Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

The Day of Atonement for 2015 is now past and the Feast of Tabernacles is almost upon us.

We finished putting together the Behind the Works 2015 video on Sunday.  Unlike previousBehind the Works videos, this one is not sermon-length, but ended up being sermonette length.  We normally would have made this longer and had it done earlier, but we were waiting for a flash drive that was mailed to us from Kenya last month, which contained video clips from Africa.  But the flash drive did not arrive, so a last minute decision was made to simply make the video shorter.  We hope everyone will like it.  The Behind the Works contains clips from the new office in Grover Beach as well as two videos shot in New Zealand.  The Behind the Works is expected to be played at our Feast of Tabernacles’ sites in North America and the South Pacific.  While it will also be played elsewhere, we had no time to send actual DVDs to Africa, so only places with decent internet connection will be able to play it.

Because my wife and I are scheduled to be traveling between Feast sites in North America next Thursday, if we get a weekly Letter to the Brethren out, it will likely be shorter than usual.

Many are anticipating coming to the Feast of Tabernacles this year, despite difficulties we and some others have been encountering.

There were a variety of African and Canadian issues to deal with this week.  And we had one extreme problem in Kenya.

Pastor Kidnapped in Kenya!

Pastor Evans Ochieng sent me the following email Monday:

Dear Pastor Bob,

Sorry to  stay for long  not not give any report. This is because of commitment to handling various matters. The Feast of Trumpets went well in all our congregations in Kenya.

It has been sad with me from last week till yesterday. I had a total problem but I am happy that my Almighty God did for me a wonderful work and heard my prayer and the prayers of my brethren in Kenya. I could not get time to write to you to inform you about what happened to me because I was walking day and night with no sleep for five days. My son Bradox was hijacked by unknown people on Thursday at 4 am  when he was going to the farm. I got the message when I was in Bomet where I went to arrange the plans of Feast of Tabernacles. It forced me to shorten my trips to go back to Ndhiwa. I used all means to trace my son. God help me to get my son back home from a very far distance almost 1400 miles from home.

Please pray for Bradox to be well.

Give this information to all brethren. God protected him highly and those people did not harm him in anyway. This is a miracle from Our almighty God. May our Almighty God continue to protect his people in every corner.

Evans

Pastor Evans’ son Bradox is also one of our pastors.  We can all be grateful that he was recovered.

I have emailed Pastor Evans to ask more about what happened and why, but have not yet received his response.  The world can be a dangerous place. Pray always, “Thy Kingdom Come!”

Day of Atonement Report

Received the following report from Pastor John Owak on the group in Migori, Kenya:

Hello Mr. Bob.
Greetings from Migori Kenya, we are doing fine and our Feast of Atonement was well attended with 6 adults and 4 youths and 3 children totaling to 13 in attendance.

We hope your in still on by now and we wish you happy and inspired one.

Many people have been keeping these God’s Holy Days just carnally without seeing their Spiritual important of them just because it has becomes the routine to the Church’s doctrines, but if God opens someone’s mind they are the true picture of Gods’ plan of Salvation to human kind. And this is when someone can keep them with focused mind.

Otherwise now we are looking forward to feast of Tabernacles and the last eighth day of which will come soon as from Sunday 27th. We hope that God will give the speakers inspired massages during those days.

Hope to hear more from you there too. Greetings to all brethren and to your family too.
Best regards
John.

It is good that people are getting a better spiritual understanding of the Day of Atonement, and of course, the other Holy Days.

On a related note, I spent time reviewing some papers from Ghana related to the Fall Holy Days, and hope that we will be better able to assist them in understanding God’s plan of salvation in more detail.

The Feast of Tabernacles is Upon Us!

It is almost the start of the Feast of Tabernacles which begins at sunset September 27th this year, and with the Last Great Day, continues through sunset October 5th.

This date is basically kept like a Sabbath, but with fasting.  Holy Day Offerings are normally also taken up on it.

It is a time to go where God wants you to and to rejoice:

22 “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. 23 And you shall eat before the Lord your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. 24 But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the Lord your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the Lord your God has blessed you, 25 then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. 26 And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. 27 You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you. (Deuteronomy 14:22-27)

Those who can will travel (Deuteronomy 14:23-26) to a Feast site.  Those who cannot may wish to consider the possibility to not sleep in their houses during the time of the Feast.  If they are physically and financially able, they may wish to try to sleep in some type of temporary dwelling like a hotel, motel, camper, or a tent (including perhaps one in one’s own home).  In ancient Israel, those who did not travel (as well as native Israelites that did) made ‘booths’ of branches on top of their roofs (Leviticus 23:40) and slept in them for the seven days of the Feast (Leviticus 23:42), and some slept for the entire eight days (though the Bible only mentions seven days).  Staying in ‘temporary dwellings,’ of whatever sort, helps convey that this age is temporal and a new millennial age is coming.

Here is a link to our Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2015.

The first day of the Feast of Tabernacles is kept like a Sabbath, as it is also a day of rest and a holy convocation as is the eighth day, also known as the Last Great Day (John 7:37). Christians should pray and attend services and/or watch messages on each of the eight days. An offering is normally also taken up on the first and eighth day (cf. Deuteronomy 16:16). But the other days are NOT kept like the Sabbath, meaning that one can engage in regular physical work on those days.

Also, if you attend a site, including a video one, remember to be an ambassador for Jesus Christ and God’s Kingdom:

Ambassadors for the Kingdom

…Infused with godly hope and vision, we should resolve to act as ambassadors for the Kingdom of God (II Cor. 5:20). A key part in this we have already covered — following instructions. Another important part we all have to play is to prepare, mentally and spiritually, to endure some inconveniences at the Feast. There are no perfect Feast sites, for the Church itself is still imperfect.

Resolve now, well ahead of time, to accept trials and setbacks as challenges, hurdles to overcome, prods to our resourcefulness, stimulants (Isa. 1:4). Be thankful for sticky problems (Rom. 5:3). …

“Peculiar people” (I Pet. 2:9)? Yes! Peculiar and unconquerable (Rom. 8:37). Some get frustrated at the mammoth crowds at some Feast sites. They abandon as hopeless one of the special benefits of the Feast of Tabernacles — the mutual support and strength derived from active fellowship with other members of the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:14). Try this. Rather than selfishly resenting the big crowds, take the brethren one at a time. Radiate warmth and affection for those around you (Prov. 15:15). A little leaven does leaven the whole lump, after all (I Cor. 5:6).

These people at the Festival are our brethren, everyone of them purchased with the shed blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). Some have their own successful businesses. Some are Ph.D.s. Some have fought wars in far-flung parts of the world. Some are pressured ladies with hostile mates waiting at home. Some are single parents walking the financial and emotional tightrope.

Many are strangers, lonely, widows and new members who don’t know a soul. And you can help. Maybe your family has a little time on its hands. Perhaps as a single adult you have a little extra second tithe. Why not set aside some time for some of the loners you notice? This is a foretaste of your role in the Kingdom of God. It’s living like Jesus Christ: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40).

More blessed to give

Hundreds of brethren each year find that the Feast of Tabernacles was the pivotal experience to bring them out of themselves a little more — the time they learned more deeply how much more blessed it is to give than receive (Acts 20:35). …

Of course, when hundreds and hundreds of God’s people gather we should all understand that there are scores of new members with children trying to “learn the ropes,” or teens not yet convinced that this is for them. The Feast is an excellent time for us all to learn the big picture: “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth” (Rom. 14:4).

Give people the benefit of the doubt. Nothing short-circuits our own joy like petty criticism and self-righteous nit-picking (Gal. 5:15). Learning to understand and tolerate other people is a requirement for successful community relationships, an essential character trait required in those called to government posts in the Kingdom of God. Perhaps now we grasp more clearly the dynamic lessons and principles permeating each Feast of Tabernacles!

The fact is that humanity has lost the art of successful human relationships. Yet each Feast site is a miniature community, after all, a minute foretaste of an organizational pattern based on God’s law of give. The lesson? Enjoying other people, learning to tolerate their idiosyncrasies, submitting to order and directions — all this is pioneering a way out for a hopeless humanity (Isa. 59:9, Matt. 5:14).

God’s kind of Christianity works! It transforms people. It leavens community relations (Matt. 13:33). It will change the world, ultimately.

As one dedicated, highly motivated, submissive implement in God’s hands, God’s people will write another lesson of order and unity at the…Feast of Tabernacles. The stakes are high: Can God take multiple thousands of human beings, give them His Spirit and produce not just unity and order, but rejoicing? If so, we have discovered the practical keys to peace on earth.

What a challenge — what a calling! Will we grasp it more clearly this year at God’s great Feast of Tabernacles, a feast of joy? (Earle N. Make This a Feast of Joy. Good News, September 1982)

Please obey God and keep the Feast of Tabernacles as He would want you to (see also How to Keep God’s Festivals).

Canadian Registration and Bank

Now that the Continuing Church of God in Canada has been granted charitable tax exempt status, we needed to work on getting a separate bank account.

We have been working on this, so it is now established. This means that the Continuing Church of God in Canada can receive donations via cash, check, or money order.  One of the next steps will be to see about accepting PayPal for Canadian residents only.

Slightly Modified Repeat Announcement: Feast Holy Day Offerings for Canada

Because of how Canadian and USA income tax rules go, I have some requests related to the Holy Day offerings to be taken up in Canada during the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day.

Those of you from Canada should give offerings in your currency.  They will go to the ContinuingChurch of God, Canada.  You also will be able to handle them as charitable deductions on your personal income tax.

Those of you from the USA who are attending in Canada should give offerings at the Canadian site in US dollars.  You can write checks, use money orders, and/or give cash.  This money will be collected by me when I am in Canada and I will take it back to the USA.   You also will be able to handle them as charitable deductions on your personal income tax.  Even if you do not need or cannot use the tax deduction, I still ask you to do it this way.

Why?

The work in Canada simply does not need the funds as much as we can more efficiently use them in the USA.  In the USA we have more freedom in giving the money to places like Africa.  And while that can be done in Canada (and that is the plan for some of the Canadian income), the rules and paperwork requirements are high.  It is currently simply easier for the work for your offerings to go to the USA.  In the old Worldwide Church of God they use to tell people traveling outside the USA to send their Holy Day offerings to Pasadena, instead of at the international Feast site.

For us now, it will work just fine for you to put USA on the outside of your Holy Day offering envelop and that way we will simply separate the offerings that way.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation on this.

BibleNewsProphecy Magazines Sent Out

Because we will be traveling for the Feast of Tabernacles, we decided to send the October-December edition of the BibleNewsProphecy magazine out already.

OCT-DEC_ENGLISH cover

We were able to send out both the English and Spanish language versions.

OCT-DEC_SPANISH cover

Additionally, we included envelopes that can be used for tithes and offerings.  While we normally do that, this time they reflect the new address we have in Grover Beach, California.

Anyway, both magazines are also available online.  Here is a link to the Spanish Octubre – Diciembre 2015 edition and here is a link to the English October – December 2015 edition.

World News Items

Europe and the USA are still attempting to figure out how to cope with the Syrian and Middle East migrant crisis. The USA announced it would take more (see USA proposes massively increasing number of migrants–a prelude to fulfilled prophecy? Donald Trump responds to Muslim question).  More and more in Europe are opposing taking more in (see EU nations push against migrant influx). A couple of days ago a ‘top Muslim preacher’ in Jerusalem called for these migrants to reproduce and essentially takeover the USA and Europe (see Middle Eastern migrants a terrorist threat and a ‘top Muslim preacher’ calls for them to takeover USA, Germany, Italy, and France).  There is a prophetic risk that some of these migrants will perform terroristic acts in the USA and elsewhere (see Leviticus 26:14-17; Deuteronomy 32:25; Ezekiel 21:12; Psalms 73:12,19; Proverbs 1:25-27; Ecclesiastes 12:5).

Pope Francis visited Cuba and excited many there (see Pope Francis in Cuba; false prediction by PCG’s Gerald Flurry).  Pope Francis is currently in the USA.  He met with US President Obama Tuesday and Wednesday (see Pope Francis and Barack Obama Meeting on the Day of Atonement).  He spoke to a joint session of Congress of the USA today.  Tomorrow he is scheduled to speak before the United Nations.  According to the Secretary General of the United Nations, the UN and that Vatican have the same agenda (for some specifics on that, see United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order?).  Later this month, the  United Nations is expected to formally adopt its ‘New Universal Agenda” which I have also called the ‘New Catholic Agenda’ (for more on that, watch UN’s ‘New Universal Agenda’ is a False Gospel!).  It would seem that Pope Francis will make comments supportive of that proposal at the UN.

A few days ago, US President Barack Obama pushed for the funding of Planned Parenthood by its Congress (see Barack Obama tells Congress to fund Planned Parenthood).  Many in the US Congress would like to stop funding this abortion-promoting, baby-part supplying, organization (see Planned Parenthood admits selling baby parts can provide ‘a fair income’; Republican candidates discuss defunding). But Planned Parenthood has many supporters, which does not bode well for the USA.

World News Daily wrongly continues to push the idea that the Great Tribulation or something may have happened because of its claimed Shemitah year (see, for example Dow Jones up in the ‘wake of the Shemitah’? and WND: ‘Its apocalypse now in Israel’).  There is to be a ‘blood moon’ around the start of the Feast of Tabernacles (depending upon your location) World News Dailyalso keeps hyping its impact (one of its articles recently tried to falsely claim this upcoming blood moon was ‘supernatural’).  As most of you already know, I have repeatedly denounced the hype associated with the blood moons of 2014 and 2015 (see Blood Moons and Prophecy).  While world events of prophetic interest are likely to take place this month, they are not biblically-connected to this ‘blood moon’ nor the claimed Shemitah year.

2 Thus says the Lord:

“Do not learn the way of the Gentiles;
Do not be dismayed at the signs of heaven,
For the Gentiles are dismayed at them.  (Jeremiah 10:2)

Naturally occurring blood moons are fascinating to see, but they are not one of the signs to signal the Great Tribulation or a number of other events others have alluded to.

We in the Continuing Church of God strive to always rely on the Bible for our prophetic understandings and teachings and do “have also a more sure word of prophecy” (2 Peter 1:19, KJV).

In other religious news, instead of keeping the biblical Feast of Tabernacles, Muslims try to keep a pilgrimage festival known as the Hajj.  In it, they supposedly re-enact something that biblically did not happen (supposedly involving Abraham throwing rocks at the devil).  Anyway, for whatever reason, this event has resulted in much pain at the Hajj, with over 700 dying this year and over 800 injured (see Enactment of a non-biblical event results in over 700 killed in Saudi Arabia)–back in 1990 over 1400 were killed.  The world needs the kingdom of God, which is pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles, and not satanic holidays that do not lead to the way of peace.

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is our suggested format for Sabbath services 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 someChoral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette, which for many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one titled: Forgiveness Benefits the Forgiver. 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 many who receive this letter via email will be a recorded one. The one suggested for this week is: Proverbs: Following God’s Advice. 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 that we list each week. 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.

Suggested First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles’ Service

Here is a link to our ‘opening night’ message for the Feast of Tabernacles in 2015: Feast of Tabernacles 2015 Opening Night Message.

Here is our suggested format for the daytime service for the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles:

Other sermons are available if you wish to hold double services.

A sermonette message that many will watch later during the Feast this year is Behind The Work 2015: Technology and the Gospel.  Other possible sermonettes are at the Bible News Prophecychannel.

Since all should attend, or at least watch, services each day, there are many sermons and sermonettes are available at the following link: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2015.

It is our hope to post the sermons given this year in the USA and Canada online during the Feast of Tabernacles at the ContinuingCOG channel.  They also may be posted at CCOG.org and other sites.

Concluding Comments

The Apostle Paul declared:

21 I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem (Acts 18:21)

7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

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

Jesus kept the Feasts (Luke 22:8,14-16; John 7:11-39).

Brethren and co-workers, keep the Feasts of God.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer
Continuing Church of God