Letter to the Brethren – December 3, 2008
Dear Brethren and Friends,
In the closing days of 2008, life has again changed dramatically! This time, the world economy has been shaken to its very core. The once dominant role of the United States has collapsed under the weight of its own mismanagement, and the rest of the world is looking for new leadership.
Following the terrorists’ attacks of September 11, 2001, many recognized that things would never be quite the same, and they haven’t! Now we are hostages of fear, and that is reflected in the mobilization to perpetual war status as the United States, Britain and their few allies seek to conquer a small but elusive group of terrorists. Traveling on airlines or across national borders serves as a constant reminder that danger may be in the shadows.
Why is all of this turmoil happening, and why is the United States, along with Great Britain and its Commonwealth nations, so directly affected by these catastrophic events?
It is because our nations are among the modern descendants of the ancient house of Israel. While we received the unparalleled blessings God had promised unconditionally to Abraham’s “seed” or offspring for his faithful obedience, we are now facing the frightening penalties or “curses” that will occur for our disobedience.
God promised that “‘If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them…’” (Leviticus 26:3), then He would send blessings:
“‘I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword will not go through your land. You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you’” (Leviticus 26:6-8).
In the history of the rise of the British and American peoples to their prominence as world powers, these kinds of blessings were given. However, these blessings of protection from God would be removed if the laws of God were rejected and disobeyed. Leviticus 26, verses 14 through 39, very precisely detail the consequences of refusal to obey God.
Deuteronomy 28 also chronicles the promises and warnings of God. In verse 25, we find this dire and fateful prediction: “‘The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth.’”
In the song of Moses, as recorded in Deuteronomy 32, God foretells the circumstances that will come upon His people Israel when they reject Him—a warning for all generations but especially applicable for us in our time. Just as God has so greatly blessed our people above all other nations, now we are beginning to enter into a time of bitter correction. In verse 23, God says “‘“I will heap disasters on them…”’” Continuing in verse 30: “‘How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the LORD had surrendered them?’”
What our nations do not understand—nor do they believe—is that God is beginning to punish us for our rebellion: “‘“Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them”’” (Deuteronomy 32:35).
In another prophecy found in Ezekiel, chapter 7, modern Israel is warned: “‘“…The time has come, A day of trouble is near… Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, And spend My anger upon you…”’” (Verses 7 and 8); “‘“Disaster will come upon disaster, And rumor will be upon rumor”’” (Verse 26).
God has left further record of what would come upon His people when they rebelled against Him:
“‘Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the Lord; Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us”’” (Isaiah 30:8-11).
Again, God speaks of the terror that will come upon the modern houses of Israel and Judah: “‘One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, At the threat of five you shall flee, Till you are left as a pole [Better: “A tree stripped of branches”] on top of a mountain And as a banner on a hill’” (Isaiah 30:17).
In addition to these times of trouble when fears have become our stark reality, even more devastating punishment awaits if our people do not repent of their sins. As is so poignantly outlined in Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28 and other prophecies in the Word of God, our nations will be completely devastated through famines, diseases and wars and the survivors will become captive slaves of other nations. Our booklets, The Fall and Rise of Britain and America, The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, and Europe in Prophecy, go into the details of these events.
What about true Christians? What will happen to the people of God who have faithfully continued in obedience to God? Will they also suffer along with the rest?
Psalm 91 speaks reassuring words for us in this regard:
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’ Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling…” (Verses 1-10).
As the elect of God, we have been informed of the prophetic events that will lead to the return of Jesus Christ and the end of the age. In Matthew 24, along with revealing what would be taking place just prior to His return, Jesus makes a point in reminding His servants to watch and be ready. He also states, “‘See, I have told you beforehand’” (verse 25).
Knowing what we know comes with added responsibility:
“‘But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man’” (Luke 21:34-36).
There is something else we must be urgently doing at this time—we must be engaged in the Work of God, and that includes preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God! This preaching also involves our duty to warn the nations of God’s impending judgment (compare Ezekiel 33:1-11).
Far too many have come to understand prophecy about the end time only to use that knowledge to try and save themselves (compare Matthew 16:25). They don’t realize that only God can preserve us in the times ahead.
In a very specific promise to the Church of God “in Philadelphia,” God gives the following guarantee: “‘Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth’” (Revelation 3:10). This message is given to those who live at the end of the age—to those who faithfully obey God!
This promise is not restricted to a particular humanly-devised Church organization or corporate entity—to the exclusion of all those who are not part of that special group. Such an arrogant and self-righteous Pharisaical approach is clearly condemned by God—and those who communicate such an attitude of spiritual blindness, self-aggrandizement and pride might very well be among those who will NOT be protected during the hour of trial—the Great Tribulation. God’s promise of preservation applies to all of His people who are zealous in their obedience to God and their efforts to contribute to the preaching of the true gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14) and who are reflecting the love of Christ by feeding and tending gently the flock of God (John 21:15-17).
We find a key teaching of Jesus Christ that adds to how we should view the promise given to the church in Philadelphia:
“‘Therefore whoever HEARS these sayings of Mine, and DOES them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall’” (Matthew 7:24-27).
As we live in these increasingly troublesome times, we must hear and seek to understand God’s warnings. We can’t merely hide our eyes from the truth of these prophecies. Rather, now is the time for us to overcome—to put our own lives in order!
God has called each of us out of this world to do His Will, and that means involvement in the Church of God and the Work of the Church. Our roles differ widely, but we share the common goal of supporting the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Events of our time will challenge us in ways that will require that we place our faith in God in ultimate ways. Even so, we must continue to grow in love for one another and for those who do not now understand the things we do.
Finally, let’s never lose sight of the promise given to us by Jesus Christ, who is our example and Savior: “‘But he who ENDURES to the end SHALL BE SAVED’” (Matthew 24:13).
In Christ’s Service,