Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
It has been another busy week here in the Five Cities region of California.
From the daily news posts, to magazine issues, to research, to handling emails, to working on the Feast of Tabernacles, reviewing baptismal procedures, and radio, a lot has been going on.
Crying Aloud, Sparing Not
On July 1, I was a guest on a syndicated radio program. I was able to bring up the biblical connection between the record heat in parts of the Western USA with the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act and biblical prophecies, such as Deuteronomy 29:23-25 (see also After DOMA overturned, Western USA hit with massive heat wave: any connection?).
The Bible teaches:
1 Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)
And, I also cited the above scripture. But brethren, there is more disturbing news that governments do not wish to be told about sin.
Several days ago in the United Kingdom, an American street preacher was arrested and questioned about his beliefs after saying that fornication and homosexuality are a sin (American street preacher arrested in the UK for declaring homosexuality ‘sin’).
While we in the Continuing Church of God still declare those transgressions of God’s law sin (1 John 3:4, KJV), since this is an evil time, there will be time for that the prudent will not always speak out (Amos 5:13).
However, because we primarily utilize the internet, radio interviews, and our own printed publications to declare the truths of the Bible, we can still speak out more than others who are often more concerned about their image and/or being on certain television stations.
As far as the internet goes, we are looking at expanding the low-cost Google campaign we began last month. Basically, we are looking at adding more “key words” that other churches are not particularly interested in that we in the Continuing Church of God can target at a very-low cost.
Two Items Affecting End Time Prophecy
While a lot is going on, there are two items that will impact end time prophecy that have recently been in the news.
The first to mention here is the situation in Egypt. Presuming the Egyptian military keeps elected President Morsi from being president (they declared someone else as interim president, see Adly Mansour installed as Egypt’s interim president), this will represent a major setback for the Muslim Brotherhood and its ambitions, at least in the short-run.
The Muslim Brotherhood wants to basically put together a confederation of Islamic nations that will resemble the biblical King of the South, with a leader that they call a Caliph. Bible prophecy shows that ultimately this type of confederation will form (Military’s deadline passed for Egypt’s President Morsi to step down and it has stepped in: What is ahead for Egypt?). So, whatever seeming setbacks there have been in Egypt should be understood in the light of biblical prophecy, such as those found in Daniel 11:40-43 and Ezekiel 30:1-8.
The second to mention is the news about the USA’s reported espionage of the European Union in general (including the USA allegedly placing listening devices in some of the EU’s important buildings) and Germany in particular (see Germany: USA is engaged in ‘cold war’ against us, Europe furious and EU tells USA to stop spying on it as it asks for more information and Germany most upset by USA espionage).
Allegedly, the USA collects about as much information on Germany as it does the nation of China. It is obvious that some in the government of the USA do consider that the European Union (and in particular Germany) as a major threat. The Europeans, including the Germans, are discussing issues and have grave concerns about the USA. While most in the USA do not consider that the Europeans could be a threat, some who have inside information apparently see this differently.
Because of these news reports, even if the allegations are not true (and they have not been publicly denied by the USA as I write this), this is going to result in the USA telling the European Union a lot about what it has been collecting, how it has collected the information, and what it does with the information. Furthermore, this will result in the USA reducing some of its espionage (at least for a time) against the Europeans. This will make it easier for the coming European Beast power to launch a surprise attack against the USA. The sermonette recommended for today covers some of this.
And though most do not seem to believe that this is possible, the Bible clearly teaches that the power with the strongest military fortresses (which is currently the United States) will be taken over by the final European King of the North per Daniel 11:39.
While the USA does seem to spy on everyone it can, it is interesting to note that according to a 2010 document allegedly from its NSA (referred to in various news reports this week), the nations of Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand are considered to be ‘close friends’ and do not need to be spied on like other nations. The USA is tied closer to its Anglo-allies than most have realized. And the fate of those nations will, to a major degree, be tied into the fate of the USA.
Feast of Tabernacles
As a reminder, we have a webpage with information on the Feast of Tabernacles this year. You may wish to view from time to time as we expect to update it with more information as it becomes available: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013.
Please think about where you hope to attend this year and let the coordinator for your Feast site know via email.
- Ndhiwa, Kenya contact Deacon George Otieno, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Whangarei, New Zealand contact John Hickey, email email@example.com
- Santa Maria, California, USA contact Dr. Bob Thiel, email firstname.lastname@example.org
John Hickey sent in the following information about the site in New Zealand:
The name of the place is Cheviot Park Motor Lodge and their website is http://www.cheviot-park.co.nz/ . They are prepared to offer a 10% discount on accommodation to any of our members who are attending so long as they mention it when booking.
Whangarei District will pleasantly surprise you. Unspoilt landscapes, truly spectacular coastline and variety plus. A space to experience adventure, warmth, culture, excitement and peace. The perfect place to revive, to breathe, to reconnect. That’s why we love it here.
Just two hours from Auckland, our sub tropical region is the perfect base to explore the rest of Northland – you may never want to leave.
We have tentatively decided on holding the Feast of Tabernacles in the USA at the Santa Maria Inn, in Santa Maria, California. More information about that is expected for next week.
One issue that the COG I was last part of that was not resolved before I left it had to do with Matthew 28:19 and baptism.
I had discussed the matter once with a leading evangelist and he told me that he was not sure that Matthew 28:19, as found in most Bibles, including the NKJV, should be there. Because of this, that church put out a baptismal letter allowing the baptismal statements to be done one of two different ways. This seemed to blatantly go against the biblical admonition about speaking “the same thing” (1 Corinthians 1:10) and raised concerns as there is supposed to be “one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).
Anyway, that COG also had not resolved the matter for another man who now is currently part of the Continuing Church of God, so he asked me to look further into this matter, and I did.
Basically, the conclusion of the matter is that the following verse is actually in the Bible:
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (Matthew 28:19, NKJV)
For those that I have personally baptized already, I had included the appropriate part of this as part of your ceremonies in the past and plan to continue to keep it in for others.
More on Matthew 28:19 can be found in a new article titled: Is Matthew 28:19 in the Bible?
More on baptism can be found in the article: Baptism and the Early Church.
Suggested Sabbath Service for July 6, 2013
Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services on July 6, 2013:
- 2-3 hymns (we are using the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG, and in most areas, the Choral Accompaniment).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette. Here is a link to one: Will USA Spying Help the Beast Power? There is also information related to this in the news articles Germany: USA is engaged in ‘cold war’ against us, Europe furious, EU tells USA to stop spying on it as it asks for more information, Germany most upset by USA espionage. Other sermonettes are also available at the Bible News Prophecy channel.
- Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
- Sermon which for most will be a recorded one titled: Proverbs: Practical advice for those who wish to follow God. This sermon covers Proverbs chapters 1 through 7. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
Brethren, pray for spiritual gifts and the fruit of the Spirit as the Apostle Paul wrote:
1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts…(1 Corinthians 14:1a)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Brethren continue to set your lives according to the teachings of the Bible. You are in my prayers.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God