Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Greetings from Grover Beach in California.
Because of the wrongful killing of George Floyd and the aftermath of the protests and rioting, this has been a tumultuous week.
However, Pentecost was fine here.
I took advantage of the back-to-back Sabbaths by preparing a sermon message that may be played at some primarily video sites for the 2020 Feast of Tabernacles.
Regarding Pentecost itself, here is a report from Pastor Tomas Koskey from Kenya:
dear bob thiel greeting you in jesus name! feast of pentecost went wellhere at bomet kenya though few people attended the congregationbecause of this pandemic covid 19 we were blessed.thank you tomas.
Yes, COVIV-19 has impacted us in parts of Africa.
Here is a report from deacon Kong Deng in Ethiopia:
Great thanks be to him for his great protection.We do celebrated the Feast of week yesterday.Members are doing well,But the government of Ethiopia pushing serious pressure of this worldwide disease.Because, the cases of corona virus is going now to increase in this country.But we pray safely. A number of those attend the feast yesterday were 50.Those out the region not arrived of travel restriction.Only those living in Gambella who attended the feast. I am very Glad from news of all congregations of same doing the feast well.from Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana and others out of African.Thanks,Koang deng.
Here is a report from Pastor Tiongik Sawek from Kenya:
receive greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. We do our sabbath which was blessing. We communicated with Brethrens of South Rift and they do so in their homes since the Government have not agreed so. Therefore, i will briefly talked about the church which i was. I taught the Brethrens for about two hours and i explained to them about Leviticus 23:1. I taught Brethrens about God’s Holidays. We learned more in Acts 2:16 and we learned that the Peter pray until the number of people rises in the pentecost. Paul Also said that he will stay at Ephesians until the day of pentecost. 1 Corinthians 16:8. I also touch in length In The book of Revelation 22:18-19. I will sent you photos that shows how we carry out our Sabbath. God bless youBest Regards,Pastor Sawek
Pastor Sawek sent the following two pictures and description:
Preaching in the day of Pentecost inside the house- Standing is Pastor Sawek in the last photo
Evangelist Evans Ochieng sent the following report:
Pastor Dr BobGreetings from KenyaI have received so many good reports about the feast of Pentecost. The feast went well almost in every congregations. Though the government are still so strick and do not want any meeting but almost all congregations managed to observe Pentecost very smart. Some were scatter in homes. But we the Ndhiwa congregation were managed to stay in our hall.
I received a very good report from Mbani, Nyakach and rift valley and kisii that the feast went well. reaching in Tanzania is not easy now because the border is blocked simply because of covid 19. so i only talked with Martin through phone, but we agreed that i will go to Tanzania after the border is opened. we have some work to do in Tanzania and it will force me to go to Tanzania soon after when the border is opened.
I got some visitors in my home on Pentecost and most of them were Pentecostal. I introduce them about the feast of Pentecost. Since most of them were not aware of the feast that it can be observed yearly . They had a lost of questions. I got a very good chance with them and they learned a lot about the God ordained feasts. I’m happy that no one was disturbed during the feast according to the reports I got.
Overall, Pentecost seems to have been fine from what we have heard.
Protests and Rioting
Minneapolis, Minnesota police apprehended, mistreated, and seemingly according to the coroner’s report, killed George Floyd.
George Floyd should have been treated better, and certainly not killed, while under police custody.
Protests broke out across the USA. But many turned violent.
George Floyd’s wrongful death, of course, does not justify violent riots, destruction of property, and theft–which is part of what has been happening.
When I watched how the mainstream media was selectively covering the George Floyd matter last Thursday, it seemed like it was encouraging riots. And the situation worsened since then.
But the violence and looting have also been provoked by people with racist agendas. Many people do not view race as God does (we earlier produced a sermon: Race and Grace: Do you view race as God does?).
Some black racists have called for the shooting of white people, the stealing of property, and the destruction of businesses. This also involved white people, hispanics, and gangs.
Some white racists have further fueled the fire by pretending to be on the side of the protesters. Notice the following example of that:
June 2, 2020
New York (CNN Business)A Twitter account that tweeted a call to violence and claimed to be representing the position of “Antifa” was in fact created by a known white supremacist group, Twitter said Monday. The company removed the account.Although the account only had a few hundred followers, it is an example of white supremacists seeking to inflame tensions in the United States by posing as left-wing activists online. https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/02/tech/antifa-fake-twitter-account/index.html
The flames of violent protest has been fanned by the media, academia, criminals, racists, anarchists, and various government officials. Criminals seem to like to use protests as an excuse for brazen looting.
The local Chamber of Commerce is warning businesses in Grover Beach to remove anything that protesters may use as projectiles or to light fires for a protest planned for late Friday afternoon. The number of police in this area may not be sufficient, depending upon how many show up, to prevent damage or looting. Yesterday, in one of the small cities near here, three busloads of people from out of the area came to ‘protest.’ People around here fear that they are coming to cause trouble.
Jesus spoke of a time of troubles (Mark 13:8) and violence (Matthew 24:6-7). The Book of Revelation tells of the time of the ride of the red horseman of war.
In December 2019, I posted an article titled 20 items to prophetically watch in 2020. Here is something from number 7 of those items:
Notice how the Orthodox Jewish Bible translates the first half of Matthew 24:7:
For there will be an intifada of ethnic group against ethnic group, …
We expect to see more wars, rumors of war, and civil unrest.
We are seeing this. “Intifada” essentially means rebellion or uprising. We have seen that in these recent protests and riots.
Some people seem to want race wars, though most in the USA (irrespective of race) do not.
When I see the signs and chants of “No Justice, No Peace,” I recoil as that sounds like an unpeaceful threat. The following scriptures come to mind:
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
We are to do good as well as pray that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life, while understanding that we are not to take revenge.
Rioters, violent agitators, and looters do not accept these scriptures. Notice also the following scriptures:
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:14-18)
As far as racial protests go, notice something from the old Radio Church of God, many decades ago, written by the late Garner Ted Armstrong:
“POLICE BRUTALITY!” “Poverty!” “Unequal opportunity!” “Illiteracy!” “Poor housing!” “Police Chief Parkerl” These are hurled back and forth as causes of the race riots in Los Angeles. Read, in this article, the REAL cause, and the powder keg of violence that could explode where YOU live! …
The cause: HUMAN NATURE. And remember, once again, just what IS human nature! Human nature is a mixture of vanity, jealousy, lust and greed. Jeremiah was inspired to write, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it” (Jer. 17:9) .
James said it is the NATURE of man to rebel, to riot, to fight wars! ” From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not , because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (Jas. 4:1-3).
The Bible is the book about human nature. It explains what human nature really IS, how it is hostile and angry toward law. The apostle Paul said, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be!” (Rom. 8 :7.) And the lusts, jealousies, resentments and frustrations of human nature are not limited to anyone race. But they are most assuredly aggravated by race hatred. …
Racial tensions in the United States are being aggravated during these modern times, not quieted. Bigotry and bias are INCREASING, not decreasing. …
The plain truth of the matter is that the family is breaking down and disintegrating among all racial communities, around the world!
And remember, too, that Almighty God seriously indicts His people ISRAEL, more than any others for this breakdown in the family! He said, through Isaiah , “As for MY people [and he was referring to the House of Israel !], children are their oppressors, and women rule over them, o my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths” (Isa. 3:12). ..broken homes–that is, homes in which one or the other parent is absent! And what effect would this have on the moraIs, the character, the education, the economic status of all these children?
The Watts riot is one resounding answer! …
Whether we like to believe it or not, your Bible prophesies we are headed for some of the bloodiest riots, mass uprisings, and rampant crime in our big cities that this world has ever seen! …
To a certain degree, the only reason THOUSANDS more humans do not openly steal, rob, burn or kill is the FEAR OF REPRISAL! They fear being CAUGHT at it. But when it seems EVERYONE ELSE is suddenly defying the l aw, it’s much easier for many people who normally might not steal to suddenly give vent to their inherent nature! …
Human nature IS hate, animosity toward authority, jealousy, vanity , lust and greed! Human nature IS intolerant. It is biased! It is filled with SELF, and terribly bigoted! And human nature is not limit ed to one race!
Dr . Robert M. Page once said, “So long as we have human nature, we shall have war.”
But God’s Word revealed the basic truth of that statement centuries before. James asks, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence , even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (Jas. 4 : 1-3). …
When a white man murders, he is a white murderer. And when a black man murders, he is a black murderer. The color of a man’s skin is only one more description of him as a person, as a human being- like his height, weight, shape, place of birth or age. But whether he is white or black, red, pink, polka dotted or blue-if he breaks the law, if he resists arrest, if he loots, robs, kills or steals, then he is guilty of LAWBREAKING-NOT “guilty” merely because he is a member of one race or another. (Armstrong GT. The RACE RIOTS of the FUTURE! Plain Truth, October 1965)
People are supposed to love one another. But many do not understand how God views race–for details, check out the online sermon: Race and Grace; Do you view race as God does?
As far as riots go, they are expected. Notice the following prophecy:
25 There shall be terror within (Deuteronomy 32:25)
As far as cities go, notice the following from prophetic writings:
23 ‘Make a chain,
For the land is filled with crimes of blood,
And the city is full of violence.
24 Therefore I will bring the worst of the Gentiles,
And they will possess their houses;
I will cause the pomp of the strong to cease,
And their holy places shall be defiled. (Ezekiel 7:23-24)
13 … evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)
While there can be a time for protests (cf. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), the results of violent protests is not good.
25 Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. (Matthew 12:25)
We are seeing more divide in the USA and parts of it certainly appear to be intentional. Much of it is ideological. The USA is becoming less and less united and more polarized.
This will not end well for the USA (cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8; Daniel 11:39).
Violent protests are not the answer.
While much of the world has been distracted by COVID-19 and unrest in the USA, the Europeans continue to push to lead the world (see Politico: Back off, Trump. Germany wants to Make Europe Strong Again. Berlin’s EU presidency motto has echoes of MAGA). Most in places like the USA and Canada seem to have little idea about what Europe is trying to do. But it will fulfill its prophesied role (cf. Revelation chapters 13, 17, & 18; Daniel 11:27-45).
China has taken steps to increase control over its Hong Kong territory (see China approves Hong Kong National Security Law). This is not unexpected and I have written for years that Hong Kong would end up under more mainland China control before Jesus returned.
Over in Ghana, research is being done on the use of herbal remedies to help deal with COVID-19 (see ‘Ghanaians Look to Herbal Remedies for COVID-19’). Avoiding unclean meat, properly fasting, eating fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C, getting proper sunlight, various minerals, as well certain herbs can all help the immune system. Speaking of COVID-19, Americans, overall, have worsened their health during the COVID-19 lockdowns (see Using scale for weight loss? Americans gain weight during COVID-19 shut downs).
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 most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Riots and the Red Horse of the Apocalypse. 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: Millennial Kingdom of God and God’s Plan of Salvation. 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 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 Bible News Prophecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.
The Apostle Peter wrote the following:
1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. 5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Peter 4:1-6)
Brethren, we are not to react like the world does to various events.
Live according to the word of God and do not be swept up with this world, its politics, or its godless ‘solutions.’
Let us also not be troubled as others are as Jesus said, “when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet” (Mark 13:7).
Remember that Jesus also said:
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:33-34)
Pastor and Overseer