Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Five Cities region of California.

A couple of weeks ago, while doing research, I noticed that a Sabbatarian group had a link about how to be part of their church. While the article had some serious errors, it did trigger the thought that we should have an article on that topic.

So, we now do. The article is about ten times as long as the one the other group had, but it better reflects scripture and has more information that potential members should know. Here is a link to that article: How Do I Become a Member of the Continuing Church of God?

This week’s recommended sermonette is related to that and is titled: 10 Steps to Be a Member of the CCOG.

Youth Bible Lessons

As mentioned a few weeks ago, we have been working on adding more Youth Bible Lessons.

We have 24 more lessons done. These are slightly updated versions of the lessons that the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG) produced.

   

Here are links: Youth Bible Lessons – Level 2 and Youth Bible Lessons – Level 3.

On a more ambitious note, we are also working on a set of lessons that will come AFTER we get modified versions of all the ones the old WCG produced. We believe that they will be helpful for our older youth and young adults.

Scripture teaches that it is necessary to “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 4:6). The Youth Bible Lessons are part of our efforts to assist in that.

Fruits of Irrigation

Deacon Radson Mulozowa sent the following photo from Malawi in May:

That was one of the dry fields intended to be irrigated by the pump we helped the brethren in Malawi purchase earlier this year (see Letter to the Brethren: March 26, 2020) so they can produce more of their own food.

Deacon Mulozowa also sent the following photos from Malawi in July:

It is nice that we are seeing successful physical fruits (in the above case, what look likes vegetables) from this project.

We also have been ‘irrigating’ with CCOG materials in Malawi (and elsewhere) that we expect to see fruit from (cf. Ecclesiastes 11:1; 1 Corinthians 3:6).

On an indirectly related note, our leaders in Mozambique and the Rift Valley sent emails saying things were going well and that there is interest from others in the Rift Valley.

Rift Valley Report

Pastor William Kirui sent the following report yesterday:

Dear pastor Bob,
Greetings  from pastor William Kirui,coordinator North rift valley region, but l live at  Motosiet, south rift region, Kenya.
We are okay here at the North rift. Our churches are going on well despite the pandemic disease, covid-19.
The government of Kenya have removed the lockdown and have open the churches to worship in church halls though in a maximum of 100 people per session except people with 58 years and above and the children of 13 years old  and below.
Despite all these challenges that befallen us and the world, we cannot hesitate to doing the will of God and worshiping Him according to His commandments.
I am trying the much I can to reach the brethren at the North rift. The distance  is very far and the fare for transport is very challenging, though pastor Evans Ochieng assisted me sometimes to reach there. lf I get any assistance to enable me reach there is appreciated.
My family are well,though we are lacking the necessary foodstuffs due  to the effect of the pandemic disease. We are trying to get the little we can to sustain our lives.
It is our prayer that God can do away with this disease  in order for us to do according to His will.
May God keep you and bless you in abundance as you Oversee His work around the world.
In case of anything about the North rift region,i can give you  any information.
Pastor William Kirui

I asked Pastor Kirui to contact Evangelist Ochieng about food support. COVID-19 rules have complicated some of our members abilities to earn a living and get food.

Wars and Rumors of War

Yesterday, at the www.cogwriter.com website, I posted the following:

Breaking Israel News (BIN) posted the following:

Analysis: 10 Realistic Ways the War of Gog and Magog can Ignite Tomorrow

July 8, 2020

The war of Gog and Magog, is a final battle prophesied in the Book of Ezekiel which consists of a type of ‘End of Days’ World War that ushers in the final redemption. But could a third world war really be on the horizon? When looking at the rise in international hostilities taking place worldwide between nations, the notion of such an apocalyptic battle seems to be an extremely realistic scenario. The following is a list of international hostilities that if erupt simultaneously, can spiral into a Third World War. https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/154428/analysis-10-realistic-ways-the-war-of-gog-and-magog-can-ignite-tomorrow/

No, “the War of Gog and Magog” cannot possibly start tomorrow, nor is it World War III. The “War of Gog and Magog” does not start until well after Jesus returns. For details and scriptures, check out the article: Ezekiel 38: For Russia & Iran in Our Day? BIN is basically a Jewish news source. Partially because of that, it tends to overlook most New Testament prophecies which provide clarification on many points, as well as overlooking prophecies in the Old Testament.

With that in mind, let us briefly look at each of the “Ten Realistic Ways” BIN seems to think that WWIII can start tomorrow.

1. China vs America

While there are problems between China and the USA, the Bible does not predict this as what we would call WWIII, as for example, it is not the King of the North that is prophesied to take over the USA (cf. Daniel 11:39).

That being said, China could actually assist the coming European King of the North in this, and may very well be granted some or all of American allies Australia and/or New Zealand (watch Are Chinese threats against Australia for real? and/or see Australia and New Zealand in Prophecy). China has been displeased with Australia, not only in the past, but this year as well (see Another of the ‘Five Eyes’ backing USA position? UK reverses course on Huawei  and Australia Warns Citizens They Risk Arbitrary Detention While Traveling Through China).

2. China vs India

While China and India have border and other tensions (see India and China clash: Start of WWIII?), this is not going to lead to WWIII. India and China are basically “kings of the east” (cf. Revelation 16:12-16). And because of prophecies related to a coming 200 million man army (Revelation 9:13-18), ultimately, China and India will be on the same side of a coming massive war.

3. North Korea vs South Korea

Yes, there are tensions between the two. However, because they are both “kings of the east” (cf. Revelation 16:12-16), they ultimately will be together (see Korea in Prophecy, Any Witness? ). Any conflict between them is NOT WWIII.

4. Egypt vs Turkey

Although the Bible does show a separation coming between Egypt and Turkey, it also shows that they will align together for a time (cf. Daniel 11:40-43) under the direction of one called the King of the South. So, no, any conflict between them before that is not related to WWIII.

5. Turkey vs Greece

While there has been conflict between Turkey and Greece for centuries, no, their conflict is NOT about to lead to WWIII. When Turkey separates from Egypt as is shown in Daniel 11 (see also Turkey in Prophecy), Turkey will temporarily be aligned with Greece.

6. Egypt vs Ethiopia

While Ethiopia is having internal unrest with hundreds killed and thousands arrested in the past week (see https://apnews.com/761ba72fed4ba76cabbcbfadebced6bd), the conflicts between it and Egypt are not the cause and the two are not about to start WWIII. Though with the rise (Daniel 11:40) and demise (Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:1-8) of the King of the South there could be further conflict.

7. Russia vs Ukraine

Despite international pressures, because of prophecies related to the Medes (Jeremiah 51:11; Isaiah 13:1, 17-19)), the Bible points to at least parts of Ukraine ultimately aligning with Russia, at least for a time. See also Russia and Ukraine: Their Origins and Prophesied Future.

8. Lebanon vs Israel

The immediate situation between Lebanon and Israel is not WWIII. However, Lebanon would be expected to be part of the confederacy of Psalm 83:4-8 which will be against Israel (Judea, Ephraim, and Manasseh).

9. Hamas vs Israel

The immediate situation between Hamas and Israel is not WWIII. That being said, the Bible points to lands that Israel now controls ending up with those of Gaza and/or other Palestinians (cf. Jeremiah 25:17-29; see also Gaza and the Palestinians in Bible Prophecy). Hamas is also expected to be part of the confederacy of Psalm 83:4-8.

10. Iran/Turkey vs Israel

Iran, along with Syria, looks prophesied to damage Israel (Isaiah 22:6-8)–but that is not WWIII. Turkey is expected to be part of the confederacy of Psalm 83:4-8, which will help lead to WWIII. But that is not yet.

As far as WWIII goes, the Bible shows that the coming King of the North will destroy those who are perceived to have the strongest military might and apparently divide up their land:

39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain (Daniel 11:39).

The strongest fortresses in the world belong to the USA and to a much lessor extent, its English-speaking allies (for a more detailed explanation of why the USA and its Anglo-allies are involved, as well as the dividing of their lands, please see USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses and Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel). Some would call this attack World War III (WWIII).

After Daniel 11:39 happens, that King of the North will destroy a confederacy of nations in the Middle East and North Africa that are currently dominated by Islam:

40 “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.

The destruction of the King of the South by the King of the North in Daniel 11:40-43 is also shown in Ezekiel 30:2-8. Ezekiel 30:2 ties this in with the final time of the Gentiles, which also ties in with the Great Tribulation (see also When Will the Great Tribulation Begin?)–this invasion happens after the Great Tribulation has begun (cf. Ezekiel 30:2).

The attacks in Daniel 11:39-43 could be considered to be WWIII. Various Roman Catholic prophecies about a “Great Monarch” seem to be looking forward to the coming King of the North (for details, see The Great Monarch: Biblical and Catholic Prophecies). …

Now, in addition to the ten conflicts that BIN mentioned, we are also seeing protests and conflict in Hong Kong (see AP: Hong Kong police make first arrests under new security law) and Kenya (see Kenya: Arrests at Nairobi protest against police brutality), as well as protests and violence continuing in the USA (see Exhausted cities face another challenge: a surge in violence).

While these are NOT WWIII, they seem to be consistent with the opening of the second seal about peace being taken from the earth (Revelation 6:3-4) and Jesus’ warnings about sorrows including wars and rumors of war (Matthew 24:6-8).

That was part of what was covered in the most recent Continuing Church of God sermon:


1:15

Revelation 6:1-8 shows the opening of four seals and discusses the rides of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Each of which appears to be associated with aspects of the “beginning of sorrows” that Jesus mentions in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. What do each of the horsemen represent? Did the old Worldwide Church of God teach that these rides were still in the future in the late 21st century? Could any have began in the 21st century? Does the rider of the white horse represent Jesus or false religion? Are there ties to the interfaith and ecumenical movements? What might the bow the horseman has represent? Could this be a tie to Satan the Devil? What about the Beast and False Prophet? Has the “beginning of sorrows” started? Could the first seal be opened? Could COVID-19 have anything to do with the second seal? Has “the peace” been taken from the earth? Could the rider of the red horse have began with an opening of the second seal? What about riots, looting wars, and rumors of war? Are food inflation, food shortages, and famines associated with the opening of the third seal and rider of the black horse of famine? Could human actions such as evolution teachings, genetically-modified crops, and viral research be factors in the rides of the four horsemen? Is more than death related to pestilences associated with the rider of the pale horse, the fourth seal? Why might this be a factor in 666? Will most people fail to recognize the rides of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse until it is too late to take action? What about the fifth seal and the start of the Great Tribulation? Are there problems with Roman and Eastern Orthodox prophecies concerning the end and the Great Monarch? What about prophecies related to Noah, the King of the North, Armageddon, and Antichrist? Dr. Thiel covers these issues and also includes some speculation and analysis.

Here is a link to the sermon video: Sorrows and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Anyway, we are seeing many conflicts.

They are NOT “the War of Gog and Magog” nor is WWIII about to start.

Yes, we are hearing, though, about wars and rumors of war.

World News Items

The Vatican continues to work on its international agenda and is expected to renew a deal with the government of China, which allows China to be involved in the selection of bishops and getting bishops “to pledge of loyalty and obedience to the {Communist China} party leadership” (see Despite problems, Vatican wants to move forward with its deal with China). Yes, the Vatican has made various compromises with China and seems willing to make others as part of it agenda.

Speaking of China, the United Kingdom has joined Australia and the USA in essentially boycotting China’s telecom giant Huawei (see Another of the ‘Five Eyes’ backing USA position? UK reverses course on Huawei). This is not endearing the ‘descendants of Joseph’ with China.

On the economic front, there are reports that Africa is being hit hard by COVID-19 related actions and that the GDP of Kenya and Ethiopia look to be negative this year (see https://qz.com/africa/1877373/africas-economy-will-recover-slower-than-expected-imf/). The economic hits to the USA and EU are estimated to be -4% and -8.7% respectively (see WEF on COVID impacting US & EU economies; WCG: Beyond Europe’s Present Crisis COLOSSUS IN THE MAKING ). That being said, the Europeans are working on new technologies (see ‘A Look At Europe’s Ambitious $140 Billion Hydrogen Plan’) and taking other steps they hope will make them a more powerful economic force in the world.

Speaking of Africa, the government of Ghana has encouraged people there to exercise during the COVID-19 situation. That is a good idea at other times for most people as well.  There are physical and spiritual steps people should be taking related to the novel coronavirus (see COVID-19: Ghana pushing exercise, Germany reports about Vitamin D) as opposed to only wearing masks and being socially-distant.

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 most who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: 10 Steps to Be a Member of the CCOG. 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: Sorrows and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. 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 (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 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.

Concluding Comments

The Apostle John wrote:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1:1-3)

Brethren, the time is nearer.

Events that we are seeing around the world are confirming it.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer