Letter to the Brethren – May 16, 2016
Dear Members, Co-Workers and Friends,
We trust that all of you had a rewarding and meaningful Passover season. While this present evil age is nearing its completion in an unparalleled crescendo of unspeakable destruction, God’s people are looking beyond this time in anticipation of worldwide peace, prosperity and happiness.
On April 21, 2016, baptized Church members gathered together to observe the annual Passover. Brian Gale and Kalon Mitchell conducted local Passover services in California; Dave Harris, Eric Rank and Robb Harris in Colorado; Rene Messier in Oregon; and Norbert Link and Michael Link in Germany. In addition, scattered brethren in the US and Canada were able to participate live over the Internet at the services conducted in Colorado. We are also happy to report that nine people were baptized in Germany by Norbert and Michael Link on the Sabbath following the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. By now, 42 baptized members of the Church of the Eternal God live in Germany and Switzerland. Further baptism counseling was conducted, and we anticipate that additional people will be baptized during the Feast of Tabernacles 2016 in Templin, Germany.
Prior to Passover, we held our annual Church conference. We discussed our Internet activities worldwide and means of advertisement to distribute more of our booklets to new people in the USA, Canada and the UK. Website statistics were reported, showing that our traffic for new visitors increased by 345%, which was undoubtedly affected by our advertisement campaigns throughout the year.
We discussed several doctrinal and administrative issues, including the false concept that after Mr. Armstrong’s death, nothing can be changed. The first part of a new article on this issue is published in this week’s Update. We also spoke on the length of time that Israel was in Egypt, and a thorough written explanation is forthcoming.
We addressed the question as to what kinds of sports are appropriate for Church members. This is a question with a wide variety of opinions, and even though it boils down to a personal decision, we plan to write an article with some guidelines based on biblical principles. We also addressed the likewise highly controversial issue of appropriate and inappropriate Sabbath activities, and it was emphasized that balance is of paramount importance. It is easy to become too strict or too liberal in this matter, and both approaches are wrong and may have terrible consequences for the individual and entire congregations. Many times, it is a matter of personal conviction and individual circumstances, and an article will be prepared to explain this fact in more detail.
We spoke about booklets which we plan to produce this year (including a booklet on the Fall and Rise of the Jewish People and an explanation of “difficult” Scriptures which are misused by some to “prove” their false doctrine that God’s spiritual law is allegedly no longer in effect.) We are translating more booklets into German and French, and work is also being done on a translation of a booklet into Russian. (You might want to check our French and German websites for newly-posted booklets.)
We are happy to report that we are in a sound financial condition, and we would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt thanks to all of our generous supporters and contributors and for the manifest fact that their heart is truly in the Work of God.
While the Work must and will go on, Satan will continue to try to destroy God’s Church and its members. This has always been his goal and desire, and we must not be surprised when he does so today, and when he will do so in the future. In the Editorial of this week’s Update, Norbert Link wrote the following:
“During my many years in the Church of God, I have observed firsthand many Satanic attacks on God’s people and the Church itself. I was still in Germany when I learned, second-hand, that the Attorney General of the State of California, being used by disgruntled disfellowshipped members and ministers, was launching a massive illegal attack on the Church, but when I later came to Pasadena and worked in the Legal Department, I could see that it had clearly been Satan’s goal to totally destroy the Church of God. In that, Satan failed.
“Subsequently, another Satanic attack was launched against Herbert Armstrong, the late human leader of the Church, as well as the Church organization, when attempts were made to smear Mr. Armstrong’s reputation and to fraudulently gain possession of half of the Church’s property. In this, Satan failed again.
“When Mr. Armstrong died, his successor, being at least partially used by liberal men who were
hostile towards Mr. Armstrong and his teachings, changed just about every Church doctrine, until their organization had ceased to be a part of the Body of Christ and had instead become a mainstream ‘Christian’ part of the great apostasy with all of its pagan ideas, and even though far too many followed their evil lead, Satan failed in his attempt to influence ALL of God’s people to depart from the truth.
“In due time, further splits within the Church of God organizations occurred (as they are bound to continue in the future), which were also undoubtedly, at least in part, motivated and inspired by Satan, but again, Satan did not succeed in destroying completely ALL of God’s people. But the Bible has prophesied that due to the many Satanic attacks, many will fall away in the future (2 Thessalonians 2:3), and most of those who will stay in God’s Church will become lukewarm (Revelation 3:6), tired and worn out. We read in Daniel 7:25 about a religious power which ‘persecutes’ the saints, but the word actually means, ‘wears out,’ comparing it with a garment which wears out by degrees, and as applied to many of the saints, they become tired and worn out due to constant harassment and persecution.
“However, the Bible also promises that a faithful remnant of the Philadelphia era WILL EXIST in these end times, who will be counted worthy to escape the terrible Great Tribulation and to stand before the Son of Man (Revelation 3:10; Luke 21:36)… and we are NOT saying that that remnant is limited to just one particular organization, even though we surely believe that our organizations are part of this remnant.
“Therefore, we should expect that Satan will especially try now to attack this very remnant with great wrath, because he knows that his time is short (Revelation 12:12). And that is EXACTLY what is happening. Satan IS on a rampage to DESTROY God’s people, and his attacks have become so violent and all-encompassing as never before in my experience within the Church of God. I am foremost speaking of personal problems which God’s true begotten sons and daughters have to endure at this point.”
Mr. Link continues to explain how we can win our battle with Satan, and he refers especially to our free booklet, “Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians — How to Understand It.” If you want to receive a free copy of this booklet, or if you want to become an email subscriber to our weekly Updates, please let us know.
Terrible times are awaiting us. We must be watchful in all things, and we must be growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and fulfill our destiny… to become a born again God being in the Kingdom and Family of God when Christ returns.
Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread remind us of the need to be washed thoroughly from sin on a constant basis. This world is engulfed in sin, and we can easily be influenced. But we must never forget that sin carries with it severe consequences. We have addressed this seldom-understood concept in our brand-new free booklet, “Punishment for Our Sins,” and we enclose herewith a copy for all those who did not already receive a copy during the Days of Unleavened Bread. (If you receive the member letter via email and wish to have a copy of our new booklet, please let us know.)
Please, be vigilant and on guard, and may the God of peace, strength and comfort be with all of you.
With Christian love,