October 22nd, 2020
Greetings from Charlotte,
God has greatly blessed His Church this year and has opened doors that were not previously available. We have significant personnel needs and are working to fill some of those positions in the field ministry and in understaffed departments here in Charlotte. And now I am able to make a very exciting announcement. Beginning in 2021, the Tomorrow’s World English-language magazine will increase from six issues (one every other month) to ten issues per year. This is a major step forward! This will give subscribers more regular contact with the Church. We will drop four pages, from 36 down to 32, and make some other alterations, but overall there will be more content each year. While we cannot know at this time, as this is something not easily measured, we believe this will bring people along at a faster pace. Other Tomorrow’s World language magazines will stay on the six-per-year schedule for now, but this will give translators more articles from which to choose. We cannot stand still, and when God provides the means and an open door, we must walk through it. We are also increasing the impact of our social media efforts and television coverage. Please continue to pray for God to open doors, provide the means of going through them, and bless our human efforts to His glory!—Gerald Weston
Death of Mr. Harold Way
We are saddened to announce the recent death of Mr. Harold Way, a long-time minister in God’s Church. He died peacefully at his home in California, from the effects of a stroke several years ago and other health problems. He will be greatly missed. Cards may be sent to his family at: 612 Buck Ave., Vacaville, CA 95688.
Over the years, a number of members have used their artistic talents in producing games, coloring books, and other child-education related material. Often, they will share their materials within their congregation and among friends. One or two of these individuals have sent their work our way to share with others, which we appreciate, and we would love to begin sharing more widely. If you have this talent and would like to share with a broader audience as part of this project, please visit our “Parents Page” at LivingEd–Children (https://www.lcgeducation.org/parent-resources/). Scroll down the page to the section title “Get Involved,” where you’ll see a “Share Your Ideas” button. Simply click on the button and follow the instructions to upload your contribution. Over the next weeks and months, our goal is to share these contributions with other families within the Church through our site. Thank you!—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
2021 Festival Planning and the Feast Survey
With this year’s Feast barely in our rear-view mirror, the Festival Office is already in full gear planning for 2021. We are evaluating Feast sites for next year (not expecting to have as many as in 2020) and receiving valuable feedback from Feast coordinators, as we learn lessons to put into practice in the future.With that in mind, thank you to all our brethren who filled out the online Feast survey. The comments give us valuable information as we plan for next year’s Feast. We would like everyone to fill out a Feast survey if at all possible, and your responses are much appreciated. You can access the Feast Survey at fotsurvey.lcg.org, and can also find the survey on your MyLCG page.
Steps Toward Prevention: In 2020, the COVID-19 virus emerged to plague the world. The weapons of choice promoted by governments and the media to battle the virus are masks, sanitation, social distancing, and eventually a vaccine. While God promises His people special protection for obedience (Exodus 15:26) and healing (James 5:14–16), our Creator also expects us to do our part. Proverbs 22:3 states that a wise person sees evil and hides himself—he takes steps to avoid problems. God has created us with remarkable immune systems that are capable of fending off disease. Numerous scientific studies have shown that vitamins A, B, C, and D as well as zinc—from food sources or supplements—can strengthen the immune system and provide protection against disease-causing bacteria and viruses. Regular exercise, rest, exposure to sunshine, and learning to manage stress can also strengthen the immune system. The path to health involves making wise personal decisions about what we eat and how we live (see Deuteronomy 30:15–19)—and taking the necessary steps to promote health and prevent disease—so we can actually “prosper in all things and be in health” (3 John 2). We need to understand and apply these important steps.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—October 22, 2020
A Future German Church? In January 2020, the city of Frankfurt hosted the first synodal assembly of the German Catholic church. Delayed by COVID-19 restrictions, smaller regional meetings resumed recently in September (CRUX, October 12, 2020). The 230-member synod, including bishops, archbishops, and lay people, convened in order to discuss how to stop the loss of German Catholic members. They discussed issues in four categories of concerns: matters concerning how power and authority are exercised in the church, issues of sexual morality, the priesthood, and how women might fit into the priesthood and other official roles.
One German bishop noted that Pope Francis had communicated “dramatic concern” over the steps being taken by the Roman Catholic Church in Germany in forming a synod. In fact, Francis cautioned the bishops in Germany to avoid going “their own way” versus continuing in strong unity with Rome. On his mind, perhaps, was the possible creation of a “German national church”—an idea that has already been discussed among some in Germany.
Bible prophecies plainly describe a Germany-led “beast” power that will play an important role in the Holy Land at the end of the age and will powerfully influence geopolitics. This political and military superpower will also be closely aligned with a worldwide, apostate church, the “mother of harlots” (Revelation 17:5). In that light, these intriguing developments are worth watching. For greater insight into this coming church and state alliance, be sure to read or listen to The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor or Soon-Coming Reality?
Europe Pushes Against Russia: In response to the recent poisoning of Putin critic Alexi Navalny and Russian interference in Libya, the European Union and the United Kingdom have leveled sanctions against several Russian leaders considered to be in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, as well as one Russian organization (Deutsche Welle, October 15, 2020). “The adopted restrictive measures consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for individuals, and an asset freeze for the entity.”
The Kremlin warned that this action could hurt diplomatic relations between the EU and Russia and that Russia would retaliate in kind. Of particular interest in the Kremlin’s response is the singling out of Germany, specifically, for criticism: “The Germans are not planning to provide any facts, despite all international and legal obligations.”
As the EU responds to what it sees as a growing Russian threat, Sweden is also responding in its own way. In the next five years Sweden will double its annual military conscription numbers and increase its defense spending by 40 percent (The Guardian, October 15, 2020). This is a reaction to increased Russian activity and territorial encroachment in both the Baltic Sea and Swedish airspace. The Swedes, who have allowed their military to dwindle in recent decades as a cost-saving measure, are hastily working to rebuild their military forces. While they maintain strong ties with NATO, they are not a member of the alliance, and are therefore entirely responsible for their own defense.
Prophecies indicate that the world should expect a growing schism between the nations of Western Europe and Russia as the end of the age approaches. Students of Bible prophecy should watch for this growing distance between the two powers and take note. For greater insight into this issue, be sure to read our short commentary “The Bear’s Growl.”—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater