Letter to the Brethren: December 6, 2018

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Five Cities Region of California.

Another full and exciting week, working on matters related to Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20, and preparing for the final phase of the work.

Animations

While our Animation channel on YouTube only shows close to 2,000 views for our four animations, we actually have had around 44,000 views.

Andre Nelson has been doing a fantastic job through Facebook promotions. The first one he promoted got 20,000 views.

He sent a report yesterday, from Facebook, related to the second one being promoted:

This is very encouraging.

My short term goal is to have over 100,000 views of the animations–though some subjects will likely not generate as much interest. Hopefully, we will be able to reach that goal in 2019.

Brian Thiel and I have been working on details for the next animation, which is mainly intended for those in, or highly interested in, the Church of God. This is the first animation we have worked on directly related to a biblical Holy Day. This one is on the Night to Be Observed.

We expect to have that ready in January, which will be in plenty of time to be out for people to watch on the Night to Be Observed in 2019–which would begin the evening of April 19th.

Malawi

Malawi host, Radson Mulozowa, has been hospitalized for an illness/injury and requests prayers.

He also sent the following photograph:

The above are members who were given Bibles in the Chichewa language–something that we were able to provide there.

Kenya and Television

Evangelist Evans Ochieng sent in the following report:

Pastor Dr Bob,
Greetings from kenya.

I have arrived at home now from a 4 days visit of our two congregations. I am receiving many invitations for those who are interested in the teachings of CCOG. I noticed that so many people are visit CCOG WEBSITE. Because most of those who are contacting me if I asked them how they come to have interest in the church of God. They are telling me that through website. I noticed that our website is doing a greater work.

I want to start program youth camp in Kenya. The youth camp will start on 12th December 2018. I also want to remind you about my trip to Lodwa (Kakuma refugee camp). Also when I will be going there, since those people are refugees, it is good if I will carry for them some funds to help them. I will also see their seriousness. If they are serious then I will give them the copy of church registration to protect them when they are meeting on Sabbath services. …

I received letters from Mulozowa Radson that he was injured and the leg was broken. Kosgey, our host in Bomet also injured. His leg broken. Put them in prayers.

Lastly when I was talking with Onsando from Kisii about TV station, he told me that we shall discuss more during my second visit which I hope will be next week. He wanted to leave the station to the church if he is paid and if we can maintain it. We shall talk about it next week.

Evans.

Please pray for our injured in Africa, the success of the youth camp, and for providing sound instruction to our existing and newer congregations.

As far as Robert Onsando and television goes, he sent the following to me yesterday over Facebook:

Showing now on my Television station.

So, since that showing was yesterday, hence we have now been on television in Kenya!

India

Back in the late 1990s, K. Sani Mao of Imphal/Manipur (which is located in North-east India) was baptized by a WCG minister. He eventually left because of the changes there. He later began to follow my writings at the COGwriter.com website. He recently wrote that he and others with him became part of the Living Church of God (LCG) because I was there.

Within two days after I left LCG on December 28, 2012, he began to write me. He has written me off and on over the years since. He hosts a group that has about 25 with them and they have now concluded that they wish to be part of the Continuing Church of God.

They would like a visit and have written that they will pay the expenses for that.

So, since elder Sasha Veljic is closer to them than I am (which also means the trip costs less), I asked him if he would be willing to go, and he said he would. So, Sasha and Sani have been communicating since about a possible 1-2 week trip.

Those in our new India congregation need counseling, and several have requested baptism. We are hopeful that this trip may happen next month.

We are thrilled to have a regular congregation in India.

Mexico, Haiti, and the Philippines

We have had members in the Philippines since 2013. We had hoped to send John Hickey from New Zealand to visit them in the past, but his health issues prevented that. We had hoped to send Steve Dupuie there in 2018, but that did not happen. Currently, we have plans for Steve and Ruth Dupuie to spend the Feast of Tabernacles in the Philippines in 2019.

I have reported before about the congregation in Mexico. We have sent them literature and they say that they are with us. We would like to send someone there to visit, but the two men that we have that would be able to go there and speak (Louis Rubin or I) are not fluent in Spanish. We are both studying Spanish (with Louis close to fluent as he is just brushing up and me not even conversational) and we hope one of us will visit them sometime in 2019.

As reported here before, we have a group in Haiti that says they are with us. Haitians speak French and we are looking at possibly sending someone there in 2019. Although I do not speak French, in a later year I also may try to visit them.

CCOG appears to be the fourth largest xWCG group

A reader of the COGwriter.com website forwarded me a post from former WCG member James Tabor (who consulted with Dixon Cartwright and others) that indicates that the Continuing Church of God is the fourth largest COG group whose top leaders were once part of the old Worldwide Church of God.

Then a page from a seventh-day COG supporter put out a post related to that which contained updated information:

United Church of God: 12,360 according to Peter Eddington on 26th February 2018.
Church of God a Worldwide Associationapprox.11,000 (5,500 in the USA), according to Jim Franks on 29th November 2018.
Continuing Church of God: 3,800 according to Robert Thiel. …
The LCG, PCG and RCG do not give out numbers, but attendances for all three have been declining significantly.
Living Church of God: 6,000? 9,000 was presumably the attendance when Robert Thiel left LCG to form his own church, …
Philadelphia Church of God: 3,500? Stephen Flurry commented a couple of years ago that PCG had levelled out at around 5,000. In 2017 The Philadelphian magazine listed 143 congregations, indicating that 2,000 must be on the low side.
Restored Church of God: 1,000? If it isn’t down to this figure (or lower) now, it surely will be soon – David Pack is continually losing members and ministers – even his second-in-command left recently.

While size is not an indicator of truth, the truth is that the CCOG has been the fastest growing COG in the 21st century. The three groups with more congregants than CCOG (UCG, COGWA, LCG) have essentially been stagnant (or very slow growing–LCG currently has over 10,000 and has not shrunk as the above report claims) and the other two shown on the post (PCG and RCG) have had substantial losses of congregants in the past 6 or so years.

Unlike UCG, COGWA, and LCG who got the bulk of their members because of a split from another organization (as PCG also somewhat also did–but not as quickly directly as the others did), CCOG did not do that.

Currently, about 3,800 are considered and/or wish to be considered congregants with the CCOG.

World News Items

Mexico got a new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. While currently he seems to be trying to get along with the USA, this is likely to change. One day I expect Mexico to turn against the USA and directly support European military efforts (see Mexico gets a new president: Mexico looks to end up with a lot of land that the USA now controls).

Over in Poland, the UN’s climate change conference COP24 is going on (see COP24 and the False Gospel). The Europeans are upset with USA policies on climate matters and are likely to use that as partial justification for military actions they will take later (cf. Daniel 11:39).

Over in France, Paris had its worst riot in a generation (see Worst riot to hit Paris in a generation: More violence will hit Europe). The French government then decided to suspend a fuel-tax increase, but many still think that more trouble is brewing in France as well as other parts of Europe (see ‘Italy, the EU, and the Fall of the Roman Empire’).

The Galileo satellite system was in the news. Essentially, the European Union is telling the United Kingdom that it will not have the expected access to it since it is intending to leave the EU (see UK to be “banned from the extra-secure elements” of Galileo). We may see some compromise here, but this is one more move by the EU to show that it wants only those that submit to all of its rules as it works towards its goal of domination.

The UK itself is struggling on how (and maybe even if) to do the Brexit with the EU (see also ‘N. Ireland to Stay Locked in EU Customs Union: Brexit Update’ ‘Worst Deal in History’ and ‘It’s my deal, no deal or no Brexit at all: UK PM May’).

On other matters, the Ark of the Covenant was in the news. Some think it is in Ethiopia, but if it is still on the earth, somewhere in Israel would seem to make more sense (see ‘Is the Ark of the Covenant in Africa or Is It an Anti-Semitic Hoax?’).

Speaking of Israel, the Sanhedrin plans to either perform a ‘daily sacrifice’ or a replica of one in a few days (see ‘Sanhedrin Invites 70 Nations to Hanukkah Dedication of Altar for the Third Temple’). Since the Book of Daniel, in three places (Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11) says that the sacrifices will be stopped/taken away in the end times, they obviously must start first. Various ones in Israel are working towards starting them.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week for our scattered brethren:

  • 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: Might the Great Tribulation start in 2019? 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: Daniel 9, Jews, and Jesus. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOGchannel.
  • 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

King Solomon taught:

5 A wise man will hear and increase learning,
And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and an enigma,
The words of the wise and their riddles.

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:4-7)

Brethren, it is a great blessing to know the truth and be given the opportunity to learn more of it. Yet, in this age, we seem to have more  and more fools and more despise the truth or learning more of it.

Be wise, and do not be like them.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer