Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Letter to our Friends - December 3, 2019

Michael C. Garrett
Pastor and Overseer

Dear Friends:

Greetings from Central Florida.

November 28th, 2019 was the American holiday called Thanksgiving. We hope and pray that all our American friends, as well as our Canadian friends - whether they kept it or not – indeed gave thanks to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is not of pagan origin. Here is an article by David J. Silverman in the Encyclopædia Britannica:
“Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. … The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “Thanksgivings,” days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought. … Sarah Josepha Hale, campaigned for a national Thanksgiving Day to promote unity. She finally won the support of President Abraham Lincoln. On October 3, 1863, during the Civil War, Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. The holiday was annually proclaimed by every president thereafter, and the date is chosen, with few exceptions, was the last Thursday in November.”
(Read More:
As Americans living in the United States, we learned early that our Thanksgiving Day comes from the group of people known as Pilgrims. As Christians, we are not required nor commanded to keep this national holiday. However, Jesus Christ Himself appeared to have kept a national Jewish holiday known as the Feast of Dedication – John 10:22-23.

Here is something Herbert Armstrong taught concerning this subject:
“How should we view the American custom of celebrating Thanksgiving Day?
The Thanksgiving holiday was established in comparatively recent years. It is, of course, not mentioned in Scripture — but the principle or attending and celebrating national holidays is made clear in Scripture.
Thanksgiving Day was established by the early colonists, not by any Divine authority. But this in itself does not make it wrong to celebrate with good fellowship. Notice the example of Jesus Christ. In John 10:22 we find that Christ attended the "Feast of Dedication," which was established by the Jews years before to commemorate the purification of the temple at Jerusalem. That day was celebrated on the anniversary of the day that the reestablishment or Divine worship occurred after Antiochus Epiphanes had been vanquished and the temple purified about 165 B.C.
Jesus' attendance at that annual holiday clearly illustrated that it is not wrong to attend or celebrate a national holiday established for an honorable purpose. There was nothing wrong with the Jews' celebrating the dedication of the temple and giving God special gratitude on that day. God led Esther and Mordecai to establish the Feast of Purim in commemoration of the miraculous deliverance or the Jews from bloody Haman (see the last chapter or Esther). …
What God expressly forbids is the observance of pagan festivals which were intended as deliberate substitutes for the plan and program of God. We are not to adopt in God's worship those customs which heathen used in serving their gods. But it is proper and fitting for national leaders to set aside time for the whole nation to give God special thanks for His unique bounty to this nation. …
But in the midst of the Thanksgiving season, let’s not neglect Paul’s command in Ephesians 5:20 to “give thanks always.” Let’s not make a mockery of God’s special blessings to this nation.”
(Letter 930; 1959).
Let us, friends, always give praise and thanks to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ for blessing us with the understanding of Their Plan of salvation. We should be thankful for being a part of those chosen in this age.
“Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name” – Psalm 30:4.
“Rejoice always, 17) pray without ceasing, 18) in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
Giving thanks to GOD for blessing us physically and spiritually, and having the opportunity to grow in Their grace and knowledge – the purpose of life itself and of God’s Way of life, of the glorious sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and for the opportunity for immortality and of eternal life which They have given to us is certainly very appropriate. Let us, friends, always be thankful for the understanding of GOD’s great Plan of redemption for mankind and the coming establishment of the Kingdom of God upon this earth for peace, abundance, and prosperity.

Friends, despite the very fact that God the Father and Jesus Christ will come along with the myriads of his holy ones [the holy saints of God], “to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 14. See also 1 Enoch 1:9), They do have a Plan to bring peace and prosperity to this planet! (See: Notes Concerning the Day of Atonement – Prophetically the Day of the LORD) and will offer salvation to all (See our sermon Salvation OFFERED To All).

Now, if one has a problem of conscience in celebrating Thanksgiving Day – then don’t. But, always give thanks and praise to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ!

Mystery of Salvation

Friends, additionally, for this week’s suggested Sabbath service, I suggest downloading our free online pdf article Notes Concerning The Feast of Tabernacles And The Last Great Day.

Here is the main point I am emphasizing which the 29-page article goes into:
“Revelation 10:7 – Now I’ve been saying for a long time. And for many of the times I have said it, the people to whom I have spoken to, simply did not understand what I was saying. Question is: When is the resurrection of the saints!? Now, I want you to understand that the WCG said that the resurrection of the saints would NOT occur until the SEVEN SEALS were over, and the SEVEN TRUMPETS were over, and the SEVEN PLAGUES were over, and sometimes – they weren’t really sure - but sometime in there, the resurrection of the saints would occur. They actually said the seventh of the plagues was somehow the extension of the seventh trump. I don’t know, they really stretched the Scriptures on that one. “...the mystery of God would be finished, ...” And that mystery is that mortal human beings would one day enter into FULL sonship and daughtership into the Kingdom of God, into the Family of GOD. THE SEVENTH TRUMP IS THE MOMENT OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE SAINTS! The FIRST resurrection!”
The short article, itself, is still in a draft form, and while it can be read online, it is likely not going to be the finalized version.

World News Items

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that Europe is unable to defend herself and stated that Germany would spend even more on her military (See: ‘Merkel vows to hit 2% NATO spending target 'by early 2030s'). Now, there are some in the United Kingdom which continue to discourage a united European military (See: ‘Weak EU faces Macron military takeover and NATO split, writes Brigadier Geoffrey Van Orden’). They are claiming that it is more or less impossible to predict how the story will play out. Nein, biblically it is NOT impossible to know how the story will play out. Ultimately it will end with a united European military force entering into ‘the Glorious Land (Jerusalem), and many Islamic countries shall be overthrown’ (See: Daniel 11:40-45).

This is what Minister Michael C. Garrett wrote concerning this:
“Revelation chapter 13 – after the seven heads and ten horns it says in verse 2 – “Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard … feet of a bear, … and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.” … The final installment of the “Holy” Roman Empire, as it were, would be a bit of all of these kingdoms. And then it says Verse 5 – “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months [again, 3 ½ years].” Verse 7 – “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life …”
(Prophecy Series – The Final Empire, Garrett, M.C., 2019, pg. 20).
“[E]arly on in Revelation 13, verse 2 we read about a concept which is called “the beast.” That refers to a reorganized and revitalized concept of the “Holy” Roman Empire. Countries in Europe unifying in the end-times.”
(The Mark of the Beast, Garrett, M.C., 2019, pg. 11).
Friends, Bible prophecy indeed shows us that the soon-coming final ‘king of the North’ (who is called ‘the beast’ in Revelation 13:4 – “…’ Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’”) will be in charge of a massive united European military force – ‘a great army’ – cf. Daniel 8:23-25. Here is a Roman Catholic, a Jewish translation, and a faithful New English translation – along with the New King James Version of this very prophecy:
“When the king of the north comes, he shall set up siegeworks and take the fortified city by storm. The power of the south shall not withstand him, and not even his picked troops shall have the strength to resist. … He shall call of his strength and cleverness to meet the king of the south with a great army; the king of the south shall prepare for battle with a very large and strong army, but he shall not succeed because of the plots devised against him” – Daniel 11:15, 25; Confraternity of Christian Doctrine Version.
“The king of the North will come and pour out a mound * and conquer a fortified city; the arms of the South will not hold out, his chosen warriors will have no strength to withstand [it]. … He will stir up his strength and his heart against the king of the South with a great army. The king of the South will confront him in war with an exceedingly great and powerful army, but he will not withstand, for they will devise plans against him” – Daniel 11:15, 25; The Torah – the Stone Edition.
“So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a siege mound, and take a fortified city. And the forces of the south shall not hold out, nor his chosen people, nor shall there be any strength to withstand. … And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the south with a great army. And the king of the south shall be stirred up to battle with a very great and mighty army [See: Revelation 9:16]; but he shall not stand, for they shall devise plots against him” – Daniel 11:15, 25; A New English Translation - Faithful Version with Commentary.
“So the king of the North shall come and build a siege mound, and take a fortified city; and the forces of the South shall not withstand him. Even his choice troops shall have no strength to resist. … He shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South with a great army [this united European military force]. And the king of the South [a leader of an Islamic military confederation] shall be stirred up to battle [in a counter attack] with a very great and mighty army [200 million soldiers]; but he shall not stand, for they shall devise plans against him” – Daniel 11:15, 25; NKJV.
Friends, Europe will indeed arise soon a strong political leader (will it be Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg? Only time will tell) with great military strength (Revelation 13:1-4; Daniel 11:39-43).

We’ve all heard of the identified forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear. However, a Hungarian scientist is identifying another fundamental force of nature – ‘dark matter.’ (See: ‘A 'no-brainer Nobel Prize': Hungarian scientists may have found a fifth force of nature’). Indeed, the Europeans have been working hard on aspects of dark matter on their Large Hadron Collider (LHC). They also want something even larger than their current LHC (See: ‘CERN Wants to Build a Bigger, Badder Particle Collider’). Could this scientific technology be used – eventually – for military purposes in ‘honoring a god of fortresses’!? (cf. Daniel 11:38).

Suggested Sabbath Service

Here is this week’s suggested Sabbath service:

● 2-3 hymns. (a free printable “Old Time Gospel” hymn site is The Old Time Gospel).
● Opening prayer.
● Sermonette (if you choose). The one suggested is Pray Not For This People.
● Announcements (if any) and one hymn.
● Sermon. The one suggested is The Rest Of The Dead by Michael C. Garrett. An accompanying free online pdf booklet is The Confusion About Death! (Many more sermons are available at
● Final hymn.
● Closing prayer.

IN CASE YOU HAVE NOT RECEIVED A ‘LETTER TO OUR FRIENDS’ FOR ANY WEEK, REMEMBER WE HAVE MANY SERMON MESSAGES ON THE Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ website. Also, friends, be sure to SUBSCRIBE to our podcast sermons so that you won't miss our latest podcast distributed via RSS (Rich Site Summary) format!

Concluding Comments

Here are some Scriptures of praise, joy, and thanksgiving to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ:
“When I remember these things, I pour out my soul [my life] within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With the multitude that kept a pilgrim feast” – Psalm 42:14.
“For the LORD will comfort Zion [New Jerusalem], He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in it, Thanksgiving and the voice of melody” – Isaiah 51:3.
“The voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say:
‘Praise the LORD of hosts,
For the LORD is good,
For His mercy endures forever’
And of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,’ says the LORD” – Jeremiah 33:11.
“For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10) night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?” – 1 Thessalonians 3:9-10.
“Rejoice always, 17) pray without ceasing, 18) in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13) although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” – 1 Timothy 1:12-13.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” – Colossians 3:17.
Let us, friends, be thankful for our calling! We all should be!

With love and gratitude, in Jesus' Name,
Leonard V. Johnson

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