Letter to the Brethren: March 26, 2020

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from Grover Beach, California.

It has been a difficult week around much of the world because of steps taken because of concerns associated with the coronavirus now called COVID-19.

That being said, the Spring Holy Days will begin soon.

Passover, which is for baptized members only, should be observed shortly after sunset on the Roman calendar date of April 7th. The Night to Be Observed begins at sunset on the Roman calendar date of April 8th and starts the Days of Unleavened Bread which lasts until sunset April 15, 2020. COVID-19 is causing complications for us in various parts of the world.

Governments of Kenya and Ghana Closing Churches

Last week, overseeing Pastor Samuel Ofosu told me the government of Ghana has prohibited religious gatherings because of COVID-19.

On Sunday, Evangelist Evans Ochieng told me that in Kenya, police were stopping church services:

Pastor Dr Bob,

Greetings from Kenya.
Yesterday we had a nice Sabbath. We came together in Ndhiwa and the service was so good.  Today  government announced  that all church halls would be closed and if you are found you Will be jailed. Policemen went to Sunday churches and push people out.
Evans

Presumably the police in Kenya will do this to groups that meet on Saturday starting this next Sabbath.

In light of these government actions, last Sunday I sent an email to several of our leaders in Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, and Mozambique with a plan on how to proceed with church services, as well as the upcoming Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, in individual homes. I also asked them for their ideas on how to best deal with these meeting prohibitions. Hopefully, government restrictions related to COVID-19 will be lifted soon. Until then, we intend to continue in individual house churches, similar to that of the early Christians, in Africa as well as many other areas –plus utilize online services, an option early Christians did not have.

On other matters, National Public Radio was reporting yesterday that there is increased hunger in Kenya because of the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, or now named by scientists as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, abbreviated as SARS-CoV-2 (see US agreeing to increase spending. Could the new coronavirus be a chimera?).

I received two reports of hunger in Kenya from CCOG leaders and am looking at how to best assist. At minimum, we plan to send some funds Monday.

Malawi Limits Gatherings to 50 or Less

Deacon Radson Mulozowa informed me that Malawi has limited gatherings to no more than 50 people. So, he and I went over a couple of options. Having two or more services per Sabbath with different people at each is the option he seems to prefer.

Also, Radson Mulozowa sent a photograph of the two irrigation pumps that were purchased for Malawi.

We sent funds for those a week or so ago as follow-up to Terry Nelson’s trip there. The purpose of the pumps is to irrigate better in order to increase food production and reduce hunger.

COVID-19 Censorship

In what can be termed 21st century book burning, several days ago the video platform Vimeo removed the BibleNewsProphecy sermonette video ‘COVID-19 Leading to 666?

Here is what Vimeo’s notice said:

Hello Bible News Prophecy,

Your video “COVID 19 Leading to 666?” has been removed for violating our Guidelines.

Reason: You cannot upload videos that depict or encourage self-harm, falsely claim that mass tragedies are hoaxes, or perpetuate false or misleading claims about vaccine safety.

For more information on our content and community policies, please visit https://vimeo.com/help/ guidelines.

If you believe this was an error, please reply to this message as soon as possible to explain. (Please be aware that Vimeo moderators take action as violations come to our attention. “I see other people do it” is not a valid explanation.)

Sincerely,
Vimeo Staff

Yet, their accusations really were not true.

So, to appeal, I wrote the following:

Dear Vimeo:

You removal does not make any sense to us.

Your stated reason for removal was “You cannot upload videos that depict or encourage self-harm, falsely claim that mass tragedies are hoaxes, or perpetuate false or misleading claims about vaccine safety.”

Our video DOES NOT “depict or encourage self-harm, falsely claim that mass tragedies are hoaxes, or perpetuate false or misleading claims about vaccine safety.”

None of those matters are in the video.

Is the real concern that you do not believe that we can quote biblical prophecies and tie them in with world events?

Because that is what that video does.

If there is a specific statement made that you have a problem with, please let me know.

But reviewing your guidelines, we violated none of them.

Please reconsider as this makes no sense to us.

We will see if they reinstate it.

Now, as it turns out, I had intended to make another sermonette video for our Bible News Prophecy program related to COVID-19 and did so (watch COVID 19 is NOT the End, but could it be TEOWAKI?)–we will see if/how YouTube and Vimeo respond (YouTube put some CDC link on the COVID-19 Leading to 666? video; and the newest one was actually still up at Vimeo when I last checked).

Because of threats, problems, and algorithm biases from YouTube and Vimeo, we in the CCOG have taken steps over the past several years to be able to prolong our presence on the Internet should YouTube and/or Vimeo someday suspend us like it has done to others.

This is not paranoia. The prudent foresees evil and takes action (Proverbs 22:3).

Vimeo removing our COVID-19 Leading to 666? video demonstrates that, yes, anti-biblical platforms do remove content in their efforts to censor.

Jesus said:

23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes (Matthew 10:23).

And while that is referring to physical persecutions, which are also going to come again (see Persecutions by Church and State), the above principle is part of why we have our BibleNewsProphecy videos on multiple platforms.

For example, our COVID-19 Leading to 666? video remains online at our Brighteon Bible News Prophecy and Bitchute Prophecy channels.

Vimeo’s action is just another in a series of censorship attacks we in the Continuing Church of God have faced–to see more of those we have endured, check out the article: Preparing for the ‘Short Work’ and The Famine of the Word.

Did you know that the Bible warns about this?

Notice:

8 Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever: 9 That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the Lord; 10 Who say to the seers, “Do not see,”And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. 11 Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us.”

12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel:

“Because you despise this word, And trust in oppression and perversity, And rely on them, 13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you Like a breach ready to fall, A bulge in a high wall ,Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant. 14 And He shall break it like the breaking of the potter’s vessel, Which is broken in pieces; He shall not spare. So there shall not be found among its fragments A shard to take fire from the hearth, Or to take water from the cistern.” (Isaiah 30:8-14)

Many who do not trust the Bible, but instead trust in oppression and perversity, want ‘smooth things.’

But in the CCOG, we continue to proclaim what the Bible teaches.

COVID-19 Sermonette Dubbed in Spanish

We have our first sermonette video available in the Spanish language.

A CCOG supporter has dubbed the COVID-19 Leading to 666? video in the Spanish language:

13:57

El Nuevo coronavirus de Wuhan, famoso en China, ahora se llama COVID-19. También se le ha llamado “Coronapocalipsis” ¿Tiene el Covid-19 alguna ramificación profética? ¿Qué enseñó Jesús sobre las pestes y aflicción en la profecía del monte de los Olivos en Mateo 24? ¿Podría el Covid-19 ser el galopar del cuarto jinete del apocalipsis? ¿Por qué se esperaba este tipo de enfermedad según las profecías del Antiguo Testamento en Deuteronomio y Levítico? ¿Sobre que han advertido el Centro de Control de Enfermedades de Estados Unidos? ¿Qué ha informado el CDC sobre la gripe? ¿Hubo lecciones sobre el miedo y las infecciones en la pelicula de 2011 :Contagio”? Debido al Covid-19, la Organización Mundial de la salud (OMS) la nación de Irán y ciertos lugares culturales y los Franceses están pidiendo a las personas que no usen dinero en efectivo, sino formas de pagos electrónicos, La Reserva Federal de los Estados Unidos ahora está poniendo en cuarentena el dinero repatriado de Asia para reducir la posible propagación del coronavirus en los billetes en moneda estadounidense. El Covid-19 es peor de 1o que se nos ha dicho o ¿podría ser todo un evento de “falsa bandera” para alentar a las personas a avanzar hacia una sociedad sin dinero en efectivo? Si las miles de muertes asociadas con el Covid-19 están empujando a partes del mundo hacia la falta de dinero en efectivo, ¿Cuánto más probable será el galopar del cuarto jinete y mas de mil millones de muertes humanas motive a las personas a realizar pagos electrónicos que pueden ser monitoreados? La biblia habla de una sociedad que vendrá pronto y que control a las compras y las ventas para forzar la lealtad al poder de una bestia Europea, conocido como 666 (Apocalipsis 13: 16-18) ¿Comienza la “Gran Tribulación antes del galopar del cuarto jinete o con la aperture del quinto sello de Apocalipsis 6? ¿Las palabras de Jesús nos ayudan a comprender major la secuencia de los cuatro jinetes del Apocalipsis y el comienzo de la Gran Tribulación? ¿El galopar del cuarto jinete ayudará al ascenso del 666? ¿Está esa cabalgata muy cerca? El Dr. Thiel aborda estos asuntos y más. Aquí hay un enlace para nuestro video: El COVID-19 ¿Conduce al 666? Creo que esto afectará a Europa, por lo que en el future estará más dispuesto apoyar a un hombre fuerte (Ver también mi última publicación: Pat Buchannan: El coronavirus matará al Nuevo Orden Mundial?

Here is a link to the video with dubbing into Spanish: El COVID-19 ¿Conduce al 666?

We are glad to have this available.

Now, we are looking at better ways to do this, which we believe will be better, as well as result in multiple messages online in the Spanish language.

World News Items

There have been a lot of earthquakes in different parts of the world that some suspect are a fulfillment of Ezekiel 38 (see ‘Russia Now 10th Country Hit by Major Earthquake in 2020: Is it part of Gog-Magog?’). That view is incorrect. That being said, earthquakes were predicted by Jesus as being part of the beginning of sorrows (Mark 13:8).

Various parts of the world have been on some type of shelter in residence lockdown because of COID-19 (e.g. States of California and Bavaria on lockdown, Italy orders out some of the army). We have never seen such in modern times in the Western world. Aspects of the world economy are being negatively affected in a major way (see BBC: Global economy will suffer for years to come, says OECD; COGwriter: COVID-19 is contributing to the destruction of the US economy and Bloomberg: Top Economists See Some Echoes of Depression in U.S. Sudden Stop; COGwriter: Remember the Great Depression helped lead to the rise of Adolf Hitler and ‘US jobless claims hit 3.3 million, quadruple previous record;’ ‘Coronavirus causes gun sales surge amid fears of civil unrest;’ ‘Modeling study suggests 18 months of COVID-19 social distancing, much disruption’).

While COVID-19 is NOT the ‘end of the world,’ it certainly seems to be a sign that the world is dramatically changing (watch also COVID 19 is NOT the End, but could it be TEOWAKI?).

Sadly, something that is not new, racial discrimination has become more of a problem for those of Chinese ancestry in many parts of the world, including the USA (see ‘Chinese-Americans Scared About What’s To Come As Xenophobic Rhetoric, Hate Crimes Increase Amid Outbreak’).

Remember to pray for others and to heed Jesus words to pray for God’s kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10).

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: COVID 19 is NOT the End, but could it be TEOWAKI? 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: Eucharist, Passover, and Easter. 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

In this stressful times of disease, closed businesses, meeting restrictions, and COVID-19 travel restrictions, remember that Jesus taught:

32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

33 … In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33b)

Yes, many of us are facing various tribulations, but as Christians we need to “be of good cheer.”

You do NOT have to be stressed out like more and more in society are.

We are to live as Philadelphian Christians (Revelation 3:7-13), seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), support the poor and weak (Galatians 2:10; Romans 12:13; James 2:14-17), and support the proclamation of The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

The gospel really is good news. Place your hope in God.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer