Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from Grover Beach, California.

We had a fine Passover and Night to be Observed, and the rest of the Days of Unleavened Bread have been going well. As far as we know, there were no significant problems with these observances for our people scattered around the world.

But in terms of problems, we continue to have issues with some website matters. The home page of COGwriter.com was not displaying properly, plus I had not been able to update articles (as opposed to news posts there). We have also had problems being able to update a French and a Tagalog item–but these were worked out. But we continue to work on them and hopefully are these type of issues will be resolved later this month.

Canadian Spring Holy Day Report

Don Williams sent the following report from Canada:

Herb Haddon and Giselle, Richard Close and Gilbert and Joanne Audet, as well as myself, had a very profitable Passover and First Night of Unleavened Bread. I left my camera behind so, unfortunately, so we could not record Mr. Close’s incredibly powerful sermon and Bible study. I really hope that he records these, especially the sermon, as it was absolutely fantastic.

It was great that Richard Close was able to go to Canada and speak there.  He has traveled to see various people in our scattered groups in the USA and Canada.

Last Day of Unleavened Bread

The Last Day of Unleavened Bread for 2017 will be April 17th. It is a time for church services according to the Hebrew scriptures (Exodus 12:16).

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul endorsed properly keeping the Feast with unleavened bread (1 Corinthians 5:7).  He and others still marked/observed it and observed it outside of Judea. Notice something from the Book of Acts:

6 But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. (Acts 20:6)

If Christians were not keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread, the Holy Spirit would not have inspired this to be recorded like this. Now Philippi was a Gentile town in Macedonia. It was ruled by the Romans–thus keeping these days was NOT limited to a place like Jerusalem as I recently heard someone claim. In at least two places in the New Testament, we see that the Days of Unleavened Bread were to be kept in Gentile areas (1 Corinthians 5:7; Acts 20:6).

Consider also the statement “it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread” in Acts 12:3. Since the Gentile author Luke addressed the Book of Acts to another Gentile (Acts 1:1), why would he have mentioned these days if they were unknown to the Gentile Christians and had ceased to exist?

Information from outside the Bible reports that the Apostles Paul, John, and Philip, along with Polycarp of Smyrna and other early Christians, kept the Days of Unleavened Bread (Pionius. Life of Polycarp, Chapter 2). Various Sabbath-keepers continued to keep the Days of Unleavened Bread afterwards (Pritz. Nazarene Jewish Christianity.  Magnas, Jerusalem, 1988, p. 35; Jerome as cited in Pritz, pp. 58,62,63; Ephiphanius. The Panarion of Ephiphanius of Salamis: Book II (sects 1-46) Section 1, Chapter 19, 7-9. BRILL, 1987, p. 117-119) and into the Middle Ages and beyond (Liechty D. Sabbatarianism in the Sixteenth Century. Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs (MI), 1993, pp. 61-62; Falconer John. A Breife Refutation of John Traskes Judaical and Novel Fantyces, pp. 57-58, as cited in Ball B.  Seventh Day Men: Sabbatarians and Sabbatarianism in England and Wales, 1600-1800, 2nd edition.  James Clark & Co., 2009, pp. 49-50).

We in the Continuing Church of God also still keep the Days of Unleavened Bread. We eat some unleavened bread for each of the seven days as the Bible admonishes (Exodus 12:15; 13:6; 23:15; 34:18). This bread can be made of different grains/nuts—the use of wheat is not biblically-required.

While some like to allegorize away many portions of the Bible, although there certainly is a spiritual understanding to the Holy Days, there is also a physical one. And the physical observance helps us to better understand the spiritual lessons.

The Days of Unleavened Bread help picture that we Christians are to strive to put sin and hypocrisy out of our lives (cf. Matthew 16:6-12; 23:28; Luke 12:1). By keeping them physically, it helps us to better learn the spiritual lessons that God intended.

April 17 and 22 in Jensen Beach Florida!

We plan to fly to Florida on next Sunday morning. As mentioned before, my family and I expect to be in Florida for the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, which will be April 17, 2017. We also plan to be in Florida for Sabbath services on April 22, 2017.

We are planning to meet at the Vince Bocchino Community Center on the grounds of Langford Park, in Jensen Beach. The address is 2369 NE Dixie Hwy, Jensen Beach, FL 34957. We have the Vince Bocchino Community Center rented from 1:00pm and presume services will start by 1:30 pm both days. We plan to take up a Holy Day offering on April 17, 2017 while there.

If you are in Florida and may wish to attend, please email me: cogwriter@aol.com

Holy Day Booklet

A little while back, we made an arrangement with an outside organization to translate the English edition of the booklet, Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?, into 98 languages.

Anyway, we have received 20 translations so far, and just those online. It is our intent to have this particular booklet available in close to 110 languages, presuming that our African and European translators are able to finish it. We continue to plan for the ‘short work’ (cf. Romans 9:28) in order to have information available in as many languages as possible in accordance with Revelation 7:9.

French and Tagalog

We added more information in languages other than English.

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Here is a link to our latest BNP magazine in the French language: Actualité et Prophéties de la Bible – Avril-Juin 2017.

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The English booklet, The Gospel of the Kingdom of God, has now been translated into Tagalog! Here is a link: Ang Mabuting Balita ng Kaharian ng Diyos.

We also ordered a couple of dozen of this booklet to send to the Philippines, which are scheduled to arrive there late next month.

Religious News

The evangelical Protestant Hank Hanegraaf, who calls himself “the Bible Answer Man,” and assisted in the falling away and apostasy of the old Worldwide Church of God, officially became a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church on Sunday (see CRI’s Hank Hanegraaff, who advised WCG to apostatize, converted to Eastern Orthodoxy). This is not only an anti-biblical move (as the Eastern Orthodox are even less biblical than the evangelicals), it could also be considered an ecumenical move. We will see more ecumenical moves in the future (cf. Revelation 13:4; 17:-10).

World News Items

We are seeing ‘sabre rattling’ between the USA and North Korea (see North Korea threatens nuclear attack if USA acts; Donald Trump tweets ‘North Korea is looking for trouble’). The Chinese are taking notice and hope that military intervention by the USA military will not happen.

The Germans were hit with terrorism on Tuesday as one or more Islamists set off explosives intended to affect a sports team (see Explosions in Germany from Islamic terrorists). The time will come when Germany will decide it has had enough of Islam.

Islamic terrorism struck in Egypt on Sunday (see ISIS claims to be responsible for terrorist acts against Egyptian Copts as they observed ‘Palm Sunday’). The group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria will NOT continue as it is and will one day be replaced by a different confederation in Middle East and North Africa (cf. Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:2-8).

Because of various statements by US President Donald Trump, Mexico is looking more towards Europe and Latin America (see Mexico trying to pivot towards Europe and away from USA). This is consistent with biblical prophecy as well as what I wrote 9 years ago–we also put out a BNP video related to this a couple of months ago (watch Trade Wars: Are COG warnings coming to pass?).

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 many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Syria, North Korea, and Prophecy. 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: Cause and Effect: Two Trees, Two Ways. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

Here is a suggested service for the Last Day of Unleavened Bread:

  • 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 many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Unleavened Bread Offertory. 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: How YOU Can Overcome Sin. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

Those who would like two sermons for the First Day of Unleavened Bread, may wish to also watch: Unleavened Bread: Lessons in Exodus.

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

The Apostle Paul wrote:

19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? (1 Corinthians 10:19-22)

Brethren, this Sunday (Easter) is one of the world’s more revered holidays. Those of us who proper keep the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are not to compromise with it.

As we eat unleavened bread each of the Days of Unleavened Bread, we realize that we have to avoid sin that is so prevalent in the world around us.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer