February 13, 2020
February 13th, 2020
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
Mr. Gerald Weston has begun an extensive international trip to visit our offices and congregations in Canada, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Africa. We appreciate his dedication and service to move God’s Work forward worldwide. While at our Canadian regional office last week, Mr. Weston taped four Tomorrow’s World telecasts (Canadian version). By the time you read this letter, he will have left Canada and conducted a Tomorrow’s World Presentation (TWP) in Quezon City, the Philippines. On February 16, he flies to Bangkok, Thailand, and then to Mae Sot for a leadership conference attended by brethren from eight different countries. On February 23, he plans to fly to Johannesburg, South Africa, to visit our Regional Office and several congregations. Please pray for Mr. Weston’s safe and profitable travel.
Our world has experienced historic epidemics and pandemics over the centuries. Now, China faces the challenge of trying to contain a virus already more deadly than the SARS virus that spread around the world in 2003. On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a “Global Health Emergency,” with cases found in more than 18 countries besides China. Jesus warned that there would be pestilences in the end time (Matthew 24:7), and He revealed that the ride of the end-time Four Horsemen will kill one-fourth of the world’s population (Revelation 6:8). We all need to do our part in observing the biblical health laws and praying for those in affected parts of the world.
Here in the United States, amid contention over the impeachment and subsequent acquittal of President Donald Trump, America’s chief executive gave his annual State of the Union address on February 4, proclaiming, “I am thrilled to report to you tonight that our economy is the best it has ever been.” Opponents challenge the accuracy of his statement, but we should all be grateful that the economy has been strong enough to let this Work continue with power. I hope you will join me in praying that God’s Work can expand and not contract in the months and years ahead, since we know that America’s vast national debt means our economy is terribly vulnerable. As the Wall Street Journal reported:
The national debt and sustained federal budget deficits will hit the highest levels since World War II over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office projected on Tuesday, following multiple rounds of tax cuts and continued increases in federal spending. The government will spend $1 trillion more than it collects in 2020 and deficits will reach or exceed that threshold every year for the foreseeable future. As a share of gross domestic product, the deficit will be at least 4.3% every year through 2030. That would be the longest stretch of budget deficits exceeding 4% of GDP over the past century, according to the CBO, a nonpartisan arm of Congress (“U.S. Debt Will Rise to 98% of GDP by 2030,” WSJ.com, January 28, 2020).
Will the U.S. government spend $1 trillion more than it receives “every year for the foreseeable future”? Concerning our trillions of dollars in federal debt, financial analyst Richard J. Maybury wrote, “I think we can safely say no other government in history has been this deep in the hole. But, as with all unpayable debts, the chickens will come home to roost eventually. When? Impossible to know. But it’s likely they will show up in the form of hyperinflation, as in Venezuela” (emphasis ours, U.S. & World Early Warning Report, February 2020, p. 5).
Not only are we facing future economic disaster, “natural” disasters give us a preview of even more devastating catastrophes to come. The prophet Joel describes locust plagues as a Day of the Lord judgment: “What the chewing locust left, the swarming locust has eaten; what the swarming locust left, the crawling locust has eaten; and what the crawling locust left, the consuming locust has eaten” (Joel 1:4). The recent locust swarms in Kenya give us a preview. “The hum of millions of locusts on the move is broken by the screams of farmers and the clanging of pots and pans. But their noise-making does little to stop the voracious insects from feasting on their crops in this rural community. The worst outbreak of desert locusts in Kenya in 70 years has seen hundreds of millions of the bugs swarm into the East African nation from Somalia and Ethiopia. Those two countries have not had an infestation like this in a quarter-century, destroying farmland and threatening an already vulnerable region with devastating hunger” (“‘This is huge’: Locust swarms in Africa are worst in decades,” The Charlotte Observer, January 26, 2020, p. 30A).
Australians are familiar with locust plagues across their nation. Their Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment gives this history: “Geographically extensive outbreaks were first reported in the 1870s and affected inland agricultural areas of New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria. A pattern of high density populations developing in some locations in most years, with less frequent very large ‘plague’ populations extending across several states for one or two years, has persisted in eastern Australia since that time. A review of locust records… identified eight major plagues since 1930. In Western Australia outbreaks were less frequent, but in recent decades major outbreaks have occurred in 1999-2001, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2012-2013” (“History of locust and grasshopper outbreaks in Australia,” www.agriculture.gov.au). Australia has also suffered recently from its worst-ever plague of bushfires: “‘Unprecedented’ is the word that keeps being tied to the apocalyptic weather Australia has faced over the past few months” (emphasis ours, “Fires and Floods,” TheGuardian.com, February 10, 2020).
Will our nations get the message that they must repent to avoid the coming judgments? How dangerous is our world? On January 23, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the minute hand of its Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds before midnight. NPR.com reported, “‘The Doomsday Clock is a globally recognized indicator of the vulnerability of our existence,’ said former Irish President Mary Robinson at the annual clock-unveiling ceremony. ‘It’s a striking metaphor for the precarious state of the world, but most frighteningly, it’s a metaphor backed by rigorous scientific scrutiny’” (“The End May Be Nearer,” NPR.org, January 23, 2020). Be sure to read Mr. Weston’s article “One Decision Away From Armageddon” in the March-April 2020 Tomorrow’s World magazine.
So, how much time do we have left, as a society and individually? We must watch and pray and stay awake spiritually! As Mr. Weston warned us in the September-October 2019 Living Church News, “Now Is No Time to Fall Asleep!” If you aren’t receiving the Living Church News, I encourage you to write to us and request your own subscription. Of course, you can also read it online at LCG.org.
We are grateful that the economy is currently strong (in spite of its very weak foundation) so we can continue to preach the Gospel. Thank you for your continuous and faithful support. But there will come a time when this Work that Christ has given us will be cut short in righteousness (Romans 9:28). Then, God will end the preaching and warning before the Great Tribulation: “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord God, ‘That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord’” (Amos 8:11). The two witnesses will prophesy during the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord (Revelation 11:3). Until that time comes, we must warn the nations and those whom God is calling so they can “escape all these things that will come to pass” (Luke 21:36).
We thank God for the open doors of television, Internet, and print. Recently we have been able to air the Tomorrow’s World telecast on additional stations here in the United States and around the world. In the remainder of February, Tomorrow’s World Presentations are scheduled in South Africa, Australia, French Guiana, and Martinique—in addition to cities in the United States. On February 23, Mr. Weston will be giving a TWP in Cape Town, South Africa. We appreciate your prayers for his travel and energetic ministry.
Bible prophecies are coming to pass, sobering us in these “latter days” as we come nearer to the climax of end-time events—Jesus Christ’s prophesied return as King of kings and Lord of lords to rule all nations and usher in world peace. Let us persevere in fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) with our whole heart. Our Lord encourages us: “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes” (Luke 12:42-43).
Thank you for your continuous and faithful support of the Work of Almighty God and the Lord Jesus Christ!
In Christian love,
Richard F. Ames