Greetings from Charlotte,
This has been an exciting and enlightening week for those of us on the Council of Elders. Nineteen of the 20 members were able to meet in person, and Mr. Robert Tyler participated online from Australia, despite the significant time difference. Some of you have asked who is on the Council, so I am providing a list of the men below. Brethren, I hope we can all appreciate the benefit to the Work received from counsel given by loyal and dedicated men—I certainly do! Most of these men have served in the ministry for 30 to 50 years or more and come from different backgrounds. Our experiences down through the years have been different and our gifts from God are different, just as Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 12. A highlight of the meetings was the ordination to evangelist of Messrs. Peter Nathan, Jonathan McNair, Rod McNair, and Wallace Smith. Another highlight was presenting to Peter and Karen Nathan a crystal eagle in recognition of their fifty years of service in the ministry. We pray all will return home safely and energized to pass along news of the Work.—Gerald Weston
Council of Elders: Mr. Gerald Weston, Mr. Richard Ames, Mr. Steven Elliott, Dr. Jeffrey Fall, Mr. Lambert Greer, Mr. Daniel Hall, Mr. Mario Hernandez, Mr. Jonathan McNair, Mr. Rod McNair, Mr. Rand Millich, Mr. Peter Nathan, Mr. Paul Shumway, Mr. Wallace Smith, Mr. Rick Stafford, Mr. John Strain, Mr. Rob Tyler, Mr. Stuart Wachowicz, Mr. Dexter Wakefield, Mr. Adam West, Dr. Douglas Winnail
Tomorrow’s World Presentations
Last weekend we held two initial and five follow-up Tomorrow’s World Presentations. These events drew a total of 97 guests. One notable TWP was the follow-up presentation in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which drew 18 return guests and one new guest. This weekend will host one initial TWP in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and two follow-up presentations in Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Blackwood, New Jersey. We thank everyone for your continued prayers and support for these presentations.
We are now in the home stretch for Living Education-Charlotte 2022–23. Students are preparing for final exams, their year-end class trip, and graduation. Our commencement ceremony will be on May 26. Mr. Richard Ames will provide the keynote address this year, giving a send-off to our students as they begin the next stage of their life journey, applying the foundational principles they’ve learned. Four LivingEd students and alumni will be traveling to Thailand shortly after graduation to serve as English teachers in an elementary school, a new program being launched this summer. Many of our current students will join other LivingEd alumni this summer as staff at Living Youth Program camps for teens and preteens. Four of our current students will stay on as student leaders in our Second Year program. It’s been a great year and we’re so pleased to see this year’s “student family” successfully conclude their adventure at LivingEd!—Jonathan McNair
Men’s Training Camp in Garden Valley, Idaho
Men from the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain congregations co-hosted a Men’s Training Camp at River Canyon Retreat in beautiful Garden Valley May 5–7. The weekend centered around two questions that were asked when the event began on Friday evening: What specific roles does God expect Christian men to fulfill, and how can men in the Church “Step Up” and fulfill those roles in spite of the increasing challenges posed by our androgynous society? As the weekend program concluded at noon on Sunday, everyone seemed really inspired and eager to implement positive changes to glorify God in their roles as men.—Jonathan Bueno
Feast of Tabernacles
4,900 Registered for the Feast
Thank you to the nearly 1,700 individuals who have registered since last week’s announcement! If you have not yet registered, please do so right away. Even if you are going to your assigned site, you need to register, as registering helps us know how many spaces are available for transfers.
The below sites have active waiting lists:
- Branson, Missouri
- Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
- St. George, Utah
- St. Augustine, Florida
These sites have ample space and are welcoming more transfers:
- Boerne, Texas
- Florence, Oregon
- Fontana, Wisconsin
- Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
- Poconos, Pennsylvania
- Rockport-Fulton, Texas
- Williamsburg, Virginia
Beware of False Teachers! Warnings about false teachers are found throughout the Bible. Jesus warned that false teachers would come in “sheep’s clothing” (smooth-talking, congenial, appearing spiritual) but are actually “ravenous wolves” who seek to divide and devour the flock of God (Matthew 7:15–19). Jesus said this would be especially evident at the end of the age (Matthew 24:5, 11, 24). The Apostle Paul warned that false teachers guided by a “different spirit” would masquerade as “apostles of Christ” as they mislead people and actually function as ministers of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:1–15). Peter warned they will use “deceptive words” to promote themselves and spread divisive heresies as they speak evil of the Truth and attack the Church and ministers of God (2 Peter 2:1–3). Let’s remember these warnings and ask God for the spiritual discernment to recognize false and misleading teachers (2 Timothy 1:6–7)—because we will all be tested in this crucial area.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—May 11, 2023
Germany and Japan Work More Closely: China’s aggressive regional actions are seen as a threat by many of its neighbors—which, in turn, are looking to gain support from allies. As the war in Ukraine continues, Germany and Japan are working more closely. In March, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz led a high-level delegation of German cabinet ministers to Japan for talks on strategic collaboration (Deutsche Welle, March 18, 2023). Chancellor Scholz brought with him ministers of defense, economy and climate, transportation, finance, foreign policy, and interior. Each minister met with his or her Japanese counterpart and explored areas of future collaboration.
The COVID pandemic and the war in Ukraine “exposed the vulnerabilities that stem from one-sided dependencies [on China]. And so, in 2022, Germany and Japan agreed to plan bilateral inter-governmental consultations to deepen their collaboration—with a focus on economic security.” The March meeting was Chancellor Scholz’s second visit to Japan in 11 months. He expects to return for G7 meetings this month. “Collaboration is to be intensified in many areas: the fight against the climate crisis, food security, cybersecurity, telecommunications, and others.” The two nations also plan to work together to locate new sources of critical minerals as they wean themselves from their dependency on China.
Japan and Germany are no strangers to each other. They fought on the same side just 80 years ago in World War II, and they have many needs and ambitions in common. They are both highly industrialized nations with sizable economies. Revelation 18 states that the end-time European “beast” power—likely led by Germany—will be a powerful global economic force for a short time before the return of Jesus Christ. With this understanding of the future in mind, it is interesting to watch Germany make further vital connections around the globe. For greater insights on this topic, be sure to read or listen to The Beast of Revelation: Myth, Metaphor, or Soon-Coming Reality?
A Taste of the Future in Lebanon: The people of Lebanon are suffering under severe inflation, turning the U.S. dollar into the preferred local currency over the Lebanese pound (Deutsche Welle, May 8, 2023). Prices for goods are doubling, including the price of olive oil, the crucial, locally produced cooking staple. For many, this once-ubiquitous household product is now beyond their financial reach. This, in a country where the national minimum wage for private employees is about $94 USD or €84 per month.
Those with olive groves are keeping for themselves the olive oil they produce, yet, with the increased cost of transportation to olive oil facilities and frequent electricity cuts, even this is difficult. These barriers are affecting the entire olive oil industry, causing live oil prices to soar.
On the surface, the situation with olive oil in Lebanon appears to be a localized issue. But, for students of Bible prophecy it can be instructive. At the end of the age, as Christ’s return approaches, the Bible predicts plagues that will strike the Israelite-descended nations and touch the entire world. Some of these plagues are symbolized in Revelation 6 by four riders atop four different-colored horses. The third horse is the “black horse,” representing scarcity and famine (vv. 5–6). It foretells a future when the cost of a quart of wheat will be equivalent to a day’s wages. It further identifies scarcity of wine and oil, which the context suggests is cooking oil. This serious food scarcity has not yet stricken the wealthy, Israelite-descended nations, but it is prophesied to come to them in the future. The situation in Lebanon provides insight into what this future scarcity could be like, especially in regard to “oil.” For more insights into these profound end-time prophecies in the book of Revelation, be sure to read or listen to Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled.—Scott Winnail, Francine Prater, and Chris Sookdeo