Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
There has been much going on in the work this week, especially pertaining to literature. There is also an ecumenical news item that has major prophetic potential.
Literature, Flipboard, and YouTube Videos
As far as literature goes, we were able to proof the proposed copies of the next edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazines in both English and Spanish and bring them to the printer. This is a little earlier than normal, but this was needed as the hope is from me to bring English (and possibly Kiswahili) copies of the magazine to Africa later this month to save on postage. The English version ended up slightly short, so I wrote another small item for the end of it on Psalm 23 that will not be in the other language editions.
So far, we have been able to put out every edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine, basically on time, and in both the English and Spanish languages. Of course, we also put it out in other languages, but some languages are more difficult to be translated into than others.
Speaking of translations, a new potential translator offered to translate some of our materials into another eastern European language. But he would like to start with the Study the Bible Course. Once this is done, I plan to announce more about that, but he was not anticipating being done before the summer. The Study the Bible Course has been translated into several languages and the next edition of the Bible News Prophecy magazine contains the second lesson from it.
Last month, I reported that of Shirley Gestro of New Zealand had been able to put a lot of our newer materials up on a form of electronic media called Flipboard (here is a link to our Bible News Prophecy Flipboard page). She, in conjunction with our Spanish language translator, has also been able to get a Flipboard ‘magazine’ for us online now in the Spanish language. Here is a link: Noticias & Profecia. Flipboard is another no-cost method we are using to try to reach more people as well as those who might not read as much other ways. We are currently using English and Spanish, and perhaps may utilize other languages in the future, mainly depending upon results and time requirements.
Getting back to English, I was able to work a bit more on a history booklet. The priority of it has moved up, and it is now my hope and prayer that we will have some available to take with me to Kenya later this month (and no, it is not even finished yet, so that means I will consider this as a longer, draft version, but also may send all subscribers a copy of it). A week ago I planned to have it done by year-end, but as it would be helpful to us in Africa as well, this has become a higher priority.
On other matters, I noticed that while the views of our BibleNewsProphecy channel videos have gone up this month (particularly because of the one titled Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware!), those for the ContinuingCOG channel are a bit lower than we would have expected. Some will watch our videos each week, irrespective of the topic. Others, however, are quite selective about topics, and I also suspect that some have not wished to confront certain racial views, which may be why less watched the sermon Race and Grace: Do you view race as God does? than normal.
Though in time, that might change. I also noticed that there were more negative views of this week’s suggested sermonette, How Should a Christian View Marijuana?, than positive views when I last checked. This has not happened in the past and apparently the pro-marijuana crowd does not like what we are teaching. Of course, the Bible says to cry aloud and show people there sins in Isaiah 58:1, and that is not always popular with those who prefer to try to reason around what the Bible teaches.
Last week, we announced that PayPal was set up to work for those who wish to use it. Many in international areas like it as it handles currency translation and other matters, and is much easier for many of them than most other alternatives. Although we tested it, we had some issues with it last Thursday (it would not work), that also were corrected last Thursday. So, if you tried last Thursday (March 6th), please feel free to try again as it seems to be working fine no.
It is, of course, less costly to the work if you live in the USA and you send a check as opposed to using PayPal. So, please feel free to send checks/money orders. But if PayPal makes more sense for your own situation, it is now available.
World News Events
Ukraine has tended to dominate a lot of the international news of prophetic interest this week (see, for example Some are blasting the USA’s hypocrisy related to Russia and Ukraine; Kremlin signals it is willing to annex Crimea). Russia wants to keep Crimea, and the government in Kiev, backed by the West, wants it to remain part of Ukraine. Those in Crimea are scheduled to vote on this on Sunday, but the West has indicated that it will not abide by the vote of those who live in Crimea, should they chose independence or to request annexation by Russia. Of course, if the Crimeans chose to stay in Ukraine, then the West and the Kiev government would seem inclined to accept the results.
Whistle-blower Edward Snowden made the news for his claims about his leaking of classified documents about USA espionage to the world (see Snowden claims USA violated its Constitution and his leaks have been vindicated. But what will the results really be?). He believes that exposing the USA will help those inside and outside of it. Events in the USA will not turn out truly as he seems to hope, and it appears that his leaking of classified materials will help accelerate the prophesied destruction of the USA (cf. Daniel 11:39).
Ecumenical World News
Possibly the biggest news single item of prophetic interest this week was the fact that leaders of the Eastern Orthodox church agreed to hold an ‘ecumenical council.’
This is a big deal (see Orthodox agree to eighth ecumenical council: If Orthodox prophecy is correct on it, this council marks a major step towards the end!).
This would be considered as the eighth ecumenical council by the Eastern Orthodox and is the first ecumenical council in about 1200 years.
To put these councils into historical perspective, the first so-called ‘ecumenical council’ was the Council of Nicea convened by Emperor Constantine in 325, the second was the Council of Constantinople convened by Emperor Theodosius which came up with the modern ‘trinity‘ in 381, and the seventh was the Second Council of Nicaea, which the Orthodox claim had two parts, the first in 787 and the second in 843. Many of the Orthodox call the 843 agreement ‘the triumph of Orthodoxy’ as that is when they officially got idols and icons accepted by the Church of Rome (see also Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God). These councils defined much of the Greco-Roman faiths, and those in the Church of God were condemned for not agreeing with many of the results of the councils (see also Nazarene Christianity: Were the Original Christians Nazarenes?).
According to an Eastern Orthodox prophecy from the 16th century, “the Eighth and last Ecumenical Synod will take place, which will satisfy the contentions of the heretics.” The current Patriarch of Constantinople a few years back said this type of council was necessary before the Eastern Orthodox could officially get back into full ecumenical unity with the Church of Rome. Having an eighth ecumenical council, especially if the Vatican participates in it, would be expected to move the ecumenical agenda forward. While the Bible does teach that a faithful ecumenical unity will occur, it teaches that this happens AFTER the return of Jesus Christ (Zechariah 2:10-13) and warns against the Babylonian ‘unity’ that will happen before then (Zechariah 2:6-7; Revelation 18:4).
Suggested Sabbath Service
Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services 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 also is some Choral Accompaniment online).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette which for most will be a recorded one titled: How Should a Christian View Marijuana? There is somewhat related written article titled: Marijuana: Should a Christian Get High? 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 will be a recorded one titled: The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It. There are two related written articles titled The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad and How to Observe the Sabbath? 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. So, this is an option we have made available (but we are also looking into ways to improve that as well).
Notice the following from the Apostle John:
7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. 8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. 10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. Their Spiritual State 12 I write to you, little children, Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. 13 I write to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you, little children, Because you have known the Father. 14 I have written to you, fathers, Because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one. (1 John 2:7-14)
Brethren, “let brotherly love (Philadelphia) continue” (Hebrews 13:1).
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God