Letter to the Brethren – March 15, 2002
Dear Members and Co-workers,
It is truly remarkable how fast times goes by, and how quickly prophesied end-time events are
developing. I just reread our member letter to you, dated November 30, 2001. I canít help but
wonder at how much has happened since then. In that letter, we wrote:
“More terrible things will have to happen first, before the end is here… Imagine that! The terror
attack on New York and the subsequent war in Afghanistan, for example, are only the
‘beginning’ Terror and wars will increase!”
The Bible forewarns that Christ must return to save man from himself and ensure his very
survival (Matthew 24: 21-22). By then, most people will have died. We read in Is. 24:5-6: ‘The
earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the
ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore the curse has devoured the earthÖ and few
men are left.’ “God will destroy those who destroy the earth (Rev. 11:18).”
Consider, what all has occurred since then. The increasingly violent hostilities in the Middle
East have now been correctly described as “war.” The keepers of the “doomsday clock” advanced
its hands, on February 27, to seven minutes to midnight (“midnight” meaning “doomsday”). This
is the closest since 1953, when the United States tested the first hydrogen bomb.
At the same time, the friendship between the United States and Europe has somewhat cooled
off. President Bushís signing a measure in early March to impose tariffs of up to 30% on imports
of foreign steel for three years, has prompted sharp protests from the European Union, and
Great Britain and Germany in particular. European newspapers were quick to ask whether the
United States will have to be held responsible for another trade war.
And now, the world learned of a secret report by the Bush administration, directing the U.S.
military to prepare contingency plans to use nuclear weapons against at least seven countries.
As the Los Angeles Times revealed on March 9, the classified report, called the ìNuclear Posture
Review,î (NRP), was signed by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and delivered to
Congress in early January. It points out, ìThe Pentagon needs to be prepared to use nuclear
weapons against China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria. It says the weapons
could be used in three types of situations: against targets able to withstand nonnuclear attack;
in retaliation for attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons; or “in the event of
surprising military developments.”” The report goes on to say that “the Pentagon should be
prepared to use nuclear weapons in an Arab-Israeli conflict, in a war between China and
Taiwan, or in an attack from North Korea on the south. They might also become necessary in an
attack by Iraq on Israel or another neighbor.” Although Russia is no longer regarded an enemy,
according to the report, the huge Russian arsenal, including about 6,000 deployed warheads and
perhaps 10,000 smaller “theater” nuclear weapons, remain a concern.
Reactions to the report were mixed. Some conservative analysts, according to the L.A. Times,
insisted that the Pentagon must prepare for all possible contingencies, and that the report
outlines the right way to develop a nuclear posture for a post-Cold War world. Others
disagreed. One nuclear arms expert was quoted, stating, “”This clearly makes nuclear weapons a
tool for fighting a war, rather than deterring them.””
Much of the European press responded with fear and anger. The German weekly magazine, Der
Spiegel, pointed out in its Online editions of March 10 and 11, that China, Russia, Syria, France
and South Korea reacted with “deep shock,” “concern,” and “puzzlement.” Germany’s foreign
minister, Joschka Fischer, reemphasized the absolute need for reduction of nuclear weapons.
Der Spiegel quoted a member of the Russian Parliament as saying that a large arsenal of U.S.
nuclear weapons is directed against Russia, ìëforcing us to draw our own strategic conclusions.íî ó 2 ó
This world is indeed facing nuclear war. John Isaacs, President of the Council for a Livable World,
was quoted by the L.A. Times as saying, “They’re trying desperately to find new uses for nuclear
weapons, when their uses should be limited to deterrence. This is very, very dangerous talk.”
God’s Church has long understood that, according to Biblical prophecy, worldwide nuclear war
is coming. At the same time, we must make sure that God will not hold us, in any way,
responsible for the destruction of this world. We must do what we need to do, to be counted
very worthy to be called Godís people (cp. Luke 20:35-36; 2 Thessalonians 1:5. The Greek word
“kataxio,” translated as “counted worthy,” literally means, “reckoned very worthy.”).
God tells us that, if it were not for His people, this earth would be stricken with utter destruction
(cp. Malachi 4:6). If Christ would not intervene and stop impending cosmocide, no flesh would
be saved alive (cp. Matthew 24:22). Nobody would survive! But Christ will intervene – for the sake
of His elect people!
Can we see the tremendous responsibility that God has placed on the shoulders of His children
who are living in this last generation? If we were to fail in our Christian tasks and duties, this
world would be obliterated from existence!
If we want to be Godís children, we must be pure in His sight. When we sin, we must repent of
it. Christ died for us so that we donít need to perish (cp. John 3:16); provided, however, that we
repent and accept His sacrifice for the payment of our sins. The annual memorial of Christís death, as
commemorated by us at the Feast of Passover, reminds us of the Father’s and Christ’s awesome
love for us. We will be keeping Passover this year on the evening of March 26, 2002, reflecting on
our need for Christís sacrifice and the forgiveness of our sins (cp. 1 John 1:8-10).
But, in order to receive God’s forgiveness, we must forgive others (cp. Matthew 6:12, 14-15). At the
same time, we are not oblivious to the fact that we, too, have sinned against our fellow man. In
dealing with one another, being human as we are, we all make mistakes. We all need to repent of
wrong conduct, of wrong actions or reactions. God forgives us only when we repent!
We all need God’s forgiveness of our sins against God and man. How thankful we must be that
God is ready and willing to forgive us. Let us not hold grudges against others, and letís be equally
ready to forgive those who have wronged us.
Our commitment to God must be ongoing. We must strive not to sin. And so, following the
Passover, we will observe, for seven days, the Feast of Unleavened Bread from the sunset of
March 27 until the sunset of April 3. These seven days teach us that we must not remain in, or
return to sin, once we have received Godís forgiveness, but that we must strive to come out of sin,
and to live a sinless life. When God lives in us, we will become more and more perfect, as our
Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48), and we will be counted “very worthy,” [” kataxioî in the
Greek]“, ‘to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.’ (Luke 21:36).
We wish you all a meaningful and spiritually rewarding Passover season.
With brotherly love,