Letter to the Brethren: July 25, 2019

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Five Cities region of California.

We hope and pray you had a spiritually uplifting week.

How does the Continuing Church of God differ from other Sabbatarian COG groups?


Where is the True Christian Church Today?

Recently, someone who attended with three other Church of God groups asked me how the Continuing Church of God was different from the other churches that formed after the apostasy at the old Worldwide Church of God.

After giving her several reasons, it occurred to me that we should have a short article on that topic, so I wrote a draft of one. Then sent the draft to two of our ministers for comments. Then made some additions based on their comments.

Anyway, the article starts off with twelve ways:

  1. We are more biblically-focused. Our sermons tend to contain more scriptures than others–enough so that our English online sermons have truly helped fulfill Matthew 28:19-20–we have taught all that the New Testament records that Jesus taught (proof can be seen in a sermon listing of the Gospels, etc. with links at COGWriter.com). We also read the entire ‘book of the law’ every seven years at the Feast of Tabernacles as instructed in Deuteronomy 31:10-13 (see also The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time to Learn the Law).
  2. We have more information in more languages in order to fulfill the commissions of Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20 to reach the world with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and other teachings (see also Preaching the Gospel in Over 100 Languages).
  3. Many teachings are restored in more detail. For some examples, check out our books: Continuing History of the Church of GodProof Jesus is the Messiah, and Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation.
  4. We were the first group in the 21st century to boldly, and more accurately, teach why God made anything including humans (see The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?). Which is: God made what He did so that eternity would be better and that God made humans so each who ultimately accept Him, in their own way, will help make eternity better (it is not clear if the other COG’s teach this yet).
  5. We post more accurate information online on prophecy and world events (for example, check out Daily Bible News and Prophecy Updates), which shows we are serious about Jesus’ admonition to watch (Mark 13:37) and warn (cf. What is the Ezekiel Warning?).
  6. We do not have the prophetic errors that many teach, which (unless they change) will prevent them from knowing when the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21) will start until it is basically too late (for details, check out The Laodicean Church Era) to flee (cf. Zephaniah 2:1-3; Revelation 12:14-17; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra).
  7. We are the fastest growing xWCG church in the 21st century (e.g. CCOG’s 6 Years and Scriptures Laodiceans Miss).
  8. Like the start of the Philadelphian era was preceded by a dream from God given to a woman, the official 21st century start of the remnant of that era was also preceded by a dream from God given to a woman–furthermore several associated with CCOG have had confirmed dreams (see Dreams, the Bible, the Radio Church of God, and the ContinuingChurch of God).We are not just one of scores of Church of God groups, but we are the only international Philadelphian organization. We are also the leader of the Philadelphian remnant that God is using to go through doors He opens (Revelation 3:7-8) for the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14, Romans 11:25, etc. in the final phase of the work.
  9. Unlike the claimed COG groups with a claimed prophet, CCOG is the only group whose prophet first had hands laid upon him by another related to that role (and that was done after being told by a long-serving evangelist that God may consider him to be a prophet) (see How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God) and he received dreamsconsistent with how God says He communicates with His prophets (Numbers 12:6). We also believe we best practice biblical governance (see also The Bible, Peter, Paul, John, Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, Roderick C. Meredith, and Bob Thiel on Church Government) and that is part of why God has blessed us.
  10. CCOG is the only one of the ‘top ten’ US headquartered COG’s whose top human leader has not taken a salary. Such monies instead have been used to support the poor (Galatians 2:10, 6:10) and preach the gospel to the poor (Luke 4:18), particularly poor Gentiles (cf. Romans 11:25). We also spend the highest portion of our income to do this than any xWCG group we are aware of (cf. Luke 12:34). Philadelphia means “love of the brethren’ and we show that love through proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God around the world and supporting poor brethren. “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble” (James 1:27).
  11. Our focus includes supporting the fulfillment of Romans 11:25 (e.g. What About Romans 11:25 and the Full Number of the Gentiles?) as well as providing the ‘Ezekiel warning’ to ‘Israel’ (e.g. What is the Ezekiel Warning?) (many are not serious enough about Romans 11:25 and some are lukewarm when it comes to making warnings related to specific sins).
  12. We are specifically preparing for the short work and the coming famine of the word (see Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word).

And there are more.

Anyway, we now have a brief article online that deals with some of the differences, titled: How does the Continuing Church of God differ from other Sabbatarian COG groups?

Hopefully it will help many that are confused or hesitant to live as a Philadelphian Christian.

However, some have tried to defend their ‘independent’ status.

Some people think that as long as they believe in Jesus and keep God’s commandments that is all God expects of them. And while saints do both of those (Revelation 14:12), the Bible shows that God expects more than that (cf. Revelation 3:14-22; 12:17).

There are two people (non-CCOG members/supporters) that I reminded this month that 1) Laodicea means “people decide” and Jesus told the Laodiceans to change, 2) Jesus expects His most faithful to do the Philadelphian work, and 3) not to be basically a hearer and but a “doer of the word” (James 1:23) as faithful Christians are to be “doers of the WORK” (James 1:25). And 4) I also reminded them that Jesus condemned the man with one talent who hid it instead of doing the work the Master wanted done. Sadly, various ones have convinced themselves that they were better off on their own–but Jesus clearly condemned that. Jesus also condemned those in the Laodicean churches (Revelation 3:14-21).

Individuals essentially need to decide if they are to be a religious hobbyist, a Laodicean, or Philadelphian. While yes it takes some time for many who are still searching, all need to decide if they should “seek first the Kingdom of God, etc.” (Matthew 6:33) or just get to religion as it pleases them. All should know what the biblical answer to what they should do.

Statement of Beliefs in Russian

For the first time, the Statement of Beliefs of the Continuing Church of God has been translated into the Russian language: Утверждение верований о продолжении Церкви Божьей.

Having more of our information available in more languages is part of how we are working to fulfill Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20 as we also prepare for the short work (cf. Romans 9:28).

Report From Evangelist Ochieng

CCOG evangelist Evans Ochieng sent in the following:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Kenya.
I am back home this night after a long trip around Kenya.
I’ve been going round visiting every congregation in Kenya to uplift the work in Kenya. I hope that I will do the same in other parts of Africa.
My trip in Rift valley and Kisii were very good and successful  I met every congregation and the elders.
The trip was good.
I’ve already completed the visiting and organizing work in Kenya.  … My plan is to visit Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi and Mozambique, Zambia and Ghana respectively. I will visit every country as from next month, starting probably with Malawi. By the end of the year I want finish the work of visiting and helping organize our congregations in Africa.
Evans

Evangelist Ochieng has been traveling throughout Kenya and is planning on visiting Malawi fairly soon.

We also heard from Koang Deng, our deacon in Ethiopia. They are grateful for the literature we sent and the situation there is not as tense as it was a few months ago.

Please keep Ethiopia and other parts of Africa in your prayers.

Report from Mexico

Ismael Jimenez sent in the following report:

Saludos desde el servicio tabasco.mexico.bueno. Éramos 33 personas y el tema de los eventos proféticos. Bendiciones para todos y para ti. Seguimos el camino correcto.

Here it is machine-translated (then further edited) into English:

Greetings from Tabasco, Mexico. We had a good service with 33 people. The theme of the service was prophetic events. Blessings for all and to you. We continue on the correct road.

We are glad to have them with us and hear services went well.

World News Items

Last week, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen was elected as the EU Commission President and called for European military cooperation (see Ursula von der Leyen elected as European Union Commission President; vows to remain friend and ally of UK, but . . .). Yesterday, her replacement in Germany called for more military spending there (see New German Defense Minister vows to increase military spending: This will lead to WWIII and the end of the USA!). Europe is in the process of building the “great army” the Bible prophesies it will get (cf. Daniel 11:25).

This week political leaders in Washington D.C. made another deal that will increase the total debt of the USA (see MS: ‘It’s Over: The Democrats And The Republicans Are Both Conspiring To Bankrupt America And Destroy Our Future’ VOA: ‘Americans Say Distrust in Government, Other People Frustrating Efforts to Solve Biggest Problems’). The Bible shows that this will lead to its destruction (cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8; Daniel 11:39).

This week in the UK, former London mayor Boris Johnson was selected to be Prime Minister (see Boris Johnson wins UK Prime Minister vote, so what are his Brexit plans?). When he spoke before Parliament today, he laid out his goals for Brexit and proclaimed that this was the beginning of a golden era for the UK (see Boris Johnson promises golden age and Brexit, but . . .). While the UK may have temporal increases in its prosperity, it will be taken over despite that (cf. Daniel 8:24-25), and the true ‘golden era’ will not begin until the return of Jesus and the establishment of the millennial portion of the Kingdom of God.

On other matters, consider that one of the costs of not obeying biblical admonitions on sexual immorality is disease. Europe has noted a major increase of syphilis, particular among homosexuals (see Europe faces ‘looming syphilis epidemic’ thanks to dating apps and reduced fear of HIV). Biblical morality protects against many of society’s problems.

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. Steve Dupuie finalized his annual slide show for the Feast of Tabernacles and we decided to make this the recommended sermonette for the week: Continuing Church of God 2018 and 2019 Feast of Tabernacles. 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: Can God Save Your Relatives? 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

In the Book of Hebrews we see the following about Jesus coming into the world:

4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.  5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come —
In the volume of the book it is written of Me —
To do Your will, O God.’” (Hebrews 10:4-7)

Brethren, remember that as Christians, we are to imitate Jesus (cf 1 Corinthians 11:1). Therefore, we are here to do God’s will.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer