What happened to the ‘gods of Egypt’? Is there any confirmation outside the Bible? Might something worse be coming? A related two-part sermon is available: Egypt and the Plagues (Part 1) and Exodus Plagues and Prophecy (Part 2). Also: Exodus and the Days of Unleavened Bread This article discusses parts of the Book of Exodus with some connections to the Days of Unleavened Bread. A related sermons are available Exodus 1-4: Jewish Myths or Lessons for Christians Today? and Unleavened Bread: Lessons in Exodus. Another sermon is Exodus, Judgments, and Jesus. Also Exodus 4:24, Why would God have sought to kill Moses? What did Moses do wrong? Do you have a similar problem?
How to Keep God’s Festivals Many have heard of God’s Holy Days and wonder how they are kept in the 21st century. This is an overview article. A related sermon is also available titled: How to Keep God’s Feasts.
Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread What does the Bible teach about the Days of Unleavened Bread? Did the apostles such as John, Paul, and Philip keep it? What is leaven? Does history show that true Christians kept the Days of Unleavened Bread? Who condemned these days? Should you live like the Pharisees that relied more on tradition or the teachings of the Bible? This YouTube was intended to be viewed on the first day of unleavened bread.
Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread How should Christians keep Passover, especially if they are by themselves. Why does the Church of God not require lambs for Passover? How does one keep the Days of Unleavened Bread?
What Happened in the ‘Crucifixion Week’? How long are three days and three nights? Was Palm Sunday on a Saturday? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter? (Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Murió Jesús un día miércoles o un viernes?) A sermon of related interest is titled What did and did not happen in the ‘Crucifixion week’?
Michael’s Feasts and Fasts Quiz 15 questions, amusing wrong answer screens.
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, 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。.
Living as a Christian: How and Why? In what ways do Christians live differently than others. What about praying, fasting, tithing, holy days, and the world? There are also two YouTube video related to this: Living as a Christian: How and Why? and Living as a Christian: Pure Milk of the Word.
Living as a Christian: Strong Meat Can you handle solid spiritual food? A related sermon is available: Strong Meat: James 1-2 and Strong Meat: James 3-5.
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.

Eostre and Ishatar are Easter

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020


Clothed Ishtar, early 2nd millennium BC (Marie-Lan Nguyen)

COGwriter

Next month, many will celebrate the festival called Easter.

Where did the name Easter come from?

Easter itself is not a Christian term but comes from paganism as even Roman Catholic and Protestant sources confirm:

The English term, according to the Ven. Bede (De temporum ratione, I, v), relates to Estre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring, which deity…Anglo-Saxon, eâster, eâstron; Old High German, ôstra, ôstrara, ôstrarûn; German, Ostern. April was called easter-monadh. (Holweck F. G. Transcribed by John Wagner and Michael T. Barrett. Easter. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume V. Copyright © 1909 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, May 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York)

ISHTAR was one of the most prominent of the deities of the Accadian and Assyrian Pantheon. Se was the Assyrian goddess of Love. She was the…Ashtoreth of the Jews or Hebrews. She is the planetary Venus, and in general features corresponds with the classical goddess of Love. Her name Ishtar is that by which she was known in Assyria, and the same name prevailed, with slight modifications, among the Semite nations generally. In Babylonia the goddess was known as Nana…

She may be identified with Eostre of the Germans, or Easter. To this goddess our Saxon or German ancestors sacrificed in April, which was therefore by them styled…Eostur-monath, and from thence arose our word Easter, which the Saxons retained after their conversion to Christianity, so that our Easter-day is nothing more nor less than Ishtar’s day…The name became attached by association of ideas to the Christian festival of the Resurrection (of Christ), which happened at the time of the passover…The English name Easter, and the German Ostern, are derived from the name of the Teutonic goddess Ostera (Anglo-Saxon Eostre), whose festival was celebrated by the ancient Saxons with peculiar solemnities in the month of April; and for which, as in many other instances, the first Romish missionaries substituted the paschal feast.” The Council of Nice “ordained (A.D. 325) that it should be kept always on a Sunday.” Thus we find that it was originally the festival of Ishtar, and occurred on the Sabatu of Elul, or the festival Sabbath of the Assyrians, which occurred in August or harvest time; and that it afterwards became united with the passover or paschal feast of the Jews, and finally adopted by the Christian Church as the Easter Sabbath, changing the date to the spring or seed time, or in April from the harvest month or August. Among the Assyrians it was the feast day of Ishtar and Nergal…

The Phoenician name of Ishtar was Astarte, the later Mendaean form of which was Ashtar. She was called Jeremiah, “the queen of heaven,” Jer. vii, 18, and xliv. 17-25…she was sometimes called “the goddess of the chase,” corresponding to Diana as well as Venus, the goddess of love. Mr. George Rawlinson says: “The worship of Ishtar was widespread, and her shrines were numerous. She is often called the “queen of Babylon”…It may be suspected that her symbol was the naked female form…(Hamilton LLC note. Ishtar and Izdubar, the epic of Babylon; or, The Babylonian goddess of love and the hero and warrior king, restored in mod. verse by L.L.C. Hamilton. 1884 Original from Oxford University Digitized Jun 19, 2007, pp. 207-208)

Ishtar is pronounced about the same as the English term Easter. Perhaps it should be mentioned that there was an Ishtar gate in ancient Babylon, hence there are a variety of connections between paganism/Babylon and Easter.

Basically, the adoption of Easter was the result of compromise with paganism. Some aspects of the adoption of its non-biblical symbols have been obscured, but some legends may cast some insight about it.

Here is one legend about the Easter egg and Easter:

According to ancient Babylonian legend, it is claimed that Ishtar caused the fish-goddess Atargatis to cause a great egg to fall in the Euphrates river where fish pushed it to shore and Semĩramis was miraculously born. The Easter egg – Ishtar egg – does not represent the stone rolled away from the tomb like the medieval church said it did…

The English word “Easter,” however, corresponding to the German Oster, reveals Christianity’s indebtedness to the Teutonic tribes of Central Europe. Christianity, when it reached the Teutons, incorporated in its celebration of the great Christian feast day many of the heathen rites and customs which accompanied their observance of the spring festival. That the festival of the resurrection occurred in the spring, that it celebrated the triumph of life over death, made it easy for the church to identify with this occasion the most joyous festival of the Teutons, held in honor of the death of winter, the birth of a new year and the return of the sun. (Deschesne D. Ishtar The Origin of the Easter Tradition. Fort Fairfield Journal ı April 12, 2006, p. 9)

Notice another view about Easter eggs:

According to Babylonian legend, a huge egg fell from heaven, landing in the Euphrates river. The goddess Ishtar broke out of this egg. Later the feature of “egg nesting” was introduced–a nest were the egg could be incubated until it hatched. A “wicker” or reed basket was used to nest the Ishtar egg (hence the Easter egg basket.)

The Easter egg hunt is based on the notion that if anyone found Ishtar’s egg while she was being “reborn,”she would bestow a blessing upon that lucky person. Because this was a joyous Spring festival, eggs were colored in bright Spring (pastel) colors.

The Easter Bunny. Among the Celts, custom dictated that “the goddess” totem would lay eggs for the good children to eat…Eostre’s hare was the shape that the Celts imagined on the surface of the full moon…

Since Ishtar or Eostre, was a goddess of fertility–and because rabbits procreate quickly–the rabbit became associated with the sexual act, and the egg became a symbol of “birth” and “renewal.” (Chapman TL. God’s Law of Love: The Perfect Law of Liberty Jehovah’s Ten Commands Still Apply Today. iUniverse, 2010, p. 133)

As there are various legends (including the idea that Ishtar was reborn every Spring from an egg) and ideas, the reality is that the Easter egg has a non-Christian origin.

The Catholic Encyclopedia makes various claims and admissions about Easter:

Easter is the principal feast of the ecclesiastical year. Leo I (Sermo xlvii in Exodum) calls it the greatest feast (festum festorum), and says that Christmas is celebrated only in preparation for Easter…

Easter eggs

…The custom may have its origin in paganism, for a great many pagan customs, celebrating the return of spring, gravitated to Easter…

The Easter rabbit

The Easter Rabbit lays the eggs, for which reason they are hidden in a nest or in the garden. The rabbit is a pagan symbol and has always been an emblem of fertility (Simrock, Mythologie, 551)…

Men and women

On Easter Monday the women had a right to strike their husbands, on Tuesday the men struck their wives… In the Neumark (Germany) on Easter Day the men servants whip the maid servants with switches; on Monday the maids whip the men. They secure their release with Easter eggs. These customs are probably of pre-Christian origin (Reinsberg-Düringsfeld, Das festliche Jahr, 118).

The Easter fire

The Easter Fire is lit on the top of mountains (Easter mountain, Osterberg) and must be kindled from new fire, drawn from wood by friction (nodfyr); this is a custom of pagan origin in vogue all over Europe, signifying the victory of spring over winter. The bishops issued severe edicts against the sacrilegious Easter fires (Conc. Germanicum, a. 742, c.v.; Council of Lestines, a. 743, n. 15), but did not succeed in abolishing them everywhere. The Church adopted the observance into the Easter ceremonies...

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

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


Drawing of Eostre/Ostara (Wikipedia)

Some have claimed that instead of Ishtar, ‘Easter’ was derived from the pagan-German goddess Eostre/Ostara. She was the ‘bringer of light’ or the dawn, and is sometimes called ‘the queen of heaven.’ Eostre was the goddess of the dawn. Her sacrifice whose was celebrated each Spring. This would tend to explain why people who keep Easter do so in the early morning as opposed to after sunset like the Passover was kept.

In Northern Europe, Easter imagery often involves hares and rabbits. The first scholar to make a connection between the goddess Eostre and hares was Adolf Holtzmann in his book Deutsche Mythologie. Holtzmann wrote of the tradition, “the Easter Hare is inexplicable to me, but probably the hare was the sacred animal of Ostara; just as there is a hare on the statue of Abnoba.” Citing folk Easter customs in Leicestershire, England where “the profits of the land called Harecrop Leys were applied to providing a meal which was thrown on the ground at the ‘Hare-pie Bank'”, late 19th-century scholar Charles Isaac Elton speculated on a connection between these customs and the worship of Ēostre. (Ēostre. Wikipedia, accessed 03/01/20

Whether originally from a Babylonian goddess or a later German one, ‘Easter’ is a term, not for our Saviour, but of a pagan goddess.

Basically, the adoption of Easter was the result of compromise with paganism. Some aspects of the adoption of its non-biblical symbols has been obscured, but some legends may cast some information about it.

The Church of Rome adopted many of the customs of Easter, and considered the eggs as the emblem of the resurrection. Notice the prayer blessing of Pope Paul V, about 1610, on Easter eggs, which, in English, reads thus:

“Bless, O Lord! we beseech thee, this thy creature of eggs, that it may become a wholesome sustenance to thy faithful servants, eating it in thankfulness to thee on account of the resurrection of the Lord.” (Easter Eggs. Donahoe’s Magazine, Volume 5, T.B. Noonan, 1881. Original from the University of Wisconsin – Madison Digitized Jul 10, 2009, p. 558)

But the Bible gives no such teachings about the use of eggs.

Easter was not just a sunrise goddess:

Ishtar, she was both fertility and a war goddess. … Easter or Astarte is in effect the same worship of an old Babylonian sex cult instituted by Semiramis the warrior queen who had a lust for blood (Kush H. Faces of the Hamitic People. Xlibris Corporation, 2010, p. 164)

Ishtar was seen as the personification of the planet Venus, and together with Shamash, the sun god, and Sin, the moon god, she formed an astral triad. (Littleton CS. Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology, Volume 6. Marshall Cavendish, 2005 p. 760)

So, Ishtar/Easter essentially was a warring sex/fertility goddess and her name suggests that lust (sexual and/or for membership) was behind much associated with Easter. The vast consumption of candy in most cultures associated with Easter suggests that perhaps lust is still a factor about the holiday today.

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

Even Protestant commentaries note that:

Jeremiah 7…Cakes to the queen of heaven (v. 18). Probably a reference to the Babylonian fertility-goddess Ishtar, goddess of the planet Venus (from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press).

Jeremiah 7… What the sin is with which they are here charged-it is idolatry, v. 18. Their idolatrous respects are paid to the queen of heaven, the moon, either in an image or in the original, or both. They worshipped it probably under the name of Ashtaroth, or some other of their goddesses (from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.).

Thus, both Catholic and Protestant scholars acknowledge that Easter/Ishtar/Ashtaroth worship contains pagan elements.

Notice what the Encyclopedia Britannica stated in 1910:

There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament, or in the writings of the apostolic Fathers…The first Christians continued to observe the Jewish festivals, though in a new spirit, as commemorations of events which those festivals had foreshadowed. Thus the Passover, with a new conception added to it of Christ as the true Paschal Lamb and the first fruits from the dead, continued to be observed (Easter. In: The Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information Edition: 11 Published by Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1910 Item notes: v. 8 Original from Harvard University Digitized Jul 24, 2008, p. 828).

The biblical Passover has to do with the Lamb of God being killed for our sins–and early Christians kept that, not Easter. Related to Easter Sunday vs. a Nisan 14 Passover, the Continuing Church of God just put together this video its ContinuingCOG channel:

 

24:02

The fifth century historian Socrates Scholasticus wrote that those of Asia Minor said they kept Passover on the 14th of Nisan following the practices of the Apostle John, whereas those of the Romans and the West observed what is now called Easter Sunday following the practices of the Apostles Peter and Paul. Socrates claimed that neither side had written evidence to back up their claims. But what does the Bible reveal? Do the earliest records outside the Bible point to the apostles keeping the 14 of Nisan or Easter Sunday. What does the Catholic Encyclopedia reveal? What about the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox writings? Was Passover supposed to be a nocturnal observance or a Sunday morning one? Can you know? Does this make any difference for Christians today? Dr. Thiel addresses these points from the Bible, historical records, and later church writings.

Here is a link to the video: Did Peter, Paul, & John keep Easter Sunday or Passover?

Easter, which is named after the pagan goddess Ishtar/Astarte/Eostre, has to do with a fertility festival involving rabbits and looking to the east in early morning as pagans did. Early Christians did not keep it.

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

Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter? If not, when did this happen? Where did Easter come from? What do scholars and the Bible reveal? Why Easter? Did early Christians observe Easter? What are the origins of Easter? What does Easter have to do with the goddess Ishtar. Where did the word Easter come from? Where do Easter eggs come from? What do rabbits have to do with Easter? Was Jesus resurrected on a Sunday? This is a video.
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Early Christianity and the Eucharist? What does ‘eucharist’ mean? Did early Christians tie it in with Passover? Should it be a rounded host? Here is a link to a related sermon: Eucharist, Passover, and Easter.
Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist? Marcus was a second century heretic condemned for having a ceremony similar to one still practiced by many who profess Christ. Might he also be in the apostolic succession list of the Orthodox Church of Alexandria?
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.
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.
What Happened in the Crucifixion Week?
How long are three days and three nights? Did Jesus die on “Good Friday”? Was the resurrection on Sunday? Do you really know? Who determined the date of Easter?
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?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
Holy Day Calendar This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2024, with their Roman calendar dates. They are really hard to observe if you do not know when they occur 🙂 In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日? 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main 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?

BIN: Coronavirus Closing Cities Worldwide: A Realization of Ezekiel 36 says Rabbi

Monday, March 23rd, 2020


Artist’s conception of the prophet Ezekiel (Wikipedia)

COGwriter

With lockdowns in Asia, Europe, Africa, North America, New Zealand, the Middle East, and elsewhere, many are concerned.

Breaking Israel News (BIN) reported the following opinion trying to tie this in with a prophecy in Ezekiel 36:

Rabbi Yehuda Richter of Kfar Tapuach (Apple Village) delivered a lecture on the subject of Coronavirus. Throughout the lecture, the rabbi made several comparisons between the Coronavirus Era and the Book of Ezekiel.
Most notably, Ezekiel 36:34:
“and the desolate land, after lying waste in the sight of every passerby, shall again be tilled. (Ezekiel 36:34)
Rabbi Richter relates that this prophecy is happening as we speak saying: “you look out in the streets you look out in the streets of America, in the world, in Europe. in Italy they’re desolate”
He explains that the reason for the desolation relates to a previous verse in Ezekiel which states:
“So I poured out My wrath on them for the blood which they shed upon their land, and for the idols with which they defiled it. (Ezekiel 36:18)
Rabbi Richter also explains that the closure of theater, Hollywood, and professional sports are those very ‘idols’ that Ezekiel was referring to saying: “Idols: no Hollywood, no theater, no NBA, no NHL. All these idols that we have.” https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/147403/coronavirus-closing-cities-worldwide-a-realization-of-ezekiel-36-says-rabbi/

While streets in places in the USA and Italy look desolate and celebritism can be a form of idolatry, is this possibly the fulfillment of Ezekiel 36?

No.

How can we be sure?

Let’s first look at Ezekiel 36:18 in the context of scriptures near it:

16 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 17 “Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own ways and deeds; to Me their way was like the uncleanness of a woman in her customary impurity. 18 Therefore I poured out My fury on them for the blood they had shed on the land, and for their idols with which they had defiled it. 19 So I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed throughout the countries; I judged them according to their ways and their deeds. 20 When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name — when they said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they have gone out of His land.’ 21 But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went. (Ezekiel 36:16-21)

Ezekiel 36:16-21 is clearly tied in with a scattering among the nations of Israel and that is simply not related to what is going on with COVID-19 and idolatry.

What about Ezekiel 36:34? Well, let’s also look at that in the context of scriptures near it:

33 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. 35 So they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’ 36 Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it.” (Ezekiel 36:33-36)

Notice that Ezekiel 36:34 comes immediately after God cleanses from all iniquities. This did not just happen prior to COVID-19.

Breaking Israel News has a history of citing rabbis who do not understand Ezekiel’s prophecies (e.g. BIN: Betelgeuse Supernova: Pre-Messiah Star of Jacob to Herald Gog Magog War With Iran,Trump: US ‘locked and loaded;’ BIN: Yekutiel Fish: ‘Yemen…first stage in the multi-national War of Gog and Magog’, and Does Trump’s Border Wall Fulfill Ezekiel 22?).

We have produced a couple of videos to deal with some prophetic errors related to parts of the Book of Ezekiel:

23:30

In April and September 2018, there were meetings involving top leaders of Russia, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. Some Protestant prophecy watchers have suggested that the meeting of these leaders could be a prelude to what is known as the Gog and Magog war as discussed in Ezekiel 38. Some have claimed that this battle must take place before ‘Armageddon’ and before Jesus returns. Some have wondered if the Gog/Magog war is Armageddon. Some believe that the existence of the modern State of Israel means the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 is soon. Is that possible? Does the modern state of Israel currently meet the criteria needed for Ezekiel 38 to be fulfilled? While many agree that the lands occupied by Russia and Iran are involved, are assertions about Turkey being identified as Togarmah possible or in serious error? Will the Gog/Magog war be soon or is it for a time far into the future? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to the sermonette video: Ezekiel 38 Gog and Magog War: Is it Soon?

The Bible speaks about conflict involving various ones in 38th chapter of Ezekiel. Places specifically mentioned chapter 38 in translations of the ancient Hebrew include Gog, Magog, Rosh, Meshech, Tubal, Gog, Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, the house of Togarmah, Sheba, Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish.  Do these prophecies involve Russia, Ukraine, or Iran? Is this World War III? What about various ones in Asia? Some say that the events in Iran, Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere are leading to a very soon fulfillment? Is this prophecy for now or AFTER Jesus returns?  Since Israel is not now dwelling safely without walls, when could this prophecy be fulfilled?

Here is a link to the video: Ezekiel 38: For Russia, Ukraine, & Iran Now?

Here is another from five years ago:


20:58

Is what is going on with Russia, Iran, and Syria predicted in the Bible Code? Is Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson’s interpretation of the year and passages in Deuteronomy 4 correct? Is a ‘cruel taskmaster from Iran prophesied to rule Israel? Is Joel Richardson’s view of Ezekiel 38 correct? Is Russia the power in the ‘far north’ of Ezekiel 38? Is Russia the prophesied King of the North? What will happen to Iran? Does the Bible teach that Damascus, Syria will be destroyed. Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more.

Here is a link to our video: Russia, Iran, Syria, & the Bible (Code).

Here is another, but newer, video related to part of the Book of Ezekiel:

9:15

Is Donald Trump fulfilling Ezekiel 32 related to Iran?

On December 27, 2019, Iranian-connected individuals were believed to have killed an American contractor. On Sunday, December 29, 2019, US President Donald Trump ordered a strike in Iraq that killed dozens of Iranian supporting Iraqis. The next two days there were protests at the US Embassy in Iraq. Then on January 2, 2020, US President authorized a drone strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, a top commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Baghdad International Airport. Could this be related to prophecies such as Ezekiel 32:24-25? What about Ezekiel 38? Is Iran (and allies like Syria) prophesied to attack Israel and cause damage to Jerusalem? Could Iran use EMP weapons and/or terrorism in retaliation against the US? Will Iran one day be neutralized? Will Ezekiel 32 be completely fulfilled in the future? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to our video: Is Donald Trump fulfilling Ezekiel 32 related to Iran?

Do not let emotions related to false interpretations of Ezekiel or other prophecies sway you.

Truly believe the word of God!

In the Continuing Church of God, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2 Peter 1:19, KJV).

Yet, sadly, most end time Christians are Laodicean and do NOT accept how the Bible shows that God works (see also Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18?).

The Bible shows that part of the final phase of the work is being done by God’s Spirit through His people (with God and angels directly handling other parts, e.g. Revelation 14:6-11), but many will not have the faith to believe:

6 This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)

7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

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. (Habakkuk 1:5)

It is God’s Spirit that provides the signs of confirmed dreams and prophecies in the last days.

Can you believe God’s word?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Why Prophecy? Why is so much of the Bible devoted to prophecy? Some question or downplay the role of prophecy. This article gives some of the biblical reasons what it is important and explains why the world cannot end (the Great Tribulation will not start) until after biblically-required events occur.
How to Understand Prophecy This is the late Herbert W. Armstrong’s overview on understanding prophecy.
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? Three related videos are available: Ezekiel 38 Gog and Magog War: Is it Soon?, Ezekiel 38: For Russia, Ukraine, & Iran Now?, and Russia, Iran, Syria, & the Bible (Code).
What is the Ezekiel Warning? Should the end-time descendants of Israel and Joseph be warned? What should the watchman warn about? Regarding a watchman, you can watch the following video: Go, Set a Watchman.
Is Donald Trump fulfilling Ezekiel 32 related to Iran? On December 27, 2019, Iranian-connected individuals were believed to have killed an American contractor. On Sunday, December 29, 2019, US President Donald Trump ordered a strike in Iraq that killed dozens of Iranian supporting Iraqis. The next two days there were protests at the US Embassy in Iraq. Then on January 2, 2020, US President authorized a drone strike that killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, a top commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Baghdad International Airport. Could this be related to prophecies such as Ezekiel 32:24-25? What about Ezekiel 38? Is Iran (and allies like Syria) prophesied to attack Israel and cause damage to Jerusalem? Could Iran use EMP weapons and/or terrorism in retaliation against the US? Will Iran one day be neutralized? Will Ezekiel 32 be completely fulfilled in the future? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more. This is a video.
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? 2027 or 20xx? There is also a video titled 6000 Years: When will God’s Kingdom Come? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2020, 2021, or 2022? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede comenzar la Gran Tribulación en 2018 o 2019? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter and newer video is: Could the Great Tribulation Begin in 2020?
The Times of the Gentiles Has there been more than one time of the Gentiles? Are we in it now or in the time of Anglo-America? What will the final time of the Gentiles be like? A related sermon is available and is titled: The Times of the Gentiles.
Armageddon Who is involved and when will this gathering happen? Here is also a video from Dr. Thiel, from Tel Megiddo in Israel: Armageddon. Other videos include: Armageddon Will it come on Trump’s watch?, Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy, Freemasonry, Armageddon, and Rome, Is China paving roads to Armageddon?, and Jordan, Petra, and Armageddon.
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?
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them. Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué estar preocupado acerca de falsos y heréticos líderes?
Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18? Here is a link in the French language: Est-ce que l’Église Continue de Dieu confirme les signes d’Actes 2:17-18?
Church of God Leaders on Prophets Have there been prophets throughout the church age? Are any supposed to be around in the last days? What have COG leaders stated or written about prophets? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Leaders on Prophets.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?

Today is International Happiness Day: What are some Biblical Keys to Happiness?

Friday, March 20th, 2020


COGwriter

Today is International Happiness Day:

International Day of Happiness is an opportunity for business leaders to reflect on the connections between happiness, productivity, and growth—in their own lives, and the lives of their organizations. …

The U.N.’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network issues an annual World Happiness Report, using a variety of measures to gauge the overall happiness of nations around the world. Last year’s report found the U.S. ranking had fallen from third place in 2007 to 18th place. …

Start with gratitude

Leading researchers in health and positive psychology have found that simple gratitude practices can dramatically improve our sense of well-being and our physical health. Such practices can include keeping a gratitude journal and making a habit of thanking employees and colleagues for their efforts. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nazbeheshti/2019/03/20/why-is-the-u-s-losing-ground-in-happiness-what-we-can-do-today-on-international-day-of-happiness/#2e79aaa451cd

As far as gratitude goes, we have a sermon related to giving thanks that is available: Ingratitude and Giving Thanks.

As far as happiness goes, the old Worldwide Church of God had an article about happiness by Charles F. Vinson in the January 1973 edition of old the Plain Truth magazine:

How MANY times have you thought, I’d be happy , if only . … “? The daydream usually continues with ” If only I had more money,” or, “if only I had married someone else,” or, “if only I could change jobs,” or, “if only I had better health.”

Always “if only.”

Is happiness the impossible dream? Why does it always seem to be some- where around the corner , off in the vague future , but never really right now?

Certainly there are reasons enough for the world’s all-too-common victims of war, disease, hunger and poverty to be less than satisfied with living. But what makes most Americans, Britons, Japanese, Germans – peoples who, in the main, enjoy a higher degree of human comfort than most of the other peoples of the world – so often dissatisfied, unfulfilled, empty and discouraged? Why can’t these people be happy?

The answer is deceptively simple. No one has ever told them how to achieve happiness.

What’s Your Concept?

Most human beings have little difficulty conjuring up their own purple-hued vision of the ultimate in human existence – very often a pleasing combination of wealth, status and power, with freedom from frustration, both mentally and sexually. If this vaguely fits your concept of happiness, you really ought to consider whether or not this “vision of Valhalla ” is a truly worthwhile goal.

One way to find out is to examine the lives of men who have actually lived under such conditions – and to see where it got them. One of the best examples historically is King Solomon, a real-life figure widely noted throughout the ancient world for his fantastic wealth and wisdom.

Solomon had everything going for him. His father, King David, had at great effort and cost subdued the worst of the neighboring war-hungry tribes and had established a measure of peace in the Kingdom of Israel. After David’s death, Solomon stepped into a situation few men have ever had the opportunity to experience – limitless wealth at his personal disposal, a conditional promise of blessings from God and the gift of unparalleled wisdom, also given by God. Gossip undoubtedly circulated far and wide in that ancient world about Solomon’s fantastic kingdom.

Foreign royalty paid him state visits to see if what they heard was really true.

It was. What they found in the City of David only served to reinforce the Solomonic legend, even though the truth needed no embellishment. According to the Biblical record published in Second Chronicles , chapters six through nine, Solomon possessed enough wealth and power to luxuriate in a life-style making notorious penthouse-dwellers of today seem poverty-stricken by comparison.

A Catalog of Wealth

On a yearly basis, Solomon received 666 talents of gold, or about 960,000 ounces. That amounts to something like $33,600,000 in gold per year at the old rate of $35 per ounce {$1,248,000,000 per year presuming a gold value of $1300 per ounce which it has been in the 21st century}.

There are … individuals today whose yearly assets … exceed that figure on paper, but this was the real thing – solid gold. It was reputedly so common, in fact, that Solomon didn’t bother to buy certain items for himself. He had them made from his gold. His throne was made of imported ivory overlaid with gold. None of his drinking vessels were made of silver. It was simply too common, assertedly as common as ordinary rock (I Kings 10:27).

Solomon imported finery from all parts of the world. His navy reported to him each year, bringing him more gold, silver, ivory and rare animals. In a triumph of understatement, I Kings 10:23 says that Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. State visits involved extravagant exchanges of gifts. When the famous Queen of Sheba for instance, came to investigate the fabulous rumors she had heard about Solomon, she brought along 120 talents of gold, a “very great store” of spices and precious stones to boot. Nearby friendly King Hiram, who lived on the Mediterranean coast, used his ships to bring Solomon gold from Ophir, as well as large amounts of rare wood and precious stones.

However, money really wasn’t everything. The Bible says that Solomon loved “many strange women” (I Kings 11:1). That is another magnificent understatement. Solomon kept seven hundred bona-fide wives plus three hundred concubines. To impress these wives, he commanded a personal army of charioteers – 1,400 chariots, to be exact, and twelve thousand horsemen. He even built special cities for these men, and imported their horses from Egypt. To keep his wives happy, he also ordered the best of imported fabrics (I Kings 10:28- 29).

But Was He Happy?

In addition, Solomon, being king and all-powerful, could of course do anything he desired – which is precisely what he set about to do. Later on, he wrote a book about his exploits called Ecclesiastes.

In this book, Solomon relates how he experimented with nearly every- thing under the sun to see what might make him happy. Nonstop entertainment soon grew tiresome. “But I found that this, too, was futile. For it is silly to be laughing all the time; what good does it do?” (Eccl. 2:2, The Living Bible.) He mentions taking up drinking to see if happiness could be found in a bottle. Happiness wasn’t, but morning-after headaches probably were. He constructed monuments to himself in the form of immense and beautiful public works. They were impressive and undoubtedly provided a great ego-trip, but they seem to have made him no happier. He built elaborate houses for himself and constructed temples for the gods of his favorite pagan wives. He raised vineyards and conducted experiments in his botanical gardens on all kinds of rare trees and plants. He constructed waterworks to irrigate the nearby arid land. Most of this is described in Ecclesiastes, chapter two.

He stated matter of factly, “I became greater than any of the kings in Jerusalem before me, and with it all I remained clear-eyed, so that I could evaluate all these things.” This, admittedly, sounds like shades of Muhammad Ali, the boastful American heavyweight boxer, but it was the literal truth. He also confessed that “anything I wanted, I took, and did not restrain myself from any joy” (Eccl. 2:9-10, The Living Bible).

In short, Solomon had fame, money, and wisdom – every physical blessing there was to have. He tried everything there was to try – at least, all he could think of – and he had whatever he wanted whenever he wanted it. It was all paid for. He lacked absolutely nothing in the way of human comfort.

Unfortunately, Solomon was miserable. He admitted it himself . “So now I hate life because it is all so irrational; all is foolishness, chasing the wind” (Eccl. 2:17, The Living Bible).

Why on earth would a man who had everything, including an unrestricted and enormously varied sex life, be so fed up with living that he felt like committing suicide?

The truth is that Solomon knew what would have made him happy – but he ignored it. Had he paid more attention to it, he could have lived a life more like the happier, fulfilled and rewarding existence of another man who lived almost a thousand years later.

From Persecutor to Persecuted

This man seemed to have every right to be miserable. He was Jewish and a member of the sect of the Pharisees. He hated the new sect which was called “Christian” after a certain Jesus Christ who had been publicly executed, but who the Christians claimed was still alive. He considered them an annoying threat to the Jewish religious establishment in which he held a high position. He persecuted the Christians with a vigor that astounded the liberal Romans in charge of that part of the Empire.

This man was forced to undergo conversion to the very “sect” which he had been so avidly persecuting. His former compatriots probably considered him slightly insane to take such a flip-flop in his thinking. The man’s name, of course, was Paul. He later became an apostle and one of the chief figures in the development of the New Testament church.

Far from having the magnificent wealth which Solomon had enjoyed, Paul was forced by circumstance to fall back on his childhood training of tentmaking in order to support himself as he ministered to the Churches of God located around the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, he had to do much of his traveling on foot, or by ship. Devastating storms were common occurrences. Then, too, he was under constant danger from those intent upon persecuting the Church as he had once done himself. He didn’t always escape their wrath.

He catalogued his “misadventures” in the ministry in one of his pub- lished letters to the church located in the Greek city of Corinth:

“Five different times the Jews gave me their terrible thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I was in the open sea all night and the whole next day. I have traveled many weary miles and have been often in great danger from flooded rivers, and from robbers, and from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the hands of the Gentiles. I have faced grave dangers from mobs in the cities and from death in the deserts and in the stormy seas and from men who claim to be brothers in Christ but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food; often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

“Then, besides all this, I have the to pay attention to his disastrous life constant worry of how the churches and to avoid the same mistake he are getting along” (The Living Bible, II Cor. 11:24-28).

That is quite a list of adventures, enough to make men of lesser fortitude to opt for a safe, comfortable office job. But external problems were not all Paul endured. He also had what he a “thorn in the flesh,” possibly a health problem, although he doesn’t refer to it specifically by name (II Cor. 12:7). He does imply, that his eyes gave him problems (Gal. 4:15).

In addition, he just wasn’t very impressive in person. He says little about this fact, but does mention that others had tried to denigrate him in the sight of his congregation by rather nastily alluding to the fact that he was powerful enough in his letters, but that his bodily presence was weak and his speech contemptible (II Cor. 10:10).

Yet Paul Was Happy

By now you can probably sense the obvious lesson about to hit you be- tween the eyes: Happiness doesn’t necessarily come from wealth, position, sexual freedom, or unlimited power and status. A man enduring the worst of living conditions, like Paul, can be happy in spite of the way things look or feel. ” . . . For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” said Paul in Philippians 4: 11. “I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of facing either plenty or poverty” (Philippians 4:12, Phillips translation).

What was his secret? What did Paul know that Solomon didn’t?

The answer is: NOTHING.

Solomon knew the same basic formula for happy living that Paul preached, but the fact that he ignored with- it literally ruined his life. As a bitter old man looking backward on years, Solomon advised younger men, made: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the, evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them … . Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: refers to as · for this is the whole duty of man” (Eccl . 12:1,13).

“Fear God and keep his commandments.” That was the one thing though, which could have made Solomon happy – which would have made his fabulous wealth, not at all wrong in itself, a blessing rather than a frustration. And, obedience to the laws of God was the one ingredient in Paul’s life which enabled him to keep going – even to be happy – in spite of all obstacles in his path.

And these same principles, if you obey them, can make you happy–no matter what your situation in life if YOU choose not to ignore them.

But Are They Relevant Today?

“All right,” you say, “but we are all living in the twentieth century, not two thousand years ago in a Middle Eastern kingdom noted for its mystical adherents and richly embellished history. How would following an ancient code like the Ten Commandments help anyone living in the city ghetto, or playing the freeway game each day, or struggling with unpaid bills, striving to patch up marital spats, worrying over visits to the hospital, breathing the polluted air?” Isn’t telling everyone to do so more than just a little absurd, a gross over- simplification as a solution to complicated human problems?

Not really. The Ten Commandments are timeless and apply no matter which century you happen to have been born into. For instance, the seventh commandment says, in what sounds to many like foreboding tones, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” In other words, “Don’t cheat on your wife or husband. It’ll make you both unhappy.”

It goes without saying that all of mankind is not now obeying God – and probably won’t unless forced to. But think, for a moment, of the fantastic results which would occur if everyone on earth were to obey just that one commandment. No more broken homes. No more agonizing heartbreak which cannot be measured statistically. No more wretched childhoods spent first with one parent, then with the other, always with the tension and insecurity which accompanies such a childhood situation, and which very often produces deep problems in the adult years. If everyone were striving to obey JUST this ONE commandment, the very marriage covenant would not be entered into so blithely. Young couples would take marriage much more seriously if they realized they were marrying for life, and not simply until the next attractive body comes around. In short, obedience to that one commandment could save mankind from a whole host of premarital and marital problems, heartaches and tragedies.

But that is only one commandment out of ten, only one example of why Solomon’s advice to “fear God and keep his commandments” is an open invitation to a happier, fuller, more satisfying life – the kind of life God wants every human being to experience.

If you would like to have more information about the Ten Commandments, explaining how all of them are applicable to life in today’s world, check out our free online book, The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast.

The Continuing Church of God has the following sermon related to happiness on its ContinuingCOG channel:

Nearly everyone wants to be happy. An advertising campaign decades ago attempted to directly tell us “that’s what happiness is.” Is happiness material goods or physical experiences? Are Christians supposed to be happy? What does the Bible teach about being happy? Does the Bible approach happiness from a different way than the world does? How should a Christian view tests and trials? Are you supposed to rejoice at God’s Holy Days? Dr. Thiel answers these questions and more, plus lists fourteen biblical keys to happiness.

Here is a link to the video sermon: 14 Biblical Keys to Happiness.

Now, in this time of COVID-19, many are fearful and concerned. Here is something from the Letter to the Brethren: March 19, 2020 of the Continuing Church of God:

The restrictions on movement and the discouragement of physical cash because of COVID-19 are paving the way for the acceptance of the 666 Beast and total government financial control. Now, however, as Jesus said, “do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet” (Mark 13:7). Jesus also said:

33 … In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33b)

32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

While you should take reasonable precautions, you do not need to fear. …

With all the reality and hype about COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) going around, the following came to mind:

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)

Brethren, trust God, for we are destined to “dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

At risk of repeat, remember that Jesus said “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

For more CCOG announcements, including happenings around the world, please read the Letter to the Brethren: March 19, 2020.

You can be happy. COVID-19 is NOT the end of the world (see also COVID-19 is NOT the end of the world, but could it be TEOTWAKI?).

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Biblical Keys to Happiness This is an article for those interested in biblical teachings about being happy. A related sermon is available and is titled: 14 Biblical Keys to Happiness.
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 MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, and The Mystery of YOU.
Why Were You Born? Why did God make you? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject. You may also wish to read the article What is Your Destiny? or watch the video, also titled What is Your Destiny?
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is the Meaning of Life? Who does God say is happy? What is your ultimate destiny? Do you really know? Does God actually have a plan for YOU personally? If you would like to watch videos covering subjects of this article, you can click on the following links: Why YOU? Why Do YOU Suffer? and What is the meaning of your life?
Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays? This is a free pdf booklet explaining what the Bible and history shows about God’s Holy Days and popular holidays. A related sermon is Which Spring Days should Christians observe?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.

Iran warns that millions may die from COVID-19 after its Alireza Panahian calls for deliberate spreading of the disease to fulfill Islamic prophecy related to the Mahdi

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020


Alireza Panahian (Wikipedia)

COGwriter

Notice the following about the novel coronavirus and Iran:

March 17, 2020

A member of the Assembly of Experts, who has the authority to hire or fire the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomenei, died from the Corona-Virus reports the semi-official Fars and Tasnim news outlet on Monday.

78-year-old Ayatollah Hashem Bathaei, is the latest on the list of senior Iranian officials to have caught the disease. Cabinet ministers, MPs, Revolutionary Guard officials as well as Health Ministry officials have all fallen victim to the virus. https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/147028/iran-coronavirus-kills-leading-iranian-ayatollah/

March 17, 2020

Iran issued its most dire warning yet Tuesday about the outbreak of the new coronavirus ravaging the country, suggesting “millions” could die in the Islamic Republic if the public keeps traveling and ignoring health guidance.

A state television journalist who also is a medical doctor gave the warning only hours after hard-line Shiite faithful the previous night pushed their way into the courtyards of two major shrines that had just been closed over fears of the virus.

Roughly nine out of 10 of the over 18,000 cases of the new virus confirmed across the Middle East come from Iran, where authorities denied for days the risk the outbreak posed. Officials have now implemented new checks for people trying to leave major cities ahead of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on Friday, but have hesitated to quarantine the areas.

That’s even as the death toll in Iran saw another 13% increase Tuesday. Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said the virus had killed 135 more people to raise the total to 988 amid over 16,000 cases. Jordan meanwhile prepared for a shutdown of its own over the virus, banning gatherings drawing more than 10 people.

Most people infected by the new coronavirus experience only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover within weeks. But the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by people with no visible symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The Iranian state TV journalist, Dr. Afruz Eslami, cited a study by Tehran’s prestigious Sharif University of Technology, which offered three scenarios. If people begin to cooperate now, Iran will see 120,000 infections and 12,000 deaths before the outbreak is over, she said. If they offer medium cooperation, there will be 300,000 cases and 110,000 deaths, she said.

But if people fail to follow any guidance, it could collapse Iran’s already-strained medical system, Eslami said. If the “medical facilities are not sufficient, there will be 4 million cases, and 3.5 million people will die,” she said. https://apnews.com/6e92d93551ee6c6ae51d0acaaad9eb32

While the above sounds like Iran wants to reduce cases of COVID-19, notice also the following:

March 17, 2020

Ali Reza Banahyan (also spelled Alireza Panahian), a Hojatoleslam (Shia cleric) and head of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s ‘think tank for universities’, was recently quoted in Shafaq News as saying that the coronavirus pandemic is a prelude to the emergence of the expected Mahdi (Muslim Messiah).

Banahyan  called on the Iranian people to actively spread the virus, “because it will accelerate the emergence of al- Mahdi.”

He added, “According to Shiite accounts, before the emergence of Imam Mahdi, the world suffers from widespread fears and many economic problems and deaths, and people will need a religious government led by Imam Mahdi.” https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/147060/iranian-official-calls-to-deliberately-spread-coronavirus-to-bring-messiah/

Now, let’s consider the ‘Mahdi’ that Alireza Panahian mentioned.

It is a tenant of Islam to “believe in the last days,” hence the understanding is that Islamic prophecies are to be believed (even though most Shi’a and Sunni Muslims disagree on the specifics).

Because of some Islamic prophetic interpretations, many expect that the Madhi will make the world Islamic:

The Madhi will be victorius and eradicate those pigs and gods and the idols of this time…

The Mahdi…will cause Islam to be the only religion practiced on the Earth (Richardson J. Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah. Pleasant Word, 2006, pp. 46,50-51)

(Although this will not happen, it is likely that more of certain regions of the world will embrace Islam for a while).

Certain Muslims believe that Jesus returns after the Mahdi and hence that the Madhi is a necessary step. Notice the following:

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

The reign of the Mahdi will be followed by that of the Antichrist… once the Antichrist has led away his followers, Jesus will then come to destroy the Antichrist in the closing moments of the cosmic drama.

Belief in the Mahdi has been rejected by noted Sunni authorities… (Glasse C. New Encyclopedia of Islam: A Revised Edition of the Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, 3rd edition, 2008, pp. 143, 316).

Some in Islam seem to essentially understand that the reign of the Beast and Antichrist will happen after the Mahdi’s death. Now this is true, in a sense, for the Arab lands, presuming that they consider that the biblically prophesied King of the South (cf. Daniel 11:40-43) fulfills aspects of their prophecies.

Iranians tend to believe that the Imam Mahdi is in a type of suspended animation, and that he will become public after a time of chaos. With the chaos in the world currently with COVID-19, we see Alireza Panahian calling for the virus’ spread to help provide more chaos. This is horrible and should be denounced by more.

That being said, here is some of what Wikipedia reports about the Imam Mahdi, essentially as believed by the Shi’ites of Iran:

Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Mahdī (Arabic:محمد بن الحسن المهدي) (born c. July 29, 869 (15 Sha‘bān 255 AH), in Occultation since 941) is believed by Twelver Shī‘a Muslims to be the Mahdī, an ultimate savior of humankind and the final Imām of the Twelve Imams. Twelver Shī‘a believe that al-Mahdī was born in 869 and did not die but rather was hidden by God in 941 (this is referred to as the Occultation) and will later emerge with Isa (Jesus Christ) in order to fulfill their mission of bringing peace and justice to the world.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani even credited the mystical ‘Imam Mahdi’ for his election (I call him ‘mystical’ because the Iranian Shi-ite view is that he has essentially been in a type of suspended animation for over 1,000 years, but then he will return and rule Jerusalem):

Iran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rohani, attributed his victory in the June 15 voting to the 12th Imam, Mahdi, a statement with ominous overtones in the Islamic regime’s quest for nuclear weapons.

The Shiites believe that at the end of times, the 12th Imam, a 9th-century prophet, will reappear with Jesus Christ at his side, kill all the infidels and raise the flag of Islam in all four corners of the world. Many analysts believe Iran is seeking nuclear capability to bring on that Armageddon.

“This political [election] was due to the kindness of the last Islamic messiah [Mahdi],” Rohani said Friday.

Kayhan newspaper, the main media outlet of the regime and the mouthpiece of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ran a centerpiece headline Saturday reporting Rohani’s statement. http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/new-iran-president-thanks-messiah-for-victory/#D4fjkLl73TALVLs6.99

Iran’s prior president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had stated that the Imam Mahdi, someone similar to the biblical King of the South of Daniel 11:40-43), would arise before he (President Ahmadinejad) left office. Well, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left office so he was wrong about that.

Yet, in the past, Iran’s ‘Supreme Leader’ said he is relying on the 12th Imam:

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei… has been heard to say that the coming of the last Islamic Messiah, the Shiites’ 12th Imam Mahdi, is near and that specific actions need to be taken to protect the Islamic regime for upcoming events. Mahdi, according to Shiite belief, will reappear at the time of Armageddon. Selected forces within the Revolutionary Guards and Basij reportedly have been trained under a task force called “Soldiers of Imam Mahdi” and they will bear the responsibility of security and protecting the regime against uprisings. Many in the Guards and Basij have been told that the 12th Imam is on earth, facilitated the victory of Hezbollah over Israel in the 2006 war and soon will announce publicly his presence after the needed environment is created. http://www.wnd.com/2012/01/iran-preparing-now-for-armageddon/, January 24, 2012)

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that victory of the Islamic Revolution is an example for reappearance of Lord of the Time Imam Mahdi…

Imam Khamenei made the remarks while touring Darolhadis book exhibition at Imam Khomeini Hosseinieh.

The Supreme Leader made clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran enjoys divine support vis-a-vis the systematic conspiracies of the United States to topple the revolutionary government in Iran since 1979. http://www.abna.ir/english/service/important/archive/2014/06/11/615223/story.html

But, in a major military conflict with the USA, Iran is likely to find itself defeated. Its hope for help from its claimed Imam Mahdi will not change that.

Unlike Sunnis who do not believe that Muhammed appointed a successor, Shi-ites believe that during Muhammad’s final pilgrimage to Mecca, he appointed his son-in-law, Ali ibn Abi Talib, to succeed him. As a result, Shi-ites believe that Ali ibn Abi Talib was the first Imam (leader), rejecting the legitimacy of the previous Muslim caliphs Abu Bakr, Uthman ibn al-Affan and Umar ibn al-Khattab. Shia Islam has several branches, the largest of which is the Twelvers, followed by Zaidis and Ismailis (Wikipedia, viewed 11/25/13).

The Twelvers (and many of the other Shia) basically have had a few peculiarities on the prophetic side. Notice:

Shiite Muslims, the majority in Iran, believe Jesus will accompany the Imam Mahdi when he reappears in a future apocalypse to save the world…

Shiites believe the Mahdi’s reappearance will usher in a new era of peace and harmony.

“We Muslims pray for the ‘Return’ (of Imam Mahdi) and Jesus is part of the return and the end of time,” Talebzadeh said (‘Islamic Jesus’ hits Iranian movie screens AFP – Jan 13, 2008 http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=080113231632.1q3rt654&show_article=1).

By ‘saving the world,’ they mean a successful conquering by the forces of Islam.

Here is some of what Wikipedia reports about the Sunni view:

Sunnis believe that the Mahdi has not yet been born, and therefore his exact identity is only known to Allah. Aside from the Mahdi’s precise, genealogy, Sunnis accept many of the same hadiths Shias accept about the predictions regarding the Mahdi’s emergence, his acts, and his universal Khilafat. Sunnis also have a few more Mahdi hadiths which are not present in Shia collections.

Basically, like the Sunnis, those of us in COGs, like the Continuing Church of God, do not believe that the Imam Mahdi is in some type of suspended animation that the Shi’ites tend to believe. Yet, we believe that the leader that the Bible refers to as the final King of the South may very well hold the title of Mahdi.

In 1966 and 1979, the old Radio/Worldwide CG taught that the King of the South would arise and make a deal with the King of the North as shown in Psalm 83:

But who is the “king of the south”?…in verse 40 we skip to “the time of the end”…The verse undoubtedly found partial fulfillment in the offensive of 1896…But Mussolini did not finish the prophecy…Just as there is yet to be a final “king of the north”…there may very well emerge in the same manner a final “king of the south”–an overall leader of an Arab-Moslem confederation, possibly bearing the very title Mahdi…a prophetic psalm (Psalm 83) provides additional insight into the Mideast picture. Germany (Assyria in Bible prophecy) and perhaps the rest of Europe will be in league in the future with a union of Arab nations…But in the end, this European-Arab alliance will prove short-lived…And the king of the north shall come against him [the king of the south]…Daniel 11:40-41…The Arab-Moslem Confederation will, of course, be thrown into chaotic disarray in the fact of invasion. (Stump K. The Arab World in Prophecy. Plain Truth, December 1979, pp. 11-12).

They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom [Esau or modern-day Turkey, a non-Arab but Islamic nation] and the Ishmaelites [Saudi Arabia]; of Moab [part of Jordan] and the Hagarenes [anciently these people dwelt in the land known as Syria today]; Gebal [Lebanon], and Ammon [modern Jordan], and Amalek [part of the Turks]; the Philistines [the modern Palestinian Arabs] with the inhabitants of Tyre [Lebanon]; Assur [whose descendants, the Assyrians, migrated to Germany] also is joined with them: (Stump K. The Arab World in Prophecy. Plain Truth, December 1979).

Turn to the astounding prophecy found in Psalm 83:1-8. David, inspired of God, predicted the coming time when ALL of Israel’s enemies would join together in an effort to crush out even the name “Israel” from the face of the earth! (Verse 4) “For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee…” (verse 5). Notice the nations making up this confederation. “Edom [Turkey], and the Ishmaelites [Saudi Arabia]; Moab [Jordan], and the Hagarenes [they anciently dwelt in the land known as Syria today]; Gebal {Lebanon}, and Ammon [Jordan] and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur [whose descendants migrated to Germany] is joined with them; they have helped the children of Lot” {Moab and Ammon in modern Jordan). Here we see that the Arab nations mentioned are allied with Germany (Assur) which we know from other prophecies will be the military leader — naturally so — of a United States of Europe…Egypt…will provoke the prophesied United Europe (Dan. 11:40). This European power — called the “king of the north” in Daniel 11 — shall invade and occupy the “glorious land” of Palestine (verse 41). “And the land of Egypt shall not escape”(Boraker R. SYRIA RAIDS ISRAEL – Where Is It Leading? Plain Truth. November 1966)

The above quotes shows that the WCG under the late Herbert Armstrong’s leadership taught that there would be a future fulfillment of Daniel 11:40 involving an end-time King of the South and North and that WCG believed it would involve some type of Arab-Islamic confederation, and the leader may use the title Mahdi. And that is consistent with Ezekiel 30:2-8.

Attempts by some in Iran to increase chaos may well lead to some of the ‘troubles’ that Jesus foretold in Mark 13:8–and also might in encouraging other Muslims to unite as seemingly prophesied in Daniel 11 and Ezekiel 30.

Of course, Iran should not place its hope in its mystical Mahdi. And of course, no one should be encouraging the deliberate spread of COVID-19.

Some items of possibly-related interest may include:

Iran in Prophecy Is Iran in Bible prophecy? If so, what does the Bible teach? What names, other than Persia, may be used to describe Iran? There is also a YouTube video titled Iran In Prophecy.
Electrical End of the USA? Could problems with the electrical power grid caused by one or more electro-magnetic pulse bombs, solar flares, and/or other phenomena help weaken the USA to the point of allowing it to be taken over? Does such potential exist? If so, is this consistent with any biblical prophecies? What are some of the severe consequences that the USA would face in the event of a electrical power grid failure? Is there evidence in scripture that the USA will be taken over in the 21st century? This is a video.
Is the Future King of the South Rising Up? Some no longer believe there needs to be a future King of the South. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? Might this King be called the Mahdi or Caliph? What does the Bible say? A YouTube video of related interest may be: The Future King of the South is Rising.
The Muslim Brotherhood and the Rise of the King of the South The Bible tells of the formation of a power of nations that are in the Middle East and North Africa that are part of the final “King of the South” (Daniel 11:40-43) The Muslim Brotherhood wishes to have an Islamic empire with basically the same nations. This YouTube video explains what to expect from such a confederation.
Why Terrorism? Is Terrorism Prophesied? What does the Bible teach? Which nations may be affected? Here is a link to a related sermon: Terrorism, Christianity, and Islam.
The Arab and Islamic World In the Bible, History, and Prophecy The Bible discusses the origins of the Arab world and discusses the Middle East in prophecy. What is ahead for the Middle East and those who follow Islam? What about the Imam Mahdi? What lies ahead for Turkey, Iran, and the other non-Arabic Muslims? An item of possibly related interest in the Spanish language would be: Líderes iraníes condenan la hipocresía de Occidente y declaran que ahora es tiempo para prepararse para el Armagedón, la guerra, y el Imán Mahdi.
The Prophesied ‘Islamic’ Confederation Where is an Islamic caliphate prophesied? Will one happen? Should you be concerned about it? A related video is Will an Arabic Calphiphate Destroy the West?
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
How Will Middle East Peace be Brought About? Can humans bring peace to the Middle East? Here is a link to a related video: Middle East Peace? When?
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? 2027 or 20xx? There is also a video titled 6000 Years: When will God’s Kingdom Come? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2020, 2021, or 2022? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede la Gran Tribulación comenzar en el 2020 o 2021? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter and newer video is: Could the Great Tribulation Begin in 2020?
The Times of the Gentiles Has there been more than one time of the Gentiles? Are we in it now or in the time of Anglo-America? What will the final time of the Gentiles be like? A related sermon is available and is titled: The Times of the Gentiles.

Armageddon Who is involved and when will this gathering happen? Here is also a video from Dr. Thiel, from Tel Megiddo in Israel: Armageddon. Other videos include: Armageddon Will it come on Trump’s watch?, Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy, Freemasonry, Armageddon, and Rome, Is China paving roads to Armageddon?, and Jordan, Petra, and Armageddon.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse What do each of the four horseman of the Apocalypse represent? Have they began their ride? Did Jesus discuss the any of this? Might their rides coincide with the “beginning of sorrows? Do they start their ride prior to the Great Tribulation? Did Nostradamus or any other ‘private prophets’ write predictions that may mislead people so that they may not understand the truth of one or more of the four horseman? There is also a related YouTube video titled The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
COVID-19 Leading to 666? The novel coronavirus of Wuhan, China fame, is now called COVID-19. It has also been called the ‘Coronapocalypse.’ Does COVID-19 have any prophetic ramifications? What did Jesus teach about pestilences and sorrows in the Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24? Could COVID-19 be the ride of the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse? Why was this type of disease expected according to the Old Testament prophecies in Deuteronomy and Leviticus? What has the US Centers for Disease Control warned about? What has the CDC reported about the flu? Were there lessons about fear and infections in the 2011 movie ‘Contagion’? Because of COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO), nation of Iran, and certain French locations are telling people not to use cash, but instead electronic forms of payment. The US Federal Reserve is now quarantining money repatriated from Asia to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus on US currency bills. Is COVID-19 worse than we have been told or could this all be a ‘false flag’ event to encourage people to move towards a cashless society? If the thousands of deaths associated with COVID-19 are pushing parts of the world towards cashlessness, how much more likely will the ride of the fourth horseman and over a billion human deaths motivate people to move to making electronic payments that can be monitored? The Bible tells of a soon coming society that controls buying and selling to force allegiance to a coming European Beast power, known as 666 (Revelation 13:16-18). Does the ‘great tribulation’ begin before ride of the fourth horseman or with the opening of the fifth seal of Revelation 6? Do the words of Jesus helps us better understand the sequence of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and the start of the Great Tribulation? Will the ride of the fourth horseman help lead to the rise of 666? Is that ride very close? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more in this video.
Biological Warfare and Prophecy Is biological warfare possible? Was it prophesied? Scientists have long warned that pathogenic organisms like the coronavirus could be weaponized. Furthermore, back in 2017, there were concerns that the biological research facility being constructed in Wuhan, China was risky and that a coronavirus from it could be released. On January 25, 2020, China’s President Xi Jinping publicly stated that the situation with the Wuhan-related strain of the coronavirus was grave. Did Church of God writers like the late evangelist Raymond McNair warn that engineered viruses (the “Doomsday bug”) were consistent with prophecies from Jesus? Did a warning from CCOG leader Bob Thiel warn about risks of genetically-modified (GMO) mosquitoes come to pass? Could human research and/or the consumption of biblically-unclean animals such as bats and snakes be a factor in current outbreaks or coming future pestilences? What about famines? How devastating have pestilences been? How devastating are the prophesied ones going to be? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more in this video.
Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse What is the pale horse of death and pestilences? What will it bring and when? Some related videos may include Amphibian Apocalypse: Threat to Humans?, Zombie Deer Disease is Here! Are the 10 Plagues on Egypt Coming?, and Biological Warfare and Prophecy. Here is a version of the article in Spanish: El cuarto jinete de Apocalipsis, el caballo pálido de muerte y pestilencia.

Is St. Patrick’s Day appropriate for biblical Christians?

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020


Postcard from 1912 for “St. Patrick’s Day”

COGwriter

March 17th is often observed as St. Patrick’s Day. Because of COVID-19 a lot of the largest parades for it have been cancelled, but many will observe it in bars and in other ways.

Is this an appropriate day for real Christians to celebrate?

The Protestant Christianity Today seems to think so as an article at its website stated:

IrishWatch
Get into the Saint Patrick’s Day mood with an eclectic selection of websites concerning all things Irish.

Each year millions of people observe St. Patrick’s Day, but those in the real Churches of God (COGs), like the Continuing Church of God, do not.

Why?

Because of what it is and what it is supposed to represent.

The Catholic Encyclopedia makes some interesting, as well as disturbing, claims about Patrick:

St. Patrick
Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland…Pope St. Celestine I, who rendered immortal service to the Church by the overthrow of the Pelagian and Nestorian heresies, and by the imperishable wreath of honour decreed to the Blessed Virgin in the General Council of Ephesus, crowned his pontificate by an act of the most far-reaching consequences for the spread of Christianity and civilization, when he entrusted St. Patrick with the mission of gathering the Irish race into the one fold…

“St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate”, is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity…

St. Patrick proceeded through Gowran into Ossory; here he erected a church under the invocation of St. Martin, near the present city of Kilkenny, and enriched it with many precious relics which he had brought from Rome…

Many times in the day he armed himself with the sign of the Cross…

Far more ample, however, were the aspirations of the saint, and he resolved to persevere in fasting and prayer until the fullest measure of his petition was granted. Again and again the angel came to comfort him, announcing new concessions; but all these would not suffice. He would not relinquish his post on the mountain, or relax his penance, until all were granted. At length the message came that his prayers were heard:

  • many souls would be free from the pains of purgatory through his intercession…and…
  • greatest blessing of all, Patrick himself should be deputed to judge the whole Irish race on the last day.,

Such were the extraordinary favors which St. Patrick, with his wrestling with the Most High, his unceasing prayers, his unconquerable love of heavenly things, and his unremitting penetential deeds, obtained for the people whom he evangelized (Cardinal Moran, Patrick Francis. Transcribed by Mary Doorley. St. Patrick. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

We in the Continuing Church of God do not consider that Patrick was an apostle. We do not consider that people should wear crosses. We do not believe that he has been chosen by God to judge the Irish race on judgment day.

We also realize that the idea of purgatory was not adopted until the Church of Rome distanced itself from the teachings on apocatastasis (the biblical doctrine that in the age to come that all who did not have a real opportunity for salvation will actually receive one).

Although most Protestants do not accept the Roman concept of purgatory, they (unlike the Eastern Orthodox) went along with Rome and also no longer generally teach apocatastasis.

So one reason not to celebrate “St. Patrick’s Day” is that it promotes non-biblical doctrines and helps obscure the real teachings of the Bible.

But there are more.

Wikipedia reports:

Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá ‘le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig), colloquially Paddy’s Day or St. Patty’s Day, is the feast day which annually celebrates Saint Patrick (373-493), the patron saint of Ireland, on March17, the day on which Saint Patrick died…It became a feast day in the universal church due to the influence of the Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding, as a member of the commission for the reform of the Breviary in the early part of the 17th century…

One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. This stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

The St. Patrick’s Day custom came to America in 1737, the first year St. Patrick’s Day was publicly celebrated, in Boston, Mass.

Today, people celebrate the day with parades, wearing green (Saint Patrick’s Day. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick’s_Day 03/16/07).

The above should give persons in the COGs pause to celebrate this holiday.

Not only do we not celebrate what “the universal church” observes, we do not accept that God is a trinity as defined by the Council of Constantinople in 381 A.D. A three-leafed shamrock is what we in the USA call a three-leafed clover. The early church did not consider that God was such a trinity, hence the observation of a holiday intended to celebrate one who used a green clover to mislead people about the nature of the Godhead would not be appropriate. (Two articles of related interest may be Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? and Binitarian View: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning.

So, St. Patrick’s Day is essentially a holiday promoting the wrong view of the Godhead.

The History Channel reported:

The Shamrock

In fact the first written mention of this story did not appear until nearly a thousand years after Patrick’s death. The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism.

So whether the green clover was intended to be a symbol of a non-existent trinity or a pagan symbol related to the rebirth of Spring, following the custom of wearing green on March 17th would not seem to be a biblically-wise idea. Many other practices of this holiday show that it is not a biblical one.

The “fruits” of this holiday are not good. Not only are they dangerous (see St. Patrick’s Day: A More Dangerous Time to Drive) the type of revelry and drinking parties that occur supposedly to celebrate it were condemned by the Apostle Peter (1 Peter 4:1-3) and the Apostle Paul (Galatians 5:19-21).

Patrick was Not the First Christian in the Isles

Despite certain claims, the one claimed to be St. Patrick by the Romans simply was not the first to bring Christianity to the British Isles. Hippolytus (an early Catholic saint, who, like earlier Catholic saints, also opposed the trinity), in the early third century, claimed that one of the seventy that Jesus sent out to preach ended up in Britain:

These two belonged to the seventy disciples who were scattered…Aristobulus, bishop of Britain (Hippolytus. Where Each OF Them Preached, And Where HE Met His End).

If that is so, Aristobulus could have been placed in charge by one of the apostles as the seventy (Luke 10:1,17) and would have had to have known the original apostles. But it is clear that by the early third century, it was known that some version of Christianity had made it into the British Isles. And as others have also indicated, this could have occurred earlier.

Eusebius, for another example, wrote in the 4th century that Jesus’ disciples reached the British Isles:

His disciples…to preach to all the Name of Jesus, to teach about His marvellous deeds in country and town, that some of them should take possession of the Roman Empire, and the Queen of Cities itself, and others the Persian, others the Armenian, that others should go to the Parthian race, and yet others to the Scythian, that some already should have reached the very ends of the world, should have reached the land of the Indians, and some have crossed the Ocean and reached the Isles of Britain (Eusebius of Caesarea: Demonstratio Evangelica, Book 3, Chapter 5. Translated by W.J. Ferrar. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. London. The Macmillan Company. New York 1920, p. 113).

Notice a sixth century account:

Venantius Fortunatus, A.D. 560, says: “St. Paul passed over the ocean to the Island of Britain, and to Thule, the extremity of the earth.” (Ireland) (Celtic Sabbath-Keeping Study No. 264, from Cherith Chronicle, April-June 1998, pp. 46-47. http://www.giveshare.org/BibleStudy/264.celtic-sabbath-keeping.html 6/24/06)

Thus, Aristobulus and/or others (like possibly Paul) came to the Isles well before “Patrick.”

The truth is that when they arrived, the Roman Catholics were unhappy to find a Christianity in the Isles that held to very non-Catholic beliefs (more on this is in the article The Pergamos Church Era).

Now, it should be noted that some believe that the Patrick that the Catholics venerate was not actually supportive of Rome and had certain Christian teachings. And that might be so, however, the celebration that millions will participate in today is based on the claimed shamrock, etc. version of his life.

A related video is also available: Should Christians Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Another Non-Christian Custom

Although most probably consider that getting drunk is the biggest social problem associated with the holiday (other than its ties to idolatry), one particularly disgusting practice is that people who do not wear green on this day are subject to ridicule and harassment.

One such practice (especially among some American children) is chasing and pinching those who do not wear green on that day. And while some may consider that this type of persecution is only a harmless practice, it has caused distress and harm to many children over the years.

Notice the following:

If you don’t wear green people pinch you constantly (St. Patrick’s Day. P.J. J. Todd M. 3/16/07).

#1 St. Patrick’s Day Priority – Avoid Being Pinched
Tradition Dictates Those Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day Must Work Green Into Their Outfits . (PR Newswire. March 6, 2007).

It’s that time again: the time to put on your best bright green suit, march down the streets of your town, parade yourself into your favorite local pub and show your Irish pride. Don’t forget to pinch those who are not wearing green (Anderson, Rusty. Daily Staff Writer. It’s not authentic just because it’s green. Iowa State Daily, 03/08/07).

Although St. Patrick’s Day was originally a religious celebration to honor St. Patrick, to us it has become much more. Our memories of the festivities consist of pinching those who don’t wear green (Morgan, Holly. Daily Staff Writer. Holiday tradition changes from honoring a saint to honoring all things Irish. Iowa State Daily, 03/08/07).

Would that practice be one that Jesus would endorse? Did not Jesus object to those who held to tradition but ignored the weightier matters of the law? Notice:

23 Woe to you…For you…have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith (Matthew 23:23, NKJV).

If not, how can any who consider themselves any type of Christian participate in, or allow their children to participate in, such a non-loving, non-merciful practice, like pinching? (Please also see the article Tradition and the Bible.)

Furthermore, it was quite presumptuous, as well as wrong, for this Patrick to conclude that God will use him on the last day to judge all the Irish race (allegedly Patrick was told so by an “angel” named Victor, for details see Why The Continuing Church of God Does Not Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day). This suggests to me, at least, that he was possibly delusional or demonically-influenced. Why would Christians wish to be part of this delusion?

Many of the stories of St. Patrick lead to a misunderstanding of what Christianity is and the nature of the Godhead. It also is highly deceiving for the Irish as they will not be judged by this Patrick.

Notice what the Apostle Peter wrote:

1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 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. (1 Peter 4:1-3)

Is not “St. Patrick’s Day” a time for revelry, drinking parties, and drunkenness? Is not that something that the Apostle Peter said real Christians would no longer participate in?

According to the Apostle Paul, such people will not be in the Kingdom of God:

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)

The writings from the apostles should be enough to stop professors of Christ from participating in St. Patrick’s Day revelries, but sadly most who profess Christ overlook much of what the Bible teaches about real Christian practices.

For those and all the related reasons, we in the Continuing Church of God do not intentionally wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, do not pinch others, nor do we intentionally observe other celebrations related to Patrick on that day.

We, like others who try to “live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), instead keep the same holy days that the Bible enjoins and that were kept by the original apostles and their early followers. Shouldn’t you?

Some biblical holy days will be upon us soon (for dates, see calendar of Holy Days). Do you want to learn more about them? Check out the free online booklet Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Why The Continuing Church of God Does Not Wear Green on St. Patrick’s Day Should non-Catholics observe a Catholic holiday? What did Patrick write and stand for? A related video is also available: Should Christians Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
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.
Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory? Is there a place called purgatory? Does God have a plan to help those who did not become saints in this life?
What is Limbo? Is There Such a Place as Limbo? What Happens to Babies When They Die? When did Limbo start being taught? What is the truth about dead babies? Here is a link to the video: Popes Change on Limbo and Purgatory?
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: Apocatastasis, Universal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be Saved, Mysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3), Is God Fair, Will God Pardon the Ignorant?, Can God Save Your Relatives?, Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
All the Prophets Spoke of Apocatastasis The Apostle Peter said all the prophets spoke about “apokatastasis. Do you know what that is? Watch also ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
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.
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by the Tkach WCG which states that this should be a local decision. What do the Holy Days mean? Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
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.
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.
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well. Here is a related sermon, also titled Melito’s Homily on the Passover.
The Night to Be Observed What is the night to be much observed? When is it? Why do Jews keep Passover twice and emphasize the wrong date? A related video is available and is titled The Night to Be Much Observed.
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? What is leaven? This article supplies some biblical answers. Here is a YouTube video intended to be viewed for the first day of unleavened bread: Christians and the Days of Unleavened Bread.
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.

BBC: Coronavirus: Isolation for over-70s ‘within weeks’ AP: Not exactly gloating, stockpiling ‘preppers’ have a moment

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

COGWriter

The UK is considering forced quarantine for all people over 70:

Coronavirus: Isolation for over-70s ‘within weeks’

15 March 15 2020

Every Briton over the age of 70 will be told “within the coming weeks” to stay at home for an extended period to shield them from coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said.

He told the BBC the advice will not come into force just yet but when it does it will last “a very long time”.

Wartime-like measures will ask car makers to produce medical equipment and turn hotels into hospitals, he said.

“Every single person in this country is going to be affected,” he warned.

Over-70s – and younger people with certain health conditions – will need to remain at home and have groceries and vital medication delivered, the health secretary said.

All the UK deaths from the virus so far have been among people aged over 60 or with underlying health conditions. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51895873

So, another massive loss of freedom is being contemplated. Thus, over 70s may wish to go out now when they get a chance to shop as this may get more difficult for many soon. In California, its governor Gavin Newsom recommended today that everyone over 65 should not go out of their homes.

What about anyone stocking up now?

The Associated Press reported the following:

Not exactly gloating, stockpiling ‘preppers’ have a moment

March 15, 2020

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Curt La Haise has put up with plenty of razzing from friends over the years who have called him paranoid for stockpiling an eight-month supply of food in his basement and having enough fuel to power his generator for almost an entire winter.

They’re not laughing anymore amid panic buying that has cleared store shelves across the U.S. and growing fears that the new coronavirus will force many Americans to self-quarantine for weeks in their homes.

“Now my friends are like, ‘What should I do, what should I get?’” said La Haise, who operates a firearms and safety training business near Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. “Prepping doesn’t look so bad now.”

For those in the often-mocked “prepper” community, this is quickly becoming their “I told you so” moment. But many are resisting saying that, even if it’s in the back of their minds. What they hope is that they’ll finally be taken seriously and that more people will follow their lead. …

Survival supply stores can’t keep up with the demand for food kits and medical supplies.

“Every single business that has to do with emergency preparedness is overloaded,” said John Ramey, founder of a Colorado-based prepper website called The Prepared.

Most preppers say they are about self-reliance and common sense and are quick to distance themselves from the “doomsday preppers” who are depicted on television shows awaiting the day most of the world’s population is wiped off the map.

“The vast majority of this is ‘beans and Band-Aids,’ not ‘bullets and bunkers,’” Ramey said. …

As for the preppers, they have their own recommendations for anyone who is unsure of what to do next:

— Be ready to stay at home for at least two weeks. Have plenty of food and water. Don’t forget about your pets and medicines. That includes over-the-counter products for fevers and coughs.

— Yes, toilet paper is important, but so are hand sanitizers, disinfectants, sanitation wipes, eye protection and gloves.

— Get your finances in order. Make sure you can pay your bills and have cash on hand.

— Maybe most important, relax and don’t panic. And pay attention to the news and what’s happening around you. https://apnews.com/355c96b2eebe575e42a2bb4dcdd2d7fc

What about Christians?

Does it make any sense to be prepared for disasters?

Certainly!

Jesus warned that disasters would be part of the “beginning of sorrows” which happen BEFORE the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21-22). Notice:

6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:6-8)

Those sorrows, include pestilences, and they are also involved with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Revelation 6:1-8).

As far as preparation goes, notice the following:

3 “A prudent man forsees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3).

Those of us who believe the Bible realize that Jesus foresaw evil times.

Should we be physically prepared?

Notice the following scriptures:

6 Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
7 Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
8 Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.
9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep —
11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:6-11).

15 “Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, And an idle person will suffer hunger” (Proverbs 19:15).

4 The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing. (Proverbs 20:4)

24 … they are exceedingly wise: 25 The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; (Proverbs 30:24-25)

But won’t God provide?

3 “The LORD will not allow the righteous soul to famish” (Proverbs 10:3).

Yes, He will, but look at the next verses:

5 “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in the summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son of shame” (Proverbs 10:4-5).

So, the Bible speaks well of those who gather in the seasons when they can.

Notice also something from the New Testament:

10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)

You are not just to sit around and expect others to take care of you.

For more information see our article: Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians and/or watch the sermon video: Physical preparedness for Christians.

But what about “doomsday preppers”? Those that believe that they will be safe from “the end of the world as we know it” (sometime called TEOTHAWKI) because they have stocked years of food and other items?

While making physical preparations can be wise (cf. Proverbs 22:23; 30:24-25), those who think that they have considered being prepared for all possible emergency situations that will occur are deceiving themselves.

Christians need to heed Jesus’ instructions:

25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matthew 16:25-27)

This does not mean that no physical preparations should be made: but they will not provide salvation.

As far as physical protection in this age during the time of the Great Tribulation, the Bible teaches that there will be two groups of Christians. One group will be protected and the other will not be:

14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 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 12:14-17)

Notice the group that is promised protection:

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:7-10)

The above promise of protection was only made to the Philadelphian Christians, yet is was not made to the other churches of Revelation 2 & 3.

Jesus said:

34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)

Christians should watch world events and realize their biblical ramifications. They should pray to be accounted worthy to escape what will come to pass. This means that in these times that they need to strive to be a Philadelphian Christian.

NOT ALL CHRISTIANS are promised this protection–per Revelation 12:14-17.

For more on who will be protected and where they will be protected, please check out the article There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra.

Now, preppers are correct that people are foolish to think that the government will be able to help them when things get really bad.

Preppers are right that it is wise to prepare for emergencies and disasters.

Preppers are right to conclude that they should be able to ‘live of the grid’ in the event of massive electrical shortages that could be triggered by solar flares, electromagnetic pulse bombs, or other natural and manmade phenomena.

Essentially, they believe that if they have some type of difficult to penetrate shelter (bunker), food, water, filtration system, medicines, guns, etc. that they will be able to take care of themselves and be fine.

But most doomsday preppers who think that they will safely ride out the Great Tribulation are basically deceiving themselves.

They correctly believe that by having such things that they will reduce the strain on whatever a government may or may not be able to supply in the event of a massive disaster.

It is not that none will survive the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, but it will be worse than they anticipate.

Some doomsday preppers believe that they will be able to survive in various locations in the USA. Some preppers believe that they will survive in the mountains of Australia. New Zealand is remote and its South Island has a lot of mountains, some of the rich are looking there (see Buying a ‘place of safety’ in New Zealand is ignoring what the Bible teaches). Still others look to the UK or to remote regions of Canada.

Of course, certain Protestants instead believe that they will be ‘raptured’ away from the earth prior to the start of the Great Tribulation. While that is their professed hope, the idea is NOT supported by the Bible and is in error (for many biblical details, check out the article Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected?).

Now that Bible shows that some few will escape captivity will go to the mountains:

16 ‘Those who survive will escape and be on the mountains
Like doves of the valleys,
All of them mourning,
Each for his iniquity.
17 Every hand will be feeble,
And every knee will be as weak as water. (Ezekiel 7:16-17)

Yet, notice also something from the prophets Amos and Jeremiah:

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)

19 They pursued us on the mountains And lay in wait for us in the wilderness (Lamentations 4:19).

The above indicates that some will be hiding in the mountains and other places in the USA while others are will be taken out of the USA (which is the prophetic Samaria–see Spiritual Samaritans: Old and New). Most of the Anglos that are not killed will be made slaves. Hiding in the mountains may protect a few for a time, but it will be relatively few that survive that way for long.

They will be pursued.

But didn’t Jesus teach to flee to the mountains?

Well, yes for the mountains of Judea:

15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matthew 24:15-16)

But He also did not say one should plan to stay in them. Consider that Jesus then added:

17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! (Matthew 24:17-19)

Now this does not mean that Jesus expected one to go to a stocked bunker. Only that those in Judea who have not fled before they see the abomination will not have time to do anything then but flee. In time, any who are Philadelphian Christians will go elsewhere (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra).

Mormons tend to believe that they need to have a year’s supply of food on-hand, yet that will not be enough.

It will be so bad that it will take God’s intervention to keep any humans alive:

20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:20-22)

The Bible tells of a place of protection for Philadelphian Christians and that is in a wilderness area, apparently in the Middle East.

The mountains of the USA. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK will not really be a place of protection for many–the place of protection for the Philadelphian Christians will be elsewhere (see There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra).

Last August, the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) put together the following video on our Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel:

18:48

Doomsday Preppers and Preparation

A study came out in August of 2019 showing that so many Americans are so fearful from news reports that more have become doomsday preppers. Meaning that they are storing up food, weapons, and other supplies for an apocalyptic type event to hit the USA. Jesus said sorrows and troubles would come, then a tribulation so bad that unless God intervened, no flesh would be saved alive. Is physical preparation the answer? Should Christians do any type of disaster preparations? Does God have a plan to protect some or all Christians from the coming “hour of trial” that Jesus spoke of? Who is promised protection and who is not? Is keeping the commandments enough? What has Jesus said His people should do? Are you supporting the work that needs to be completed before the end comes? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to the sermonette: Doomsday Preppers and Preparation.

In the Continuing Church of God, we have always advised that people have several days to several weeks supply of food, water, and other items that they may need in an emergency.

That is consistent with scripture.

Those who have done that are less concerned about running out of basic needs during this current COVID-19 crisis.

And even if COVID-19 does not result in any shortages around you (it has resulted in some noticeable ones around here), more disasters are coming.

Do not be less physically prepared than an ant.

Do not be less spiritually prepared than a true Philadelphian Christian.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse What do each of the four horseman of the Apocalypse represent? Have they began their ride? Did Jesus discuss the any of this? Might their rides coincide with the “beginning of sorrows? Do they start their ride prior to the Great Tribulation? Did Nostradamus or any other ‘private prophets’ write predictions that may mislead people so that they may not understand the truth of one or more of the four horseman? There is also a related YouTube video titled The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
COVID-19 Leading to 666? The novel coronavirus of Wuhan, China fame, is now called COVID-19. It has also been called the ‘Coronapocalypse.’ Does COVID-19 have any prophetic ramifications? What did Jesus teach about pestilences and sorrows in the Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24? Could COVID-19 be the ride of the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse? Why was this type of disease expected according to the Old Testament prophecies in Deuteronomy and Leviticus? What has the US Centers for Disease Control warned about? What has the CDC reported about the flu? Were there lessons about fear and infections in the 2011 movie ‘Contagion’? Because of COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO), nation of Iran, and certain French locations are telling people not to use cash, but instead electronic forms of payment. The US Federal Reserve is now quarantining money repatriated from Asia to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus on US currency bills. Is COVID-19 worse than we have been told or could this all be a ‘false flag’ event to encourage people to move towards a cashless society? If the thousands of deaths associated with COVID-19 are pushing parts of the world towards cashlessness, how much more likely will the ride of the fourth horseman and over a billion human deaths motivate people to move to making electronic payments that can be monitored? The Bible tells of a soon coming society that controls buying and selling to force allegiance to a coming European Beast power, known as 666 (Revelation 13:16-18). Does the ‘great tribulation’ begin before ride of the fourth horseman or with the opening of the fifth seal of Revelation 6? Do the words of Jesus helps us better understand the sequence of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and the start of the Great Tribulation? Will the ride of the fourth horseman help lead to the rise of 666? Is that ride very close? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more in this video.
Biological Warfare and Prophecy. Is biological warfare possible? Was it prophesied? Scientists have long warned that pathogenic organisms like the coronavirus could be weaponized. Furthermore, back in 2017, there were concerns that the biological research facility being constructed in Wuhan, China was risky and that a coronavirus from it could be released. On January 25, 2020, China’s President Xi Jinping publicly stated that the situation with the Wuhan-related strain of the coronavirus was grave. Did Church of God writers like the late evangelist Raymond McNair warn that engineered viruses (the “Doomsday bug”) were consistent with prophecies from Jesus? Did a warning from CCOG leader Bob Thiel warn about risks of genetically-modified (GMO) mosquitoes come to pass? Could human research and/or the consumption of biblically-unclean animals such as bats and snakes be a factor in current outbreaks or coming future pestilences? What about famines? How devastating have pestilences been? How devastating are the prophesied ones going to be? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more in this video.
Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse What is the pale horse of death and pestilences? What will it bring and when? Some related videos may include Amphibian Apocalypse: Threat to Humans?, Zombie Deer Disease is Here! Are the 10 Plagues on Egypt Coming?, and Biological Warfare and Prophecy. Here is a version of the article in Spanish: El cuarto jinete de Apocalipsis, el caballo pálido de muerte y pestilencia.
20 items to prophetically watch in 2020 Much is happening. Dr. Thiel points to 20 items to watch (cf. Mark 13:37) in this article. Here is a link to a related sermon: 20 Prophetic Items to Watch in 2020.
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. There is also a video on the subject: Might Petra be the Place of Safety? Here is something related in the Spanish language: Hay un lugar de seguridad para los Filadelfinos. ¿Puede ser Petra?
Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians. We all know the Bible prophecies famines. Should we do something? Here is a version in the Spanish language Escrituras sobre Preparación física para los Cristianos. Here is a link to a related sermon: Physical preparedness for Christians.
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? 2027 or 20xx? There is also a video titled The 6000 Year Plan: Is the end of humanity’s reign almost up? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected? What does the Bible really teach? Does the Church flee or is it taken up just prior to the great tribulation? Who really is left behind? There is also a YouTube video with information Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture?
This is PETRA! This is a 1962 Good News article by the late Dr. Hoeh.
Did Jesus Teach a Pre-tribulation Rapture? Did the Bible teach that Jesus raptures Christians prior to the start of the Great Tribulation? What did Jesus Himself teach? Do the scriptural passages that Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins point to prove their left behind pre-tribulation rapture assertions? Do all Christians get protected from the Great Tribulation? Who does the Bible teach will get protected? Is the Great Tribulation the ‘wrath to come’ that Christians are promised protection from? This is a video.
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2020, 2021, or 2022? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede la Gran Tribulación comenzar en el 2020 o 2021? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter and newer video is: Could the Great Tribulation Begin in 2020?
The Times of the Gentiles Has there been more than one time of the Gentiles? Are we in it now or in the time of Anglo-America? What will the final time of the Gentiles be like? A related sermon is available and is titled: The Times of the Gentiles.
Armageddon Who is involved and when will this gathering happen? Here is also a video from Dr. Thiel, from Tel Megiddo in Israel: Armageddon. Other videos include: Armageddon Will it come on Trump’s watch?, Iraq, Armageddon, & Prophecy, Freemasonry, Armageddon, and Rome, Is China paving roads to Armageddon?, and Jordan, Petra, and Armageddon.
Attending the Church of Choice This article discusses whose choice is important to worship God; should you attend the church of your choice or the church of God’s choice?
Unity: Which COG for You? Why so many groups? Why is there lack of unity in the Churches of God? Has it always been this way? What can/should be done about it? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Unity. Here is a related article in the Spanish language: Unidad: ¿Cuál Iglesia de Dios para usted?
18 Truths Restored to the Churches of God: Mission of the Philadelphia Church Era Herbert W. Armstrong wrote that he felt he had restored at least 18 lost truths to the Church, here is Herbert W. Armstrong’s list given 12/17/83. This article also has the 19th and 20th truths that Herbert Armstrong later added–so he claimed at least “20 restored truths.” This articles also has links to show that these truths were believed by professors of Christ in earlier times, hence they were not some invention of Herbert Armstrong.. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: Lista de Herbert W. Armstrong de las 18 verdades restauradas. As far as the mission goes, here is a link to a sermon: Mission of the Remnant of the Philadelphia Church Era. Here are links to a related two-part sermon: The 18 Restored Truths: 1-8 and The 18 Restored Truths: 9-18.
Do You Believe God Used Herbert W. Armstrong to Raise Up the Philadelphia Era of the Church of God? Nearly everyone while in WCG used to believe this, most do not seem to anymore.
The Elijah Heresies Does the Bible teach that there will be a future Elijah? Must it be Herbert W. Armstrong? Two related sermons are  available Elijah: Prophecies and Heresies and Elijah, Herbert W. Armstrong, and CCOG.
The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had? What are some of the scriptural limits on ecclesiastical authority? Do some commit organizational idolatry? Here is a Spanish language version La Biblia, Policarpo, Herbert W. Armstrong, y Roderick C. Meredith sobre el gobierno de la Iglesia. Here is a link to a sermon titled Church Governance.
Is Second Tithe and Third Tithe Still Valid Today? Should you save and use second tithe? Some in the COGs no longer teach payment of third tithe, is this biblically correct?
The Philadelphia Remnant: It’s All About Love This is what CCOG teaches. It is important to remember. A related video is available: Nairobi Conference: All About Love.
What is a True Philadelphian? Many claim to be part of the Philadelphia era of the Church, but is claiming enough? This article has biblical and historical evidence about who really are the Philadelphians.
Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees? Discusses similarities of the Sadducees and Pharisees to various COGs in this end-time.
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.
Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle Herbert Armstrong claims God had him raise the Philadelphia up. Are there reasons to believe that the Philadelphia mantle in now within the CCOG? Here is a link to a related sermon: Herbert W. Armstrong and the Philadelphia Mantle.
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 essentially the most faithful in the Church of God, which is best represented by the Continuing Church of God.

Completely trust the King James Version of the Bible?

Sunday, March 15th, 2020


Front cover of 1611 edition of the King James Version Bible
(Wikipedia)

COGwriter

Is the original King James Version (KJV) of the Bible the one you can completely trust?

Yesterday, I noticed that someone posted a comment related to one of our videos to that effect. Last Friday, I received something in the mail from Chick Publications that also was pushing the KJV. Today, I went to their website and here are a few comments that they posted:

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

Is that accurate?

No.

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

Men are fallible.

Other writings from Chick Publications indicate that because of God’s inspiration and because so many men checked and rechecked it, the KJV had no bias and is completely accurate.

But that simply is not true.

That argument reminds me of the argument that the Eastern Orthodox have about the Septuagint. The Eastern Orthodox basically claim that God inspired the translators to correct and improve the Old Testament when they translated the original text from Hebrew to Greek. That is blasphemous. God did not need His word corrected.

Nor is it correct to state that you can completely trust the KJV translation.

The King James Version was written over 400 years ago. In the time since, the English language has undergone many changes. Sometimes those texts which are vague and unclear in the King James can be cleared up very easily by just reading a more modern translation.

Since some have attempted to challenge me about translation errors in the KJV, I thought I would share something another source put together about it:

Genesis 1:2 should read “And the earth became without form . . . .” The word translated “was” is hayah, and denotes a condition different than a former condition, as in Genesis 19:26.

Genesis 10:9 should read ” . . . Nimrod the mighty hunter in place of [in opposition to] the LORD.” The word “before” is incorrect and gives the connotation that Nimrod was a good guy, which is false.

Leviticus 16:8, 10, 26 in the KJV is “scapegoat” which today has the connotation of someone who is unjustly blamed for other’s sins. The Hebrew is Azazel, which means “one removed or separated.” The Azazel goal represents Satan, who is no scapegoat. He is guilty of his part in our sins.

Deuteronomy 24:1, “then let him” should be “and he.” As the Savior explained in Matthew 19, Moses did not command divorcement. This statute is regulating the permission of divorce because of the hardness of their hearts.

II Kings 2:23, should be “young men”, not “little children.”

Isaiah 65:17 should be “I am creating [am about to create] new heavens and new earth . . . .”

Ezekiel 20:25 should read “Wherefore I permitted them, or gave them over to, [false] statutes that are not good, and judgments whereby they should not live.” God’s laws are good, perfect and right. This verse shows that since Israel rejected God’s laws, He allowed them to hurt themselves by following false man made customs and laws.

Daniel 8:14 is correct in the margin, which substitutes “evening morning” for “days.” Too bad William Miller didn’t realize this.

Malachi 4:6 should read ” . . . lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction.” “Curse” doesn’t give the proper sense here. Same word used in Zechariah 14:11.

Matthew 5:48 should be “Become ye therefore perfect” rather than “be ye therefore perfect.” “Perfect” here means “spiritually mature.” Sanctification is a process of overcoming with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 24:22 needs an additional word to clarify the meaning. It should say “there should no flesh be saved alive.”

Matthew 27:49 omits text which was in the original. Moffatt correctly adds it, while the RSV puts it in a footnote: “And another took a spear and pierced His side, and out came water and blood.” The Savior’s death came when a soldier pierced His side, Revelation 1:7.

Matthew 28:1, “In the end of the sabbath as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week . . .” should be translated literally, “Now late on Sabbath, as it was getting dusk toward the first day of the week . . . .” The Sabbath does not end at dawn but at dusk.

Luke 2:14 should say, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of God’s good pleasure or choosing.” That is, there will be peace on earth among men who have God’s good will in their hearts.

Luke 14:26 has the unfortunate translation of the Greek word miseo, Strong’s #3404, as “hate”, when it should be rendered “love less by comparison.” We are not to hate our parents and family!

John 1:31, 33 should say “baptize” or “baptizing IN water” not with water. Pouring or sprinkling with water is not the scriptural method of baptism, but only thorough immersion in water.

John 1:17 is another instance of a poor preposition. “By” should be “through”: “For the law was given by [through] Moses . . . .” Moses did not proclaim his law, but God’s Law.

John 13:2 should be “And during supper” (RSV) rather than “And supper being ended” (KJV).

Acts 12:4 has the inaccurate word “Easter” which should be rendered “Passover.” The Greek word is pascha which is translated correctly as Passover in Matthew 26:2, etc.

I Corinthians 1:18 should be: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that are perishing foolishness; but unto us which are being saved it is the power of God”, rather than “perish” and “are saved.” Likewise, II Thessalonians 2:10 should be “are perishing” rather than “perish.”

I Corinthians 15:29 should be: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the hope of the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the hope of the dead?”

II Corinthians 6:2 should be “a day of salvation”, instead of “the day of salvation.” This is a quote from Isaiah 49:8, which is correct. The day of salvation is not the same for each individual. The firstfruits have their day of salvation during this life. The rest in the second resurrection.

I Timothy 4:8 should say, “For bodily exercise profiteth for a little time: but godliness in profitable unto all things . . . .”

I Timothy 6:10 should be, “For the love of money is a [not the] root of all evil . . . .”

Hebrews 4:8 should be “Joshua” rather than “Jesus”, although these two words are Hebrew and Greek equivalents.

Hebrews 4:9 should read, “There remaineth therefore a keeping of a sabbath to the people of God.”

Hebrews 9:28 is out of proper order in the King James. It should be: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them without sin that look for him shall he appear the second time unto salvation.”

I John 5:7-8 contains additional text which was added to the original. “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” The italicized text was added to the original manuscripts. Most modern translations agree that this was an uninspired addition to the Latin Vulgate to support the unscriptural trinity doctrine.

Revelation 14:4 should be “a firstfruits”, because the 144,000 are not all the firstfruits.

Revelation 20:4-5 in the KJV is a little confusing until you realize that the sentence “This is the first resurrection.” in verse five refers back to “they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” in verse four.

Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are [correction: should be ‘were cast’ because the beast and false prophet were mortal human beings who were burned up in the lake of fire 1,000 years previous to this time, Revelation 19:20], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” The point is that Satan will be cast into the same lake of fire into which the beast and false prophet were cast a thousand years previously. (Errors and Mistranslations in the KJV Written by: Richard Nickels. http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/graphic1designer/errors.html accessed 07/16/17)

It is not that the KJV is always a terrible translation, or that others are perfect, it is just people should not insist that God inspired the translators to do a perfect job. Because, obviously He did not. THE KJV CANNOT BE COMPLETELY TRUSTED AS IT IS NOT THE ORIGINAL INSPIRED TEXT.

The mistranslation of Genesis 1:2 has resulted in many not understanding about the age of the world and various aspects of prehistory (see How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation? Gap Theory?). This has resulted in many Protestants making scientifically unsound statements that have turned many against the reliability of scripture.

Th KJV translators intentionally mistranslated the Greek term sabbatismos (ςαββατισμóς) which is actually found in Hebrews 4:9 (Green JP. The Interlinear Bible, 2nd edition. Hendrickson Publishers, 1986, p. 930). This mistranslation by the KJV translators has resulted in many people not realizing that the New Testament enjoins the seventh-day Sabbath. Hence, the KJV translators have misled many to violate the fourth commandment (see also The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad). They also intentionally mistranslated passages related to the biblical Holy Days (for details, see the free online book Should You Keep God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?)–this has resulted in many NOT understanding God’s true plan of salvation (see also the free online book Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation).

Notice also that the Latin Vulgate was mentioned related to 1 John 5:7-8. The original Latin Vulgate as translated by the Catholic saint and doctor Jerome did NOT have this error–it was added later (see also 1 John 5:7-8 and the Trinity).

And as far as the word “Easter” does any thinking person really believe that God wanted the word for Passover changed to the name of a pagan goddess in His word? That is absurd (more on Easter can be found in the article Did Early Christians Celebrate Easter?). EVERY TRANSLATOR IN THE KJV WHO ‘CHECKED’ THAT PART OF THE ‘TRANSLATION’ HAD TO HAVE KNOWN THAT WAS IN ERROR–PARTICULARLY SINCE THAT SAME WORD IS TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK IN THE KJV 28 TIMES AS ‘PASSOVER’!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note Chick Publications admits that the body and soul are destroyed in Gehenna. In Jesus’ time what was tossed into Gehenna burnt up and was no more. In the Gehenna to come, the same thing will happen.

Chick Publications also has the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Furthermore, the KJV erred by assigning the male gender to the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. The Hebrew term for spirit in the Old Testament is grammatically female, and the Greek term in the New Testament is grammatically neuter–this is noted by even trinitarian scholars, such as Dr. Daniel Wallace of Dallas Theological Seminary (see also Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity? ). This MISTRANSLATION by the KJV translators has resulted in a major misunderstanding of the Godhead and has resulted in many believing differently about the Godhead than early Christians did (see also Binitarianism: One God, Two Beings Before the Beginning).

Now, getting back to the KJV Bible, many do not realize that it originally also included, basically as an appendix, what the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics called the deuterocanonical books (otherwise known as the Apocrypha)–these books were NOT inspired by God and should not have been in the Bible. Yet, for about two centuries they were part of some of the printings of the KJV.

But since they have not been in it for about two hundred years, many people do not realize that flaw with the KJV.

Do not be deceived by men who do not want to hold to what the original biblical text teaches. The KJV has real errors and most certainly CANNOT BE COMPLETELY TRUSTED as an accurate portrayal of the words of God.

ALL TRANSLATIONS by men are subject to error. And while the KJV and the more modern NKJV are fine in many areas, both have translation flaws, many of which are intentional.

Believe the originally inspired word of God. That is what God had recorded in the original languages in the Old and New Testaments. It was NOT English. It was NOT the KJV translation.

There are even more Protestant errors than this post points out. To learn more about them, check out the free online book: Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, and The Mystery of YOU.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation Will all get a fair chance at salvation? This free book is packed with scriptures showing that God does intend to offer salvation to all who ever lived–the elect in this age, and the rest in the age to come. Here is a link to a related sermon series: Universal Offer of Salvation 1: Apocatastasis, Universal Offer of Salvation 2: Jesus Desires All to be Saved, Mysteries of the Great White Throne Judgment (Universal Offer of Salvation part 3), Is God Fair, Will God Pardon the Ignorant?, Can God Save Your Relatives?, Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan, and ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
The Apostle John He wrote a lot that people should study. John was an original apostle, early Christian leader, and the last of the original apostles to die. Here is a link to a related sermon titled Apostle John: The Disciple that Jesus Loved. John is the final original apostle that we in the Continuing Church of God trace our ecclesiastical succession through.
Laying on of Hands This is an elementary principle of Hebrews 6. Have you properly had hands laid upon you? Here is a link to a related sermon: Laying on of Hands and Succession.
Lost Books of the Bible? Is the Bible missing books? What about the Book of Jasher and the Book of Enoch? What are the pseudepigrapha?
Read the Bible Christians should read and study the Bible. This article gives some rationale for regular bible reading. Here is a link in Mandarin Chinese: 读圣经
Bible: Superstition or Authority? Should you rely on the Bible? Is it reliable? Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this as a booklet on this important subject.
Is Matthew 28:19 in the Bible? Some have claimed that Matthew 28:19 has added words as part of a trinitarian plot. Is that true?
What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation? Should the Bible be literally understood? What do the writings of the Bible, Origen, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Augustine show?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui? Here is a link to a short animation: Which Church would Jesus Choose?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. Several related sermon are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History, The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character, The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon, and How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?

CDC: COVID-19 spreading; How to tell if you have the coronavirus, cold, or allergies; Symptoms and preparation recommendations

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

Countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19 (CDC website)

COGwriter

Since there is limited testing in many parts of the world, many wonder how else to tell if they or a loved one might be infected with the novel coronavirus.

The US Centers for Disease Control put out the following charts:

While the above charts can be helpful, they are not definitive enough to know for sure (that really takes a lab test that is not available to most). But at least the above charts may reduce the fears of some who clearly do not have COVID-19.

Here is what the CDC says people can try to do now for preparation:

Here is what you can do to prepare your family in case COVID-19 spreads in your community.

  • Know where to find local information on COVID-19 and local trends of COVID-19 cases.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and what to do if symptomatic:
    • Stay home when you are sick
    • Call your health care provider’s office in advance of a visit
    • Limit movement in the community
    • Limit visitors
  • Know what additional measures those at higher risk and who are vulnerable should take.
  • Implement steps to prevent illness (e.g., stay home when sick, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, clean frequently touched surfaces daily).
  • Create a household plan of action in case of illness in the household or disruption of daily activities due to COVID-19 in the community.
    • Consider 2-week supply of prescription and over the counter medications, food and other essentials. Know how to get food delivered if possible.
    • Establish ways to communicate with others (e.g., family, friends, co-workers).
    • Establish plans to telework, what to do about childcare needs, how to adapt to cancellation of events.
  • Know about emergency operations plans for schools/workplaces of household members. accessed 03/14/20 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/index.html

As far as being physically prepared for disasters, etc., we have been telling people to prepare for decades (see, for example, Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians).

With all the official announcements, and despite it being official US government policy, I have yet to see one government official urge people to try to consume 2 or more serving of fruit each day because of COVID-19. While that is no guarantee to prevent the novel coronavirus, it does help reduce the risk for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, plus does help support the immune system (see also COVID-19 and Vitamin C: The truth, the myth, and the hype).

For those that can, fasting is also good for the immune system.

Is there anything else physically you can do?

Check out the following links: COVID-19 and Vitamin C: The truth, the myth, and the hype and VOA: Trump: US ‘Totally Prepared’ for Coronavirus’ AP: Vexed by how to contain virus, countries take tough steps’ WT: Natural Protection and ZH: How The Super Rich Are Preparing For The Coronavirus; COGwriter: What physical steps can others take? and ‘Coronavirus: Steps to stay safe,’ ‘How To Avoid Getting Infected By The Coronavirus,’ ‘Italy Shuts Down North in COVID-19 Fight,’ ‘Every EU member except Cyprus has infections,’ and COVID-19 Leading to 666?

Now, the US government has decided to increase its debt to deal with some aspects of COVID-19:

March 14, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency, clearing the way for more federal aid to stream to states and cities to combat the coronavirus pandemic. …

The action by the president will free up tens of billions of dollars in funding in the Disaster Relief Fund. It allows a state to request the federal government pay for 75% of costs for such expenses as emergency workers, medical supplies, and tests and vaccinations to respond to the virus, which some epidemiologists warn could soon overwhelm the country’s health care system. …

Early Saturday, the House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act with a vote of 363 – 40.

The bill includes two weeks of paid sick leave for those affected, improved unemployment insurance and a bolstered lunch program for schoolchildren, among other elements intended to lessen the economic impact of COVID-19 on American families.

President Trump said in a post on Twitter that he supports the bill.

The Republican controlled Senate will take up the bill next week, and Trump’s support means the measure is likely to be approved.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement early Saturday the American people “deserve swift assistance with the economic fallout from the virus.” McConnell added that he had canceled the Senate’s state work period next week, allowing the lawmakers to work on the legislation, and that he believed “the vast majority of Senators in both parties will agree” that swift action is needed to “secure relief for American workers, families, and small businesses.”

Increasing US debt should be of concern.

While I am not going to debate whether or not each of the above  actions will help much, what I would like to point out is that IF the US Treasury actually had a surplus, these moves would not necessarily increase total US debt. But because the US is in debt, the debt will rise further. There have also been other financial actions from the US Federal Reserve which reportedly will increase its debt as well.

Consider the following:

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. (Habakkuk 2:2-3)

To run means to take immediate steps when you see the prophecy a few verses down in Habakkuk being fulfilled.

Notice that the above is saying that something really, really bad will happen in the appointed time of the end. What is coming will be so bad that the time will come when people should run/flee when it does happen. The time will come when those Philadelphians who understand Habakkuk 2 in its proper timeframe will flee.

So, what is this prophecy related to?

Debt.

Notice what else the Prophet Habakkuk was inspired to record:

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 2:6-8)

“The United States has the largest debt in the world” (US News & World Report — Jan 28, 2011 http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2011/01/28/the-10-countries-with-the-most-debt)–and the debt has gone up a lot since that report came out.

Habakkuk 2 teaches that the time will come when people should flee from this indebted nation–the USA!

I, personally, have taught the end time risks of Habakkuk 2 longer than any living COG leader that I am aware of. And the only Church of God group that I am aware of that has been boldly teaching about this warning in Habakkuk 2 for years is the Continuing Church of God (and the end time applicability of Habakkuk 2 was even in the first edition–January-March 2013–of our Bible News Prophecy magazine; and the headline shown on the front cover was “Habakkuk’s Warning is for Us Today”). The Laodicean groups that I am aware of are NOT teaching this. We in the Continuing Church of God expect to tell people WHEN the time the Philadelphians should flee.

Jesus specifically told the Laodiceans, in a prophecy, that they needed to repent (Revelation 3:19) or face consequences (Revelation 3:14-19, and that they would be rewarded for doing so (Revelation 3:20). The Laodiceans are Church of God Christians “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). They, sadly, represent the bulk to true Christians today.

Laodicean Christians lack the motivation and humility to make the necessary changes.

Notice also:

6 Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.
17 Let the priests, who minister to the Lord,
Weep between the porch and the altar;
Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord,
And do not give Your heritage to reproach,
That the nations should rule over them.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?'” (Joel 2:16-17)

Joel was inspired to write that the most faithful needed to gather together so that the ‘nations,’ apparently those led by the end-time King of the North, would not rule over them. Between Jeremiah 4:5-6, Zephaniah 2:1-3, and Joel 2:16-17, etc. God’s people are told to gather together before it is too late (see also 2 Thessalonians 2:1). This is NOT the time to be an ‘Independent‘ Christian or remain part of a Laodicean group.

It remains my prayer that those who are Philadelphians and are scattered in groups will soon assemble together, before it is too late. Sadly, because many COG groups do not understand key aspects of end time prophecy (see, for three examples: Is the Future King of the South Rising Up?, Must the Ten Kings of Revelation 17:12 Rule over Ten Currently Existing Nations?, and The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27).

Consider the following:

3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:3-9)

We have never seen governments take so many steps, close so many borders, implement so many quarantines, etc. as we have with this coronavirus pandemic.

And that is barely the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of what is coming.

Don’t wait to repent!

If God is calling you, respond NOW!

Do not put it off. Will you heed God’s warning from Habakkuk?

If you are not truly supporting the Philadelphian remnant, now is the time to change.

Laodiceans and others make excuses, but Jesus has condemnation for Christians (Revelation 3:14-22) and others (Matthew 12:39-42) who do. Do not be a willing part of this “evil and adulterous generation” (Matthew 12:39, 24:34). Be a true Philadelphian Christian.

Are YOU paying proper biblical attention?

During this time that many are afraid and panicking, isn’t this a fine time to realize that biblical prophecies are coming to pass, and more will, so YOU should take the appropriate spiritual steps today?

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

Is God Calling You? This booklet discusses topics including calling, election, and selection. If God is calling you, how will you respond? Here is a link to a related sermon: Could God be Calling You? A short animation is also available: Is God Calling You?
Christians: Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, Biblical instructions on living as a Christian This is a scripture-filled booklet for those wishing to live as a real Christian. A related sermon is also available: Christians are Ambassadors for the Kingdom of God.
Christian Repentance Do you know what repentance is? Is it really necessary for salvation? A related sermon is also available titled: 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.
Physical Preparation Scriptures for Christians. We all know the Bible prophecies famines. Should we do something? Here is a version in the Spanish language Escrituras sobre Preparación física para los Cristianos. Here is a link to a related sermon: Physical preparedness for Christians.
COVID-19 Leading to 666? The novel coronavirus of Wuhan, China fame, is now called COVID-19. It has also been called the ‘Coronapocalypse.’ Does COVID-19 have any prophetic ramifications? What did Jesus teach about pestilences and sorrows in the Olivet prophecy in Matthew 24? Could COVID-19 be the ride of the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse? Why was this type of disease expected according to the Old Testament prophecies in Deuteronomy and Leviticus? What has the US Centers for Disease Control warned about? What has the CDC reported about the flu? Were there lessons about fear and infections in the 2011 movie ‘Contagion’? Because of COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO), nation of Iran, and certain French locations are telling people not to use cash, but instead electronic forms of payment. The US Federal Reserve is now quarantining money repatriated from Asia to reduce the potential spread of the coronavirus on US currency bills. Is COVID-19 worse than we have been told or could this all be a ‘false flag’ event to encourage people to move towards a cashless society? If the thousands of deaths associated with COVID-19 are pushing parts of the world towards cashlessness, how much more likely will the ride of the fourth horseman and over a billion human deaths motivate people to move to making electronic payments that can be monitored? The Bible tells of a soon coming society that controls buying and selling to force allegiance to a coming European Beast power, known as 666 (Revelation 13:16-18). Does the ‘great tribulation’ begin before ride of the fourth horseman or with the opening of the fifth seal of Revelation 6? Do the words of Jesus helps us better understand the sequence of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse and the start of the Great Tribulation? Will the ride of the fourth horseman help lead to the rise of 666? Is that ride very close? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more in this video.
Biological Warfare and Prophecy. Is biological warfare possible? Was it prophesied? Scientists have long warned that pathogenic organisms like the coronavirus could be weaponized. Furthermore, back in 2017, there were concerns that the biological research facility being constructed in Wuhan, China was risky and that a coronavirus from it could be released. On January 25, 2020, China’s President Xi Jinping publicly stated that the situation with the Wuhan-related strain of the coronavirus was grave. Did Church of God writers like the late evangelist Raymond McNair warn that engineered viruses (the “Doomsday bug”) were consistent with prophecies from Jesus? Did a warning from CCOG leader Bob Thiel warn about risks of genetically-modified (GMO) mosquitoes come to pass? Could human research and/or the consumption of biblically-unclean animals such as bats and snakes be a factor in current outbreaks or coming future pestilences? What about famines? How devastating have pestilences been? How devastating are the prophesied ones going to be? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more in this video.
Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse What is the pale horse of death and pestilences? What will it bring and when? Some related videos may include Amphibian Apocalypse: Threat to Humans?, Zombie Deer Disease is Here! Are the 10 Plagues on Egypt Coming?, and Biological Warfare and Prophecy. Here is a version of the article in Spanish: El cuarto jinete de Apocalipsis, el caballo pálido de muerte y pestilencia.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse What do each of the four horseman of the Apocalypse represent? Have they began their ride? Did Jesus discuss the any of this? Might their rides coincide with the “beginning of sorrows? Do they start their ride prior to the Great Tribulation? Did Nostradamus or any other ‘private prophets’ write predictions that may mislead people so that they may not understand the truth of one or more of the four horseman? There is also a related YouTube video titled The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
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? 2027 or 20xx? There is also a video titled 6000 Years: When will God’s Kingdom Come? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2020, 2021, or 2022? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede la Gran Tribulación comenzar en el 2020 o 2021? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter and newer video is: Could the Great Tribulation Begin in 2020?
Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18? Here is a link in the French language: Est-ce que l’Église Continue de Dieu confirme les signes d’Actes 2:17-18?
Church of God Leaders on Prophets Have there been prophets throughout the church age? Are any supposed to be around in the last days? What have COG leaders stated or written about prophets? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Leaders on Prophets.
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
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.
Independent/Unaffiliated: Independent Members of the COG: Herbert W. Armstrong Comments, Plus Questions and Answers What did Herbert W. Armstrong teach about being independent of the organized Church? Should independents who claim to accept Herbert W. Armstrong’s teachings support the end time Philadelphian work? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Unity. Watch also Zephaniah’s ‘Gather Together’ Prophecy.
Herbert W. Armstrong, the Philadelphia Church, & the Mantle Herbert Armstrong claims God had him raise the Philadelphia up. Are there reasons to believe that the Philadelphia mantle in now within the CCOG? Here is a link to a related sermon: Herbert W. Armstrong and the Philadelphia Mantle.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG or its offshoots. They do not properly understand the work or biblical prophecies and will face the Great Tribulation if they do not repent. One video of related interest is 17 Laodicean Errors in Prophecy. See also Do You Hold to Any of These Laodicean Prophetic Errors?
There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra This article discusses a biblical ‘place of safety’ and includes quotes from the Bible and Herbert W. Armstrong on this subject–thus, there is a biblically supported alternative to the rapture theory. 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?

Temple Institute claim Red Heifer may be ready to sacrifice in one year

Friday, March 13th, 2020


‘Red Heifer’ grazing (Pixabay)

COGwriter

The Temple Institute reported the following in its newsletter today:

Adar 17, 5780/March 13, 2020

Red Heifer Update: Adar 5780/March 2020: Important update from the Temple Institute concerning the status of the red heifer candidates that the Temple Institute is raising in Israel. Rabbi Azariah Ariel, head of the Institute’s Kollel research department, and and expert on the halachic laws concerning the red heifer, reports on the heifers’ current status and the Institute’s future plans. View video & learn more!

Anyway, the above link brings you to a short video (if you want to see it in English, click on cc on the lower right of the picture).

Basically, what Azariah Ariel says is that there is a small area where the best red heifer candidate’s hair is not completely ready enough. He then says that the rancher raising this heifer says that he seems to expect that area to redden in a couple of months. Enough so that the heifer will be “completely kosher.” Azariah Ariel stated that the red heifer may be ready in one year and that the place to sacrifice it would be on the Mount of Olives.

Basically, the Temple Institute believes that the blood of a red heifer will provide the way for the most thorough cleansing to allow for a ‘third temple,’ whereas Christians point to the blood of Jesus to cleanse, therefore we do not need animal sacrifices(Hebrews 9-10).

For those who may wonder, here is a definition of a heifer:

heif·er [hef-er] noun a young cow over one year old that has not produced a calf. (Dictionary.com accessed 06/28/14)

heif·er noun \ˈhe-fər\ : a young female cow; especially : one that has not had a calf (Merriam-Webster.com accessed 06/28/14)

heifer noun [C] /ˈhef.ər/ US /-ɚ/ a young cow, especially one that has not yet given birth to a calf (= baby cow) (Cambridge.org accessed 06/28/14)

Some consider cows are heifers after about six months. Whether it is under or over a year, a ‘red’ heifer is a female cow that is reddish brown in color which has not produced a calf. They mainly look brown, but with a reddish tint.

Certain Jews believe that God will provide a red heifer so the Messiah can come. Essentially some feel this is for a type of re-sanctification of the priesthood. Without that “red heifer” and/or the related sanctification, the sacrifices the Bible says will be stopped (Daniel 9:27, 11:31) cannot be resumed according to certain Jews (though others are willing to resume animal sacrifices without one).

Basically, groups like the Temple Institute believe that the blood of a red heifer will provide the way for the Messiah:

The Tenth Red Heifer Will be Prepared by the Messiah

In recounting this historical record in his commentary to the Mishna, the great Maimonides ends with the enigmatic statement: “… and the tenth red heifer will be accomplished by the king, the Messiah; may he be revealed speedily, Amen, May it be God’s will.

With this amazing statement, Maimonides recounts an ancient tradition – that the tenth red heifer is associated with the Messianic era. Does this perhaps mean that the appearance of a red heifer in these waning end times is an indication, a forerunner of the appearance of the Messiah himself, who will officiate at its preparation?

If there has been no red heifer for the past 2,000 years, perhaps it is because the time was not right; Israel was far from being ready. But now… what could it mean for the times we live in, to have the means for purification so close at hand? With the words of Maimonides in mind, we cannot help but wonder and pray: If there are now red heifers… is ours the era that will need them? https://www.templeinstitute.org/red_heifer/tenth_red_heifer.htm

Some believe, instead, that the tenth red heifer came prior to the destruction of the last temple. Whether it did or not, the Bible simply does not mention ten red heifers.

Plus, Jesus was the Messiah. Jews (and others) who do not accept that should study the free online book: Proof Jesus is the Messiah. It not only has hundreds of scriptures, it shows from Jewish writings, as well as historical prophetic fulfilments, why those interested in the truth must conclude that Jesus is the Messiah.

Here is what the Bible says about a red heifer:

1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 “This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come. 3 You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, that he may take it outside the camp, and it shall be slaughtered before him; 4 and Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of its blood seven times directly in front of the tabernacle of meeting. 5 Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight: its hide, its flesh, its blood, and its offal shall be burned. 6 And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet, and cast them into the midst of the fire burning the heifer. 7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes, he shall bathe in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp; the priest shall be unclean until evening. 8 And the one who burns it shall wash his clothes in water, bathe in water, and shall be unclean until evening. 9 Then a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and store them outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for the water of purification; it is for purifying from sin. 10 And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until evening. It shall be a statute forever to the children of Israel and to the stranger who dwells among them. (Numbers 19:1-10)

Groups like the Temple Institute have interpreted this to mean that another red heifer needs to be sacrificed for sacrifices to be resumed and/or for the Messiah to return. While that is not directly stated above, it could be implied from that scripture (presuming one does not accept the New Testament) that one is again needed. And if those who want to sacrifice will not do so until they have a red heifer, then in that respect a red heifer is important.

Some Jews believe that the Books of Daniel and Isaiah tell about a future red heifer, despite the fact that they do not specify one. Notice the following passages that are sometimes cited starting with those in Daniel:

9 And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.

11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. 12 Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. (Daniel 12:9-12)

While certain Jews tie the purification in verse 10 to the removal of sacrifices in verse 11, the Bible does not tie this in with a red heifer. Some Jews then tie in the following from Isaiah:

18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

Some Jews tie the burning of scarlet in Numbers 9:6 to the above. Yet, while sins can be as scarlet, the Bible is not saying that this is related to a red heifer. It is a call from God to repent. And Christians do this without a red heifer (Acts 2:38) as it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins (Hebrews 10:4). Jesus takes away sins (John 1:36).

The Jews have various traditions about the red heifer. In the Mishnah (Parah 3.5) it was claimed that “Moses prepared the first, Ezra prepared the second, and seven were prepared after Ezra.”

Anyway, according to one tradition, supposedly there have been only nine properly prepared ones and the tenth one is what is needed.

The Temple Institute hopes one cow it is looking at will be the tenth, and hence they hope to be able to sacrifice it as soon as next year.

Furthermore, if they determine that they do have a suitable ‘red heifer,’ some religious Jews will likely point to that as a reason that their desire for daily animal sacrifices must be approved.

Since the Bible shows that daily animal sacrifices will stop (Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:7) just prior to the start of the Great Tribulation, obviously they must first start.

We are getting closer to that day!

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World The Temple Institute is watching a ‘red heifer.’ Why might this be important in the sequence of end time events? Here is a related link in the Spanish language Novilla roja descubierta en EE.UU. e Instituto del Templo está interesado en ella. Here are two related videos in English: Red Heifers and the Fate of the World and The Red Heifer and the End of the World.
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple? Here is a related item in the Spanish language ¿Por qué no se requiere un templo judío en Jerusalén? Here is a link to a sermon titled The Temple, Prophecy, and the Work.
Nascent Sanhedrin structure and high priest: The plan is to start animal sacrifices this would fulfill prophecy! The reconstituted Sanhedrin wants the reimplementation of animal sacrifices. A related video is titled Sanhedrin pushing animal sacrifices.
Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill Could this building, often referred to as the Cenacle, which is located on a Mount Zion, possibly have been the oldest actual Christian church building? There is also a video titled Might the oldest church building have prophetic ramifications?
The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27 This prophecy could give up to 3 1/2 years advance notice of the coming Great Tribulation. Will most ignore or misunderstand its fulfillment? Here is a link to a related sermon video Daniel 9:27 and the Start of the Great Tribulation.
Does the ‘Cenacle’ deal have prophetic ramifications? After a 20 year negotiation, the Church of Rome has negotiated the right to have Catholic mass in the building known as the Cenacle. It is in the area where the Church of God on Jerusalem’s Western Hill once stood. This is believed to be the location of the earliest Christian church building. How does the Bible define the ‘temple of God’ in the New Testament? Could this be the area where the ‘man of sin’ will sit in the “temple of God’ that Bible prophecy discusses in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4? This is a YouTube video.
Jerusalem: Past, Present, and Future What does the Bible say about Jerusalem and its future? Is Jerusalem going to be divided and eliminated? Is Jesus returning to the area of Jerusalem? There is also a related YouTube video you can watch titled Jerusalem To be divided and eliminated.
Evangelical support for Donald Trump’s Jerusalem policy BBC asked, “Why do US evangelicals support Trump’s Jerusalem policy?” BBC provided quotes from some believing it has to do with the ‘last days’ while others saying that is not the reason. Hal Lindsey’s book, ‘The Late Great Planet Earth’ is one of the sources pointed to. In this video, Dr. Thiel addresses scriptures related to Jerusalem as well as prophetic ones. He goes over the common ‘fig tree’ interpretation, belief about a ‘Third Temple,’ and statements about animal sacrifices. He explains biblical statements on those subjects as well as the views of certain modern Jewish organizations. This is a video.
Jerusalem, Donald Trump, and Prophecy On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise related to the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This brought anger, protests, and rockets from some Palestinians. It also brought condemnation from European allies–it has been claimed to be disruptive and even catastrophic. The Palestinian President (Mahmoud Abbas) said that this pronouncement eliminated the USA as being a fair mediator for a peace deal. Others have claimed that Donald Trump is an end time Cyrus and his pronouncement will lead to a Third Temple in Jerusalem. Is there ever going to be a peace deal? If so, will Europeans be part of it? Is Donald Trump a ‘Cyrus.’ Do the Jews require a Third Temple for sacrifices? Dr. Thiel answer those questions and more in this video.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: N;ÿ Œf/’Y’jNº’ÿ Here is a link to a related English sermon video titled: The Man of Sin will deceive most ‘Christians’.
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? 2027 or 20xx? There is also a video titled 6000 Years: When will God’s Kingdom Come? Here is a link to the article in Spanish: ¿Tiene Dios un plan de 6,000 años?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2020, 2021, or 2022? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000? Here is a version of the article in the Spanish language: ¿Puede la Gran Tribulación comenzar en el 2020 o 2021? ¿Es el Tiempo de los Gentiles? You can also see the English language sermon videos: The Great Tribulation from the Mount of Olives and Can the Great Tribulation begin before 2020? A shorter and newer video is: Could the Great Tribulation Begin in 2020?

Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy. Here are links to seven related sermons: Proof Jesus is the Messiah, Prophecies of Jesus’ birth, timing, and death, Jesus’ prophesied divinity, 200+ OT prophecies Jesus filled; Plus prophecies He made, Why Don’t Jews Accept Jesus?, Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus, and Facts and Atheists’ Delusions About Jesus. Plus the links to two sermonettes: Luke’s census: Any historical evidence? and Muslims believe Jesus is the Messiah, but … These videos cover nearly all of the book, plus have some information not in the book.