September 3rd, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
A lot of work is being done in all our offices around the world as the Feast approaches. As I mentioned in my video update for this week, we recorded three telecasts here in Charlotte, and last week the Canadian office recorded four French-language telecasts, along with other recording projects. We continue to build our Tomorrow’s World audience by adding and refining our television station lineup. Unproductive stations are dropped and new ones added. There is so much happening in our world that it is difficult to keep up. The U.K. is being hit by two disasters of which most outside the country are totally unaware. Following the Grenfell high rise fire tragedy of three years ago, it is now known that hundreds of thousands of apartments and homes must have their cladding (a type of siding) inspected. Many homes cannot be sold until they are inspected and it is anticipated that it will take up to ten years for inspectors to get around to all of them. Mandated repairs can cost many tens of thousands of British pounds, out of reach for the average home owner. The second disaster is the British wheat harvest, which is the worst in decades, causing serious shortages and rising prices. Here in the U.S., we see very organized protesters outside of a church harassing congregants with shouts of “Save those kids” when a woman enters the church with her small children. What a contrast between our world and what the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles pictures. Remember what Jesus tells us in Luke 21:28: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”—Gerald Weston
Upcoming Headquarters Livestream Schedule—Repeat Announcement
Please note the following:
- Both the morning and afternoon services on the Feast of Trumpets will be livestreamed Church-wide from Headquarters on September 19.
- Pastors are welcome to have their congregations tune in to one or the other or both of the HQ services, if needed.
- It is not mandatory to tune in to the HQ services.
- The HQ streamed services will be at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (EDT). The morning sermonette will be an offertory message, and Mr. Gerald Weston will give the sermon. The afternoon service will include a sermon by Mr. Richard Ames.
- There will be no Headquarters livestreamed service on September 26.
- There will be no livestreamed service from Headquarters on the Day of Atonement. Atonement services will be conducted locally or regionally.
Face Coverings or Face Shields?—U.S. Feast Sites
Some have asked for clarification of the LCG policy for the Feast of Tabernacles in regard to face masks and face shields. Please note the following updated policy:
Face Coverings and Social Distancing: All attendees at United States Feast sites will be required, unless otherwise directed, to use face masks for the entire time while attending services or indoor Feast functions. (Exceptions: Face masks are not required while sitting at a table for the purposes of eating a meal.) And according to the CDC, “Masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of two years or anyone who has trouble breathing.” Face shields, while not as effective as face masks at preventing the spread of water particles through the air, are an appropriate alternative for those who have trouble breathing. Proper social distancing will be observed as well, for all worship services and activities.
Feast of Tabernacles
Thank You to All Brethren
As the Feast of Tabernacles nears, the Festival Office would like to send out a big thank you to all brethren who have responded to the call to “go local” this year. It has helped our Festival planning immensely! We are still working through the few necessary transfer requests that have been made and should have those finalized soon. Again, thank you, everyone! Your cooperation is enabling us to help as many brethren as possible be able to attend the Feast in person, even in these unpredictable times.
Activity Payment Deadlines
If you are attending a Feast site where there will be paid activities, please note carefully the instructions—including the deadlines and methods of payment—given by your Feast Site Coordinator. He will be getting in touch with you by email, or you can find the information on the website for each site (check www.lcg.org for more information).
Streaming/Phone Hook-Up for Shut-Ins
If you will have to stay home from the Feast for health reasons, please note our Feast sites will be providing livestream or phone hook-up services for the areas assigned to that Feast site. In this way, you can listen to or watch a live service at your assigned Feast site even if you have to stay home, and you can feel more connected to what’s going on at the Feast! For more information on what’s available at your site, please contact the Festival Site Coordinator at your assigned Feast site. If you need help, please contact your congregation’s Festival Advisor.
All Cathedral City, California, Feast-goers Are Being Transferred to Midway, Utah
The Governor of California’s recent executive orders have meant we are unable to use our Feast venue in Cathedral City this year. Accordingly, brethren who were assigned and/or registered for Cathedral City are being transferred to the Midway, Utah, Feast site. We have room available in Midway, so they can be accommodated there.
We are still processing speaking schedules, and hope to have them finalized soon.
Upcoming Holy Day Offerings: U.S. Churches Only—Repeat Announcement
As we prepare for the upcoming Holy Days, we want to let the brethren know how we will be handling Holy Day offerings. Just as we did at Unleavened Bread and Pentecost, we are encouraging all brethren to donate online as possible. This greatly cuts down on the time and work required to process checks. With that said, congregations that hold in-person services on the Holy Days will have an offertory message and offering, as we have normally done.
Are You Easily Entreated? The Apostle James describes a Christian using God’s Spirit as “peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated” (KJV) or “willing to yield to reason” (Amplified Bible) or “reasonable” (James 3:17, NASB). Such persons will not erupt with indignation or anger if someone questions their actions or decisions. They will not be so convinced that their opinions or actions are right and therefore ignore advice and counsel from others. Solomon made a similar observation that “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise (Proverbs 12:15), and “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart” (Proverbs 18:2). Solomon repeatedly stressed the value of being receptive to advice and counsel (Proverbs 19:20, 27; 22:17) and he cautioned, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22). A truly humble individual who is being led by God’s Spirit will be approachable, reasonable, and have a teachable attitude that is open to instruction, suggestions, and correction, and will be able to work smoothly with others. This is a goal we can all strive to achieve.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—September 3, 2020
Japan’s Leader Steps Down: After serving as Japan’s prime minister for nearly eight years, Shinzo Abe announced last week that he would be stepping down due to health issues (New York Times, August 28, 2020). Mr. Abe has been the longest-serving prime minister in Japan, a country known for prime ministers who often serve very short terms. In recent months, he has drawn considerable criticism related to his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some experts are concerned that, without Abe at the helm, the economic progress Japan has made under his administration may be completely eroded (Sky News, August 28, 2020). While Mr. Abe has made significant changes in Japan during his tenure as prime minister, the next prime minister will be chosen by party leadership and not the general public (Foreign Policy, August 28, 2020). Some experts suggest that Abe’s resignation could bring another revolving door of ineffective leaders, which over time, could foster a desire for a strong leader to restore Japan to previous stability.
Bible prophecy reveals that a great power will eventually arise in the East and will bring a massive army into the Middle East (Daniel 11:44; Revelation 9:14–16). Whether Japan will be part of this final configuration remains to be seen, but the turmoil caused by the resignation of Japan’s longest-ruling prime minister could create a power vacuum that contributes to the creation of this Asian superpower. To investigate recent developments in Asia and their potential impact on prophetic fulfillment, be sure to read or listen to “An Unexpected Outcome of China’s New Silk Road.”
Bread Prices to Rise in Britain? Due to extreme weather in Britain during the last year, experts predict the wheat harvest could be down by 40 percent (BBC, August 26, 2020). As a result, some millers have already increased the price of wheat flour by 10 percent. And, assuming a “no-deal Brexit,” experts expect those prices to rise still further. The extreme variation between a very wet winter, a very dry spring, and very wet harvesting conditions does not bode well for crop harvests this year. Weather experts predict that the years ahead will hold more of the same.
One wheat farmer commented that this year is “the worst harvest in the 37 years he’s been farming, with the most dramatic variation in the weather he has ever known.” Since the majority of the wheat used for flour is grown in the U.K., millers will need to make up for the shortfall with imports. And with no negotiated deal for Brexit, wheat imports would also likely be subject to an import tariff.
While slightly higher wheat costs may not be a huge problem, this current situation provides some insight into end-time Bible prophecies that will impact not only Britain but many other Israelite-descended nations—and, indeed, much of the earth. Both Jesus and the Apostle John warned of famines and food scarcity and other financial conditions that will ultimately result in a quart of wheat costing the equivalent of a day’s wages (Matthew 24:3–7; Revelation 6:5–6). This sobering time is coming, but there is also hope for the future, when the world will change for the better! To find out more about the future revealed in Bible prophecy, read or listen to Armageddon and Beyond.—Scott Winnail and Chris Sookdeo