Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
The Feast of Tabernacles begins at sunset tonight. And in New Zealand, where my wife, son, and I now are at, it begins earlier than many other places.
As far as locations, here are where the CCOG-related Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013 are expected to be:
- Ndhiwa, Kenya contact Deacon George Otieno, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Whangarei, New Zealand contact John Hickey, email email@example.com
- Silay City, Philippines contact Oscar Meidavilla email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Santa Maria, California, USA contact Dr. Bob Thiel, email email@example.com
There will also be people with some CCOG affiliation meeting in India.
First services for the Feast of Tabernacles will begin at 7:30 pm on September 18, 2013 in at least two of the above sites.
More information on the sites can be found in the link: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013.
Doing the Work and Feeding the Flock
In our last letter, I mentioned that we now have the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God in Swahili/Kiswahili on the internet (here is the link: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI). This was translated by people in Kenya.
Well, after he viewed it, I received the following email from a CCOG supporter in Tanzania:
Greetings. The Statements of Belief in Kiswahili is a wonderful milestone to the people of East Africa. I do not recall any literary work of the COG that was done in this language by any group that came from WCG! This is one of the reason that made me to leave LCG when they kept ignoring my plea to do everything possible to help those brethren who couldn’t understand English, who had been accepted into the church!
We in the Continuing Church of God are committed to reaching people of all nations and as many languages as we can.
Because that is what Jesus and His apostles would have us to do:
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
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, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)
10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. (1 Corinthians 14:10)
21 In the law it is written:
“With men of other tongues and other lips
I will speak to this people;
And yet, for all that, they will not hear Me,” says the Lord. (1 Corinthians 14:21)
Though many will not hear and/or respond now, the gospel of the kingdom does need to proclaimed to the world as a witness. And while some seem to believe that English is sufficient, notice that ultimately, those who respond will include people of all languages:
9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)
We in CCOG continue to add materials in additional languages. We are reaching people now and preparing to reach others in the future. This all helps fulfill Matthew 24:14 and is part of the preparation for The Final Phase of the Work.
Earlier today, we received a translation of our magazine in the Tagalog language. After it is formatted and placed online, I will get it linked to probably three of our websites. One of the websites, which is not currently up (but the URL is currently owned), is targeted towards the Tagalog readership. We are serious about reaching those that we can reach.
On other matters, for those who will not be at a Feast of Tabernacles’ site for 2013, we now have several sermons available for the Feast of Tabernacles online. It is my hope to have most of the sermons I plan to be doing in New Zealand and the USA put up online as well. We expect to be able to put them up at the ContinuingCOG YouTube channel. This is where the future ones would appear first. Because of time zone differences and internet uploading speeds, as well as other issues, I am not yet sure when they will be up, but the plan is to put one up most, if not all days (Sunday, September 22, 2013 may be the most difficult as we fly back to the USA that day).
These sermons may also end up being available as links from the Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2013 page. That page also has some suggested sermonettes on is. Other possible sermonettes are available at the Bible News Prophecy YouTube channel.
Suggested Feast of Tabernacles’ Service
Here is our suggested format for the Feast of Tabernacles for those who will not be able to attend in person:
- For opening night, you could watch the short message that was prepared for those attending in Santa Maria: Feast of Tabernacles’ Opening Night Message.
For the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles:
- 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974 Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there also is some Choral Accompaniment online).
- Opening prayer.
- Offertory Sermonette: Offering for Atonement? or Offertory: Blow the Trumpet (we do not yet have an online offertory specific to the Feast of Tabernacles at this moment–it is possible one might be online tomorrow–check the ContinuingCOG channel). 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 not at a site will be a recorded one titled The Millennium. There is also a related article titled Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel. One that is expected to be played at some CCOG Feast of Tabernacles’ sites will be Behind the Work 2013: “For I work a work in your days”
- Final hymn.
- Closing prayer.
Note: If you have a slow internet connection, you can watch these by starting the video, then below it (and towards the right) look for an outline of a gear–if you click on that, it will allow the YouTube video to be played with lower video quality, but at least it will not stop often–you can select a quality as low as 144p.
We recognize that the YouTube videos do not play well unless one has a high-speed internet connection, which is part of why we try (when we have them) to list related articles that can be read.
Notice the following quote from the late Herbert W. Armstrong:
Pictures the Millennium
To portray His plan, God took the yearly material harvest seasons in ancient Israel as the picture of the spiritual harvest of souls. In the Holy Land there are two annual harvests. The first is the spring grain harvest. Second comes the main harvest.
Now notice when the Festival of Tabernacles is to be held “at the year’s end” (Exodus 34:22). In this verse the Festival of Tabernacles or Booths is specifically called the “feast of ingathering.” The harvest year ended at the beginning of autumn. Just as Pentecost pictures the early harvest this church age, so the Festival of Ingatherings or Tabernacles pictures the fall harvest the great harvest of souls in the Millennium!
Today is not the only day of salvation. Today is a day of salvation. Isaiah said so: chapter 49, verse 8. In fact, the original Greek words of Paul in II Corinthians 6:2 should be translated “a day of salvation,” not “the day of salvation.”
Turn to the book of Zechariah to understand this more thoroughly. In the 12th and 13th chapters we have a picture of Christ returning and the reconciliation of the world commencing. Here the meaning of the Festivals of Trumpets and Atonement is made plain.
Next, notice the 14th chapter. The time is the Millennium. “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one . . . there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited” (verses 9, 11). It is the time when “living waters” salvation, the Holy Spirit “shall go out from Jerusalem” (verse 8). The “waters” are literal as well as figurative. God often pictures His spiritual plan by material events.
In that day, when the earth is safely inhabited, when the Holy Spirit is granted to all mortal flesh, what happens? “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles” (verse 16).
The Feast of Tabernacles does help picture the millennium. It will be a time when God’s law will be publicly taught, and more will strive to obey it. A time very different than now. A better time.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God