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Letter to the Brethren: October 19, 2016

Letter to the Brethren: October 19, 2016

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Feast of Tabernacles greetings from Europe!

We are at the middle of the Feast of Tabernacles for 2016 this year. It is late here Wednesday. And we sent this letter out a day before we usually would in order to get it out before we had to travel to the Amsterdam airport.

We hope and pray that your Feast is going went well, wherever you may be.

My wife Joyce and I have been in Gouda, Netherlands and despite some hotel issues, things went well here.

Reports we have received from other areas have generally been positive, though a couple of areas in Kenya were not able to attend the festival sites because of financial reasons.

Also, in the Philippines, Anthony Flavell reported that because of a typhoon, the once per week boat most people were going to take to go to the Feast site in Silay City could not make it there.  So, most of our brethren in the Philippines, instead, would have to meet at his home. While we are glad for the back-up site, we had really wanted a combined site for our members in the Philippines.

On a more personal note, tomorrow we are to travel to back to Amsterdam, then fly to Chicago, then after clearing customs, drive to Aurora, Illinois for the last half of the Feast and the Last Great Day.

The Gouda site was the smallest festival site we have ever been too, but it is a start for theContinuing Church of God in Europe. We also visited Serbia in Europe, prior to the Feast of Tabernacles, to meet with the brethren who were to keep the festival in that nation.

For those of you at home or video sites, here are links to three sermons I gave in Gouda:

  1. The World’s False Gospel
  2. The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments
  3. The Kingdom of God is the Solution

Steve Dupuie gave this sermon in New Brunswick, Canada: Feast of Tabernacles 2016.

Vincent Patterson gave this sermonette in Gouda, Netherlands: The First Love.

As most of you realize, we have Feast sites in many places. For more information on the locations of the Feast of Tabernacles’ site this year, check out the link: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2016.

We expect to make one or sermons live from New Brunswick and/or Aurora, Illinois for those at video sites. They should be available at the ContinuingCOG channel.

The Last Great Day is next Monday, and it ends the annual pilgrimage festival. The Last Great Day is a key part in understanding God’s great and loving plan of salvation.

Here is a suggested service for that day, which is from sunset October 23rd through sunset 24th this year:

  • 2-3 hymns (our songbook, The Bible Hymnal, contains the materials from the 1974Bible Hymnal from the old WCG with new covers, plus ten additional hymns; there is also some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Offertory, which for some who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one: Last Great Day Offertory.
  • 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 year online is: Last Great Day shows God’s loving plan. Other sermons are also available at the ContinuingCOG channel, especially if you wish two services today.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

If possible, we hope to upload sermons given this year during the Feast of Tabernacles. There are, however, technical difficulties that might prevent this. If we are able to upload them, they should be available at the ContinuingCOG channel.

We also have links to sermon messages either made for this year or in past years available towards the end of the article Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2016.

For more information on how to keep the Holy Days, check out the article How to Keep God’s Festivals. A related sermon is also available titled: How to Keep God’s Feasts.

A booklet on the Holy Days is also available: Should You Observe God’s Holy Days or Demonic Holidays?

Preaching in Prison

Pastor Ochieng sent the following email late Thursday:

Pastor Dr Bob.
Greetings from Kenya.
On Monday was a wonderful day when I visited Bomet to plan feast of tabernacles 2016. Before the meeting we went to the prison to preach to the prisoners. The service took 2 hours preaching. Our brother Eric played a guitar which made the stage to be much comfort for both prisoners and the prison officers. Some of the prisoners confess and said that that if they go back home they will not do any crime.
After that we went back to do the arrangements. We have already program all the feast sites in Kenya. 1 went to Tanzania on Tuesday evening and I am back in Kenya today. The arrangements in Tanzania is also complete.
Evans Ochieng Kisiengo.

Note: This was the prior Monday, not the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

World News Items

In terms of world news, there is one item I want to mention. Although the USA is supposed to have full freedom of speech and religion, that is not the case. What is distressing, however, in the recent news is that its President Barack Obama, who has considered himself to be a ‘constitutional scholar’ made comments that indicate that ‘conspiracy theories’ should not be protected speech (see ‘Obama Enters Media Wars: Why His Recent Attack On Free Speech Is So Dangerous & Radical’).

When we in the Continuing Church of God identify the final King of the North of biblical prophecy (Daniel 11:29-44), it is likely some will consider our biblical reporting of what he is doing and is prophesied to do as ‘hate speech’ or a ‘conspiracy theory’ or something else. A ‘famine of the word’ is coming (Amos 8), and sadly the USA keeps indicating that it will support the suppression of truth by the CCOG in the future.

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.


Concluding Comments

This eighth day, the day which immediately follows the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, 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).

Here is more on the eighth day from 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! The Last Great Day observance reminds us of that and that important part of God’s loving plan of salvation.

This year, the Feast of Tabernacles runs from sunset October 23rd through sunset October 24th.


Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer