Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Feast of Tabernacles in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Here are links to two sermons given there:

The Feast seems to be going well around the world based on reports I have received from Africa and Europe.

Several have sent photographs, but with the laptop with me and lack of time, only one is added to this letter. Presumably, Steve Dupuie will put many photos together in the slideshow he tends to do each year.9

Anyway, here is a photograph from opening night services in Malawi along with a brief report from Andre Nelson:

Happy Feast of Tabernacles from Mulanje, Malawi!Brethren from Malawi and Mozambique assembled Opening Night at the commencement of the Feast in Migowi, Malawi. Radson, the Deacon of the region, translated Pastor Thiel’s Opening Night message for the Brethren who speak chichiwa.

We are in the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day is right around the corner.

The Last Great Day

Services for the Feast of Tabernacles began the evening of September 20th and are to continue until the Last Great Day which is September 28th in 2021.

God commands His people to observe the festival and to keep the Last Great Day, the eighth day of the feast if you will, as a Sabbath.

What is the purpose of keeping that day?

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).

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 3in 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).

Radio

CCOG deacon Ondigo Ochieng sent the following:

AUGUST –SEPTEMBER 2021 RADIO REPORT

Dear Precious Servants of the Most High:

Warm greetings in the Mighty Name of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.

Am so very glad to present to you a one month Radio report from August 29th –September 19th 2021.The Lord has been so very faithful to us amid challenges. 0He has been opening doors for His people to know the truth.

We are so grateful to Evangelist Bob Thiel who initiated the support for the Radio Program. Am so very grateful to brothers and sisters in France who took a step of faith to support the Radio program here in Migori.May the Almighty God bless you abundantly!

Here is the breakdown of  the Radio program for one month:

SUNDAY AUGUST 29TH 2021:

DISCOURSE:CHRISTIANS-AMBASSADORS FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD,BIBLICAL INSTRUCTIONS ON LIVING AS A CHRISTIAN part 1:

This discourse attracted 11 phone calls from different places including Tanzania.3…………………………………..Some requested for the Swahili Bible and booklets.I was given extra 15 minutes to answer phone calls and questions.

 SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 5TH 2021:

DISCOURSE:CHRISTIANS-AMBASSADORS FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD,INSTRUCTIONS ON LIVING AS A CHRISTIAN part 2:

This message attracted 9 phone calls.A certain old man from Isebania border requested for a Swahili copy of the message.I sent the message to him which I had translated (The Ambassador’s booklet Swahili copy).

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 12TH 2021:

DISCOURSE:PREDESTINATION AND SELECTION:

Most pastors who wrongly teach predestination called ( 13 of them).Some two rejected the message as mere doctrine of the Church of God.The rest wrote a message and supported the discourse.

Five pastors requested a write up on the subject to help them go through it again.

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 19TH 2021:

DISCOURSE:THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS part 1:

This message attracted 27 phone calls.Some Adventist pastors and elders negatively commented on that teaching.Some requested that it be repeated next Sunday (26th).

Many people were shocked and some wanted to know where they can get us and if possible get the article on that discourse.

Final Comments: We thank God for that opportunity. May you pray for us to continue for next month and ask God to give us more courage and wisdom to handle different listeners from every denomination.

Best Regards,

Bro.Ondigo Ochieng.

Deacon Ochieng is on a radio station in southern Kenya near the border of Tanzania. He plans to cover more topics covering doctrine and CCOG literature in future broadcasts.

Suggested Sabbath Day Service

Here is a suggested Sabbath day service for our scattered brethren and other interested people:

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.

Suggested Last Great Day Service

Here is a suggested Last Great Day service for our scattered brethren and other interested people:

The Last Great Day truly helps show that, “Our God is the God of salvation” (Psalm 68:20).

World News Items

The new military arrangement between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States continues to be an issue for Europe (see ‘AUKUS Expedites The Coming EU Army & NATO’s Irrelevance’). Europe will one day have a “great army” (Daniel 11:25) and one day the Anglo-American forces will be defeated (Daniel 11:39).

The USA is looking at having a back-up plan with Israel if Iran will not agree to what it wants (see ZH: US & Israel Restart Secret ‘Plan B’ Talks On Iran As Alternative To Nuke Deal). Iran may very well decide to attack Israel (cf. Isaiah 22:6-8) within the next year or two if it feels this is the preferred way to accomplish its objectives.

Concluding Comments

Jesus said

16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (John 17:16-19)

Yes, brethren, with this year’s festival season over, we go back in the world. But not to be of it, but live as those set apart by the truth.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer