Letter to the Brethren – December 3, 2008

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Dear Brethren and Friends,

In the closing days of 2008, life has again changed dramatically! This time, the world economy has been shaken to its very core. The once dominant role of the United States has collapsed under the weight of its own mismanagement, and the rest of the world is looking for new leadership.

Following the terrorists’ attacks of September 11, 2001, many recognized that things would never be quite the same, and they haven’t! Now we are hostages of fear, and that is reflected in the mobilization to perpetual war status as the United States, Britain and their few allies seek to conquer a small but elusive group of terrorists. Traveling on airlines or across national borders serves as a constant reminder that danger may be in the shadows.

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Letter to the Brethren – November 7, 2008

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Dear Brethren, Co-Workers and Friends:

What a joyous and spiritually uplifting Feast of Tabernacles 2008 it has been! Feast attendees in Derbyshire, England, and Tucson, Arizona, USA, overwhelmingly expressed their appreciation and thankfulness for the beautiful locations, the warmth of the membership, and the outstanding Feast messages and other activities

Just read the following Feast reports from Brian Gale (England) and Dave Harris (Arizona):

Feast Report from England:

Against the backdrop of Chatsworth House in rural Derbyshire, the magnificent stately home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and with sheep and deer grazing safely in the surrounding estate, the Global Church of God in the UK held God’s Feast of Tabernacles for the ninth time at Chatsworth. Many of those who were there had attended many times over the years and yet never tire of the beauty and tranquility that is a feature of this Feast site. The house and gardens have attracted visitors from all over the world for many generations. It is worth mentioning that Derbyshire’s Peak District, where Chatsworth House is a main attraction, is now the second most visited National Park in the world after Mt. Fuji in Japan.

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Letter to the Brethren – September 19, 2008

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Dear Brethren, Co-workers and Friends,

It is hard to believe that in less than two weeks we are going to celebrate the beginning of the Fall Holy Day season, commencing with the Feast of Trumpets on September 30.

When we look at world conditions, it becomes more and more evident that man does not know how to rule himself, and things are worsening in every aspect of our society. The financial markets are close to a melt down with more large financial institutions—including some which have been around for over a century—seeking bailouts by the Federal government. Some are going under financially or are seeking bankruptcy protection. Drug use in the western world is increasing, and the U.S., which should be setting a positive example for the rest of the world, is the biggest drug user, or more appropriately, drug abuser.

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Letter to the Brethren – July 1, 2008

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Dear Brethren and Friends,

Recently we kept the Feast of Pentecost, which is the Holy Day that celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the birth of the New Testament Church in 31 AD (compare Acts 2). The next Feast day in God’s calendar is the Feast of Trumpets, which pictures the return of Jesus Christ. As will be more fully explained in this letter, there is a distinct connection for God’s people between the two. With the spirit of discernment that God’s Spirit gives to baptized members of His true Church, we can see the sign of the times (compare Matthew 24:32-33). We can surely see that the reality of Christ’s return is becoming more necessary by the day.

How we need that reality! Even the truly wealthy nations in the world are starting to feel the pinch with big increases in oil prices affecting motoring costs and food prices through increased transportation costs. In the UK recently, it was announced that gas and electricity bills will probably increase by about 40% this winter, and the price of petrol continues to soar. The banking industry is in turmoil with shares in some of the leading banks and financial institutions in the UK falling heavily and the housing market suffering its greatest crisis since the 1970’s. I mention the UK because I can see, close at hand, how the fragmentation of society continues through these and other problems and concerns that the ordinary man in the street continues to wrestle with. But this same pattern is replicated and perhaps even magnified in the USA and in so many other nations around the world. The constant threat of terrorism is costing nations enormous amounts of money to counteract the activities of those committed to kill and destroy. Crime continues to exact misery on millions of people who are the victims of such activity, and the complexity and number of problems are a constant source of worry for those sincere and dedicated leaders who consider the interests and welfare of their subjects of paramount importance. Unfortunately, there are many other leaders who seem to care little for their subjects, for whom they have grave responsibility. Listing all of the problems that cause worry and concern for the ordinary man and woman—so many seemingly intractable—could take many pages, and it surely becomes ever more apparent as each day passes that only the “strong hand from somewhere” will be good enough to bring about a worldwide society that at last will experience true peace, abundance, safety and good health for all concerned. It is so urgently needed. While there have always been problems since God created man approximately 6,000 years ago, surely we are now facing an unprecedented set of problems as the end of this age approaches. Albert Einstein wisely said that “The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” These problems in the world will only be solved by the return of Jesus Christ, which the next Holy Day in God’s marvelous calendar—the Feast of Trumpet—pictures. But we need the Holy Spirit that God gives only to those who obey Him (Acts 5:32), to be able to understand this plan for all of mankind. And God’s Spirit will even work more powerfully within us to the extent that we are diligent in faithfully keeping His Commandments (1 John 2:3-4; 3:22-24). The Feast of Trumpets portrays the end of the time of such great trouble “such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). Jesus Christ did not mince His words about the scale of the problems that will engulf the world before He sets up the Kingdom of God here on earth at His return.

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Letter to the Brethren – June 2, 2008

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Dear Brethren, Co-Workers and Friends:

When you receive this letter, the annual Feast of Pentecost has almost arrived. The Church of God has understood for many years that Pentecost must be kept on a Sunday—counting 50 days from the Sunday, which falls within the annual Holy Days of Unleavened Bread. We explain how to count Pentecost (as well as the reasons why we have to keep it today) in chapter 3 of our free booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days.”

Not everyone in the Church understands or believes that we must keep Pentecost when most of us do, and some have begun to “observe” Pentecost at a different time.

Some maintain and uphold a mistake, which the Church of God had made many decades ago (but which was corrected in 1974/75), when it erroneously concluded that Pentecost had to be kept on a Monday. Others count the 50 days leading to Pentecost from the Sabbath (not Sunday), which falls within the Days of Unleavened Bread. Still others reject the concept of postponements relative to the Hebrew calendar, and have therefore created alternate dates when to keep Pentecost. (And then, there are some who have changed the dates strictly because of “convenience”). . We should easily see that these different approaches have led to confusion and disunity in the body of Christ, rather than to “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (Ephesians 4:13). When we are wrong in our understanding, we must change; but unless we can clearly see from Scripture that we are mistaken on a given point in doctrine, we are to “hold fast what [we] have” (Revelation 3:11) and to even “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

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Letter to the Brethren – May 7, 2008

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Dear Brethren and Friends,

Worry that borders on outright fear has entered into the lives of people who live in even the most prosperous nations of the earth! No longer are the bad things just happening to other people! The reality so little understood is that this world has come to the generation that will mark the end of life, as we know it! Governments are destined to fail; nations will cease to exist, or, at the very least, they will be decimated; and the earth itself is going to suffer such destruction that life of any kind will be tenuous and in mortal danger! How can such ominous things happen? Is this just doomsday thinking—lacking any real proof or certainty? If you have come to believe God, and if you believe the prophecies He has left for His people in His Word, then you KNOW that human governments under the influence of Satan will be brought to an end. Along with this, Jesus Christ warned of awesome events on a scale never before experienced by mankind. One key element beginning to emerge at this time is the rise of a powerful religion with global influence and might. This is something for us to recognize and watch. That emerging super-religion will be empowered by Satan and his demonic forces. Jesus Christ warned that in the end time, “‘…false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to DECEIVE, if possible, even the elect’”(Matthew 24:24). In Revelation 13 and in 2 Thessalonians 2, more details about the leader of that powerful religion reveal that he will use stupendous signs to deceive the whole world—forcing people into false worship and even killing those who refuse! Extraordinary devastation will soon fall upon the modern English-speaking descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh—the British Empire and the United States of America. In a prophecy written long ago in the Book of Jeremiah, God foretold that He would punish His nation for their sins unless they repented. The time setting is the unparalleled period that will usher in the promised Kingdom of God at the return of Jesus Christ. Note the wording: “‘“Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble”’” (Jeremiah 30:7). We know that this is a warning that is especially directed to the United States and Britain—the nations who bear the name of Jacob (Compare Genesis 48:16).

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Letter to the Brethren – April 8, 2008

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Dear Members, Co-Workers and Friends:

We have just finished our annual conference for 2008, and we would like to thank all of you who prayed for its success. When reporting about last year’s conference, we wrote the following in our letter, dated February 21, 2007:

“Do we realize how much this world is in utter confusion; how close we are to the return of Christ; and how great our responsibility is to do the Work of God—the most important activity anyone could be involved in? But do we really understand that Christ will only return, when the true gospel of the Kingdom of God has been preached and when His wife—His true Church—has made herself ready (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 19:7-9)?”

As we did last year, so we focused again during this year’s conference on our all-important duty and two-fold commission to preach the gospel and to feed the flock. In reflecting on what has been accomplished during this past year, we were encouraged to continue and excel with even more energy and zeal. Whatever God grants us to do, we must never forget to give Him all the credit and glory. We thought you might be encouraged as well when focusing on what has been accomplished since the 2007 conference, and what we are planning to do in the near future.

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Letter to the Brethren – March 5, 2008

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Dear Brethren, Co-Workers and Friends:

It is hard to believe that next month baptized members of the Church of God will be keeping the annual Passover. Time seems to pass by so quickly, which is exactly the reason why God tells us in His Word that we should examine ourselves at this time of year, prior to Passover. God knew full well that if we did not have these annual stop signs or periods of time to reflect on His great master plan and our own development in Christian growth, we would soon forget about His whole plan of salvation for mankind—Passover being the very beginning step. If we get caught up in our jobs, work, pleasures and cares of this world, it is easy to forget what God’s plan is all about.

Just as some who have left the faith find that in a very short while, they no longer recall when to keep God’s Holy Days and they no longer understand biblical principals associated with those Days, we too could find ourselves in the same position, if we are not careful. God, knowing human nature, designed in His wisdom a way by which we could bring to remembrance the practices God has instituted, reflecting the Truth of His teachings.

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Letter to the Brethren – January 8, 2008

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Dear Brethren, Co-Workers and Friends,

The year of 2007 has now passed, complete with the usual end-of-year spending and excess, which was just a continuation of what has become the norm in many nations around the world. However, financial clouds on the horizon, emanating primarily from the subprime mortgage crisis in the USA, cast a cloud over the normal festivities. Subprime lending is, put simply, the act of approving mortgages to those with a poor credit history at higher than normal interest rates, and many have found it impossible to meet their commitments, with the result of foreclosures and associated problems. In addition, the housing market has cooled significantly, which also brings along another set of problems. Add into that mix the ever-spiraling personal debt situation, and the prospects are less than encouraging. Because of their position on the world stage, whenever there are problems in the USA, these are reflected in the world economy, and the UK and continental Europe, and even countries in Asia, are feeling the same set of pressures. Recent figures in the UK have shown that personal debt has doubled since the year 2000.

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