Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
1 … To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:1-2)
While we realize that none of you live in Ephesus, we are all to be faithful.
Jude wrote that we are “to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
The late Pastor General of the old Worldwide Church of God said that God used him to restore to the Philadelphia era of the Church of God, at least 18 doctrines that the Ephesus era (Revelation 2:1-6) once had (see 18 Truths Restored to the Churches of God). We in the Continuing Church of God teach all of those doctrines and they are actually part of the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God.
On domestic matters, Monday’s “total solar eclipse” in many parts of the USA was not something that we noticed in Grover Beach, California. It was cloudy here on Monday and nothing seemed different when the partial eclipse was to affect us.
While some claimed that Monday’s solar eclipse had prophetic significance (watch Solar Eclipse and the Apocalypse) or was the start of the Great Tribulation (watch Will the Great Tribulation Start in 2017?), we denounced those views in our videos and, of course, were correct. The Bible tells of the sun getting darkened AFTER the tribulation (Matthew 24:29-31; Revelation 6:12), not before it or at its start.
The Kingdom of God is Being Preached
Received the following report from CCOG Evangelist Evans Ochieng this week:
Pastor Dr Bob,
Greetings from Kenya,
It is of a great pleasure to inform you that the gospel of the kingdom of God is touching almost every corner in Africa. After receiving good massages from Zambia and Mozambique, I received another massage from South Africa that there are some people who need our visit in South Africa. We are happy that the gospel of the kingdom of God is reaching West Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa and Northern Africa. That means, the doors are open for the gospel to reach out to all parts of Africa.
Ghana is going well with the work, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia etc.
Thank you very much for your prayers to our country Kenya. Even though the problem is still on but I know God has heard the prayer of the brethren and will make everything calm in our country.
FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2017
We are now making arrangements for the feast of tabernacles 2017 sites.
We shall have five feast sites in Kenya, one site in Tanzania, one site in Malawi and one site in Ghana. I will contact koang from Ethiopia to know his plans concerning the feast of tabernacles 2017.
Five congregations from seventh day church of God are added to our congregations in Rift Valley. These congregations are in Nakuru and Njoro areas. Nakuru and Njoro are towns in Rift Valley. Tiongik sawek gave me a good update after visiting mau areas.
We have a new congregation in kisii called Nyasembe. This congregation is under supervision of pastor Ezekiel Oanda Ombaso. I will visit kisii again this coming sabbath. They are lacking a place to meet on sabbath, so we are going to start building a new place where they will meet on sabbath.
Fruits are being produced. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is being preached. People are responding. We are also working to help people in Africa learn more as many have a limited understanding of many biblical doctrines.
Ended up being on the Nutri-Medical Report on the Republic Broadcasting Network (RBN) Tuesday, August 22th at 11:00 am CDT. The host and I discussed many important aspects of church history, a little about the ecumenical agenda, and the kingdom of God. This was, in my view, one of the better interviews we have had on this program.
Of course, we are not only reaching people in Africa.
Google reported that our campaign with them reached 2,581,921 computers last month. That is up significantly from the previous month (which was 2,329,172). A witness is going forth as we are working to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.
Feast of Tabernacles
As a reminder, services for the Feast of Tabernacles will begin the evening of October 4th and continue until the Last Great Day which is October 12th in 2017. Since this will involved travel for many, please start making your plans if you have not done so already.
If you are in North America and have not made your Feast of Tabernacles’ plan for this year, please consider your priorities (cf. Matthew 6:33) and do so.If you wish to come to the site in San Diego, California, USA please email me at COGwriter@aol.com
Speaking of San Diego, we received the following email:
Hello Dr. Thiel,
Good afternoon! I hope you are doing well. I have attached a current list of rooms reserved under your block here. As a reminder, the cut off date for your group rate is September 6th. At that time the rooms will be released back into the system.
Just sending you this in case you need to send out a reminder to your attendees.
Let me know if you have any questions at all!
Have a great day!
Senior Sales Manager
Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina
2051 Shelter Island Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
Phone: (619) 222-0561
Fax: (619) 222-9760
Direct: (619) 814-1107
So, if you want to book a room at the same hotel that we are having service in (Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina), please contact them soon to be sure you can get a room, and that the price will not go up.
If you wish to come to the limited site in Wichita, Kansas, USA, please contact Richard Close via email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to come to the site in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, please contact Herb Haddon via email email@example.com
For information on these and other festival sites around the world, you can go to the following link: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2017.
World News Items
US President Donald Trump decided that the USA would remain involved in Afghanistan (see LA Times: There is no ‘winning’ military strategy in Afghanistan). Afghanistan has been called the USA’s longest war. It has not gone well. Eventually, irrespective of what the USA does and does not do, I believe that Afghanistan is likely to support the prophesied King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43).
The USA keeps having protests (see Protests at ‘freedom of speech’ rally; California considering law to penalize selective pronoun speech). It ended up in Boston that were more protesters against ‘freedom of speech’ than demonstrators in favor of it. The time is coming when freedom of religious speech will be mostly gone (Amos 8:11-12)–the fact that the even USA is moving that way shows that it will be able to happen in many other places around the world.
Speaking of speech, the USA has so many people that will not tell the truth that polygraph tests eliminate 3/4 of those who apply to be border control agents. This has led to a recruitment shortage. Because of this, the US government has exempted former military and law enforcement people from having to take a polygraph test, which indicates that the government believes that they are hiring people who are likely not to be honest. This is consistent with the last days (2 Timothy 3:1-5) and a sad commentary on the USA. The United Nations now considers that the USA is at risk of serious civil unrest (see USA has too many liars, so relaxes standards to hire border control agents; UN issues civil unrest warning). The USA will have more serious violent unrest in the future (cf. Deuteronomy 32:25).
Speaking of the USA, the German publication Der Spiegel declared, “Germany Must Abandon Its Military Reluctance and Lead … the era of total dependence on the U.S. military is over.” Germany is basically rising up as the Church of God has taught it would since the end of World War II. Germany is taking political, economic, and military steps in order to do so. Once German leaders in Europe conclude that they do not need the USA for defense any more, they will one day attack and successfully defeat the USA (cf. Daniel 11:39) as well as its Anglo-Saxon descended allies (Isaiah 17:3; Daniel 8:24-25).
Over in Vatican City, Pope Francis continued his ecumenical plans by sending a letter to the Methodists and those now called Waldensians (see Pope Francis reaches out to ‘Waldensians;’ Catholic theologian wants Pope’s errors corrected). While some of the early Waldensians kept the Sabbath and denounced the papacy, the modern group with that name is closer to the Church of Rome than the Church of God. The end time Mystery Babylon is more fully forming (Revelation 17:1-5).
In Israeli news, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he is considering a preemptive strike in Syria against Iranian positions there if Iran does not leave some areas (see Iran: Threat to Israel (Netanyahu) or Threat to Europe (PCG)?). Expect a conflict to come in the future between Iran and Israel that could damage Jerusalem (cf. Isaiah 22:5-9).
Suggested Sabbath Service
Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:
- 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 is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is by John Hickey of New Zealand: Fasting. Other sermonettes are 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 who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Proverbs 22-23: Certainty of the Bible and How to Live. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
- 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. 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. Some people have found that if their internet connections are not fast enough, that they can simply listen to the messages that are found at the new Bible News Prophecy online radio channel. IN CASE YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A ‘LETTER TO THE BRETHREN’ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE BibleNewsProphecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.
Notice some quotes from the May 1971 edition of the old Tomorrow’s World magazine:
If God is calling you, His Spirit will eventually lead you to believe every statement of the Bible, and you will let the Bible interpret itself! But this isn’t all.
God’s Spirit will lead those whom He is calling to LIVE BY EVERY WORD OF GOD! (Matthew 4:4. 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”) To really understand the Bible, it is paramount to live by every word of God, not just some portions or pet doctrines. …
If God is calling you, His Spirit will convince you to begin to candidly, honestly, wholeheartedly admit you have been going man’s way, the way that leads to death. You will begin to dedicate your whole life to God and His way. You will say, and mean it, “Thy will be done.” You will repent! …
If God is calling you, you will begin to wholeheartedly have a part in doing His Work. You will realize this tremendous knowledge of God’s way is desperately needed by all the world. You will come to fully understand and know God’s own physical people are actually being destroyed for a lack of this knowledge (Hosea 4:6 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.). You will see the urgent need to have a part in the very Work that is disseminating this vital knowledge — this Gospel message of God’s way to all the world. You will zealously take part in the Work that is teaching all nations the way of peace, happiness and joy brimful and running over.
You will have the desire to GIVE, to share with and to help this wretched world. You will put your whole heart into God’s Work. You will completely dedicate yourself to having a part in warning the world of the dramatic events to occur just before the close of this age. Soon you will realize nothing else matters. …
Are you going to heed that call? Are you going to respond to God’s Holy Spirit and accept the truths you have been receiving?
Are you willing to live by every word of God — believe the Gospel and respond to the call from Almighty God to be among the firstfruits in His Kingdom?
Remember, those whom God is calling will have a part in saving this chaotic world. They will have a part in preaching this final warning message to this dying world before the end of this age. They will have a part in picturing the wonderful World Tomorrow. They will have a part in turning “The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:5-6).
And finally, they will have a part in the Kingdom of God as kings and priests under Jesus Christ who will be here on this earth ruling all nations as King of kings and Lord of lords.
It is a fantastic calling you now have. No wonder Paul was inspired to write in Hebrews 2:1-3: “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation.”
The call is out! It is a wonderful calling! You have heard, and read, and seen. The next move is yours!
The Apostle James wrote:
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)
Brethren, pretty much everyone of you have been, or are now being, called.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11)
Live like a called and fully committed Christian.
Pastor and Overseer