April 19, 2017
April 19th, 2017
Dear Members and Co-workers,
Carol and I just returned home from a most encouraging visit with seven of our congregations along the East Coast. We spent the Sabbath in Williamsburg, Virginia where that congregation combined with Richmond and Norfolk. Salisbury, Maryland participated in the service by means of an Internet connection. Then on the annual high day Sabbath of the Last Day of Unleavened Bread, Baltimore, Washington, Harrisburg and Winchester met for combined services in Frederick, Maryland. Sermons explained in detail how the biblical Festivals map out God’s plan of salvation for mankind, and we enjoyed special music provided by the children’s choir and then a combined adult choir.
What a contrast these biblical Festivals and Holy Days are from professing Christian counterfeits! Note this bizarre news story out of England: “An Easter controversy in Britain is leaving chocolate maker Cadbury with egg on its face. Church of England Archbishop John Sentamu accused the company of ‘spitting on the grave’ of its religious founder by rebranding the ‘Easter Egg Trail’ as the ‘Great British Egg Hunt.’ ‘This marketing campaign… highlights the folly in airbrushing faith from Easter,’ the church said in a statement about the popular yearly event” (nypost.com, April 4, 2017).
It gets worse. British Prime Minister Theresa May waded in on the controversy: “May said it was ‘absolutely ridiculous’ that the National Trust, which runs parks and stately homes across Britain, had allowed sponsor Cadbury to promote its chocolate egg hunts at their sites without reference to the Christian festival. ‘I’m not just a vicar’s daughter—I’m a member of the National Trust as well. I think the stance they have taken is absolutely ridiculous,’ the prime minister told Britain’s ITV News while on a trip to Jordan. ‘Easter’s very important. It’s important to me. It’s a very important festival for the Christian faith for millions across the world’” (pri.org, April 4, 2017).
Here is another head-scratcher: “A Christian couple says two foster children [ages three and four] were removed from their home and their eligibility as foster parents cancelled by the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society because they refused to say the Easter Bunny was real. . . . ‘We have a no-lying policy,’ Derek Baars said in an interview. ‘We explained to the agency that we are not prepared to tell the children a lie. If the children asked, we would not lie to them, but we wouldn’t bring it up ourselves.’. . . Derek recounted an awkward meeting with the worker, where she told the Baars they were ‘required’ to ‘affirm the existence of E.B. and S.C.’—with the worker using initials for the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus as the children were present. ‘We said that we would neither confirm nor deny the existence of these two mythical creatures but were not prepared to lie,’ he said. Soon after, the two girls in their care were removed” (National Post, April 12, 2017).
The couple willingly involved the girls with colored eggs and rabbit traditions, but refused to lie to the girls that the Easter Bunny is real. One has to admire the couple for standing their ground and not knowingly lying to the girls. However, what they, the Archbishop of York and the British Prime Minister apparently do not realize is that the whole Easter tradition IS a lie! The name has nothing to do with Jesus Christ or His resurrection. It is the name of a pagan goddess of fertility! Rabbits and eggs are fertility symbols, and Jesus was neither crucified nor resurrected when most professing Christians believe He was. The sunrise service has its origins in sun worship! Sadly, many people know these things but continue to go along with family and friends. For them, tradition trumps truth! To read the plain truth about Easter, call, write, or go to TomorrowsWorld.org for your free copy of Easter: The Untold Story.
Dear Members and Co-workers, our world is getting crazier with each passing day! We never know what new shock may greet us each morning! Journalists once strove to publish the one major news story for the day. Sometimes they really had to scramble to find one, and we would often comment, “This must be a slow news day.” Not anymore! Today it is a matter of which major story takes precedence over the others. Will there be a war with North Korea? Will the U.S. and Russia have an incident that sparks a major conflict between the two antagonists in Syria? Will war break out between Israel and its neighbors? Then there is the specter of a terrorist attack at any time and nearly anywhere.
Those who study the Bible should understand that we are truly living in the last days. The Apostle Paul warned us, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Timothy 3:1). What we see today is only the beginning. It will get much worse. We cannot know every twist and turn world events will take, but the Bible gives us the outline and the outcome. One troubling trend is that the very people of God will be lukewarm, neither hot nor cold at the time of the end (Revelation 3:14-19).
How strange! One would think that it would be just the opposite. People should become more zealous toward God and doing His will as they see end-time events descending upon them. Such is not the case.
There is a real spirit being directing the course of this world (Ephesians 2:1-2). He is a master of distraction. He gives us every physical toy we could ever imagine. Television, once considered the greatest time waster, now competes with Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, Instagram and a host of other electronic devices and programs that vie for our attention. No technology is evil in itself, but taken together without exercising character to set proper priorities, people wear out before they get to those things that are important.
So what is important in your life? What is your passion? What demands the greatest devotion from you? Is it your hobby? Is it your family? Family is certainly important, but is it the most important?
At some point, we all come to the place where one question stands out above all else. Is there life after death? The Bible says there is. Does it not make sense to investigate the possibility? Hobbies, while of temporal value, will not get you there. The trappings of success, such as money and material possessions, cannot get you there, and you cannot take them with you beyond the grave. Even family is of no lasting value if you put family before God. Read Jesus’ own words for yourself: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate [love to a lesser degree by comparison] his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). Is there life after death, and what must I do to find it?
Members of the Living Church of God know that we read from John the sixth chapter at Passover services. Consider carefully these words: “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever’” (John 6:53-58).
What will it take to stir each of us to take action and go all out to serve the living God? Jesus tells us, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together” (John 4:34-36).
We are such a small group of people, but our combined efforts reach far beyond our size. Nevertheless, we are nothing compared to the job before us. Somehow, some way, God is going to use a group of people at the end of the age to fulfill His purpose of preaching the true Gospel and warning the world of what is about to descend upon us. Whatever your efforts have been and will be, they are greatly appreciated. Most of all, they are seen by God, who will reward every one according to his works (Revelation 22:12).
Thank you for your prayers, your support, and your dedication! Our Presiding Evangelist, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, remains at home, and while his mind is sharp, his body grows weaker. Your prayers for him and for his family are appreciated.
Sincerely, in Christ’s service,
Gerald E. Weston