Letter to the Congregations: 29th April 2023
Our Dear Brethren,
The two men sat at a table on the corner of the busy street enjoying the sunny afternoon. Occasionally pedestrians would walk past them, casually discussing life or making complaints about their day so far. One of the men took another sip of his coffee and set the cup back down on the table. "When will His kingdom be here?" He had a certain anxiousness and yet hopefulness in his voice. This man had been waiting for the Kingdom of God for most of his life. He'd witnessed many changes in the world around him, sometimes progress and sometimes setbacks. But at the moment, although the two sat in a peaceful neighborhood, there was so much going on elsewhere that it was difficult to notice anything positive.
There is a constant battle going on as we speak. This battle isn't a flesh and blood struggle between nations, but rather a spiritual battle between "the rulers of the darkness of this age ... spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" and those who follow the ways of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 6:10 & 23). And while it can sometimes appear that wickedness is prevailing since we see both in secret and out in the open that "in the place of judgment, wickedness [is] there; and in the place of righteousness, iniquity [is] there," we know for a fact that "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work" (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17).
We also know that there is coming a time when "the kingdoms of this world" which are presently influenced by a deceiving adversary, will "become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ" (Revelation 11:15). This will happen after the fulfillment of the events described in the prophecies of the Bible. It will be when the seventh trumpet sounds that this declaration will occur. At that time the saints of God who have been asleep in their graves (death is like sleep but without the dreams) will be raised from the dead, and those who are alive and have been waiting will also be changed (see 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
The Son of God will again be sent to the earth by His Father, and at that time the Son will be given complete "dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:14). To be part of this Kingdom we must endure through the spiritual warfare which we have entered into at the moment we committed our lives to our Lord. We must, in all ways, "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," not fretting over the difficulties and atrocities we see and experience (see Matthew 6:33-34).
The gospel which first drew us to a relationship with our God is the same gospel preached by Jesus as He walked on the earth. It was and still is the "gospel of the kingdom of God," which gives hope of a better world that is to come. "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" (Isaiah 9:7).
Our love is with you,
Pastor, United Church of God
NYC, NJ, CT, Malawi, Zimbabwe