February 18th, 2021
Greetings from Charlotte,
This was a rough week for many Americans, including some of our members, who suffered through record cold temperatures. Windmills that provide a portion of electric power to Texas froze up, as well as gas lines and water lines, leaving much of Texas with no heat or water. The FAITH channel in Winnipeg, Manitoba, airs Tomorrow’s World Monday through Friday. Halfway through the year, our Canadian office changed the time on the FAITH channel from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and that change, along with several other factors, resulted in a 56 percent increase in responses. Tomorrow’s World magazine has reached its highest levels ever in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with over 18,000 subscribers. Growth in Tomorrow’s World continues to astound us. Circulation of Tomorrow’s World magazine increased by 43,000 subscribers just since our November-December edition. We are certainly grateful to God for this growth.—Gerald Weston
Change to the Distribution of The World Ahead
Before the pandemic, The World Ahead was sent primarily to ministers and those who serve in preparing and conducting weekly Sabbath services at their local congregations (for use in the announcements portion of Sabbath services, for example). It was sent out Thursday evenings (Charlotte time). When in-person Sabbath services were interrupted almost a year ago, we began sending it to all English-speaking members for whom we have an email address, so that those who were unable to connect to local services would still receive news of the Work and not miss important announcements. We have now reverted to the original practice of distribution, sending The World Ahead on Thursday evenings to those who need it to serve the congregations. However, on Sundays, we are sending it to all members who receive materials in English and for whom we have an email address, to be sure that it reaches those who are shut-ins. That is why some have begun receiving it a few days later than they did during the last several months. The World Ahead is also posted every week at lcg.org/weekly-updates.
Requests for Passover Supplies—Repeat Announcement
Important Notice to All Pastors: In 2021, the Passover Service will be observed on Friday evening, March 26. Please let us know as soon as possible if any of the congregations you serve will need additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or a copy of the Passover Service recording and letter instructions (available in English, French, and Spanish). We need this information before March 5 for U.S. congregations in order to ensure timely delivery and to save on shipping costs. International requests should already have been submitted. The date takes into consideration the slowdown of mail service in some places because of the pandemic.
Also, please let us know of any scattered members who are unable to keep the Passover with a congregation and who need to receive the Passover Service recording and letter instructions for observing it at home. U.S. requests should be received before March 5, and international requests should already be here. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at [email protected] as soon as possible.
We have received quite a few applications for Living Education-Charlotte 2021–22. We plan to begin sending out acceptance letters on March 1. If you are interested in applying, it is important to get your application in right away, as we are very close to filling all our available slots. Right now, we have a few more women applicants than men. Young men, this is your chance to spend a year with some lovely young ladies! To apply or find out more, go to lcgeducation.org.—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Plans for 2021
Many brethren may be curious to know how the Feast in 2021 will be run in terms of general transfer policy, international transfers, COVID restrictions, etc. At this early date, it’s impossible to answer some of these questions, as the situation could be quite different by September. However, one thing we know for sure, we will be keeping the Feast! We are moving forward with plans such as setting up sites, assigning Festival Site Coordinators, and signing venue contracts. We have tentatively scheduled general Festival Registration for all LCG members and guests for Sunday, May 2. We will have more details as they become available. Stay tuned!
Be Thankful for the Truth: The Sabbath is a good time to reflect on an important question: Are you thankful for the Truth? It is easy to take the Truth of God for granted if you are a longtime member or if you have grown up in the Church. Yet, Jesus emphasized that people cannot come to a real understanding of the Truth unless they are called and their minds have been opened to see the big picture (John 6:44, 65). The capacity to understand the plan of God, the purpose of life, and the true way of life is a gift that God is making available to only a few people at this time (1 Corinthians 1:26–27). These precious Truths are a mystery to most people (1 Corinthians 2:7–8) because Satan—the god of this age—has blinded their eyes (2 Corinthians 4:3–4). Jesus said that it is an incredible privilege to be given an understanding of the Truth (Matthew 13:10–17). The Apostle Paul said that being called out of darkness into the light of the Truth is something to be extremely thankful for. He also said that those who were unthankful and let go of or rejected the Truth of God will reap the penalty of their error which is due (Romans 1:18–32). Let’s never forget to be thankful for the opportunity to understand the Truth of God that “endures to all generations.”
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—February 18, 2021
Brexit and Britain’s Decline: A month into Brexit and economists are forecasting that the break with the European Union will negatively impact British finances over the next two years. In fact, economists expect that the United Kingdom will be hit by financial costs four times greater than those experienced by the EU (The Guardian, February 11, 2021).
Another major financial shift is also occurring since Brexit, with Amsterdam now outpacing London when it comes to the volume of shares traded on the open market (EU Observer, February 12, 2021). Following Brexit, the number of shares traded in Amsterdam increased by 400 percent from December to January (Financial Times, February 10, 2021). “The shift was prompted by a ban on EU-based financial institutions trading in London because Brussels has not recognised UK exchanges and trading venues as having the same supervisory status as its own.”
Bible prophecies clearly state that the Israelite-descended nations will experience a dramatic decline at the end of this age because they have turned away from God (Deuteronomy 28:15, 20, 44). Although the Netherlands is also an Israelite-descended nation, it is Ephraim—nations of British origin—who will reap the brunt of God’s displeasure (Hosea 7:8–10). As the future unfolds, Britain will decline even further in the eyes of the world, just as the Bible foretells. For more insight into Britain’s future, be sure to watch “Sunset for Britain and America.”
Hidden Costs of Using Too Much Water? Around the globe, more and more people are moving into cities. By 2050, the United Nations expects that nearly 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities—up from 55 percent today (UN.org, May 16, 2018). Densely populated cities put increasing stress on aquifers, naturally occurring underground water reservoirs. As droughts continue and aquifers empty, the structure of the clay and sand in the aquifers changes and begins to collapse. This results in sinking ground above. For example, from 1900 to 1970, California’s central valley sank roughly 28 feet (about nine meters). In some areas of Jakarta, Indonesia, the land is sinking at a rate of ten inches per year (about a meter every four years). These lower areas are more prone to flooding, especially in areas near the coast.
Sinking land also impacts underground and aboveground infrastructure, such as pipes, bridges, and building foundations. Once underground aquifers collapse and are restructured, they can never hold the volume of water they once did—reducing the water available to the growing cities above. It remains to be seen how the current “megadrought” in the United States will impact cities, water supplies, aquifers, and infrastructure in the future (BBC, April 16, 2020).
God warned Israelite-descended nations that, because of their spiritual rebellion, “I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze” (Leviticus 26:19), and “your land shall be desolate and your cities waste” (v. 33). Man has failed to be a wise steward of the creation, over which God gave him dominion (Genesis 1:26–28), and we are beginning to reap the consequences. Yet, the time is coming when these destructive activities will end, and the earth and its people will again be blessed by God. To learn more about this prophesied restoration, be sure to read or listen to The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Deborah Lincoln-Strange