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Why Is the Church of God Legitimate?
There are so many different Christian denominations in the world, but it is hard to find a legitimate church that has inherited the teachings of Christ according to the example of the early Church. However, many Christians do not realize this; they believe that their church is legitimate and guarantees unconditional salvation.
The church that Jesus established and the apostles attended is the Church of God. The Church of God, which we are attending today, is the only legitimate church that God has established to save human beings in this age of the Holy Spirit through the age of the Father and the age of the Son. Let us confirm that the Church of God is the true church that has inherited the truth of the new covenant which Jesus Christ established 2,000 years ago, through the prophecies of the Bible and historical records.
The history of changes to the truth
The West has divided time into B.C. and A.D., based on the year of Jesus’ birth. B.C. is an abbreviation for “Before Christ” and refers to the age of time before the birth of Christ. A.D. is an abbreviation for “Anno Domino,” which is a Latin phrase meaning “in the year of our Lord,” referring to the year of Christ’s birth. Some scholars estimate that Jesus was born 4 years earlier.
Let me give you a rough outline of the church history. 2,000 years ago, Jesus came to this earth; He was baptized at the age of 30 and began to preach the gospel according to the prophecies of the Bible. He spent three years of His public life in ministry and died on the cross after proclaiming the new covenant at the age of 33 (Lk 3:21–23; 13:6–9).
Jesus was resurrected after three days and ascended to heaven 40 days after His resurrection. The apostles proclaimed that Jesus is the Christ and observed all His teachings, which have been handed down to us. However, all the apostles of the early Church who were directly taught by Jesus passed away, and there were no more apostles after the Apostle John who was exiled to the island of Patmos and died in A.D. 106. Then the church gradually became secularized. The Eastern Church, led by Asia Minor, continued to observe the teachings which had been handed down from the apostles. On the other hand, the Western Church, led by Rome, began to accept pagan practices and rites and became assimilated into the Roman Empire, worshiping on Sunday—the sacred day of the Roman sun god, instead of observing the Biblical Sabbath, in order to escape persecution.
As the Roman Emperor Constantine officially legalized Christianity by issuing the Edict of Milan in 313, the persecution against Christians ceased and Christianity seemed victorious outwardly, but it was not actually so. The Emperor Constantine retained the title of Pontifex Maximus, the high priest and head of the Roman state religion, until the end of his life; he identified the sun god, which he believed in, with Christ and attempted to unify the religion in the empire in order to rule effectively. He carried out preferential policy towards Christians with the intent to use Christianity for political purposes, which resulted in sun worship doctrines flooding into the church.
In 321, the emperor issued a decree making Sunday the official day of rest and worship, and the observance of Sunday instead of the Biblical Sabbath was firmly established in all the churches within the territory of the Roman Empire. In 325, the Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea, where the New Covenant Passover was abolished. The Western Church that had been holding Communion at Easter was involved in several controversies with the Eastern Church that had been celebrating the Eucharist at the Passover. Backed by the power of the emperor, the bishops officially abolished the Passover by deciding that all churches should follow the rule observed by the Western Church.
Besides these, there are many records of church history showing that the truth underwent changes. It was in 354 that Christians started celebrating the birth of Christ on December 25 which was celebrated in honor of the birth of the sun god. In 431, the cross which was an idol as a symbol of the sun god began to be set up inside the church as a symbol of Christianity, and in 568 it was erected on the steeple of the church. Non-Biblical festivals such as Thanksgiving Day were also established. The Bible has no record of Jesus and His disciples doing those things. The rules and regulations, which were instituted after the apostolic age in the second century, are all man-made traditions based on human will, not on God’s will. Considering the years when many religious ceremonies, which today’s churches regard as the distinctive characteristic of a legitimate church, were established, we can clearly see that they are not the truths established by Jesus.
The truth of the early Church evident in the Bible
What truths did the legitimate church established by God have? Let us examine the laws of God, which Jesus proclaimed and observed when He came to this earth, one by one through the Bible.
Lk 22:7–13 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked . . . They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
Jesus said He would celebrate the Passover, and sent two of His twelve disciples, Peter and John, to prepare the Passover. The disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they celebrated the Passover with Jesus. They handed down the teaching of Jesus to the disciples after them. The Apostle Paul, who received the truth by revelation from Jesus, also emphasized that we should celebrate the Passover, saying, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you” (1Co 11:23–26; 5:7–8).
Lk 4:16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.
Mt 12:8 “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
Jesus Himself set us the example of worshiping on the seventh-day Sabbath as was His custom, not on Sunday the first day of the week. Jesus has taught us that He is Lord of the Sabbath. Since Jesus, who is the Lord of the Sabbath and the Object of our faith, kept the Sabbath, the observance of the Sabbath is the duty of those who believe in Him.
Jn 7:2, 14, 37 But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near . . . Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach . . . On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”
Jesus Himself set us the example of celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles as well as the Passover and the Sabbath. So, we must have faith in the laws of the new covenant such as the Passover, the Sabbath, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
1 Co 11:4–6, 16 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head . . . If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.
While worshiping God, women should wear veils and men should not wear anything on their heads. This veil regulation has been handed down from the early Church of God. At that time there were some women at the church in Corinth who refused to wear veils on their heads, insisting on gender equality. So, the Apostle Paul gave them instructions about the veil in his letter to the church in Corinth; he definitely said that the Church of God did not have a practice where women pray or prophesy with their heads uncovered.
However, the churches today are totally different from the early Church. Women in Protestant churches do not wear veils during worship, and some men in the Catholic Church wear some kind of head covering during Mass. All these practices are far from the teachings of the Bible.
There is no other gospel
The truth never changes. Nothing has changed for the Church of God since the time of Jesus; the Church of God still practices all the truths including the veil regulation. The Apostle Paul strongly emphasized that no single part of the gospel of Christ should be changed even until His coming at the last day.
Gal 1:6–10 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
The Apostle Paul warned the members of the early Church against turning away from the teachings of Christ and following a different gospel. He asserted that there is no other gospel than the gospel of Christ, and also gave a warning against those who were trying to pervert the gospel of Christ, saying they would be cursed.
God, who makes known the end from the beginning, prophesied in the Old Testament that this would happen.
Da 7:25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.
Satan, the enemy of God, devised all kinds of schemes to change God’s set times and laws, and he finally changed the truths of life; the Sabbath was changed to Sunday, and the Passover to Christmas. The seven feasts in three times were replaced by man-made feasts such as Thanksgiving Day, which have taken root in the churches today through the Dark Ages.
Eze 8:14–16 Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz. He said to me, “Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this.” He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east.
The prophet Ezekiel predicted that detestable things, such as mourning for Tammuz and bowing down to the sun in the east, would be done in the temple of God. This clearly reveals the contradictory behaviors of today’s churches that still hold on to vestiges of the sun god worship—observing Sunday, celebrating Christmas, venerating the cross, etc., saying that they worship God.
In the parable of the weeds, the owner told his servants to let both the weeds and the wheat grow together until the harvest because he was worried that while they were pulling the weeds, they might root up the wheat with them. The weeds are so prolific that they can outgrow the wheat if both of them grow together. However, no matter how profusely the weeds thrive, they are useless to a farmer. What the farmer wants is the wheat. That’s why Jesus says, “Away from me, you evildoers,” to the many people who practice lawlessness while calling Him “Lord, Lord” (Mt 13:24–30; 7:21–23).
Although the Church of God is like the wheat that is small and weak under the shadow of the weeds, it is the legitimate church that God has established through His precious blood. The truth and faith of the early Church, which Jesus established and the apostles kept 2,000 years ago, have been handed down to the Church of God today.
Prophecies are being fulfilled in the Church of God
Some people insist that the early Church had God’s commandments such as the Sabbath and the Passover but it didn’t have the truth about God the Mother. However, Bible prophecy clearly shows that God the Mother is to appear along with God the Father.
Rev 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John . . .
Revelation is a book of visions, a description of what John the Apostle saw and heard directly from God. In other words, the book of Revelation records future events, not what happened to the early Church.
Rev 22:17–19 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
The bride refers to the heavenly Jerusalem—our Mother (Rev 21:9–10; Gal 4:26). In the revelation concerning what must take place, the Spirit and the Bride—God the Father and God the Mother—call Their children to “come and receive the water of life.” The very next verse repeatedly testifies that if anyone adds anything to the words of the Bible or takes words away from them, he can never be saved.
Not every church is acknowledged as a legitimate church, but only the church that preserves the pure truth of the early Church and fulfills every prophecy of the Bible; it must remain the same no matter how much time passes. All these things are now occurring in the Church of God. The Church of God is the only legitimate church that keeps and proclaims the new covenant established by Jesus and fulfills every word of the Bible.
There are still many people around us who do not know about the Church of God properly. We must not remain silent, but let all nations of the world recognize the legitimacy of our church, so that all human beings will listen to the call of the Spirit and the Bride. How can they be saved without knowing the legitimate church?
God wants us to understand His true will. Let us correctly recognize that the Church of God is the legitimate church and take pride in this fact, and carry out the mission of displaying God’s glory throughout the whole world. I would like to ask all of you, God’s children, to preach the good news of salvation to all people around the world, so that many people can seek and honor God properly.