Letter to the Brethren: September 26, 2019

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings again from Grover Beach, California.

Now, the Holy Day season is just about upon us, starting with the Feast of Trumpets beginning after sunset September 29th. So if you need to, you should arrange to be off work and/or school from sunset September 29th to sunset September 30th. Our office will be closed during that time.

Since we videoed the sermon for the Feast of Trumpets last Sabbath, we did not make another sermon then. So, for this upcoming Sabbath, we are suggesting a sermon by Steve Dupuie. As it turned out, while giving the Feast of Trumpets ‘ message, some ideas occurred to me that I plan to look more into and provide clarifications on in the future.

Speaking of clarifications, I keep adding materials to the draft book, The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? The book is expected to be out in printed form no later than sometime in 2020.

Speaking of books, I am also working on another one related to how we differ from Protestants that was suggested by a Burundi minister who is in a Kenyan refugee camp. This book is hoped to be out in printed form in 2020.

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

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. 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–we also recently made a sermon about him: John Chrysostom, Holy Days, and Holidays).

Despite efforts from deceivers, those trying to be faithful have continued to observe the Feast of Trumpets. The Continuing Church of God does so now.

Feast of Tabernacles and St. Louis Parking & Optional Activities

Feast of Tabernacles’ services will begin the evening of October 13th and run through (including the Last Great Day) October 21st, 2019.

Here is a link to: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2019.

The St. Louis site is at The Westin St. Louis Hotel, 811 Spruce Street. If they valet park your car it is $30.00 per night plus tax and tip. Self-Parking for overnight guests is free. For those who attend the Feast site, but do not stay at the hotel, we have arranged to give all who tell us in advance of the Feast, free parking stickers.

We do have an optional activity in mind for after services on October 16th in St. Louis. That would be going to the Saint Louis Zoo, Government Dr, St. Louis, MO 63110. Admission to the zoo is free (though you have to pay to park if you drive). But they do sell optional items (like a mini-train ride, watch certain shows, etc.). Also, traditionally many of us get together for a dinner, and while a location would need to be determined, it would probably be around 6:00 pm somewhere in St. Louis–you would pay for your own meal and drinks.

You can click here to view an online St. Louis Visitors’ Guide or click here to get a free printed St. Louis Visitors’ Guide mailed to you from the local tourist bureau.

Report from the Rift Valley in Kenya

Pastor Tiongik Sawek sent in the following report:

23TH SEPTEMBER 2019

REPORT FROM KENYA, SOUTH RIFT BOMET

I great you in the name of Jesus Christ. My return to Bomet was mainly to bring together the Brethren whom I did not meet with in my first journey like the brethren from Chebirbelek whom I have been talking with him three years now and that I have travel to his place 70km away from Bomet and the Brethren from Kiromwok 40km away though Bomet, the roads are impassible with huge fare charges but we tried our level best to reach there.

Two Brethren from Bomet church also attended the meeting, Mr. Richard Rono and Thomas Koskei. Mr. Richard Rono is resident of Bomet neighbouring the Bomet town while Thomas Koskei is currently living in Chesoen about 30km away from Bomet town. The elders that we met at Kiromwok were three. Two of us from Chilani attended the meeting, one of them was Brother David Langat and Pastor Sawek. Brother David Langat has done a wonderful job this year in Bomet and he will continue to serve in Bomet for ever since Thomas Koskei had an accident and got his leg broken and moved to Chesoen, I was only Richard Rono who assisted David Langat in the ministry.

The church has now been strengthen because Kiromwok in Bomet County is within the Bomet local same case to Chebirbelek and Chepkosa local churches. All the elders present agreed that they are going to join hands and work together for the common good of the church. They are also going to assemble themselves at one venue for the feast of tabernacles. We had an elders meeting on Thursday, whereby I strengthen by telling them that uniting will make the church progress again I reminded them that one should not be drouble tongued. After the elders meeting we prayed and put everything on the hands of the lord so that may be able to sheperd the flock. (Acts 20:28).

On Friday we also introduce each other brethren’s from that area at the house of brother Ketwony. The following morning we held Sabbath service whereby Brother David Langat taught the Ten Commandments and then from 12:00pm to 2:00pm Pastor Sawek taught on keeping the Sabbath holy, keeping the lords feast and love among brethren’s.

We also informed them that Evangelist Ochieng will also visit them in the near future. (Philiphians 1:27). These brethren’s have also try to construct the church in which they have roofed halfway and they have covered the sides with the tents. I will send to you three photos on for the congregation outside the church and two for the elders. Pray for these brethren so that the lord might assist them to get the iron sheets to complete the church.

Lord bless you Pastor Sawek.

  

Those in the Rift Valley are relatively new as they do not have a prior Church of God background–but the message is taking hold in that region.

World News Items

The Federalist reported that a maritime conflict between the USA and Europe is inevitable (see PESCO, Daniel 11:30, and American naval forces). It is also consistent with various biblical prophecies (cf. Numbers 24:24; Daniel 11:30). This week’s recommended sermonette is related to that: A US naval conflict with Europe is prophesied.

Speaking of conflict, Iran has made threats that it will take steps if action is taken against it for the destruction of some Saudi Arabian oil facilities (see ‘Iran warns foreign forces to stay out of Gulf, amid new US deployment’). One day, Iran could cause great damage to Jerusalem (Isaiah 22:6-9), but is subject to be devastated (Jeremiah 49:34-38).

The American multinational investment bank and financial services company Goldman Sachs warned that financial markets could see chaos next month (see ‘Goldman Sachs Has Just Issued An Ominous Warning About Stock Market Chaos In October’). Sometimes, we see financial market disruption coinciding with the Fall Holy Day season.

As far as disruptions go, US House of Representatives’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for an impeachment inquiry allegedly because of a telephone call Donald Trump made in July with the president of Ukraine (see Donald Trump impeachment and USA hypocrisy). The hypocrisy of the USA will one day catch up with it and this will not end well (Isaiah 10:5-6; Daniel 11:39).

Over at the United Nations, they pushed for a climate change agenda that US President Donald Trump did not attend (see UN: World & Religious Leaders make climate change statements; Donald Trump did not attend Climate Action Summit 2019). He pushed for a nationalist agenda that was contradicted at the UN yesterday by Germany’s Foreign Minister (see At UN, Heiko Maas contradicts Donald Trump vision and pushes for the New World Order). The USA is getting increasingly isolated and Europe wants to unite and rise above it–and this will happen (cf. Revelation 13:1-18; Daniel 11:39).

It was announced that work on a three religious building complex with a shared foundation is to begin in 2020. This complex, called the Abrahamic Family House, is to have a synagogue, mosque, and a church–this is something that Vatican has been promoting as part of its inter-faith agenda (see ‘The Catholic-Muslim Interfaith Council Created By Pope Francis Announces New Chrislam Headquarters Opening In 2022’). While many will like this, this will ultimately not end well (cf. Revelation 18).

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 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.

Feast of Trumpets Service

The Fall Holy Days are coming up soon, with the Feast of Trumpets which begins at sunset on September 29th this year.

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for the Feast of Trumpets this year:

For those wishing a second service for the Feast of Trumpets, here is another possibility:

The next annual holy day will be the Day of Atonement, which begins at sunset on October 8th this year.

Concluding Comments

The Apostle Paul wrote:

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 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. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

Brethren, we do not want you to be ignorant either. God has a plan for true Jesus believers involving trumpets and us meeting Him. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer