Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from the Five Cities Region of California.

The Feast of Trumpets went well here.

Received post-Feast of Trumpets greetings from Haiti yesterday. The situation there is about the same and we provided support for the brethren in Haiti yesterday.

Deacon Koang Deng reported that the Feast of Trumpets also went well in both Gambella and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

Malawi Reports

CCOG evangelist Evans Ochieng spent the Feast of Trumpets in Malawi. Here is what he sent in two emails:

I will keep trumpets in Malawi.I have two big functions in Malawi.1- BAPTISM2- LEADERS MEETINGS AND FEAST SITES.I  will also check where Terry and his sons are going to stay.Another thing is about the growth and the projects in both countries.

Evans.

Greetings from Malawi.

I reached safe in Malawi and this time our migration didn’t asked anything. I travelled safe and the weather was good.Even in Malawi there was no problem at the airport. Just covid certificate only is what they want.I was received by deacon Molozwa and his wife plus the driver who was driving us.We didn’t stay in Lilongwe because I was rushing to meet brethren in Mwanza where I will do baptism tomorrow.I took time when teaching those who need baptism for a long time because I wanted them to know exactly what they undergoing. I don’t want make mistakes of baptizing members who doesn’t know the importance of baptism and the reason why they are being baptized.I will baptize 38 people tomorrow early in the morning.  After baptism I will go to migowi to meet all leaders from Malawi and Mozambique. Then after that I will go to a hotel where Terry and his sons will stay during their time in Mozambique and Malawi.  He will visit two feast sites in Malawi and Mozambique.  One will be in Chiringa and another one in Mwanza.I will have a very long teaching and discussion with leaders tomorrow.Again I will have meeting with molozwa and mpinji only two of them to discuss some matters between them.

Evans

Here is a photo of Evans Ochieng laying hands on some who were baptized yesterday:

Deacon Radson Mulozowa sent the following report today:

Greetings Dr Bob

Let me report that from the baptism in Mwanza we proceeded to migowi where pastor Evans meet leaders from Malawi and Mozambique at migowi hall, the meeting was very successful.Today we are traveling to lilongwe so he can sleep in lilongwe am his journey to KenyaBest regards

RADSON

Speaking of baptisms, we also had one baptism in the USA–Andre Nelson.

We pray that the door will be opened for Terry Nelson and his sons to fly into Malawi and then cross the border into Mozambique for the Feast of Tabernacles. There have been COVID restrictions that prevented such travel last year and so far this year. The Feast of Tabernacles is coming up soon and we are hopeful that the Nelsons will be allowed into both Malawi and Mozambique.

Day of Atonement


(Public Domain Pictures)

The Day of Atonement is almost upon us. This year it starts at sunset September 15th and runs through sunset September 16th. 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) and He was slain only once (Hebrews 9:28), we see a time in scripture, other than Passover, where Jesus is ceremonially slain.

Why?

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).

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

The Feast of Tabernacles for 2021 is fast approaching. My wife and I finally purchased airline tickets this week (we waited because of needed clarifications of airline and COVID matters), so we are scheduled to attend in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee as well as in Puerto Rico.

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

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

We received a report from New Zealand that its government is suppose to lift travel restrictions on the 14th of September. If that is the case, the people there can travel to the site in Rotorua.

In India, COVID rules are limiting the size of group meetings and a plan is in place to work through that.

In Canada, some restrictions have been lifted, but there still are concerns about crossing provincial borders.

Please pray that COVID restrictions will not unduly interfere with the Feast of Tabernacles at any of our sites.

For information on CCOG sites, check out the article: Feast of Tabernacles’ Sites for 2021.

On other festival matters, Steve Dupuie sent the following email request in yesterday:

Share the Feast with Photos with your Fellow Saints

Greetings Fellow Continuing Church of God Feast of Tabernacles attendees.

I would like to put together a slide show presentation of our Feast experience to share with our fellow (and fellowette) saints.

Please send me photos of the people, places and events of your Feasting Fellowship.

Send still photos of fellowship, fun places with others, portraits and baptisms.  Let your creativity be creative.

Also accepting videos of sermons, special music, special events, and profound orations (I can only include clips of videos due to their size).

We don’t have too many more Feasts left before “The Big One”, so…

Deut 14:26 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. and share the feast with photos.

P.S. I added the part in bold.

Please send photos and videos to steve.dupuie@yahoo.com

He tends to make some type of photo album video with them that helps show the brethren around the world.

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

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

The CBS program 60 Minutes reported that programs funded by the US military hope to stop pandemics in the future (see CBS: Military programs aiming to end pandemics forever; COGwriter: No, DARPA poses pestilential risk). Irrespective of USA plans, the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse will ride, a massive pandemic situation will happen, and many more than died from COVID-19 will die (Revelation 6:7-8).

In the Australian State of Victoria, its Premier Dan Andrews wants to force unvaccinated people to be able to participate in the ‘normal’ economy (see ‘Australian Authorities to “Lock Out” Unvaccinated From Being Able to Participate in the Economy’). Later today, Joe Biden is scheduled to put forth proposals to force/coerce Americans to get a COVID vaccine. The time for 666 control of buying and selling will come under the Beast (Revelation 13:16-18), but we have seen sign like it in several of the so-called ‘liberal democracies’ now. Furthermore, with its proposed “The American Families Plan Tax Compliance Agenda,” the Biden-Harris Administration is pushing for surveillance that could result in the control of buying and selling (see Reason: Biden’s Total Financial Surveillance; COGwriter: A move consistent with 666). The world is moving towards 666.

It was reported this week that some think that the European Union will break up (see ‘Will Germany Finally Start The EU Breakup?’). While the Bible does not specify the name that the power in Europe will be called (it may or may not be called the European Union), the Bible shows that Europe will reorganize and unify (Revelation 17:12-13) under the Beast of the Sea (Revelation 13:1-10; who is called the King of the North in Daniel 11). Despite future upheavals in Europe (and probably because of one or more), it will reorganize and rise up according to scripture (see also the 13th, 17th, and 18th chapters of the Book of Revelation).

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.

Sincerely,

Bob Thiel
Pastor and Overseer