March 24th, 2019
Greetings from Charlotte,
We held a Council of Elders teleconference this past Wednesday and heard reports from around the world, as well as from departments here in Charlotte. Mr. Peter Nathan brought out how all-consuming Brexit is at this time for the U.K. and Europe. We are seeing a significant increase in GOTOs from French-speaking Africa. Mr. Rob Tyler reported that a Muslim backlash is the result of the recent attacks on Muslims in New Zealand. Weather has been the talk of members in California, Nevada, and the Midwest, where there has been significant snowfall followed by rain and flooding. Interstate 29 between Kansas City and Omaha is closed and 70 percent of the counties in Nebraska are declared natural disaster areas. Mr. Brian Pomicter sent this update from Nebraska: “Many brethren may be concerned about the flooding that has recently occurred in Iowa and in Nebraska. All of our brethren are safe and have been spared injury. The same cannot be said of some of the brethren’s property.” Mr. Smith’s upcoming telecast, “What Happened to Right and Wrong?” is being rejected by television stations in Australia and New Zealand. Some members ask why we don’t get stronger on the telecasts and this is the reason. We push it as far as we can and occasionally cross the bounds of what stations will accept, especially outside of North America. Dr. Douglas Winnail reported, following his recent around-the-world trip, that he felt a real family atmosphere among the members.—Gerald Weston
All requests for additional Passover supplies, including recordings and letter instructions, should already have been sent to the Church Administration Department at [email protected].
The response to our “Children’s Lessons” has been very encouraging. In fact, this is the most popular area of our Living Education website at this point. Over the past six weeks, we had almost 800 unique page views of the lessons. This basically means that many of our members are looking at the lessons with an eye toward using them to teach their children about the Bible. We’re also beginning to include some short videos that may give parents some practical ideas about how to teach the Bible to their children. Just click on “Children” in the top banner when you navigate to lcgeducation.org. It will take you to our latest lessons and more!—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Feast Website Open
The Festival website is now open! You can find out about the Church’s Feast sites by accessing this colorful and informative website. To access, go to lcg.org and click on “Feast of Tabernacles.”
NOTE: Festival Registration is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, March 31 at 12:00 noon (Eastern Daylight Time, USA). Please do not make housing or travel reservations until you have successfully registered and been approved for your site.
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Friday Evening Bible Studies Now on Summer Break—Repeat Announcement
The online Friday evening Teen Bible Studies are now suspended for the summer, and are scheduled to resume again on November 8. Archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies can be found on the Living Youth website.—Josh Penman
The Importance of Fellowship: David wrote, “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). Jesus enjoyed, and looks forward to enjoying, the opportunity of future fellowship with His called and chosen disciples (Luke 22:15–16). He also stated that His true disciples would be recognized by the love they have for one another (John 13:35). In the same manner, the Apostle Paul urged Christians, “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 [of Christ’s return] approaching” (Hebrews 10:24–25). The Sabbath is a wonderful time to enjoy the opportunity to fellowship with God, with Jesus Christ, and with others of like mind.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—March 21, 2019
More Mass Shootings: This week, three people died and five were injured, three seriously, in a shooting on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht (BBC, March 19, 2019). A manhunt for the 37-year old Turkish suspect ensued. Schools and universities were closed temporarily and security at major transportation hubs was dramatically increased. At the time of this writing, three people were in custody, including the suspected shooter (Reuters, March 19, 2019). He was being charged with “manslaughter with terrorist intent.”
Last week in Christchurch, New Zealand, a deadly shooting occurred in two mosques while worshipers were praying (Vox, March 18, 2019). The terrible incident was particularly shocking because New Zealand has been considered one of the safest places in the world. The prime minister called the murderous act one of terrorism. The 28-year-old white-supremacist gunman was eventually apprehended and his manifesto located. The shooter live-streamed his murderous rampage on Facebook and other sites, resulting in many users copying the video and reposting it. Eventually, 1.5 million copies of the video were removed by various websites (BBC, March 17, 2019). The shooting claimed the lives of 50 men, women, and children, the youngest of whom was a three-year-old boy who ran at the shooter (Washington Post, March 17, 2019). Dozens more people were hospitalized for their wounds.
In society today, mass shootings are becoming more commonplace, and they are not limited to the United States. These tragic events cause much heartache and increase the level of anxiety and fear in society. Bible prophecy warns that, as time continues, the Israelite-descended nations (like the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, and western European nations, such as the Netherlands) will experience increasing acts of terrorism (Leviticus 26:16). The Bible also makes clear that these plagues will come as a result of societal rejection of God and His laws (vv. 14–15). To learn more about terrorism and when it will stop, watch “When Will Terrorism End?”
Egypt to Lead African Union: Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi recently became chairman of the 55-member African Union at its 32nd ordinary session in Ethiopia (Deutsche Welle, February 10, 2019). Chairman el-Sisi will hold the position for the next year, and pledged to focus on financial reform, combatting illegal immigration, and the security of the African continent, as well as on encouraging continental free trade, and job creation for Africa’s youth. Some have criticized el-Sisi for his poor human rights record, and for the fact that Egypt was suspended from the African Union in 2013 while el-Sisi was the nation’s Minister of Defense. He was affiliated with a police massacre of hundreds of civilians in 2013, an event that led to Egypt’s suspension from the organization. President el-Sisi was also involved in the coup that removed one of his predecessors.
What is the significance of this new African Union role for Egypt and el-Sisi? Bible prophecy indicates that at the time of the end, Egypt may have some type of connection with Libya and Ethiopia (possibly the Sudan). Eventually, the European “beast” power or “king of the North” is prophesied to “stretch out his hand” against and overpower these nations and take possession of their riches (Daniel 11:41–43). Egypt’s new role in the African congress could be a potential tool for deepening its relationship with many African nations, including those mentioned in Bible prophecy, placing it in a better position to fulfill God’s prophesied actions when the time is right. For more information on Egypt’s future, be sure to read our article “An Islamic Wind?”—Scott Winnail, Chris Sookdeo, and Francine Prater