Letter to the Brethren: October 11, 2018

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from the Five Cities region of California.

We have been busy trying to catch up will a mound of paperwork and accounting issues since we were gone from just before the Day of Atonement to a couple of days after the Feast of Tabernacles.

But we also have been working on some future literature as well.

Festival Reports

We have received additional reports from some of our Feast of Tabernacles sites.

Here is a report from Canada:

Dear Mr Thiel here is a picture of the Montréal Group at the Feast there where not many of us but we had very much Healthy Spiritual food,Which help us understand the ways of GOD THE FATHERS WAYS OF LIFE ,AND ALSO MANY VERY GOOD MOMENTS OF FELLOWSHIP BETWEEN US AL WHICH WHERE ENRICHING SPIRITUALY FOR THE GROWTH OF THE BODY

IN THE CHRIST, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT HERB HADDON AND WIFE GISÈLE ,RICHARD CLOSE ,JOANNE DESJARDIN ,GILBERT AUDET.= MONTRÉAL FEAST,HOPE EVERYONE HAD A VERY SPIRITUAL FEAST AND GROWTH OF THE KNOWLEDGE. LOVE TO ALL IN THE CHRIST JESUS. AMEN.

We also received a report from Elder David Cheruiyot from the Rift Valley of Kenya:

Christian greetings from Kenya.
Rift-Valley region, Nakuru Njoro.
Brethren were happy during the Feast of Tabernacles. We received many women and youth from different areas of Nakuru especially Molo.
Many brothers and sister from those areas joined us in Njoro and we welcomed them warmly, Pastor Charles and Pastor Rono.
Thanks in advance.
Regards,

ELDER DAVID CHERUIYOT

Attached are some photos from that day.

(For consistancies sake, we have only included one of the photos Elder David Cheruiyot sent.)

We also received the following photograph from Pastor Sawek from another part of the Rift Valley of Kenya:

Here is a report related to Malawi:

   Much greetings in the mighty name of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ hoping that you and other brethren all over the world had a wonderful  FESTIVE FEAST OF TABERNACLE.
   I would like to inform you that we had a wonderful feast too. We had brethren from both Mozambique and our representative from Zambia brother Gonacomoto who seriously in need of baptism together with 8 members from Malawi and 12 brethren from Mozambique after I had covered with them the topic on Baptism. We had also a new group who was represented by two brothers from the Northern side of Mozambique. the total number was 175.
    May the Almighty God strengthen you and give you more energy together with your team to  continuing help open the spiritual blindness to come to the light and the unfolding truth and the plan the salvation of the creator to all mankind.
 Warm regards,
  Mr. Otieno Grantone

Radson Mulozowa sent the following photograph from the Feast site in Malawi:

Radson Mulozowa told Evangelist Ochieng that he has ordered Bibles in the Chichewa language for the members there, but they have not arrived yet.

Here is a report from Bomet, Kenya:

FEAST OF TABERNACLES HELD

24TH SEPTEMBER -1ST OCTOBER

AT BOMET CHURCH (KENYA)

 PASTOR THOMAS KOSGEY

The pastor and the members of the church are grateful to you Bob Thiel for your much contribution to the above mentioned meeting

Members and non-members attended in large numbers. That is about 200 of them present

You have been giving us your support since 2015 up to now 2018, through the help and the commitment efforts of Pastor Evans Ochieng and my God bless and add you and your family a lot.

Here is a link to a two minute video that was sent by Erick Koech of Bomet:

2:03

We uploaded that video to our CCOGAfrica channel.

2019 Festival Plans

Having communicated with Richard Close, Steve Dupuie, and others, we have concluded that we do not need to have a separate festival site in Wichita, Kansas in 2019 as those who attended in 2018 have stated that they could attend a site further away in 2019.

Instead of having Steve Dupuie and Richard Close alternate being there and somewhere else, it currently is our intent to have Steve Dupuie go to the Philippines for the Feast of Tabernacles in 2019. We have never sent anyone over to the Philippines–though we intended to (but health, schedule, and other issues prevented this in the past).

So, by not having the Wichita site in 2019, we believe that Steve Dupuie should be able to visit the Philippines.

In 2019, it is my intent that our family will attend two festival sites again. One in the USA and one in Canada–but neither site has been finalized. Herb Haddon has a couple of ideas for sites in Canada, so we are not sure which yet. I am looking at 4-5 possible ideas for the location of next year’s USA site.

We will let you know once we have been able to make our decisions (which in the case of the USA will likely be several months as we will not submit proposal requests until after the first of January as many hotels will not quote something as far out as the next calendar year).

World News Items

More and more nations are looking at ways to bypass USA sanctions and the USA dollar (see China, Russia, Venezuela, and EU taking steps against US dollar dominance). This will not end well for the USA (cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8).

While the USA, Canada, and other lands have been increasingly accepting/legalizing the use of marijuana, a study just came out concluding that marijuana is worse for the brains of teenagers than alcohol (see Canadian study finds: ‘Marijuana caused more damage to teens’ brains than alcohol’). The long-claimed argument that some have made about there being little or no difference between alcohol consumption and smoking marijuana is again found to be false. I will also add that although I do have a beer from time to time, I personally have never been drunk. It certainly is possible to be a light drinker and never be drunk–and drunkenness is condemned by scripture (e.g. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), but I do not believe it is possible to smoke a marijuana cigarette and not get intoxicated. Plus, the intentional ingestion of smoke into the lungs through tobacco or marijuana is not healthy.

We have seen earthquakes and severe storms in the past week or so (see ‘ “A Once In A Lifetime Event”: Michael … Strongest Hurricane To Hit US In 14 Years’ and then there is Indonesia). The Associated Press reported today that Hurricane Michael was, “The third-most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland in recorded history ” I have prayed for the group in Mexico and scattered members in the USA because of risks from Hurricane Michael and the group in Haiti because of the earthquake there. While I am not aware of any believers affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, I have prayed for those affected there as well. Expect more severe weather matters.

Brexit remains in the news, with some seemingly hopeful for a deal (see ‘Brexit: Jean-Claude Juncker says chance of deal has increased’), while others point out that the EU is fine with pain that many feel will hit the UK because of it (see ‘This is why the E.U. is being so tough about Brexit’). The time will come when Europe will turn against, and takeover, the UK (cf. Daniel 8:24-25)–and for that matter, the USA (Daniel 11:39). Brexit, and US President Donald Trump’s support of it, will be remembered by the Europeans.

The Church of Rome continues to have problems and concerns because of its sexual scandals (see WND: Catholicism’s ‘final trial’ before Jesus’ return?). One report stated that two-thirds of Catholic priests violate their vow of celibacy (see ‘Pope adviser urges rethink on Catholic celibacy’ Two-thirds of Catholic priests reportedly are NOT celibate).

The Church of Rome, however, continues to push its interfaith and political agendas. Over four years ago, Pope Francis publicly indicated interest in visiting North Korea. And now that the Vatican has agreed to a compromise arrangement related to the government of China being involved in the approval/selection of its bishops, the head of North Korea has reportedly invited Pope Francis to visit him (see ‘North Korea’s Kim Jong-un invites Pope Francis to Pyongyang’). The Bible tells of the church of seven hills being highly intertwined with worldly governments (Revelation 17:1-9) and we are seeing the Church of Rome trying to do more of that. Though it should be added that the Bible shows that political involvement will NOT end well for that church (Revelation 17:15-18).

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: Tulip Predestination? 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: Could God be Calling You? 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 (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

In 2019, the Feast of Tabernacles, including the Last Great Day, runs from sunset 13 October through sunset 21 October.

The Feast of Tabernacles is a pilgrimage festival (cf. Psalm 42:4; see also Christians are to Be Strangers and Pilgrims?), which means we normally are to travel to attend it (cf. Deuteronomy 14:23).

This is financed by what is commonly called second tithe or festival tithe (see also Is Second Tithe and Third Tithe Still Valid Today?).

Here is some information on it from scripture:

22 “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. 23 And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. 24 But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, 25 then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. 26 And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. 27 You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you. (Deuteronomy 14:22-27)

Since the Feast of Tabernacles helps picture the coming millennial Kingdom of God, God wants us to attend, not only to hear messages, but to have a foretaste of a part of the wealth that will be extant during the millennium.

God commands that second tithe be saved used for expenses related to His festivals as well as His church as there was a change from the Levitical priesthood (cf. Hebrews 7:9-19). Hence, historically, people have tended to send the Church of God at least a tithe of a tithe from their second tithe. And those who have not used up all the rest of their second tithe to keep the Holy Days have also sent it to the Church of God.

If you have not already done so, you should start collecting second tithe so that you and your family will be able to attend in 2019.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer