April 20th, 2022
Greetings from Charlotte,
Next month we will be resuming in-person meetings that have been on hold since March of 2020. The Council of Elders will meet here in Charlotte for three days during the first week in May, and we will hold the first of four Regional Ministerial Conferences scheduled here in the United States in South Bend, Indiana, from May 15 to May 17. This weekend Mr. Jonathan McNair is scheduled to give Tomorrow’s World Presentations in Kennewick, Washington; and Boise, Idaho. Mr. Stuart Wachowicz is scheduled to give Presentations in Toronto and Mississauga, Ontario, in Canada; and Mr. Rod McNair has a TWP in Deltona, Florida, on his calendar. Last week our whiteboard video explaining the three days and three nights saw 31,000 views and added 400 YouTube subscribers. The May/June Living Church News went to press this week so you should be receiving it in early May. Our mechanical literature inserter is in its death-throes after 18 years of service and needs to be replaced. The replacement will be a six-figure-ticket item but does the work of seven fulltime workers, so it is a huge savings to the Work over the long haul. From all reports, it appears that the spring Holy Days are off to a good start, in spite of inclement weather in a number of regions of the world. Our prayers are certainly with everyone.—Gerald Weston
The Second Passover this year is on Sunday, May 15, which means that it will be observed on Saturday evening, May 14, shortly after sunset. This Passover is for those baptized members who were unable to take the first Passover due to unavoidable circumstances, as instructed in Numbers 9:1–14. If you have any questions, please contact your pastor.
L4T—Memorial Day Weekend in Blowing Rock, North Carolina
If you are a young adult between 18 and 30 and want to learn more about “Living for Tomorrow,” clear your calendar for May 27–30 and join us for the “L4T” weekend at Blowing Rock, North Carolina, over the Memorial Day long weekend. We will have two days of intensive focus on building truly successful lives. How should a young man or woman define success? According to many polls of young adults, interest in building lives based on godly principles declines dramatically after reaching the age of 19–20. How is it possible to avoid the pitfalls, traps, and dead ends that prey upon so many young adults? How can young adults who understand the Truth of God and His way overcome the pulls that lure them away from God’s paths and out of His Church? These are the vital issues we will consider. Join us as we launch our new L4T program. Registration details next week!
Our Men’s Training Camp in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, will be over the weekend of June 24–26. This event is particularly geared toward men in the Southeast, within a few hours’ drive of Charlotte, but men from other areas who wish to join us are welcome. Mark your calendar and watch for more details to come and registration to open soon.—Jonathan McNair
Living Youth Program
Living Youth Adventure Program—Reminder
This year there will be two Living Youth Adventure backpacking trips, one in the Ouachita National Forest in northern Arkansas and another in the Pisgah National Forest in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Arrival day for both trips will be Sunday, June 26, and we will be on the trails from June 27 through June 29, with additional activities on June 30. Participants will travel home on July 1. The adventure trips are geared for teens and young adults who want to rise to the challenge of adventure in the great outdoors and make lifelong friends in the process. Registration will open soon.
Adjusting Your Focus: During the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread is a good time to evaluate how we spend our time and where we focus our energies and concerns. Jesus told us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). The Apostle Paul advised Christians to “walk circumspectly” (live purposefully) and make the most of our time “because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15–16). Are we focused on the big picture—of doing the Work of God and building the character qualities needed to function in the Family of God? Jesus warned that “the cares of this world” can cause us to lose sight of the big picture (Matthew 13:22). The spring Festivals provide us with an opportunity to evaluate how much time we spend on TV, the Internet, social media, and what we post on Facebook. Let’s use this time to refocus on the big picture of God’s purpose for our lives.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—April 20, 2022
Religious Conservatives in Israel: Two weeks ago in Israel, a key member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party resigned from his coalition government (The Guardian, April 6, 2022). The departure of Idit Silman leaves the party without a majority. With one more departure, the coalition will topple, pushing new elections. Ms. Silman quit over a religious issue—the government’s willingness to allow leavened food products in national hospitals during the Jewish Passover festival, corresponding to the biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread.
In her resignation, Ms. Silman noted she would talk with her friends in the government and encourage them to work together to form a “rightwing government.” In her letter of resignation, Silman wrote, “It’s time to recalculate and try to form a national, Jewish, Zionist government.” Former president Netanyahu praised Silman’s decision and welcomed her back to his conservative party.
Religious conservatives make up a significant portion of the Israeli government, and they find themselves in conflict with the current government, seen as more secular and rejecting Jewish ideals. Within Israel, an even more religiously conservative effort led by the Temple Institute wants to reinstitute the rites of the priesthood. According to the March 2022 update on their website, “Over the past six months the Temple Institute has greatly expanded its efforts to raise a red heifer in Israel whose ashes can be used to achieve the highest level of biblical purity which will enable kohanim and ordinary Jews to enter into the areas on the Temple Mount where the inner Temple courtyards and the Temple Sanctuary are located, a prerequisite for the renewal of the Divine service in the Holy Temple.” Bible prophecy reveals that as the end of the age approaches, Jewish religious sacrifices will resume on or near the Temple Mount but will be “cut off” about three and a half years prior to the return of Jesus Christ. For sacrifices to resume, events must occur within and outside Israel to make this possible. To learn more about coming events in this important area of the world, be sure to read or listen to The Middle East in Prophecy.
The Brain, Death, and Sleep: New research on brain activity indicates that just prior to death the brain appears to go into a state very similar to dreaming (Atlanta Journal Constitution, February 25, 2022). Researchers were measuring the brainwave activity of an 87-year-old epileptic patient who suddenly died during an EEG scan. They noted that brainwave activity just before the heart stopped beating, and up to 30 seconds afterward, was just like brainwave activity observed during the sleeping dream state. Then brainwave activity ceased totally.
It is interesting that the Bible compares death to sleep (1 Corinthians 11:30; 15:51). The Apostle Paul wrote, “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Ephesians 5:14). In our booklet What Happens When You Die?, author Richard Ames writes, “When we are dead, we ‘know nothing’—just as if we were in a deep and dreamless sleep” (p. 8). This echoes King Solomon’s observation that “the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5). The researchers also note that when the brain begins to shut down at death, it may actually be reviewing past memories. Lead researcher Dr. Ajmal Zemmar, a neurosurgeon at the University of Louisville, observed, “Through generating oscillations involved in memory retrieval, the brain may be playing a last recall of important life events just before we die, similar to the ones reported in near-death experiences.”
Death is feared by many, and twenty-first century science is limited in its understanding about precisely what happens at death. However, this discovery of some brains’ last activities near death points interestingly to the Bible’s picture of death as a sleep with no consciousness. To learn more about what happens after death, be sure to read our free booklet What Happens When You Die?—Scott Winnail, William Williams, Jodi Bower, and Richard Franz