Letter to the Brethren: October 13, 2016

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Last Sabbath, we were in Serbia for the first time ever and held services in our hotel room. Services went well despite attempted recording difficulties. The brethren were warm and friendly, and we answered various questions that they had.

Six of the ten in Serbia who are part of the Continuing Church of God were able to come. This was the first time we had met any of the Serbian brethren personally.

Luka Filipovic, Maya Zoranovic,Victor Jevremovic, Predrag Mijatovic,Nebojsa Mitrovic
Joyce Thiel, Bob Thiel, Aleksandar ‘Sasha’ Veljic

Sasha stated that the word on the T-shirt is the Serbian script for Philadelphia (as in, part of the Philadelphian remnant).

After Serbia, we headed to the Netherlands.

We hope and pray that your Day of Atonement went well.

We spent the Day of Atonement in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and had services in our hotel room with a couple of Dutch CCOG members.

We are planning for services this Sabbath in Amsterdam.

The next day we plan to drive down to Gouda in the Netherlands for first half of the Feast of Tabernacles. The second half we plan to keep in Aurora, Illinois, USA.

Feast of Tabernacles

Remember, the Feast of Tabernacles begins at sunset, Sunday October 16, 2016.

We have Feast sites in many places. For more information on the locations of the Feast of Tabernacles’ site this year, check out the link: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2016.

For those unable to physically attend, as well as those at primarily video sites, here is a link to a message many will see Sunday night: Opening Night Message: 2016 Feast of Tabernacles.

Here is a suggested service for the next day, October 17th:

  • 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.
  • Offertory, which for most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one: Feast of Tabernacles Offertory.
  • 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 day is: Christianity and the Feast of Tabernacles. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel, especially if you wish two services today.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

If possible, we hope to upload sermons given this year during the Feast of Tabernacles. There are, however, technical difficulties that might prevent this. If we are able to upload them, they should be available at the ContinuingCOG channel.

We also have links to sermon messages either made for this year or in past years available towards the end of the article Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2016.

For more information on how to keep the Holy Days, check out the article How to Keep God’s Festivals. A related sermon is also available titled: How to Keep God’s Feasts.

A booklet on the Holy Days is also available: Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

World News Items

Yesterday, I came across an article by William Engdahl (Strategic-Culture.org) titled The Eurasian Century Is Now Unstoppable. Based on his personal observations, he claimed that the Eurasians, meaning a confederation involving Russia and China will become the geopolitical center of the world in the 21st century (see ‘The Eurasian Century Is Now Unstoppable’). Yet, the Bible shows that this will be Europe (cf. Revelation 13, 17, 18). As Christians we understand that we must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), hence we realize that the Bible teaches that despite problems, Europe will arise.

Now, both in the USA (‘Ken Rogoff’s Government Debt Default Plan’) and Europe (see ZH: ‘Deutsche Bank Tells Investors Not To Worry About Its €46 Trillion In Derivatives’) there are financial threats looming. Economic matters will be a factor in the rise of the end time European beast power that the Bible foretells (cf. Revelation 17:12-13). Debt issues will help lead to the destruction of the USA (cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8). Eurasian nations will play a role, but for at least 42 months, the world will be dominated by Europe (Revelation 13:5).

In the USA, the second presidential nominee debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took place. The two currently do not get along and the debate made that clear (see CNN: ‘Trump, Clinton wage scorched-earth debate’).

When I have considered various statements that those two candidates have made in the course of their lives, the following scriptures came to mind:

23 … be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23).

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7)

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-7)

We are getting closer to the end. Future USA political decisions will help enable this (cf. Romans 1:18-32; Daniel 11:39).

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: Where Did God Come From? Many are uneasy in 2016. 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: A Walk In The Garden with Adam and Eve. 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 new Bible News Prophecy online radio channel.


Concluding Comments

The Feast of Tabernacles pictures a culminating event in God’s plan. After Jesus died for our sins to redeem humankind, He sent us the Holy Spirit and picked out a people for His Name to become kings and priests to reign with Him on earth (Revelation 5:10). After His Second Coming, and after He has finally placed all the sins upon the head of Satan separating both him and the sins from the presence of God and His people (making us finally joined at-one with Him, atonement), then we are ready for that final series of events, the commencement of the establishment of the millennial Kingdom of God on earth.

The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the spiritual and material abundance that will occur during the millennial reign of Jesus Christ when people will keep God’s laws without Satan’s deceptions (Revelation 20:1-6). This is in contrast to what is happening now in a world deceived by Satan (Revelation 12:9). Satanic deception, which will be gone then (Revelation 20:1-3), is part of why most who profess Christianity have been misled by ‘nice’ false ministers as well as why many of those ministers have been misled (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Jesus himself, kept the Feast of Tabernacles, and also taught it per John 7:10-26.

Here are some instructions about it from the Hebrew scriptures:

33 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 34 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. 35 On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it.

41 You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths. (Leviticus 23:33-35,41-42)

13 “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, … 14 And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. 15 Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.

16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. (Deuteronomy 16:13-17)

God had ancient Israel dwell in booths/tabernacles (‘sukkos’ in Hebrew) in the wilderness for decades before they entered the promised land. Those booths, in a sense, pictured that they were only heirs to the promised land. Even during the Millennium, when the Kingdom of God is ruling over mortal nations, the mortal people will be only heirs to the Kingdom. They must overcome and grow in knowledge and wisdom to inherit the promises.

God says of Ephraim (sometimes portraying a type of all Israel in scripture) that they will “dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the feast” (Hosea 12:9, Douay-Rheims). Israel, in the wilderness, was a type of all people who must go through trials and tribulations to inherit the promises (1 Corinthians 10:11). They were sojourners, waiting to inherit the promises of God.

We Christians are to realize that we have no permanent city in this age and look to the one to come (Hebrews 13:14). The staying in temporary dwellings during the Feast of Tabernacles helps remind us of that. Christians should attend church services, if possible, each day of the Feast of Tabernacles to learn (Deuteronomy 31:10-13; Nehemiah 8:17-18) being living sacrifices, which is our “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

The Feast of Tabernacles is a time to rejoice (Deuteronomy 14:26; 16:15). The use of the related tithe shows that this is to be a time of abundance (Deuteronomy 14: 22-26), but also that the ministry should be taken care of in this age (Deuteronomy 14:27). The Feast of Tabernacles helps picture the time of millennial abundance. This gives us a glimpse into the time after Jesus returns.

This year, the Feast of Tabernacles runs from sunset October 16th through the Last Great Day which ends at sunset October 24th.


Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer

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.