Sunday, April 14, 2019

Letter to the Brethren: April 14, 2019

Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:

Greetings from Owensboro, Kentucky.

Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread will soon be here!

We have been in great anticipation for them!


A dear brother in Kenya, Brother George Owato, wrote us recently and shared this with us:

Thank you Minister Garrett. I feel happy and blessed to be associated with you and your ministry at the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ!

Well George, we're happy to have you associated with us, and as many people as you can find in your area that want to become regular listeners to these sermons we encourage you to get them to do so. We appreciate it. Your note was deeply satisfying! So may God bless you and the people who are with you, and may He lead you into the truth of God. The Word of God, the Truth of God, and understanding the Plan of God, which is what we mainly talk about here.

Passover 2019

The ancient children of Israel were told to observe the Passover in the Book of Exodus. And, families took a male lamb or goat, without blemish (Exodus 12:5), for a sacrifice (Exodus 12:3-4). And, this male lamb was sacrificed on the fourteenth of the month at "twilight" (Exodus 12:6), and some of its blood was to be placed on the two doorposts and at the top of the door of their home's (Exodus 12:7).

Those who took these step's and obeyed were "passed over" from the death angel, whereas who ever did not, their firstborn (animal's included) were killed (Exodus 12:28-30).

Jesus Christ observed the Passover annually (Exodus 13:10), even from the time of His youth (Luke 2:41-42), and throughout His life (Luke 22:15).

Passover, indeed, was observed on the fourteenth day of the month of "the first month" (Leviticus 23:5; which is called Abib in Deuteronomy 16:1, and Nisan in Esther 3:7). It occurs in the Spring.

This year it is observed after sunset on April 18th.

And, although our Lord Jesus changed several practices associated with it (Luke 22:19-22; John 13:1-17), our Savior told His disciples to observe it (Luke 22:7-13). The New Testament is clear, that because of Jesus Christ's sacrifice, the killing of a sheep or goat, and the placing of blood on doorposts (Exodus 12:6-7) is NO LONGER NEEDED! (cf. Hebrews 7:12-13, 26-27; 9:11-28.

Brother Paul taught us that Christians are to keep Passover in accordance with Jesus Christ's instructions (1 Corinthians 5:7-8; 11:23-26).

Our Savior "was foreordained before the foundation of the kosmos (world, universe)"  (1 Peter 1:20) to be "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the kosmos (world, universe)" (Revelation 13:8). Almighty God's Plan of salvation pictured through His Holy Days and festivals, including Jesus Christ being our "Passover Lamb" was known long before there was even a universe! That is one of the reasons why celestial bodies were placed in the heavens, to aid in the calculation of His Holy Days and feast's in their proper season (cf. Genesis 1:14).

On our Savior's last Passover as a human being, He kept the Passover in the late evening and told His disciples to do the same (Luke 22:14-19; cf. John 13:2, 12-15) - on the 14th of Nisan/Abib (cf. Luke 22:14; 23:52-54).

Our Savior changed several of the practices associated with observing the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. He made unleavened bread and wine an integral part (Matthew 26:18, 26-30).

Minister Michael C. had this to say concerning the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread:

"Well, because it sounded too much like the so-called 'Easter story,' ministers in the Worldwide Church of God almost NEVER made mention of the historical fact that the resurrection of Jesus Christ occurred right smack dab in the middle of the Days of Unleavened Bread! And that should have been part of the story from the beginning! That Unleavened Bread - a part of it; the meaning of it is that LIFE CAME BACK TO LIFE! The Bread of Life was alive! And because He walked out of that tomb, He blazed a path where all of us, someday, can walk out of our tomb, our grave! But why deny yourself part of the story!? Because the churches of this world has it mixed up!? I don't care what they've got messed up! I want to know what God said, and He says it in His Book! 'He walked out of His tomb on the Days of Unleavened Bread'! It's a wonderful part of the story! And yet, it wasn't even talked about much because it sounded too much like Easter. That was my experience. Maybe with you, it was something else."

Our Savior also added the practice of foot washing (John 13:12-17).

Unleavened Bread and wine
Now, Jesus taught that it was to be an annual Passover, and He did not teach that it was to be Sunday morning like those who follow Greco-Roman traditions do. Passover is only to be taken by properly baptized Christians (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:27-29; Romans 6:3-10; Exodus 12:48; Numbers 9:14).

The Church of Rome (as well as many of its daughter churches - Protestant descendants) officially teaches that it keeps Passover, though calling it something completely different, and not keeping it as Jesus Christ did!

Also, despite the fact that Jesus turned water into wine (John 2:3-10) and the Greek term used in the New Testament for wine is oinos (cf. 1 Timothy 3:8), there are ones who claim that it was nothing more than grape juice or molasses, not fermented wine, that was used for Passover. The Jewish people themselves use wine at Passover. How do we know that grape juice was not used by Jesus Christ!?

Grapes normally are harvested around September and Passover is usually kept on the Gregorian calendar's month April. In the first century (Anno Domini), they did not have modern sterilization nor refrigeration. So, grape juice would have spoiled quickly after harvest and before Passover. Therefore, wine, which ferments, can remain unspoiled for that length of time. (The use of alcohol, such as wine, is endorsed at the Feast of Tabernacles, cf. Deuteronomy 26:14, but is not required).

Of course, as Paul wrote, "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation" (Ephesians 5:18; NKJV). Only a very small amount of wine is normally consumed at Passover (about a teaspoon or less - sensitive individuals could take even less).

And concerning last week's sermon Message from Minister Garrett, and Apostle Paul, under inspiration of God's Spirit:

"Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord. 28) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread [which represents the very Body of our living Savior] and drink of the cup [which represents the blood of our living Savior which was shed for us]. 29) For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's Body" - 1 Corinthians 11:27-29; NKJV.

So, Paul is clearly teaching that to take this bread and wine, one should examine oneself. The main meaning of the Days of Unleavened Bread - for seven days we are to only eat unleavened bread and avoid leavened bread. 

Minister Garrett explains it this way:

"And the Worldwide Church of God soiled the minds of many people about the true meaning and the teaching points which are associated with the Days of Unleavened Bread. Many of those misconceptions continue to grip many people - many church groups. And, the Worldwide Church of God basically taught, what I call, ritualistic housecleaning. And for most people of the Worldwide Church of God and many descendants from her, the Days of Unleavened Bread was about a campaign to “find leavening.” And they always said that leaven was an equal synonymous term with sin. So, you would normally hear the following comment. I’m going to copy now what was said hundred’s of thousands of times – and you would hear, “YOU MUST PUT SINNNNN OUT OF YOUR LIFE!” And then they would jump from there to say, “Leavening equals sin.” And so they would jump to the next conclusion, “You MUST go around finding every little particle of nine month old cookies! Wherever they might be!” And they taught that has one of the main meaning’s of the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Well, I think they misinterpreted, and misrepresented what the Days are supposed to mean. The meaning of the Days of Unleavened Bread is powerful! And, it’s not just one meaning – it’s truly like an onion. I think I complied one time about EIGHT different major teaching point’s from the Days of Unleavened Bread – from the Passover through the Days of Unleavened Bread. And each have a powerful Message. And not one of them has to do with – “You MUST find leavening!” … And all of these Holy Days – if you understand them – are what I like to call Christocentric. Meaning they are centered about and around Jesus Christ!"

The New Testament records that both Jesus Christ our Lord and Paul taught to observe Passover in the Christian manner.

And that it was annual.

We have an online video service for Passover  for those in areas without a local minister or brethren nearby. Here is a link: Passover - 2017.

Also, some of you may wish to read the article - Prepare for the Passover 2019.

Don't focus on going through a "house cleaning" ritual, let's examine our spiritual life now as Passover is approaching.

Visiting Trip

As a reminder, Deacon Treavor Koonce and his family are planning to visit the Owensboro congregation from their home in Illinois. They intend to be in Owensboro, Kentucky June 15th for Sabbath services. They would like to welcome all who wish to attend. If you wish to attend services there, please contact Michael C. Garrett - his email address is

Deacon Trevor and family has requested prayers from the brethren for God's guidance, protection, and wisdom on this trip.

World News Items:

The Trump Administration is threatening Europe with even more tariffs that the EU is none too happy about (See: From jets to cheese: Trump wants to impose new tariffs on EU). Also, because of Brexit concerns and other factors, the Germany economy already seems to be wobbling (See: German exports hit by global slowdown in demand). But even if Europe's economy gets even worse, we know biblically it will reorganize (cf. Revelation 17:12-13). And, there are anti-migrant parties in Europe that hope to cause a reorganization after EU wide elections next month (See: Euroskeptic, anti-immigrant parties team up for EU election). So, while the reorganization of Rev. 17:13 will NOT occur in 2019, one day Europe will rise up temporarily to dominate the world's economy per Revelation 13, 17, 18). Should we factor the U.S.'s technologies to be involved?

As far as the United States of America, one study from 2015 shows that its residents are becoming more Godless, while another study found that more Americans are seeing the U.S. declining (See: Survey Finds Shift in Number of Nonreligious Americans; also Is America becoming Godless? The number of people who have no religion has risen 266 percent - one third of the population - in three decades.) Without national repentance, the United States will not fare well (cf. Habakkuk 2:6-8).

Also, in the United Kingdom: The U.K. arrested Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange on behalf of the U.S. And the EU has granted the UK an extension of Brexit until Oct. 31, 2019.

(See: WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Arrested in London). Brexit has upset the EU. These matters will not end well for the U.K. nor the U.S. (cf. Daniel 8:24-25; 11:39).

In the nation called Israel there have been a couple of developments. First, the Temple Institute announced the birth of two additional 'red heifer candidates' (See: Sabbath of the Red Heifer: 2 more). The Temple Institute believes that it needs one to purify or cleanse the temple area prior to the reinstitution of the daily sacrifices - which biblically we know will happen (cf. Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11).

The other development in the nation called Israel was the national election. And, at this moment, it looks as if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected for a record 5th term! (See: Israeli Election Puts Netanyahu On Track for Fifth Term). This, of course, has further inflamed Iran, Syria, and the Palestinians. We will see even greater violence!!

Suggested Sabbath Service:

Here is a suggested Sabbath service for this week for our scattered brethren:

* 2-3 hymns.
* Opening prayer.
* Sermonette (if you choose). The one suggested for this week is: Passover Message - 2014.
* Announcements (if any). 
* Sermon. The one suggested for this week is: Passover Message - 2017. Other sermons are available
   at Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ YouTube channel.
* Final hymn.
* Closing prayer.

Concluding comments:

Minister Garrett has said:

"1st Corinthians 13:1 – “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” – just a little toy. I can remember way back, when I was about ten or eleven years old. I was picked by my music teacher. I think there was three of us altogether. And we were picked to learn a song – it might have been a Christmas song, I don’t remember. And we all showed up at this Order of the Eastern Star. And we were brought in to sing, and for our performance we were given these little brass bells. I still have it – somewhere it’s still at the house. That was our pay. Well every time I read this – a person can have this wonderful speaking voice, and yet if they have not love they’re nothing more than sounding brass as a tinkling cymbal. Verse 2 – “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understanding all mysteries and all knowledge and though I have all faith, so that [theoretically] I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing [in the eyes of God]. 3) And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned [some type of horrible martyrdom], but have not love, it profits me nothing.” – ‘though I’m given a title!’ A church title – maybe like ‘minister,’ ‘ordained minister.’ And yet I have NOT Godly love - in the eyes of God you are nothing! There’s that one scene where Jesus Christ talks about people coming to Him – this is after He has returned – and apparently are locked out of being a part of the Kingdom of God. And they go, “Lord, Lord, don’t you know who we are!? Why I did these wonderful thing’s in Your name! I had church services, I formed churches, I did miracles, blah, blah, blah. Let me in!” And Jesus Christ says, “I never knew you!” You see, it’s not what people say about you that counts, it’s what God the Father and Jesus Christ say about you that counts. Verse 4 – “[Charity] …” -it’s just an old fashioned word, meaning “Godly love.” “[Godly] love suffers long and is kind; [Godly] love does not envy; [Godly] love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5) does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not [easily] provoked, thinks no evil; 6) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7) [Godly love] bears all things, …” – which means if your fellow church member has a weakness, you still – do you remember the song quite a few years ago, “He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother”? Well, we get a lot of people on the church scene now, if someone is suspected of having some little minor flaw – then, “Away with them!” Throw them away like a piece of trash! “[Godly love] bears all things, believes [the positive; I’m sure that’s what Paul meant] …” – he didn’t say believe all the rumors you hear that are false. I think he meant, ‘believe the good side of the story.’ “…[Godly love] hopes all things, endures all things. 8) [Godly] love never fails. …” – so, if the love which was once expressed among people disintegrates, that love was never Godly. It was just a human love. Human love can come, and human love can go. Godly love is unconditional. It’s like the love of a parent for a child, or a grandchild. You might have a child that has done some thing’s wrong, but for most parents, they may be disappointed in their child, but they are not rejecting their child. They still love him, or they still love her. They still want to help them. Godly love endures. Think about all the people who say, “I love you!” And then they walk down the isle at the wedding chapel, and then five-years later, “I hate you!” You get my picture. Human love, sometimes, doesn’t last very long. And any human love that does not last very long, is by its definition, not Godly love. Because, Godly love ‘never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they [could] fail; …” – they could, possibly. “…whether there are tongues, they [might] cease; …” – the Latin language, basically, isn’t used anymore. “…whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9) For we know in part and we prophesy in part.” – and keep that in mind, ‘we prophesy in part.’ When we talk about what we think is gonna happen in the future, we’re just giving our best estimate. Based upon what we can see at the present. Knowing that a year or two down the road we may have a more deeper understanding, or a more clear understanding. Verse 10 – “But when that which is perfect has come, …” – meaning Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ comes back to the earth and establishes the Kingdom of God. “…then that which is in part will be done away. 11) When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12) For now we see in a mirror, dimly, …” – like a smoked piece of glass, you can sort of vaguely see through it, but you can’t see very well. “…but then …” – when Jesus Christ Returns and sets up the Kingdom of God, and we who have God’s Spirit are inducted into the Family of God. “…but then [we will see] face to face. Now I know in part, but then [with the establishment of the Kingdom of God] I shall know just as I also am known [by God]. 13) And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” – the greatest trait you can possess is Godly love."


Leonard V. Johnson

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