Letter to the Brethren: August 9, 2018

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from Grover Beach, California.

Another busy week of working on matters related to Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.

Planting Crops on the Sabbath?

Should a farmer plant crops on the Sabbath?

The commandment states:

8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. (Exodus 20:8-11)

4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” 6 It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience…9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience (Hebrews 4:4-6,9-11, NIV).

The New Testament confirms that Christians should not be disobedient, but should rest on the Sabbath.

Several months ago, a woman sent me the following in an email:

 I have spent considerable time, energy and effort in looking for God’s true church (comparing statements of belief/doctrine and “teachings” to scripture) and have settled on CCOG although I have no congregation anywhere near where I am …

Anyway, the above person is new to the Church of God and has not yet been baptized.

As it turns out she is engaged. Her fiancé, shares some of her views on the Sabbath and the true church, but has been unsure.

So unsure, that he felt it was appropriate for him to plant crops on the Sabbath.

Several days ago, I received the following in an email with the subject line “Blessings and Cursings?” from the woman (names edited out, with bolding below added) by me:

We met in Almont, Michigan in July and I had my fiancé, Mxxxx, with me.  You may or may not remember, but he is a farmer.  I just wanted to share something with you regarding God’s promises of blessings and cursings.  Whether anyone wants to believe that this is proof of such promises and of God’s existence is up to them, but Mxxxx wanted me to share this with you because his experience has brought him closer to God and strengthened his belief and resolve.

Mxxxx is going through some trying times with many demands on his time and while he knows about the sabbath requirement, he often finds ways to justify to himself for working on it.  This past Saturday was no exception.  Early in the morning, I received a call from him to come out and look at one of his fields.  I objected as I know, and hold fast, to keep the sabbath but he insisted that it would be God’s work and not my agricultural work.  Attached are photos from that field.  Normally, a field planted a day before will come up sooner, be ahead of and look better than one planted later.  This is not the case here.  In fact the difference is remarkable.  Note that both pictures are from the same field, same soil type, same seed and variety, same equipment used, same (natural) fertilizer package.  The poor stand (looking to the left) was planted on the sabbath.  The healthy stand (looking to the right) was planted (the field was finished) the following day, on Sunday.  Mxxxx did not move to take the pictures, other than to turn to the left and right.  He asked me: “Why don’t anybody else’s fields do this if they work in them on the sabbath?  Why me?”  I answered with another question: “When you planted this field on the sabbath, did you merely think that it was maybe wrong to do so or did you know in your heart that it was wrong?”  His reply: “I knew it was wrong but I thought it would be ok.  I think God is telling me otherwise.”  I cited James 4:17 and after some thought he left the field and joined me for Bible study.  But that did not last.  He soon “had so many things to do” and returned to the field.  After his combine broke down and his tractor stopped in the middle of the field (to perform an automatic maintenance procedure he had been putting off), he called me up and returned to Bible study.  Frustrated at the seeming prosperity of commandment breakers, I went over Psalms 37 and 73 with him for a better understanding of what is expected of us and the timing of our reward as well as who it comes from (James 1:17).  He has been somewhat “stiff-necked” regarding obedience to this specific commandment but I think he is starting to understand although I think he may need another correction or two before he truly submits in this regard.  I continue to pray for him, knowing that God’s chastisements are both merciful and just.

Feel free to use and share this story and pray for us as we pray for you, that we all may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and do those things that are pleasing to God.  May God keep you safe and inspire you according to his will.

Here are the photos:

  
Sabbath planted crops, then non-Sabbath planted crops

Many people do not believe that God cares enough to intervene or that God does not perform miracles in the 21st century. While God does not always perform massive physical miracles when He is calling someone, sometimes He does (cf. Acts 9).

God is still on His throne, and yes, God does do miracles according to His will.

God holds people to a higher standard that know the truth:

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:13-17)

While some wonder about working to handle a seasonal surge or other such need, here is what the Bible says about planting and harvesting:

21 “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest. (Exodus 34:21)

So, no, the ‘busy season’ at work does not negate the Sabbath.

Notice also the following:

5 Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! 6 “You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” 7 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:5-7)

Christian farmers should not plant on the Sabbath. We now have at least one man who is considering his ways because of what he has seen, and now shared with the rest of us.

God does exist. His ways are best.

If you do not believe this, then please “Consider your ways!”

Radio

Ended up with a last minute radio interview with Dr. Bill Deagle on Tuesday, August 7th starting at 1:30 pm PDT on the Republic Broadcasting Network. We discussed how US President Trump is apocalyptic and how this is helping Europe to become the Beast empire. We also discussed various aspects of the coming ‘famine of the word’ as well.

Radio is one of the many means we use to reach people.

Some Peace in South Sudan

Deacon Koang Deng sent me and Evangelist Ochieng the following email from Ethiopia:

Dear elders:

Today Sunday morning, some African leaders headed this morning and welcomed to sign a peace in Sudan for the war which lost a more lifes in South Sudan country. Now,people still looking if God allowed a peace for them. For the bad situation of these people, please, try to pray again.
Best regards,
Koang Deng.

Although South Sudan and the rest of the world needs the coming Kingdom of God, peace reduces many stresses and horrors that people in places like South Sudan have faced. Continue to pray for our brethren in Africa.

On Monday, Koang Deng sent out the following email:

Dear Pastor Bob:

South Sudan peace now signed. Why we need peace in that Country, because we want to get free movement to sow a good seeds and to send a messages for Jesus Kingdom. There are more harvest but labour are few.
Thank you.
Koang Deng.

Peace arrangements make it easier to proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom. We have had some from South Sudan attend the Feast of Tabernacles in Ethiopia and expect that will happen again this year.

On other matters, the situation with the Mau people is more costly than originally thought (we reported about that last week–see), so we have had to send more funds this week. This is placing additional strain on our finances and much more will be needed for the Feast of Tabernacles in Africa next month. Please pray for our income and the upcoming holy days.

Literature to Haiti

We sent literature to a small group in Haiti last January.

However, we found out last week that it never arrived, even though CreateSpace said it had.

Anyway, CreateSpace, at its expense, resent it. The good news is that we got a report that it was received and is now being used over there.

It is possible that we may end up with a congregation in Haiti, but we will see.

World News Items

The USA re-imposed sanctions against Iran and the Europeans are not pleased (see USA reimposing sanctions against Iran, while EU resists). Actually, the Europeans are so displeased that they basically passed a law ordering firms not to comply with the Donald Trump pushed sanctions (see Donald Trump tweets trade threats, while Europe plans to get around them). On Tuesday, Donald Trump tweeted “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!” The Europeans see this differently. More and more we are seeing trade issues between the USA and Europe.

Now, the UK has its issues as well. Because of the Brexit vote, and the desire for many in Europe that want to punish the UK for voting to leave the European Union, negotiations on future trade between the UK and EU have not gone well. The UK is now looking at perhaps having no trade deal with the EU until after the Brexit date of March 29, 2018 (see UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade states no-deal Brexit more likely).

The EU is getting more and more upset with the USA and UK. This will not end up well for either of them (cf. Daniel 11:39-45).

Over in Europe, the first two women were fined for violating a new Danish law which effectively bans facial veils used by some Islamic women (see ‘Denmark veil ban: First woman charged for wearing niqab’). Full or partial bans are also in place in France, Austria, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria. Another step against Islam was also proposed in Germany: to monitor Islamic children in case they may become terrorists (see DW: Islamist children pose real ‘threat’ to Germany, spy chief warns). The time will come, not when Islam will triumph in Europe, but when Europe will effectively eliminate Islam (cf. Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:2-8; Revelation 13).

Many parts of the world have been affected by extreme weather within the past several weeks (see Record heat in Europe, Africa, & Asia, plus berserk weather in USA and ‘Massive wildfire rages after becoming largest in California’s history’ and Australia is ‘the land of droughts and flooding rains’). The Bible teaches that God sometimes uses extreme weather to urge people to repent, but that most do will not (cf. Amos 4:4-9). More extreme weather is coming (cf. Mark 13:8; Revelation 16:8-9).

Over in the Middle East, Israel and Gaza have escalating military tensions. Instead of agreeing on a temporal peace arrangement, rockets were fired from Gaza and Israel has retaliated (see  Gaza Border Fight Intensifies in Night of Rockets, Airstrikes). But the day is coming when a major temporal peace deal will come to the area (cf. Daniel (9:27). Such peace deals tend to come after conflict. We may well see more conflict in the region first, and this may involve not just Gaza, but Iran and Syria (cf. Isaiah 22).

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week:

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 Apostle Paul was inspired to write the following:

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)

Brethren, we have a true hope in salvation, the resurrection, the return of Jesus, and the coming Kingdom of God. So, “live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.”

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer