Letter to the Brethren – September 7, 2004
Dear Brethren and Friends,
The world of today is becoming more and more filled with hopeless violence. Implacable enemies are arising, committing unspeakable atrocities! On the near horizon of this generation’s future, insurmountable difficulties loom! The societies of this age are selfishly focused on power, on money and on vainly serving the desires of the flesh, all built on the false promises of human governments who are always proclaiming, but never quite able to deliver, a time of peace (compare 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).
We who have been called by God and who have continued to walk in His way of life, look forward to a much different future. We KNOW that God will soon establish His Kingdom on this earth. We KNOW that God will send Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), to intervene in great power to actually bring peace to the entire planet, forcing a rebellious mankind to accept God’s peace on His terms. Under His rule, man will not “learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).
As we enter the observance of these Fall Holy Days as commanded by God, we need to carefully consider the awesome GIFT that has been bestowed upon us. We understand God’s will, and we have the unparalleled and certain hope of a future of real peace, a peace that will transform this world!
In this context, let us also think about OUR PART in the Work of God: “For [consider] your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
In the wonder of this revelation, we are, on the one hand, humbled; while, on the other hand, we are called upon to take seriously the great responsibility that accompanies our calling at this time!
We have a message to deliver to this world, the GOOD NEWS that the way of living that brings only misery and death will soon come to an end. But, as we understand, there is MORE to that GOOD NEWS! It includes the establishment of God’s rule here on earth, the beginning of a BETTER way of life. This is news from God! It is the very same announcement given by Jesus Christ and continually proclaimed by the Church of God throughout the generations.
Here is the direct statement by Jesus Christ concerning the gospel or good news that comes from God: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end [of this present evil age] will come” (Matthew 24:14). We are doing our part in this awesome commission through the work of the Church of the Eternal God and our corporate affiliates in Canada and Great Britain. We are carrying on with this commission given to us in the Word of God. We all have our part as God has established us. Consider this statement in 1 Corinthians 12:18: “But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body JUST AS HE PLEASED.”
God has very specifically chosen each one of us to be called at this time! He has done so with purpose: First, it is a part of His plan to call all in His Church to continued repentance and to offer all of us the chance for eternal life (Compare 2 Peter 3:9); Second, He is giving us the opportunity to be in the first resurrection and to be part of the government Jesus Christ will bring to the earth (Note the messages to the Churches in Revelation 2 and 3); Third, He has called us to be ambassadors of this future Kingdom, NOW! (Compare 2 Corinthians 5:20).
As the Word of God does so often, we, too, want to encourage all to walk in ways that truly reflect the character of God. Jesus said that we are “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). In verse 16 of this same chapter, He says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Brethren, we accomplish this by living a life patterned after that of Jesus Christ. Especially during these approaching Holy Days, we should be extra mindful of our role in the body of Christ, the Church of God. All of God,s Feast Days picture His great master plan, and they continue to give us increased insight, understanding and occasions for personal growth. You may want to look again at our publication, “God’s Commanded Holy Days,” which sets forth in detail the meaning of these annual Festivals. For instance, Paul pointed out: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). He understood that the Feast Days (in this case, Passover) played a significant role in revealing the unfolding plan of God. Passover, reflecting on Christ’s death, is just the beginning, already pointing to Christ’s return and His rule over man. Passover is followed by the Days of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and the Last Great Day, all these Days picture critical events in Gods plan for mankind, and for those whom He has called in this time and age. In faithfully obeying God’s command to observe His special Holy Days, we, as Christ’s ambassadors and special “newscasters,” are representing the promise of God to offer salvation to all of mankind.
What we do will certainly serve as a chance to let our light shine. When we gather together to be strengthened and to encourage one another, we will also be assembling as representatives of God’s Way of living.
In this joyous and special time of the Fall Festivals, we are to REJOICE: “And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates” (Deuteronomy 16:14).
Let us also direct our gratitude to God and to Jesus Christ in preparation for, and during God’s Fall Festivals! At one time, Jesus healed ten lepers; however, only one returned to give thanks and glory to God for his healing: “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15-16).
Brethren, as we keep the Fall Festivals, let us walk thankfully in the confidence of our calling. Let us rejoice in the hope that God has given us, and let us be very mindful of the fact that we are representatives of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Let us all become rejuvenated and refreshed during the Fall Festival season, praying to God for, and expecting to receive from Him, His strength (compare Isaiah 40:31). We need God’s strength to continue, in ever-increasing boldness and power, to do our job of proclaiming the good news of God’s soon-coming Kingdom to this world, an hallucinating, self-deceived and dying world, which hopes for peace, while living a way of life, which only brings about war (Romans 3:10-18). God’s Kingdom, pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles, is the ONLY hope for mankind. Let us never forget to pray: “Thy Kingdom Come!” And let us, as ambassadors of Christ, continue, without fear of persecution or reprisal, to PROCLAIM to this war-stricken world the gospel of PEACE (Ephesians 6:15), as this is indeed “beautiful” in God’s sight (Isaiah 52:7). We wish all of you a spiritually rewarding and peaceful Fall Festival season.
In Christ’s Service,
J. Edwin Pope
David J. Harris