Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ
We have been doing a lot of work related to the next edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine and some related to a Vatican-related book this week. We have now had over 7,000 views on our Bible News Prophecy and ContinuingCOG channels in less than two months.
Some are starting to look at what was been happening, and hopefully after prayer and further study will decide to support this work of proclaiming the truth of the Bible, including end time prophecy, that we in the Continuing Church of God are doing.
Several of you have contacted me and asked how you can volunteer to help better serve this end time continuing work. There are a few different areas that some of you may be able to help with.
One area is that any who may be interested in hosting Passover, the Night to Be Observed, and/or Spring Holy Day services can contact us so that we may let others in your area know. My personal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Another is that there are a couple of writing related projects.
Can you write short one-two paragraph articles? These would be items of biblical and/or prophetic interest that we could put in the Bible News Prophecy magazine in places were we still have space. Some could be called “Bible Facts” or “Did You Know”? The items should have a reference (like the Bible or appropriate source). The intent is to provide interesting information, and since there is space available at times, put otherwise unused space to better use.
Another area would be article formatting. Basically, we can provide a list of articles that are in the public domain or otherwise available online in pdf. or other formats that you can copy, place in proper paragraph format, while also insuring that italics and other items that get lost in the copying process are retained. This also requires the ability to check the original article with the copied version to insure that letters copied over correctly. While we would still need to further reformat them, this should help reduce some of the time we need to spend here.
Pope Benedict Changes the Rules and Also Proclaims Unconditional Obedience to the Next Pope
Pope Benedict changed some rules associated with the papal conclave, which is something I warned about as it might be a sign that the next pope will be the last pope. If so, we would expect him to be the final Antichrist.
On February 28, 2013, Pope Benedict made some disturbing remarks:
“I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next few days, so that you are fully accepting of the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new pope,” he said. “May the Lord show you what he wants. Among you there is the future pope, to whom I today declare my unconditional reverence and obedience.”
The pledge, made ahead of the closed-doors conclave where cardinals will elect his successor, was significant because for the first time in history, there will be a reigning pope and a former pope living side by side in the Vatican. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/28/us-pope-resignation-idUSBRE91Q0BH20130228
While Benedict may do as he pleases, making the unconditional obedience statement goes against the Bible and statements from an early Christian leader who defied the then Bishop of Rome, Victor, in the late second century.
The Bible teaches that when speaking to religious leaders who wanted the apostles to go against God’s teachings, the Apostle Peter would not do it:
29 Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
All true successors to the ministry of the Apostle Peter and original apostles would do so as well.
Polycrates of Ephesus wrote the following to a claimed, but not true successor in Rome (Victor), regarding the date of Passover:
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).
Note that Polycrates:
1 ) Claimed to be a follower of the teachings passed on from the Apostle John
2 ) Claimed that he was being faithful to the teachings of the Gospel
3 ) Relied on the position that teachings from the Bible were above those of Roman-accepted tradition
4 ) Claimed that he was being faithful to the teachings passed down to him
5 ) Was then the spokesperson for many in Asia Minor
6 ) Claimed he and his predecessors observed the time of unleavened bread
7 ) Refused to accept the authority of Roman tradition over the Bible
8 ) Refused to accept the authority of the Bishop of Rome–he preferred to be separate (cf. Revelation 18:4)
9 ) Claimed that his life was to be governed by Jesus and not opinions of men
And that is what true Christians should do.
Sadly, most who profess Christ in and out of the Church of God seem to be willing to accept certain teachings from leaders that simply do not square with the Bible (e.g. see the video The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others or the article The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings).
Now going back directly to Pope Benedict, he faces a potentially horrible position if he gives unconditional obedience to the next pope.
Australia, India, and South America
Received our first contact from Australia this week, as well as our first from India and one from South America. We also were contacted from others in nations we have heard from previously.
Suggested Sabbath Service for March 2, 2013
So, here is my suggested format for Sabbath services for March 2, 2013:
- 2-3 hymns (we are using the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG)
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette (short 8-15 minute subject) or Bible New Prophecy YouTube video. The latest posted one is titled Five Rules for Effective Parenting.
- Announcements (which probably will be this Letter to the Brethren) and one hymn.
- Sermon (which for most will be a recorded one), titled History of the Christian Passover.
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
Those of you in African areas without television or computer screens for your congregations may wish to have a sermonette based upon the article Five Rules for Effective Parenting and a sermon based on the article Passover and the Early Church as the sermon and sermonette messages are highly based upon these articles. This way, those of you with less electronic access can be receiving more similar instruction like others associated with the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) get.
I encourage all of you to prayer for our brethren in Africa. There are many hardships they are facing. Here is an email I received today from Kenya:
Kenya was the hub of the COG inEast Africa but all have fragmented into minute dots that can’t be seen as units. Brethren remain to seek the other solitary groups oflike minds to fellowship with. As I have been crossing the EastAfrican states borders to see the conditions of our former associates, I have been encouraged because they were not dormant.
So when I sent them text messages that we are now affiliated to CCOG, the responses are heart lifting. I have also good interactions also in Uganda.So it needs fervent prayers that the Lord may help us to work for the Church in full humility. I am happy that you understand our situation with spirit filled brotherhood.
Please pray for the Kenya Church as we face Kenya General Elections on Monday March 4th 2013. As you may know, African people usually vote along lines and none of the candidates is ready to concede the defeat,this always create ethnic clashes as happened here in 2007/2008. We suffered and the Church was not exempted. I cannot narrate it here.Our prayer is that this history should not repeat itself. Even as I write some are on the way back to rural homes from urban areas. The government has started deploying as many police as possible mostly in volatile areas to deal with the situation should such a thing erupt again.
Your prayers are truly needed.
Thank you for your support and encouragement as we strive to do what God would have us do.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God