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Letter to the Brethren: March 17, 2022

Letter to the Brethren: March 17, 2022

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from Grover Beach, California.

This week a longer than usual sermonette is recommended, along with a shorter than usual sermon.

Today is called “St. Patrick’s Day,” which is something we in the CCOG do not observe (see St. Patrick’s day is not observed by the Continuing Church of God).

But we do, of course, observe God’s Holy Days.

Passover will be here soon (after sunset April 14th) with the Days of Unleavened Bread to start the following evening.

As far as the Fall Holy Days go, we made some telephone calls to attempt to set up a site the Feast of Tabernacles, but because of vacation and other issues with the hotels, we have not yet finalized the site for the USA. We are looking at Branson, Missouri and may finalize a location there sometime this month.

Prayer Requests

George and Jo Anne Buchanan

Received the following email:

Dr. Thiel,

Doc was in a serious accident Sunday on the way to record his sermon.  It totaled our car.  Doc has 3 broken ribs, broken collar bone, broken shoulder, all on his left side.  He also has a small brain bleed.  He doesn’t remember the accident.  He’s in a hospital in Chorrera, that I’m not confident about.  Unfortunately, this is a 3rd world country despite the skyscrapers in the city.  They took him to a trauma hospital after looking at the CT scan, due to the brain bleed, but they sent him back saying it was not severe enough to warrant brain surgery.

Finally at 4:30 AM, with no sleep the whole night, he was sent to a room that looked like a dorm, with about 20 other patients.  I was not allowed to be in that room with him at all.  So I sat for the next 8 hours in very uncomfortable chairs in the waiting area.  No word about how Doc was doing or what the treatment plans are the whole time.  I was able to speak with no one.  Part of the problem is my really bad Spanish.  But no one came out to give me an update at all.  I asked a friend of ours to come take me home.  I saw no reason to sit there.  I gave them my cell phone number to call with updates. The silence is deafening.

I’m very concerned about Doc and very frustrated.  I’m not only his wife, but I’m a retired nurse with experience with head injuries.  Please pray for his healing and peace and guidance for me.  I seriously doubt he will ever be able to complete that sermon, given his injuries.  Thank you for your prayers.  Obviously he needs God’s healing touch.

Kindest Regards,

Jo Anne Buchanan

Please put George ‘Doc’ Buchanan in your prayers. He is an elder who handles counseling for us in North America, including Panama, where he lives. His wife Jo Anne told me he wants prayers from the saints.

On other matters, evangelist Evans Ochieng is planning on flying to Malawi tomorrow. Please pray for his safety and that God will grant him wisdom as he tries to better establish the CCOG in Malawi and Mozambique.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for 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. 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.


World News Items

The military conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues.

Some see religion as a factor in the conflict (see Russia and Ukraine: A religious war?). Some Roman Catholics see this as a reason to push a request the apparition of Fatima allegedly wanted back in 1917 (see Our Lady of Fatima shrines asked to join in prayer for conversion of Russia?).

Outside of religion, Russia and the West have taken various censorship actions because of the conflict. Here is something posted at this week related to that:


Matt Taibbi posted the following:

Orwell Was Right

This weekend I re-read 1984, a book I tend to reach for when I get Defcon-1 depressed about the state of the world. Deep in the novel, Winston ponders the intricacies of doublethink:

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which canceled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them… To forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again… that was the ultimate subtlety.

In the last weeks, Russia took an already exacting speech environment to new extremes. A law was passed that would impose 15-year prison sentences for anyone spreading “fake news” about the Ukraine invasion; access was cut to Facebook and Twitter; …

On the flip side, a slew of actions have been taken to crack down on “fake news” and “misinformation” in the West. The big one was the European Union banning RT and Sputnik:Twitter avatar for @googleeuropeGoogle Europe @googleeurope

Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately. It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.

March 1st 2022

4,546 Retweets18,649 Likes

Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube also cut access to all Russian state media, because the EU sanctions also required that internet platforms delist any RT or Sputnik content, even from individuals. The statute reads, “As regards the posts made by individuals that reproduce the content of RT and Sputnik, those posts shall not be published, and if published, shall be deleted.”

Other governments across the West, from Australia to Canada, have taken similar actions. In the U.S., Google and YouTube disallowed Russian state media ads (following a request by Senator Mark Warner) and demonetized “a number of Russian channels,” including RT but also many non-Russian individuals, before proceeding to demonetize all individual Russian content creators, even the individuals opposing the invasion. Even DuckDuckGo, the speechier, more pro-privacy alternative to Google, announced it was de-ranking “sites associated with Russian disinformation.” A growing list of Westerners have seen accounts frozen for supposed parroting of Russian talking points or “abusive” commentary.

YouTube banned Oliver Stone’s documentary Ukraine on Fire, while Netflix is going so far as to shelve a production of Anna Karenina. In what might have been the craziest move of all, Meta reportedly followed up a decision to un-ban the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion with a mind-blowing decision to alter its hate speech policies to “allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion,” according to internal emails seen by Reuters. …

One would hope there would be at least a few Americans left who’d hear about Russia barring the BBC and Voice of America and at least recognize the sameness of the issue involved with banning RT and Sputnik. …

We don’t, however, because we long ago reached the doublethink phase predicted by Orwell, where most of the population is conscious of double standards but ignores them effortlessly. 03/13/22

Yes, more and more are seeing the formation of the dystopian world of George Orwell’s book.

As far as receiving truthful reports during times of military conflict, notice the following:

In 1918 US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson is purported to have said: The first casualty when war comes is truth. However, this was not recorded. In 1928 Arthur Ponsonby’s wrote: The ‘When war is declared, truth is the first casualty’. (Falsehood in Wartime) Samuel Johnson seems to have had the first word: ‘Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.’ (from The Idler, 1758),5753,-21510,00.html accessed 03/06/22

There has been a lot of disinformation in the news lately. Truth, has often, taken second place to various narratives.

There has also been a lot of hypocrisy–and Jesus condemned hypocrisy (e.g.Matthew 23:13-29).

The Bible also warns:

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)

Sadly, the Bible shows that deception and improper censorship will worsen in the future (cf. Revelation 13:14-18; Amos 8:11-12;). …


In his book 1984, the society George Orwell also warned about a society that had surveillance cameras all over and they recognized individual people. What is starting to happen now is actually more widespread than his book warned about. There will be even more surveillance than George Orwell anticipated.

The government had screens, like tv /computer monitors that could see people in 1984. Notice the following related to the current situation in Ukraine:

Ukraine Using Thiel-Backed Clearview AI Facial Recognition During Russia Invasion

March 14, 2022

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense on Saturday began using AI facial recognition technology from Peter Thiel-backed Clearview AI – which has been used for several years by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to collect photos on social media sites for inclusion into a massive facial recognition

The system is being provided free of charge, CEO Hoan Ton-That told Reuters, adding that they had not offered the technology to Russia. …

The software has raised privacy concerns in the United States, to the point where Sens. Jeff Merkley and Bernie Sanders attempted to block its use with a bill that would require Clearview and similar companies obtain consent before taking your biometric data.

In 2020, the ACLU sued Clearview AI, calling it a ‘nightmare scenario’ for privacy.

Clearview, which primarily sells to U.S. law enforcement, is fighting lawsuits in the United States accusing it of violating privacy rights by taking images from the web. Clearview contends its data gathering is similar to how Google search works. Still, several countries including the United Kingdom and Australia have deemed its practices illegal. -Reuters

We’re going to see well-intentioned technology backfiring and harming the very people it’s supposed to help,” said Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project in New York, who added that the technology could misidentify people at checkpoints and in battle – which could potentially lead to civilian deaths.

Like in 1984, the world is becoming more surveilled.

Many parts of the world, including the USA, are getting closer to totalitarian control. The past two years of COVID restrictions have shown the willingness of governments to impose fairly totalitarian controls.

… The idea of freedom of the press, as many have known it, is going away (cf. Amos 8:11-12).

Furthermore, it will not just be press restrictions, deadly persecution is prophesied (cf. Revelation 13:11-18).

The ONLY real hope is the return of Jesus and the good news of the coming Kingdom of God.

The new DuckDuckGo censorship, alluded to in the above post, may well affect the website (see Meta/Facebook defends change allowing for killing of Russians; DuckDuckGo reverses its non-discrimination policy).

In addition to the horrors of war hitting people in Ukraine, and also Russia, there will be major economic impacts from what has been happening.

Ukraine is a major supplier of wheat and corn and likely will end up exporting a lot less in 2022, this will contribute to food price inflation.

Sanctions have pushed Russia, China, India and others to take steps to bypass the USA dollar (see ‘EASTERN ANSWER TO THE WEST AND THE DOLLAR: The Eurasian Economic Union and China are preparing an independent international monetary system’).  Bypassing the USA dollar will cause more inflation for the USA. Ultimately, dropping the USA dollar as the world’s primary reserve currency will financially devastate the debt-supported USA.

Sanctions may also end up triggering major crises in Europe (see ‘As Sanctions Against Russia Take Hold, They Are Having The Effect Of Devastating Economies All Over Europe, Who Will Be The First To Fall?). Russia’s moves (see Reuters: Russia warns United States: we have the might to put you in your place), economic, and other crises look to be factors that will result in the Europeans arming, reorganizing and giving power to the prophesied Beast (Revelation 17:12-13).

Pope Francis and others want to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the immaculate heart of Mary” (see ‘Pope Francis to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to Immaculate Heart of Mary’) in hopes of bringing peace. As scripture teaches, “the way of peace they have not known” (Isaiah 59:8). The world needs the Kingdom of God not Marianism.

Concluding Comments

The Book of James states:

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18)

Brethren, remember the wisdom from the world is haughty and vain, godly wisdom is peaceful and without hypocrisy.


Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer