Letter to the Brethren – September 5, 2012
Dear Brethren and Friends,
We are fast approaching the autumnal Holy Day season with the Feast of Trumpets on September 17 and the Day of Atonement on September 26. The people of God will also be keeping the Feast of Tabernacles at Feast sites around the world to observe this biblically commanded period of time from October 1 to 8. But I will ask the question, as many have asked in the past, how many who kept the Feast last year will be absent this year?
It appears to be a constant within the Church of God that there will be absentees for all sorts of reasons: death, illness, injury or disability, family or work-related problems or maybe even loss of faith, interest or general apathy. It is always sad to hear of those faltering in their Christian calling, particularly at a time when prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes. We must, however, be aware of the warning given in Matthew 24:12 where Jesus talks about the time when the “love of many will grow cold”. This describes an indifference or even hostility to the truth once embraced, as well as these same traits being aimed at faithful Church members.
There is also a warning about those who are always wanting to hear something new. In 2 Timothy 4:3 we read the following prophecy: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers…” And so, we have been warned not to be deceived. We must heed the warning, lest we fall away from God’s Church and God’s truth.
We should understand that there are many reasons or even a combination of reasons why some may be absent from the Feast this year, and if we know of someone who falls into this category, we should try and to help and encourage them if at all possible. We can certainly pray for them to overcome any barriers that may, at least to them, seem impossible to overcome but “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Unfortunately, there does seem to be a very small group of “members” who could attend but simply don’t make the effort for reasons which only they may understand.
Satan is surely increasing his attack on those faithful to their true Christian calling, and we are told to be “sober and vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Whilst this had an application to the 1st century church, it has an even greater application as we approach Christ’s Second Coming.
Satan accomplishes this through many strategies, including stirring up strife between brethren and through the subtlety of erroneous teachings being introduced which can, and does, create controversy and argument.
This is especially tragic as the prophetic times ahead of us are drawing nearer, culminating in the glorious return of Jesus Christ. Let us look at the situation in the United Kingdom, to explain what we mean.
Now that the London 2012 Olympic Games, held all over the United Kingdom, have finished,
reality has set in again. It was 16 days of blanket coverage in the news media and simply a boon for the insatiable 24 hour rolling news broadcasts channels. Indeed, it was like “manna from heaven” for them and they took full advantage of the situation. By the end of the Olympics, a comment was made that Team GB had triumphantly over-delivered and the economy had done exactly the opposite.
The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, said last month that “I don’t think we’re in a position to forecast what will happen in the Euro area and, therefore, we are in no accurate position to know what will happen in the UK.” If a man in such a senior financial position doesn’t know, it doesn’t augur well for the country.
Mr. King wrote the following after the Games had concluded: “By spreading happiness and good cheer the Games have made us all feel better. And, who knows, the impact on confidence may give the economy a boost. But ultimately the Games cannot alter the underlying economic situation we face. If the rest of the world were growing normally, the rebalancing and recovery of our economy would be much easier. But it isn’t. Even the rapidly expanding emerging market economies are slowing, and the problems of the euro area continue with no obvious end in sight.”
With yet another downward forecast now indicating a zero per cent growth—at best—for 2012 in the UK, the view is that the country is in for a very difficult time. That is something the Church has been forecasting for years.
One British newspaper commented that “Now the Olympic party is over. Given the fun the nation has had over the past two weeks, it is inevitable that a hangover will follow. Soon, the BBC News will return to relentless tales of recession, the euro zone debt crisis, cuts and gloom rather than sporting heroism. Ministers will have to put down their plastic flags and return to the grind of trying, finally, to find a formula for economic growth.”
These comments are puerile to say the least; the government has been trying for some time to deal with an increasingly faltering economy but without much success. They simply don’t have the answers.
But now that this temporary “fun” has finished, the hard, cold reality of making ends meet in a very poor economic climate is taking hold again for the man in the street. This light relief was but for a short time and certainly gave a “lift” to the nation but now more serious considerations will have to be met by those suffering from financial hardship or difficulties. It was certainly a very welcome diversion for the government and politicians, but only for a brief moment in time. The costs of the Olympics Games were enormous although the financial commitment by the nation, when awarded the Games in 2005, was made in a different financial climate to today, and the government expects a return on that investment in the coming years.
And before the Olympics, we had the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations which again occupied an enormous amount of newspaper print, television and radio time and the attention of most of the nation. It was as if reality had been suspended with a constant diet of “news” that bore little resemblance to what was really going on and will probably lead to dire consequences for the world.
Focusing on other areas in the world, the problems in Syria and the Middle East have not suddenly disappeared, nor have the consequences of Iran’s actions with their nuclear ambitions, but you
may have been forgiven for thinking so as the media, especially in the UK, concentrated on these other distractions. In our weekly Updates, different sources have been quoted regularly about the possibility, or as some would see it, the probability, of a war between Israel and Iran, and within the next couple of months. We quoted the “Times of Israel” which wrote on August 20 that “Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‘is determined to attack Iran before the US elections,’ Israel’s Channel 10 News claimed on Monday night, and Israel is now ‘closer than ever’ to a strike designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive.”
Apart from the tensions in the Middle East, and elsewhere, economic problems are deep rooted and persist, not only in the UK but, it seems, in all nations around the globe. Everywhere we see problems. A recent newspaper report said that “Across the agricultural heartland of the US, the worst drought in at least 50 years is shriveling crops, baking pastures and running livestock farmers out of business.”
Add to that the moral decay which is usually viewed as “progress” and for those who have eyes to see, they are able to discern what a state the world is in. The blessings and cursings of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 have been ignored and dismissed by an “enlightened” society which thinks that they know better than God. Time, and decisive action by God, will prove otherwise. Winston Churchill said in his address to the Congress of the United States on December 26, 1941: “I will say that he must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below.” Unfortunately, all the current world leadership fit into this unfortunate category of not being able to see God’s purpose being worked out here below.
This world has very little hope and only temporary and brief solutions to the insurmountable problems that are engulfing the whole world. What is needed is a new type of government that does have the answers and we know that that time cannot be too far away. However, it will not be brought about by the intellect, abilities and actions of infallible man but by the supernatural intervention of Jesus Christ.
As we approach the upcoming Holy Days which foreshadow the return of Christ, the putting away of Satan for a 1,000 years and the Millennial rule of Christ, Church members who stay faithful can have hope for the future that the world at large can only dream of. Attending the Feast of Tabernacles gives us the opportunity of being with other “called out ones”—those of like mind and with the same goals and aspirations. How blessed we are to have been called at this time to be a part of the first and better resurrection (Hebrews 11:35).
At our two Feast sites, in Pismo Beach, California, USA, and Deganwy in North Wales, we will have available for all attendees our new booklet “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy”, together with the Feast of Tabernacles newspaper that we have been working on for about four months. This has assumed that the date of the newspaper is twenty years into the Millennium and many fine contributions have been received from members. We hope that these two items will add greatly to your Feast enjoyment.
With Christian love,