Letter to the Brethren: January 8, 2015

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Another week, another week closer to the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of the millennial kingdom of God.

Last month I noticed that we had a segment on Armageddon from my visit to Israel in October 2013.  While it was included as part of a sermon, it occurred to me that it would be a good ‘stand alone’ sermonette that would be appropriate for our Bible News Prophecy channel, so I asked our son Brian to add the relevant scriptures, etc. to it and then upload it.  This will be the recommended sermonette for this week.

So, there are two recommended ‘on location’ messages this week.  The sermon was videoed in Paris, France.  Unlike last week’s recommended sermon, we were able to adjust better for lighting in this video.  However, because we did some videoing in churches, the volume in some places is low as I had to speak very softly at times.  To try to compensate for this, I tried to repeat the lower volume information in other parts of the sermon, which is titled France and Prophecy.

We realize that last week’s recommended sermon was a bit ‘technical,’ but believe that in the future it will assist reaching some of the descendants of Israel in these latter times.  This week’s recommended sermon is less technical that way.

Bible News Prophecy Radio

In a sermon recommended a couple of weeks ago (watch The Continuing Church of God: Two Years of Proclamation), I mentioned another idea I had to better reach people using our relatively new Bible News Prophecy online radio site.

Since making that sermon, I emailed John Hickey in New Zealand and asked him if he would be interested in taking some of the COGwriter.com Church of God news items and essentially read them for our Bible News Prophecy online radio site.  He agreed.

Since then, he has narrated over a dozen news items.  These will be in addition to the BNP video sermons that will be streamed into audio/radio format.

In the days of the old Radio Church of God, the late Herbert W. Armstrong would go to a radio station and often comment on how he felt certain news items were aligning with Bible prophecy.  That is basically how I view the prophetically-related news items at the Church of God News’ portion of the COGwriter.com website.

But now, with the addition of the voice of John Hickey, I believe that we can reach people who would prefer to hear the news than to always have to read it.

Furthermore, we in Arroyo Grande and New Zealand have wondered for some time how to better reach people in New Zealand. We came up with a few ideas.

One had to do with a New Zealand specific website.  And as soon as it became available a couple of months ago, we acquired the URL CCOG.nz to begin the process of having a website with more of a New Zealand focus–currently we have a shell of a site up.

By now also having a native New Zealander narrate prophetic and biblical news items, I believe that this will better help reach people, not only in New Zealand, but those of the other British-descended nations (UK, Canada, and Australia) as well.

Additionally, having non-American voices getting the word out helps show the true commitment we have to reach all nations (Matthew 24:14).  Of course, I still keep producing videos as well.  But having more laborers for the harvest is something we are to pray for (Luke 10:2).

Bible News Prophecy Magazine Correction

In the contents page of the printed English version of the Bible News Prophecy magazine the word “not” was left out on one item.  The item should read:

9 25 Faulty Laodicean and Fringe Views on Prophecy There are many prophetic misunderstandings that some who claim to be Church of God have held to. Those who continue to hold many of them will not understand when the Great Tribulation will begin nor when it is time to flee.

We informed the printing company of this prior to printing, but they printed the wrong file.  It has since been corrected on the online version.  We apologize for the error.  We were able to correct this before the printing the English version in Africa, so that one should be fine.

Who Are True Christians?

True Christians have the Holy Spirit of God:

9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Romans 8:9-11).

True Christians hear the gospel message, accept that they have sinned and need God, have repented of their sins, accept God’s calling, declare and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, have been properly baptized, and possess God’s Holy Spirit (Acts 2:39; Romans 8:9-11). (Here is a link to an article Living as a Christian: How and Why? There is also a YouTube video related to that also called: Living as a Christian: How and Why?)

God knows who His own are:

9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God (Galatians 4:9)

3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him (1 Corinthians 8:2-3).

11…we are well known to God (2 Corinthians 5:11)

77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins (Luke 1:77).

Thus, it is God who truly knows who the true Christians are.

True Christians strive to walk as Jesus Christ walked:

6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked (1 John 2:6).

Most religions, however, that profess Christ chose to walk a different way than Jesus did.  More details are in our booklets Where is the True Christian Church Today? (here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? and Continuing History of the Church of God (here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios).

World News Events

No sooner did I put together the description of the second of a two-part sermon on Reuben/France, it was reported that the Israelis were disappointed by a betrayal from the nation of France (see Israel protests betrayal by France–a prelude to the future?).  This news event ties in with the suggested sermon video for this week (which was videoed before the news item), France and Prophecy.

Pope Francis caught the media’s attention as he plans to issue an encyclical on ‘climate change,’ which has become an important project to USA President Barack Obama (see ‘Climate change’ objectives and other shared goals of Pope Francis and Barack Obama).  The Pontiff and USA President have several common goals and more and more we are seeing the Church of Seven Hills (Revelation 17:9,18) being involved with matters often considered to be political (cf. Revelation 17:1-2).

Over in Germany, anti-Islamic rallies continued.  Record attendance was hit for one in Dresden on Monday (see Dresden anti-Islamization rally hits record).  The protests in Germany are showing that more and more in Europe are willing to publicly show that they feel that tolerance and immigration policies towards Muslims has gone to far.  Although not all in Germany support the rallies (and many oppose them), the time will come when there will no longer be a massive Islamic population in Europe (cf. Daniel 11:40-43; Revelation 13:8).

Yesterday, terrorists shouting Islamic sayings killed a dozen people in France.  Thousands gathered to hold vigils related to this (see Terrorists strike France, thousands gather).  This type of incident will tend to add ‘fuel to the fire’ related to immigration and other policies in Europe related to Islam (see also France in mourning, some arrests made–where is this leading?).  The timing of this incident coincides with the sermon for this week, in which I warn of a time when France could experience civil unrest.  I have long warned that problems involving Islam will happen in Europe and that Europe will take steps to deal with this.

Last Saturday, at least one government leader in Iran reported that there was no nuclear deal yet between the USA and Iran (see Iran says it has not made a new nuclear deal with the USA).  As I wrote back in 2013, Iran was using the thawing of relations with the USA over its nuclear program as an opportunity to access some of its then frozen assets as well as get delays in time to continue its nuclear work.  This has been happening.  However, the time will likely come when Iran will ‘overplay its hand,’ to use an American expression.  Until then, Iran hopes to dominate the Islamic world.  However, since it is NOT the biblical King of the South (Daniel 11:40-43), whatever role it may play will be somewhat from the sidelines.

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.

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.


Concluding Comments

May you listen to what God says:

18 Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably…

20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

22 And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. (Hebrews 13:18, 20-22)

Brethren, allow God to make you complete in every good work.


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.