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A Handbook of Church History
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A Handbook of Church History
Dean C Blackwell   
Church of God

Died: April 14, 2003
Member Since: 1952
Ambassador College: 1956
Office: ACE - Evangelist

Chapter I:

The Christian Church

In Acts 11:22, we read:

   Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem, and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
   [23] Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Eternal.
   So, then Barnabas departed to Tarsus to seek Saul. And when he had found Saul, he brought him unto Antioch where they had a good stabilized Church. Through Barnabas' preaching, many people had been added to the Church. It was a good foundation, a good strong core Church.
   Barnabas went over and got the Apostle Paul, brought him to Antioch and it came to pass a whole year they assembled themselves with the Church. So, the church had already been strengthened and added to by Barnabas' preaching. And then after it was stabilized and large enough and strong enough to warrant such, he went up and got the Apostle Paul, brought him back down there, lived one whole year there in that church and taught much people.
   And so, the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. They weren't called Christians in Christ's day! What were they called? What were they called in Christ's day if they weren't called Christians?
   The Bible tells you what they were called. The Bible itself shows God knew Satan's purpose. God knew Satan had planned to counterfeit the true church. In each stage as you read about the true church, you find Satan trying to counterfeit. Satan trying to undermine! Satan trying to upset and trouble!
   Yet notice the disciples of Christ weren't even called Christians. The true church believers were never called Christians until after the death of their leader. And that's true in so many churches. They are finally called by the name of their leader after their leader dies. Here we are eleven years after Christ was crucified, then finally the name Christian comes. We know that the true church was founded in 31 A.D., in the month of June, and yet here we are, 42 A.D., at least eleven or twelve years later.
   This took place through Barnabas' and Paul's preaching. It took place in a city outside of Jerusalem, outside the influence of Judaism, of that Mother city and Mother Church. It took place in Antioch, and they were called Christians.

The Church of God

   What have they been called before this and why is God naming the true church right here in the Bible?
   The name of the church is "The Church of God." Twelve times in the Bible it is named this. The number of foundations is twelve: twelve apostles, twelve patriarchs, twelve gates in the New Jerusalem twelve pillars in the new city. Always twelve! Israel will be ruled by twelve apostles in the future. Twelve times in your Bible, God named the church, "The Church of God." The very last prayer of Christ in John 17 says, in verse 11, "Father, keep [them] through thine own name..." He didn't say, "Let me (Christ) put them in my name." He did not say, "Let me change them and name them each time after their leader." He did not say, "Let me call them my Church; I died for them; I redeemed them. After all, I'm their Saviour. I'm going to be their King in a few years."
   That isn't what Christ prayed. Christ, right to the end, was selfless. He said to God, the Father, "Keep them in your name." Keep them in the name of "God".

The Nazarenes

   Well, they were kept in God's name. But actually, in the King James translation seven times you find the title of the true church in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But it has been altered; it isn't translated exactly and yet you can read this in most Bible Dictionaries, Bible Encyclopedias, and all the other translations. They make it very plain that in seven different places Christ was called, not Jesus of Nazareth, as your King James version shows it, but actually, if you check in the Greek, "Jesus the Nazarene." It is not "Jesus of Nazareth"! It is not just referring to the location from whence he came! That is how the name originated, true; but Christ was called Jesus the Nazarene. Seven times right in your Bible the perfect number God's own number of perfection, the number of completeness, and finality.
   They weren't known as Christians until twelve years after Christ was crucified. Until twelve years after the church was founded, they weren't known as Christians. God himself had Luke inspired to say the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch, in the days of Barnabas and Paul. What were they known as before this?
   Well, they weren't known by any pagan church because they were only known by Jews. They conflicted with Judaism, they conflicted with Pharisees, Saducees and the other Jews. What did the Jews call them? The Jews called them Nazarenes.
   Can you prove that very conclusively? Well, you can prove it in the Gospels, because if you look in another translation where it says "Jesus of Nazareth," seven of those times it says "Jesus the Nazarene."

In the book of Acts, chapter 24, you notice:

   [1] And after five days came Ananias the high priest with the elders, and with a certain orator named Tertullus, who informed the governor against Paul.
   [2] And when he was called forth, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying, Seeing that by thee we enjoy great quietness...
   [5] For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, ...contagious, and a mover of sedition, [He's trying to divide among the Jews; he's trying to lead out of the Jews; he's trying to be a mover among the Jews] among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes:

   From where did they think the Christians would come? From where would they be called? They were called out from among the Jews.

A Sect

   Your Bible itself brands the title with which you find the true church listed. One of the earmarks of the true church, when you're looking in history books, is it's always a sect never was a denomination. Anytime a church became a denomination, as the Waldenses did in 1655, they were no longer the true church.
   Notice that he said Paul was "a mover of sedition among the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect." So every time you read about the true church, it's going to be called a sect, because your Bible calls it a sect. But what does that mean?
   The meaning of the word sect is given in a derivation of the word itself "Sectarian." A sect of the Nazarenes. They were called Nazarenes by the Jews.
   Well, who called them Christians? The people of Antioch. They were the first ones to call them Christians. And, yet, in the heart and core and center of Judaism, they called them Nazarenes. Even your Bible gives you the name they were called by the world Nazarenes. In the very last chapter of Acts (28), they are called the same. Actually, it proves that from Acts 24 all the way through to Acts 28, they're still assuming that we are understanding the accounting of the Nazarenes in chapter 25, chapter 26, chapter 27 and chapter 28. And then you notice in verse 21 of Acts 28:
   And then they said to him [Paul], We neither received letters out of Judea concerning you, neither any of the brethren that came showed or spoke any harm of thee.
   [22] But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against.
   Now where would you go if you want to look up one sect this sect? He doesn't give the name here in this chapter. You come all the way where we were in Acts 24 concerning this sect of the Nazarenes of which Paul was the ringleader. We know that everywhere it is spoken against and we're all the way down to 63 A.D. by this time. So here we are twenty-one years later than where we were reading back when they were called Christians and now they're called the "sect." They were called Nazarenes; they were everywhere spoken against!
   The people in Rome wanted to know what Paul taught and believed. They had no letters nor had any person relate to them personally about this at all.

Satan's Counterfeit

   Notice in 2 Cor. 11. Here it shows you exactly what Satan did and in every stage of the church you have to be careful because Satan either tried to counterfeit and make one group appear like the true church or else he tried to make the universal church brand all rebels by one common name. That's what you find in church history. They called various groups of "heretics," "Albigenses." They called entire groups of people "Nazarenes," and not especially that as much as "Ebionite." So, when you read about the early stages of the church and the term "Ebionite," it has nothing to do with the true church. It's one overall name that the universal church branded all the rebels, all heretics, because it means "poor people" dumb, poor, ignorant people that left the true church, no longer a part of the universal church. So the Catholics branded all the false churches "Ebionites."
   You might say, "I thought the Waldenses were the true church." They were for a time, but the Waldensians keep Sunday today. And every book that you read about the Waldenses says their doctrines and beliefs and practices today are far different from what their early account is.
   So the big problem in church history is to find out when the church ceased being the true church and when God removed that church to another place, which we'll see that He did.
   Notice in 2 Cor. 11:13. He said, "For such are false apostles,..." There were false apostles among the Paulicians. There were false apostles among the Nazarenes. There were false apostles among the Waldenses. There were false apostles in Germany in the days of the true church. There were false apostles in England in the days of the true church. There have been false apostles in America. "Such are false apostles, deceitful workers,..." They're not really working the work of God, not preaching the gospel around the world as a witness, not feeding the flock on the gospel of the Kingdom. They have deceitful works. They appear to have a great number of missionaries. That's what earmarks the false church in the counterfeiting of the true church when you find that the church became great, large, popular and accepted, and looked up to and admired.
   When the Paulicians grew in numbers to one hundred thousand, they weren't the true church. When they had a general as their leader who was a preacher and a general both, they had ceased being the church a century earlier than that.
   But notice what he says: "False apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ." They try to counterfeit and try his true apostles. Some try to counterfeit as Nazarenes.
   How did the working of Satan interfere with Israel when they came out of Egypt? Do you remember? Well, he got a mixed multitude to come out with them. What Satan has always done is to infiltrate, counterfeit, divide and conquer, as we hear today.
   But you notice what happened? Certain ministers transformed themselves as real, sincere, heartfelt Christians, and they tried to get right in among God's people.

In the first chapter of Job, we find in verse 6:

   ...the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
   That's what always happens and always did.
   Do you realize that when Israel went out of Egypt, Satan got this mixed multitude in with them to corrupt them and to keep sun-worship alive? The mixed multitude caused all the trouble. They were the "rabble-rousers" the problems.
   Also, in the New Testament, Satan got right in with ministers who tried to make themselves appear as true ministers "and no marvel because Satan, the Devil, is transformed into an angel of light." (2 Cor. 11:14) So, it's no great thing if Satan's ministers be transformed as ministers of righteousness.

Nazarenes in History

   In the eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, an article on the Nazarenes refers to: "An obscure [another earmark of God's Church] little flock." It always was a little flock. They never were great and popular. They never were part of the big, accepted Christian religion.
   "Obscure, Jewish Christian," it also says. This is another earmark of the true church. They were always called "Jewish Christian." They were never just called "Christian." They were never just called "Jewish." They were always called "Jewish Christian."
   And notice the next word doesn't say "denomination," but "Obscure, Jewish Christian sect1," exactly the same as your Bible denotes twice.
   Existing at the time was Epiphanius, in A.D. 370, who wrote about them. What did he say about Ebionites and Nazarenes? He said they were not the same. What does the Britannica say about them? It says they were the same. What does the Americanna say about them? It says they were the same. Which are you going to believe? The great thinkers and learners of 1912 who wrote the eleventh edition, or the man who lived and wrote in 370 A.D.?
   According to Epiphanius, they existed in his time (A.D. 370) as Nazarenes. Well, where did they exist? In Pella, the Acropolis, as it's called today, or Pella as it was called then. They still existed in that part of Assyria in 370 A.D.

Skeptic's Witness

   In Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, [Gibbon was an agnostic], chapter fifteen, he says the only people to escape Jerusalem in the seige and destruction were the Jewish Christian Nazarenes. They escaped to Pella and stayed there, and the Ebionites went with them.2
   Who were the Ebionites? They were the more strict Jews. They tried to believe some things about Christ, but they were strict and kept rituals and ceremonies. According to that authority [Epiphanius], they dated their settlement in Pella from the time of the flight of the Jewish Christians from Jerusalem immediately before the seige in A.D. 70. They themselves dated according to Epiphanius, who lived in the days when they were still there in Pella. These Nazarenes themselves dated their settlement there from the time of the flight of the Jewish Christians, immediately before A.D. 70, when the seige took place.
   Epiphanius characterized them as "neither more nor less than Jews pure and simple." So that's what he branded them just pure and simple Jews. But he adds that "they recognized the new covenant as well as the old and they believed in the resurrection and in the One God and His Son, Jesus Christ." Yet how could he say they believed that and still say that they were Jews, pure and simple?
   Here's what Jerome says about them: "Desiring to be both Jews and Christians, they were neither the one or the other." And that's a very famous quote about the Nazarenes.
   In the Encyclopedia Americanna, 1920 edition, we read that "they kept the Jewish Sabbath and the Holy Days."3 This mentions both! Epiphanius does too, because he says "Sabbaths [plural]," "Foods," and the like.

Nazarenes vs. Ebionites

   The Nazarenes did not refuse to recognize Paul's apostleship or his right to be a Christian. What difference does that make? That's the earmark between them and the Ebionites. The Ebionites rejected Paul. They said that he was against the law he liberated people. They said they didn't want any Gentiles. They were against Gentiles' salvation and conversion. They rejected Gentile Christians. The Ebionites branded and disregarded the very day of Pentecost and what it pictured the two loaves on the altar. They had the gospel of Matthew translated in Hebrew "sacred Hebrew." That's all they used. They wouldn't use any "Greek Matthew."

The Britannica goes on to say:

   These facts taken along with the name in the geographical position of the sect leads to the conclusion that the Nazarenes of the fourth century are [in spite of Epiphanius' distinction, {and he lived right then} and in spite of his disagreement] identified with the Ebionites.4

   Well, now, that's what the Britannica thinks.
   We read in George P. Fisher's History of the Christian Church:

  The Judaizing Christians were called Ebionites, a name signifying the poor or paupers. This name was originally given in the way of derision by the Jews to the Jewish Christians.5

   Did you notice how they got that name? They didn't call themselves that. Where did they get this name? Well, they were branded such by the Jews in a way of derision the title of derision. The Ebionites embraced all those who refused to give up the Old Testament ceremonial observances. Did you notice that it's an overall title then? But what about some who accepted the New Testament? Well, that's too bad. They're all branded under one title. So, when you look up the history of the true church and it says Ebionites and Nazarenes are the same, that is what Satan wants you to believe. That's what Satan had these men write.
   But what does your Bible say the first stage of the true church was? Nazarenes, that's all. The very names are preserved in the Bible. God put the name of the real branch of the true church right in your Bible so you couldn't be misled. But Satan, the Devil, comes right along and tries to make so many historians say the Ebionites and Nazarenes are one and the same.
   Yet the Ebionites reject Paul; they reject Gentile Christians; they reject the Matthew Gospel account in Greek and have to have it in Hebrew. So what if they use one term, "Ebionites," for everyone? What about today, let's say? What would a Catholic or Protestant call you?

Confusion from Protestant Categorizing

   Are you just all Sabbatarians? Well, who are Sabbatarians? Let's see. You have Seventh Day Adventists. You have Seventh Day Church of God. You have Seventh Day Baptists. Don't they have you all under one name? Certainly. Then why should you be surprised they did in church history? They did, they do today, and they always did and will.
   But now you have to find the difference today, don't you? Are you just satisfied to be any Sabbatarian today, or do you want to find out if you are a part of the seventh-day-keeping-people which make up the true church? Then you've got to find the specific branch.
   That's what this book meant. The Ebionites embrace everyone who refuse to give up the Old Testament ceremonial observance. Notice that even Fisher distinguished between them, and he was a Protestant. He said that they included two classes which were distinct from each other. Epiphanius, too, said they were distinct; they were totally different.
   Another example of group-name cataloguing is the term "Albigenses," which didn't even apply to one sect or church. It applied to all the heretics in southeastern France which was known as "Albi." "Genes," or "Genses," of Albi referred to the human beings the people of southeastern Albi. That is how they got the name. There was no "Albi" who founded them.
   Let's take a look at a quote from the Waldenses. Do you know what they called the Albigenses? Demons! You read that right in church history. The Albigenses never were the true church. They were Satan's counterfeit to try to get people to think Albigenses were brothers of the Waldenses successors of Waldenses. That isn't true at all!
   Now when the Waldenses became popular, gathered armies and began to fight, God had already removed the true church. The true church was no longer in northern Italy and southern Switzerland and southeastern France. God had removed the truth of these Waldensians who objected to the new doctrines and letting down of the old ways and changing, and moved them out of there into Germany.
   Well, now, isn't that what your Bible says? If one church begins to go astray, God removes the lampstand into another place.

Nazarenes Leave Pella

   Notice what Fisher says here. The Ebionites included two classes distinct from each other. The Nazarenes clung to the ancient ceremonies, but they did not denounce Gentile believers. They were the remnant of the more moderate Jewish Christians who were not prepared to surrender the national customs. Late in the fourth century, they still lingered in the synagogues of the east.
   Then is it any wonder, in the progress of the Roman Catholic Church, they had great trouble with the Easterners? They put to death Polycarp because he wouldn't change the day on which they kept the Passover.
   Now where would you expect the true church to stabilize? Out of all the towns of Paul, Berea surely would be the most likely place for true believers to last the longest. Where did the Nazarenes go when they came out of Pella? One account says they went up to Berea. Isn't that where you'd expect them to go? Did you notice this man says that late in the fourth century, they still lingered in the synagogues of the East? The more rigid Ebionites were the successors of the Judaizers who gave the Apostle Paul all his trouble. In other words, they were the resistance movement Satan mounted. They were Satan's ministers who rose up and tried to refute, denounce and reject the Apostle Paul.
   What happened when the followers of Paul, the Nazarenes [this was the sect he was the ringleader of], fled to Pella? These Judaizing troublemakers in Paul's day went right along the Ebionites. How did they get rid of them?
   The next Roman emperor decided he'd rebuild Jerusalem and call it New Capital Island. So they were going to rebuild Jerusalem and give it a new Roman empire title. And, they welcomed any of the Jews who wanted to come back down to the New Capital Island. The Ebionites returned there as fast as they could. Why? Because the Nazarenes had already moved out of Pella to Berea. They had already moved on up into Turkey and then from there into Bulgaria.
   We can know this by reading about the Paulicians. They were removed from here and led up into Bulgaria where they were known as Bogomils.
   Another error of the Ebionites was their consideration of Jesus as the promulgator of the law in a more rigid form. They didn't even understand the Spirit of the law. They thought Christ came to make the law even more rigid than it had ever been in the Old Testament to make it even more stern.


   A simple account of the Nazarenes is given in an article in the Biblical and Theological Dictionary by Richard Watson:
   A name given to Christians in general, on account of Jesus Christ's being of the city of Nazareth; but was, in the second century, restrained to certain Judaizing Christians, who blended Christianity and Judaism together. They held that Christ was born of a virgin, and was also in a certain manner united to the divine nature. They refused to abandon the ceremonies (not meaning rituals and sacrifices) prescribed by the law of Moses.
   They rejected those additions that were made to the Mosaic institutions by the Pharisees and doctors of the law, and admitted the Scriptures both of the Old and New Testament.
   The fathers frequently mentioned the Gospel of the Nazarenes, which differs nothing from that of St. Matthew, but was afterward corrupted by the Ebionites. These Nazarenes preserved this first Gospel in its primitive purity. Some of them were still in being in the time of St. Jerome, who does not reproach them with any errors.6

Jerome's Testimony

   The ancestors of the Nazarenes is clearly shown in the Comprehensive Critical and Explanatory Bible Encyclopedia by Edward Robinson, in the article "Nazarite," or "Nazarene":
   It may reasonably be doubted, whether the Nazarenes or Nazareans spoken of in early ecclesiastical history were heretics: it is more probable, that they were descendants of the original Jewish Christians.
   They must have been well known to Jerome, who live long in Judea, and who thus describes them in several places. Mentioning Hebrews believing in Christ, he says they were anathematized for their rigid adherence to the ceremonies of the Jewish law, which they mingled with the Gospel of Christ: "They so receive Christ, that the discard not the rites of the ancient law."
   He also describes the Nazarenes as persons "who believed in Christ the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary," in whom the Orthodox believe; but who were nevertheless so bigoted to the Mosaic law, that they were rather to be considered as a Jewish sect, than a Christian.7

Christ, Christians Named Nazarenes

   Basic Bible facts about the origin of the name are seen in Unger's Bible Dictionary by Merrill F. Unger, article "Nazarene":
   An inhabitant or native of Nazareth, as Matt. 21:11, etc., and rendered "of Nazareth." The term Nazarene (Gr. "Nazoraios") occurs only in Matt. 2:23, Acts 24:5, and should have been rendered Nazoraean in English.
   At first it was applied to Jesus naturally and properly, as defining His residence. In process of time, its population became impure [mixed with other peoples], its dialect rough, provincial and strange, and its people seditious, so that they were held in little consideration.
   "The name of Nazarene was but another word for despised one. Hence, although no prophet has ever said anything of the word Nazarene, yet all these prophecies describing the Messiah as a despised one are fulfilled in His being a Nazarene." (Whedon, Com., in loc)
   The Christians were called "Nazarenes" (Acts 24:5) a contemptuous appellation, as the followers of Jesus, whose presumed descent from Nazareth stamped Him as a false Messiah.8

Name Applied by Jews

   From the Faiths of the World, by James Gardner, under Nazarenes, we read:
   A term of reproach applied to the early Christians by the Jews, by whom they were sometimes styled the sect of the Nazarenes, as we find in Acts 24:5. A particular sect, however, arose in the second century, which Jerome and Epiphanius mention as called by this name, and who taught that the Jewish law, and especially circumcision, was obligatory on Jewish Christians, and moreover, they believed Jesus to be the son of the Virgin Mary, but a mere man.
   The Jews, we are told by early Christian writers, were wont to curse and anathematize this sect of Nazarenes, three times a day, morning, noon and night, using this imprecation in their prayers in the synagogue, "Send thy curse, O God, upon the Nazarenes."
   Jerome mentions a Hebrew gospel which he had received from the Nazarenes near the close of the fourth century. They then dwelt at Beroea in Syria. Their views of Christ, as exhibited in the gospel which bears their name, are thus detailed by Neander: "He is described by them as the one towards whom the progressive movement of the theocracy tended from the beginning; as the end and aim of earlier divine revelations. In him, the Holy Spirit, from whom, down to this time, only isolated revelations and excitations had proceeded, first found an abiding place of rest, a permanent abode. Inasmuch as the Holy Spirit was the productive principle of His entire nature, and it was first from him that the efficiency of the Spirit, in shaping the entire life of humanity, and forming other organs of action, could proceed, he is called the first-born of the Holy Spirit' ... as the Holy Spirit is also denominated his mother. Where this gospel describes how the whole fountain of the Holy Spirit descended on Christ at his baptism and abode permanently with him, the following words of salutation are ascribed to the former: "My Son, in all the prophets I expected Thee, that thou shouldst come, and I might find in thee a place of rest! for thou art my resting place, thou art my first-born son, who reignest for ever."'"
   The Nazarenes are often confounded with the Ebionites, with whom to a certain extent they agreed in opinion.9 [Would you expect the Jews to call them Christians when they did not believe Jesus was the Christ? The Gentiles at Antioch were the first to call them Christians, as previously shown.]

Nazarenes and Ebionites Separate

   A Concise History of the Christian Church, by Martin Ruter, relates:
   It has been observed that, on the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, the Jewish Christians retired to Pella, a small city of Syria. In this situation, interdicted, along with their brethren of the synagogue, from visiting the holy city, they languished during sixty years in absence from all which their strongest prejudices taught them the most fervently to revere.
   Wearied at length by the prohibition, which for ever deprived them of revisiting the object of their dearest hopes, they evaded the law by electing, for their bishop, Mark, a prelate of the Gentile race, and abjuring the Mosaical law.
   Thus, they obtained admission into the holy city, and the standard of orthodoxy was again erected at Jerusalem. During their occasional absence, the bishop and Church of Pella had still retained the title belonging to their former situation. A considerable part, however, of the Jewish Christians, still more ardently attached to the Mosaical rites than to Jerusalem remained behind, and some of them are supposed to have retained the name of Nazarenes; and others that of Ebionites, as described in the preceding century. Abhorred and publicly execrated by their brethren of the circumcision for their attachment to Christianity, and despised by the Christians for their prejudices in favour of the Mosaical law, they were peculiarly oppressed and unfortunate.10 [The Ebionites were more strictly Jews, so returned to their beloved Jerusalem as soon as possible. Notice who remained and yet kept the laws of Moses Nazarenes!]

Christ Prophesied to be a Nazarene?

   The Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, by Newton Brown, clarifies prophecy as to Christ being a Nazarene:
   Nazarene; Matt. 2:23. We find no particular place in the prophets expressly affirming that the Messiah should be called a Nazarene; and Matthew only mentions the prophets in general. Perhaps he would infer that the consecration of Nazarites, and their great purity, was a type and prophecy referring to our Saviour, (Num. 6:18-19), or, that the name Nazir, or Nazarite, given to the Patriarch Joseph, had some reference to Christ (Gen. 49:26, Deut. 33:16). Jerome was of opinion that Matthew alludes to Isa. 11:1; 60:25: "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch (Heb. Nazer) shall grow out of his roots." This branch, or Nazer, and this rod, are certainly intended to denote the Messiah, by the general consent of the fathers and interpreters. Or, possibly, in a more general sense, "He shall be vilified, despised, neglected," as everything was that came from Nazareth; and this might be a kind of prophetic proverb. Calmet.11

Jews Called Them Nazarenes!

   The Ecclesiastical History of the Second and Third Centuries, by John Bishop of Bristol, records:
   To return to Mosheim. In his enumeration of the heresies which divided the church in the second century, he first mentions that which originated in a superstitious attachment to the Mosaic law. This heresy is scarcely noted by Tertullian. There can indeed be little doubt that, after the promulgation of Adrian's edict, those Christians who had united the observance of the Mosaic ritual with the profession of the Gospel, fearful lest they should be confounded with the Jews, gradually abandoned the Jewish ceremonies so that, in the time of Tertullian, the number of Judaizing Christians had become extremely small. We are now speaking of those whom Mosheim calls Nazarenes [A footnote says: "The Jews, in Tertullian's time, appear to have called Christians in general by the name of Nazarenes." Adv. Marcionem, L 4 c. 8 sub initio. Apud Hebraeos Christianos, L 3 c. 12.] who, though they retained the Mosaic rites, believed all the fundamental articles of the Christian faith. The Ebionites on the contrary, who also maintained the necessity of observing the ceremonial, rejected many essential doctrines of Christianity.12

Nazarenes vs. Ebionites

   They are more than once mentioned by Tertullian, who always speaks of them as having received their appellation from their founder Ebion. He did not write any express treatise against them; but we learn from incidental notices in his works that they denied the miraculous conception, and affirmed that Jesus was not the Son of God, but a mere man born according to the ordinary course of nature.
   Institutes of Ecclesiastical History Ancient and Modern, by John Laurence Von Mosheim, states:
   Those who maintained the necessity of the Mosaic law and ceremonies in order to eternal salvation had not proceeded so far in this century as to have no communion with such as thought differently. They were, therefore, accounted brethren, though weaker ones. But after the second destruction of Jerusalem in the reign of Adrian, when they withdrew from other Christians, and set up separate congregations, they were regarded as sectarians, who had deviated from the true doctrines of Christ.
   Hence, arose the names, Nazarenes and Ebionites by which those Christians, who erred from the true doctrines of Christ and excessive attachment to the Mosaic law, were distinguished from their brethren generally, whose opinion was, that the system established by Moses had been abrogated by Christ. These Nazarenes or Ebionites, however, though commonly set down among the sects of the apostolic age, really belong to the second century, in which they first attracted notice.
   Among the Christian sects that arose in this century [second], the first place is due to those Jewish Christians, whose zeal for the Mosaic law severed them from the other believers in Christ. The rise of this sect took place in the reign of Adrian. For, when this emperor had wholly destroyed Jerusalem a second time, and enacted severe laws against the Jews, the greater part of the Christians living in Palestine, that they might not be confounded with the Jews, as they had been laid aside the Mosaic ceremonies, and chose one Mark, who was a foreigner and not a Jew, for their bishop.
   This procedure was very offensive to those among them whose attachment to the Mosaic rites was too strong to be eradicated. They therefore separated from their brethren, and formed a distinct society in Peraea, a part of Palestine, and in the neighbouring regions; and among them the Mosaic law retained all its dignity unimpaired.
   [A footnote says: Se Sulpitus Severus, Historia Sacra, 1. ii, c. 31, p.245 (p.381, ed. Hornii, 1647). He says, "Adrian stationed a regiment of soldiers as a constant guard to prevent all Jews from entering Jerusalem; which was advantageous to the Christian faith; because, at that time, nearly all (the Jewish Christians) believed in Christ as God, yet with an observance of the law." Tr.]
   This body of people, who would unite Moses and Christ, was again divided into two classes, differing widely in their opinions and customs, the Nazarenes and the Ebionites. The former are not reckoned by the ancient Christians among heretics, but the latter are placed among those sects which subverted the foundations of religion. Both sects used a history of Christ or a Gospel, which was different from our Gospels.

Greeks Titled Them Christians

   The word Nazarene was not the name of a sect, but was equivalent to the word Christian. For those who bore the title of Christians among the Greeks, were by the Jews called Nazarenes, which was far from disagreeable to them. Those who retained, after separating from their brethren, this first name for our Lord's disciples, being the very one imposed on them by the Jews, believed Christ to be born of a virgin, and to be in some way united with the divine nature. And although they would never discard the ceremonies proscribed by Moses, yet they did not obtrude them upon the Gentile Christians. They rejected, moreover, the additions made to the Mosaic ritual, by the doctors of the law and the Pharisees. It is therefore easy to see why the other Christians in general judged more favourably of them.
   Whether the Ebionites derived their name from a man called Ebion, or were so denominated on account of their poverty, either in regard to property or sentiment, it is uncertain.
   [A footnote states: "They are more than once mentioned by Tertullian, who always speaks of them as having received their appellation from their founder, Ebion." Bp. Kaye's Tertullian, p.471: "Tertullian is the first who makes mention of a founder, named Ebion, and others have followed him in this account. Better informed writers, such as Iraeneus and Origen, know of no such person; and it is clear that the invention of such a person arose from the not understanding the name of Ebionite. Origen gives us the proper derivation of the term, namely, from the Hebrew "Ebion," "poor." (Rose's Neander, 2. 10)]
   But they were much worse than the Nazarenes. For though they supposed Christ to be an ambassador of God, and endowed with divine power, yet they conceived him to be a man, born in the ordinary course of nature, from Joseph and Mary. They maintained that the ceremonial law of Moses must be observed, not by the Jews only, but also by all who wished to obtain salvation; and, therefore, St. Paul, as the most strenuous opposer of the law, they viewed with abhorrence. Nor were they satisfied with the mere rites which Moses appointed, but also observed, with equal veneration, the superstitious rites of their ancestors, and the customs of the Pharisees, which were added to the law.
   [A footnote states: "Epiphanius treats largely of the Ebionites in his Haeres. 30. But he is worthy of no credit for he acknowledges that he has joined the Sampsaeans and the Elcesaites with the Ebionites, and that the first Ebionites did not hold the errors which he attributes to the sect."13 (The correctness of Epiphanius, as a historian, is often called in question; and perhaps justly. But if the term Ebionites designated a variety of minor sects, all of them Jewish Christians; and if some of these sects had, in the fourth century, imbibed Gnostic sentiments, unknown to the original Ebionites, then Epiphanius may here be entirely correct, which others suppose to be the fact. See Neander, as cited above, Note Tr.)]

Burton's Early Records

   Lectures upon the Ecclesiastical History of the First Three Centuries, by Edward Burton, relates:
   In whatever year we place the death of Clement, he witnessed an event, which must have been watched by Christians with peculiar interest, the final destruction of Jerusalem. I have already stated it not to be my intention, as indeed my subject does not require me, to describe the horrors of that protracted catastrophe. I have the mentioned the secession of the Christians to Pella, which perhaps took place about the year 66: but though this town has been particularly named, it is impossible to conceive, that it contained all the Christians, who were before living in Jerusalem. [Naturally, it did not. Gibbon and many authors prove only the Jewish Christian Nazarenes fled there.]
   It is probable, that Symeon, who was their bishop, and the leading members of the church, found an asylum in Pella, but many other towns in Batanaea and Decapolis, and the whole trans- Jordanic district, may have received some of the fugitives. The providential escape of these men, while the rest of their countrymen were dying by thousands, must have produced a great impression upon the inhabitants of those towns; and if we had any historical details of this interesting period, we should perhaps read of Christianity having made great progress in the country about Pella. The secession of the Christians continued at least till the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 72; some time after which (so great is the attachment of all men to their native country and their accustomed residence) they returned in considerable numbers, and took possession of the ruins, which Titus had left to mark the greatness of his conquest.
   There can be no doubt that Symeon accompanied those of his flock, who returned to Jerusalem: and the church of Jewish Christians once more was seen to flourish in the place, which had been the first to receive, and the first to persecute the gospel.
   There is, however, reason to fear, that this sojourn of the Christians in Pella, and then the neighboring towns, was productive of a consequence, which for some centuries inflicted evil upon the church.
   Epiphanius is very minute in asserting that the Nazarenes and Ebionites took their rise soon after the destruction of Jerusalem; and that the founders of these sects were to be traced to the Christians, who fled to the neighbourhood of Pella. It might be wished, that chronological fact of this importance had come down to us upon better authority than the of Epiphanius [A footnote states: "Theodoret quotes Eusebius as saying that the Nazarenes began in the reign of Domitian. Haer. Feb. II. 2 p.219. They are, however, not mentioned in the History of Eusebius; and he places the Ebionites in the reign of Trajan, III. 27.] but in this instance he is so precise in his details, and he was so evidently following some written authority, that I should be inclined on the whole to receive his testimony as true. I am aware, that many writers have placed the Ebionites in the second century: and the whole of this subject has been so perplexed by the different views which have been taken of the tenets of the Nazarenes, that it is hopeless to attempt to bring so many disputes to a decision. I cannot, however, help, concluding that Epiphanius has preserved the true account and assuming, on his authority, that the Nazarenes and Ebionites appeared at the end of the first century, I shall endeavour to give some description of these two sects.
   There can be no doubt, that the Ebionites were looked upon as heretics by all the Fathers: and it is also plain, that they spoke of them as a branch of the Gnostics: a remark, which is of essential use in investigating this branch of ecclesiastical history.
   Epiphanius also considered the Nazarenes as heretics, and as resembling the Ebionites in some points, though at first their tenets were much less objectionable and this perhaps is a correct state of the case, as far as concerns the origin of these sects.
   We know that the Nazarene was a name given in contempt to our Saviour; and that his followers were called Nazarenes in reproach long after they had been known among themselves by the name of Christians (Acts 24:5). It by no means follows, if human nature has been the same in all ages, that the party, to whom the epithet was applied, looked upon it as a reproach: but still it is much more likely, that the Christians of Judaea, than those of Greece or Italy, should have been known by a title, which was taken from a Jewish town.
   We have also seen in the course of these Lectures, (and the Acts of the Apostles are alone sufficient to prove it; Acts 21:20), that many thousands of the Jewish Christians continued for several years to retain their attachment to the Law of Moses.
   If we may argue from what took place in Jerusalem when St. Paul arrived there in 53, neither James nor the elders of his church had ceased to conform in some points to the ceremonies of the Law. Such was the state of the Jewish Christians, when they fled to Pella before the destruction of Jerusalem.
   With the usual zeal of persons who have changed their sentiments, they may have refused the name of Christians to those who still united the Gospel with the Law: and if the term Nazarene was applied by the more numerous party as a reproach, it would be sure to be received by the minority as a title of distinction. There is reason to think, that at first there was no other peculiarity in the tenets of the Nazarenes, except that they adhered to the Mosaic Law.
   Epiphanius, who lived in the fourth century, is the earliest writer that speaks of the Nazarenes as heretics: and it is plain from his account, that they were not many in number. They appear to have been confined principally to the country, where they first appeared.
   The appearance of the Ebionites is another interesting fact, which probably ought to fill up a blank in the last thirty years of the first century. Epiphanius, as I have stated, places their rise in the country near to Pella, which was occupied by the Christians from Jerusalem. It has been disputed whether there was ever a person called Ebion, from whom they received their name: but it is agreed on all hands, that Ebion was a Jewish word, which signified poor. It is impossible not to connect the Ebionites in many respects with the Jews: but at the same time they held opinions from which an orthodox Jew would have started with horror. It is sufficient to mention, that they treated the writings of the prophets with contempt, and denied their inspiration.
   So also, while we find that the name of Jesus held a conspicuous place in their creed, we find them also believing him to be born of human parents, and maintaining that Christ was an emanation from God, which descended upon Jesus at his baptism. All these peculiarities are explained, when it is stated that the Ebionites were a branch of the Gnostics.
   It may have been the success of Carpocrates and Cerinthus, which led some persons in the neighbourhood of Pella to embrace the heresy described above, as that of the Ebionites. The fugitives from Jerusalem, as I have already observed, could not fail to give a wider circulation to the gospel in that country: and while some became true disciples of Jesus, others, as is the case in the spreading of the new opinions, may have imperfectly learnt, or ignorantly perverted, the real doctrines of Christianity. It will be remembered also, that the native inhabitants of this country were not properly Jews: though the vicinity of that peculiar people could not fail to have imparted to them some Jewish notions and customs. The Ebionites, as they are represented by the earliest writers, exactly answer to this compound of imperfect Christianity and imperfect Judaism.
   If they followed Cerinthus, it was merely in believing Jesus to have been born of human parents, and to have been united to Christ who descended upon him at his baptism: but their philosophical opinions, if the term can be applied to them, were less irrational, and more consistent with the Jewish scriptures: and with respect to practice, the first Ebionites seem rather to have erred on the side of austerity than of indulgence.
   It should not be omitted, that ecclesiastical writers have mentioned two divisions of the Ebionites: the ones which believed Jesus to have been born of human parents and the other which admitted his miraculous conception. The latter have been identified by some writers with the Nazarenes: but, if as is stated of the Ebionites, they paid no regard to the Jewish prophets; and if they believed Jesus and Christ to be two separate persons, it is evidently impossible to say that they agreed with the Nazarenes.14

Church Slept on the Job

Notice Matthew 25:1-5:

   Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
   And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
   And they that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
   But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
   While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
   While the bridegroom tarried, was it just the foolish who slumbered and slept? No! It doesn't say that, does it? It says, while the bridegroom tarried, they all wise and foolish slumbered. Even the true church slumbered.
   Then when you're looking for the history of the true church, you're going to find out that for years and years they went to sleep on the job. They did not evangelize!

Revive Your Work!

   Why do you think in Habakkuk, God said that He'd "revive His work in the midst of the years"? Would this be said if they were doing the work in all the time of the New Testament Church?
You might note that in Habakkuk 3:2, he says:

   O Eternal, I have heard thy speech and was afraid: O Eternal, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

   He is referring to God reviving His work in the midst of man's last century. He said that God would make known what is happening and what's going to happen in man's last years, in the day of His wrath. He requested that God remember mercy and hide His people in a place of safety.
   Notice that he mentions this will be in the last years in the midst of the last years. But your Bible says the church was going to go to sleep. They weren't going to be doing the work of God, and He would have to revive His work in the midst of those years.
   And, yet, people heard Mr. Armstrong say the true gospel hadn't been preached in this world for 1800 years. They merely snicker, wonder, doubt or accuse at this.
   Where did Herbert Armstrong get the idea he was the only one who had preached it in 1800 years? Out of the Bible! What did we just read there in Habakkuk 3? Did He say, of the Sardis Church, that He gave them an open door; that they were small in number, and that yet He opened the doors that no man could close? He didn't say that at all about them. He didn't open a door getting the work done until the Philadelphia church. That's what your Bible says!
   No one knew the key of prophecy. No one even knew about Israel. Why, the Sardis church never could have preached the gospel around the world as a witness. Neither could the church of Thyatira, or any other church. They didn't have the key of prophecy given to them.
   They didn't know the key of David, spoken of in verse 7 [Rev. 3], so how could they have possibly preached the warning? How could they have made known what was going to happen?
   Your Bible says that the gospel wasn't preached until the midst of the last years in the Philadelphia era.

Ebionite False Apostles

Revelation 2:2, says:

...and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.

   There were false apostles in the first stages of the church. God's servants tried the leaders of the Ebionites, who said they were apostles and that God had delivered them to a place of safety too.
   That's a pretty strong argument. Here you have Ebionites right in Pella with you and they say (imaginatively):
   Well, how do you account for this, you Nazarenes? We're here too. God sent us just as much as he did you. Why, our leader's an apostle just as much as yours is.
   That's probably what they tried to say.

The Apostle John

   They fled in 69 A.D. Was John in Pella with them? The Apostle John wasn't even dead until 96-100 A.D., but he was already further than Pella. He was already up into Turkey, taking the Apostle Paul's place.
   The Apostle Paul was put to death in 64 A.D., five years before the destruction. So, God took John out of Jerusalem earlier, and put him in Paul's place. Polycarp was already up there as John's disciple.
   John says in Rev. 2:3: "[You] have patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted." So, the first stage of the Church did labor for awhile. They did work for a time. They did evangelize for a while. But it was in their stage that it went to sleep. It was in their stage that the work ceased being done.
   He said, in verse 4, that "nevertheless, I have something against thee." They had lost the gospel preaching. "Because thou hast left thy first love," of converting people (verse 4 again). They had lost their desire to get the people to know the truth as they knew it.
   When did they lose their first love? They lost it in the Ephesian stage. God told them to:
   Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of His place, except thou repent.
   That's the most important part of the whole story here in church history. Any time the church didn't repent, change, and keep the whole truths they had, they ceased being God's true church.

Waldensian Example

   To illustrate this, even the noted Waldensians became watered down doctrinally and joined the Protestant Movement in 1655.
   Belcher says, in his Religious Denominations, that the first accounting of the Seventh Day Baptists in Germany was in the sixteenth century. Well, 1655 is in the seventeenth century. The Waldensians joined the Protestants in 1655.
   The true Waldensians were moved out of that area into Germany in 1600. So you see, anything you read about the Waldensians from 1600 on, you're not reading about the true church. You're reading about the lazy, watered-down, corrupted, degenerated followers who kept Sunday and all the other pagan days along with the rest of the world.
   This historian (Belcher) relates the story of the Seventh Day Church in Germany and gives you every minister until the church arose with which Mr. Herbert Armstrong became associated. He wrote a denominational history of all denominations and included the history of the Seventh Day Baptists, as they were called in that day.
   He testifies to the fact that in 1818, they had a general conference; and they rejected the name Sabbatarian.

Paulician Example

   God inspired John to write that if they didn't "repent and do the first works, I will...remove thy candlestick..." The Paulicians began to let down; they had a man among them who was fed up with persecution and began building an army. Sergius, one of their ministers, did this. He became so fed up with persecution, he said, "There are enough of us. Why don't we just build our army and put a halt to this?" So, he built an army.
   He was a general and a preacher at the same time. One hundred thousand Paulicians were there. And he built up enough of an army that he conquered many Greek and Turkish armies.
   They weren't the true church any longer after 700 A.D. The true church went up into Bulgaria and became known as the Bogomils. Some of these were certain groups of the Paulicians. However, for the majority, whatever you read about the Paulicians from 700 A.D. forward is of no worth or value. It just isn't the true church.

Apostate Church History

   Even when you read about the Waldenses or Paulicians, when they were the true church, you know what you're going to find out? Let's look at Rev. 2:8:
   And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead and is alive:
   [9] I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
   While giving the history of the true church, God also preserved the history of the false church in Revelation 2 and 3. God knew Satan would destroy every book that was written about the lost century. God had the history of the lost century put in the Bible where the great false church never did look for it.
   If John had tried to write up a large church history and say to all the true Christians that the Universal Church, founded by Simon Magus in 33 A.D., was beginning to do "this, that, and the other thing," it would have been in vain. So, God hid the history in the Bible and John wrote all about it in Revelation 2 and 3.
   Notice the first mention says that some tried to say they were apostles and they were found liars. In verse 6 [Rev. 2], he said the people were following the deeds of the Nicolaitanes. The next stage is Satan's church, verse 9 [Rev. 2].
   Here the people say they are Jews, yet they are not. They're the synagogue of Satan. In verse 12, he says of Pergamos, "I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is." They had held fast God's name and hadn't denied His faith.

Spiritual Fornication Foretold

   You will read about spiritual fornication when you read about the Paulicians, the Bogomils, and about the history of the church. Don't be surprised when you read that they went to a Catholic church to keep from being martyred. Don't be surprised if you read that they let the Catholics baptize their children to keep from being martyred. Don't be surprised if you read the history of the true church and it says they escaped martyrdom by going to the Catholic church, although they met on their own and followed their own beliefs as well.

Notice what is said in verse Rev. 2:14:

   But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, ...
   So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which I hate.
   Repent; or else I come unto thee quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
   When the Bogomils began to be persecuted and when John Huss and some of the other reformers began to crop up in Bulgaria, then God moved the true church down to northern Italy under the leadership of Henry of Lauson and Arnold of Brescia. That was the first stage of the Thyatira Church. The second stage was the Waldensians, which was far greater.
   In verse 19 [Rev. 2], he says, "I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works." Histories tell you the Waldensians had that true charity and service. Their works were "the last to be more than the first." The last stage of the Thyatira Church was bigger than the first.

Reformation Prophesied

   God said He still had a few things against them. The Waldensian had allowed the Catholics to teach and seduce his servants. They allowed their members to sit in that false church. They allowed their members to sit there and eat the communion, their sacrifice to their idol god, Jupiter. That is what He had against them.
   Verse 21 does not talk about the Waldensians, however. It talks about the Catholic church only. "I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not." He gave her a chance to repent, but she didn't. He cast her into a bed and everyone who wanted to commit fornication with her, and those that did would have to suffer tribulation. He would destroy her and her children (the Protestants), for He was the one "which searcheth the reins and the hearts."
   So, when you look for the history of the true church, don't be dumbfounded when you read the Waldensians, some of their members, sat right in the Catholic church, let the Catholics baptize their children, ate the bread right off the Catholic communion altar. Don't be surprised when you read those things. Your Bible says they did! They were weak afraid of dying and would rather cater to certain degrees than be martyred.

Candlestick Removed

   Watch! When an era gets to a certain place, it begins to go downhill, to degenerate, to become Protestant. God rejected them and left them, and they were no longer the true church. This is the most difficult thing in church history: dividing how long they were the true church and when it branched out and removed and planted in another area. But even these seven churches show that the church was the true church in different areas.
   What are these seven churches? Cities on a mail route in Turkey, one going right after the other along the route. Then what about the true church? The same way it started out down in Jerusalem, moved up to Pella in 69 A.D., stayed there until 370 A.D., moved up to Berea, and then to Turkey in the days of the Paulicians. But then, when this Sergius came along and built an army due to his weariness of persecution, God moved some of the Paulicians out into Bulgaria. The Paulicians from 700 on were never the true church.
   Then you read about the Bogomils in Bulgaria. They were Jewish Christians; they were a sect.
   John Huss came along. The Reformation came to swallow up the true church. That's really the chief reason the Reformation came. It did swallow up the Waldenses and the Bogomils and some of the previous stages of the church. Satan did succeed, but just before he did swallow them up, God took a branch of Bogomils and moved them down to northern Italy. Henry of Lauson was the first minister of the Thyatira age. When he died, his student took his place. His name was Arnold of Brescia. Together their ministry lasted for only about seventy years. So, from about 1000 to 1070, they were known as Henricians and Arnoldists. After that, they were known as Waldensians when Peter Waldo, in 1170, set aside all of his wealth as a rich man of France and gave it all to the poor and left France, went over to Italy, and became a part of the Waldensians. They did a fine job until up in the 1500's. At that time, they began to reform, began to degenerate, and began to be like the rest of the world. They also began to get an army and their own government in order to resist the persecution. But, God had already taken a number of them and removed them into Germany where they were known as Anabaptists, or Sabbatarians. They preached there and even one of Martin Luther's best friends, Carlstadt, was a Sabbath-keeping Anabaptist.

Roger Williams

   Were you aware of the fact that King James I of England practiced footwashing? Well, he did. Even Roger Williams (who founded the Baptists in Rhode Island as the free church, as the place for refuge from persecution, to get away from all the habits of the other more accepted churches) came to a little-known ending. He moved down to Rhode Island to establish a free colony for religious worship. And when all the others came down there and he saw what a mess he'd made, he repented of it and was baptized over again by a Seventh Day Anabaptist. That's recorded in the eleventh edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica.15 Roger Williams, a great Baptist, was rebaptized!

Rhode Island Sabbath Keepers

   Did you know that at one time the governor of Rhode Island, by the name of Ward, was a member of the Seventh Day Baptist Church? They were very strong in Rhode Island. That's exactly where the Seventh Day Adventists got their Sabbath, when they were going around to Protestant churches preaching about the second coming of Christ. They received an invitation to come up to Rhode Island and preach. While they were there, these people they were preaching to began to talk about the Sabbath. William Miller accepted the Sabbath; but, they never had been and never became a part of the Church of God.


   When you are looking for the history of the true church, don't look for it to be doing the work. It was asleep as far as the work is concerned. When you look for the name "Nazarenes" in its first stage, let history tell you where they went from the Nazarenes. Your Bible tells you plainly where they went, or your history books tell you. Don't let anyone delude you.
   When an era of the church went afoul, the way the Waldenses did, God removed the lampstand and moved it (in this case, to Germany). Then the Reformation began to swallow up Germany. You notice that actually the Reformation followed the very steps of the true church! This began in Bulgaria where the Bogomils were! When they moved down into northern Italy, then you have reformers coming down there also, so they moved on up out of Switzerland to Germany.
   Then you have the Reformation going up to Germany. So they fled Germany in the 1600's and got over to England. The Reformation spread on into England and there the national church found them so they fled to America in 1681 under Stephen Mumford. Reformers came right over there too. When you read that these churches allowed the Catholic church to baptize their children, don't be surprised. The Bible told you they would. When you read that the Waldensians formed an army, find out when, because that's after they ceased being the true church. If you follow these guide marks, you can find the true church from the false ones.


1. "Nazarenes," Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol.XIX-XX, p. 319

2. Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol.I, (Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952), pp. 530-531

3. "Ebionite," Encyclopedia Americana, 9th ed.

4. "Nazarenes," Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol.XIX-XX, p. 319

5. George P. Fisher, Fisher's History of the Christian Church

6. Richard Watson, Biblical Theological Dictionary, (New York: B. Waugh and T. Mason, 1833), pp. 687-688

7. "Nazarites," Robinson's Comprehensive Critical and Explanatory Bible Encyclopedia, p.696-697

8. "Nazarenes," Unger's Bible Dictionary, pp. 778-779

9. James Gardner, Faiths of the World, (London: Fullarton and Co., n.d.), p. 520

10. Martin Ruter, Concise History of the Christian Church, (New York: Carlton and Lanhan, n.d.), p. 46

11. Newton Brown, ed., "Nazarenes," Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, (Brattleboro: Brattleboro Typographic Co., 1838), p. 861-862

12. John Bishop, The Ecclesiastical History of the 2nd and 3rd Centuries, (Cambridge: J.J. Deighton, 1826), pp. 474-475

13. John Von Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, Ancient and Modern, (New York: Harper and Bros., 1858), pp. 128-129

14. Edward Burton, Ecclesiastical History of the First Three Centuries, (Oxford: John Henry and Jim Parker, 1860), pp. 260-264

15. "Roger Williams," Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., XXVIII, p. 682-683

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Bible Study:

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Bible Study services are posted each Wednesday. Our service consists of an opening hymn, a Bible Study and a final hymn.

Continue to the Bible Study Service page.