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Letter to the Brethren: September 29, 2021

Letter to the Brethren: September 29, 2021

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings brethren around the world.

Feast of Trumpets 2022

The Feast of Trumpets went well in the Five Cities area of California and elsewhere based on the reports I have received.

Here is a report from deacon Koang Deng from Ethiopia:

Dear Elders:Thank to our God of showing love to those who fear his voice and of keeping his commandments.We are a very thankful for your help.Those who participated today were more 30 in number including children.Thank you

Here is a report related to Malawi and Mozambique:

Greetings Dr Bob,Let me report that the Feast of Trumpets we we both Malawi and MozambiqueWe had the following siteMigowiDomasiNasiyayaChiringaMwanzaZombaI have received phone calls from all the site that things went wellBest regardsRadson Mulozowa

The Feast of Trumpets was observed by CCOG members around the world.

Day of Atonement

(Public Domain Pictures)

The Day of Atonement is almost upon us. This year it starts at sunset October 4th and runs through sunset October 5th. With the exception of offerings and fasting, it is observed like a regular weekly Sabbath.

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

The Bible teaches:

26 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27 “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. 28 And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32 It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.” (Leviticus 23:26-32).

7 ‘On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall afflict your souls; you shall not do any work. (Numbers 29:7)

Fasting is historically mainly how the phrase “afflict your souls” has been interpreted by the Jewish and Church of God communities (this is also verified by such passages as Psalm 35:13; 69:10 and Isaiah 58:5) to mean fasting, unless one is somehow ill, and thus is already afflicted. Evening to evening means from sunset to sunset.

The New Testament itself calls the Day of Atonement, “the Fast” (Acts 27:9), which not only indicates that the Apostle Paul was keeping it (which he would be per statements in Acts 21:18-24; 28:17), but that Greek-named Theophilus (the Christian which the Book of Acts was addressed to in Acts 1:1), also must have been or another term would have been substituted.

Observant individuals affiliated with the Churches of God will fast from sunset this night until sunset the next night (if they are physically able–nursing mothers, small children, pregnant women, and various afflicted others are not expected to fast–this is consistent with Jewish practices in this area as well). In this fast we go without food or drink.

Oddly, one Protestant report claims that one reason Christians do not need to keep the Day of Atonement is because there is no Jewish temple today (Cocherell BL. SHOULD THE FOLLOWERS OF CHRIST FAST ON THE DAY OF ATONEMENT?). Yet, the biblical reality is that the children of Israel kept the Day of Atonement for centuries before there was a temple and the other reality is that the New Testament shows that Christians are now the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

In the Old Testament, the Day of Atonement included a ceremony with two goats. The second one, the Azazel goat, is sent to the wilderness (Leviticus 16:1-10) after the other goat is slain. Christians see this sending of the Azazel goat away as picturing the time during the millennium when Satan will be bound and sent away for a thousand years in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-4).

But the first goat was sacrificed by the High Priest on the Day of Atonement:

15 Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. 16 So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. (Leviticus 16:15-16)

Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, a goat is not sacrificed by Christians to observe this day (cf. Hebrews 10:1-10).

Yet, although Jesus was our Passover lamb sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7-8), Romans 6:10, Hebrews 7:27, Hebrews 9:12, Hebrews 9:28, and Hebrews 10:10 teach that Jesus died ONCE for the sins of humanity.

Notice the following:

7 … 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)

But what about the sacrifice of a goat on the Day of Atonement in the Old Testament that symbolically took away the sins of the people? Doesn’t that also represent Jesus?

Yes, as the Book of Hebrews teaches:

11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:11-15)

24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another — 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:24-28)

So, Jesus was the atonement sacrifice as well.

Why two sacrifices since Jesus was only sacrificed once?

Because of how the biblical holy days picture God’s plan of salvation.

The biblical festivals begin with the sacrifice of Jesus (Passover), putting out sin (Days of Unleavened Bread), and the calling of the firstfruits in this age (Pentecost)–which is the beginning of the Church age (cf. Acts 2). The Church age ends when Jesus returns after the last trumpet is blown (Feast of Trumpets sets off a sequence of seven trumpets). The Day of Atonement comes after the Feast of Trumpets and, in sequence, happens AFTER the church age ends.

The original Passover only resulted in the children of Israel being passed over for their sins. In this age, those who are true Christians claim the sacrifice of Jesus on His final earthly Passover for paying the penalty for our sins. But real Christians are a small minority of the population of the world (Luke 12:32; Romans 11:5).

Since the Bible calls Satan “the god of this age” who has “blinded” the world (2 Corinthians 4:4), most have been blinded and have not yet been covered by the sacrifice of Jesus. Yet this will happen for nearly all who will be called–either in this age or the age to come (Matthew 12:32). Showing the sacrifice, ceremonially after the church age ends, helps demonstrate that the sacrifice of Jesus was not just for those called in the church age, as God’s plan includes offering salvation to all, and not just today’s elect. This is something almost none outside of the CCOG understand.

By showing the sacrifice prior to the other goat being released, this shows that Jesus was not taking away the sins of Satan.

Jesus took the penalty of all human beings. But it doesn’t apply to humans until after God calls us and grants us repentance (John 6:44) and we come to be willing to repent and we come to believe. Not only in Jesus, but we believe the Son and we believe the Father, that is, we believe what They say.  Also, we prove it by repenting, being baptized, being granted the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38) and actually trying to live as They would have us live (cf. 1 John 2:6).

Jesus’ Passover sacrifice pictured His sacrifice for those called during the Church age, whereas the Atonement sacrifice pictures that Jesus did NOT JUST DIE FOR THE ELECT but for all. That is also related to Him returning the second time for salvation!

This is a truth that has been restored in the Continuing Church of God.

That said, we know that the Day of Atonement was kept in the 4th century according to John Chrysostom who preached against it (John Chrysostom. Homily I Against the Jews I:5;VI:5;VII:2).

This can also be seen in Canon 69/70 of the Syrian Apostolic Canons near this time which tried to ban it (Seaver JE.  Persecution of the Jews in the Roman Empire (300-438), Issue 30 of University of Kansas publications: Humanistic studies. University of Kansas Publications, 1952, pp. 34-35).

A Muslim document, dated from the period of the fifth-tenth century, states that Jesus and His disciples kept the fast on the same days as the Jews. It indicates that Judeo-Christians were still keeping the Day of Atonement while the Greco-Romans came up with a 50 day Lenten-fasting period that Jesus did not keep (Tomson P. Lambers-Petry L. The Image of the Judaeo-Christians in Ancient Jewish and Christian Literature, Volume 158, 2003, pp. 70-72; Stern SM. Quotations from Apocryphal Gospels in ‘Abd Al-Jabbar. Journal of Theological Studies, NS. Vol. XVIII, (1) April 1967: 34-57).  Reports from other historians support this view (e.g. Pines, pp. 32-34). Furthermore, we see historical reports that it was still being kept in Transylvania in the 16th century (Liechty, pp. 61-62).

The old Radio and Worldwide Church of God observed the Day of Atonement (and the other Holy Days) throughout the 20th century. We in the Continuing Church of God continue to observe it today.

Feast of Tabernacles and Serbia Site

The Feast of Tabernacles for 2022 is fast approaching. Services for the Feast of Tabernacles are to begin the evening of October 9th and continue until the Last Great Day which is October 17th in 2022.

We have sites in many locations around the world.

A Feast of Tabernacles site has been setup in central Serbia, in the spa city of Vrnjačka Banja. At this instant, we expect this to be our only ‘regular’ European Feast of Tabernacles’ site in 2022. Serbia is inexpensive by European standards. For more information, contact Alexsandar ‘Sasha’ Veljic, email

God commands His people to observe the Feast of Tabernacles, so if you have not already done so, please email the appropriate person for the site you want to attend.

For information on the CCOG sites, check out the article: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2022.

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 Day of Atonement Services

Here is a suggested Day of Atonement service for our scattered brethren and other interested people:

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

  • 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 some Choral Accompaniment online).
  • Opening prayer.
  • Sermonette: Fasting.
  • Announcements (if any) and one hymn.
  • The suggested sermon, which for most who receive this letter via email, will be a recorded one. The suggested one is: Jesus THE Atonement. Here is a link to a sermon translated into Spanish: La expiacion, Jesus y Satanas.
  • Final hymn.
  • Closing prayer.

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

World News Items

At the United Nations General Assembly, multiple leaders called for a “two-state solution” between Israel and the Palestinians (see More calls for a ‘two-state solution’ regarding Israel and Palestine). According to the Bible, the time will come when there will be a temporary ‘peace deal’ in the general region (see the article The ‘Peace Deal’ of Daniel 9:27)–such deals tend to come after wars or other violent conflict. A deal will come and it is likely that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will like the deal very much. The reality is that it will be broken and not end well for Israel. Lands that Israel currently claims will end up under control by those who are currently in opposition to Israel, according to the Bible.

Last week, a couple of Protestants pointed to the possibility of Jesus returning on the Feast of Trumpets–this is something I denounced (see Rapture next week? )–and, of course, Jesus did not return this week. Do not let various ones deceive you. In the CCOG, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19, KJV). That does not mean we know all the details and can never misspeak, but we have always, thus far, been correct when denouncing various predictions of the start of the Great Tribulation and the return of Jesus.

Concluding Comments

The Bible teaches:

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh — who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands — 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-13)

Brethren, the Day of Atonement helps picture that Jesus shed His blood for all–not just those called in this age,  but also for those in the age to come.


Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer