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Good News: The Economy and Bible Prophecy

November 1, 2011

You should be receiving the November-December Good News if you haven’t already. In this issue we examine two major themes dominating the news headlines and how they tie in with biblical prophecy.

One theme is what’s happening with the U.S. economy and why. America’s economy is on increasingly dangerous ground due to profligate government spending—living beyond our means on borrowed money. What does this mean for the future of the country? What’s at the root of the problem? How can the nation get itself out of the mess it’s in?

Another theme that’s dominated the news for months is the economic crisis in the European Union that threatens to break up the eurozone and redefine the European Union. Students of Bible prophecy understand that the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation foretell a major new global power that will arise, centered in Europe, comprised of 10 leaders of nations or groups of nations forming a powerful coalition. Further, it has long appeared that a resurgent Germany would lead this end-time coalition.

Could what we are seeing now in Europe be setting the stage for the emergence of a new coalition of nations that will fulfill these prophecies? It appears increasingly clear that the current eurozone will not continue in its current configuration, and the European Union’s current 27 member states could shrink to the group of 10 leaders described in Bible prophecy.

Ironically, though smaller in size, the final union will be more powerful and influential on the world scene because it will be more unified—likely with weaker member states jettisoned somewhere along the way. We may be seeing that process begin any day now as economically distressed member states such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland drop or are forced from the next incarnation of a European Union—perhaps a true “United States of Europe” that some European leaders and decision-makers are openly talking about.

What does all this mean? Simply this—a nation’s economics are ultimately a measure of its power. For the United States, its troubled economy portends major problems ahead. There’s no easy way out—just bad choices and worse ones. And across the Atlantic, Germany—which plunged the world into two world wars in the last century—is flexing its economic muscle as it asserts leadership over Europe and its future direction.

The Good News has talked about both of these trends for years—we have talked about them because both are integral to Bible prophecy. And we want you to understand, too. We’re here to help you make sense of what’s going on in the world and to help you see where it’s headed.

We indeed live in serious times, and we need to be digging into God’s Word, seeking understanding that comes only from Him. We hope this issue helps you grow in that understanding.

Scott Ashley—Managing editor, The Good News

November 1, 2011 Posted by | Good News Magazine, Media and Communications, Prophecy | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pre-Feast Letter from Chairman Rhodes

September 15, 2011

Dear Brethren,

When I first started reading the Church’s literature in 1966, the geopolitical emphasis focused on three areas: the Middle East, which is the epicenter of Bible prophecy; Europe and developments leading to the “ten kings” prophesied at the end time; and the continuing decline of the English-speaking nations.

Forty-five years later, after natural disasters, it seems that the news is still dominated by these three.

Relations between Israel and its neighbors are worse now than they have been at any time since the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt. The Israeli Embassy in Cairo was stormed last week, and the Ambassador and his family had to flee. Even “moderate” Turkey has talked of war, with their prime minister saying that an incident last year justified conflict with Israel.

In addition, there is to be an attempt at the United Nations later this month to recognize an independent Palestinian state. Although the U.S. would veto such a move in the Security Council, a vote in the General Assembly is a foregone conclusion against Israel.

Such a vote would also highlight increasing divisions between the United States and its European allies, as most European countries are likely to vote for an independent nation of Palestine.

Even without the Middle East, Europe itself is facing its own problems as fiscal disaster looms daily. As I write this on Tuesday, September 13, there are rumors again of Greece defaulting financially. An interviewee on BBC News last night put the likelihood of a default at 98 percent! A headline in London’s Daily Telegraph (August 24) read: “Market crash ‘could hit within weeks’, warn bankers.” September and October, historically, are the most likely months for a big financial upheaval. Any bad economic news in Europe, or even a default by tiny and seemingly insignificant Greece, will have a negative ripple effect around the world, including the United States. As a number of financial publications have observed in recent weeks, the prospect of a “double dip recession” is now more likely.

The worst-case scenario for Europe is of a possible total economic collapse. If this happens, we could see a repeat of the 1930s when, out of the rubble of democratic Europe and the Great Depression, the era of the great nationalistic dictators emerged that led to World War II. An article on today’s Stratfor website highlights the danger:

“European nationalism has always had a deeper engine than simply love of one’s own. It is also rooted in resentment of others. Europe is not necessarily unique in this, but it has experienced some of the greatest catastrophes in history because of it. Historically, the Europeans have hated well. We are very early in the process of accumulating grievances and remembering how to hate, but we have entered the process. How this is played out, how the politicians, financiers and media interpret these grievances, will have great implications for Europe. Out of it may come a broader sense of national betrayal, which was just what the European Union was supposed to prevent” (“The Crisis of Europe and European Nationalism,” George Friedman, Stratfor, September 13.)

The very future of the European Union is at stake right now. If the EU’s internal contradictions lead to it falling apart, watch for dramatic changes in Europe that will eventually lead to the resurrected Roman Empire prophesied in Scripture.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how we get from the Eurozone’s present fiscal challenges to the prophesied “ten kings . . . who give their power and authority to the Beast” (Revelation 17:12-13), but students of Bible prophecy know that this assuredly lies ahead.

Europe’s problems do not give the English-speaking countries any excuse to gloat. Both London and Washington are faced with horrendous mountains of debt and are unsure how to move forward. In the United Kingdom austerity measures (cut-backs in government expenditure) contributed to the recent inner-city riots. Take away freebies, and people will riot! But the economic crisis requires freebies to be taken away. This is a dilemma in the U.S. as well. In my own state of Michigan, welfare is being cut back, along with other expenditures, as the state tries to balance its budget. It remains to be seen what the consequences will be.

The federal government is also looking at serious cuts, though most politicians don’t seem to be looking too seriously. They will no doubt wait until the crisis worsens, as it almost certainly will.

Faced with all these uncertainties, what can the average person do? Jesus Christ said that His Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). We all realize that no government and no economic system can provide us with guaranteed security. The only real security lies in our relationship with God. “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33).

At this time of the year our thoughts should be on the coming Kingdom of God as we celebrate the annual Holy Days that look forward to the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom.

A new best-seller by writer Mark Steyn is titled “After America.” Beneath the title is the following sub-title: “Get Ready for Armageddon.” There are many people who realize fully the perilous times we live in, but, sadly, do not share in the knowledge and the hope of the Kingdom.

We have that hope, and we should all have a burning desire to share it with the world.

That’s why we recently hosted the Kingdom of God Bible Seminars, which were attended by more than a thousand new people who were warmly welcomed by members of the United Church of God, eager to participate in sharing their hope of the Kingdom with others.

That hope inspires us to pray daily: “Your Kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10). While we enjoy the physical blessings of the Feast of Tabernacles, let us also remember that these days look forward to a time when all the problems of this present world will be left behind.

Diane and I wish you all a truly uplifting and inspiring Feast of Tabernacles.

Sincerely, your brother in Jesus Christ,

Melvin Rhodes—Chairman, Council of Elders

September 15, 2011 Posted by | Council of Elders, Prophecy | , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Beyond Today on WGN America for 40 Weeks

April 13, 2011

A new Beyond Today program titled “Egypt in Bible Prophecy,” hosted by Darris McNeely, aired on WGN America on Sunday, April 3, 2011. We are pleased to report that this timely episode quickly soared to second place in an overall response ranking. It attracted an outstanding 1,388 responses at $8.65 cost per response (CPR).

This is the second consecutive week Beyond Today breached the $9.00 CPR level. As we reported last week, repeat program “Will I Go to Hell?” hosted by Steve Myers, which aired on March 27, 2011, registered 1,460 responses, setting a record low $8.22 CPR.

In addition, our Canadian office reports that they, “set a new record of 200 responses from last week’s program, ‘Egypt in Bible Prophecy.’ Needless to say, the program was very timely and topical. The Middle East in Bible Prophecy was the booklet offered on the program. The past 5 weeks have all seen over 100 responses. Four of the past five weeks have been in the Top 10 for responses.”

As of the “Egypt in Prophecy” program, Beyond Today episodes have aired on WGN America for 40 weeks. A grand total of 31,835 telephone and Internet responses have been logged over that period, providing an excellent $15.08 overall cost per response.

Also, research and negotiations are ongoing to secure a West Coast television station to air beginning in July. We appreciate the professional media-buying company working on this for the United Church of God. Hopefully we’ll have an announcement about it soon.

As always, thank you for your diligent prayers for God’s blessings on all of our efforts to preach the gospel. Thank you too for your support and prayers for our dedicated, hard-working media team members.

Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications, Prophecy | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Budapest is Location for Beyond Today TV Program about Prophecy

January 18, 2011

On Tuesday, January 18, on location in Budapest, Hungary, Beyond Today presenter Darris McNeely recorded a program about end-time prophecy titled “The Coming King of the South.” Recorded above the Danube River, overlooking this ancient city, this program covers the prophetic future revival of the King of the South as it does battle with the King of the North as described by the biblical prophet Daniel.

Darris McNeely records "The Coming King of the South" on location in Budapest, Hungary, overlooking the Danube River.

Clearly, at the time of the end, another round of great turmoil will engulf the Middle East—only this time it will be far worse than anything we’ve ever seen before. Why is this important to you? You may be interested in Bible prophecy but you still have a life with all of its challenges and opportunities. How does all this relate to you personally? What should you take from this for your daily life?

Truly, this is part of Bible prophecy we need to understand. World events are moving to the conclusion of the age. Spiritual deception will cause many to misunderstand what is happening. God wants you to know the times you live in and where we are in His plan of salvation.

The Danube River and Budapest being captured by Peter Eddington

The Middle East continues to produce events that impact our world. Energy from the region fuels the global economy. Religious fundamentalism creates tension in the region and in Europe. Bible prophecy shows us the Middle East will be the global center of world attention in the years ahead. While it is the region that has given rise to major world religions it has also seen its share of conflict through the centuries. Bible prophecy shows one very significant incident lies in its future. It will trigger the crisis at the close of the age.

The booklet offered on this episode of Beyond Today is, “The Middle East in Bible Prophecy.” Please watch for the airing of this important television program that shows you how the end-time King of the North and King of the South will do battle. The truly good news is, that after this future battle, we will see God’s Kingdom finally being established on earth.

Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

January 18, 2011 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications, Prophecy | | 4 Comments

Beyond Today TV Records New Program in Vienna

January 17, 2011

On Sunday, January 16, on location in Vienna, Austria, Beyond Today presenter Darris McNeely recorded a fascinating program titled “Europe on the Threshold.” This program covers the history of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe, and shows how an end-time revival of the Empire will soon emerge on the world scene.

Darris McNeely recording in Vienna, Austria

We pray daily for God’s Kingdom to be established on this earth, a wonderful, new age for mankind. But as we stand on that threshold, we see other great prophesied events that must yet be fulfilled before His Kingdom is established.

In this Beyond Today program we’re focusing on an area of the world that claims a unique place in history, one that is playing a major and growing role in the world today—and which is prophesied to be the religious and political power center of the globe—as events unfold before the return of Jesus Christ. That area is Europe.

Events in Europe will affect the entire world, and God’s people vividly understand that we are on the cusp of a new age for humankind, a final attempt by mankind to rule this world itself, without God, before the Kingdom of God is established!

Darris McNeely on the grounds of the Hapsburg's Shönbrunn Palace

Before Christ returns, His government will be preceded by this powerful kingdom of men. It will be a superpower that has its roots in antiquity—the Holy Roman Empire. The bad news of this kingdom is also one of prophetic continuity, a message through which God has continually warned those who have eyes to see, so they will not be deceived.

This rise of a final, mighty kingdom of man will be the last resurrection of a long, successive series of kingdoms. It will be the ultimate deceitful, rebellious and futile effort to establish peace on the earth apart from God.

The booklet offered on this episode of Beyond Today is, “The Book of Revelation Unveiled.” Please watch our TV logs and announcements for the future airing of this important Beyond Today program about God’s soon coming Kingdom.

Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

January 17, 2011 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications, Prophecy | | 11 Comments

GN: The Signs of the Times

December 17, 2010

January-February Good News: Do You Understand the Signs of the Times?

The January-February issue of The Good News is now completed and off to the printer, to be printed and mailed in the next two weeks.

The key question on the cover and in the lead article is one we should all be asking ourselves: “Do You Understand the Signs of the Times?”

Everywhere we look it seems we see dangerous and growing problems. Economic issues dominate the headlines, with millions of people out of work and government debt skyrocketing. The ugly conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan continue. Terrorist threats unnerve us. Rogue states pursue their single-minded determination to get nuclear weapons by any means possible.

Where is it leading? Does Bible prophecy provide any answers?

The lead article and several other articles in this issue—“Jesus’ Warning to Watch—Just What Did He Mean?” “Debt Troubles Mount for Britain and America,” “An Overview of End-Time Prophecy,” “Is a Global Food Crisis Brewing?” and “Europe Braces for Terrorism”—address those crucial questions.

Our regular “World News and Trends” feature does our annual look at the state of the world looking ahead to the year 2011. Last but not least, our youth article for teen and young adult readers covers another key issue: “Is the Bible Still Relevant?”

We deeply appreciate the faithfulness and generosity of our members who make it possible to share these sobering but ultimately encouraging truths from God’s Word, and we hope you’ll take these articles to heart. You cannot afford to let yourself be distracted from what is taking place in the world around us in these dangerous times.

We also hope you’ll join us in praying that this seed that we’re privileged to have a part in sowing will fall on fertile ground so that others may have the opportunity to learn and share in these wonderful truths!

Scott Ashley—managing editor, The Good News


December 17, 2010 Posted by | Good News Magazine, Media and Communications, Prophecy | | 4 Comments

Members Can Help Preach the Gospel

December 1, 2010

Brochure Distribution Program Update

In late October we mentioned that brethren in U.S. congregations are welcome to participate in the Good News brochure distribution program as a means of helping preach the gospel in their local areas.

Since that time, members have requested nearly 5,000 brochures and 200 displays for distribution in restaurants, supermarkets, motels, hospital and clinic lobbies, hairdressers, senior centers, libraries, convenience stores and many other locations.

Brethren in the U.S. are still welcome to request a supply of bi-fold brochures and displays for distribution. The titles include, Why Does God Allow Suffering? and Are We Living in the Time of the End? In addition, we have a small supply of miscellaneous older brochures available.

If you would like to participate in the program, please contact me at john_labissoniere@ucg.org or call 423-562-9400 or 888-369-9940 for your supply of brochures and displays.

Thank you very much,

John LaBissoniere

December 1, 2010 Posted by | Media and Communications, Prophecy | | 1 Comment

WGN Audience Responds to Rapture Subject

November 30, 2010

Beyond Today on WGN America: Another Record-high Response

Our second repeat Beyond Today television program, “The Rapture: Fact or Fiction?,” which aired last week on WGN America, documented a new record-high response. The WGN cost per response (CPR) for this program also posted a new record low of $10.48. Adding these fine results to current totals reduces overall CPR on WGN to $16.42 (from $17.21 just two weeks ago).

A total of 1,145 responses were tabulated from the WGN America airing of our program. (The previous high was 1,001 for “Will I Go to Hell?”) This included a record-high telephone response and a record-high Internet response. We have now tabulated 14,620 responses to the WGN airings since we first began on this nationwide station on July 11.

Also, a preliminary telephone response of 514 was recorded for our third repeat program on WGN, “God’s Holy Day Plan: Blueprint for Salvation,” which aired Sunday, November 28. Although this program may not set another record high, preliminary telephone and Web response indicates it performed very well. Such response on a major holiday weekend (Thanksgiving) likely signifies Beyond Today is attracting new audience while building repeat viewers.

Thanks to God for His direction and blessings and for an excellent, unified media team. It shows what He can do through those who are united to accomplish His purpose. As always, thank you too for your ongoing prayers for the Church and its Work. Your prayerful support is much needed and very encouraging.

Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

November 30, 2010 Posted by | Beyond Today, Media and Communications, Prophecy | | 3 Comments

Beyond Today Opportunities

August 25, 2010

Recently we made available Beyond Today “personal advertisements” which can be used as a tool to help advertise Beyond Today on WGN America to family members, neighbors, friends, fellow employees and others. Due to requests we have also designed a larger version (containing two 8″ x 5″ cards) that can be placed on public bulletin boards and in other locations where permissible. Please take a look at them.

Additionally, here is the newest Beyond Today airing schedule, including the title of each program and a brief synopsis of the subject to be covered. We trust this will be a helpful reminder  to watch (or record for later viewing) the programs on WGN America on Sunday mornings, and also a reminder to pray for God’s blessings.

WGN America Responses

We have been very pleased so far with viewer response and Internet traffic generated from our efforts on WGN America. Response for the first six week’s programming of Beyond Today on WGN America, Vision TV in Canada and on US cable-access stations has reached 3,789. Of those responses 2,829 (75%) are directly attributed to WGN and we are seeing a very good initial average WGN America cost per response as a result.

The most popular programs to date have had prophetic themes. These include “The Rapture: Fact or Fiction” and “Europe: A New Superpower on the Rise.” These two programs alone have generated 1,450 responses at an excellent CPR for the WGN portion—and all during the less-favorable summer months for TV viewing.

Once again, thank you greatly for your vital support and prayers as we move ahead in our efforts to preach the Gospel.

Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Beyond Today, Home Office, Media and Communications, Prophecy | | 6 Comments

Our World Held Captive by the Devil

August 22, 2010

We’ve now sent the September-October Good News to our three printing plants (in the United States, South Africa and Australia) and approved the proofs for printing. For several years we’ve been printing the magazine in three different regions of the world, which allows us to save a considerable amount of money on postage and shipping costs for distributing The Good News around the world.

The September-October cover theme is “A World Held Captive: Soon to Be Set Free!” As we normally do in the September-October issue, it focuses on the themes of the fall Holy Days. This lead article summarizes the saga of human history—that mankind has been deceived and taken captive by Satan the devil, leading to enormous suffering and problems, but that the human race will soon be delivered by Jesus Christ at His return.

Two other articles in this issue are “Coming Soon: The Magnificent Millennium” and “Ezekiel’s Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones: What Does It Mean?” The first, of course, covers the prophesied return of Jesus Christ and establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth, while the second explains the meaning of the White Throne Judgment period after the Millennium.

We certainly hope you’ll read these articles before the upcoming Holy Days as an encouraging reminder of the wonderful events they picture for us and the entire human race!

Another article, “The ‘American Century’: What Was Really Behind It?” describes America’s startling ascent to superpower status in the 20th century and what Bible prophecy reveals about the nation’s rise and coming fall. Another addresses the question, “Could Jesus Christ Return Tomorrow?” (hint: No, and here’s why).

Meanwhile, our “God, Science and the Bible” feature discusses significant discoveries this summer at the site of the ancient Philistine city of Gath that support the biblical account of Samson’s death in a Philistine temple and confirm the occurrence of an earthquake mentioned by the biblical prophets Amos and Zechariah.

This issue will be mailed to 362,000 subscribers, with many thousands more reading or downloading it online. We appreciate the faithfulness and generosity of our members who make it possible to share this wonderful good news with a world that truly is held captive to suffering and spiritual darkness. Please join us in praying that this message of hope and God’s coming Kingdom will fall on fertile ground!

Scott Ashley—managing editor, The Good News

August 22, 2010 Posted by | Good News Magazine, Home Office, Media and Communications, Prophecy | | 4 Comments

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