Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Post Passover greetings from the Five Cities region of California.  Our Passover, The Night to Be Observed and First Day of Unleavened Bread went well.

We have received strongly positive comments from Africa and Kansas that those observances went well there.

We hope all are benefiting spiritually during this Holy Day season.

Because the holy day, the Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread will be on Friday (technically, begins after sunset today), with of course, the seventh-day Sabbath the next day, I decided that a two-part sermon related to Exodus would be recommended this year.  While covering the Book of Exodus is not that popular with those outside the CCOG, those of us in CCOG will see a lot of lessons and prophetic ramifications contained within those writings.

Also, because of the timing of the Holy Day, this letter was sent out a little earlier in the day than usual so that those in New Zealand and the Philippines, for example, will get it in time for their services on the Seventh Day of Unleavened Bread.

Door in Ethiopia?

We received a couple of telephone calls and a few emails from a Church of God, 7th day-related leader in Ethiopia.  However, when the leader called me, he got our machine and the times I called him, the circuits to call Ethiopia were busy.  We will see if a ‘door’ may be opening there (1 Corinthians 16:7; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3;  Revelation 3:8).  I am not sure how much they really know about us, so it is not clear yet if this door is opening, but I would ask for your prayers that it will open if it is God’s will.

Red Heifer is Now Two Years Old

There is a red heifer in the USA that is now two years old, and this has caused some to wonder if it could be prophetic (see More are wondering if a particular red heifer is prophetic).

A heifer is a female cow.  A purely red heifer is believed to be needed by certain Jews before the Messiah can come.  While the heifer is not actually red (it is brownish-red), some believe this two-year old one may meet the criteria that some Jews believe is necessary for certain end time events to unfold.  If this remains the case, some Jews may take actions that could lead to the end.

We have an article (see The Red Heifer, Jewish Beliefs, and the End of the World) and a video (watch The Red Heifer and the End of the World) related to the red heifer issue.

World News Events

There were more terrorist killings in Kenya since our last letter was sent.  Non-Muslims were targeted and 150 people were killed (see al-Shabab targets and kills non-Muslims in Kenya).  Although few members live in the areas most directly impacted by the terrorists in Kenya, the presence of terrorists has affected the work, especially on travel-related matters.

Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan to support its coalition against certain Islamic terrorists (see Saudi Arabia wants military support from Pakistan: a prelude for the King of the South?).  As I have written before, it may well be that Pakistan will, for a time, provide some support for the prophesied King of the South of Daniel 11:40.

A framework for a deal between Iran and the West has been agreed to (see Obama pleased with Iran framework, others have concerns).  Some believe that this will be harmful for Israel (see Obama says Iran does not need to recognize Israel’s right to exist: Parallels to the Book of Esther?).  Because of biblical prophecies (e.g. Jeremiah 49:34-38), ultimately this deal will likely not be good for Iran–even if it gets ‘the best’ of the deal. Today, Iran announced unless it gets all sanctions lifted, it will not agree to a deal. We will see what the West will do here. In 2013, I warned that Iran was going to delay making a real deal and so far it keeps doing so.

In the USA, two Republicans recently announced their candidacies for the office of president (see Ted Cruz to announce US presidential bid and Rand Paul enters race for US presidency).  It is rumored in some news sources that Democrat Hillary Clinton may announce her own candidacy later this month–if she does, I plan to make a specific announcement in a letter like this one, and may even have a special one.  Of course, neither Republicans nor Democrats have put forth the biblical policies needed to fix what is needed in the USA nor called for true national repentance.  Hence, none should put their confidence in any politician fixing what is wrong with the USA.

A former US Secretary of Treasury wrote that he feels that just last month, the USA may have lost its position as the global economic leader (see Former Treasury Secretary: USA Lost its Global Economic Leadership Last Month).   The time will come when the USA will no longer dominate economic matters in the world.

There was some good news in the USA to mention here.  In Kansas, they passed a law to try to reduce some of the inhumanity associated with abortion (see Kansas takes a step to reduce some of the inhumanity of abortion).  Also, a group filed papers with the US Supreme Court to attempt to warn them of judgment to come for the pushing of the homosexual agenda (see Drought and weather issues: Any relationship to the homosexual agenda?).  While the US Supreme Court will not likely be moved by that, the reality is that is may be that certain causes of severe weather may have to do with the growing acceptance of parts of the homosexual agenda (cf. Amos 4:7-12).

Anti-Conversion Agenda

As far as the homosexual agenda goes, U.S. President Barack Obama has now declared that he support to efforts to end “conversion therapy” that seeks to change the sexual orientation of homosexual, lesbian, and transgender youth.  Basically, this means that he is against someone trying to counsel homosexual males, lesbians, and effeminate males to help them leave those sinful lifestyles and try to lead more biblical acceptable lives.

Some in the U.S.A. are specifically claiming it is “unethical” to attempt to counsel towards biblical ethics (see Barack Obama supports efforts to block ‘conversion therapy’).The Bible warns:

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21)

By calling attempts to convert youth away from sinful behavior “unethical,” many leaders in the U.S.A. are calling good evil and evil good.

Notice something that the Apostle Paul wrote that was quoted by Polycarp of Smyrna:

Knowing, then, that “God is not mocked,” we ought to walk worthy of His commandment and glory …For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since “every lust warreth against the spirit; ” and “neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God,” nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

Notice a slightly longer version of the quote from the Apostle Paul’s writings:

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,  10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, New American Standard Bible)

Notice that the Apostle Paul teaches that homosexuals, the effeminate, and those with other sexual sins can change.  The U.S. President and many others are not only taking the opposite approach, they want to make it illegal to attempt to help confused youth who have fallen into various sins.  This does not bode well for the USA:

25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. (Romans 1:18-32, New Living Translation)

Notice also the last verse above from a different translation:

32 Who having understood the righteousness of God, they did not understand that those who do such things are worthy of death, not only those that do the same, but even those who encourage those that do them. (Romans 1:32, Jubilee Bible 2000).

It not just those who practice homosexuality, lesbianism, and other forms of sexual immorality that the Bible condemns, but also those that approve such actions.  It is abominable that more and more U.S. government officials not only approve of these behaviors, but that they also want to make it illegal to help those who sin this way.

Consider also the following prophecy:

12 As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths.” (Isaiah 3:12)

The U.S.A. is rapidly turning more and more away from biblical morality and will reap what it sows (Galatians 6:8).

The Bible tells of an early event that occurred in the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah between three thousand and four thousand years ago:

24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. (Genesis 19:24-25)

And why did it happen?

7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 7)

Homosexuality is a form of sexual immorality that involves going after “strange flesh.”

Why mention this in the 21st century?

Because God turned:

6…the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly (2 Peter 2:6)

Thus, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were to serve as an example to those who would live as they did. Yet despite biblical warnings, many modern leaders are endorsing so-called homosexual “rights” and “same-sex marriage.” The Bible, however, warns about such leaders:

12…Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths. (Isaiah 3:12)

16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed (Isaiah 9:16).

So, leaders that ignore what the Bible teaches are leading others toward destruction.

Of course, not everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah were homosexuals as those that strictly practice that could not reproduce. Yet, notice that the destruction that hit their cities destroyed all that were there.

Destruction is coming to the U.S.A. (cf. Daniel 11:39; Habakkuk 2:6-8).  If you live there, do not put your faith in political leaders that will not urge repentance.

Suggested Last Day of Unleavened Bread Service

This Friday will be the last, the seventh, day of unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:6-7).

Here is our suggested format for the last day of unleavened bread service this year:

Because of this is an annual Holy Day, some may wish to have double-services.  If so, here is a suggestion for the second service (note: both the sermonette and sermon listed below have been suggested in the past):

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services this week:

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 that we list each week.

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 Bible News Prophecy channel.

Concluding Comments

The Book of Hebrews teaches:

1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. (Hebrews 6:1-3)

Brethren, let us keep that in mind as we end the Days of Unleavened Bread and continue on towards the perfection Jesus wants us to have (Matthew 5:48).

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel, Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God