August 17th, 2023
Greetings from Charlotte,
Mr. Rod McNair hosted a webinar for the men who will be leading hymns and/or giving sermonettes during the Feast this year. About 250 men were online and the webinar was translated into French and Spanish. Mr. Richard Ames is scheduled to be in Raleigh, North Carolina, this Sabbath; Mr. Rod McNair in Gaffney, South Carolina; Mr. Jonathan McNair in Bristol, Virginia; and Mr. Kenneth Frank in Walterboro, South Carolina. We are not always aware of where our other ministers will be on any given Sabbath, but most of them routinely travel hundreds of miles each week serving our brethren. Let us remember to pray for their protection, and also for one another as all of us go about our daily lives. We often take safe travel for granted, but many thousands are killed on highways all over the world each year. Have a safe and profitable Sabbath.—Gerald Weston
Tomorrow’s World Presentations
Last week was busy for TWPs. We held four initial TWPs and four follow-up presentations. These drew a combined total of 126 guests. You may be interested to know that so far this year we have had more than 2,200 individual visitors. This weekend we will host six TWPs, including initial events in Topeka, Kansas; San Jose, California; and Cranbrook, British Columbia, in Canada. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support for these presentations.
This week, we began our sixth year of Living Education. Our students have come from congregations throughout the United States, as well as Mexico and England. They spent this week in our Orientation Program, which began in the beauty of the Smoky Mountains at the Blowing Rock Conference Center and concluded at our headquarters facility. They heard lectures on a range of topics, introducing them to what they can expect of the next nine months, and concluding with messages from Mr. Richard Ames and Mr. Gerald Weston. They were joined by the headquarters staff in a welcome lunch on Wednesday. Regular classes begin on Monday, August 21.—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Activity Registration Is Now Live!
Activity registration is live and Living Church of God attendees and guests are now able to sign up for Feast activities.
How to register: Simply go to fotreg.cogl.org, sign in, select “Register for activities,” and follow the prompts. Once you have signed up for activities, you can pay by selecting “Payments.” If paying by check, please read and follow carefully the instructions provided by your Festival Site Coordinator—and, of course, never send cash in the mail. Note payment deadlines for your specific site—if you have questions, contact your Festival Site Coordinator.
Feast Song-Leader and Sermonette Speaker Meeting
This week we conducted an online meeting with song-leaders and sermonette men scheduled for the Feast of Tabernacles. There were about 250 online connections for the webinar-style meeting, and both French and Spanish translation. We would like all men who have one of these assignments to view this webinar. If you were not able to view the live webinar transmission, a recording is available. Everyone who has one of these assignments at the Feast should have received the link to view the recording. If you did not, please contact your Festival Site Coordinator.
Tithe of the Festival Tithe
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 before 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.
Military Draft (U.S. Only)
As violence spreads and the world grows more dangerous, members and adherents of the Living Church of God may be interested in establishing their conscientious objection to military service. The Church maintains an official registry of Conscientious Objectors (COs) and can also assist in having your name added to the national database of COs that is maintained by the Center on Conscience and War.
Young adults (both male and female) who would be draft-eligible as well as those who have previously served in the military and may be eligible for reactivation can take steps to establish this status. Please contact Legal Affairs at [email protected] or 704-844-1960, ext. 2229 for an information packet.
Anyone currently serving in the military who has become a conscientious objector and wants the Church’s help in the attempt to be discharged can also contact Legal Affairs as noted above.
The Importance of Mercy: One fundamental quality that Christians must develop to become like God and reign with Jesus Christ is mercy. Mercy involves patience, understanding, compassion, and a willingness to forgive. The Scriptures reveal that God is full of mercy and compassion (Exodus 34:6–7) and He requires us to develop these same qualities (Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:8). Solomon states that those who show mercy honor God (Proverbs 14:31). Jesus taught that the merciful will obtain mercy (Matthew 5;7), but those who show no mercy to others will face serious consequences (Matthew 18:21–35). While it is easy to sit in judgment of others, the Bible informs us that for Christians, “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). As we strive to develop the mind of God, we will come to understand the importance of showing mercy to everyone we meet.
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—August 17, 2023
German Battle Tanks to Support European Armies: In the past, Germany has been reluctant to share military technology with other nations. However, the war in Ukraine is changing things (Politico, August 1, 2023). In January, Germany finally agreed to send 18 of its Leopard 2A6 high-tech battle tanks to Ukraine. Until then, Germany’s talk about Zeitenwende—the historic shift in the nation’s military and defense policy, promised in early 2022 by Chancellor Olaf Scholz—had been primarily just that: talk. Yet sending 18 tanks to Ukraine created an opportunity not only to build more tanks to replenish Germany’s armaments, but also to establish a common European armaments strategy.
Poland recently ordered tanks from both the United States and South Korea (over 1,200 tanks in all). Yet, this order of mixed products creates maintenance, communal training, and supply chain issues. Having a common defense platform streamlines production, maintenance, and training. Following Germany’s announcement to provide tanks, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Italy have lined up to obtain, collectively, more than 250 German tanks in the years ahead. The Czech Republic plans to establish its own production line to help fill the order, and so may Italy. Norway ordered 54 German tanks earlier this year, and Germany will also be replacing more of its own Leopard tanks.
As more German battle tanks are built and used by European nations, we may begin to see even more cooperation and sharing in the development of defense technology on the continent. Bible prophecy reveals that Germany will lead a European political, military, and economic power that will dramatically affect the entire world. The Bible refers to this future superpower as “the Beast.” To learn more about these coming world-shaking events, be sure to read or listen to “Why Is Germany Rising?”
Tempers Flare in South China Sea: Reuters reports, “China again asked the Philippines to tow away a grounded warship—a World War Two-era vessel now used as a military outpost—from a disputed shoal on Tuesday, after Manila rejected Beijing’s earlier demand” (August 8, 2023). The shoal lies within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone—the area of the sea around the Philippines in which the nation possesses special rights to economic exploration and development. The nation grounded the warship there in 1999 and posted soldiers on it to reinforce its claim to the shoal. A recent supply ship carrying food and supplies to the troops on the vessel was turned away by the Chinese coastguard.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Philippine president, has turned to the United States for support in maritime disputes with China. This has further angered China and prompted the Chinese embassy in Manila to respond: “South China Sea is not a ‘safari park’ for countries outside the region to make mischief and sow discord.” As the Reuters article further noted, “China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, which overlaps with the exclusive economic zones of Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines.” The French and Japanese embassies in Manila also expressed concern about China’s recent actions and encouraged adherence to the 2016 “arbitral ruling that invalidated Beijing’s expansive South China Sea claims.” For China’s part, securing the South China Sea, and the trade it enables, from potential hostile intervention is critical to the nation’s economy.
While China has the military means to seize control of the shoal, international pressure discourages such a move. As politics in the South China Sea area become more polarized, powerful nations seem to be unable to work out their differences. Such actions not only divide nations, but also push other nations together against common foes. The Bible foretells a final configuration of three major international alliances at the end of the age that will oppose each other: the European “king of the North,” the Arab “king of the South,” and the “kings from the east” (Daniel 11:40–45; Revelation 16:12). All these coming political, economic, and military alliances will converge on the Holy Land in the years to come, climaxing in the long-foretold biblical “Armageddon.” To learn more about the end-time configurations of today’s nations and powers, be sure to read our free booklet Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled.—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater