March 16th, 2023
Greetings from Charlotte,
Our offices around the world are preparing for the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread by mailing out Holy Day envelopes and sending out instructions and DVDs for those individuals who must take the Passover at home. Meanwhile, our ministers are in many cases busy counseling individuals who have been moved to request baptism. We held a three-hour meeting on Monday to discuss staff assignments for the Teen Living Youth Camp in Texas. We will be sending out acceptances shortly. We still have room for campers and have a few staff slots to be filled, so if anyone is interested in attending, please get your application in right away. Mr. Wallace Smith recorded a telecast this Wednesday titled “Five Myths About the Bible,” advertising The Bible: Fact or Fiction? booklet. Tropical Cyclone Freddy has caused major devastation in several countries in southern Africa. See the weekly video update for further details. Meanwhile, a couple banks have collapsed in the U.S., and a Russian military jet collided with a U.S. military drone over the Black Sea. These are interesting times in which we are living!—Gerald Weston
Tomorrow’s World Presentations—Questions Guests Ask
The TWPs continue at a good pace with a total of eight Tomorrow’s World Presentations last weekend and a total of 93 guests. The “follow-up” attendance last week was particularly good, with 49 guests. At each presentation, the ministers hold a Question/Answer session where guests are invited to submit questions. The Q&A sessions can be very exciting, and they are always informative. Here are some of the questions that have been submitted at recent TWPs:
- “Is the Bible the Word of God, if written by man?”
- “What if I believe in God but not Jesus Christ?”
- “Will China or Russia destroy America?”
- “Assuming ETs or UFOs are extra-terrestrial, are they angels or demons?”
As always, thank you for your continued prayers and support for this particular effort of the Work.
Passover 2023—Deadline for Requesting All Passover Supplies and Materials
Important Notice to All U.S. Pastors: The deadline for requesting additional Passover Service supplies (bread trays and/or wine trays or glasses) or a physical copy of the Passover Service recording and letter instructions (available in English, French, and Spanish) is March 17. Any requests for Passover Service recordings and letter instructions for home observance, needed by members who are unable to keep the Passover with a congregation, should be received by March 17. Please direct your requests to the Church Administration Department at [email protected]. Note: As in the last couple of years, the digital Passover Service recording will be available to pastors and video recipients via the FTP site, and a private YouTube link will also be provided.
Feast of Tabernacles
Ministerial Feast Survey
All ministers should have received an email from Headquarters this week, giving you the link and instructions to complete the Ministerial Feast Survey. Please be sure to fill out this form, even if you plan to attend your assigned site. The deadline to do so is March 24. If you did not receive this email, contact Tyler Wayne at [email protected].
Prepare for the Holy Days: In less than three weeks, we will observe the Passover and begin the Days of Unleavened Bread. These annual Festivals are a memorial of the great sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for our sins and the sins of the world. They are also a reminder that we need to recognize and eliminate sinful thoughts and actions from our lives. For the Passover to be meaningful, we need to do our part to prepare for observing this important step in God’s Plan of Salvation. To put the Passover into proper perspective, it will be helpful to review the gospel accounts of events that led up to the Passover, the crucifixion, and the Resurrection. Placing our own period of self-examination within this biblical context can help us appreciate the tremendous significance of Jesus’ sacrifice. Spending some time every day in prayerful study and reflection during the Holy Day period will help us grow to be more like our Savior Jesus Christ.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—March 16, 2023
Scientists Puzzled by Structures in the Universe: According to a central tenet of the study of the universe, known as the cosmological principle, “on a large scale, the Universe should look roughly the same everywhere, no matter your position or the direction in which you are looking. There should be no giant structures, rather space should be smooth and uniform” (BBC, March 3, 2023). However, recent findings reveal a massive, arc-shaped ribbon of galaxies that span roughly one-fifteenth the radius of the observable universe—a distance of 3.3 billion light-years. This “Giant Arc” has thrown into question some of the most fundamental assumptions about the universe and how it formed. Plus, the Giant Arc is not the only structure of its kind. Such arrangements in the cosmos are forcing scientists to reevaluate their theories about the formation of the universe.
The probability that this arc-shaped structure formed by chance has been estimated to be 0.0003 percent. And to add insult to injury, “According to the standard model, structures like the Giant Arc simply wouldn’t have had time to form” as a result of any known natural processes. According to one author, “If more structures like the Giant Arc and Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall [another of these giant structures] are proven to exist, astronomers will be forced to rewrite—or at least revise—the standard model of cosmology.”
According to current scientific theories, these massive, clearly distinguishable galactic structures should not be able to exist. Because of this, one scientist posited that they “may have formed due to something in the natural physics of the Universe that we currently don’t account for.” Indeed, there is much in the formation of the universe many scientists do not account for, including an Intelligent Architect of the heavens! As the Apostle Paul noted “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). When one assumes that creation is an accident subject only to observable, mindless laws of physics and chemistry, one has to assume things will only occur without purpose, intention, or design. But, when you consider that “creation demands a Creator,” you remain open to possibility. Scientists back themselves into a corner when they reject facts that point to a Creator. To learn more about this fascinating subject, be sure to read or listen to The Real God: Proofs and Promises.
The Coronation Chair and the History of the British People: On May 6, 2023, King Charles will be coronated with a detailed sequence of events steeped in history and tradition. The crown worn, the music played, the oil used—every element of pageantry has an important purpose, including the chair used for the ceremony (BBC, March 1, 2023). The 700-year-old gilded oak chair has been central to royal coronations for centuries. The chair is “the oldest surviving piece of furniture still used for its original purpose.” King Charles will sit on this chair in Westminster Abby during the coronation in May. King Edward I (reigned 1272–1307) commissioned the chair to be built, and it has been used in nearly every coronation since that time. The coronation chair was designed to hold the Stone of Scone, which Edward I had taken from Scotland. The historic stone, which currently resides in Edinburgh, “is expected to be brought back to Westminster Abbey for the coronation.”
Both the coronation chair and the Stone of Scone bear remarkable histories that help link the modern nation of Britain and the British-descended peoples to their ancient Israelite ancestors. In addition, the pageantry surrounding the coronation bears out this remarkable history in even greater detail. To learn more about the coronation and the forgotten origins of the modern-day British peoples, be sure to read our April–May 2023 issue of Tomorrow’s World and watch our fascinating telecast on “The Stone of Destiny.”—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater