Letter to the Brethren: August 14, 2014

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Five Cities region of California.

Each day at the www.cogwriter.com website, I try to post three items, sometimes more.  Normally, at least two of the posts have to do with current events and prophecy.

In a very real way, what is happening now is similar to what the late Herbert W. Armstrong used to do.   Herbert W. Armstrong would often grab the newspaper and talk about the news in the light of scripture on live daily radio.

One difference, nowadays, however, is that we can reach people in more nations than he was able to do when he first started out.

Watching Events and Paying Attention to Prophecy

But what about reporting about current events and prophecy?  Is this important?


In the first recorded sermon, which happened after a miracle, the Apostle Peter tied current events in with biblical prophecy (Acts 2:14-40).  Partially because people were aware of the events that Peter discussed, many paid attention and thousands were converted (Acts 2:41).

And while miracles did not precede all the other recorded sermons in the New Testament, speakers did try to tie events to prophecy and other parts of the Bible to better reach their audiences (e.g. Acts 17:22-31).

The first message that it is recorded that Jesus preached (the gospel of the kingdom in Mark 1:14) and the last message Jesus gave (the Book of Revelation) were prophetic.  Various messages that He gave (e.g. Matthew 24, Luke 21) were tied to upcoming world events.

Does this mean that prophecy is the most important characteristic of the true Church? No, love is (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:1,8).

Yet, the pursuit of love is also tied in with prophecy in the Bible (1 Corinthians 14:1). Those who truly have the love of the truth, will be spared from some prophesied events according to 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.

Today, massive societal changes are taking place. Many of them are prophesied in the Bible. Even though between perhaps one-quarter to one-third of the entire Bible is prophetic, most simply do not understand that truth about various key prophecies in the Bible that Jesus urged His followers in the end to understand (e.g. Matthew 24:15).

Jesus wanted His followers to pay attention to when He would return. Notice also the following:

54 Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. 55 And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. 56 Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time? (Luke 12:54-56)

Various Jews knew that the Messiah was expected about the time that Jesus was on earth. Yet, the vast majority failed to properly recognize Him.

Well, we are in the time that Jesus called the beginning of sorrows (Matthew 24:4-8). More sorrows and troubles are ahead, many world events are aligning with properly understood biblical prophecy, and true believers should be willing to watch and discern the signs of this time.

Some, despite claiming to believe the Bible, either discount or overlook prophecy. But that is not supposed to be the case for true Christians:

29 “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

34 “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:29-36)

Notice that Jesus taught that His followers will always to pay attention to events and prophecies related to His return. Jesus repeatedly told His followers to watch for world events that would fulfill prophecy in other scriptures such as Matthew 24:42, 25:13; Mark 13:9,33,34,35,37, and Revelation 3:3. Jesus did expect His followers to watch.

Jesus also taught that the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of truth,” would assist the faithful understanding all truth, including prophetic ones:

12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when …the Spirit of truth, has come, {it} will guide you into all truth; …will tell you things to come. (John 16:12-13)

Having the Holy Spirit and properly being led by the Holy Spirit helps us understand prophecy.

The Bible also teaches:

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20)

Yet many do not seem to believe that God’s Spirit is currently working prophetically now. Many also tend to despise biblical prophecies as well as, often, their proper explanation(s).

While some discount the importance of prophecy, notice what the Apostle Paul taught:

11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:11-14)

Are we not a lot closer to the end now than when Paul wrote that?  Paul also taught that true Christians were not to be like others who would not know near when Jesus would return (1 Thessalonians 5:4).

The Apostle Peter wrote:

11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:11-13)

Properly paying attention to prophetic events helps one to be ready for Jesus (Luke 21:36;).  Additionally, the reality of prophecy and world events is also intended to be a reflective exercise to get Christians to examine their lives enough to change as they should (cf. Romans 13:11-14; 2 Peter 3:10-13).

Reaching the World Over the Radio

On Tuesday, I ended up being on the radio.  I was able to discuss topics related to this week’s related sermonette (10 Steps Obama Has Taken Leading to the Rise of the Beast) and explain how the USA is putting itself at risk for future takeover by a German-dominated Europe.  While the host and I have differing views on end time prophecy, we both agreed that the USA is going in the wrong direction.

I was invited to be on again, and am scheduled to be on next Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 1505 EDT/1205 PDT.  The program is called the ‘Nutri-Medical Report’ and prophetic and biblical matters are expected to be discussed.  This is broadcast over the Genesis Communications Network, which reaches millions.  The host said he is also an ABC affiliate and the show is broadcast  on the DISH Network in Europe.  He has stated that DISH network in Europe has something like 1100 radio channels and covers Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, including Russia.  There are even listeners in Perth, Australia.

Being a radio guest allows us to reach a lot of people at virtually no cost.  Radio complements our presence on the internet and often radio programs will link back to our articles and videos, as this particular one sometimes does.  This allows us to reach people we otherwise would not be able to reach.


Got the final reports on internet reach for July 2014.  In total, we reached a little less than one and one-half million computers with our websites and our internet promotions.  Although July does not tend to be a strong month for the internet, the actual visits to our websites was, overall, higher than last July.

Bearing Fruit

This week, we heard from someone in the Netherlands who wants greater affiliation with CCOG.  We also heard from two in Canada and one in the USA who also expressed interest.  Additionally, a group of 12 in Kiacncha, Kenya joined us.

We are still trying to make more contact with some in South Africa who contacted us, but have not finalized anything with them yet.

We are reaching many people around the world and some are responding.

World News Events and Prophecy

The US Secretary of Defense mentioned yesterday that the “world is exploding all over” (Chuck Hagel: ‘World is exploding all over’), in a reference to the various wars and conflicts going on now.

The USA resumed direct military action in Iraq, via dropping bombs, against the group calling itself the Islamic State.  The Islamic State wishes to kill those who will not convert to its brand of Islam and has been doing so (see also Islamic State kills 500 Yazidis who would not convert; 20,000 hidden escape; USA drops more bombs.).

It was interesting to me (as well as a reader who tipped me off about it), it was after Pope Francis made an appeal for intervention in Iraq, that USA President Obama decided to act (see After Pope Francis calls for action, Barack Obama bombs Iraq).  Pope Francis was/is a Jesuit, which is an order within Roman Catholicism that has been known for being militaristic.

Now, the day after bombs from the USA fell, Pope Francis made an appeal for peace, stated that people should not kill in the name of God (which seemed to be a reference to the Islamic State and not USA President Obama), and told followers to pray to his version of Mary (see Pope Francis on war and peace–does he not remember history or the Bible?).   The Pope is very focused on ‘Mary’ and repeatedly tries to get people to look to her for intercession in various affairs–this is expected to have end time ramifications (see also Pope Francis: Could this Marian Focused Pontiff be Fulfilling Prophecy?).

The news has been reporting that many in Germany have been disappointed by actions and inactions by the current Administration in the White House (see Obama’s aloof style disturbing Germany, the real ‘cost of coolness,’ and the ‘King of Europe’ Griffin?).  Certain of these steps are leading towards a disaster to come that most simply do not expect (cf. Daniel 11:39; Romans 1:18-32; Habakkuk 2:6-8). This somewhat ties in with the sermonette recommended for this Sabbath.

Over three years ago, I wrote about a prophecy from the Roman Catholic seer Nostradamus where he predicted that a “Griffith” would be associated with the “King of Europe” (see The Future King of the North).

The prophecy was intriguing to me for many reasons.  One was because the Bible warns about a Beast that rises from the sea (Revelation 13:1-4), and there is a type of Griffin that is a sea beast.  Another reason the Nostradamus prophecy was intriguing is because it appears that Satan has inspired certain non-biblical prophecies in order to mislead people so that they will not properly understand biblical ones as they get fulfilled.

This week, I learned that the Dutch and the Germans have what they call Project Griffin in place.  This project uses some version of that mythological Griffin creature for a symbol, and it also involves military cooperation between those two nations.  A militaristic beast power is rising up as the Bible warns (Revelation 13:1-4) and even some of the symbols seem to line up.

In the future, while those of us in the Continuing Church of God are warning against an emerging “beast power” in Europe, it may well be that those who support the coming Beast power will point to prophecies, such as some from Nostradamus, as proof that what they are doing is approved by their prophets. Although people should believe the Bible above such ‘traditions,’ most will not believe what the Bible says then (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).  Of course, most do not now as well.

The suicide death of Robin Williams was widely covered by the media this week.  By covering it at COGwriter.com it gave us an opportunity to address a subject, suicide, that otherwise would not generate much news interest.

There has been an increase of suicides for American males in Robin Williams’ age group (see Robin Williams and the suicide ‘epidemic’).  Suicide is wrong and a violation of the sixth commandment.

Hopefully, Robin Williams’ suicide will not be an example that others will choose to follow.  The Bible says to choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services this week:

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.

If your internet connection is still too slow (as my home one is) and/or you prefer audio messages to audio-visuals ones, go to the YouTube link for the message, click on SHOW MORE related to the description. You will then see something that says, “Download MP3.” Below that is a link to an MP3 file. Most computers (and even some cellular telephones) will allow MP3 files to be downloaded and played. This is an option we have made available (but we are also looking into ways to improve that as well)–and, of course, we have written article options that we list each week.

Concluding Comments

Brethren, we preach that human beings, without the true God of the Bible, cannot solve the problems on this planet.  As Jesus commanded, we preach Christ’s gospel of the kingdom to the world (Matthew 24:14), but the message is not always popular.

I mentioned last week, when it comes to doing the work of God and living our own lives, these must be done in truth. The Apostle Paul wrote:

6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

9 But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:6-16)

The message of the Bible is not always popular, but we need to proclaim it (cf. Acts 5:27-30).


Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God

Posted in Letters to the Brethren
About CCOG
The Continuing Church of God, which attempts to represent the most faithful remnant of the Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7) portion of the Church of God, bases its beliefs on the Holy Bible. Read CCOG's statement of beliefs for more information.