Greetings from Charlotte,
This year, while God’s people travel to the Feast, fighting rages across the Middle East as Islamic extremists strive to expand their recently declared caliphate, and a deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa now appears ready to threaten Europe and America. While Russia and China move closer together to challenge America and the West, the pope in Rome continues his efforts to bring professing Christians together. What still appears to be lacking is the emergence of a strong political leader in Europe who will fulfill ancient prophecies about a king of the north who will fight with a king of the south and kings of the east. We are certainly living through a critical time in the history of the world.
Here in Charlotte, final arrangements for the Feast of Tabernacles are underway. A number of Headquarters ministers traveled to local congregations for the Feast of Trumpets. Mr. and Mrs. Ames had a very positive visit to the Houston, Texas congregation. I traveled to the Washington, DC area for Trumpets and visited the Raleigh, North Carolina congregation for the Sabbath. Mr. Mario Hernandez made a live broadcast to congregations in the Spanish-speaking world on Trumpets. Dr. Meredith held a number of meetings this week and is planning to leave for the Feast early next week. This week, we also taped another LU assembly in the TV studio which will be available to our on-line students. Please pray that God will watch over His people as they travel to and from the Feast and that God will bless and inspire the messages and fellowship as we observe His Holy Days. (This will be the last WA until after the Feast.)—DSW
Health Concerns at the Feast: At the Feast of Tabernacles, hundreds of people will be in close contact at services and other activities. If you are feeling sick with a sore throat, fever or other symptoms that indicate that you may be infectious to others, please remember to show love for one another by remaining in your room until you feel better. The biblical command to be at the Feast does not include exposing others to potential illness (see the biblical principle of quarantine in Leviticus 13). If you get sick at the Feast, call for one of the Elders. Cases of serious illness should be reported to the Festival Coordinator and other medical personnel at the Festival site.
Young Adults Winter Retreat: December 28–January 1—Deadline Extended
There are still three or four spaces available if you would like to participate in the Young Adults Winter Retreat and the deadline has been extended for one week, until October 7, because no World Ahead was published last week. Living Church of God young adults 20-35 years of age, singles or married couples, are invited to attend a Winter Retreat from Sunday afternoon, December 28, through Thursday morning, January 1, near the Sugar Mountain Ski Resort in North Carolina. We will be having daily Bible Studies and discussions focused on topics of interest to young Christian adults. Activities will include snow skiing and snowboarding at the premier ski resort in this part of the country, as well as other winter recreational sports. The cost for room, breakfast and dinner for the four days will be $165 per person. The cost for lunches, snow skiing/boarding, sledding, tubing and any other activities is not included. We can help provide transportation from Charlotte to this event for those who will be flying in for the Charlotte Family Weekend event that immediately precedes this Retreat. This is the first of many unique experiences we plan to have for our young Christian adults in the Church. To register for this activity, please e-mail me right away at firstname.lastname@example.org. More details of the activities and costs for optional activities are on the Facebook page for this event, https://www.facebook.com/
Newspaper Ad Program in Australasia
The Clarendon office of the Living Church of God is working on a number of newspaper advertisements for the Australasian region. The first ad, for the “Power of Prophecy” DVD and The Beast of Revelation booklet, was run in Papua New Guinea and the response was very exciting! A number of people were so eager to receive the materials that they offered to come and collect them in person. Due to this success, regular ads are planned for that country, offering other booklets and DVDs, and the ad program will be expanded to other countries in Australasia.—Nicole Wrona
Visit to Indonesia
After an earlier trip to Indonesia was postponed because of the volcanic eruption, Mr. and Mrs. Rajan Moses arrived in Surabaya on July 25. At Sabbath services he spoke on, “Holding Godly Values During the End Time,” explaining events in the Middle East and Europe and encouraging the brethren to respect Godly values and apply them in everyday life. His sermon prompted interesting and profitable discussion after services. The members’ English skills have improved wonderfully because of taking lessons. Though some of them are still at elementary level, they were brave enough to talk and ask Mr. Moses questions. We waved good-bye to Mr. and Mrs. Moses when they left on July 29, and hope to see our beloved pastor and his wife again in the near future.—Arius Nusantara
Feast of Tabernacles 2014
Feast just one week away!
Thank you to all of our brethren for your cooperation and patience through the whole festival registration process, and all the details leading up to the Feast. We are thrilled to see the Feast is just a week away! From the Festival Office and all of our Festival Site Coordinators, we want to wish everyone an inspiring, spiritually rejuvenating and safe Feast of Tabernacles!
As this is the last World Ahead update before the Feast, please note these final items from the Festival Office:
2014 Festival Survey
Every year we have a survey taken to get valuable feedback from brethren attending the Feast. We will once again have the Festival Survey at the Feast available online (as well as having paper forms handed out). The Web address for filling out the Feast survey will be fotsurvey.lcg.org. We ask everyone at the Feast to be sure to fill out the survey form during the Feast, as it provides us with helpful information on festival planning for future years.
Brethren who don’t have a personal hymnal are encouraged to bring a hymnal (one or two songbooks per household) from their local congregation’s supply after the Day of Atonement for use at the Feast. Please make sure that all blue hymnals are clearly marked with the congregation name. Also, please be sure to return these hymnals after the Feast, so that the congregation’s hymnal supply is not diminished.
Church History Book Distribution
As a reminder, each household of the Living Church of God will receive a special gift at the Feast of Tabernacles, The Incredible History of God’s True Church, a book written by Church member Ivor Fletcher. There is no charge for this book to brethren or guests at the Feast. We are using the Internet “Web” registration system to keep track of everyone receiving a book. Copies of the books are being sent to Feast sites in the United States and many Feast sites around the world (those which can be sent without customs difficulty—some will have to be hand-carried). We have also sent extra copies of the book to each Feast site, to accommodate those who did not have a chance to sign up for the book online. The Business Office at each Feast site will coordinate the distribution of the book. We will need to keep track of each household receiving a book, to make sure everyone gets one. For those brethren who are shut-ins, we will be polling each pastor after the Feast to find out how many people did not get books. We will then ship the appropriate numbers of books to each pastor, to distribute the books to shut-ins. Please note: Each married couple is asked to take just one book per couple. However, additional adults living in a household may request to receive their own book.
Phone Hook-Up of Services for Shut-Ins
We will not be providing a live-streamed service from one location this year. Instead, we are asking each of our Site Coordinators to provide a way for shut-ins in the congregations assigned to that Feast site to be able to listen in or view the service. The Internet Department also uploads a HQ Feast sermon each day during the Feast on the Church’s Web site. (These are the pre-recorded Feast sermons used at English-speaking Feast sites where recorded sermons are necessary.) These HQ sermons uploaded each day of the Feast can also be helpful to shut-ins at home during the Feast.
Please note: If there are brethren in your congregation who have not been in touch with the Festival Coordinator of their assigned Feast site regarding a “phone hook-up,” or “live-stream,” please have them contact the Festival Coordinator right away.
Meal and Activities Payments—Must Read
Those attending the Gatineau-Ottawa Feast site must come to the meeting hall at the DoubleTree Inn on the afternoon of October 8 before sunset to pay for your meals and activities. If you do not come by before the Sabbath starts, you will not be counted for the meals or the activities. Payment is cash only. Exact change will be appreciated. An ATM is available at the hotel. Thank you.—Marc Arseneault
Special Music—Applause Allowed: In the past, we have discouraged applause for special music, except for children’s performances. As per Dr. Meredith’s direction, applause is allowed as an appropriate way to show appreciation for special music in Sabbath and Holy Day services.
Sabbath Times/Contacts for the Day of Atonement (October 4) and Sabbath, October 18—Repeat Announcement
The listing of where services are scheduled on the Day of Atonement (October 4) and on the Sabbath right after the Feast (October 18) is now available online. You can find a chart with the places, contact information, and times for Living Church of God services on these two days by logging in to the MyLCG Web site (www.cogl.org).
Living Youth Program
Online Teen Bible Studies To Resume after the Feast
Online Teen Bible Studies will resume after the Feast, on October 24. In the meantime, archives of previous Living Youth Bible Studies can be found at livingyouth.org.
Rejoice at the Feast: In the coming week, God’s people will gather at Festival sites around the world to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles—the highlight of the sacred year. As we travel to the Feast, we are reminded every day by the spreading turmoil in this world of what this Festival means for the future of mankind—the coming Kingdom of God when the saints will rule with Jesus Christ to bring peace to His earth. To keep us mindful of this major step in the plan of God, we are commanded to “keep the feast… for seven days” and to “rejoice before the LORD your God for seven days” and “it shall be a statute forever” (Leviticus 23:39-44). The New Testament clearly indicates that Jesus kept the Feast and told His brothers, “You go up to this feast” (John 7:1-39). As we rejoice at the Feast, we need to remember Jesus’ instructions that we should be lights and examples to those around us (Matthew 5:13-16). How we conduct ourselves at the Feast and how we relate to everyone we meet—in services, in hotels, at restaurants—will reflect either positively or negatively on God’s Church and His way of life. As we rejoice at the Feast, let’s remember that we have been called to be “ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20).
Have a wonderful Feast of Tabernacles,
Douglas S. Winnail
News and Prophecy— October 2, 2014
Islamic State Eyes Mecca: Reports indicate that the Islamic extremists of ISIS are “planning to capture the city of Arar in Saudi Arabia” which is close to the Iraqi border and within a day’s drive of Mecca. The leaders of ISIS know that “if you want to control Islam, you have to control Mecca… ISIS knows the only way to enhance legitimacy among Muslims for its ‘Caliphate’ is to control Mecca” (The Times, September 26, 2014). Islamic history records that attempts to gain control of Mecca, the holiest city of Islam, have occurred numerous times down through the centuries. ISIS appears to be following the same path trod by the Qarmatians, a fanatical Islamic sect that swiftly conquered territory and established a “utopian… state” in the same general region. In a dramatic and bloody move in 930 AD, the Qarmatians attacked unarmed worshippers in Mecca during the annual Islamic pilgrimage and slaughtered 30,000 worshippers in a few hours. Leaders of the Islamic State are now threatening to repeat this bloody spectacle, as they believe it is legitimate to kill anyone who does not agree with their ideas or beliefs. The brutality exhibited by ISIS certainly fits the biblical description, “in the last days perilous days will come: for men will be lovers of themselves… boasters, proud… brutal… having a form of godliness” (2 Timothy 3:1-5). The rise of this violent Islamic State and the struggle for control of Mecca could cause other Muslim nations to come together to protect their threatened holy city, which in turn could lead to the long-prophesied rise of the “king of the south” (Daniel 11:40-45). For more on this important subject, request our booklet The Middle East in Prophecy.
Is World War III Underway? In a recent visit to a northern Italian cemetery, the pope in Rome made some profound remarks. “Pope Francis has said the spate of conflicts around the globe today were effectively a ‘piecemeal’ Third World War, condemning the arms trade and ‘plotters of terrorism’ sowing death and destruction… Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction” (Aljazeera, September 14, 2014). It is interesting to consider that the “wars and rumors of wars” that pervade the globe could be a “piecemeal Third World War.” However, Christ warned that these events are just “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). The real Third World War is yet to come—a time pictured in part by the biblical Feast of Trumpets. This 3.5-year period of worldwide war at the end of this age will result in the deaths of literally billions of people (Revelation 6:7-8; 9:13-15). The real World War III will not be piecemeal but global, and will result in the return of Christ as the King of kings, to establish His throne on the earth (Revelation 19:11-16). This war was described by Christ as a time “such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). It will truly be “the war to end all wars.” For more about end-time events, be sure to read our booklet Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled!
The Future of France and Germany: The Franco-German relationship that has held Europe together is faltering. “‘The problem is that the relationship has become deeply unbalanced,’ said Dominique Moïsi, a senior adviser at the French Institute for International Relations. ‘The French and Germans are not playing in the same league any longer, and the overall equilibrium of Europe was depending on a relatively balanced relationship, which no longer exists’” (New York Times, September 21, 2014). “Alfred Grosser, a leading German-French writer and sociologist, said the modern relationship has never been so dire,” even though the average French or German citizen feels no different about the other (ibid.). Mr. Grosser also noted “What those people need is leadership… With Mr. Hollande so weak, and Ms. Merkel so cautious, even enigmatic, the French and German people feel a void” (ibid.). Bible prophecy reveals that a European leadership void will create an opportunity for a powerful leader to fill. This leader, likely German, will use charisma and “intrigue,” to gain the support of ten other European leaders (Daniel 11:20-24; Revelation 17:12-18). These ten end-time leaders will form the long-prophesied Beast power foretold in Daniel 2:42-44 and Revelation 13:1-10. To learn more about future events in Europe, read our booklet The Beast of Revelation.—Scott Winnail, Jim Bennett and Deborah Lincoln-Strange