Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Post New Zealand greetings!

We had a busy time in New Zealand between baptismal counseling, a baptism, Sabbath services, Pentecost, meeting people, trying to answer questions, videoing, and going over aspects of the work that those in New Zealand are working on and others that they can assist on.  New Zealand assists the work in many ways from editing, to Flipboard, to BibleNewsProphecy radio, to other aspects of the work.

It was good to get to see the brethren in New Zealand.  My wife and I got to spend the Day of Atonement and the first half of the Feast of Tabernacles with the brethren in New Zealand in 2013.  We promised to try to come back in 2015 and were glad that we were able to.

We were able to video a couple of short clips that we should have available by the Feast of Tabernacles.  We also, of course, videoed the two sermons and those should be up shortly (we had internet upload issues, so while they are not both yet available, we expect them up within a week).

Pentecost went well there and apparently in other parts of the world as far as I have been able to determine at this time based upon the limited reports I have received from Kenya and Nigeria.

Kachinland Update

Received a letter in the mail from Pastor Lazum Brang of Kachinland.  Kachinland is in the northern area of the country commonly called Burma.  It considers itself a republic separate from Burma, but the Burmese government has a somewhat different view.

Anyway, he asked how to possibly change his letterhead to reflect the Continuing Church of God as he was unsure which expression in Jingpho (also known as Kachin) best expressed the meaning of the word ‘Continuing.”  So, I plan to write him and mail him a letter about that.

The expression that is closest seems to be transliterated as ‘Ding Ngam’ (they actually use a different type of characters which no computer keyboard I have encountered can type–though there may be some in his region) which means: going on.

As Lazum Brang does not have email, the time between our communications tend to take longer.  Plus, as I normally mail him literature, I will probably wait to mail the letter to him until after we print the next edition (July-September 2015) of our Bible News Prophecy magazine.

Lazum Brang has been in distant contact with me and the CCOG since the Summer of 2013.

The Journal: News of the Church of God reported that decades ago he had brief contact with WCG members in India. From that short exposure to Church of God members and their beliefs, he began to study on his own. He eventually concluded he should preach the message of the Bible, as he understood it, to people in his part of the world. He has been doing that now for about 27 years.  Over a decade ago, it was reported that he had of perhaps 350 people with him and I am not sure of the current number. He’s an educated citizen of three nations–Burma, China and India–and he’s reportedly fluent in 24 languages. He’s a former military intelligence officer of the Indian army and has sometimes had the ability to move freely across borders.

He is still preaching and sometimes uses some CCOG information when he does so.

Lazum Brang asked me about any CCOG contacts in China.  And while we do have someone there, that man (Jay Chang) is located very far from Kachinland.  But perhaps some day, either he or I or someone else will be able to visit there.  Until then, hopefully our distant relationship and affiliation with the group in Kachinland will be able to grow.

World News Events

The Bank of England has been looking into what to do should the UK vote to leave the European Union.  Basically, it seems to believe that most will not vote to leave the EU, but if it does happen, that perhaps some type of new trade arrangement with the EU will minimize the negative economic fall out from it.  Biblically, short of national repentance, irrespective of what the UK does or does not do, the time will come when the European Beast power will militarily takeover the UK.

Related to some of this, Indian-born journalist Fareed Zakaria noted that he did not believe that the UK’s rise to dominate world affairs for several centuries was an accident, but that now the UK has resigned as a world power (see  Fareed Zakaria: ‘Britain resigns as a world power’).  He is right on both of those points.  Yet, because he does not put much stock in biblical prophecy, Fareed Zakaria does not seem to realize how bad the situation in the UK is prophesied to become.  More are noticing the decline of the UK, and more decline will come (cf. Isaiah 17:3-6), and then it will be taken over along with its USA and Canadian allies (cf. Daniel 11:39).

US Vice President Joseph Biden said that certain policies of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin are ‘doomed to fail’ (see Biden claims USA will stand with Ukraine against Russian aggression).  Whether they fail or not, the biblical reality is that the USA is doomed to fail and the debt-increasing policies of the Obama-Biden Administration are helping push the USA towards that failure (Habakkuk 2:6-8).

Russia and China were conducting joint naval exercises in the past week. Some have publicly wondered if Russia and China are trying to send a signal to Asia that the time of USA naval dominance there is about over (see VOA: ‘Are Chinese/Russian Military Exercises an Effort to Offset US Primacy?’).  Irrespective of what international signal they were trying to send, the Bible tells of a time when Russia, China, and others in Asia will unite and later gather at Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-16).  Military cooperation between Russia and China are preludes to this.

‘Extreme weather’ hit parts of the world this week including in Texas, Mexico, and India (see Extreme weather affects Texas, Mexico, and India).  The Bible shows that God controls the weather and sometimes uses weather extremes as a warnings for repentance.  But the Bible also shows that many ignore the warnings from weather and other aspects of God’s word.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services 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 that we list each week.

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 new 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.

Concluding Comments

Jesus said:

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.  18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.  19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;  20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.  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 10:16-23)

Now brethren, I did not quote the above because of some known imminent persecution for 2015.  I put that there for you to consider that the Day of Pentecost has passed.  Pentecost had a fulfillment c. 31 A.D. and we are now in-between Holy Days.  The next, the Feast of Trumpets, points to the trumpets of Revelation and the return of Jesus.

We, like Christians before us, have to endure to the end, despite what will happen.  Currently, we are often made fun of and sometimes shunned, even by family members.  Some cannot handle that–but that too was something Jesus spoke about:

20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;  21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.  22 Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.  23 But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:20-23)

So brethren, endure, do not give up, and bear fruit.  Also, start making plans to attend the Fall Holy Days.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God