Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Hopefully, the recommended sermon for today (Universal Offer of Salvation: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock) will help you to do that.
For those who will not be watching that sermon, because of internet connections or having a live speaker, the article Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis contains many scriptures that lay out the plan of God in ways that most who profess to believe the Bible simply have not understood.
We are striving to go forward with a true, and scripturally-backed, witness to explain God’s plan and His kingdom and believe that the current sermon series helps do that.
Reaching the World
We continue to get inquiries from various parts of the world for those interested in learning more from and/or about the Continuing Church of God.
We were able to send Bible News Prophecy magazines to Kenya and also ordered more songbooks for some of the people there. There are several groups working with us in Kenya and we are trying to figure out how to best serve them.
Over in Tanzania, George Lemi volunteered to update the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God in Kiswahili. The updated version was uploaded this week and is available at: KATIKA LUGHA YA KISWAHILI. Here is a related link in Spanish/Español: Declaración de las Doctrinas de la Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios. Here is a related link in Tagalog: Paglalahad ng Mga Paniniwala ng Patuloy na Iglesya ng Diyos. Others are working on some additional languages, including two European ones and at least Asian one, Telugu.
We received several pages of materials translated into the Indian language of Telugu this week. It is not clear if any Church of God group has attempted to do this before. The language does not use the type of characters that we in the West are used to, and we are trying to see how to best utilize what we are receiving. The goal will be to see if we can eventually have a magazine and other materials in that language and make them available at www.ccog.in website for India.
We have had over 6,100 article views from something I wrote in October 2007 in the Thai language, which is formally known as Siamese. This was an unsuspected development as no one is translating anything for us in that language. Apparently some machine-translated file existed from back then and many found it. Actually, when I first saw the page I did not recognize the language, but upon further research I was able to determine that it was Siamese. So, this was an unexpected witness, but is consistent with our plans for the final phase of the work. We want to reach people of all languages as ultimately God will call and convert people from all languages (Daniel 7:14; Revelation 7:9).
Discussions were had about expanding what we make available in Europe in languages other than English.
In the English language, someone suggested that we try to get the Continuing Church of God listed in an existing article in Wikipedia, so I added it in one place. Additionally, I wrote and proposed that Wikipedia add a brief article on the Continuing Church of God itself. While this would get the Church a certain amount of exposure, traditionally Wikipedia has not been very favorable towards Church of God beliefs, but we get used to criticism, so that did not stop me from making that submission. At this moment we do not know if Wikipedia will even allow an article about us. Years ago, Wikipedia would immediately accept new articles. But now, it has decided that it must put them all through a review process that takes months. Your prayers are requested here as if it goes correctly, being in Wikipedia will help us reach more people.
As far as reaching more of the world itself goes, we began looking at ways to possibly expand our Google ad campaign. As I mentioned before, this campaign has been effective and is part of our plan to lead the final phase of the work and try to fulfill Matthew 24:14. Expanding it will help us reach others that otherwise likely would never have heard much of the true message of the Bible.
World News Events
This week when looking for news items to write news posts about, I was appalled about various stories concerning lewd exposures of several female celebrities. In addition to making a post about that (see Celebrity ‘soft’ pornography is increasingly bold, yet encouraged by much of the media), some of the information is in the recommended sermonette for today. The trend for Western females to wear less and expose more of their bodies is a clear violation of 1 Timothy 2:9 and is accelerating the coming destruction (Jeremiah 6:15; Romans 1:18-32).
Speaking of the coming time of destruction, the USA and European Union were engaged in trade talks this week (see WikiLeaks, GMOs, TTIP, Obama Administration, and Russian views and EU and USA still in talks to expand trade: What are the prophetic ramifications?). The talks seem to be a prelude to the Europeans being able to set more international standards for trade as well as the coming rise of the European Beast power. However, it needs to be understood that there will likely be severe civil unrest in Europe before the Beast truly rises up. Even some secular leaders are starting to realize this (Nigel Farage expecting violent revolution in Europe). That being said, the Bible is clear that despite problems in a European empire (Daniel 2:42-43), it will ultimately rise up (Daniel 2:41; Revelation 13:1-8).
This week, Ukraine did not pass certain legislation that the European Union (EU) wanted it to (Ukrainian vote snubs EU, some believe it will change, others that it will go to Russia’s Eurasian Union). In the long run, Bible prophecy indicates that Ukraine will likely align with Russia, but in the short run it will provide some support to the European Beast power. Ukraine itself would like to have full EU access, while also having full access in Russia’s Eurasian Union. But the political realities are that it needs to decide for one or the other. Next week, it has more talks with the EU.
There was a new terrifying trend happening in the USA reported this week–‘knockout games.’ This form of sick ‘entertainment’ involves coming up to a random person, normally in an American city, and punching hard enough to knock them out, while being videoed for uploading to the internet (see Knockout games: Another form of violent ‘entertainment’). Some have been killed by knockout games. This activity also seem to be a new form of terror from within (cf. Deuteronomy 32:25; though this passage will likely also have fulfillment in conjunction with Psalm 83:4-8). There is much violence in the city, and this does not bode well for the Anglo peoples (Ezekiel 7:23-24).
Although Comet ISON has not been spectacular yet, and may even break up according to one source (see Comet ISON visible: Going brighter or going to break up?), we had a over 1200 views of our the BibleNewsProphecy video Could Comet ISON be Wormwood of Bible Prophecy?. By having some videos that coincide with events some in the mainstream media cover, we often can reach people in the English language that otherwise would not hear any of the Church of God message.
Weather issues were also in the news this week with problems associated with Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, tornadoes in the USA (e.g. Chicago Tribune: 81 tornadoes hit USA Midwest), storms in Europe, and Volcano Sinabung in Indonesia. A women mentioned to me that these were unusual, severe and odd weather matters, and asked if I thought that they could have any relation to the end times. I said yes, and mentioned something that I wrote in 2009:
Odd weather patterns result in food shortages and natural disasters. Matthew 24:7
The world is actually in a berserk transition, as the real age of peace is not yet here. It may be a period of chaos. It is the beginning of sorrows. Matthew 24:8
She, though not in the COG, had read that and stated that was part of why she had asked. I mentioned that weather problems are ‘troubles’ consistent with what Jesus warned would happen in the beginning of sorrows (Mark 13:8). Odd weather problems should serve as a wake-up call.
Speaking of weather, I did receive a prayer request from someone we are working with in India. He wanted prayers for protection for two cyclones and the related storms affecting his region.
DNA and Ethnic Origins
Back in the 1960s, in the old Radio and then Worldwide Church of God, the late Dr. Herman Hoeh wrote a two volume set titled Compendium of World History. It was his doctoral dissertation, which he updated a bit after earning his Th.D. degree. His paper specifically mentioned that scholars of his day did not understand a lot about the ethnic origins of the indigenous peoples of North America. And he was correct.
This week a study was reported suggesting that his conclusion (not how he got to it) that native North Americans came from Europe and West Asia was correct, based upon DNA evidence (see DNA evidence seems to validate Dr. Hoeh’s origin of native North Americans). While neither I, nor Dr. Hoeh (towards the end of his life he indicated various concerns) agree with everything that he wrote in his Compendium, DNA evidence proves that his idea that native Americans had origins in Europe and West Asia has merit.
One of the frequent criticisms against some Church of God beliefs is that mainstream ‘experts’ do not agree on the identity of the originators of the Anglo-American peoples and various European peoples.
While the report this week did not deal with all of the origins, the fact that DNA evidence suggests that the ‘experts’ have long been wrong about many native North Americans (and I suspect this also is the case for native South Americans) is further indication that they can be wrong about the origins of others.
The Bible teaches:
4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. (Romans 3:4)
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:19-21 KJV)
Why mention those verses?
Because although most ‘experts’ do not believe that the Anglo-American peoples predominantly descended from the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the Bible clearly has prophecies related to this peoples that had to be fulfilled in Genesis 48 and 49.
Since no other peoples in recorded history, other than those of the old British Commonwealth and the United States of America, because we in the Continuing Church of God believe the prophetic word of the Bible, we can be sure that God’s word has been fulfilled. And, over time, it is possible that modern science will catch up and realize this.
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: Can you see the ‘Handwriting on the Wall’? There is also a related written article titled: Can those in the USA/UK see the Handwriting on the Wall? 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 Universal Offer of Salvation: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock. This sermon is the second part of a multi-part series on God’s plan to offer salvation to all either in this age or the age to come. There is also a related written article titled: Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis. 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 try to improve that as well).
The Apostle Paul wrote:
1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. (Philippians 3:1)
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
God’s plan is based on love. Go’s plan is the best possible one. Rejoice in that truth.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God