The message is the same as it has always been—for more than 2,000 years—but most of the tools are different from what was available way back then, in particular that of the printed word, the Internet, video, television and streaming TV.
Here is one of my favorite scriptures: “Later He [Jesus] appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to [everyone]” (Mark 16:14-15 Mark 16:14-15 14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
15 And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
American King James Version×, emphasis added throughout).
The gospel is to be preached to everyone! Time will tell how much of this huge goal will be accomplished by the United Church of God before the Two Witnesses appear in this end time.
The Internet: an Amazing, Powerful Tool
The number of Internet users worldwide who use the Internet more than once a month is more than 3.6 billion. This year nearly 49 percent of people worldwide will use the Internet—either through a computer or mobile device. eMarketer estimates that Internet adoption will surpass the halfway mark in 2018, when 51.1 percent of the world’s population will go online, equating to 3.82 billion people (“Slowing Growth Ahead for Worldwide Internet Audience,” eMarketer, June 7, 2016).
Inexpensive mobile phones and mobile broadband connections are making Internet access available in countries where the Internet had been out of reach for people. Companies like Google and Facebook are planning to fly Wi-Fi blimps and solar powered drones over remote areas in Africa to provide Internet service to the poorest of people.
We as a Church intent on preaching the gospel of God’s Kingdom to the world must be prepared for the future. This includes mobile technology and portable, streaming video that proclaims the gospel of the Kingdom.
Over the past 24 months, there has been a major shift in our approach towards streaming video technology. It’s a real game-changer. One reason for our major focus towards online video streaming technology is the rapid rise in Internet use and broadband use around the world.
Streaming TV Apps
“We must give people a world to look forward to. We must not back away from the urgency to do the work of God … It is a work of making disciples.”
In years past, the Church of God capitalized on the emerging media of the time—whether it was the printed word, radio or television. Today it should be no different.
In keeping up with the latest in technology, we have now finished developing a number of online and streaming apps for our Beyond Today video content. This enables our viewers to watch us right on their televisions as before, but through much more advanced and flexible means than is possible through only the broadcast, satellite and cable alternatives.
These new devices include Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and a host of smart televisions (like Samsung). The idea is that whenever a person buys a new smart TV or streaming device, they will be able to install our Beyond Today channel right on it.
Note: We will have two versions of our apps—one that is branded for Beyond Today content and one that is branded for UCG content (like sermons and webcasts). The BT ones are all operational, and now the UCG versions are being worked on.
Tell the Whole World!
Our job is to let the world—all nations—know the Kingdom of God is coming; not when it’s going to come, but that it will come—and to instruct and give people some hope. There is precious little hope in this world for mankind!
We must give people a world to look forward to. We must not back away from the urgency to do the work of God. This is why we’re part of the firstfruits now, and this role must be taken seriously!
The apostle Paul, after his conversion, became one of the loudest proponents of the gospel of the Kingdom of God! First of all, we see gentiles keeping the Sabbath day holy. It is not just a Jewish observance, it’s for all mankind, and the early Church members knew that!
Chapter 13 of the book of Acts starts off Paul’s first journey to various outposts of the empire: “So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath … On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God … Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region” (Acts 13:42 Acts 13:42And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles sought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
American King James Version×, 44, 48-49).
Back then it was the region. Today, it is the world! We have to work a worldwide work to all nations as we are able. The avenue is open for participation that has not been there before—through new, powerful communication systems.
It is a work of making disciples. God the Father is the One who determines who the disciples are. We have to sow the seed broadly, and then God will determine where the fertile soil is. At the same time, not everybody is going to respond, so it will be a witness as well.
Sowing the Seeds
Time will tell, but we believe the seeds we are sowing will germinate and bear fruit at the appropriate time and as God desires. We have been given a job to do! Please pray for God to bless the various efforts of His people to take care of Christ’s flock and preach the gospel of the Kingdom.
Jesus said: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 Matthew 28:19-20 19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.
American King James Version×).
The very power and authority of Jesus Christ has been given to His disciples—you and me! He says to us to go you therefore and do the job at hand.
Jesus Christ is going to return to reign on this earth. We are to seek first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×), but on a day‑to‑day basis God expects us to carry out the work He commissioned to His disciples. That’s to you and me! God’s Church is the means by which He is now preparing this world for Christ’s return! It is through us that He is preparing the future teachers of His Kingdom—to build a world for tomorrow through His Church today!