Letter to the Brethren: March 29, 2018

 

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from Grover Beach, California.

We have been working on literature, animation scripts, and preparing for the Spring Holy Days.

Passover is tonight after sunset.

The Passover is to be taken only for baptized Christians. For those that may need it, here is a link to CCOG Passover Service.

Night to Be Observed and Days of Unleavened Bread

The Days of Unleavened Bread for 2018 begin tomorrow evening, which begins the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan/Abib. And that is a ‘night to be observed’:

42 It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations. (Exodus 12:42, KJV)

42 This is the observable night of our Lord, when he brought them forth out of the Land of Ægypt: this night all the children of Israel must observe in their generations. (Exodus 12:42, Original Douay-Rheims).

For Christians, the Night to Be Observed pictures our taking action to leave spiritual Egypt (cf. Revelation 11:8)–this is something that should cause Christians to rejoice.

Historically, the Night to Be Observed normally involved a festive dinner. The dinner normally included, but was not limited to, unleavened bread.

The Bible, in Leviticus 23:7-8 teaches that both the first and last days of unleavened bread are times for a holy “convocation” (NKJV), a “sacred assembly” (NJB). The evening of the fifteenth of Nisan (which begins that holy day) begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which involved eating (cf. Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23:6). Some may wish to watch our video, The Night to Be Much Observed, Friday evening.

Because of the Bible teaching both the Passover and the Night to be Observed, Jews have often been confused and think that, for example, Passover is Friday night this year. That is wrong.

The Jews erroneously call the 15th of Nisan/Abib Passover. Notice scriptural proof in the Jewish Encyclopedia that the Jews should realize that Passover is on the 14th and something else happens on the 15th:

Passover . . . The festival commemorates the deliverance of Israel’s first-born from the judgment wrought on those of the Egyptians (Ex. xii. 12-13; comp. Ex. xiii. 2, 12 et seq.), and the wondrous liberation of the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage (Ex. xii. 14-17). As such, it is identical with the Maẓẓot (, Ex. xii. 17; , Lev. xxiii. 5-6) festival, and was instituted for an everlasting statute (Ex. xii. 14). Lev. xxiii., however, seems to distinguish between Passover, which is set for the fourteenth day of the month, and (the Festival of Unleavened Bread; ἑορτή τῶν ἀζύμων, Luke xxii. 1; Josephus, “B. J.” ii. 1, § 3), appointed for the fifteenth day. (Jewish Encyclopedia of 1906)

Because Jews tend to emphasize the departure from Egypt and rely on certain non-biblical traditions, they tend to mostly observe only the second date–and erroneously call it Passover.

Yet, the 15th is NOT Passover–it is the The Night to Be Observed.

Some have been confused about the date–but you do not need to be (for more information, see also TPM: Passover on the 14th or 15th?).

In the last Letter to the Brethren, I explained more about the Days of Unleavened Bread. If you want further information check out the article Keeping Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread and/or the online booklet Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

The Days of Unleavened Bread run from sunset March 30 – sunset April 6, 2018. April 6th will also be a holy day, and it is on a Friday this year.

Unleavened Bread Recipes

There are many types of unleavened bread.

My wife Joyce tends to bake more during the Days of Unleavened Bread than she normally does the rest of the year.

Here is one of several recipes that she thought she would share:

Lemon Ricotta Bars

For the Crust:

2 cups organic flour
3/4 cup organic powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 sticks (or 12 tablespoons) melted unsalted butter

For the Filling:

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup organic sugar
5 free-range eggs
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup organic flour
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
powdered sugar for dusting the finished bars

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Make the crust:  Combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Add the melted butter and mix until combined.  Press the mixture into the bottom of a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.  (You may need to dip your fingers into a little flour or powdered sugar to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.)  Bake for 15 minutes until golden, then set aside to cool.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

3.  Make the filling:  In a blender, combine the ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, flour, lemon zest, and salt.  Blend until smooth, then taste to make sure it is sweet enough for you.  If it’s not sweet enough, add a bit more sugar.

4.  Pour the filling over the baked crust and bake for about 30 minutes longer, until the filling is just set.  Allow the bars to cool, then cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.  Store leftovers in a sealed contained in the refrigerator.  Yields 20-40 bars depending on size.

Here is another:

Sesame Crackers

2 cups unbleached organic flour
2 cups organic whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sesame seeds

Mix together flours, cut in butter.  Add milk, honey and sesame seeds to make stiff dough.  Roll thin and cut with knife into squares.  Placed on greased baking sheet.  Brush tops with milk and prick with fork.  Bake at 400 F for about 10 minutes or until desired brownness.

Here is a third:

Caramel Toffee Bars

1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar, packed
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add yolk and vanilla to creamed mixture.  Mix flour into the mixture.  Mix in walnuts if desired.  Put into 13 x 9 inch pan.  Pat out in pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle 8-12 oz. package of chocolate chips over top of crust.  As soon as it’s softened, spread over top and smooth out.

Here is a fourth:

Unleavened Bread

4 tablespoons honey
1 cup oil
1 1/2 cups milk
6 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Blend honey, oil and milk.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Knead lightly.  Roll on floured board with rolling pin. Place on cookie sheet. Cut in squares.  Make a few holes in each piece with fork. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.

There are other recipes. You can also see those received from Elder Alexsandar Veljic: Unleavened Bread recipes. This was also recently translated into Spanish as well: Recetas de Recuerdo.

Bible News Prophecy magazine

The English edition of the April-June 2018 issue of our Bible News Prophecy magazine has arrived from the printer.

We have mailed it out to most of our English-speaking subscribers outside of Kenya and Tanzania (those there are to get copies from the printer in Nairobi, Kenya).

Here is a link to the online version of the April-June 2018 English edition of Bible News Prophecymagazine.

CCOG Animations

Our first CCOG animation is now available online at our new CCOG Animations channel.

Here is a link: First Date: Worldly vs. Christian (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjv4eJS2anQ)

Should you watch it, you will notice that a new booklet is mentioned in the animation. Well, while a draft of that dating booklet is now available online, the final book is not complete as it is in the editing and formatting stage.

After it perhaps gets a little more added to it, we expect to send it to the printers and send it to our English-language subscribers outside of Africa probably in late April or May of 2018.

I plan to give two sermons related to it in April of this year, and to finalize that booklet after giving those sermons.

Our next animation is in process and has to do with the musing of some who teach a completely physical Big Bang. We have already started on the script for a follow-up one related to evolution as the origin of life. A booklet covering both of those subjects is also in progress.

Baptisms in Kenya

Evangelist Evans Ochieng sent the following email concerning baptisms and the photo of laying on hands of the baptized:

Pastor Dr Bob

Greetings from Kenya.
It was a happy day when the baptism ceremony of four members, 2 members from Kihancha and 2 members from Migori were baptized in Nyamome Dam in Migori county. Joshua Omondi and Friginia Adhiambo  (Nimrod’s wife) came from Kihancha and Anjeline Atieno and Irine  Odhiambo were from Migori congregation .
Evans

We are reaching people and bearing fruit.

Pastor Tiongik Sawek sent the following from Rift Valley, Kenya:

Greetings in the Name of Jesus Christ.

My Journey to Mau Church was well as i did Meet with the elders of the church together with Pastor Stanley Kibet. I organized the Passover ceremonial day. I stayed there for 3 Weeks.

We have completed the mission and now every church will be able to do the Passover at their own.

I saw that they are faring on well on their own to the extremes of baptizing during this and the previous week. The rain is pouring abundantly.

I met up with the local communion of Bomet and I saw that also they are faring on well as well as the churches too.

I am now traveling towards Chilani Transmara and Tapchet, Kaplelecho, Mutusiet, Chemargoi and Chebunyo.

The people of Njoro and Molo, Sirikwa and Sugutiet and Rungia are continuing well. The is an elder at the Church of Nasot bearing the name Stanley Kimeto had an unfortunate accident from a falling tree and was injured on his leg. Another elder , Jona Kirui, of Kaplecho has been in ailment for the past 3 months where he was treated in Tenwek Mission Hospital but later got referred to Eldoret and still undergoing regular check-ups. We are praying for their protection and recovery as we also seek your assistance in their endeavors due to they high hospital medical bill.

Kindly find attached herein some sample pictures of my journey and the baptism. …
  

Regards

Pastor Sawek

Those in Rift Valley are relatively new to the Church of God and Pastor Sawek and others are working to help them understand “the way of God more accurately” (cf. Acts 18:26).

On other matters, Evangelist Evans Ochieng said that 7 people recently came with us from COGWA and 5 people from UCG in Kenya. While we are NOT trying to take people out of other COG groups, we are open to those who are in other groups who contacted us, like these 12 did.

World News Items

China introduced its oil futures scheme which some of have called the gold-petro-yuan (see ‘China Close To Petro-Yuan-Gold Launch’) or more simply the petro-yuan (see China’s ‘petro-yuan’ successfully introduced; Why is Russia accumulating gold?). This is a step by China to increase acceptance of its currency internationally, as well as a step to diminish the importance of the US dollar in international trade.

Over in Israel, government authorities allowed for the sacrificing of two lambs near the area called the Temple Mount on Monday (see Jews got permission for pre-‘Passover sacrifice’ near Temple Mount and performed it). While some have falsely claimed that the Jews need a ‘third temple’ to be built before they resume regular sacrifices, this is not the case. Per Ezra 3:6, as well as what I was personally told by the Temple Institute and the Sanhedrin, an actual temple is not required for sacrifices–but many Jews still would like to have one. The Bible tells of a time when the daily sacrifices will be stopped (Daniel 9:27; 11:31), and for them to be stopped they must first be started. The fact that Israeli authorities authorized lamb sacrifices so close to the area called the Temple Mount this week shows that the idea that they will one day allow daily sacrifices is not far-fetched as some biblical critics have wrongly suggested.

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.
  • Offertory: Unleavened Offering. 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: Leaven and Sin. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

For those who want two, here is a suggested second service for the First 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. 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:

7 Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8, NAB)

Notice that the feast is to be kept with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Brethren, during these Spring Holy Days, focus on tossing out malice and wickedness, while sincerely clinging to and learning more about the truth of God.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer