Letter to the Brethren – December 15, 2013
Dear Brethren and Friends,
Daniel was made aware of future events that were beyond his grasp, and he said to the angel, “‘My lord, what shall be the end of these things?’” (Daniel 12:8). Responding to statements made by Jesus, His disciples asked Him: “‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?’” (Matthew 24:3).
Unlike Daniel or the disciples of Jesus, we are NOW living in the time of the end which they marveled at and which is culminating into “‘“…a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation”’” (Daniel 12:1). Prophecies given by God are coming to pass, and they will be completely fulfilled according to His Word!
In this light, consider the opening statements found in the Book of Revelation:
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Revelation 1:1-3).
The angel concluded the “Revelation” with these admonitions to John:
“Then he said to me, ‘These words are faithful and true.’ And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. ‘Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book’” (Revelation 22:6-7).
Also, unlike the command given to Daniel, saying, “‘…the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end’” (Daniel 12:9, John was told, “‘…Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand’” (Revelation 22:10). Even though some prophecies still await further godly explanation (Revelation 10:1-7), the overall sequence of events and their meaning have been made known to us (You might want to read our free booklet, “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever.”).
Having received God’s calling to salvation, we believe His Word. We have come to know that events in the world are propelling us into the quagmire of unparalleled danger and suffering spoken of in so many detailed prophecies of the Bible.
Circumstances in the Church of God—among people who have been given God’s Holy Spirit—likewise attest to end-time events! On the one hand, apostasy has overwhelmed the many—those who once were viewed as faithful to the Truth of God! That insidious attack on the people of God has continued and will never cease until the return of Jesus Christ! We are warned of an ongoing apostasy in God’s Church just prior to Christ’s return—self-willed and self-righteous people will fall away from the Truth, and they will even accuse, hate and betray one another.
On the other hand, there are the few who continue in the love of God; who endure trials; who overcome the problems of this age; and who continue in the true faith and “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
Among the many prophecies that herald the close of this age and the establishing of God’s glorious Kingdom, we also have the promise Jesus Christ made regarding His Church:
“‘…I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the grave, death) shall not prevail against it’” (Matthew 16:18).
Jesus Christ has given His Church a Work to accomplish. After its establishment on the Day of Pentecost, the Church of God began eagerly to fulfill its commission to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God—to announce and publish the good news of God’s approaching Kingdom, and then to teach those whom God called as they were brought into the Church of God. But soon, persecution set in, and the Church had to flee and exist and survive “in hiding.” For many centuries, the true gospel was not proclaimed anymore to the world. Christ said however that the time would arrive when His Church would fulfill again its commission to preach the gospel in all the world as a witness, and then the end of this present evil age would come (Matthew 24:14). We are today living in these prophetic times.
With all confidence we know that the Church of God and its Work will continue and be abundantly successful. We know this because Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church! He did not fail in the Work God gave Him to accomplish in His first appearance—He finished it! (compare John 17:4).
He will finish His Work in our time, as well!
How is He using us to accomplish this?
The Church of the Eternal God (in the United States with its operations in Europe, including in German-speaking areas), the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship (Canada) and the Global Church of God (United Kingdom) co-exist to fulfill the Work given to the Church Jesus Christ sustains. It is through the fruit of unity in God’s Holy Spirit that we strive to be of one mind in both purpose and practice.
Building on this spirit of unity, our common charter is to avoid any compromise with the Truth of God. Because of this, God has opened the way for us to continue proclaiming His Gospel.
We understand that the future will grow worse and worse. As evil and corrupt as this world currently is, violence of an unimagined scale will lead into the period of time described as “‘…great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be’” (Matthew 24:21; compare Revelation 7:14).
We are preparing now for what lies ahead by striving all the more to be obedient servants to God. Our part in the Work of God will become more demanding, and it will require of us the kind of strength that only comes from God—the resolve by which Jesus was able to persevere so valiantly to become the Savior of the world!
In times past, many have found themselves confronted with seemingly impossible and frightening struggles, and every indication from God’s Word is that our future will likewise require the utmost faith. Yet, even with this reality looming on the horizon, God has given us promises to be able to face anything that comes! Consider these reassurances from Him.
“A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you” (Psalm 91:7).
“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).
And carefully note the next verse:
“So we may boldly say: ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6).
Brethren, thank you for the bond of faith you keep as we all work to do whatever we can to stand together in the Work of God—each doing our part, whether it is seemingly little or much.
Let none of us ever lose sight of the love of the Father, for “God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased… Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Corinthians 12:18, 27).
Be content with what God has given you; do your part faithfully and joyfully; and Christ will give you the crown of life when He returns.
In Christ’s Service,