Greetings from Charlotte,
This has been an exciting three days of meetings with the men who serve on our Council of Elders. I never cease to be amazed at how God has brought together such a dedicated and converted group of men to work together for a common cause—to do His Work of preaching the true Gospel to the world, give a warning of things to come, and to feed His flock. In addition to some of the things mentioned in the video update for this week, we received an update from Mr. Jonathan McNair of the new hymnal project, in which he explained the challenges and gave examples of some potential new hymns. The Council also discussed Special Music Guidelines and a few new fads coming along. You will be hearing more of what we discussed in upcoming articles and sermons. Responses are coming in for the new booklet, Law or Grace: Which Is It? As many of our older members remember, the wrong understanding of this subject led many former members to abandon the Truth of God. Be sure to read it as it will be automatically sent to all members. And be sure to teach your children according to their age and in language they can understand.—Gerald Weston
Tomorrow’s World Presentations
The three Tomorrow’s World Presentations held last weekend were well attended. Mr. Ames gave an initial presentation to 38 guests in Charleston, West Virginia, and Mr. Adam West gave two follow-up presentations to a total of 20 guests in Schenectady and Binghamton, New York. This weekend, Mr. Lenny Bower will present a follow-up presentation in Charleston, West Virginia. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support for the Tomorrow’s World Presentations.
Get ready for this winter’s family weekend activities! Several areas plan to host overnight Family Weekends in the coming months. These are not intended to be huge gatherings, but rather local events where brethren from surrounding congregations can come together to learn, grow, and fellowship. The following Family Weekends are now in the planning stages. If you would like more information on activities in your area, check with your local pastor.
Weekend of December 23–24:
- Birmingham, Alabama (Mr. Anthony Stroud)
- Charlotte, North Carolina (Mr. John Strain)
- Big Sandy, Texas (Mr. Gary Stein)
- Jacksonville, Florida (Campout – Mr. Joe Brown)
- Kansas City, Missouri (Mr. Rand Millich)
Sunday–Tuesday, December 24–26:
- St. Joseph, Trinidad and Tobago (Mr. Paul Shumway)
Weekend of December 30–31:
- Little Rock, Arkansas (Mr. Phil West)
Weekend of February 16–18:
- Merrill, Wisconsin (Mr. Mark Sandor)
Living Education–Charlotte Application Process Is Open—Repeat Announcement
We have now passed the mid-semester point for Living Education–Charlotte 2023–24. Not only does that mean that our students are well into their program, but also that we are preparing to accept students for next year! As of November 1, the application process is open. If you or someone you know would like to attend our LivingEd–Charlotte program for the 2024–25 school year, now is the time to begin the application. We are at full capacity this year and expect to be so again next year, so getting an application in early would be wise. We will begin sending out acceptance letters on February 1. To begin an application, go to lcgeducation.org and click on “Charlotte” on the menu at the top of the page.—Jonathan McNair
The Path to Justice: We are living in an age when lawlessness, rioting, killing, and looting are viewed as legitimate ways to attain justice (2 Timothy 3:1–5). While it can be a noble desire to eliminate suffering and injustice, the goal of modern social-justice warriors is to solve these problems by human efforts alone. However, there is a God of truth and justice (Deuteronomy 32:4) who hears the cries of the poor and oppressed (Psalm 72:4). This why Jesus Christ is coming back to our troubled world to establish justice and judgment in the coming Kingdom of God (Isaiah 9:6–7). The returning Messiah will need leaders who can rule with justice and mercy and point people to the path that leads to real peace and justice (Isaiah 30:20–21; Ezekiel 45:9). Are you preparing for this vitally important role that will change the world for everyone?
Have a profitable Sabbath,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy—November 9, 2023
Germany Pressing for Powerful Military: The events in Europe and the Middle East have put pressure on Germany to speed up its efforts toward a more powerful and fully operational army. Germany’s defense minister, Boris Pistorius, is pushing hard for the military to modernize as rapidly as possible (Deutsche Welle, October 31, 2023). In a recent interview, he stated, “We have to become fit for war. We have to be fit for defense. And get both the Bundeswehr [Germany’s armed forces] and society ready for this.”
Germany has allocated 100 billion euros for military advances and upgrades and has contracted two-thirds of this amount already. Mr. Pistorius emphasized it could take three to five years for Germany’s armed forces to be fully up to speed and noted that they are already among the strongest European militaries in NATO. Germany has already moved 1,000 troops to Israel for potential use in evacuation and special forces missions (FAZ.net, October 29, 2023). It is also transferring ships, planes, helicopters, and logistical materials to the region.
Bible prophecy indicates that as we approach the end of the age, Germany will play a far greater role in the Middle East and in the Holy Land. Germany will eventually lead a powerful military and religious effort that will move into Jerusalem and the surrounding area. But it will require strengthening its military and economy to make that possible. The events we are watching now could build toward this eventuality. To learn more, be sure to read “Germany’s Quiet Comeback.”
Future Control of Gaza: While Israel methodically seeks to rid Gaza of Hamas, the United States and other nations are discussing who will govern Gaza once Hamas is removed (Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2023). The current Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is 87 years old and seen by many as too weak to lead in the short term. “Some analysts say a coalition of Arab-nation or Palestinian officials or Palestinian leaders could oversee Gaza on a temporary basis until the territory is in a better place to elect its own leadership,” but involving other Arab nations comes with a host of challenges. One analyst noted that Qatar, Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan need to play a major role going forward.
“Another possibility would be to persuade Arab states who have signed peace deals or normalization pacts with Israel to provide or oversee a security force for Gaza.” But one nation or group would then need to take administrative responsibility for this force, and many question the ability of the United Nations to do this.
While the Bible is unclear on details, it clearly states “At the time of the end,” a military, political, and religious power referred to as the “king of the North” will eventually move into the land of Israel and Jerusalem (Daniel 11:40–43). And sometime before the end, Jews will offer sacrifices once again in Jerusalem, since sacrifices cannot be stopped—as Scripture prophesies will happen—unless they have first been restarted (Daniel 12:11). The current hostilities between Hamas and Israel could be a catalyst that brings an international force into the Holy Land, which would move events that much closer to the fulfillment of these prophecies. To gain a bigger perspective, be sure to read or listen to our insightful study guide The Middle East in Prophecy. – Scott Winnail, Adrian Käfer, and Francine Prater