Letter to the Brethren: November 9, 2017

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from the Five Cities Region of California.

With the sermonette recommended for this week, some may be disappointed that I was not dogmatic that the first seal, for the rider of the white horse, of Revelation 6 was opened in September/October 2009. While I suspect that this was the case, and many events during that time and since seem to confirm this, we will wait before we declare this with certainty. Although some would prefer that I be more dogmatic about such matters, I strive to be careful and teach what the Bible allows (cf. Romans 12:6), and realize that even the prophet Jeremiah hesitated to believe something that he felt God may have told him until a later time (Jeremiah 32:6-8).

That being said, since 2009 we have seen the Vatican, mainline Protestants, and much of the Eastern Orthodox agreeing to work towards ecumenical unity. The United Nations and other political leaders, which are not discussed in the sermonette, have as well.

YouTube Views

We have now passed 900,000 views of our YouTube channels as normally reported by YouTube (we have other views, YouTube does not report, based on certain downloads, etc.).

We continue to have success on YouTube, despite what seems to be its bias against those who hold to biblically-approved positions. This mainly seems to have affected those who might otherwise find our BibleNewsProphecy channel, though it affects the ContinuingCOG channel as well.

The BibleNewsProphecy channel has now had over 567,000 views. The ContinuingCOG channel has had over 334,000 views. The CCOGAfrica channel has had over 2,900 views.

We originally choose YouTube ‘television’ because it was convenient and basically free. It also has wide viewership all over the world. As of this morning, we have 2,770  ‘subscribers’ to the BibleNewsProphecy channel and 1,301 for the ContinuingCOG channel. This is up from March 2, 2017 when we had 2,624 subscribers to the BibleNewsProphecy channel and 1,128 for the ContinuingCOG channel. We now have 23 subscribers to the CCOGAfrica channel.

YouTube says that “Subscribers watch more,” meaning that they typically watch more of what is on the channels they subscribe to than non-subscribers.  Anyway, we have never promoted getting ‘subscribers’ to the YouTube channels, but the numbers have been increasing. The significant increase in subscribers for the ContinuingCOG channel since March 2nd is encouraging.

This form of media is helping us fulfill Matthew 28:19-20, as well as Matthew 24:14.

As far as Matthew 28:19-20 goes, we have reached people in over 200 countries and territories via YouTube, and as the following shows, in English, we have taught ALL THINGS that Jesus directly commanded in the New Testament:

MATTHEW Here are links to twelve sermons covering the 28 chapters of Matthew: Matthew 1-2: Greek or Aramaic, Jesus, and the Star?Matthew 3-5: John the Baptist, Temptations, and the BeatitudesMatthew 6-7: Charitable Deeds, the Rosary, Prayer, the Golden Rule, and FaithMatthew 8-10: Married Clergy, Faith, Coming Persecution, and the Ecumenical AgendaMatthew 11-12: John the Elijah, Sodom, Unpardonable Sin, & 3 Days and 3 Nights-14: Parables, Mustard Seeds, Birthdays, and FaithMatthew 15-16: Tradition, Signs of the Times, and The Rock & PeterMatthew 17-18: Transfiguration, Elijah to Come, Taxes, and ForgivenessMatthew 19-20: Transgender? Divorce? Purgatory? The first shall be last?Matthew 21-23: ‘Palm Sunday,’ Come as You Are?, and the Greatest CommandmentsMatthew 24: Temple Destruction, Sorrows, Tribulation, and the Return of Jesus, and Matthew 25-28: Midnight Cry, False Christians, Resurrection, & Teaching what Jesus Taught.
MARK Here is a link to a sermon covering all of Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark: What did Jesus teach in the Book of Mark? Here is a link to six sermons covering all the verses in the Gospel of Mark: Mark 1-2: Author, Prophecy, & MiraclesMark 3-5: Healing, Demons, and ParablesMark 6-9: Tradition, John’s beheading, Elijah, and RestorationMark 10-12: Marriage, Divorce, Needle Eye, Greatest Command, & TaxesMark 13: Temple, Four Horsemen, Troubles, Great Tribulation, and Gospel Proclamation, and Mark 14-16: Jesus’ Priorities & Betrayal, the Resurrection, Signs, and Reaching the World.
LUKE Here are links to eight sermons covering the entire ‘Gospel of Luke’: Luke 1-2: John the Baptist, Mary, and the CensusLuke 3-6: John the Baptist, Jesus’ genealogy, Satan’s Influence, and the Sermon on the MountLuke 7-9: Miracles, Purpose of Parables, Kingdom of God, and Women Supporting the MinistryLuke 10-11: The 70, Doing the Work, the Good Samaritan, Prayer, and SignsLuke 12-13: Priorities, Delayed Fruit Bearing, Little Flock, Prophecy, and the Narrow WayLuke 14-16: The Lost Sheep, the Prodigal Son, the Rich Man and LazarusLuke 17-20: Faith, the Kingdom, Gathering, Prayer, & Rewards, and Luke 21-22: Giving, Sorrows, Persecution, Tribulation, Fig Tree, and Violence. The last sermon also covers Jesus’ words in the Book of Acts.
JOHN Here are links to a seven-part sermon series covering the entire ‘Gospel of John’: John 1-3: Anti-unitarian, Wine, Being Born Again, & HeavenJohn 4-6: Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, Miracles and the Bread of Life
John 10-12: Sheep, Hirelings, Lazarus/Soul Sleep and ‘Palm Day’John 13-15: Footwashing and the Words of JesusJohn 16-18: Truth, Trinity, and Pontius Pilate, and John 19-21: Do not only try, do what God wants.
REVELATION This is a link to a sermon covering words Jesus spoke as recorded in the Book of Revelation and in first and second Corinthians: Revelation: Jesus’ Final Words.

We are also working to fulfill Matthew 28:19-20 in more languages as well.

The Journal: News of the Churches of God

The latest edition of The Journal: News of the Churches of God came out electronically last Friday.

It had a couple of items related to the Continuing Church of God:

15 FESTIVAL SITES ARROYO GRANDE, Calif.—The Continuing Church of God observes God’s holy days, sometimes called festival or feast days, throughout the world. In 2017 Feast of Tabernacles services began the evening of Oct. 4 and continued until the Last Great Day, which was Oct. 12. The Continuing Church of God had 15 festival sites located in countries all over the world. For information related to 2018, check out Feast of Tabernacles sites for 2018 at ccog.org. Bob Thiel.

The Thiel report

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif.— Continuing Church of God pastor Bob Thiel announced his church has increased its membership in Africa to around 3,000, mostly in East Africa.

I was surprised about the second item as I did not submit any report to The Journal about membership size–so its editor, Dixon Cartwright, apparently saw information online for him to make that report.

Dixon Cartwright also added “Arroyo Grande” as our location to both stories, even though we moved our office from Arroyo Grande to Grover Beach over two years ago.

That being said, Dixon Cartwright also announced that he would be discontinuing The Journal: News of the Churches of God after a few more issues (see Cartwright’s Journal out and he’s leaving, also Feast of Tabernacles, leaving an organization vs. leaving the COG, CEM, back page items, and Calendar ads).

While I have always had doctrinal issues with The Journal: News of the Churches of God, its editor has been helpful to me over the years (see also Dixon Cartwright on The Journal and his departure from it; plus COGwriter comments). We have had people attend our Feast of Tabernacles’ sites in both the USA and Canada, because of our sites being listed in The Journal: News of the Churches of God.

With Dixon Cartwright shutting his publication down, we will apparently lose a form of media that has provided us some help in the past. But, often, when one door closes another opens.

Facebook

Some may not realize that the Continuing Church of God has a Facebook page.

Here is a link to it: https://www.facebook.com/ContinuingCoG/

This page has been developed and maintained by Joanna Kersten, who lives in Australia.

We now have a second Facebook page which has been developed by Randy Freeze, who lives in Canada.

Here is a link: https://www.facebook.com/Continuing-Church-of-God-Canada-200104663866880/

Randy Freeze has a lot of experience with Facebook and has volunteered to assist us in reaching people to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20. He has already reached thousands with it and has taken some steps to give our YouTube sermons a lot more exposure (though in a way that YouTube does not include in the statistics mentioned earlier).

Facebook, itself, has over two billion ‘active users.’ But, the Facebook company tends toward censorship.

That being said, the Apostle Paul wrote about the “short work” (Romans 9:28). The time will come when there will be a “famine … of hearing the words of the LORD” (Amos 8:11).

We need to work to fulfill Matthew 24:14 while we can–as the time we cannot work like that will come (cf. John 9:4).

One day, the Continuing Church of God will be stopped from using the internet. Until then, we will continue to work and reach those that we can. And for now, that includes the use of electronic media, such as YouTube and Facebook.

Radio

As mentioned before, I was on, as scheduled, with Dr. Deagle last Thursday on the Republic Broadcasting Network. We discussed prophetic matters related to the 500th anniversary of Protestant movement and Martin Luther’s 95 theses of matters he wanted the Church of Rome to change. On many of Martin Luther’s points, the Church of Rome has changed. So, instead of the 500th anniversary being an anti-Roman Catholic observance, it was more of an ecumenical celebration. The ecumenical movement will NOT end well, and that is some of what Dr. Deagle and I discussed.

Iron Sheets for Nyasembe Church

Evangelist Evans Ochieng sent the following report:

Pastor Dr Bob,
Greetings from Kenya.
I am back from Kisii. I went to visit our brethren in Nyasembe. I promised them that we are going to build for them the hall where they can meet. This congregation was really suffering during rainy seasons. They were meeting under the tree on sabbath days. So during rainy seasons, they were in a big problem. So I gave them money for the iron sheets. The meeting was very good. The congregation itself is having a good growth. They are very thirsty to get the teachings.
They were very happy to have a meeting place.
The number was 40 including children.
Evans.

Iron sheet structures are among the least expensive way to build buildings. The iron sheet structures do tend to keep out the rain, wind, and hot sun.

We have many requests for building materials in Africa, and do not have the budget for all of them. From time to time, however, CCOG assists with some building projects, and it does impact other projects for us in Africa. But, Evangelist Ochieng and his advisors there decided that this one was too serious of a need to postpone.

Malawi Report

Radson Mulozowa sent the following report from Malawi:

Greetings Pastor Dr Bob .We Are All Fine. I Thank Almighty God For
Being With Me During My Trip To Mozambique To Teach Brethren Who Could
Not Manage To Come To The Feast. I Went There Last Friday And I Was
There Until Yesterday Evening. When I Was There I Was Able To Teach
About Passover, Baptism, The Ten Commandments Of God To Mention
Few.There Is A Need For Evans To Come For Baptism. Thanks For Your
Prayers That Is Helping The True Gospel To Reach Many Brethren. The
Work Of God Is Growing  Beyond Our Expectation. Let Me Thank You For
The Book And Dvd Your Sent To Me.Continue That They Have Helped Me
Alot.  Best Regards

We continue to see growth in various parts of Africa.

Because of the funds used for the iron sheets for the congregation in Nyasembe, via email I told Radson Mulozowa that it may be some time before Evangelist Ochieng will be able to visit Malawi–but also that he wants to come and plans to when the funds allow.

Evangelist Ochieng also wants to be able to visit Ethiopia and Ghana when he can.

World News Items

The European Large Hadron Collider (LHC) made the news as a report related to it suggests that it may help Europe develop an energy source that is more efficient than nuclear energy (see Large Hadron Collider may help Europe produce massive quark-fusion energy). It remains my opinion that the LHC, as well as Germany’s F.A.I.R. collider, will spin off technology that will assist the military prowess of the Beast to come (Revelation 13:1-10).

Speaking of military matters, a German report says that German troops are preparing to various scenarios, including keeping Europe united (see German Army Prepares For “Break-Up Of European Union” Or Worse…). The Europeans also are planning on approving something called PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation)–which is a military agreement, post-Brexit (see Brexit result: 20 EU nations to confirm military pact and another call for European integrative reorganization).

The Vatican hosted a meeting last week to encourage European leaders to work with it for “unity” and other objectives that Vatican has for Europe (cf. Revelation 17; see Vatican conference on Europe shows plans for it to be involved in its politics continue).

Elsewhere in Europe, a climate change meeting called COP23 has been taking place. This has been endorsed by the World Council of Churches (see WCC & COP23: Ecumenical-political climate change agenda). Earlier this week, it was reported that Syria has agreed to the Paris Accords that came out of COP21 in late 2015. This means that the USA is the only nation that has stated that it will not officially be part of that agreement. The USA is considered to be a “rogue nation’ because of its president’s position on this (watch The USA Declared a ‘Rogue Nation’!). Irrespective of what any of us think about the ‘climate change agenda,’ it seems to be combining ecumenical religious and political leaders to look negatively on the USA.  Ultimately, that will not turn out well for the USA (nor later for its opponents).

In the USA itself, there was a massive church shooting on Sunday that left 26 dead (see ‘City is full of violence’: 26 gunned down at Baptist church). There are many wicked and we see some of them act out violently.

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: Ecumenism and the ride of the White Horse of the Apocalypse. 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: Tithes and Tithing. 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 new 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 ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE BibleNewsProphecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel.

Concluding Comments

As most of you realize, I rarely discuss giving to the church, other than the times related to biblical Holy Day offerings.

But more people have asked me about tithing this Fall than ever before, so I decided to do a sermon on it.

One reason to do this now is to encourage people to save what is called second or festival tithe, so that those who can will be able to travel to the Feast of Tabernacles next Fall. The earlier people start, the more they tend to be able to afford that travel. Second tithe is used for and by the saver of it, as opposed to mainly being sent to the church.

Though many claim to have faith, when it comes to tithing, many hesitate.

Yet, notice what God says:

8 “Will a man rob God?
Yet you have robbed Me!
But you say,
‘In what way have we robbed You?’
In tithes and offerings.
9 You are cursed with a curse,
For you have robbed Me,
Even this whole nation.
10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it. (Malachi 3:8-10)

Have the faith to believe God and give.

Consider also the following:

16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:16-17)

Brethren, it is profitable for you to share via tithes and offerings.

As a reminder, neither my wife Joyce nor I take a salary from your tithes and offerings. The money CCOG receives goes to fulfill Matthew 24:14, Romans 9:28, Matthew 28:19-20, and other scriptures.

It perhaps should be mentioned that much of the money CCOG receives goes to Africa, where we not only share and teach the good news of the coming Kingdom of God, but also to share food for the hungry (cf. Isaiah 58:7).

Brethren, that is consistent with having a “pure and undefiled religion” (James 1:26).

Give as God would have you do.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer

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