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Letter to the Brethren: September 14, 2023

Letter to the Brethren: September 14, 2023

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from Grover Beach, California.

On Monday, we received twenty-six more translations of our English language booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom of God –we continue to take steps aligning with prophecies such as shown in Matthew 24:14 and Revelation 7:9.

That said, the Holy Day season is about to commence–this coming Sabbath marks the start for the days that begin this month.

Blowing of a Shofar

That first holy day is the Feast of Trumpets which is from sunset September 15th through sunset September 16th.

The holy day after that is the Day of Atonement that runs from sunset September 24th through sunset September 25th.

The Feast of Tabernacles runs from sunset September 29th and continues until sunset ending the Last Great Day which is October 7th in 2023.

For information on our sites around the world, go to the article: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2023.

Feast of Trumpets: Christ’s Return and the Events Leading to it

Most of the Greco-Roman churches do not keep the biblical holy days that generally occur in the Fall. Yet, these Holy Days portray many pivotal events in God’s plan.

The Feast of Trumpets not only pictures the coming of Christ to resurrect the firstfruits from the dead, it also pictures the terrible time of devastation just ahead and the intervention of Jesus Christ to save the living from total annihilation and to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.

Let’s understand how this festival fits into God’s great master plan.

Consider that there is a major time gap between the Day of Pentecost and the Feast of Trumpets.  Since the New Testament church began on Pentecost and basically ends when Jesus returns at the last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:51-57), in a sense the period of time between Pentecost and the Feast of Trumpets can be considered as representing the church age.

The fourth Holy Day, the Feast of Trumpets, is observed in “the seventh month, on the first day of the month” (Leviticus 23:23-25).

The number seven in God’s plan signifies completion and perfection. The seventh month of God’s calendar (occurs in September and/or October) contains the final four festivals, picturing the completion of God’s great master plan for us. The festival that falls on the first day of this month marks the beginning of the final events in God’s plan.

It is another annual Sabbath of rest from one’s regular work, and it was to be a memorial of blowing of trumpets (Leviticus 23:24-25). It is also a time to learn God’s ways (Nehemiah 8:2-3; cf. Ezra 3:1-7). Much of what happened to the children of Israel was written for our “examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).

It is from the blowing of trumpets that the Feast of Trumpets draws its name.

There is a great deal of symbolic meaning tied in with the blowing of these trumpets, especially with regard to the end times in which we’re living. It should be noted that the modern Jewish name for this date, Rosh Hashanah, is not biblical nor even original for the Jews. It was something that they adopted centuries after God gave it to them and after the Old Testament was written (Kramer, Amy J. Rosh Hashana Origins. Copyright © 1998-1999 Everything Jewish, Inc.).

The Bible teaches that Trumpets were blown to announce God’s feasts, as well as to call people to assemble (Numbers 10:1-3, 10).

Interestingly, Jewish scholars have tied the Feast of Trumpets in with the ‘Book of Life’ (Peltz M, Rabbi. What is in a Rosh Hashanah greeting? Haaretz, September 17, 2012). Why is that of interest?

Well, the Bible teaches that those who are listed in the ‘Book of Life’ (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5) will be resurrected (Hebrews 12:22-23).  When? At the seventh and last trumpet:

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed —  52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)

The Book of Revelation clearly teaches that seven trumpets will be blown (8:2), punishment comes upon those who are not protected by God (9:4), and then God’s kingdom and judgment will come (11:15-18). Finally it teaches that those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will experience the second death (Revelation 20:14-15).

Consider that the Bible shows that during Israel’s history, which was heavily punctuated with conflicts and rebellion, trumpets continued to be used as warning devices, to call to arms or as preludes to important messages — always to mark an event of tremendous import to the whole nation.

God also used the prophets, among them Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and Joel, to warn Israel about punishments He would bring upon them for their constant rebellion against His laws. These prophets were to use their voices like trumpets to blare their warnings to God’s people.

1 Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

We in the Continuing Church of God are working to do that today–despite the efforts of Big Tech to block us. We boldly tell of the sins of society and how world events are aligning with properly understood prophecy–which we also strive to explain.

But there will also be literal trumpet blasts coming in the future as the Book of Revelation teaches (Revelation 8:1-13, 9:1-18).  But most will not heed those warnings.

Many are blown in the Book of Revelation, and a lot were to be blown on the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24)–hopefully many can see the connection.

But the most important trumpet, in a sense, could be the last, the seventh one. Here is what Revelation teaches about that:

15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. 18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” 19 Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail. (Revelation 11:15-19)

The Feast of Trumpets pictures the future blowing of trumpets and the reality that Jesus will come and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. The good news of coming Kingdom of God is a big part of what Jesus wants His servants to proclaim now (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20), and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14). The Feast of Trumpets points to Christ’s victory over this world.

Greco-Roman historians, such as Jerome and Epiphanius (Catholica Omnia Tabulinum De Ecclesiae Patribus Doctoribusque Materia Migne JP Argumentum Patrologia Latina Volumen MPL025 Ab Columna ad Culumnam 1415 – 1542A, pp. 922, 930 and Epiphanius (Ephiphanius. The Panarion of Ephiphanius of Salamis: Book II (sects 1-46) Section 1, Chapter 19, 7-9. Frank Williams, editor. Publisher BRILL, 1987, p. 117-119), recorded that the ‘Nazarene Christians’ continued to keep the Fall Holy Days into the fourth and fifth centuries. They were also kept by the faithful Christians in Jerusalem who claimed the original Christian building in Jerusalem into the fourth century until they were stopped by Imperial authorities (Pixner B. Church of the Apostles Found on Mt. Zion. Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1990: 16-35,60).

The anti-Semite John Chrysostom specifically attempted to stop people from keeping the Feast of Trumpets in the late fourth century (John Chrysostom. Homily I Against the Jews I:5;VI:5;VII:2; watch also John Chrysostom and Holy Days). However, those trying to be faithful continued to do so throughout history. The Continuing Church of God does so now.

In its Statement of Beliefs, the Continuing Church of God states:

The Feast of Trumpets helps picture the blowing of the seven trumpets in the Book of Revelation announcing events taking place during the ‘Day of the Lord’ (Revelation 8,9,11:15-18; 15:1-8; 16:1-21; 19:1-21). The last trumpet signals the resurrection of the saints and the second coming of Jesus, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Every seven years, a year of land-rest and debt release begins with this Holy Day (Leviticus 25:1-7; Deuteronomy 15:7-11).

Thus, because of its New Testament fulfillments, the Feast of Trumpets is something that should be highly relevant for Christians.

Remember, Jesus is coming on the seventh trump.

As far as information on how to keep the biblical holy days, check out the online article: How to Keep God’s Festivals.

The Feast of Trumpets is one God’s Feasts per Leviticus 23.

YouTube Relents

Last week, I reported that YouTube censored and removed one of our videos as “inappropriate” (see also  YouTube censors and removes ‘New Transgender Study’ as the ‘Censorship Industrial Complex’ expands). Last Friday, I decided to write a short appeal. I told YouTube that I did not believe that a scientist referring to a scientific study or a Christian quoting scriptures was inappropriate or being unsafe. Shockingly (because of their biases), YouTube seems to have agreed as they reinstated the video and apparently removed the “strike” that they gave us.

While we continue to see more and more censorship, Jesus said:

4 I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. (John 9:4)

And while some COG groups overly “keep silent,” hence pull-punches in proclamation, the reality is that the work will be done and it will trigger persecution.

While we can, we are to:

1 Cry aloud, spare not;
Lift up your voice like a trumpet;
Tell My people their transgression,
And the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1

So, yes, while we do take some risks that Big Tech and others do not like, we must do the work that God wants us to do.

CCOG in the USA and Malawi

Received a report yesterday that an American was in Malawi who claimed that he was the original founder of the Continuing Church of God in the United States. Supposedly, he also claimed that he was (or had been) president of the Continuing Church of God in the United States, and that I (Bob Thiel) was only ever the vice-president.

None of that, of course, is true.

Now, whether or not some American made that claim (as he never made it to me), I sent a letter along with notarized documents and official State of California government documents that had the truth to the one in Malawi who told me this.

And what is the truth?

While Jesus had the New Testament church formed (see Acts 1-2) and it has undergone organizational and geographic changes throughout its history, the truth is that it was my wife Joyce and I who were the founders of the entity called the Continuing Church of God, a corporation sole and successors. I have always been its president (and still am). Furthermore, the American who reportedly has claimed to be president has never been any type of officer of the Continuing Church of God in the USA (nor is he even a member of this church).

We have had to fight a lot of rumors, lies, and accusations this past year. Fortunately, nearly all of you who are receiving this weekly Letter to the Brethren were wise enough to believe the truth and stay with us as we work to fulfill Jesus’ commissions in Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20.

It is sad that some, however, have chosen a wrong and different path.

Suggested Sabbath Day – Feast of Trumpets Services

Here is a suggested Feast of Trumpets service for our scattered brethren and other interested people:

Here is a suggested Feast of Trumpets service for our scattered brethren and other interested people who prefer to have two services:

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. There are also messages in the Spanish language at the CDLIDDSermones channel.

World News Items

Thousands died in northern Africa this past week due to an earthquake in Morocco (see Over 2,000 reported dead after earthquake in Morocco–any tie to Ezekiel 38?) and many thousands more in massive flooding in Libya (see Libyans floods & AP: US sets record for billion-dollar weather disasters in a year — and there’s still 4 months to go). The Bible shows that God sometimes uses/allows disasters to encourage repentance.

The G20 conference in India has resulted in more action by the European Union to increase the effectiveness of its Global Gateway project (see G20, increasing connectivity without North America, and the Belt & Road Initiative). The European Union sees this as a way to increase trade in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia as well as to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (see Europe touts Global Gateway and bold plans for the future). Israel believes it will benefit economically from this, though improved infrastructure will also assist those armies that are prophesied to gather at a place called Armageddon (see G20 connectivity to lead to Middle East peace? Perhaps it will contribute to gathering at Armageddon?).

Concluding Comments

The Apostle Paul wrote:

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

The Apostle Peter wrote:

21 … Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: (1 Peter 2:21)

Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and the Apostle Peter kept the Feast of Trumpets and the other biblical Holy Days.

So, did early Christians after Jesus’ resurrection.

Brethren, we all should do that as well.


Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer