Monday, March 30, 2020

During Passover - Grape Juice or Wine?

Friends, last year before Passover I had touched on whether our Lord Jesus Christ was observing Passover with grape juice or wine. And, Mr. Garrett had also touched on this in the article "End-Time Prophets - a seven-part series (Part 3)" in which he wrote, "Now, there are a lot of church traditions that just coil in unbelief at the suggestion that Jesus Christ and His disciples - the future apostles - were drinking wine. And a lot of these church denominations claim, 'Oh, it wasn't wine! It was grape juice.' Don't fool yourself! In Greek, the word is oinos. And if you were to get on a plane this afternoon and travel to Athens, Greece and go yo a restaurant - and if you ordered oinos - they would bring you a glass of about 12 percent alcohol-induced wine. Indeed, it was wine! It wasn't grape juice!"

We, in the Church of God, use a small amount of wine for Passover.

Now, again, the Greek word commonly translated as "wine" in the New Testament (οἶνος) indeed means "wine made from grapes." 1

In Genesis 9:21 - "Then he [Noah] drank of the wine and was drunk, ..." The word here in Hebrew is yayin, and in Greek it's oinos. 2

Our Master and Elder Brother recorded for us His first recorded miracle in John 2:3-11. And He also introduced the use of the wine cup - the Greek word potērion.
"Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.'" - Luke 22:20; NKJV unless otherwise noted.
This cup of wine symbolizes His shed blood for us all. Now, there is considerable evidence that the common Passover beverage used by the Jews in the first century was wine, as noted by Dr. Jack Lewis:
"Wine was ordinarily used at the Passover and is called 'fruit of the vine' in Berakoth 6:1." 3.
The Bible teaches that wine is the 'blood of the grapes" - Deuteronomy 32:14.

Now, in part 4 of End-Time Prophets - a seven-part series Minister Garrett wrote concerning drinking alcohol:

So, it's not reasonable to conclude that they were drinking grape juice at Passover in our Lord Jesus' time as grapes are NOT in season then.

I had driven a tractor-trailer over the road many years and hauled loads of grapes from California to Florida many times. "Grape country" in California is very similar to the land of Judea - modern Israel - in terms of climate. Grapes ripen in the late Summer or early Fall.

Passover is usually in the Gregorian Calendar month called April (and to note: Since some of the Roman months were named in honor of their gods and goddesses, and as April was sacred to their goddess Venus, her Veneralia being held on the first day, it has been suggested that Aprilis was originally her month Aphrilis, from her equivalent Aphrodite). Now, raw grape juice indeed spoils very quickly unless refrigerated. And to note also - there were a few classical writers which wrote of certain methods used by the ancient people to preserve grains, fruits, vegetables and wines - such as Columella who lived in the first century A.D. in his treatise On Agriculture.
"In order that the grapes may remain green for as much as a year, you will keep them in the following manner. When you have cut from the vine grapes ... immediately treat their pedicles with hard pitch; then fill a new earthenware pan with the driest possible chaff, which has been sifted that it may be free from dust, and put the grapes upon it. Then cover it with another pan and daub it around with clay mixed with chaff, and ten, after arranging the pans in a very dry loft, cover them with dry chaff." 4.
Indeed, the Jews themselves use wine at Passover (Hisrch E.G., Eisenstein JD. Wine. Jewish Encyclopedia. 1907, pp. 532-535).

There have many who has argued that yayin, and Greek oinos could not always have been alcoholic. And to a point, this is true:
"This is begging the question, and that in defiance of the facts. Although invariably fermented, it was not always inebriating, and in most instances, doubtless, was but slightly alcoholic, like the vin ordinaire of France." 5.
Christians are NOT to be 'drunk with wine, wherein is excess' as the apostle Paul wrote - Ephesians 5:18; KJV.

Only a small amount of wine is normally consumed at Passover.

So, it is not logical to conclude that grape juice was used by our Lord Jesus Christ at His final Passover. He drank fermented wine.

We, in the Church of God, use wine for Passover, too. □


2. Harris, Laird, R., Archer L., Gleason, and Waltke K., Bruce. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, The Moody Bible Institute, © 1980, p. 375.
3. Lightfoot, John. A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. Vol. 2. Baker: Grand Rapids, MI. 1979, 346ff.
4. Columella, On Agriculture 12, 10, 3, trans. E.S. Forster and Edward H. Heffner, The Loeb Classical Libray (Cambridge, Mass., 1955).
5. Unger F., Merrill. Wine. Unger's Bible Dictionary, Moody Press, © 1966, p. 1168.

Additional Items of Interest:
Passover Service - 2019 "VIDEO"A step by step Passover Service for baptized members of the Church of God [...]
Passover Service - 2017Greeting’s friends wherever you might be. We’re here tonight to keep and to observe the Passover [...]
Passover Message - 2013Greetings everyone. If you would, please turn in your Bible’s to 1st Peter. [...]

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Is Civil Unrest Increasing in America?

A good friend messaged me via Facebook with the following:

Also, notice the following:
Coronavirus causes gun sales surge amid fears of civil unrest
The coronavirus is not just causing a shortage of toilet tissue, cleaning supplies and bread, it is prompting an increase in gun and ammunition sales from people fearful of the disease’s potential aftermath.
People like Daniel Hill, who had never purchased a gun prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, Hill picked up two guns, a 9-millimeter Taurus handgun, and an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, from Hyatt Gun and Coin, a gun store in North Carolina …
Hill, 29, who works as a kitchen manager in Charlotte, N.C., told The Times that the unknown aftermath of the coronavirus caused him to fear a potential lapse in public safety —complete with lootings, robberies and “everything shutting down, like in a zombie movie.” Hill said he feared an America that “just won’t have any sense of lawfulness anymore.”
Gun and ammunition dealers say Hill is not alone. Gun stores are reportedly seeing a sharp increase in customers who share Hill’s fears. Some states have sold out of particular models of firearms and other survival prep gear, including in California, New York, Ohio, Washington State, and Alabama. One Twitter photo showed a long line of people outside of a Los Angeles gun shop, waiting to purchase their firearms. …
Like gun shops, ammunition suppliers are also seeing a sizable increase in sales.
(Read More:
A greater amount of armed Americans could very well mean the greater possibility of civil unrest. It is prophesied within the living words of the Eternal God - the Holy Bible - of future violent civil unrest!

Also, consider - which I posted this morning from The Guardian @aservant1God, "Record 3.3m Americans file for unemployment as the US tries to contain Covid-19".
26 March 2020
Labor Department figures show the number of claims rose to 3.3 million, beating a previous record of 695,000 in October 1982. ...
Experts warned of a "catastrophic unemployment crisis" after the labor department announced jobless claims filed by individuals seeking unemployment benefits rose by more than 3 million to 3.28 million from 281,000 the previous week. ...
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has predicted unemployment in the US - close to record lows only last month - could reach 20%. ...
"This morning's jobless claims confirm that the United States is in the thralls of a catastrophic unemployment crisis, the likes of which we haven't seen since the Great Depression," said Andrew Stettner, [a] senior fellow at the Century Foundation thinktank. ...
(Read More:
Friends, businesses are not merely just "cutting" jobs around the US to save money, a great many businesses are cutting costs so that the business has a chance to continue operating.

Well, truthfully, as increased unemployment goes, what should we expect when various governments declare the shutdown of "non-essential businesses" and the ordering of "shelter-in-place"!? It was our governmental actions (whether right or wrong) that is the cause of the increased unemployment. And, of course, with the grave increase in unemployment means the production and the increase of economic fears.

What is the "solution" that our leaders should make - in the United States and abroad!? As I asked my wife last night - "What is the greatest risk!? The contracting of COVID-19 or the worsening of our national debt!? - which now stands at $26.6 TRILLION! Is it the increasing of our national debt, the promise of cash payments, the relaxing of mortgage rules, and the printing of money out of thin air!? Well, from a prophetic perspective, these decisions will not end well. The United States of America has been surviving from borrowed money for decades. And, it is so bad now that Bloomberg back in 2019 reported that if the US stopped borrowing - she would slip into severe economic depression! Indeed, as Almighty God has led me to understand - according to biblical prophecy, there is coming a time when the US debt will be invoked as a reason to "enslave" the United States as per Habakkuk 2:6-8.

Let us all also consider this which was posted 9 days ago from CIDRAP News:
Modeling study suggests 18 months of COVID-19 social distancing, much disruption
“Each policy has major challenges,” the authors wrote. Mitigation “might reduce peak healthcare demand by 2/3 and deaths by half. However, the resulting mitigated epidemic would  still likely result in hundreds of thousands of deaths and health systems (most notably intensive care units) being overwhelmed many times over.”
To avoid that, the country would need to focus on suppression. But suppression requires social distancing measures far longer than the 14 to 30 days Americans have been told to prepare for. Instead, they would need to be in place for 18 months, or until a vaccine is made available.
“I think the model’s broad conclusion is correct that there is a terrible dilemma of very long-term social distancing, or overloading healthcare systems, or both,” said Marc Lipsitch, DPhil, a professor of epidemiology and the director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard University. “With the options currently available I do not see a way to get out of this dilemma.”
Model considers 3 scenarios, predicts high death count
To understand how mitigation or suppression would play out, the Imperial College team, led by Neil Ferguson, OBE, ran a model based on three scenarios. In the first, US officials do nothing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, schools and businesses are kept open, and the virus is allowed to move through the population.
This would result in 81% of the US population, about 264 million people, contracting the disease. Of those, 2.2 million would die, including 4% to 8% of Americans over age 70. More important, by the second week in April, the demand for critical care beds would be 30 times greater than supply.
If mitigation practices are put in place, including a combination of case isolation, home quarantine, and social distancing of those most at risk (over age 70), the peak critical care demand would reduce by 60%, and there would be half the number of deaths. But this scenario still produces an eightfold demand on critical care beds above surge capacity.
In order to suppress the pandemic to an R0 of below 1, a country would need to combine case isolation, social distancing of the entire population, and either household quarantine or school and university closure, the authors found. These measures “are assumed to be in place for a 5-month duration,” they wrote.
In addition, the authors said, these measures may have to be put back into place if restrictions are lifted and cases surge again.
“I don’t think it is attractive, [I] just don’t see a way out of it,” said Lipsitch.
(Read More:; retrieved 27 March 2020).
So, certain models are suggesting that a large amount of Americans and a large amount of Germans will contract COVID-19!

And in my case, since my wife works with the public (especially with elderly people, many of which absolutely needs to be driven for their daily dialysis treatments), the odds of contracting COVID-19 are higher. Now, indeed, I pray to Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ for Their divine protection for myself and my family and also take appropriate hygienic precautions and the government recommended social distancing, but that is not the case for many around the world - such as @re4lity7 who Twittered me and said, "Thanks but I am an atheist."

Friends, what will happen when, despite the use of social distancing, the shelter-in-place, the closed businesses, the medical treatments, and more, a whole lot more people die!?

Will the survivors increase judgment!? - will civil unrest greatly increase!?

This is what God's Word says it will be like in this end-time - in the latter days - this 11:59 hour:
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2) For men [and women] will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers [against God], disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3) unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4) traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5) having a form of godliness but denying its power. AND FROM SUCH PEOPLE TURN AWAY!
And the apostle Paul continues:
Verse 6 - "For this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7) always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8) Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men [and women] of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith" - 2 Timothy 3:1-8; the NKJV throughout, unless noted.
Let us not ever be like them, friends!

We should keep ALWAYS IMPORTANT in our life Jesus Christ, the principles of the New Covenant, the kingdom of God, the Word of God, the Truth of God, and understanding the ultimate Plan of God!

God's living WORD says:
"'Sanctify them by YOUR TRUTH. Your WORD [the Holy Bible] is TRUTH'" - John 17:17.
"For this reason ['for you who walk worthy of God who has called you into His own kingdom and glory!'] we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the WORD OF GOD which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the WORD OF GOD, which also effectively works in you who believe. 14) For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans" - 1 Thessalonians 2:13-14.
"[B]y the WORD OF TRUTH, by the POWER OF GOD, by the ARMOR OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ON THE RIGHT HAND AND ON THE LEFT [See Ephesians 6:10-18]" - 2 Corinthians 6:7.
"In Him [Jesus Christ] you also trusted, after you heard the WORD OF TRUTH, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise" - Ephesians 1:13.
And this "gospel" in a nutshell is - The resurrected saints of God are not going off to Heaven, but rather Heaven – the throne of God, the Kingdom of God – is coming to the Earth!

As I said in our latest Letter to our Friends, the Church of God is not lost! We understand that these events with prophesied pestilences are going to come about. But we also understand that we have the greatest hope - we have the greatest faith. We have direct communication with the God of our fathers and to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! And so we don't have fear. We're not afraid of what this COVID-19 is going to bring about! Indeed, we are saddened for those we lost to death - yes. But we know it's not the end - don't we!?

O' dearest friends, in whom we love and indeed pray for always - in this grave stressful time in this world, with this COVID-19, the closed businesses, the travel restrictions, remember the words of Jesus Christ:
"' These things I have spoken to you, that IN ME [remember, the Days of Unleavened Bread will be here soon! A wonderful time of the year to have 'CHRIST IN YOU'!] you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world'" - John 16:33.
"'Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom'" - Luke 12:32.
Yes, friends, a great many of us throughout the world are facing various tribulations, but let us 'be of good cheer, our Savior of the world has overcome the world!'

Notice some Scriptures of great inspiration:
"Happy is the [person] who finds wisdom, And the [person] who gains understanding; 14) For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. 15) She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. 16) Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor. 17) Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. 18) She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her" - Proverbs 3:13-18.
"Happy is the [person] who is always reverent, But [the person] who hardens [their] heart will fall into calamity" - Proverbs 28:14.
And, in the Book of Deuteronomy, the great prophet Moses had written the very Words of our Lord GOD, a GRAVE WARNING TO ALL:
"'I call heaven [the atmosphere] and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; THEREFORE CHOOSE LIFE, that both you and your descendants may live; 20) that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, FOR HE IS YOUR LIFE AND THE LENGTH OF YOUR DAYS; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them'" - Deuteronomy 30:19-20.
Indeed, wisdom can be found in the Holy Bible - the WORD OF GOD - and the Tree of Life for those willing to seek and to retain this wisdom. Yet, those who harden their heart will fall into calamity.

Let us not be like others who do not even acknowledge the LORD God in their heart and mind - let us understand that there is a reaction to every action. Let us live God's Way and let the light of His Spirit shine forth:
"' You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15) Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven'" - Matthew 5:14-16.
So, how should we all live!?
"' It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God'" - Matthew 4:4.
"Pure and undefiled religion before God [Jesus Christ] and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted FROM THE WORLD" - James 1:27.
However, sadly, this world [the very world which the apostle Paul calls 'this present evil age'], for the most part, does not accept God and His revealed truth! Like this morning, I had mentioned to my wife that a greater majority of people didn't like an article I had posted in which I had said - when you turn your back on God, He will turn His back on you! She said, "No, I don't like that either." She feels that this COVID-19 pandemic has nothing to do with one turning their back on God. Yet, we know, that the LORD our God had told the house of Israel (and by extension all of us as well):
"'IF you will return, O Israel,' says the LORD, 'Return to Me; And IF you will put away your abominations out of My sight, Then you shall not be moved. 2) And you shall swear, 'The LORD lives,' In TRUTH, in JUDGMENT, and in RIGHTEOUSNESS; the nations shall be bless themselves in Him, And in Him they shall glory'" - Jeremiah 4:1-2.
I have said to her, part of the reason that our LORD God has taken His blessings from off the nations of Israel is the very fact that -  TODAY in America and Britain: According to the Pew Research Center, up to 25% of Muslims in the United States are converts. Meaning, they were of another religion and they converted to Islam. The United Kingdom 2011 Census gives the UK Muslim population in 2011 as 2,516,000, 4.4% of the total population.

And, she disagreed and said, "Any religion is better than no religion."

Friends, this COVID-19 should serve as a WAKE-UP CALL to all the world!

GOD - the very Creator of all life, all spirit, HAS A PLAN!

Ultimately, His glorious KINGDOM is going to replace the kingdom's of this world (Revelation 11:15) and THEY - God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ - will reign forever and ever! That is the gospel - the GOOD NEWS!

But, you do not need to wait until then.

You can strive to live according to our living God NOW! □

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Letter to our Friends - March 24, 2020

Michael C. Garrett
Pastor and Overseer

Greetings from West Central Florida:

I personally have had family and friends visit our home and are completely beside themselves with this COVID-19! Fear, panic, closures of whole cities, great confusion and frustration has set in. It has been tribulation this week around much of the world because of the steps which have been taken concerning the Coronavirus which has gripped the world – known as COVID-19.


Because of widespread fear of this virus, the schools in our five surrounding counties are closed for students through April 15th. There are massive school closures throughout the United States, Africa (including Kenya), and in Europe (including Serbia). And, many countries have declared a “state of emergency.”

This past Sabbath, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held his daily Coronavirus update and had stated that he is considering his most drastic move yet: Moving certain people at risk to isolation shelters. This is already being done in many other states throughout the US. The economic, including debt, and the ramifications of these drastic moves related to COVID-19 are mind-boggling!

In our area here in Hernando County and other parts of Florida, along with much of the US, the grocery store shelves have been pretty bare as my wife discovered the other day when she was trying to buy eggs (it took her four stores to find eggs)!

Friends, real and imagined fear is spreading throughout the world like wildfire! And, in the case of the United States as well as throughout Europe, debt is increasing exponentially. And indeed, as asked in a post on my Facebook Page – Cities of Confusion! - What would bring about this prophesied ‘great tribulation’!? Why is the ‘great tribulation’ going to come upon mankind!? Answer: Because of the collapse of the economy. COVID-19 may be a factor that will help lead to the prophesied final end-time reorganizing of a European ‘beast’ power as foretold in Revelation 17:12-13.
“’ The ten horns [or rather a ten-nation combine or ten combined kingdoms] which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom yet, but they receive authority for one hour [a very short time] as kings with the beast [an end-time final United States of Europe]. 13) These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast’” – the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.
A great many counties throughout the United States of America have placed people under quarantine. And, now, everyone in France is to fill out a form in order to travel outside of their HOMES (See: ‘Covid-19 in France: Declaration form FAQ’).

Friends, although this grave curse is upon the world – COVID-19 – it is not the beginning of the prophesied ‘great tribulation’ to come upon mankind, it is, however, another opportunity for this world as a whole to take a long and serious look at itself and hopefully see the hideous monster that it has become. Maybe, just maybe, this world will repent and turn to Almighty God!

Now, however, as our Lord Jesus Christ said, “do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet” – Mark 13:7.

He also said:
’ These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world’” – John 16:33.
’ Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom’” – Luke 12:32.
The Church of God is not lost! We understand that these events are going to come about. But we also understand that we have the greatest hope – we have the greatest faith. We have direct communication to the God of our fathers and to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! And so we don’t have fear. We’re not afraid of what this COVID-19 is going to bring about! Indeed, we are saddened by those who have died from it – yes. But we know it’s not the end – don’t we!?

Now, with all the quarantines and travel restrictions being imposed, what about attendance at weekly Sabbath services? Well, Mr. Garrett received a phone call this past Thursday from the manager of the Logsdon Community Center in Owensboro, Kentucky and stated that the policymakers of the center have determined that “no more meetings will be allowed to take place here until the Coronavirus scare is over.” Of course, our policy has always been, and still remains, if you have a contagious disease, you should not attend church services.

Now, as far as “social distancing” goes, church leaders in their respective countries and local groups should decide the relative safety of holding Sabbath services (though, as in Owensboro, some landlords and/or government officials are placing their own limits – the early Christian Church of God met in houses, and that is one thing which can be done – as Minister Michael C. Garrett is holding services at his home.

While we cooperate with government authorities when we can, we do not believe that government authorities should interfere with the ability to holy convocations or other biblical observances.

As the original apostles said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” – Acts 5:29.

So, indeed, we as Christians should, as an example, keep Passover next month. Though in some areas, it may be wise to have only a small group meeting together.

God’s Spring Holy Days!

Friends, in a few weeks, the Spring Holy Days will begin!

Passover – which is for baptized members of Jesus Christ’s Church – should be observed shortly AFTER sunset on the Gregorian Calendar date of April 7th. Now, many, continue to observe and teach a separate holy day ceremony on April 8th at sunset. Exodus 12:42 should properly be rendered, “it is a night of watching.” It does not establish a separate holy day, or holy ceremony to be observed on the first night of Unleavened Bread (Be sure to read “The Night To Be Much Remembered?”). Then, beginning sunset April 8th is the Days of Unleavened Bread which lasts until sunset April 15th, 2020.

Bud Offutt

Please pray for our dear brother in Christ, Bud Offutt, who has infections in his lungs and in his blood. Please pray for him and his family in this challenging, emotional, and sad time in their life. Father God, let them always be comforted in Your Master Plan of redemption. He has had health struggles for many years now.

World News Items – I’ve doubled up.

First – as has been rampant in world news – is COVID-19. Iran warns that the virus could kill ‘millions’ in the Islamic Republic. And, the Ayatollah Hashem Bathaei is the latest in Iran – on a list of senior Iranian officials – to have caught the virus and has died. Now, while publicly, Iran sounds like they want to reduce the cases of COVID-19, notice the following: “Iranian Official Calls to Deliberately Spread Coronavirus Worldwide to Bring Messiah”. Many Shi’ite Muslims (which is what most Iranians are) believe that a leader called Imam Mahdi will rise from a well after a period of great chaos. And, since this COVID-19 is causing great chaos around the world, some Shi’ites want to increase that chaos. While this supposed leader does NOT truly exist, God’s living Word – the Holy Bible – does indeed tell of a final end-time ‘king of the South’ which will rise to power and lead a confederation of predominantly Muslim lands in the Middle East and North Africa (cf. Daniel 11:40-43; Ezekiel 30:2-8). It could be possible that Iran – the number one terrorist nation in the world – may cause many of the ‘troubles’ our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ prophesied would occur in this 11:59 hour! – see Mark 13:8.

Also, and it comes to no surprise; for the POTUS has been known to say, “But I would borrow, knowing that if the economy crashed, you could make a deal. And if the economy was good, it was good” the United States’ debt is increasing! President Donald Trump has actually gravely added to the already massive US debt – and the COVID-19 is adding even more! (See: ‘Treasury proposal: Deliver $500B to Americans starting April’ and ‘Americans Could Get Government Money Fast to Soften Coronavirus Blow’). Neither of these articles mentioned the already massive debt of the United States. Spending another trillion dollars we don’t have will only increase the US debt by that much. The Bible indeed teaches that at the appointed time of the end (Habakkuk 2:2-3), the highly indebted nations will be taken over and essentially be made ‘slaves’ (Habakkuk 2:6-8).

And also also, and this too comes as no surprise – the US President Donald Trump has upset the Germans by pushing his isolationism – “America First” agenda even further (See: ‘Trump's attempt to buy a coronavirus vaccine shows why big pharma needs to change’ as well as ‘'Not for sale': Germany has reacted furiously to Trump's attempts to poach German scientists working on a coronavirus vaccine’). Friends, millions of people all around the world are indeed waiting for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Yet, the majority believe that they will know what steps to take at the last minute to prepare (e.g. Christian preppers, which is a wrong and foolish attitude to have as a follower of Christ Jesus!). Notice what Jesus did teach in a parable about some people like that:
’ Then the kingdom [from] heaven shall be likened to ten virgins [meaning, one who is free from false religions] who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2) Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3) Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil [symbolic of God’s Spirit] with them, …’
Let us ask Father God and our Elder Brother to renew within us daily of Their Spirit – cf. Psalm 51:10.
Verse 4 – “’ but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5) But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6) And AT MIDNIGHT a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7) Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8) And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9) But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’
10) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and THE DOOR WAS SHUT. 11) Afterward the other virgins came also [see Matthew 7:20-23], saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12) But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13) WATCH THEREFORE, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming’” – Matthew 25:1-13.
Surely, we are in the ‘beginning of sorrows’ spoken of by Jesus Christ (cf. Matthew 24:8) – sending a Message to all peoples, and especially end-time Christians to NOT BE COMPLACENT but to ‘WATCH THEREFORE’ – to WAKE UP FROM SLUMBER – and get their spiritual house in order!

Now, is the POTUS pushing his “America First” beyond anything which is proper!? Is trying to purchase a vaccine for the virus COVID-19 effectively telling the Germans that the United States of America doesn’t care if they live or die!? Whether that is true or not – the Germans didn’t like it. And the Germans are grievously angry about this!

And in other related news this week – some United Nations officials believe another major locust plague will strike again soon (See ‘Plague of locusts set to descend upon Middle East in time for Passover’). Let us all keep our brethren around the world in our prayers – many of our friends are in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and elsewhere.

In Turkey – tensions continue between Turkey and the European Union in regards to Turkey pressuring the EU by releasing/pushing out certain Syrian refugees near the Greek border (See ‘Turkey Tears Down Greek Border Fence: Floods EU with Syrians’ also ‘EU and Turkey agree to review 2016 migration deal’). Biblical prophecy is indeed aligning with Turkey prophesied to separate from Europe and align herself with the ‘king of the South’ for a short time (cf. Daniel 11:40-43; Psalm 83:5-7). Yet, it will be disastrous for Turkey – cf. Daniel 11:25-26; 11:41). See also our free no-obligation online booklet “TURKEY is going to betray HIS BROTHERS”

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 “Salvation OFFERED To All” by Leonard V. Johnson.
● Announcements (if any) and one hymn.
● Sermon. The one suggested is “Dimash in NYC – In Everything Give Thanks” by Michael C. Garrett. (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 to SUBSCRIBE to our BitChute channel.

Concluding Comments

Minister Michael C. Garrett wrote:
1st Corinthians chapter 13 – we’ve read this before! But again, it’s one of those verses where you say, “Can I hear that too often!?” “Is there a point where I just don’t need to hear that anymore!?” Probably not. Verse 1 – “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not [godly] love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2) And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” – and I’ve often thought is there really a good reason for mountains to be thrown into the sea!?
I can’t think of many examples where, “Ah, I just think that mountain needs to go over there into that ocean!” If you had that much faith, and you did not possess godly love, your faith is simply like a wet bag of popcorn! You ever had a wet bag of popcorn!? It’s not very tasty. Verse 4 – “Love suffers long …” – it’s patient. And this is an issue which we in this age – this instant age of just go, go, go - I really think maybe we miss out on just the ability to be patient. “and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5) does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Verse 8 – “Love never fails. …” – well, that’s godly love, from God’s perspective. …
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 aisle 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.’
Friends, let us ask Almighty God and Jesus Christ for His ‘godly love.’

In deep gratitude and love, in Jesus' name,

Friday, March 20, 2020

It's NOT the End of the World As We Know It ....

cover of a cd by R.E.M. - an American rock band

I've had friends and relatives who are absolutely beside themselves with this COVID-19! Is this - as they blurt out - "the end of the world!"? No. Why!?

Well, because according to the living Word of God - the Holy Bible - there are other events that must first take place.

As an example: there has not been yet the 'abomination of desolation' set up in Jerusalem spoken of by the prophet Daniel and confirmed by our Lord Jesus Christ - Daniel 11:29-33; Matthew 24:15-21. That 'abomination of desolation' being a possible European peace-keeping military force (cf. Luke 21:20). However, this time is getting ever-closer - as I tweeted just today @aservant1God a "New Iraq Group Claiming Attacks on U.S. Troops Says It Can Strike Israel"

Also, a 'king of the South' prophesied for this end-time in the Book of Daniel (cf. Daniel 11:40) - a confederacy of Islamic nations and a 'king of the North' - a European combine of nations led by a strong man are to rise to great power! 

Minister Michael C. Garrett writes:
"Daniel 11 spends a tremendous amount of time about this ongoing battle and pressure going back and forth between the king of the North and the king of the South. And the king of the South in verse 10 is, sort-of, a definition. It says – “However his sons [meaning, the sons of the king of the South] shall stir up strife, and assemble a multitude of great forces; …” – and this becomes sort-of like a confederation of nations, or, as they will say in the future, a caliphate. And that’s what the Arab’s call when they become united with one purpose and one goal under one leader. And, this basically will be what the king of the South will be. A collection of Arab and Islamic nations, throughout North Africa, into the Middle East, and even beyond. Which will combine in opposition to the king of the North. The king of the North will be, I believe, a combination, a conglomeration, of nations from central Europe. And most likely led by the nation of Germany."
These great prophecies alone need to be fulfilled in this end-time (as duel prophecies).

This "flare-up" of the COVID-19 is not expected to result in the death of ¼ of the world's population. Now, that would be close to 2 BILLION PEOPLE! So far, the "official" death toll for the COVID-19 is "confirmed" as 10,254 (Data from the CDC, WHO, ECDC - Wikipedia).

But this grave COVID-19 is indeed consistent with the WARNING from our Lord Jesus Christ for this end-time - this generation:
" ... 'Take heed that no one deceives you. ... 7) But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.'"
And then, our Master speaks of the very prophecy of Daniel's in this end-time (again see Daniel 11:40):
Verse 8 - "' For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles [the apostle Matthew adds pestilences]. THESE ARE THE BEGINNINGS OF SORROWS.'"
As I had mentioned in a February Letter to our Friends - back on November 6th, 2016 I had a prophetic dream from God. A most vivid dream. In this dream I had at night I was looking at the clearest most wonderful night sky I had ever seen, with crystal clear stars shining. And then suddenly I heard a booming voice which said, "They only have 10 years left."

Now, I'm not one to set dates or state that our Lord will come back in 10 years. However, our Master did tell us that we can know the seasons of an approximate time for the beginning of His prophesied Day of the LORD! And we are definitely in these prophesied 'sorrows' - or what the Authorized Version says, 'birth pains.'

Indeed, according to our Master and Elder Brother - Jesus Christ - the end will NOT come until after the prophesied end-time prophets (very possibly twelve) begin to preach 'this gospel of the kingdom of God in all the world as a witness to all the nations' (See Matthew 24:9-14; I asked the question Is Matthew 24:14 being fulfilled - now!?):
9) "' THEN they will deliver you [speaking - for the most part - to these end-time prophets] up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. 10) And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another [speaking of the brethren]. 11) Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12) And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold [again, speaking mostly of the brethren]. 13) But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14) And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and THEN the end will come'" - Matthew 24:9-14.
Jesus Christ just said the TRUTH OF GOD will be preached. But human beings have incorrectly came up with the idea that THEY are going to be the ones doing the preaching! It will be, rather, His end-time prophets spoken of in Revelation 11:1-13 for 1,260 days - 3½ years.

And, following that is the prophesied end-time 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet.

Also - as of TODAY - and as I tweeted @aservant1God "Gov. Gavin Newsom orders all Californians to stay at home." So, a shelter-in-place mandate has been ordered for Californians. Dine-in restaurants, bars, movie theaters, libraries, etc. are CLOSED until further notice. Only what the government considers "essential" businesses are to remain open. Indeed, the weakening of our already gravely weakened economy is mind-blowing - considering the massive debt of the United States of America being $24.582 TRILLION!

As stated earlier - God WARNS of a "totalitarian dictator" rising within Europe in this end-time:

"He [this 'totalitarian European dictator'] was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast [a great church, what the Bible calls 'the great whore who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication'], that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed [recall what's called Blue Law]. 16) He [this 'totalitarian European dictator'] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and [bond], to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, [be sure to read our free no-obligation online booklet The MARK of the BEAST to properly understand just what this mark is!], 17) and that no one [IN EUROPE; understand that the United States of America and the United Kingdom and her Commonwealth nations are no longer sovereign nations!] may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18) Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666" - Revelation 13:15-18.

So friends, with wisdom, let us understand this 'number of the beast.' The original founder of this 'beast' power - which is the Roman Empire and subsequently the "Holy" Roman Empire - was ROMULUS. The Roman Empire was named AFTER him - 'the number of a man.' And, every citizen in that kingdom is named AFTER him - called, a ROMAN. Also, take into account, the apostle John wrote in the Greek language. So, ROMULUS - the name being in Greek LATEINOS - and counting in Greek - L=30, A=1, T=300, E=5, I=10, N=50, O=70, and S=200. All these add up to 666!

Those who will not worship the Roman Catholic Church will gravely suffer! No one will be able to hold a job or engage in business without being associated with the Roman Catholic Church - in EUROPE! □

Additional Items of Interest:

End-Time Prophets - a seven-part series (Part 6)’ Every kingdom …’” – every country. “ … ‘divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house …’” – think about a mother and father. If they’re not on the same team – if they’re not working together with a lot of similar goals and attitudes, respect for one another, that house – that marriage – will not stand. And in American societies, according to FastStats, in 2017, the divorce rate was 6.9 per 1,000 population. Well, you’ve got to be united to a great extent!
Day of Atonement = End-Time Traumathe real challenge for anyone who truly wants to understand and to follow biblical truth and knowledge is to properly distinguish, differentiate, and discern between biblical truth and biblical error.
Jacob's TroubleAnd, we sort of live in a tranquil land, and we don’t think about that!

Monday, March 16, 2020

End-Time Prophets - a seven-part series (Part 6)

by Michael C. Garrett

You can now listen to all six chapters of this amazing online book. Just click the orange button below.

Welcome, everyone! Greetings to you – wherever you might be. Welcome to Owensboro, Kentucky on the banks of the mighty Ohio River. And, welcome to the weekly church service of the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ. It’s good to be with you!

‘Every kingdom divided against itself’

Now, the first thing that I want to mention to you – something that I’ve been thinking about for the last few days. And it comes from something Jesus said. If you would turn to Matthew 12, verse 25. And, Jesus, in verse 22, had just performed a miracle – there was a man who was demon-possessed, blind and mute, and Jesus healed the man. And so the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed – as it says in verse 23. “Could this be the Son of David? This is but a human being, the son of Joseph and Mary! How could this be!?” The Pharisees sort of remind me of the Left-wing media. And, I’m not an overwhelming Donald Trump fan. I just didn’t get all that excited about him, because I had problems with his temperament. The way he talks about people. And I really wish that he would clean that up – it would do him a lot of good. And I don’t know if he will – but anyway, since he won the election, anything that he says or does the Left-wing media gets upset. They want to pounce on, criticize and complain. There were a lot of people who had to let the fact go that Barack Hussein Obama II was elected and was there for eight years. But the Left-wing media – and we knew what was coming friends – he was bombarded every day and every night and truly got into the silly season. I truly feel sorry for him. So – the Pharisee's sort of act that way. They wanted to make a big deal out of everything that Jesus did. Now, their reaction should have been – ‘Look! This man was possessed of a demon, he couldn’t speak or see, and now he can!’ They should have celebrated this man’s healing! But no – verse 24 – “Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, ‘This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.’” Another name for Satan the devil. 1 Verse 25 – “But Jesus knew their thoughts, …” – He was very perceptive, He could read body-language, read facial expressions, and He probably had the ability to read their mind – because of the Spirit of God. “ … and said to them: ‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation [to ruin], and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26) If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?’

Now, let’s look at that phrase again in verse 25. “’ Every kingdom …’” – every country. “ … ‘divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house …’” – think about a mother and father. If they’re not on the same team – if they’re not working together with a lot of similar goals and attitudes, respect for one another, that house – that marriage – will not stand. And in American societies, according to FastStats, in 2017, the divorce rate was 6.9 per 1,000 population. Well, you’ve got to be united to a great extent! And, if you’re not, ‘every city or house divided against itself will not stand.’ Now, we can read about the same thing in Mark 3:24-25, and a similar account in Luke 11:17.

So, think about our nation now! Basically from the time that Bill Clinton was elected in 1992 – and he was in office for eight years – there has been a lot of animosity in this nation – the conservatives did not like him. And he didn’t like the conservatives. Yet, the liberal-media loved him – he could do no wrong! And then, George W. Bush was elected, and that election in the year 2000 was highly divisive – if you remember. That night, many of the major Far-left media outlets came out early and said, “Al Gore had won Florida! And therefore he will be the next president!” And then some of the people that were working for the Bush election team called up those media people and said, “Hey! It’s not over yet! They haven’t finished the counting – you’ve got to take that back!” So, everyone sort of backed off a bit. And then, late into the night, when the election returns were tallied on November 7th, Bush had won 29 states, including Florida. And, Al Gore actually came out and conceded – then a little later on – he contested the tally. And, finally, the Supreme Court was involved and said, “No more recounts. What stands will be what now is are the results. So, therefore, George W. Bush will be the President of the United States of America.” And, the Liberals still talk about that one! The Left-wing media did everything they could to disparage George W. Bush. The only thing that gave a little bit of a respite was the fact of the atrocious terrorist attack which took place on September 11, 2001. For a brief moment in time, the majority of the American people – shocked by the horrible deaths of almost 3,000 people – came together and were united in a cause. But it didn’t take very long for the Left-leaning people to begin chipping away at Bush, and within just a few months it was, basically, open warfare again. Well, that went on for eight years! Then, we had the election of Barack Hussein Obama II. And he, from his own admission, came from the Far-left, and that sent the conservatives howling into the night. And so we had eight more years of division. And, that set up the election we had November 8th, 2016 where the Republican candidate Donald Trump won! 2 And now, for the last 3 years, 55 days, 17 hours, 30 minutes, and 34 seconds, the Left-wing has been just howling incessantly and carrying on, divisive, insulting, and questioning everything he does. And it won’t get any better. In fact, if he is reelected, it will get worse!

We are in a very divided nation – philosophically, politically – to the point where friends break up and won’t see each other again; even where young ladies find out their boyfriend voted for Trump and their just highly offended and they don’t want anything more to do with him. And, you hear about families getting into fights – and it’s just a big squabble! It’s gotten to the point where now you cannot even discuss any political topic without fearing a complete and total meltdown. And now, you take this from a family situation – or even a barbershop – and you expand it to the whole nation it’s a very sad situation. Now, if you want to be entertained in an odd and bizarre kind of way – turn on your TV one night and for about 15 minutes listening to Fox News. And then, turn over to CNN – what many people call the Clinton News Network. And you’re going to hear the same story – but in a totally different light! And then if you truly want to be entertained, turn over to MSNBC – the people here are of the Far-left. And they’re still going insane about Trump! It’s beyond anything within reason! But in their little world – in that Far-left bubble – what they’re saying makes perfect sense. And some of those news presenters are literally frothing at the mouth!

Friends, can a nation so divided continue to exist!?

Well, I do know this – I tune-in on television to a few places, like Fox News. The election of Donald Trump has been greeted with cheers and jubilation and exaltation and great excitement. And I also, for the past 3 years, have tuned into the Weekly Update out of Tyler, Texas – and I think most of you know what I’m talking about – and so many of those “Updates” you get the idea that he was up dancing around his desk as he was typing the report out – obviously, “Happy days are here again!” And I believe that’s an extremely naïve position to take. Indeed, Donald Trump has done some things that conservatives have loved seeing done at the federal government level. And so many conservatives are elated that Barack Hussein Obama II and all of his buddies are out of office!

But if you would turn to 1 Thessalonians 5. Again, we here at the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ, we’re all about the Word of God, the Truth of God, and knowing and understanding and explaining the Plan of God. Now, did the election of Donald Trump signal a time when “Happy days are here again”? Well, as a nation, I want that to be true. However, the Word of God paints a different picture. Verse 1 – “But concerning the times and seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.” Now, if you look at chapter 4 – remember, humans are the ones that divided the Bible up into chapters and verses – just a few paragraphs before, he’s talking about the return of Jesus Christ. And he said in verse 16 – “For the Lord Himself will descend from [the atmosphere] with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God [the last trump, the seventh trumpet]. And the dead in Christ will rise first.” This is speaking of the end-time! And he says with the very next thought – “But concerning the times and seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2) For you yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord …”

(Be sure to read our two-part article The Day of the LORD! It will help you understand just what is coming on this sleeping world!).

Now, I have said before, how Bud once upon a time had a publication from the WCG – written by Herbert Armstrong – and he said that the article made a comment that, ‘Well, the Day of the Lord is a very minor thing in prophecy!’

The majority of the Bible is prophecy or has a prophetic nature to it– the vast majority. And, the vast majority of those prophecies, maybe upwards of 90%, deal with the Day of the LORD. Now, this has never been taught in the generations of the different manifestations of the churches of God. It’s never been understood. And for many of you whose roots go back to the WCG, you might very well find yourself saying, “Wait a minute. Herbert never taught that. Ted never taught that.” And, the answer is, “Yes, you’re correct!” They never did teach about this because, quite frankly, and in my opinion – the only thing I can conclude is – they simply did not understand it. Now I have every reason to believe, that had they understood it, they would have talked about it. But quite frankly, the WCG dismissed the magnity of the Day of the LORD. He just said that it was a relatively minor event, just a passing event. Well, it is relatively short in time, but it is the most traumatic event the Earth will have ever gone through when this thing is over with! And it affects everyone who will be living upon the face of the Earth! The Day of the LORD is the single most talked about event in the Bible – bar none! Nothing is even close to it! There are more references to the Day of the LORD than there are to the establishment of the kingdom of God.

Verse 2) For you yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the LORD so comes as a thief in the night.” – totally unexpected!

Verse 3) For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. …” – she never quite knows when that birth process is going to begin. “ … And they shall not escape. 4) But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day [the Day of the LORD] should overtake you as a thief. 5) You are all [children] of light and [children] of the day. …” – which means, we see! We clearly see – aided by the Word of God and by the Spirit of God – the things going on around us! Or, at least we should. “ … We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6) Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch …” – remember, in the Book of Mark, Jesus said many times, ‘watch and pray’!? Watch world events and pray that you may be counted worthy to escape them. “ … and be sober. 7) For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8) But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, …” – faith in God and His promises and His Plan. “ … and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9) For God did not appoint us to wrath [or condemnation, judgment, or punishment] …” Instead, God has appointed unto us – those who believe in the Word of God and those who believe in Jesus Christ, and those who believe in the principles of the New Covenant. He has appointed unto us “to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10) who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep [living or dead], we should live together with Him [at the blowing of the SEVENTH TRUMP!].” – as it mentions at the end of chapter 4. Verse 11 – “Therefore comfort each other and edify [build up] one another, just as you also are doing.”

Now friends, again, for the past 3 years its been very wonderful for conservatives. And you have even heard people say, “Donald Trump is another Ronald Reagan!” Well, most conservatives look upon the presidency of Ronald Reagan as a wonderful moment in US history. And, most conservatives look upon the office of Barack Hussein Obama II as tragic. And certainly, the thought of having had eight-more years of the Obama doctrine under Hillary Clinton – a lot of people seriously had wondered and spoke concerning that. “How can we as a nation continue!?” But now, most conservatives – and the majority of church people – hail “Happy days are here again! Donald Trump has ridden into town – he’s the new sheriff!” And there’s this new hope that everything is going to be fine! Let me take you back again to verse 3 – “For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, …” I want all of you – please – to keep your eyes open and do what Paul says here in verse 6 – “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch …”

‘do not pray for this people’

Now, I think about a time in the year 2012 of December. I drove down to Tyler, Texas – and Don rode along with me – and I gave a sermon entitled “Pray Not For This People”. And I went through a long litany of historical events or moments in our nation’s history – in my lifetime – pointing out when there was a time when America had great victories, but after a while, those victories appeared to be very seldom. We didn’t have as many victories. And, as I can say – I believe – that God intervened and helped our nation. 3 But we have entered into an era where God has kind of just taken His hands-off – and has let us adrift in the ocean without really knowing where we are going. And, how I had read – in two different places of prophecy in the Old Testament – where it says, “’ Therefore do not pray for this people, …’” (Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14).

Let’s turn there briefly – Jeremiah 7:16. Notice verse 11 – “’ Has this house, …’” – and you can think of that as a nation, or a family, or even a church group. “ … ‘which is called by My name, …’” – especially for those churches that call themselves the churches of God! And, I’m not speaking of the Pentecostal churches of God – but rather the churches which descended from the movement of the Worldwide Church of God. “ … ‘become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,’ says the LORD. 12) ‘But go now to My place [into the wilderness which was once called] … Shiloh, …’” – where once the Tabernacle of God was erected and the Ark of the Covenant was positioned. The earthly headquarters of the Work of God. “ … ‘where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.’” – again, that can be a nation, a family, or even a church group. Verse 13 – “’ And now, because you have done all these works,’ says the LORD, ‘and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you [‘I called for you, I called upon you’], but you did not answer, 14) therefore I will do to the house [be it a family, a nation, or a church group] which is called by My name, in which [some people] … trust, and …’”

Now, there are a whole lot of people on the highways and byways of America and other parts of the world that look upon the name –“something something Church of God” with this unbelievable amount of reverence – almost worship. And I dare say there are people who claim they worship God, but indeed, they worship the name of an organization – or the last name of the so-called leader of that organization. And I contend they are committing adultery - idolatry! Adultery, being a false religion. And idolatry being – ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.’ And I believe that there are people who put a church organization – in their mind – in a more important position than they do God Almighty, Jesus Christ, and the Word of God. And I especially know that’s true – because one of the so-called leaders ‘deep in the heart of Texas’ will not even write or say, or even refer to the name Jesus Christ. And, I read his “Update” again last night – which I do on a regular basis – and not only did he not mention Jesus Christ (which he hasn’t in years) but in this particular “Update” he didn’t even throw the perfunctory name of God in the conversation. 4 It was completely secular – it was just Right-wing politics.

Continuing here – “’ therefore I will do to the house [be it a family, a nation, or a church group] which is called by My name [but in truth – isn’t], in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.’”

Verse 15 – “’ And I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brethren – the whole posterity of Ephraim.’”

Verse 16 – “’ Therefore do not pray [all of you] for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.’”

Verse 18 – “’ The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger. 19) Do they provoke Me to anger?’ says the LORD. ‘Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?’”

Verse 20 – “’ Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place – on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched.’”

Indeed, these are powerful words! It’s referring to the Day of the LORD!

Again, as I said earlier – the Day of the LORD is the single most prophesied event in the Bible, and NOTHING is even close to it!

Well, after I gave this sermon – down in Tyler, Texas – the second in command down there in Tyler walked over to me and said, “I feel so sorry for you. You’re so depressed.” And I thought – Does this man not even understand the prophecies of the Bible he says he preaches from!? THIS IS REALITY! THIS IS THE FUTURE! This is going to happen to our once great nation! I don’t want it to happen. I hope I don’t have to live to see it. But it is going to happen! I was specifically speaking about the fate of our nation. In truth – the Word of God says that we as a nation will be divided and we will fall and we will be taken over by enemies. And I even said that day – that I will never again sing the words to the song “God Bless America.” I haven’t sung that song since December 2012 – because God led me to this admonition, “’ Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you.’” And so to sing the song “God Bless America,” is going to fall of deaf ears at the throne of God. And, there are other prophecies that say the same thing.

So, we – as mature members of the Body of Christ – need to understand that the future of our nation is not guaranteed. In fact, the future of our nation is prophesied – in the Word of God – as being destroyed by God Himself! Now, I understand the sentiment. But the reality is - the Bible says something different. Now, you can either open your eyes and open your ears and see the Word of God and understand it and plan for it, or you can live in some type of denial – some type of bubble. And if you do – let’s go back to 1 Thessalonians 5:2 – “For you yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so comes [or will come] as a thief in the night. 3) For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. … 6) Therefore let us not sleep …” – ‘let us not have our eyes closed’ – “ … as others do, …” some of which are in church organizations, which many of us are familiar with. Verse 8) But let us who are of the day be sober, …”

Friends, as for us – we’re going to have our eyes open!

Again, the Words of Jesus Christ – ‘A nation divided against itself cannot stand!’ ‘A city divided against itself cannot stand!’ ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand!’ This is what Jesus said. And He said it in three different locations.

And, there are many more places which speak of ‘peace and safety’ – but there is no ‘peace and safety'.

'the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin’

Another topic I would like to cover.

On November 21, 2016, there was an article entitled “Pope allows all priests to absolve ‘grave sin’ of abortion.” And I won’t go over the whole article, but there are a few paragraphs:
“In an Apostolic Letter made public Monday, Francis said he was extending indefinitely the special permission he had granted to all rank-and-file priests during the just-ended Holy Year of Mercy.”
And the article continued:
“Because the Roman Catholic Church holds abortion to be such a serious sin, absolution had long been a matter for a bishop, who could either hear the woman’s confession himself or delegate it to a priest considered an expert in such situations, a potentially intimidating scenario for many of the faithful.”
And then, the last paragraph that I’ll mention – quoting the Pope himself:
““I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve [which means to forgive] those who have committed the sin of procured [ as opposed to a still-born situation] abortion.”
Now, that just amazes me! And, let me say this before I go on any further – in this nation and in the Western world I completely accept that people have the right to be a part of any church they so desire. I accept that. I’m glad that we have that right – because that means that the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ – and those of you who follow us from your computer – has the right to believe and to practice what we believe. So we have no problem with others practicing their faith. And, we have no problem with the existence of the Roman Catholic Church. It’s not our job to censor them or to remove them from the scene. If such a thing is needed it will be done by Jesus Christ!

However, there have been two times in my life – once in 2006 and the other 2014 – in which I had the duty of speaking at the funerals of my parents. And, I was up behind the lectern – and there were quite a few people in this room – and I said to the people, “In this room, there may be a hundred different ideas about eternal life. Whether it exists or it doesn’t. How to get there and where you’re going. A lot of different opinions.” And I said, “Everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want. However, as for me, the only thing that I can go by is what the Bible says. And even though a lot of religions say they claim their truth from the Bible – in actuality their so-called truth is nothing more than the hand me down from generation to generation of different human and church traditions. And that’s just the way it is. And, if I’m going to talk at my parent's funerals – the only thing that I can talk about is what the Bible says.” And I told the people that.

And so when it comes to the idea that human beings have the right – or the ability – to absolve someone’s sin, it flies in the face of everything that the Bible truly says. Because I read things like 1st John 1:1 – “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life” – the Logos, the Spokesman, referring to Jesus Christ!

Verse 2 – “the life [of Jesus Christ] was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us [through Jesus Christ] – 3) that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4) And these things we write to you that your joy [or our joy] may be full.”

And I have said many times – and down in Tyler, Texas, it was edited out - that there are times in my life that I wish my life had more joy. And friends, I’m being very honest when I say that. Now, I think that I have a lot of joy, but the thing which takes my joy away are human beings – who at one time in their life say, ‘O Mike, we believe you, we love you, we’re gonna stick with you.” And I find out that the words of human beings are very shallow. They don’t really mean much. And that’s been a topic of sadness to me. But I still go on. And, I still ask on a regular basis – ‘Dear Father, dear Brother, please grant to me (and I will say the same thing for all of you) the fruits of Your Spirit.’ Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, faith, meekness, and self-control. I wish those traits for all of you, and I pray those traits for myself.

Verse 5 – “This is the Message which we have heard [about] Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6) If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7) But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8) IF we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, …”

And I know people – so-called church people – that I’ve actually heard say, “I’ve really not done anything wrong in my life.” What foolishness, and what arrogance., what self-righteousness.

Verse 9 – “IF we confess our sins, …”to whom!? To whom do you confess your sins!? A man in a confessional box wearing a cassock with a funny looking biretta!? A human being!? No, we don’t go to a priest. We don’t go to a pastor – or whatever. We go directly to the great High Priest of the New Covenant – and His name is Jesus Christ! We approach Him and His throne of mercy. “ … He [Jesus Christ] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

If you confess your sin to a human being you’re not approaching Jesus Christ. I think you’re making a terrible mistake – from what we read in the Bible! Again, if that’s what you want to do, you have the right to do it in our Western culture. But it doesn’t mean that you’re following the Word of God. And that is what we’re all about – the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God.

Verse 10 – “IF we say that we have not sinned, we make Him [Jesus Christ] a liar, and His Word is not in us.”

1st John 2 – “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, …”

And, it’s not a priest – it’s not a human being!

The Advocate that we have is “ … JESUS CHRIST the righteous. 2) And He Himself is the propitiation [the atonement] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

1st John 3:5 – “And you know that He was manifested [made obvious and appeared upon the earth] to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.”

1st John 4:10 – “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [the atoning sacrifice] for our sins.”

1st John 5:10 – “He who believes [on] the Son of God [and goes to Jesus Christ in prayer and humbly ask for help and forgiveness] has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.”

Verse 11 – “And this is the testimony: that God has given us [He is offering unto us] eternal life, and this life is in [and through and by and with and for] His Son. 12) He who has the Son …” – not a human being, not a priest – “ … has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13) These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God [Jesus Christ], that you may know [WITHOUT A DOUBT] that you have [WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY] eternal life [WAITING FOR YOU!], and that you may continue to believe [on] the name of the Son of God.”

And, here’s another idea – Verse 14 – “Now this is the confidence [the BOLDNESS] that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15) And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

Sometimes we ask prayers that seemingly go unanswered – but they will be answered sooner or later. And we know that if we go before the throne of grace and present our ideas and our thoughts and our worries – our issues – to Jesus Christ we know that He had heard us! And He will answer that prayer His way and in His good time – for His purpose.

Our great High Priest – Christ, Jesus!

Well, I have a lot of other verses I’d love to talk about. Hebrews 2.

Again, I could easily make a sermon out of this one concept – I’m just wanting it today to be a thought. Again, I’m not trying to offend my Catholic friends. And we do have Catholic friends – and we are very proud of them. And we are very happy to have them as friends. However, we don’t want our religious theologies to come from the traditions of men. We want our theology to come directly from the living Word of God – nobody or anything else. We don’t care about anybody’s traditions. And they are free to keep them. But they’re not for us. And we – the Owensboro Church of Jesus Christ – reject the traditions of the Catholic Church. We reject the traditions of the Protestant world. We reject the traditions of Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism, and all the other ism’s. We even reject the theology and the traditions which were laid down by the Worldwide Church of God. They have no hold on us – anymore! The only thing we want is to know the TRUTH OF GOD – from the living Word of God.

And it says in Hebrews chapter 2, verse 14 – “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood [that we humans are flesh and blood], He Himself likewise shared in the same [Jesus Christ became human], that through death [His death and His sacrifice on the cross] He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15) and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16) For indeed He [Jesus Christ] [took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham]. 17) Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make [reconciliation] for the sins of the people. 18) For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid [to comfort] those who are tempted.”

But again, notice verse 17 – Jesus Christ is now a merciful and faithful High Priest. And that’s why you don’t have to go to a human priest. You have a priest – He is the great High Priest! He is Jesus Christ!

Hebrews 3:1 – “Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our [profession], Christ Jesus.”

And then, if you would turn to chapter 4, verse 14. “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our [commitment – our profession, our advocation]. 15) For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, …” – we have a High Priest which can feel our weaknesses, and our problems, our issues. “… but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” And here is a most beautiful verse – Verse 16 – “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – go to Jesus Christ, don’t waste your time with a human being!

You know at various times I have been asked to baptize people. And I remember this one man – who sort of shocked me – because he was a contrary cuss. If you said black, he wanted to say white. If you said up, he wanted to say down. But, he finally came to me and wanted to be baptized. And then he said to me, “I guess now I have to tell you all of my sins.” No. No, you don’t tell me your sins – you tell those to God the Father and Jesus Christ! And he was sort of stunned. And quite frankly I told him, I don’t want in my mind the image of all the things that you have done in your life which you are now ashamed of and asking to be forgiven. I don’t want that in my mind. God the Father and Jesus Christ – They are much better prepared to handle that.

So again, I have other verses, but I think you get the drift.

So, thank you for being with us. And, we’ve covered today several different topics. I hope you have learned, I hope you went along with your Bible. If not, re-read this article, find your Bible wherever it is, dust it off, get yourself a notepad – I like to use the yellow legal notepads – and get a pen or pencil, and follow along with this article.

Here a little while back we received a message on our Facebook of a good friend down in Tennessee who wrote, “Well, I read the article TWICE and LOVED IT, and tonight I’m gonna read it again!” Well, I strongly suggest you read our articles two, three, or even four times! Because you’re gonna learn things each time you read it. You’re going to learn more things. The first time – some things may just pass by you. The second time – you’re going to gather a little more. The third time and fourth time – you’re going to really begin to understand what was being said.

So again, thank you for being with us. We hope that you will send up prayers to God the Father and Jesus Christ on our behalf. And we assure you that our prayers, and our positive thoughts, will go up to the throne of grace on your behalf. And we hope – if you’re not already – you will become a regular reader (and even listener). We have a GREAT story to tell. It’s not a story as in made up. It’s a story from the WORD OF GOD! One of the most remarkable events in the history of mankind is yet to occur! And that is the work of the end-time prophets. And to help understand the mighty miracles that they’re going to do – we’re taking a lot of time studying the miracles which Jesus Christ did. Because the end-time prophets – according to Jesus – will do even greater things than He did. So, it’s just a great story! It’s a story which, basically, has not been told. And, the work of the end-time prophets – which comes down to the Two Witnesses – is extremely interesting!

So, from Owensboro, Kentucky we wish all of you God Speed and we wish all of you the very best of good fortune. And, until next time, goodbye my friends. □

1 “[Jesus Christ] was mocked by the Jews as ‘Baalzebub, lord of flies,’ who created and controlled flies in the Philistine city of Ekron. [Baalzebub] was originally known as ‘Baal the prince,’ the chief god in the Canaanite pantheon. Baalzebub appeared in 2 Kings 1:2 as the god called upon by Ahaziah, King of Israel (ca. 853-51 B.C.) to cast out demons. … In contemporary usage, Beelzebub is another name for Satan.” Lewis R. J., Oliver D. E.; Angels A to Z, Visible Ink Press, © 1996, pg. 70.
2 “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton went out of their way to hold their long-awaited private meeting in a very specific location - not at Hillary's mansion in Washington - but in Northern Virginia, which also just happens to be the scene of the 2008 Bilderberg meeting.” Hillary & Obama In Secret Bilderberg Rendezvous. Watson, Joseph Paul, 6 June 2008; Retrieved 24, January 2020.
3 Sir Winston Churchill – who I admire greatly – would often quip, “We are all worms, but I believe that I am a glowworm.”
4 There was only one mention of God, which went, “the cyclical patterns of what God Himself designed and put in place is beyond arrogant.”