June 18, 2014
June 18th, 2014
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
In just a few days, Dr. Roderick C. Meredith, Presiding Evangelist of the Living Church of God, will reach 84 years of age. We appreciate his continuing dedication to doing the Work, even while he copes with the death of his wife Sheryl last November. She had been his beloved helpmate for more than 30 years. In spite of this loss, and enduring the lingering effects of the stroke he suffered nearly six years ago, he is daily administering God’s Work, conducting meetings, giving Tomorrow’s World Presentations, and preaching powerfully. In fact, he just returned from a visit to the Chicago area for Pentecost weekend, where he preached on the weekly Sabbath and on Pentecost (Sunday, June 8).
While Dr. Meredith preached to brethren and guests in the Chicago area, my wife and I were in Kansas City fellowshipping with 263 enthusiastic and zealous members and guests. Brethren and co-workers, as we have a mission to live by and restore original Christianity, I encourage you to read the book of Acts and renew your faith in Christ’s leadership of His Church through the Holy Spirit!
As most of you know, another major mission Christ has given us is to “watch” and “pray always” (Luke 21:36). Jesus strongly corrected the Jewish leaders of His day for not discerning “the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:1-4). I hope you all received Dr. Meredith’s April 30 letter, mailed to more than 440,000 Tomorrow’s World subscribers around the world. In that letter, he offered a powerful new DVD, Prophecy Marches On: 2013 and Beyond. You brethren may remember much of it from last year’s “Behind the Work” film. Thanks to Dr. Meredith’s offer, more than 30,000 Tomorrow’s World subscribers have requested this stirring presentation. I urge you to watch your own copy of this DVD, to help you connect with “the signs of the times” and the fast-moving events you read about daily.
Just two weeks ago, on Monday, June 2, two formerly adversarial Palestinian groups, Fatah and Hamas, agreed on the formation of a new “Unity Government” for the Palestinian Authority. On June 3, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, posted on Facebook his message of deep concern: “Israel is deeply disappointed with the State Department’s comments today on the Palestinian unity government with Hamas, a terrorist organization responsible for the murder of many hundreds of Israelis, which has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli cities, and which remains committed to Israel’s destruction. Had Hamas changed, it would be one thing. But Hamas hasn’t changed. It remains as committed to Israel’s destruction today as it was yesterday. This Palestinian unity government is a government of technocrats backed by terrorists, and should be treated as such. With suits in the front office and terrorists in the back office, it should not be business as usual.”
The Guardian reported the following: “Israel, which suspended peace negotiations in April when a surprise reconciliation deal was signed opening the way to the appointment of the new government, reacted angrily to the deal. The prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, chairing a security cabinet following the signing, told ministers: ‘Today, Abu Mazen [as President Mahmoud Abbas is known] said yes to terrorism and no to peace’” (June 2, 2014).
Brethren and co-workers, watch the Middle East! Current conditions for peace between Israel and the Palestinian unity government indicate that only external pressure will bring about a temporary rapprochement. In fact, Pope Francis hosted a “prayer summit” on Pentecost, June 8, for the leaders of both groups. The Washington Post reported: “Pope Francis brought together the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority on Sunday at the Vatican to join in prayer and promise to seek peace—though their governments are officially not talking. Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas concluded the two-hour ceremony by kissing each other on the cheek and then planting an olive tree, gestures intended to signal a commitment to trying to end one of the longest-running, most intractable conflicts in the world” (June 8, 2014).
Bible prophecy reveals that both religious and political powers will greatly influence developments in modern-day Israel. A great false prophet will deceive billions of people, even performing miracles such as calling down fire from heaven (Revelation 13:13-14). The prophesied “Beast” power will conquer nations and will ultimately even fight Christ at His return (Revelation 17:11-18)! In many articles and sermons over the years we have explained that “the prince” who will “destroy the city and the sanctuary” was the Roman leader who fulfilled Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:26) in 70 AD. He was a type of the end-time Beast power who will facilitate the Jewish renewal of animal sacrifices with a seven-year agreement (a prophetic “week”) or “covenant.” Then, after three and one-half years, this end-time powerful leader of the revived Roman Empire will cause these sacrifices to cease. The New International Version states it this way: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’ [a prophetic week]. In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him” (Daniel 9:27).
Jesus instructed us to watch for the end-time abomination: “‘Therefore when you see the “abomination of desolation,” spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’ (whoever reads, let him understand), ‘then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains’” (Matthew 24:15-16). Matthew, the gospel writer, emphasized Christ’s exhortation for all of us to “understand”! The Apostle Paul described this future “man of sin… 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” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).
Bible prophecy reveals that Jerusalem will be subjugated by an outside government and military force (Luke 21:20). God also revealed to the Apostle John this shocking but sure prophecy regarding Jerusalem: “Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, ‘Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months’” (Revelation 11:1-2).
Why would God allow Gentiles to take over the city of Jerusalem? Israel must judge itself with regard to the Ten Commandments and its national behaviors. Has modern Israel fulfilled its responsibility to the entire world? These standards apply to the American and British-descended peoples, as well as to the modern nation of Israel. Unless these peoples acknowledge their immorality and how they negatively influence other nations, God will powerfully and mercifully—as an act of His love—punish and correct them. To avert prophesied destruction, there must be a significant revival in seeking God nationally and individually.
We at Tomorrow’s World have been preaching the good news of God’s coming Kingdom, and warning our Western nations that unless they repent of their increasingly godless and immoral ways, God will judge them severely. Israel is no exception! Identifying themselves as “people of God,” the people of Israel have a greater responsibility to exemplify biblical and moral values to the rest of the world. If modern-day Israelis do not repent of their pride and promotion of homosexuality, abortion and Sabbath-breaking, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will punish the nation. This is one reason why Jerusalem will be “given to the Gentiles.”
When the Messiah returns, He will make Jerusalem the capital of the world. Repentant children of Israel will serve the King of kings, who will be assisted by the apostles ruling under Him over each of the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). We look forward to that glorious day when all nations will be required to keep the Feast of Tabernacles and “come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 14:17).
Currently we read about the bloody military conflicts and killing daily in Syria and Iraq. Brethren and co-workers, watch the Middle East! And, as Matthew wrote, “whoever reads, let him understand.” You need to understand the prophecies concerning the Middle East. I encourage you to read or re-read our booklets Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return and The Middle East in Prophecy. The prophet Daniel revealed that the king of the south will push against the king of the north. As of our present day, the king of the south has yet to unite, and the king of the north, the revived Roman Empire, is forming. You will want to see Mr. Rod King’s telecast “Will the Beast Rise in Europe?” scheduled for the week of July 3–9 and Dr. Meredith’s telecast “The Soon-Coming Utopia” scheduled for the following week. Be sure to study your Bible and draw close to our Father in heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our 2014 media efforts continue to produce encouraging fruit, particularly our new times on WGN, (Sundays, 8:30 a.m. ET), and BET (Wednesdays, 7:30 a.m. ET). Thank you very much for your faithful and continued support! As Sabbath attendance increases and we establish new congregations, we need more ministers to shepherd the flock. We are thankful for the men now in training and for those who recently have accepted new pastorates around the world. Emphasizing the need for more servants, Jesus, in His compassion for those in need, instructed us to pray for more laborers to work in the harvest. “Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest’” (Matthew 9:35-38). We need to pray for more laborers in the harvest!
In closing, I want to share with you some encouraging news from our member magazine, The Living Church News, which reported on last month’s biennial General Ministerial Conference. “From May 5–7, 2014, 287 ministers, wives and ministerial widows from 20 countries around the globe gathered here in Charlotte, North Carolina, for three days of fellowship and intensive instruction in the history, doctrine, practice and mission of the Living Church of God. Dr. Roderick C. Meredith launched the conference by recounting key milestones in the modern history of the Church of God. His comments and directions throughout the conference were widely appreciated” (July-August 2014, p. 12). I am so thankful for Christ’s leadership and inspiration, and for the strong spirit of unity He has given us to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). As I stated in that article, “We will all go forward from this Conference with renewed zeal facing daily challenges with faith. And we are solidly dedicated to preparing the world, the church, and ourselves individually for the coming Kingdom of God” (ibid.).
Many of you brethren and co-workers have taken distance-learning courses through Living University. The Living Church News reported: “Significantly, Dr. Meredith’s opening presentation was followed by a graduation ceremony for Living University. Seven of this year’s 14 graduates were present at the ceremony, at which three students received the Associate of Theology Degree, three received the Diploma in Biblical Studies and one received the Certificate in Biblical Archaeology. Their presence reminded the gathered ministry that the Church has not only a past to be remembered, but a future for which we must prepare” (ibid.). Visit www.livinguniv.com for more information.
Brethren and co-workers, always be spiritually alert and watchful! “Stay tuned” to Christ’s leadership by supporting the telecast, the publications, our Web sites in various languages and our social media efforts! Also pray for our Tomorrow’s World Presentations. Mr. Rod McNair and I will give one here in Charlotte on Sunday, June 29, and we would especially appreciate your prayers for that occasion. May God bless you all in drawing close to Him and our Savior, Jesus Christ as we approach the return of the King of kings and the establishment of His kingdom over all nations!
In Christian love,
Richard F. Ames