Letter to the Brethren: April 5, 2018

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from the Five Cities region of California.

The Last Day of Unleavened Bread starts tonight after sunset and is kept like a Sabbath.

The weekly Sabbath, of course, remains as well, so there are back-to-back Sabbaths this week.

Now, originally I had planned to make the next part of the Book of Exodus as the recommended sermon for the weekly Sabbath. Instead, I decided that I would continue with the sermon series on Exodus sometime in 2019, prior to the Days of Unleavened Bread.

One of the reasons that I did that was that there is a new movie out, which I have not seen, on the Apostle Paul. As it turns out, I had planned to give a sermon on Paul later this month. But because of the movie release, I thought I would give it earlier. The timing may encourage a few who do not normally watch our sermons to do so.

That being said, our ContinuingCOG channel, CCOG Animations channel, and CCOGAfricachannel were all knocked offline for a while on Monday (for some reason, this did not seem to affect our Bible News Prophecy channel).  Anyway, this outage was NOT limited to our YouTube channels, but did affect the ability of people to find our videos. As of now, this problem has cleared up.

But, it is always frustrating when people are not able to access any of our channels or websites.

Passover and NTBMO Reports

Passover and the Night to Be Much Observed went fine here in California.

Don Williams sent the following report from New Brunswick, Canada last Sabbath:

Having a wonderful First Day of Unleavened Bread here with Herb & Giselle and wish you and yours a wonder feast as well.

We also received the following detailed reports from Serbia:

PASSOVER 2018 REPORT

March 30, 2018.

Greetings from Nis,

Five of us kept a Passover service in the birth town of Constantine the Great, the first Roman „Christian“ emperor, who outlawed the Passover and the Sabbath in Europe in the 4th century.

We are all delighted by the fact that we have, for the first time in the history of Europe, symbolically defeated that pagan sun worshiper by keeping the Passover in the very downtown of his birth town.  Perhaps there were believers at the time of Paul who kept the Passover here – we don’t know that, but after the Constantine’s rise to power and the start of the persecution of commandment observing Christians, the Passover has never been kept in this place as all the true Christians had to flee Europe for their lives.

The five of us who kept the Passover are:

Johan Kersten from Netherlands

Slobodan Balovic from Paracin, Serbia

Luka Filipovic from Prijepolje, Serbia

Filip Zlatkovic from Nis, Serbia

Aleksandar Veljic from Uzice, Serbia

Observing the service was Nikola Ivkovic from Nis, a long time friend of ours who has been studying the Bible and Bible doctrines for quite some time now.

We are expecting today a prospective member Bogdan Lazovic (from Progorelica, Serbia) to arrive for the occassion of the Night to be Much Observed.  That God’s ordinance will be another historic occasion since it will be the first Night to be Much Observed ever in Nis, Serbia, at least from Constantine’s days.

With joyous heart,

Sasha

March 31, 2018. Greetings from Nis, Serbia.  As we were joined by our baptism candidate yesterday, Bogdan Lazovic, there was a total of six of us in Nis, Serbia, who kept the wonderful Night to be Much Observed.  … Johan Kersten brought from Holland (we don’t have matzos on public sale in Serbia) and enjoyed immensely the anniversary of Exodus, symbolizing our departure from this world of sin and from the Constantine’s town of birth.

This Night to be Much Remembered will be especially remembered for the fact that we have kept it in the birth town of Constantine the Great, the first Roman „Christian“ emperor, who outlawed the Passover, the Sabbath and God’s feasts in Europe in the 4th century.

We are all delighted by the fact that we have, for the first time in the history of Europe, symbolically defeated that pagan sun worshiper by keeping this annual reminder of Exodus in his birth town.  Perhaps there were believers at the time of Paul who kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread here – we don’t know that, but after the Constantine’s rise to power and the persecution he unleashed against the commandment observing Christians, the Night to be Much Observed has never been kept in this place as all the true Christians had to flee Europe for their lives.

It has been another historic occasion since it was the first Night to be Much Observed ever in Nis, Serbia, at least from the days of Constantine.

Best regards,
Sasha

Ethiopia

Deacon Koang Deng sent the following photographs:

   

The first one is the new meeting hall they built in Ethiopia. The other one is food preparation related to the first day of unleavened bread.

Donation Receipts

We mailed donation receipts to USA donors on Tuesday covering donations processed from January 1 through March 30, 2018. For some reason, the receipts have the details, but not totals. We expect to correct that when we send them out again in three months.

World News Items

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince essentially, publicly, recognized the State of Israel’s right to exist while promoting the need for a peace deal in the Middle East (see Saudi Crown Prince backs Israel’s right to territory and promotes need for a peace agreement: Could he be the “prince” of Daniel 9:26-27?). While he is NOT the ‘prince’ of Daniel 9:26-27, expect that many nations in the Middle East will be party to a coming temporary peace deal.

On Monday, China announced tariffs on some goods from the USA (see Trade war starting to heat up as China announces tariffs against the USA). On Tuesday, the USA proposed tariffs on about 1300 items from China, and on Wednesday, China announced tariffs on 106 items from the USA (see China announces retaliatory tariffs on 106 items after USA proposes 1300 possible tariff increases).

Suggested Last Day of Unleavened Bread Service

Here is a suggested service for the Last Day of Unleavened Bread:

For those who want two, here is a suggested second service for the Last Day of Unleavened Bread:

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.

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: Internet Censorship and Prophecy. 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: Paul: Apostle to the Gentiles. 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 Bible News Prophecy online radio channel.

IN CASE YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A ‘LETTER TO THE BRETHREN’ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE ContinuingCOGchannel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.

Concluding Comments

The New Testament clearly teaches that Jesus Christ was the Passover lamb sacrificed for us and that we are to keep that Feast with unleavened bread as the Apostle Paul wrote:

1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. (Hebrews 6:1-3)

Brethren, the Days of Unleavened Bread picture putting hypocrisy and sin out of our lives. Let us therefore, strive to go on to perfection.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer