Letter to the Brethren: May 2, 2019

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from the Five Cities region of California.

Hopefully you had a spiritually profitable Days of Unleavened Bread this year.

Ethiopia and the Rift Valley in Kenya

We received a couple of reports that I have included in this letter.

The first from Ethiopia:

Dear Pastor Bob:

Greetings in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ to all Amen.
Second, Feast of Unleavened bread is gone well. Now we are going good in Gambella, And I believe that, ccog will be a sign to others cog groups. Again keeping feasts days is a road open to the right way. Thank you for your help.
Koang Deng.
Gambella,Ethiopia.

Gambella, Ethiopia

It is good that people without much background keeping God’s Holy Days are progressing that way (those with us in Ethiopia came from a CG7 background).

Pastor Tiongik Sawek sent the following report regarding those in the Rift Valley of Kenya:

I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ. This year’s Passover, the brethren celebrated it joyously in one accord. Likewise the feast on unleavened bread also went on smoothly.

All the groups of Chilani celebrated it nicely and the groups of Njoro, Mau and also the Bomet church.

We therefore have receive good reports concerning the Passover, the county of Kericho have also invited us to teach righteous ways of Jesus Christ so that they may also have their Passover next year, also in Transmara West, Ongata and Bomet East.

Prays for us so that the Lord may sent His word faster to reach those in need. Indeed we are seeing that the teaching of the continuing church of God is now moving faster because the brethren have realized that it is the real church that the Lord had purchased with his blood.

God Bless you,

Pastor Sawek

The groups there also did NOT have a WCG background and are relatively new to keeping all these Holy Days.

Truth and Deceit

The Apostle Paul wrote that unleavened bread helps picture sincerity and truth.

7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

Yet, more and more, we see the world against even obvious truths, like gender (watch How many genders did God create?).

Earlier this Spring, I sent someone I know (not in the COG) the following excerpt of an article I had read:

The rather uncreatively-named illusory truth effect describes the way people are more likely to believe something is true after hearing it said many times. This is due to the fact that the familiar feeling we experience when hearing something we’ve heard before feels very similar to our experience of knowing that something is true. When we hear a familiar idea, its familiarity provides us with something called cognitive ease, which is the relaxed, unlabored state we experience when our minds aren’t working hard at something. We also experience cognitive ease when we are presented with a statement that we know to be true.

We have a tendency to select for cognitive ease, which is why confirmation bias is a thing; believing ideas which don’t cause cognitive strain or dissonance gives us more cognitive ease than doing otherwise. Our evolutionary ancestors adapted to seek out cognitive ease so that they could put their attention into making quick decisions essential for survival, rather than painstakingly mulling over whether everything we believe is as true as we think it is. This was great for not getting eaten by saber-toothed tigers in prehistoric times, but it’s not very helpful when navigating the twists and turns of a cognitively complex modern world. It’s also not helpful when you’re trying to cultivate truthful beliefs while surrounded by screens that are repeating the same bogus talking points over and over again. …

Science has been aware of the illusory truth effect since 1977, when a study found that subjects were more likely to evaluate a statement as true when it’s been repeatedly presented to them over the course of a couple of weeks, even if they didn’t consciously remember having encountered that statement before. These findings have been replicated in numerous studies since, and new research in recent years has shown that the phenomenon is even more drastic than initially believed. A 2015 paper titled “Knowledge Does Not Protect Against Illusory Truth” found that the illusory truth effect is so strong that sheer repetition can change the answers that test subjects give, even when they had been in possession of knowledge contradicting that answer beforehand. This study was done to test the assumption which had gone unchallenged up until then that the illusory truth effect only comes into play when there is no stored knowledge of the subject at hand.

“Surprisingly, repetition increased statements’ perceived truth, regardless of whether stored knowledge could have been used to detect a contradiction,” the paper reads. https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/the-illusory-truth-effect-how-millions-were-duped-by-russiagate-61199bfbe325

As more and more depart from biblical standards of morality and more and more attempt to downplay the truth and accuracy of the Bible, do not allow them to deceive or excessively influence you.

The use of a big lie (German: große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. Satan used it in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-4). The expression ‘big lie’ was somewhat coined by Adolf Hitler when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf. He claimed the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe, would make them accept it as their natural inclination would be to think that no one “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”

Well, the lies against the Bible are repeated a lot. Some much so, these lies become ‘illusory truths’ for many.

More and more will be deceived:

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Brethren, we must be those who have the love of the truth. Do not accept society’s lies.

Can You Spare 3 Hours to Help?

From time to time, some have asked if there is a way you can help the work further. Well, if you would like to assist us with Brighteon, please go to: Brighteon Bible News Prophecy channel and, if you wish, watch each of the videos there (even if you have seen them before on YouTube).

We currently have 10 videos on Brighteon.

If you can watch all of them, which is less than 3 hours in total this could be of assistance.

Hopefully, you will be assisted by being reminded of various prophetic matters.

And as far as the work goes, the more views we get on Brighteon, the more videos Brighteon will allow us to upload.

Currently, we are at our limit. And we would like to upload, for example, a recent one on genders that we believe Brighteon will allow to be made public that Vimeo policies oppose.

Brighteon made an announcement late last Thursday:

This is a tech update on Brighteon.com, the YouTube alternative video platform that dares to respect free speech. If you’ve been following Brighteon news, you may already know that the video platform was threatened with being de-platformed by upstream infrastructure providers in the aftermath of the New Zealand mass shooting ….

Even as that was happening, we were already well into the R&D effort to rebuild our platform to make it more resistant to censorship threats. I’m happy to report that we are now approaching the completion of that effort, and the rolling out of Brighteon 2.0 is scheduled to take place in early June.

This new infrastructure is already functioning in all the ways necessary for hosting a video site:

  • Video uploading and transcoding into multiple bitrate renditions
  • Video storage that’s affordable (our new solution saves us 90% compared to our previous costs)
  • Video playback across multiple devices and browsers

All of this is now working internally, and it’s going to be rolled out soon as part of Brighteon 2.0. …

Importantly, there will be no shadowbanning, EVER. Brighteon will leave it up to each user to decide which channels to follow or stop following. It is not appropriate, we believe, for any tech company to decide what you want to read or watch. That’s your choice. …

There are a few commonsense exceptions to the free speech nature of the platform, of course, such as the fact that Brighteon is not appropriate for pornographic material, or illegal material, or snuff videos, etc. And we will offer more explicit definitions of those topics as we move forward. Obviously, Brighteon must comply with U.S. law as well, which means we actively ban videos that call for violence against individuals, or that promote stalking behavior against individuals, etc. … our goal is to provide a platform for all speech that is protected by the First Amendment, including speech that some people decide to categorize as “offensive.” https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-04-25-brighteon-tech-update-our-new-censorship-resistant-video-platform.html

We have had suspected problems from ‘shadowbanning’ from YouTube. Essentially, that is a why some companies use to make it a lot harder to find videos they do not care for (such as ones on aspects of biblical morality).

While we do not agree with all that Brighteon supports, and may decide it is not a proper platform for us, currently Brighteon seems more open to religious content than Vimeo or YouTube.

However, 1) it places small advertisements that we cannot control at the beginning of the videos and 2) it limits our number of videos based upon total viewership.

Because of the limits with Brighteon, our current plan is to upload the more recent videos when the space is allowed. Unlike Vimeo, which does not have the same type of limits, where we uploaded all the YouTube Bible News Prophecy channel videos, we have no immediate plans to do that with Brighteon. But, for several reasons, we see Brighteon as a platform that is currently more likely not to try to censor us.

We know that a ‘famine of the word’ is coming (Amos 8:11-12), but still need to do the work when we can (John 9:4) and be prudent and wise about it (cf. Matthew 10:16-18).

You can assist us on this by simply watching all of the videos we have on the Brighteon channel, even if you have already seen them on YouTube.

YouTube

Despite actual and potential issues with YouTube, we continue to get new subscribers to our videos. For the first time, we have over 2,000 subscribers on the ContinuingCOG channel. This is the channel that has our sermons, offertory messages, and less prophetically-oriented sermonettes.

We have also had more subscribers to our other YouTube channels.

Haiti

Herb Haddon informed me that Air Canada will not be resuming flights to Haiti until late June 2019, so he and Gisele are disappointed that they will not be able to go there until late June at the earliest.

Moise Nicholas informed us that another of his relatives decided to give up on my former COG group and seems interested in CCOG. Moise also informed us that the water filters we sent two months ago have not arrived. Hopefully, they were not confiscated by an unscrupulous government official.

Haiti, like the rest of the world, needs the Kingdom of God.

Some have asked about financially assisting those in Haiti. Those in the USA should send funds to CCOG in the USA and those in other areas should send funds to CCOG Canada. Doing it other ways causes exchange rate losses and other issues. Thank you for you understanding and support.

World News Items

The USA keeps getting more and more people announcing that they wish to become President of the United States. Former vice president Joseph Biden announced his candidacy last Thursday (see Joe Biden in and claims ‘core values’ at stake). There are at least 21 Democrats and 2 Republicans who have announced so far.

Of them, none has urged national repentance and none have properly pointed to the Kingdom of God as something Americans should seek first (Matthew 6:33).

Speaking of the USA, its debts continue to rise (see also Could 2025 be the year of the end of US dollar dominance?) and none of those who have announced their candidacy for president seem to have a realistic plan to reverse that. Debt will be a factor in the coming destruction of the USA (cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8).

There was violence in Venezuela after Juan Guaido called for action to install him as president (see Violence and coup attempt in Venezuela). As of this writing, there are more calls for more protests (see ‘Venezuelan Opposition Leader Tries New Tactic to Topple Maduro’ Will Venezuelan hyperinflation’ hit the USA?). There are many economic and other problems in oil-rich Venezuela. Venezuela, like the rest of the world, needs repentance and the Kingdom of God.

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: Can you keep the Sabbath and your job?
  • 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: The Ten Commandments and the failure to love. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel. 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 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 wrote:

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Brethren, we need to be able to endure suffering as well as rejoice in the truth. God’s love never fails.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer