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Letter to the Brethren: February 1, 2024

Letter to the Brethren: February 1, 2024

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Five Cities region of California.

We received another 25 translations of our English booklet titled The Gospel of the Kingdom of God  this week. This is helpful to support the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, Romans 11:25 (see What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles?), the Ezekiel warning (see What is the Ezekiel Warning?), as well as the short work of Romans 9:28 (see also Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word).

Top 20 Bible Magazines?

Every now and then over the past couple of years, a group I am not familiar with called FeedSpot has mentioned to me that they included our Bible News Prophecy magazine on their list of the best Bible study magazines.

They have done so again: and this is the first time I have ever mentioned it to any of you.

Irrespective of which magazines should or should not be on that list, we appreciate the free exposure that this group provides us.

Teach YOUR Children

Family is part of the final phase of the work as the following prophecy from the Book of Malachi states:

5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
6 And he will turn
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Malachi 4:5-6)

The Bible instructs parents to teach their children:

6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

In 1972, the old Worldwide Church of God published the following related to some ways how to do that:

We receive many letters from perplexed parents who do not know how to give their five-year-old children simple, straightforward answers to their questions about God and the Bible. Here is a typical letter from a member of God’s Church:

Please send any literature you have regarding teaching children about God. Yesterday my five-year-old son, Greg, asked me what God looks like. Of course, I answered him, but only in general terms. The blank look on his little face told me I had not fully satisfied his curiosity. I want to teach him the truth about God, but am not sure how to go about it.

How would YOU have answered little Greg? (See Rev. 1:13-17; Gen. 1:27; Ex. 9:3; Job 1:11 for help.) More important, how have you answered similar questions for your children? Arc you fulfilling your role as TEACHER of your children?

A Test

Let’s find out! Give your child a quick quiz. How many of these questions can your three-year-old answer?

How did the first man and woman come to be?

Who built an ark, and why?

Who is God’s son!

What does God look like?

Where does God live?

Granted, young children vary a great deal in their ability to learn. But as soon as they can put words together to make sentences, they should be able to comprehend these things.

Realize, brethren, that God holds you as parents personally responsible for teaching your children His way! Hear God’s charge: “And you must think constantly about these commandments I am giving you today. You must teach them to your children and talk about them when you are at home or out for a walk; at bedtime and the first thing in the morning” (Deut. 6:6-7, The Living Bible).

Here are a few basic guidelines to follow as you teach your children some of the most precious and vital knowledge they will ever learn!

Portray God’s Word Accurately

Before you attempt to teach your boy or girl a lesson or relate a particular incident from the Bible, be sure you can portray it as God’s Word tells it. In other words — “Tell it like it is!”

To do this, YOU must study God’s Word daily yourself — know what is in “the Book.” Then you will have ready answers to questions like little Greg’s.

Beware of letting subtle errors or misconceptions creep into your teaching. Don’t rely on books ABOUT the Bible. Many “Bible story” books for children are saturated with unscriptural concepts, or vie for their interest with exciting and violent fiction like cheap novels or comic books. Biblical incidents are often taken out of context. Their real connection with the very purpose of life is ignored.

And even pictures are misleading — Biblical characters usually appear in various supposedly “spiritual” positions, generally with arms outstretched toward a rock, tree, or cloud, with far-off, contemplative expressions on their faces. But in reality, Biblical persons were DYNAMIC, ACTIVE, FORCEFUL! And that is what you should convey to your children.

Use an Approach Appropriate for Their Ages

Your children love to hear “stories” from the Bible such as the story of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses and events in the life of Jesus. For example, my three-year-old particularly enjoys hearing about Jesus’ childhood — how He grew up in a small mountain town, was able to enjoy swimming in a nearby lake, and hiking in the surrounding hills. One thing for all to beware of, of course, is excessive fictionalizing. I use this opportunity to point out Jesus’ perfect character — how He shared His possessions with others, was obedient to His parents, etc.

As your child grows older — say he’s eight or ten — teach him how the Proverbs relate to his everyday life. This will take considerable forethought on your part in some cases. But take just one proverb at a time — such as Proverbs 15:18 in The Living Bible: “A quick-tempered man starts fights; a cool-tempered man tries to stop them.”

Before attempting to teach your eight or ten-year-old this lesson, sit down with pencil and paper and think of all the various applications this proverb may have in his relationship with other children, with his teachers at school, with you — in other words, with any and everyone he normally comes in contact with.

Think of WHY and HOW your child will benefit by inculcating the principle of this proverb into his life. Write these points down as you think of them and you will have a very effective Bible study.

Another way to teach the Proverbs is to create hypothetical situations, then ask your child to explain the correct course of action based upon one of the Proverbs. This method stimulates your child to make God’s laws an actual part of his thinking.

Always Teach Spiritual Lessons

Remember this. Your child can know the various Bible characters and stories, but without understanding the LESSONS involved in each incident, he is missing the real value of it. Strive to teach your children this vital, overall principle: OBEDIENCE TO GOD AND HIS LAWS PRODUCE HAPPINESS AND BLESSINGS. DISOBEDIENCE AND REBELLION BRINGS UNHAPPINESS AND PUNISHMENT!

Emphasize over and over in different ways how beneficial and wonderful it is to obey God’s commandments. Stress to your child how GOOD they are for him. ALWAYS stress the positive — the GOOD life that obedience produces. Remember. you are molding your child’s concept of God and His way!

Relate Lessons to Their Everyday Life

When you describe how Adam and Eve disobeyed God, stress how they had to leave the garden and were very unhappy because of their disobedience. Now relate this to your child’s everyday life by explaining that obedience to God always brings good things! And disobedience produces bad things. You can do this in numerous facets of his daily life. This is a language he understands.

Another example you could use would be to show him that God created man!. helpful foods for us to eat. Show him that by caring a well-balanced diet and developing a taste for many foods, his muscles and bones will grow bigger and stronger, which will enable him to throw his ball farther, run faster and jump higher. By this simple object lesson, you have proved in one small way in his little mind that obeying God is GOOD!

But Remember to keep your explanations SIMPLE. Don’t get technical or overly didactic.

Make Lessons Interesting, Colorful and Exciting

Read Ecclesiastes 12:10 in The Living Bible; “For the Preacher was not only a wise man, but a good teacher; he not only taught what he knew to the people, but taught them in an interesting manner.”

How do you rate? How would you describe to your child the way David killed a lion. for example?

Here’s how you might do it: “As David’s sheep grazed peacefully one warm, sunny day, little did they realize the savage danger lurking behind the trees just 50 yards away.

“David looked intently toward the trees. He had seen a faint movement in that direction. He moved closer — to within a stone’s throw of the trees, when suddenly the largest lion he had ever seen sprang out upon a helpless bleating lamb!

“Before the tawny beast could kill or seriously harm the lamb with its powerful jaws, David was upon it — challenging this roaring, snarling creature, this bundle of destructive fury, with flashing, rippling muscles and knifelike teeth!

 “David quickly and silently asked God for strength.

“Suddenly the lion charged. The earth seemed to tremble under David’s feet as he saw the yellow blur leaping toward him, paws outstretched, mouth wide open, ready to snap his neck in one crunching bite!

“David quickly side-stepped the frustrated animal and seized it from behind, killing it with the strength God gave him! Once again God had protected His faithful servant.”

Picture stories in your own mind as you tell them and describe things in detail. BE ENTHUSIASTIC, and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your stories as much as your children! (Bradley A. Teach Your Children About God. Good News, July 1972)

Yes, we are to teach our children. And there are many ways to do it–but it does need to happen throughout their childhood.

In the end time, we are to work to, “turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6). Spending time with them and teaching them helps accomplish that.

Suggested Sabbath Day Services

Church of God 7th Day Sabbath Observing Christians

Here is a suggested Sabbath day service for our scattered brethren and other interested people:

  • 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.

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 mobile 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 ContinuingCOG channel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel. There are also some messages at the CCOGAfrica channel. There are also messages in the Spanish language at the CDLIDDSermones  channel.

World News Items

The recommended sermonette video last week was: BRICS Push Aside USA Dollar. This week, we have seen calls from BRICS-allied nations to ditch the USA dollar this year (see BRCIS surpasses G7 and says US dollar to be ditched in 2024). While the USA dollar will still have value next year, the time will come when it will be worth no more than its scrap or novelty value for collectors.

Wars and rumors of war continue in the Middle East consistent with Jesus’ words in Matthew 24. The USA looks to escalate its involvement after three of its troops were killed by a group with connections to Iran (see MS: A Time Of Wars And Rumors Of Wars, Famines, Pestilences And Major Natural Disasters & Are We On The Verge Of An Apocalyptic War With Iran?). While, if the USA was politically and militarily determined it could destroy Iran in a war, that does not mean that the USA could not be harmed by dirty bombs (conventional bombs with radioactive materials that Iran already possesses), nuclear bombs (which reportedly Iran has been developing), or EMP (electromagnetic pulse) bombs (that Iran reportedly can send on its missiles). The last item has the potential to disrupt massive amounts of electrical power in the USA.

All that said, an escalation with Iran and Israel could lead to the fulfillment of prophecies in Isaiah 22:6-9, which could also be a factor leading to the coming temporary peace deal of Daniel 9:27. The Middle East remains an area to watch (Mark 13:37).

Over in Europe, there are concerns that Donald Trump may once again become the President of the United States (see FT: Preparing Europe for Trump 2.0). Donald Trump’s first presidency was the impetus for Europe to form its first official transnational military called PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation). Even the prospect of another Donald Trump presidency is getting more and more in Europe to push for a stronger military. Biblically, we know that Europe will end up with a “great army” (Daniel 11:25) and “many ships” (Daniel 11:40). Just the threat of a Donald Trump presidency is accelerating that process.

Additionally in Europe, today a thousand tractors were part of a protest against certain European Union policies by farmers who went to Brussels, Belgium (see AP: Farmers on tractors create chaos outside an EU summit to protest rising costs and bureaucracy). Expect more protests in Europe in the future, as well as the fact that Europe will reorganize (Revelation 17:12) and one day turn the leadership of that continent to a dictator that the Bible calls the beast (Revelation 17:13). We are getting closer to that day.

Concluding Comments

Jesus said the following:

7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,

‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. (Revelation 3:7-11)

Brethren, the truths restored to the Philadelphian portion of the Church of God included hierarchical governance (see Continuing Church of God, Elijah, and Restoring All Things). Although simply accepting hierarchical governance does not, of itself, make one Philadelphian, rejecting Philadelphian governance does demonstrate that one is not Philadelphian.

Be a Philadelphian Christian, hold fast to the truths that have been restored to the Philadelphian era and its most faithful remnant, seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), and support the Philadelphian work (Matthew 24:14, 28:19-20; Revelation 3:7-8).

Do not let others “deceive you by any means” (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:3)–true Philadelphians believe in and support Philadelphian hierarchical governance.

In a sermon titled Rely on God, the late Herbert W. Armstrong said:



Notice that Herbert Armstrong said God raised him up to restore church government in His church. And he did, though most end time Christians do not truly accept that.

The Philadelphia era, according to Herbert W. Armstrong, was to have a hierarchical governance:

The Church is organized under theocratic government, hierarchical in form (Mystery of the Ages, p. 246).

See also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government.

Since most end-time Christians are not Philadelphian, it is little surprise that most do not fully accept the type of governance that God had Herbert Armstrong restore.

Speaking of restoration, other things have been restored since Herbert Armstrong’s death.

Let’s look at three.

First of all, why did God create anything? In the Continuing Church of God we teach:

God created what He did so eternity would be better. (cf. Hebrews 6:9, 11:16; Philippians 1:23) (The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?)

Do you agree with that?

Secondly, why did God make you? In the Continuing Church of God we teach:

Your purpose in this life is to build character so you can maximize your potential and increase how much better you can improve eternity. God made YOU so that you will be able to use your unique talents (Matthew 25:14-23; Luke 19:11-19) to give love in order to make eternity better! (The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?)

Do you agree with that?

Thirdly, why did God make others? In the Continuing Church of God we teach:

God’s plan for all who will respond to Him is to be able to give love in a unique way to make eternity better for them personally and everyone else — (The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why Did God Make You?)

Do you agree with that?

Those are three BASIC TRUTHS which were not fully restored by Herbert W. Armstrong nor the other COGs, but were restored via the Continuing Church of God.

The Apostle Paul wrote:

14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, (2 Timothy 3:14)

Those truths were first taught in this century by the CCOG, which is where others also learned them.

If you agree with them, as well as the identity of the “man of sin” that is in the recommended sermon for this week (which is another restored truth), that should help you recognize that the Continuing Church of God does best represent the Philadelphian remnant of the Church of God during this time of Laodicean church dominance.

As Jesus said to the Philadelphians, “Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”

Brethren, do not reject the truths restored by and to the Philadelphians because of critics or other accusers of the brethren.


Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer