March 17, 2015
March 17th, 2015
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
Dr. Meredith has been very busy fulfilling his many responsibilities while preparing for a live online Tomorrow’s World Presentation on Sunday, March 29 at 2:00 p.m. ET. His topic will be “The POWER of Religion!” Please join us online, if you can. Current events help us understand Jesus’ warning that religious deception will increase at the end of this age. After warning of end-time lawlessness, Christ continued: “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matthew 24:10-11).
We need to take that prophecy seriously. We must be alert to religious trends, wars and deceptions. Dr. Meredith has also written a feature article by the same title, which will be published in the May-June 2015 Tomorrow’s World magazine. Be sure to read it carefully!
As I write this letter, the troubled Middle Eastern nation of Israel is preparing to hold national elections. Polls show Likud, the conservative party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trailing behind several other parties in a center-left coalition. Hoping to gain more conservative support, Netanyahu on Monday reversed his long-standing support for a “two-state” solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This may cost Netanyahu some moderate supporters, yet observers suggest that Likud—even if it wins fewer seats in the next Knesset (Israel’s parliamentary body) than the center-left coalition—may still be better poised to form a majority government to rule the nation.
No matter who may hold power within Israel, the tiny and beleaguered nation is continually facing threats to its very existence. Israel is surrounded by nations that would like to see it conquered or destroyed. Even many liberal Israelis and Arabs within its current borders support the giving up of more land to form a Palestinian state alongside Israel. So, if Netanyahu wins, will Arab-Israeli tensions increase? Or, if Netanyahu is weakened or ousted in the upcoming election, will Israel become still more vulnerable to both internal and external threats? As we have been warning for years, there will come a time when the “king of the north” will invade and control Jerusalem and the nation.
Jesus prophesied of that time: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-24).
The destruction of Jerusalem in 70ad was a type of the Gentiles’ prophesied end-time control of Jerusalem. The modern residents of Jerusalem must remember their city’s historic roots and return to the God of the Bible! More and more Israelis are embracing a secular lifestyle, much of it contrary to the Scriptures God gave to the Jews to preserve. Will there come a time when an increasingly immoral Israeli culture brings God’s judgment upon that nation? Remember, the modern Middle Eastern nation of Israel includes millions descended from the ancient House of Judah! The prophet Hosea gives an end-time warning: “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb; yet he cannot cure you, nor heal you of your wound” (Hosea 5:13).
Unless the people of modern-day Israel turn from their increasingly materialistic and sinful life-style, God will ensure that a “wound” will help them to repent! God tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). We also pray that the modern people of Israel will nationally call upon the Eternal God of Israel to save them. But they must look to their own history and take drastic action, in repentance and humility, as their ancestors did in times of national crisis.
We encourage you all to watch the Middle East, as Christ commissioned His followers to do. Of course, He also commissioned us to preach the true gospel around the world. As part of that commission, we are always striving to be faithful stewards of the tithes and offerings of God’s people. I hope you will join me in praying for the success of three new television stations broadcasting the Tomorrow’s World telecast:
- WDSI, Chattanooga, TN, Sunday, 8:00 a.m.
- KAIL, Fresno, CA, Sunday, 9:00 a.m.
- WSTR, Cincinnati, OH, Sunday, 7:30 a.m. (beginning April 5)
We were able to add these stations when it became clear that our previous 6:00 a.m. time on WGN, which we have resumed, was much more cost-effective than the 8:30 a.m. time we briefly tried.
If you are multilingual, you may also appreciate our various international editions. Online at ElMundoDeManana.org you can hear the telecast with Spanish-language voiceover. French speakers can find an edition online at MondeDemain.org. Our Canadian office continues to produce a telecast especially for China; a Chinese-subtitled version airs from Hong Kong—and you can view the English version online at TomorrowsWorldHK.org, which also offers Chinese-language translation of various Living Church of God publications.
What about the many who have “cut the cord” and no longer watch cable television? For those who rely on the Internet, our Tomorrow’s World channel on Roku is growing steadily. Based on installation rates so far, by the time this letter is mailed our new Roku advertising campaign will have added several thousand new subscribers in just its first few weeks. We encourage you Internet users to watch Tomorrow’s World on the platform of your choice, whether Roku, Amazon, Apple or Google.
Even in this Internet age, many find there is no substitute for personal contact. In addition to Dr. Meredith’s upcoming Web presentation, we have several regional Tomorrow’s World Presents meetings scheduled in the weeks ahead. By the time most of you receive this letter, we will have held presentations in Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina (March 22-23), and I will have spoken in Hanover, Maryland on March 22. Be sure to look for a presentation coming to your area—you can view our TomorrowsWorld.org Web page for the schedule.
Following these presentations, we will look forward to observing the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. The Apostle Paul commanded the Gentile brethren at Corinth in Greece, “let us keep the feast”—referring to the Days of Unleavened Bread (1 Corinthians 5:8). The seven days of Unleavened Bread are preceded by the New Testament Passover: “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (v. 7). The Apostle Paul gives further instructions for observing the Passover in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. I hope you have been able to use the envelope-sized Holy Day calendar that was sent with my January co-worker letter, outlining the annual Holy Days and Festivals for 2015. If you did not receive it, just write to us using the enclosed envelope and request your free copy.
At this time of year we reflect on the great sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, and we strive to soberly follow His example and instruction in this annual memorial of His death. We rejoice in His living, active guidance as the Head of the Church, His body (Colossians 1:18). Let us all examine ourselves whether we are truly in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Remember Paul’s exhortation, “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Brethren and co-workers, as we approach the end of this human- and Satan-dominated age, let us stir ourselves to draw closer to God in our daily lives, praying for more laborers to enter the harvest (Matthew 9:38). Let’s fulfill our God-given mission to prepare ourselves, the Church and the world for the coming Kingdom of God under the rulership of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, King of kings and Savior of the world.
May God bless you all in your support of His will and His Work!
In Christian love,
Richard F. Ames