August 22, 2005
August 22nd, 2005
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
Greetings from Charlotte, NC! Big things are happening! If you read the world news carefully, it is evident that—behind the scenes—the new pope is working hard to reestablish the Roman Catholic Church as the genuine "world church." In his first trip outside Rome to a religious gathering in southern Italy, Pope Benedict XVI made it clear that one of his main goals as the new pope was to bring back the various Orthodox churches to Mother Rome. He is also seriously reaching out to the Church of England and even the mainstream Protestants.
Only a few days ago, Pope Benedict made quite a splash in Cologne, Germany, at World Youth Day. Some one million people turned out to hear him speak. Many were absolutely enthralled. As the Los Angeles Times reported, "Stefan Thaler, 25, of Innsbruck, Austria, who came to Cologne last weekend for the World Youth activities, said he was delighted to see Benedict and his promotion of a universal church. ‘Here it is possible to experience the world church. I find that fascinating,’ he said. ‘This is a time for new starts.’" (August 19, 2005).
A "world church"?
The inspired revelation from our Creator warned us very clearly about this some two thousand years ago. The Apostle Paul was inspired to write about the events immediately preceding Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. Paul stated, "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (II Thess. 2:3-4).
Dear brethren, the time is coming very soon when this man will appear. He will allow himself to be exalted far above any normal human. People will actually begin to worship him as the above verses indicate. And in this same scriptural passage, God tells us through Paul, "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders" (vv. 7-9).
Brethren, we do not yet know for sure whether Benedict XVI will be the man to fulfill these prophecies. Anyone would only be guessing and conjecturing to try to say otherwise. But certainly the charismatic impact of the recent Pope John Paul II, and the continuing powerful outreach of the present pope, will in any case prepare the way for the final "lawless one." For this final religious leader, and all who carefully and artfully turn people away from genuine obedience to God’s laws and from truly following and imitating Jesus of Nazareth are, in fact, part of the modern "Babylon" which God condemns so powerfully in His inspired Word. As Jesus Himself said, "Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).
Within the next several years, a great false religious leader will astound the world—as verse seven above indicates—"with all power, signs and lying wonders." This same man is clearly described in Revelation 13:11-13, "Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men."
If this present pope—or a soon-to-come future pope—would literally "make fire come down from heaven," then literally hundreds of millions of people in Europe, Central and South America and elsewhere would fall down and worship this man! Would you?
Yet the Bible specifically tells us that this coming man is a false prophet who will soon join the "Beast"—the coming ruler of a European Empire (Rev. 17:11-13). Because they will be led to believe that "God is with us," this soon-coming king/dictator in Europe and his allies will actually have the audacity to fight Christ at His Second Coming (v. 14)! This modern church/state system called "Babylon" in your Bible will look very attractive to billions of people! For it will take over most of the western world, and will dominate the entire world for a time.
But what is the end of this dictator, this false prophet and their followers when Jesus Christ returns? "Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh" (Rev. 19:20-21).
Dear brethren and co-workers, do you really want to be on the "winning team"? Then you had better genuinely study the Bible and prove to yourself where the living Jesus Christ is truly working today! You had better align yourself with the true people of God who will be taken to a "Place of Safety" just before this coming "Beast" unleashes the full-scale Great Tribulation on God’s people (Rev. 12:12-14). For this is the church whose members "keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (v. 17). These are the genuine "saints" of God who surrender their lives to let Jesus Christ live His obedient life within them through the Holy Spirit (Gal. 2:20). "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14:12).
Somewhere on this earth today is the true Church of God. It will be used to warn the modern descendants of the ten tribed "House of Israel" of the coming Great Tribulation (Ezek. 33:1-7). It will be used by God to preach the powerful message of the soon-coming government of God as a "witness" to all the nations (Matt. 24:14). Its members will be learning about and practicing God’s kind of government so they can teach this way of life to the entire world (I Cor. 6:1-3).
May God help you to understand and to become part of this true church. May God help you to "present your bodies a living sacrifice to God" (Rom. 12:1) and be fully involved in His Work and in genuinely preparing for the Kingdom of God to be set up on this earth. Then you will hear these precious words from Christ, "Well done good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities" (Luke 19:17). Then you will truly have fulfilled your purpose in life and the reason for God calling you at this time.
With Christian love,
—Roderick C. Meredith