Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

St. Louis greetings. My family and I were able to be in St. Louis for the first half of the Feast of Tabernacles.

We have to get up very early Thursday morning, to fly to Quebec. And, it is earlier than I remember, so we will need to leave shortly after three a.m. Since we might not have the possibility to send this letter out on Thursday, we decided to send it out late Wednesday.

Feast of Tabernacles

But, as reported before, we are planning on being in Montreal, Quebec for the last part of the Feast this year.

We have, so far. received positive reports about the Feast in various locations.

The Feast of Tabernacles is still going on and we have had, despite some difficulties, a fine Feast of Tabernacles in St. Louis. The following is a photograph of some of the people who visited the St. Louis Zoo today:

There were many others who went to the zoo, but that were not together with us when that photo was taken.

Steve Dupuie sent the following from the Philippines:

Greeting from the city of Cagayan De Oro on the island of Mindanao in the Philippians.  All eight of us are having a fantastic Feast of Tabernacles.  The family of Joe Lumpay (5), Roy Baconguiz and Ruth and I are getting to know each other as saints of the Most High God.
We find it interesting that even though we have only known each other for a matter of days, it’s as if we shared 6,000 years of history and are all looking forward to spending an eternity together.
Yesterday we went to a sea side resort for an evening dinner and tomorrow we plan on touring the Philippians largest pineapple plantation.  However, neither of those events can compare with the spiritual Feast we are all sharing during this season. …
May all have a blessed and inspiring feast.
Steve –

Steve and Ruth Dupuie had never been to the Philippines before, and we are pleased that it seems to be going well there.

Here is one from Serbia:

Dear Bob,
We believe that your Feast is filled with joy as ours is.  Five of us in Serbia are attending the Feast with joy and gladness.  We didn’t make any elaborate schedule of Feast activities, nor did we put emphasis on those.  We realize that without God being present at the Feast, it would be doomed to a total failure.  That is the emphasis we have put this year on the Feast.
We are listening to your sermons these days.  In the last several years the brethren here were listening only to me preaching, so we all needed a break from me and someone else to preach.  It was a good decision because, through your sermons we are actually strengthening our identity now as being part of the Philadelphia remnant.  And that seems to be the main motto of this Feast – strengthening our identity.
This is the third year of our affiliation with CCOG.  It is also the third time that we have kept the Feast in an organized manner as a CCOG congregation.  I reminded of the Old Testament law which says that fruit of a tree is not to be eaten in the first three years.  In the last three years we have had various trials and turmoils as individuals and as a group, so hopefully from this time on we are going to bear more Philadelphia-type spiritual fruits in our lives.
We send cordial wishes to you and others for a happy and joyful reminder of the Feast 2019.
Sasha

Here is one from Kenya:

Greetings from Kenya.
I’m very happy to hear that the brethren at the feast of tabernacles are doing good and enjoy the feast. Fantastic.
The ALMIGHTY GOD did a wonderful work at our feast site when Jacob’s wife gave birth at the feast site. And process was very successful in such a way that  we didn’t expect. The feast at Ndhiwa is very good. Tomorrow will be a day of visiting Lambwe park and Thim lich oinga meusium. We shall visit Gogo falls Dam and other brethren will go to tour along victoria lake. On Friday we shall have senior luncheon. Those who are over 60 years.
Thank you very much for a wonderful feast.
Evans

Jacob had told me about his child being born at the beginning of the Feast in Ndhiwa.

Last Great Day: God’s Amazing Plan of Salvation for Humankind

The Last Great Day, also known as the eighth day, is the day which immediately follows the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Last Great Day pictures the completion of the plan of redemption.

The “Book of Life” — typifying salvation — will be opened (Revelation 20:12). This is just prior to the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:1). The Jews call this festival Shemini ‘Azeret, which means “eighth day of assembly” (also implying that the previous seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles were days of assembly).

The entire seven-day Feast of Tabernacles combined with its associated eighth day are referred to as the “Feast of Ingathering” in the Old Testament:

16 … Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field. (Exodus 23:16)

This ‘ingathering’ is a larger harvest than the firstfruits associated with the Feast of Weeks. It is a greater harvest.

Here is a reference to the eighth day Feast association in the Bible:

34 … ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. … 36 On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation. … It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it. (Leviticus 23:34,36)

This day is often referred to in Church of God circles as the Last Great Day, because of what the New Testament states about it:

37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  (John 7:37-38)

So Jesus kept this day that comes immediately after the festival picturing the millennium, and taught on it.

After the millennium, what happens?

A resurrection (Revelation 20:5).

The dead stand before God. This wouldn’t include true Christians today, as they are resurrected when Jesus returns. Those in this resurrection must be those who died in ignorance of God’s true plan

in past ages. This is that judgment day Jesus repeatedly mentioned:

7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  …  14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.  15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city! (Matthew 10:7,14-15)

23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.  24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you. (Matthew 11:23-24)

Notice that it is more tolerable in the day of judgment for those God destroyed in Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24) than for those who knowingly rejected Christ and the message of His kingdom.

Jesus also taught that “ALL SINS WOULD BE FORGIVEN” (Mark 3:28), except the ‘unpardonable sin’ (Mark 3:29). It is with the fulfillment of the Last Great Day that all who have not had an opportunity for salvation will truly have that opportunity, and nearly all will accept that offer.

Nearly all humans who ever lived will be saved!

In the 2nd century, Polycarp of Smyrna reportedly taught about the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day (Life of Polycarp, Chapter 19).

The biblical truth is that, because of God’s love, Jesus came to DIE FOR ALL:

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)

So did the loving God send His Son to die for a relative few or the world?

Protestants, who often quote John 3:16, tend to teach that the world could be saved but that the vast majority who ever lived will suffer in torment forever. They also seem to overlook that Jesus came to die for all (John 3:17). Is that the type of plan of salvation that a God who is all-knowing and is love would come up with? Does the Bible support the idea that everyone can be saved now? If not, is that fair?

Since God is all knowing and all powerful and is love (1 John 4:8,16), would God have predestined most who ever lived to eternal torment?

No.

Certainly God is wise enough to have a plan that actually works.

Romans 9:14-15 states:

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”

We know that God chose part of Israel in the Old Testament, and few others. How is that love if the rest are condemned to eternal torture?

God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). The reason that not all were called in this age was because He knew most would not respond and endure with the truth to the end to be saved (cf. Mark 13:13; Luke 8:5-15). But that does not mean that those not called now were all cut off and lost.

The Bible teaches that many have been intentionally blinded in this age (John 12:37-40; Isaiah 44:18). Those who were blinded in this age still have an opportunity (cf. John 9:41; Isaiah 42:16-18).  Notice also:

14 I will again do a marvelous work among this people…24 These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, And those who complained will learn doctrine. (Isaiah 29:14,24)

There is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11). There will be an opportunity for all as “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:10).

Those not part of this first resurrection, called “the rest of the dead” (Revelation 20:5), are resurrected after the millennium is over. This is a physical resurrection and will involve those who feel that their hope has been cut off (Ezekiel 37:1-14).

Though they will be judged guilty of sin (Revelation 20:12; Romans 3:23; cf. 1 Peter 4:17), “Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). God will plead with all flesh (Jeremiah 25:31; Isaiah 3:13) and many will respond (Isaiah 65:24). Although not all will accept His offer, and this is not a second chance (those who truly had a chance and fully rejected God’s Holy Spirit will not get that opportunity to be forgiven per Mark 3:29), many will repent. The Last Great Day helps show this.

Consider also the following:

19 O Lord, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, The Gentiles shall come to You From the ends of the earth and say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things.” 20 Will a man make gods for himself, Which are not gods?  21 “Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know My hand and My might; And they shall know that My name is the Lord. (Jeremiah 16:19-21)

17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” 18 They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand. …22 I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. (Isaiah 44:17,18,22)

Even those who accepted false traditions, including those that were idolaters (Isaiah 44:17-18), will have their first real opportunity for salvation (Isaiah 44:22). Billions throughout the ages in Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas, and the islands never heard of Jesus and the true gospel of the kingdom—and God foreknew this and had a plan (Romans 11:2).

We in the Continuing Church of God agree that “Our God is the God of salvation” (Psalm 68:20) and teach that He has a plan of salvation that actually works for more than just a relative few.

There is only one name under heaven by which humans can be saved (Acts 4:12; cf. Isaiah 43:11) and that is Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10; John 3:18). Since most of humanity has never heard the truth about Jesus and the gospel of the Kingdom of God (For details, see our free booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom of God at www.ccog.org), and “all flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6), there will be an opportunity for all to attain salvation—either in this age or the age to come (cf. Matthew 12:31-32; Luke 13:29-30).

The future age to come arrives after the second resurrection (as the true Christians at the time are raised at the first resurrection per Revelation 20:5-6) and includes the time of the white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-12). Isaiah (Isaiah 65:20), as well as the Roman and Orthodox Catholic saint Irenaeus (Adversus haereses, Book V, Chapter 34, Verses 2-3,4), indicated that this particular age to come would be about one hundred years long.

This idea was still held in the Middle Ages by those that the Church of Rome persecuted as reported by the inquisitor bishop Bernard Guidonis (BERNARD GUI: INQUISITOR’S MANUAL, Chapter 5).

This doctrine was taught by the Radio/Worldwide Church of God in the 20th century and it still taught by the Continuing Church of God.

Keeping the biblical holy days reminds true Christians of God’s true plan of salvation. The Continuing Church of God understands how God’s plan regarding this is laid out by the observance of His Feasts (Leviticus 23:37).

God clearly teaches that He does NOT want pagan practices used to worship Him:

29 When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, 30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ 31 You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. 32 Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it. (Deuteronomy 12:29-32)

Those who combine pagan worship practices with biblical ones obscure God’s plan of salvation and generally do not understand it.

The New Testament shows that the Apostle Paul observed biblical holy days (e.g. Acts 18:21; 20:6,16; 27:9; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, 16:8) as he kept the law and customs of his people.

Paul specifically condemned incorporating pagan practices with biblical observances (1 Corinthians 10:20-23). Paul himself stated near the end of his life that he kept all the practices Jews needed to keep (Acts 28:17-19; cf. Acts 21:18-24) and that would have had to include all the holy days listed in Leviticus 23.

As a rule, the Greco-Roman churches do not follow the Apostle Paul’s admonition to imitate him as he imitated Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1) nor the Apostle John’s admonition to continue to walk as he and Jesus walked (1 John 2:6, 18-19), since they do not keep all the biblical holy days. Also, those churches normally combine heathen practices in their worship calendars, which the apostles opposed (1 Corinthians 10:20-23; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Jude 3-4, 12; 1 John 2:6).

By not keeping God’s Holy Days, but instead non-biblical substitutes, many do not realize that sin needs to be truly out of our lives, that God is only calling some now, that all will have an opportunity for salvation in this age or the age to come, and nearly all who ever lived will be saved in the later harvest.

God’s Holy Days lay out parts of His plan of salvation that most do not understand. It is a marvelous and loving plan.

Vimeo and BitChute

Last Friday, I was wondering how we were doing on Vimeo as this has been the least watched of our channels. To my surprise, we had 600 views of our video: Vatican’s Babylonian Amazonian Religion. We had. at that time. 1/2 as many views of YouTube (here is the link to that one: Vatican’s Babylonian Amazonian Religion).

So, this was encouraging. As mentioned before, we chose Vimeo because it was perhaps the most popular platform after YouTube and it is available on streaming services such as Roku. While we have to pay a small amount to be on it, this is a platform that does not have commercials. Some churches also use it. However, Vimeo takes a strong censorship approach on topics related to speaking against forms of sexual immorality (they will shut channels down, even easier than YouTube), so there are various sermonettes we cannot have ‘live’ for people to be able to watch on that platform.

But it is nice that we finally got a decent number of views of a video there. One we did not promote there either.

Speaking of surprises, I was surprised to see that we have been having more views of our sermons on our COGTube sermon channel on BitChute than we are having on our Prophecy sermonette channel there. Overall, the sermonette channel at BitChute normally has a lot more views that we have on Vimeo and little more views than we have on our Brighteon Bible News Prophecy channel.

Anyway, it is nice to see we are getting more responses for videos because of having these additional channels.

World News Items

US Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke believes that churches should lose their tax-exempt status unless they teach in favor of homosexual marriage (see Beto O-Rourke favors revoking tax-exempt status for churches who believe in biblical morality). One of the reasons that the Continuing Church of God did not register as a 501(c)(3) church with the US federal government was to distance ourselves from aspects of government control that the 501(c)(3) churches are subject to. This non-501(c)(3) registration, in my view, may allow enough delay in the future for the short work of Romans 9:28 to be completed as well as Matthew 24:14 fulfilled to God’s satisfaction. That being said, I do not, however, believe that this  non-501(c)(3) “protection” would last long once the government chooses to work to assist the famine of the word (Amos 8:11-12). But we are not intending to be in the USA forever as the time will come when the Philadelphians (Revelation 3:7-10) will flee from here (Revelation 12:14-16).

There was another Democratic party debate this week (see Democrats accuse and debate).

There is more division in the USA than has been there for many years. The ‘left’ blames the ‘right,’ while the ‘right’ blames the ‘left.’ More and more secular sources are getting concerned (see Invoke USA Insurrection Act? Fanatical Supporters? Emotional Civil War?). More violence and terror will hit the USA (cf. Deuteronomy 32:25).

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: Can you keep the Sabbath and your job? What about college? 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: Is World Government the Solution?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.

Last Great Day Service.

Here is a Sabbath service for the Last Great Day:

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for those who would prefer two services for this day:

  • 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 Purpose of Christian Life.
  • 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. One suggested for today is: The Mystery of the White Throne Judgment. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel, especially if you wish two services today.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

For more on God’s plan to offer salvation to all, check out our free book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation.

Concluding Comments

Jesus taught on the Last Great Day:

37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:37-39)

Jesus kept God’s Feasts (Luke 22:8,14-16) and traveled to do so (John 7:11-39).

Jesus wants all to keep the Last Great Day and to learn from it.

Brethren, let’s all do so.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer