Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
Today’s date reminds me that the so-called ‘war on terror,’ that was declared about 13 years ago, has not ended the terrorist threat. For many in the Middle East, Africa, and other parts of the world, there is regular terrorism. And more terrorism is coming.
Over at the office in Arroyo Grande, a lot of administrative and literature matters were worked on this week.
Various countries/states require registration of churches/charities/non-profit organizations for differing reasons.
The Continuing Church of God is currently officially registered in New Zealand and California, USA. While we do not need to be registered in all countries we have supporters, over time, it is likely we will be registered in more.
We have finished another booklet: Where is the True Christian Church Today? It is currently at the printers. It is our intent to get them sent out to subscribers to the Bible News Prophecy magazine later this month.
This week’s recommended sermon, as well as the one that likely will be done and recommended for next week, use a lot of the information in the booklet.
Fall Holy Days
As mentioned last week, the Fall Holy Days will be upon us shortly.
The Feast of Trumpets is from sunset September 24th until sunset September 25th in 2014. The Day of Atonement is from sunset October 3rd until sunset October 4th this year.
The Feast of Tabernacles begins the next week. For a complete listing of the Holy Days with their Roman calendar dates, go to Holy Day Calendar. In the Spanish/Español/Castellano language: Calendario de los Días Santos. In Mandarin Chinese: 何日是神的圣日？ 这里是一份神的圣日日历从2013年至2024年。.
If any of you wish to host any of the holy day services at your home this Fall, please let me know so we can inform others that might be interested.
Someone fairly new to the Church of God asked me about how to keep the Fall Holy Days, so I thought perhaps a brief explanation in this letter would help others who are scattered or not real familiar with keeping them.
The Feast of Trumpets is kept like a Sabbath, as it is also a day of rest and a holy convocation. Christians should pray and attend services and/or watch messages for that day. An offering is normally also taken up. We also normally have our youngest child blow some type of a trumpet on that day. When we did not have children, we would listen to a blowing of a shofar over the telephone from a place called ‘dial-a-shofar’ which stopped working. You may wish to listen to a shofar being blown on the internet. The listening to a shofar reminds us of the big deal that God makes about this Holy Day as shofars tend to be loud–they were intended to get people’s attention (although many I have found on the internet are muted). I hope to try to blow a shofar during the sermon I expect to do this year for the Feast of Trumpets.
The Day of Atonement is kept like a Sabbath, as it is also a day of rest and a holy convocation. Christians should pray and attend services and/or watch messages for that day. An offering is normally also taken up. The Bible says to afflict oneself then (Leviticus 23:27). Those who are physically able should fast from sunset to sunset. This means going without any food or drink. Pregnant women, nursing women, infants, and people with various illnesses are considered to already have an affliction and either do not fast or do not completely fast (they might drink water and/or eat something, though less than normal).
The Feast of Tabernacles is different. Those who can, will travel (Deuteronomy 14:23-26) go to a Feast site. They tend to keep a second tithe of their increase for this purpose (see Is Second Tithe and Third Tithe Still Valid Today?). Those who cannot travel to a site may wish to consider the possibility of not sleeping in their usual locations during the time of the Feast. If they are physically and financially able, they may wish to try to sleep in some type of temporary dwelling like a hotel, motel, camper, or a tent (including perhaps one in one’s own home). In ancient Israel, those who did not travel (as well as native Israelites that did) made ‘booths’ of branches on top of their roofs (Leviticus 23:40) and slept in them for the seven days of the Feast (Leviticus 23:42), and some slept for the entire eight days (though the Bible only mentions seven days). Staying in ‘temporary dwellings,’ of whatever sort (and we are not advocating roof top dwellings), helps convey during the time of the Feast of Tabernacles that this age is temporal and a new millennial age is coming.
The first day of the Feast of Tabernacles is kept like a Sabbath, as it is also a day of rest and a holy convocation as is the eighth day, also known as the Last Great Day (John 7:37). Christians should pray and attend services and/or watch messages on each of the eight days. An offering is normally also taken up on the first and eighth day (cf. Deuteronomy 16:16). But the other days are NOT kept like the Sabbath, meaning that one can engage in regular physical work on those days.
Last week I mentioned the administrative decision that the old Radio Church of God had made as far as donating a tithe of the festival tithe to cover certain church/ministerial expenses related to the Feast of Tabernacles. Today, I simply want to clarify that if one does not have sufficient second tithe in order to do that and properly attend the Feast of Tabernacles, we certainly do not expect any in that situation to send in a tithe of their festival tithe.
Feast of Tabernacles
The Feast of Tabernacles is coming soon. Opening night is October 8th this year.
Here is something from the old Good News magazine from September 1983:
What a calling!
How can we rededicate ourselves to that calling at this year’s Feast of Tabernacles?
First, catch again the global scope and sweep of God’s Work. Read about the Feast in international areas. Pray for the success of scattered brethren in far-flung corners of the world.
Follow Festival instructions and announcements (Eccl. 5:1). As Philippians 2:14 says, “Do all things without murmuring and disputing.” Don’t be the exception to the rules. Prompt obedience in small matters displays godly character (Luke 16:10).
Meditate upon the grand accomplishments of God’s Work this year. Remember the acts of God’s apostle overseas. Prepare your offering from that perspective (Deut. 16:16). Have your children prepare an offering as well (Prov. 20:11).
Participate in the organized activities at the Feast — don’t be off “doing your own thing” all the time. Quiz your children about God’s law and God’s way of lire as you drive to the Feast site. Take an interest in their spiritual development.
Enthusiasm is contagious. Be a carrier! Meet new people. Aid the less fortunate. Don’t resent crowds, but be an ambassador of peace. Let peace begin with you.
The Feast of Tabernacles is a yearly opportunity to intensify the unity, morale and stalwartness or God’s people.
Is anything more important?
The scheduled location for the USA Feast of Tabernacles’ site in 2014 is the Sheraton Suites Orlando Airport hotel, 7550 Augusta National Drive, Orlando, Florida 32822. For more information, contact Dr. Bob Thiel, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The site for the Feast of Tabernacles in New Zealand is to be in Tawa which is a suburb of Wellington. The location there is the Bucket Tree Lodge, 1 Boscobel Lane (PO Box 51009), Tawa, Wellington. For more information, contact John Hickey, email email@example.com; You can also telephone him on his mobile phone. His number is 021 519 441.
In Kenya, it is planned that Ndhiwa will be used as the primary Feast of Tabernacles’ site, and that there will be another site in Kisii as well as probably Nairobi. Most from Kenya and Tanzania are expected to go to the site in Ndhiwa. For more information, contact Evans Ochieng, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We expect to have a video group site in the Philippines (Silay City). For details, contact Oscar Mediavilla via email email@example.com.
There is also a possibility that we may have a video site in eastern Canada–but that is not definite at this time.
Information on all the expected sites is in the article Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2014.
Prayer Request: Persecution in Uganda
There are some in Uganda that have expressed interest in the Continuing Church of God, but are not yet actually part of us.
Kenya Pastor Evans Ochieng was born in Uganda and was able to meet with a couple of them this week. Yesterday, he sent me the following:
I went to meet two brethren from Uganda who met me at border yesterday till today early. There is a sad news from them that I would like the church to offer prayer to this our brethren. They have a great war with some denominations that surrounding them. These denominations are saying that they are devil worshipers because they are preaching that people are not going in heaven. That Christ is coming to rule on earth. This is a big problem which facing these our brethren. Some of people have attacked them and are ready to accuse them because of what they preach. But it is good that, they insisted that they must preach the truth and they cannot change whatsoever. Even some of people who had joined went back to follow men instead of following God. Now they told me that even though the situation is tough, They are going to arrange how I am going to meet those people on the ground. They told me that I should wait first and give them time to see how they are going to solve that problem We took a lot of time when talking, answering questions and talking about kingdom of God. I urged them not to give up because God has chosen them to reach in the kingdom of God. When I saw how they were brave and strong, I was very happy and pray for them. please pray for the gospel in Uganda to
Notice that they are being persecuted an being devil worshipers for teaching what early Christians taught about heaven (see also Did Early Christians Teach They Were Going to Heaven?). This email reminded me that in ancient Rome the pagans called the Christians ‘atheists’ because they would not worship the various Roman gods and goddesses. Real Christians have long been subject to persecution, as sometimes have nominal ones.
Pastor Evans asked that we would pray for those being persecuted in Uganda, so I am repeating that prayer request here. Persecution will get worse in time, but we should pray for brethren (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2) in distress as well as pray, “Thy kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10, KJV).
We all need to realize that because we support the proclamation of Christ’s gospel of the kingdom to the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14), that we in the Continuing Church of God are subject to persecution and more persecution will come per Daniel 11:30-35 and Revelation 12:13-16. Christians have been persecuted for this in the past and will be again (see also Persecutions by Church and State).
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).
World News Events
A report came about wars and economic disruptions. In addition to matters related to the Islamic State and Ukraine, places such as Libya are having problems. It appears that Western leaders are promoting the type of ‘international cooperation’ that may assist in the rise of the King of the South of Bible prophecy (see ‘Libya’s Fate Difficult to Predict, Analysts Say;’ Bible disagrees; Obama promoting the King of the South? and Obama Administration pushing for coalition resembling the King of the South).
In the USA a poll came out showing that more Americans believe that the USA is in greater danger from terrorists than before (see 9/11: Greater terror threat exists). This belief is correct and more terrorism is expected hit the USA. I believe that the Bible shows that the King of the North will invade (Daniel 11:39) and in conjunction with the terrorism from the King of the South (Psalm 83:3-8) will cause the end of the USA. Notice also the following:
25 The sword shall destroy outside; There shall be terror within (Deuteronomy 32:25).
12 “Cry and wail, son of man; For it will be against My people, Against all the princes of Israel. Terrors including the sword will be against My people; Therefore strike your thigh. (Ezekiel 21:12)
Deuteronomy 32:25 talks about a time of destruction that comes from an outside invasion and internal. That is also consistent with what Ezekiel warned. Because of much terrorism involves people in the lands that are prophesied to be associated with the King of the South, these prophesies are consistent with terroristic actions from those regions in the future.
The old Worldwide Church of God (WCG) taught:
Many nations make no bones about their connections to terrorist groups. Syria, Libya, Iraq and South Yemen all see no objection in directly aiding terrorism. (Taylor D. TERRORISM the Worst Is Yet to Come! Plain Truth, May 1984)
The old WCG also taught that some of those nations would be part of the King of the South (“And when you see the Abomination…” Plain Truth, July 1963, p.22; The Arab World in Prophecy. Plain Truth, December 1979, pp. 11-12) as well as the confederacy of the confederacy of Psalm 83 (The Arab World in Prophecy. Plain Truth, December 1979).
A poll came out indicating that the upcoming vote in Scotland to possibly leave the United Kingdom was closer than the UK politicians thought it was (see London proposing changes as polls show shift towards Scottish independence). Because of that, several have decided to spend some time in Scotland to try to persuade the Scots to vote against succession (see UK leaders going to Scotland to discourage vote for independence). No matter which way the vote for the referendum on Scottish independence goes, it is not the true hope for the Scots. Scotland, along with the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of the UK are all in at least relative decline, despite the appearance of prosperity in their lands. This will not turn out well (cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8; Daniel 11:39).
Over in Ukraine, the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church wrote that Russia’s Vladimir Putin was under the influence of Satan and was a new ‘Cain’ (see Ukrainians and separatists accused of war crimes; Orthodox Patriarch refers to Putin as ‘Cain’ and under Satan’s action). There is a lot of distrust between the Russians and the Ukrainians these days.
Former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodore zu Guttenberg made the news about a week ago for his view that Europe needed stronger, more active, leaders (see Karl Guttenberg starting to sound like Winston Churchill). The Bible shows that Europe will end up with a strong leader who will end up with too much of their trust and support (Daniel 11:27-44; Revelation 13:4-8). Herr Guttenberg may well be positioning himself for consideration for such a role.
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 is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
- Opening prayer.
- Sermonette, which for most who receive this emailed-letter will be a recorded one: Project Prophecy Economic Collapse Starting in 2015? A distantly related written item would be: Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel. 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 who receive this emailed-letter will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Where is the True Christian Church? There is a related written booklet titled: Where is the True Christian Church Today? 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 that we list each week.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
Let us all remember to pray, including for world leaders, and all strive to live in proper modesty.
Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God