March 12, 2020
March 12th, 2020
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers with Christ,
Let us be candid. There is real fear as a result of the known and unknown regarding the coronavirus. We see this fear in some parts of the world where many have taken to wearing masks. We see it in the empty shelves as people prepare to “hunker down” until the danger passes. We see it in the constant stream of news reports where COVID-19 is the top story day after day. I am sorry to remind you of this, dear members and co-workers.
Most generations have experienced a pandemic or two. There were the famous black plagues that ravaged Asia and Europe during the 14th century, killing millions. Exact numbers are impossible to know, but according to Suzanne Alchon in A Pest in the Land, European population was reduced by 30 to 60 percent. The plague carried over to later centuries as well. More recently, the so-called Spanish Flu in 1918 and 1919 killed 50 million worldwide. Again, exact numbers are not available and you can find higher and lower numbers, but all agree that the death toll was in the tens of millions.
None of us knows how COVID-19 is going to play out. It certainly does not look like the great pandemics of the past, but that is no comfort to those touched by it, especially for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Nor do we know at this time what effects it will have on the economies of nations and how such effects may lead to geopolitical changes. The legacy of COVID-19 may reach far beyond the numbers who die from it. So how did we get here and is there any good news?
As I explained in two previous Tomorrow’s World telecasts, these pandemics are preventable. In less than 20 years, we have seen several fearful plagues: SARS (2003-2004), MERS (2012 to the present), Swine Flu (2009-2010), Ebola (several outbreaks), and now COVID-19. There ought to be good news because the causes are well known. Scientists know where to look.
Yet that good news will have to wait a few more years, because people would rather gamble on the unknown than respond to that which is already known. In virtually every one of these plagues floating about during these last two decades, the cause is violation of a biblical command. Our Creator designed certain meats for human consumption and instructed us to leave the others alone. SARS, MERS, Swine Flu, and Ebola all trace back to eating bats and other animals God listed as unclean. And aside from Internet conspiracy theories, this is probably the most likely cause of COVID-19.
Why is it that humanity refuses to accept God’s revealed word? And why is it that, of all people, ministers who claim to represent Christ vigorously push against these truths? The Scriptures they misinterpret can be easily explained. But as Jesus said of religious leaders, “you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16, 20).
The good news is that Jesus WILL return, and He WILL correct faulty doctrinal reasonings. As Isaiah prophesied, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:2-3). Isaiah also tells us, “For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). May God speed that day!
God is not trying to convert the majority of mankind at this time. Why do people not understand Jesus’ own words? “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…. Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father” (John 6:44, 65). Why is it so difficult for people to accept Jesus’ own words about why He spoke in parables (Mark 4:10-12, 34)?
The world does not understand these things, but to a greater or lesser degree, you do, because God opened your mind to understand. So why you? There are three reasons. The first is that He has called us to do a Work. We are to preach the good news of the coming Kingdom of God to this world, not to convert the whole world, but as a witness (Matthew 24:14). The second reason is to warn the world of what is to come (Ezekiel 33:1-9; Proverbs 24:11-12). Some few will embrace the message of the Kingdom of God and take to heart the warning of where this world is headed, and they will respond by becoming true disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19). But there is a third reason we are called now. God is preparing a people to rule in the world after Christ returns (Revelation 20:4; Luke 19:11-19). He is molding and shaping us to take on His character of truly caring for the well-being of others so that we can help bring peace, prosperity, and good health to a warring, poverty-stricken, and sick world.
Now that is something worth living for! That gives us a reason to get up in the morning.
I hope all of you saw Mr. Wallace Smith’s recent program, “What Is the Meaning of Life?,” offering our booklet Your Ultimate Destiny. And I hope all of you have a copy of this resource and will take the time to read it, and then read it again. It gives the most wonderful news any human being could ever imagine, and it comes straight from the pages of the Bible. How sad it is that many of our viewers are only interested in multi-headed beasts and the number 666. Now those are important, but what can be more important than knowing why God gave you life?
Dear members and co-workers, I will be praying for your health and safety during these trying times, and I know many of you are praying for me. Thank you for your prayers on my recent trip, when I was blessed to meet some of you in more distant regions. Your enthusiasm for the Truth was a great joy to me. Realistically, I know that I will never again see some of you in this life, but there is a resurrection, and we will rejoice at that time in a far better world than the one we now see.
Thank you for your love and support. This world needs what only we can give—a living hope for a better world to come.
Sincerely, in Christ’s service,
Gerald E. Weston