Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

The presidential election in the USA is finally over. Despite being heavily outspent by his Democrat rival, Republican party candidate Donald Trump won.

As most of you are aware, we had videos about why Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could be ‘apocalyptic’ if elected.

Now that Donald Trump won the election, Donald Trump will be apocalyptic, meaning in this context that Donald Trump will take steps that will lead to World War III, the end of the USA, and various events in the Book of Revelation (also known as the Apocalypse) as he and other leaders often do not understand/appreciate biblical prophecies or aspects of God’s laws.

Because of this election, I have decided to put together a new book (with major similarities to some other books I have written) on Donald Trump and prophecy, which I plan to have out in early 2017. Having a new book may assist in gaining radio interviews from different stations.

Also because of the election, we made a BNP video yesterday instead of waiting until the Sabbath.  It is titled 13 Ways President-Elect Trump is Apocalyptic.

All that being said, let me state that I do not believe that the Great Tribulation will begin prior to 2021, which would be after a first Donald Trump term of office would be over (presuming he completes the entire term).

This Week’s Recommended Sermon

The sermon recommended for this week is: Jehovah’s Witnesses: Right and Wrong Teachings?

While I was making that sermon, I mentioned that Jehovah’s Witnesses sometimes come to our door and disturb our videoing of messages.

After that sermon was finished, my wife Joyce informed me that Jehovah’s Witnesses actually came to our door, knocked, and rang the doorbell while we were recording. I thought I heard something while giving the sermon, but did not know that Jehovah’s Witnesses were the cause of that disturbance. Anyway, you may not be able to hear their disturbance in the sermon, but hopefully you will learn a bit more about what doctrines that Jehovah’s Witnesses at least partially understand, as well as several of the ones that they do not.

Size of the Continuing Church of God

In last week’s Letter to the Brethren, I mentioned that 1900 people attended our Feast of Tabernacles’ sites around the world. The next day I looked at other figures which showed that the total membership of the Continuing Church of God exceeds 2200 people now (see CCOG reports 1900 attended its festival sites and has a total membership of over 2200). That figure does not count those in one African country that CCOG Pastor Evans Ochieng has not yet visited.

Peter Cross, at his 7th Day Churches of God, Church of God News page, reported the following:

Continuing Church of God

Robert Thiel  reports:

“We had 1900 people attend the Feast of Tabernacles’ sites of the ContinuingChurch of God this year, which is up over 30% from last year. For details and photographs, here is a link to a series of reports titled: 2016 Feast of Tabernacles Report. We also have others that claim affiliation, but were unable to attend because of financial limitations. Currently, we have over 2000 (including children) declaring they are in the Continuing Church of God.”

This is the highest festival attendance of any church group not started by former ministers of the Worldwide Church of God.

Peter Cross’ observation about the high festival attendance is correct. The other 4-5 COG groups whose leaders were once part of the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG), that are larger than the Continuing Church of God, were all started by men who were ministers in WCG.

Of course, size, of itself, is not what is important. Love, faithfulness, and truth are.

Yet, consider that Jesus taught:

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

Fruits are the way to tell true from false prophets. Thus, having the fruits of such growth in less than four years does help demonstrate that the Continuing Church of God does have the type of fruits Jesus was referring to. We also have had this growth without the much larger (5-100 times our income size) budgets that the larger groups based in the USA have.

Supposedly there are over 300 groups whose leaders were once part of the old WCG. Considering the rapid growth in the Continuing Church of God, our number of baptisms, and our overall size, there has truly been a difference in the amount of fruits God has allowed the Continuing Church of God help produce (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:6).

Prayer Request

Please pray for Vincent Patterson who lives in the UK.  I received a telephone call that he was hospitalized this week. I hope to have more details to share later.

Counseling, Prayer Requests, Funerals, and Anointing of the Sick

Most of you who receive this weekly Letter to the Brethren correctly have realized that my personal schedule is quite full. As I have stated before, it is busier than I can explain.

But, of course, I have tried to counsel, respond to prayer requests, send out anointed cloths, personally anoint the sick, handle funeral matters, answer questions when asked, etc.

Yet, in my view, many seem to need more time than my schedule tends to permit.

While I still intend to counsel, respond to prayer requests, send out anointed cloths, personally anoint the sick, be involved in funeral matters, answer questions when asked, etc. I have asked Deacon Richard Close to do this as well. Richard Close is retired and has more time available to serve this way and I have appointed the elder Richard Close to handle more of this (cf. Acts 14:23).

In addition, it is my hope and prayer that he may be able to travel from time-to-time to visit some of our congregations and some of our scattered brethren in the USA and Canada. Richard Close is planning on doing some of that right away.

Richard Close’s email address is: closesr@comcast.net

As far as funerals go, since our brethren in North America are so scattered, while we cannot always have someone attend funerals of deceased supporters, we have tried to send someone when we can.  Richard Close now would be one we may send depending upon his schedule and the funeral’s location.  We have had other men assist this way in the past who may also do so in the future.

About Richard Close

Richard Close is a long time member of the Church of God. He was ordained a deacon about 27 years ago. He lives in Towanda, Pennsylvania.

richardclose
Richard Close speaking at the Feast of Tabernacles in New Brunswick

Here is a biographical sketch from Richard Close about himself:

My wife Colleen and I were married in 1959. After being (honorably) discharged from USMC, my wife Colleen and I were driving North thru Pasadena on our way to Pennsylvania. First heard Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) on Memorial Day in weekend 1960 on that drive.

We were both drawn to what he had to say.  We had been living in Santa Ana , Calif. and attended  a Methodist Church and continued to do so when we got back to Pa.

The next time I heard HWA was on WWVA Wheeling ,W. VA. and continued to listen. Got literature and the 57 lesson Bible C.C.and soon I quit attending Methodist Church.  Wrote for a ministerial visit (1963 I think). Was visited in June 66 and was invited to services in Phila Pa., which was a  4 hours drive one way.

Attended my 1st Sabbath service the week before Passover 1967.  Skipped the next Sabbath because the meeting was going to be in NYC. also about 3 1/2 hours away. Went to Philadelphia the following week and have continued ever since.  Missing very, very few Sabbaths.

I was baptized post Feast of Tabernacles in 1967 by Walter Sharpe. Attended the Feast of Tabernacles in 1968 in Minehead, England. Colleen and I were ordained deaconess and deacon @ a combined service (Binghamton and Elmira NY) in 1989.—-{My thinking is probably Pentacost  or Trumpets}.

Occupation:  auto Mechanic  and later was in asbestos removal and re-insulation business. I retired after 19 years–went back and worked summers another 2 years.  Presently I am involved in logging and also during the winter months selling Wood Pellets and fire wood –retail.  I also have done carpentry work, plumbing repair, roofing/siding, equipment operator, truck driver (straight -dump—tractor trailer-(dump,flat-bed,and tanker ) fabricator/welder and some farming before going into  military where I was a radio-teletype operator.

I have attended UCG primarily since  post FT 1995 although I have firmly believed since leaving WCG that, as Mr. Armstrong taught—the physical corporation is not the body of Christ–the body of Christ is a spiritual entity, and as such is not separated by man’s physical corporate divisions. In 2015, I noticed enough about the Continuing Church of God to get me to attend its Feast of Tabernacles’ site in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, in 2015. After attending, I decided this is where God wanted me to mainly serve.

Colleen and I have 6 children—3 boys and 3 girls,plus – grand- children and great grand children,counting  inlaws etc  I think 59 total.  My wife said this morning ” some thing will have to go” if I am on the road a lot.  I told her that if this is what God  wants me to do–He will provide.

Richard Close became part of the Continuing Church of God in 2015.

He and I first met personally at the Feast of Tabernacles in Niagara Falls, Canada last year.

The information on counseling, etc. is now posted in a new link at the CCOG.org website: How does the CCOG handle Counseling, Prayer Requests, Funerals, and Anointing of the Sick?

Radio

Yesterday, I was on the Republic Broadcasting Network (RBN) at 2:00 pm Central Daylight Time. The host and I discussed why the US president-elect will be apocalyptic and that with prayer and repentance the USA could lengthen its prosperity (cf. Daniel 4:27). The host was very pro-Donald Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton and I tried to get the point across that the Kingdom of God was the answer. I agreed to do the program again on December 7, 2016.

Ethiopia

Received the following from Koang Deng of Ethiopia yesterday:

Dear Dr. Bob:
These photos of those who attended the Feast of Tabernacles. I am late
to send because of internet problem in this region Gambella. They were
small in number, so that some of our brethren live a far from the
region due to the transport problem which let them to missed this
feast.I hope coming year, we would prepare ourselves.
GOD bless us all.
Koang  Deng.

ethiopia2016fot2   ethiopia2016fot

While the site was not huge, it was a bit larger than we in the USA originally thought. And this is probably that this is the first time that anyone of them kept the Feast of Tabernacles as most in Ethiopia had a type of Church of God, Seventh Day background (people in that type of group most often do not keep the Feast of Tabernacles) before coming into the Continuing Church of God.

World News Items

Perhaps the biggest news of the week was the election of Donald Trump. This is causing the Europeans and others to have concerns (see How Will President-Elect Trump be Apocalyptic? Two false prophets exposed!)–and the time will come when Europe will develop a “great army” (Daniel 11:25) that will not end well for the USA (Daniel 11:39). In the USA, tens of thousands have protested against Donald Trump since the election results came out (see Disappointed protesting Donald Trump’s election in many USA cities).

Over in the UK, its Prime Minister says that despite a court ruling, the UK still intends to leave the European Union (see Theresa May confident UK Supreme Court will accept Brexit). No matter what happens with the ‘Brexit,’ the United Kingdom will not be an equal partner in the final Beast power that will arise in Europe. The election of Donald Trump, who supported the Brexit vote, may result in a faster trade deal between the USA and UK than may have happened without the Brexit vote.

Over in the Middle East, the so-called Islamic State has lost some territories (see Operation ‘Euphrates Rage’ and the Armageddon prophecy). As I have written for a long time, while a ‘King of the South’ will arise in lands that are predominantly Islamic (cf. Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:1-9), the current head of the Islamic State will not be that leader. Thus, the ‘Islamic State’ will be defeated, but a real Arab-Turkish confederation will form (cf. Daniel 11:40-43).

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 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 ContinuingCOGchannel AND MANY SERMONETTE MESSAGES ON THE Bible News Prophecy channel.

Concluding Comments

Last month, in a sermon in Aurora, Illinois, I rhetorically asked the question, “Who is worse for the USA, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?”

My answer was, “Whoever wins.”

Now we know which one is expected to be worse for the USA.

The prophet Daniel was inspired to record the following:

17 ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’ (Daniel 4:17)

So, the “best” person in a moral sense does not always win (and no, I am not trying to convey that Donald Trump was more immoral than his main opponents).

We are to pray for physical leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Even the unconverted can change.  Notice what Daniel was inspired to tell King Nebuchadnezzar:

27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity. (Daniel 4:27)

It is uncertain how Donald Trump will truly govern. If Donald Trump will turn to God, and more in the USA will as well, then “Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”  Yet though I have prayed for the president-elect, I am not holding my breath about his possible repentance.

Brethren, we are now entering into a time of accelerating decline of the USA. And yes, I would have written that if Donald Trump’s opponent would have won the election. We seem to be in the time Jesus referred to as the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8), which ultimately will be followed by the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21). Expect to see “ups and downs” before then.

Do not give up brethren, as “he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer