August 26th, 2021
Greetings from Charlotte,
We are now less than two weeks away from the Feast of Trumpets, and while the Trumpets are yet to blow, our world is hurtling toward oblivion, as anyone with eyes to see can see. It should be obvious by now that too many people in government, academia, and the media do not love this country—open borders, this Afghanistan disaster, and the push toward immoral behaviors provide more than enough evidence. This goes beyond politics. What God predicted would happen if we forsook Him is now coming to pass. How we long for that seventh Trumpet to be blown to bring mankind’s foolishness to an end. Meanwhile, I noticed an interesting trend the other day. While we regret that some members left us after the 2020 summer camp, in fact the number of Member/Co-worker letters sent out here in the U.S. has not only remained steady but has grown, and income has followed the same trend. One would have expected a dip, but God rapidly replaced those who left and the Work continues—adding four issues of the Tomorrow’s World magazine each year (from six to ten), hiring new ministers, sending out all-time high numbers of Bible Study Course lessons, and approaching half a million Tomorrow’s World subscribers. Brethren, as we approach the Feast this year, let us put our hearts into our prayers for God’s guidance and protection as this Delta variant of COVID continues to spread rapidly and, as a result, is affecting some of the requirements our venues are placing on us for our use of their facilities. Many alternate plans are having to be made all around the world.—Gerald Weston
52 Guests Attend Weekend TWPs
Last weekend, Tomorrow’s World Presentations were conducted in Dothan, Alabama, and La Porte, Indiana, with 29 guests attending. We also had follow-up presentations in Plainview, New York, and Des Moines, Iowa, with 23 guests (2 new plus 21 repeat visitors).
You might be interested to know some of the questions submitted for the Q/A sessions. Here are sample questions from the Dothan TWP: “Do gay and lesbian people go to heaven or hell?” “How does the Lord call you?” “What is the history of Tomorrow’s World and how did Mr. Armstrong come to that understanding?” “What about eating swine?”
Also, when the Dothan guests were asked how they heard about Tomorrow’s World, Mr. Anthony Stroud reported that one individual responded that they “found a magazine left in a laundromat, read it, and looked into the Church and are now reading many of our booklets and may even attend with us, also asking about the Feast.” You never know how God may lead someone to get in contact with the Church! Thank you for your prayers for these important programs.—Rod McNair
Tithe of the Festival Tithe—Repeat Announcement
For many decades, the Church of God has practiced what is called the “tithe of the Festival tithe.” What this means is that brethren who can afford it are asked to send a tenth of their Festival tithe to the Church in advance of the Feast, to help pay for meeting halls and other Feast expenses, as well as to help brethren around the world with limited resources to attend the Feast (Deuteronomy 14:27; 16:14). If you are able and you have not already done so, please send in your tithe of the Festival tithe for this year. This contribution is greatly appreciated.
Feast of Tabernacles
Staying Healthy and Dealing with Covid-19
With the Feast of Tabernacles less than a month away, it is not too early to think about health as we prepare for this annual highlight of the year. With the Delta variant of the COVID virus surging in many places, it’s vital that we don’t push ourselves too hard and compromise sleep and diet in the busyness of preparations. These compromises can make us more susceptible to getting sick and then we may spread it to others. Please watch for more specific guidelines regarding COVID protocols in The World Ahead and on the Festival website. Taking measures to stay healthy and even improve our health and the health of our families before the Feast will mean we are more likely to arrive at the Feast in good health and we will be better physically and mentally prepared to partake of the powerful spiritual food and fellowship that God is preparing for us.
Go Light on Perfumes at the Feast
Please be awarewhile at the Feast that some people have serious sensitivities to perfumes, colognes, and other scents. For some of our brethren, even being in the same room as someone with a lot of perfume or cologne can send them to the Emergency Room. Let’s use extra care to show love to others in this way at the Feast. Please use moderation.
What If You Are Expecting?
Women going to the Feast in the late stages of pregnancy can face unforeseen complications. If you are pregnant and will be due around Feast time, please exercise caution and discretion when making your decision about attending the Feast. The long-standing tradition of the Church is to recommend that you stay home from the Feast if your due date is around Feast-time, for the sake of yourself and your unborn child. As in all matters of health, it is a personal decision which must be weighed carefully and prayerfully, and with the advice of your physician or midwife. The Church provides pre-recorded and online sermons for shut-ins, and you can certainly avail yourself of those. Some Feast sites will also provide livestream or call-in telephone service for members assigned to that site.
U.S. Deadline for Payments Before Feast—Repeat Announcement
Please note that our last scheduled day to print checks will be Wednesday, September 15. After that date, we will not be able to print any checks again until Monday, October 4. Any invoices we receive before September 13 will be paid before the Festival break. Any invoices we receive after September 13 may not be able to be paid until October 4.
If you have any questions concerning specific invoices or payments, please contact Michelle Broussard in the Accounts Payable Department at 704-708-2234 or Rylyn Mooney at 704-708-2237. You can also email [email protected].
Seek God’s Guidance: In the world today, the message is “do your own thing.” However, the Bible records the tragic results of this approach (Judges 21:25; Jeremiah 9:12–16). In the Scriptures, we are admonished, “Seek the Lord while He may be found” (Isaiah 55:6). We are also told that God looks on those who are humble and teachable and “[tremble] at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). King David, a man after God’s own heart, modeled the attitude that God is looking for when he wrote, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes…. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:33, 105). Jesus emphasized the same theme when He told His disciples to “live by… every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus also taught, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). One important lesson in life is that if we desire to succeed in any endeavor, we must seek God’s guidance in the decisions that we make—because that leads to lasting rewards.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 26, 2021
America’s Shocking Decline: Much to the chagrin of many of its NATO allies, last week the United States unilaterally pulled its military out of Afghanistan, and within days, the Taliban took control of the nation. Fortune magazine reports that Armin Laschet, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s potential successor, declared, “This is the biggest debacle NATO has suffered since its founding.” An anonymous British official speaking to Reuters asked, “Is America back or has it turned its back?” (August 16, 2021).
Nations, leaders, and analysts are talking about the fall of the U.S. as the world’s principal leader. Well-known German author Stefan Baron commented in a recent book, “The land of freedom, equal opportunity, and democracy has degenerated into an oligarchy” (German Foreign Policy, July 21, 2021).
Observers also note the difficulties America faces internally, as a sizeable portion of its population has real concerns about the nation’s direction and its future. An Israeli columnist recently remarked on the need for a cohesive and committed populace, “A country whose population lacks this sense of common purpose and identification is a country in jeopardy, no matter how large or powerful it is” (The Times of Israel, July 27, 2021). Speaking of the diminishing independence of Hong Kong and the growing risk to Taiwan—while the U.S. watches from a distance—the author noted, “A superpower unable to defend its allies or itself loses all credibility.”
The United States has been the undisputed leader of the free world for nearly 100 years. Now, the nation is taking another path and a geopolitical back seat. Bible prophecy has long foretold that turning away from God and His laws would result in the loss of national power and prestige (Leviticus 26:19) and that America and the Israelite-descended nations of the West “shall be the tail” when they were once the head (Deuteronomy 28:44). For more sobering insights about events making news today, be sure to watch “The End of America.”
Will Children Become Our Oppressors? A recent video produced and published by the U.S. government—featuring representatives of the Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services—encourages children who consider themselves “transgender” to contact the federal government if they feel they are being discriminated against at school (Fox News, August 17, 2021). The video encourages such children to file complaints so the government can sue school districts and states that are attempting to enforce traditional values. At least nine states have legally banned students from participating in girls’ athletic events unless they are biologically female.
The video, produced by the Biden administration and published on the Department of Justice YouTube channel, clearly sends the message that while leaders in these communities do not care for “transgender” students, the federal government does—and tells them that “the entire federal government [stands] behind you.”
The prophet Isaiah warned thousands of years ago of what would occur in the Israelite-descended nations at the end of the age. “O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err,” God cried out through the prophet Isaiah. “As for My people,” He declares, “children are their oppressors” (Isaiah 3:12). What will come of a federal government that appeals directly to children to challenge states and state laws? As we look around the globe, we see increasing division at every level—from divided families to fractured international governments. Moral decline is rampant all over the world, especially in the so-called “Christian” nations who have their historical roots in Judeo-Christian morality and biblical principles. Today, leaders are increasingly abandoning time-honored ethical boundaries and are using tactics that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. For more about the future of the Israelite-descended peoples, be sure to read “Moral Decline Ahead.”—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Stuart Wachowicz