Letter to the Brethren: August 1, 2019

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from Grover Beach, California.

As always, we are working on many aspects of Matthew 24:14, 28:19-20, and Romans 11:25.

Live Question and Answer Session

As mentioned in a previous Letter to the Brethren, we realize that most of our English-speaking brethren in the Western Hemisphere as well as in the South Pacific rarely get live Sabbath services.

We have been looking at seeing if we can do something such as having some type of live Bible study online on a weekday on occasion.

So, we are going to try something via YouTube.

While we realize that YouTube has issues (see next section), at this time this looks to be the most cost-effective way to have an interactive Bible Study for us.

We have scheduled this for 4:00 pm PDT (5:00 pm MDT, 6:00 pm CST, 7:00 pm EDT) Tuesday, August 6, 2019. And, since it is our first attempt at this, do not be surprised if we run into some technical issues. However, we did a test last Friday that worked, so hopefully most of the bugs have been worked out.

While I will try to take emailed questions while live, it would be good to have some questions emailed to me prior to this Bible Study as it may be difficult to be opening emails while I am also being videoed. Send questions to COGwriter@aol.com and just put Q&A as the topic so I will consider them for this upcoming session.

To watch and listen, at the appropriate time you can go to the following link: CCOG Q & A  URL: https://youtu.be/LO1lmXt75Y8

YouTube Alternative

We have noticed that some professing Christians have had problems with YouTube either shutting their channels down or making it more difficult for potential viewers to see their content.

There are search algorithms that places like Google and YouTube use. Instead of allowing searches to initially find what best matches the search criteria (which is how places like Google started out doing with their alogrithms), instead other materials come up first that the algorithm has been programed to be biased towards (or not biased against).

This process is known as shadow-banning. This is why sometimes you have to go to the fifth or twelfth page on Google to find the more relevant content on some subjects. Since most people only go to the first page of search results, essentially this is a form of indirect, but highly effective, censorship.

Anyway, in order to have a backup alternative to YouTube for our Bible News Prophecy channel, we have established a presence on both Vimeo and Brighteon. But both have file size limitations, which is why our sermons are not on them.

And while we could pay Vimeo a lot more to host the sermons, at this time we do not think it is a cost-effective option. Plus, Vimeo has shown a willingness to shut channels down even easier than YouTube has.

So, for a backup channel to YouTube for the sermons, we have been starting to upload them to BitChute. Supposedly (according to how it advertises itself), BitChute is less likely to censor us or shut us down. It is also free.

Bill Wedekind and I have been working on this for the past week or two and we now have some video sermons uploaded. Bill expects to be able to eventually put nearly all of our older sermons up (I have told him that some that are date specific from the past do not need to go up).

Anyway, our BitChute sermon channel is called COGTube. Here is the URL: https://www.bitchute.com/channel/cogtube/

While we are not convinced that BitChute must be our final alternative to YouTube, for the time being, we will use it as backup, as well as another platform, for the ContinuingCOG YouTube channel and our sermons.

World News Items

The Palestinians are quite upset over the demolishing of apartments by Israel (see BBC: ‘Abbas: Palestinians to halt agreements with Israel” after Palestinian apartments demolished). Neither the Palestinians nor certain Israelis (see ‘Pro-Third Temple Politician: Prepare for War’) have confidence in the peace plan being worked on by the Trump Administration. However, in the event of devastating violence in the region, both sides will tend be more amenable in the future to some type of a peace plan. The Bible shows that a temporary peace deal, with European confirmation, will come (Daniel 9:27).

Protests have continued in Hong King (see DW: Hong Kong: Chaos ensues as fresh protests kick off). Hong Kong protests are disturbing mainland China and may trigger a more direct response. Irrespective of the views of the protesters, Hong Kong will end up aligning with China before Jesus returns (cf. Revelation 16:12-14).

UK’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reached out with the USA on matters of trade (see BBC: US and UK working on major trade deal; MT: Boris Johnson will deliver Brexit and a blow to the EU economy). But he has also upset EU leaders related to his positions on Brexit and, in particular, what will happen on the isle of Ireland (see TL: ‘Deal or No-Deal, Brexit Dooms the Euro’). Ultimately, and before Jesus returns, the UK will lose Northern Ireland. As far as Brexit goes, the Associated Press reported “The European Union has told Britain’s new Europe adviser that it isn’t prepared to renegotiate the Brexit agreement, three months before the country is due to leave the 28-nation bloc.” Europeans will remember the UK for Brexit, and not in a way that will work out well for the United Kingdom (cf. Daniel 8:24-25).

The past couple of days saw the latest two Democratic presidential primary debates (see Democratic candidates debate cost and electability), without real solutions to the USA’s problems. The current Republican president has been pushing various problems as well, such as overseeing federal debt increases (see US debt continues to rise during ‘booming economy’–what will happen after a series of negative economic factors?). The USA needs national 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. Here is the recommended sermonette for the week: Gentiles and When Will Jesus Return?Other sermonettes are also available at the BibleNewsProphecy 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: Babies, Limbo, Purgatory and God’s Plan. 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

James wrote:

16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. 18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:16-20)

Brethren, remember that Jesus “brought us forth by the word of truth.” We need to better learn and practice what we learn from the word of God.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer