Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
My wife Joyce and I are still in Italy and are to fly back to California on Sunday.
Because of the schedule, very high heat, trying to keep up with emails, and traveling, it has been a full week.
We were able to go to Vatican City to video segments for one or more sermons. Because of a scheduling conflict and changes with the new pontiff, I decided it was best to meet with someone related to church history at the Church of Santa Pudenziana instead of physically seeing Pope Francis in a crowed audience in St. Peter’s Square.
We hope to be able to do more video tomorrow in Italy for another sermon.
We were contacted by a COG-related group in Europe a few times this week who expressed some interest in the Continuing Church of God. At minimum, they appear interested in at least some type of cooperation with us.
World News Trends
There were two major news items in terms of trends to mention.
The first was there were a lot of protests in the nation of Brazil and still in Turkey. There were also protests in other lands. The time will come when more serious protests will be seen in the USA. There will also be protests in Europe. It may well be that European protests will lead to the rise of the King of the North of Daniel 11.
Protests were a factor in the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ and hence seem to be playing into the rise of the prophesied King of the South.
The second (and related) major news trend to mention is that the current President of Egypt, Dr. Morsi, who ended up getting into office after protests in Egypt, made the news for something he said:
June 16, 2013…
Morsi, this week, called for a holy war on Islam’s Shia sect, which makes up nearly 40% of the Muslim population of the Middle East. Morsi referred to Shia Muslims as “unclean” and called for the extermination of what would constitute the majority of the population of Iraq, Iran, large portions of Kuwait, Azerbaijan, Yemen, Nigeria, Ghana, Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and a dozen other nations.
Morsi called for Egyptian “fighters” to begin a war on Syria, Iraq and Iran, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/06/16/309361/obama-morsi-plunge-middle-east-into-chaos/ (see also Egypt’s Morsi taking ‘King of the South’ steps, but…)
This is important because he is indicating that the Sunni Muslim nation of Egypt wants the Sunni Muslim nations to take over or somehow change the influence of the Shi-ite Muslim dominated Iran, Iraq, and Syria (though most of the people in Syria are Sunni Muslims, their President Assad is a Shi’ite Muslim).
I have warned for some time that the nations in the biblically-prophesied King of South are mainly Sunni Muslim, and hence this suggests some type of change in Shi-ite Muslim influence. In my view, despite problems that he will have, Dr. Morsi helped set the stage for the King of the South this week.
Worldly Trend Toward Further Immorality
The next item I wish to mention is not a news item per se, but an item a sign of the times that I want to comment upon. That subject is public appearance and dress of people, particularly females.
The Western nations no longer seem to highly prize modesty in female apparel (though female politicians tend to remain modest in their dress–and no, I do not approve of the trend of some males to show significant amounts of their underwear that their pants should be covering up).
The Bible teaches:
8 I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; 9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation…(1 Timothy 2:8-9)
Immodesty in dress is now mainly considered to be acceptable or simply daring, as opposed to being immoral by many.
What is considered to be acceptable dress for public display (mainly for females) continues to the trend to show more skin, more cleavage, and more of their figures. This is not good.
Another trend, which is appearing in the USA as well as Europe (where I am writing this from) is the trend for women’s clothing to become more and more sheer. So sheer, that one can often look through the clothing to the skin (slips and other covering items are often missing). This is not a positive trend but is another that I wanted to mention.
The end-time sorrows and troubles in Western society are still in the beginning stages (Matthew 24:5-8), and will get much worse according to the Bible (Matthew 24:21-22; 2 Timothy 3:1-7), and the acceptance of immorality will lead to destruction (Romans 1:18-32).
Feast of Tabernacles
As a reminder, we have a webpage with information on the Feast of Tabernacles this year that 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.
Despite travels and research, we were able to make posts to the internet and handle most of the emails (though some email responses had to be delayed somewhat). As mentioned before, we are reaching people in at least 215 countries and territories around the world with the websites and YouTube videos.
Suggested Sabbath Service for June 22, 2013
Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services on June 22 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: GMO Risks and the Bible: There is also information related to this in the article titled: GMOs and Bible Prophecy.
- Announcements (if any; though for many it will be this letter) and one hymn.
- Sermon which for most will be a recorded one titled: Jesus: Son of God and Saviour. There sermon is based on a lot of information in the article titled: Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
As the Apostle Paul wrote:
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)
Brethren, you are in my prayers. Please pray for our safe return.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God