September 14th, 2023
Greetings from Charlotte,
We are admonished in Ecclesiastes, “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good” (11:6). The Church has employed many initiatives over the years. Some prosper while others do not. Tomorrow’s World telecasts and magazines have produced good fruit. So have our booklets, Tomorrow’s World Presentations, and Viewpoints. Our Whiteboard shorts have also produced excellent fruit and they are being sown beyond our own efforts, as shown in this interesting comment: “I have been baptized into God’s way since 1984…. I have particularly enjoyed the LCG Whiteboard series. On my personal Facebook page, the Whiteboards get the most reactions from ‘friends’ when I post the link to them. For example, I will read a post about someone’s family member or friend’s death, and they mention how they’re in heaven. Or, a post about going to hell, etc. I simply copy and paste the appropriate LCG Whiteboard subject that pertains to their post, and watch the comments come in.” The Feast of Trumpets is here. Let us pray always that the seventh trumpet will not be far off.—Gerald Weston
Why do we keep the Feast of Trumpets and not Rosh Hashanah? How have trumpets been used in the Bible and throughout history? What is the symbolism of the trumpet? What are the "trumpet plagues" and how will they relate to the end of the age? And how is Christ's return related to the blowing of trumpets? As we approach this first Holy Day in the fall Festival season, it's an excellent time to check out our study unit on this topic. Just go to lcgeducation.org and follow the menu and prompts to log in and click on the course titled “God’s Feast Days: The Feast of Trumpets.” It’s that simple!—Jonathan McNair
Feast of Tabernacles
Go Light on Perfumes at the Feast
Please be aware while 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?
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. Most Feast sites will also provide livestream or call-in telephone service for members assigned to that site.
Appropriate Dress for Feast Services
While Scripture teaches that God looks on the heart, dress and outward decorum are also important (Matthew 22:8–14). As we prepare to be “lights to the world” at the Feast, it’s good to review some basic principles for attire at Feast services. For men, in most modern cultures, coats, collared shirts, ties, and nice slacks are considered appropriate on special occasions. This may vary somewhat in tropical climates. For ladies, 1 Timothy 2:9–10 explains that dress should be “modest apparel, with propriety and moderation.” Short, tight, form-fitting dresses, necklines flaunting cleavage, bare shoulders, backless dresses, crop tops, etc., are not appropriate for Church services. We come to services to worship God, not to display our bodies. Our challenge as Christian men and women is to come out of this world (2 Corinthians 6:17) and be lights to a world that has lost its way (Matthew 5:14–16). This is especially true as we gather to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles—picturing Christ’s glorious reign on earth!
What About at the Beach?
Appropriate beach attire for women and men at the Feast of Tabernacles is swimwear that is modest and in good taste. We should be guided by the two great commandments—to love God and love neighbor (Matthew 22:37–39; Mark 12:29–31)—so as not to offend God or neighbor in our dress at the Feast. Accordingly, following our Living Youth Programs policy, beachwear at the Feast for ladies should be a modest one-piece or a modest tankini (covering the mid-section), and for the men, no Speedo-type suits (unless pool facility rules require them, as is the case in some countries). Fathers and husbands have a responsibility to be leaders in their families to teach and guide regarding what is appropriate and what is not (Ezekiel 22:26).
If You Are Traveling Before the Feast
If you are traveling before the Day of Atonement, you can find LCG congregations and pastors’ contact information by going to members.lcg.org, scrolling down, and selecting “Congregations.” That will take you to a page from where you can find the nearest congregation for you to attend. Please be sure to contact the pastor of the congregation you are visiting well ahead of time. That enables him to ensure there is room in the meeting place, and you can confirm the time and location of services.
Opening Night, the First Holy Day, and the Last Great Day—Repeat Announcement
This year, the Opening Night service will take place on Friday evening, September 29. We should all make every effort to arrive at our Feast site in plenty of time to attend this opening service at the beginning of the Holy Day. As last year, there will be a special pre-recorded welcome message from Mr. Weston during this service. Be sure to check your Feast site’s web page or ask your Feast Site Coordinator for the exact time of the Opening Night service at your Festival site.
The first day of the Feast, a Holy Day, is Saturday, September 30, and the Last Great Day, also a Holy Day, is Saturday, October 7. Please consider—the entire Last Great Day is a Holy Day! And a special pre-recorded message from Mr. Weston will be played on the afternoon of the Last Great Day. Everyone is encouraged to plan and make every effort to attend the Feast all the way to the end!
Holy Day Offerings if Transferring to a Different Country—Repeat Announcement
If you are traveling internationally for the Feast, it is recommended that you leave your Holy Day offering in your home country. This will ensure that you receive proper documentation for a tax deduction, if your country allows it. You should make an additional offering at the international site you attend and can plan accordingly. Your attention to these instructions and, if you donate in an envelope, your use of the pre-printed Holy Day envelopes is greatly appreciated.
Green Holy Day Envelopes Have Been Mailed—U.S. Only—Repeat Announcement
Green Holy Day envelopes for the fall Holy Days were mailed out the week ending August 26. If you have not received yours and would like the personalized, pre-addressed offering envelopes, please contact [email protected] or call the office (704-844-1970) and we will mail you a set. If you choose to donate through the envelope system, using these pre-addressed envelopes greatly speeds up the counting and receipting process, which in turn saves valuable time and money. For those who donate online, please use donations.lcg.org. Click on “Type of Donation,” then choose “Holy Day Offering.” A Holy Day drop-down menu will appear, and there you can select the applicable Holy Day.
Check-Printing Schedule—Repeat Announcement
Please note that our last scheduled day to print checks will be Tuesday, September 26. After that date, we will not be able to print any checks again until Thursday, October 12. Any invoices we receive by September 21 will be paid before the Festival break. Any invoices we receive after September 21 may not be able to be paid until October 12.
If you have any questions concerning specific invoices or payments, please contact Michelle Greene in the Accounts Payable Department at 704-708-2234 or Kezia Ciesielka at 704-708-2237. You can also e-mail [email protected].
Sobering Surprises Ahead: Jesus came into this world preaching the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14–15). He also said He will return (John 14:1–3) at a time when the future of human civilization is threatened (Matthew 24:21–22). However, today the world has forgotten God and rejected His ways (Jeremiah 3:21), and His word—the Bible—is viewed as a strange thing (Hosea 8:12). As a result, the return of Jesus Christ will come as a sudden surprise to most people because they will not be expecting this sobering event (Matthew 24:42–44). The Feast of Trumpets is an annual reminder that Jesus Christ is going to return and dramatically intervene in human affairs to save mankind from destruction. When He comes back the world will be shocked at the power of His intervention, but at that time “they shall know that I am the Lord,” as mentioned more than 60 times in the book of Ezekiel (6:7, 10, 13–14 are just a few examples). Will you be ready for that historic event, or will you be surprised?
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—September 14, 2023
Who Is Supporting Russia's Military and Why Does It Matter? China claims to be neutral in the Ukraine war. However, customs records and other commonly reported data show that Russia is importing large numbers of drones, bulletproof vests, helmets, and weapon-making materials from China in very large quantities—quantities not seen before the start of the war in Ukraine (Politico, July 24, 2023). As of the end of July, Russia had imported over $100 million worth of Chinese drones. For Chinese companies to sell military equipment, the Chinese military must approve the sale.
In August, the Russian defense minister traveled to North Korea, reportedly with the intent of convincing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to sell Russia artillery ammunition (Financial Times, September 5, 2023). At the time of this writing, the intelligence community expects North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, “to travel to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin and discuss weapons sales to Moscow.”
These burgeoning ties could have prophetic significance. A common foe often encourages nations to draw closer together and establish stronger ties. Bible prophecy foretells a tremendous army of 200 million men from the East that will fight against the future German-led European “beast” power in a cataclysmic confrontation (Daniel 11:40–44; Revelation 9:16–19). What will bring highly populous and militarily capable nations from the east of Jerusalem together to eventually create such an army? What nations may be part of this unimaginable force? As we watch world events unfold, they should not be viewed only from the perspective of politics, as there is often an important prophetic perspective. To learn more about coming events in this part of the world, be sure to watch “Will Russia Attack Israel?”
Sand Dredging Sterilizes the Ocean Floor: Roughly six billion metric tons of sand are dredged from the sea floor each year (BBC, September 5, 2023). As one analyst noted, this is equivalent to one million dump-truck loads each day! The majority of sand dredging occurs off the east coast of America, in the North Sea, and in the South China Sea. The majority of dredged sand is used to make concrete and glass. It is also used for constructing roads, dams, and even solar panels.
Some sand dredgers work as gigantic vacuum cleaners, sucking up sand and the microorganisms that live in the sand, many of which provide food for other marine life. According to some experts, this dredging is “basically sterilising the bottom of the sea by extracting sand and crunching all the microorganisms that are feeding fish.” Sometimes the ocean floor is dredged all the way to the bedrock below it, and when this happens, it prevents marine life from being able to recover.
We live in a complex world where human civilization relies on many different types of products built from various materials harvested from God’s creation. As global consumption grows, these source materials can be depleted. While sand appears to be inexhaustible, it is also critical to maintaining a biological balance in nature. When companies focus only on their income and fail to consider the broader impacts of their business model, suffering occurs—and in the case of sand dredged from the sea, the broader creation is affected. The Bible reveals how all of creation “groans” and eagerly waits for the return of Jesus Christ and His saints (Romans 8:19–24). Only then will mankind become truly responsible stewards of God’s creation. For more insights about this subject, be sure to read “Why Worry About Waste?”—Scott Winnail and Francine Prater