September 18, 2019
September 18th, 2019
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
The impact of the drone attack on Saudi oil production facilities is, as of this writing, yet to be fully realized. What retaliatory response, if any, will there be? And what, then, may the response to the response lead to? World leaders are playing a dangerous game of chicken. I wonder just how many people fully comprehend how close mankind is to fulfilling Christ’s prophecy, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).
Just how close we came to destroying life from this planet 57 years ago with the Cuban Missile Crisis is only now becoming clear. Documents relating to that time from both the Soviet Union and the United States have been released, and it is shocking how close we came to bringing about the end of civilization as we know it; but I’ll reserve more on that subject for a future Tomorrow’s World article.
The point is that life is serious. Though it is evident by their actions that far too many people live only for today, this is not so true in some heavily Catholic and Muslim countries, where religion is still taken seriously. However, serious religion does not mean serious truth. As John recorded in Revelation 12 and verse 9, “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” No, it is not atheists alone who are deceived. The world as a whole, and this includes the religious world, has been deceived. Remember: A deceived person does not know that he is deceived!
Jesus warned that at the end of the age, people would come claiming to speak by His authority, admitting that He is the Christ, but deceiving many (Matthew 24:3-5). And the Apostle Paul was clearly disappointed with the people of Corinth for putting up with those preaching “another Jesus,” receiving “a different spirit,” and accepting “a different gospel” than he taught (2 Corinthians 11:1-4). He even went so far as to describe in strong words the preachers who promote these deceptions. They are “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (vv. 13-15).
My dear brethren and coworkers, I did not grow up understanding the truths you find on Tomorrow’s World telecasts and in the Tomorrow’s World magazines and literature. My parents did not always take religion seriously, but as with so many parents, they wanted my sister and me to live by basic standards of biblical morality: don’t lie, steal, or get involved with others sexually before marriage. Although they never articulated the last point, I’m sure it was on their minds. They wanted us to live kind and compassionate lives toward others, to work hard, and to be credits to society.
But our family ignorantly kept all the traditional holidays of this world, went to church on Sunday, accepted the concepts of heaven as the reward of the saved and an ever-burning hell, and the other common Protestant doctrines. Since we considered ourselves a step above Catholics, I could never understand why we said in reciting the so-called Apostles Creed each Sunday, “I believe in the holy catholic church.” As a Protestant, that never quite added up.
Over time, I learned that many things did not add up in mainstream Christianity, whether Protestant or Catholic, and I suppose that you are reading this because you have come to a similar conclusion. Much of what churches teach is not what the Bible teaches. And since that is the case, each of us needs to ask: “Who is behind all this religious deception that contradicts the clear teachings of Jesus Christ, His Apostles, and the early Christian Church?” And, if it applies to us, we must ask as well: “Why am I following these heathen traditions?”
Knowledge is of no value unless it is put into practice. We see so many who love what we are doing in this Work, but who do not change their lives in response to it. They profess to believe the Bible, they seem to understand that the doctrines of Christ and His Apostles are different from what their church teaches, but they continue living according to the traditions of this world because of family, friends, or convenience. We are all a product of our upbringing and society. We live in a compromising, distracted world. We have far too many distractions: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube videos, e-mail, cable television commentaries that masquerade as news, and the list of distractions goes on. There is so much out there, and some of it, except for the fact that it is so time-consuming, has some redeeming value. No wonder Scripture reveals that the Church of God at the end of the age is going to be lukewarm and compromising. It is hard to stay focused on what is truly important in a world of distractions.
Yet, Jesus warned us in the Parable of the Sower that “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word” (Matthew 13:22). He tells us to pray, and to watch and be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour one does not expect (Matthew 24:42-44). The Apostle Paul reminds us that we should not be ignorant of the times and that “you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. . . . Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6).
The prophet Amos tells us, “‘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. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12). We cannot know how much time we have to do this Work, but we can see our freedom of speech being eroded, and it can be swept away in an instant. World events have a way of sneaking up on us. Then, under a clear blue sky, we stand in shock as towers fall, wars begin, freedom is lost, and our world is turned upside down.
We have a Work to do, and everyone in our Regional Offices thanks you for your part in it. Jesus said we are to be the salt of the earth, and your willingness to think of others indicates that His words include you. We thank you for your support, but most of all, we hope you are making changes in your life to conform to the image of Jesus Christ. Although we do not know all of you personally, we do care for you. Please take seriously what I have written here. I hope you will think of these things in a personal way, as these words are written out of love for you and your eternal well-being.
Thank you again for your loyal support. It is appreciated by all who receive our literature free of charge.
Sincerely, in Christ’s service,
Gerald E. Weston
P.S. From time to time we ask ourselves, “What can we do to show more appreciation to our Co-workers?” It does not seem to make sense to spend your generous tithes and offerings, intended to share the truth with others, to give you mugs or blankets that may do no more than clutter your home. Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). What can be more valuable than words which lead to eternal life? To this end, I want to share with you a letter (“Now Is No Time to Fall Asleep!”) that I wrote for the Living Church News, a magazine for Living Church of God members. I hope you will profit from it, and from other magazine reprints that we will send you from time to time, written by a variety of authors who contribute to this publication.