Dear Brethren and co-workers in Christ:
This letter is being sent early as we have received two requests from Africa to try to get the weekly letter out on Thursday, instead of Friday, because of traveling and/or printing difficulties there.
So, some weeks we will get this out on Thursdays (and we did so a few weeks ago). However, because of the normal weekly production of the Bible News Prophecy channel videos, it is normally not possible to get the letter out until early Friday morning (or sometimes late Thursday) because of the time it takes to add scriptures to them.
On other matters, some asked for my comments about a letter that was publicly posted against me last December. So, those interested in my response can click on the following for some details: Response to a Letter from Dr. Roderick C. Meredith Dated December 28, 2012. That particular letter was the final factor that convinced me that the Continuing Church of God needed to be formed.
Update on Typhoon Haiyan
The family of our host in Silay City, Philippines, was finally able to get access to the internet and sent the following;
November 25, 2013Hello, and Greetings!!!,I just have time to make an internet and e-mail you sir, in behalf of my father..thank you for the prayers, we are ok here.. we are survived from the typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon of all typhoons. we thank our heavenly father for sparing us..only our roof flew up during that typhoon..only parts of the roof..we are asking for your continued prayers for healing of my father..he is still sick…he wants to get well soon..so that he can back to work…we financially unstable as of now.. please pray for his rapid healing.
Those in and not in the Continuing Church of God in the Philippines remain in my prayers as does our host.
Reaching the Spanish-Speaking World
As most of you are aware, every issue of our Bible News Prophecy magazine has been produced, not only in the English language, but also in Spanish (we also have editions in Mandarin Chinese and Tagalog, with two other languages currently in progress–Telugu and Kiswahili).
But what most are not aware of is the fact that we now have more items in any language other than English. Our South American translator has translated and uploaded many articles. In addition to regular articles, he also has been translating many of the news items that I write at the Church of God news page into Spanish.
Here are a few:
- El Papa Francisco habla contra el actual orden económico y propone cambios
- Otra propuesta divide a Jerusalén y posiblemente la rodea de ejércitos
- Algunos pavos pueden recibir bendiciones islámicas, así que ¿Debería usted comerlos?
- Los ucranianos protestan por el descarte de la oferta de la UE, el presidente Yanukovich defiende la movida
- Putin de Rusia y el Papa Francisco besan ambos un ícono mariano
I am unaware of any Church of God group that has successfully posted so many news items with biblical commentary before as is being done in CCOG now. This is a major achievement for the Continuing Church of God.
The URL for our Spanish webpage is http://www.cdlidd.es/. That is an abbreviation for Continuación de la Iglesia de Dios, which is the translation of the English title Continuing Church of God.It took a little while to get the website going. But with the recent addition of the regular news items, the results are starting to become impressive. Although the month of November is not yet up, the following from AWstats shows that having timely items of interest in the Spanish language is getting peoples’ attention:
|Month||Unique visitors||Number of visits||Pages||Hits||Bandwidth|
|May 2013||3||8||115||774||7.28 MB|
|Jun 2013||4||11||19||38||1.58 MB|
|Jul 2013||24||77||380||1,128||21.45 MB|
|Aug 2013||101||219||432||1,600||53.86 MB|
|Sep 2013||463||691||2,596||5,349||117.68 MB|
|Oct 2013||538||858||3,879||6,720||110.87 MB|
|Nov 2013||1,654||2,389||5,751||10,414||200.26 MB|
Another statistic to share is that people in over 100 countries and territories have visited the Spanish language website http://www.cdlidd.es/ thus far. And while Spanish is the primary language of 20 countries, It also has 60 million speakers as a second language, and 20 million students as a foreign language. Approximately 406 million people speak Spanish as a native language, making it second only to Mandarin Chinese in terms of its number of native speakers worldwide.
Because of American holiday schedules, one of our sons has been able to able to add more foreign language materials to our http://ccog.eu/ website and some of the other international websites.
Unlike the http://www.cdlidd.es/ website, most of the items being added in languages other than Spanish at our http://ccog.eu/ website are not items that I have written. Instead, these are selected booklets from the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG) that are available in various languages. Because of communications that I have had with Grace Communion International (the group that replaced the old WCG) as well as various US Court decisions, we have concluded that some materials are in the public domain and that our posting of them represents ‘fair use.’ These are mostly booklets on the gospel, the kingdom, baptism, and conversion.
This week we added some information at the http://ccog.eu/ website. So, we now have information in English, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Norwegian, Serbian, and Spanish. We also have a couple of individuals who have volunteered to translate some of our materials into Dutch and German, so we hope to have more items added in the future. We always appreciate the work of our volunteer translators.
Speaking of European languages, somehow something got machine-translated at the www.cogwriter.com website into the Bulgarian language and we have had over 1500 views of that this month. This was an unexpected, but nice, development.
Getting materials into as many languages as possible is a key component of the final phase of the work and helps to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20. While we try to make this happen, when it also happens by circumstances somewhat beyond our control, it is fantastic and something to be truly grateful for.
We have tentatively reversed a website for a new domain in Africa and are working on materials related to that at this time as well.
World News Events
The situation with Iran has been in the news a lot this week. An ‘interim’ deal is in place that apparently will allow Iran to tap into some of its foreign bank accounts and/or lift some of the economic sanctions against it. The deal will mean that Iran will give up some of its older nuclear centrifuges and enriched uranium. And if you believe Iran and the USA government, it also means that Iran will not be developing nuclear weapons at this time. In my view, this agreement will allow Iran to continue to perfect its technology so that it will be better able to produce nuclear weapons over time. This week’s suggested sermonette has to do with Iran and is titled: Iran In Prophecy.
Over in Israel, there is a concern about a recent USA proposal to divide Jerusalem (see Another proposal to divide Jerusalem and possibly surround it with armies). Since the Bible shows this will happen, events seem to be moving in that direction. The USA government apparently does not care much about what the Bible teaches about Jerusalem in the end times.
Over in Germany, its Chancellor Angela Merkel made a tentative deal with an opposition party to stay in power–the deal is also intended to improve German competitiveness in the world (see Germany: Merkel’s new coalition wants Germany to increase influence and set European standards–EU exports already number 1 in the world). The Bible tells of an end-time Beast power that will arise in Europe and dominate world trade for a time. And the European Union, with its economic ‘engine’ of Germany, is trying to do just that (see also Europeans move toward financial regulatory control: a prelude to 666?).
Over in Ukraine, there is a divide about whether that country should support the European Union or Russia’s Eurasian Union (see Ukrainians protest scrapping of EU proposal, President Yanukovich defends move). While more seem to support the European Union, culturally the Ukrainians are closer to Russia. Despite the cultural ties, because of prophecies such as Daniel 8:9-12 about European expansion, the Ukraine may support the European Union for a time.
Pope Francis made comments this week about the type of economic order that he wants (see Pope Francis speaks against current economic order and proposes changes). Earlier, both he and Russian President Vladimir Putin kissed an Marian icon (see Russia’s Putin and Pope Francis both kiss Marian icon). As Marian devotion becomes more public, look for others to take greater public stands for things they consider ‘Marian,’ including likely lying wonders that many will claim are Marian apparitions. It will take signs and lying wonders for the final Beast power to arise and gain dominance (2 Thessalonians 2; Revelation 13).
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: Iran In Prophecy. There is a related written article also titled: Iran in Prophecy. 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: All Are to Know Jesus, But When? This sermon is the third 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 then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
As this world descends more into lawlessness, we who are ‘called, chosen, and faithful,’ (Revelation 17:14) need to have the faith of Jesus Christ and keep God’s commandments (Revelation 14:12).
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God