This will be my last letter to you before the great Feast of Tabernacles—perhaps the greatest in 1900 years. I have just reread a letter I wrote and sent yesterday to our ministers and their wives. And as I read it, I felt that it is exactly what I want now to say to you. So here it is:
WHERE WE ARE, NOW!
Let's not take everyday routine of events for granted. Let's awake to the REALITY of where we are in the panorama of world events. For we are in a very SERIOUS time!
As we approach perhaps the greatest Feast of Tabernacles in 1900 years, we need to be conscious that we are approaching CLOSER THAN WE THINK the very tremendous event this Festival pictures to us—the millennial world-reign of the KINGDOM OF GOD!
At the Feast last year we had the new book ready on "THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL." This year we have another book ready to distribute at the Feast, one to each family, about the very event we are attending to celebrate—the wonderful world as it will be for a thousand years, ruled by THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
I have just finished reading again this entire book— though it is not a thick book I had not read it or seen it since writing it more than two years ago. I am my own worst critic, but for this book I will say I am not displeased because it does not seem as if I wrote it—but that Christ inspired and I merely typed it at His dictation.
I AM dissatisfied with the cover and the outer paper flap. That can be changed before the book is put on the market in bookstores. But the book itself I feel is inspired and inspiring—as well as TIMELY!
I have said before, it has seemed as if God had purposely held up and delayed the progression of prophesied world events, undoubtedly to give us time to get ourselves— HIS CHURCH—ready for these final climactic events and Christ's coming to RULE! But NOW there are significant signs that these events will be SPEEDED UP. The "resurrection" of the medieval "Holy Roman Empire," the Great Tribulation, and the plagues of the first phase of the "Day of the Lord," will in all probability come rather suddenly and unexpectedly on us.
Many of the present Pope John Paul II's activities point to the fact that he can be the Pope that will initiate this European reunion, in a "United States of Europe." As a matter of fact, his having come from Poland, and the effect of his visit there, indicate that instead of the coming "resurrected" Holy Roman Empire including such nations of Israelitish ancestry as Holland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the ten nations to compose it may include such nations—now Russian satellites—as Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia. The latter two are long since, to a considerable degree, independent of the Kremlin. The Soviet Union may soon experience a breakaway of some of the Balkan satellite nations. It does seem that the nations of Israelitish ancestry, in western and northwestern Europe, would likely be excluded from the coming ten-nation "Roman Empire."
Once in a while, I cannot avoid reflecting on the fact that I have lived a longer-than-average life. From the viewpoint that most lives have ended several years earlier than mine, I could certainly conclude—as I am aware many have concluded—that my lifetime is nearing its end—though I know God can keep me alive as long as He needs me in His Work and His Church. Abraham, Moses, and others lived to a much older life than I have so far.
Yet, this very circumstance makes me realize that THIS WORLD is now very old, and nearing its END! We are in the LAST DAYS! I think it is important that you (ministers and wives) realize this fact—that the imminence of the END of this present evil world's life is much more real than many of us have realized.
As we approach this year's Feast of Tabernacles it is important that we REALIZE also that although Christ has moved swiftly this past year and more to set His Church back on God's track, we as a Church are NOT yet ready for either the protection promised us from the imminent GREAT TRIBULATION, or for the coming of Christ.
What we all need seriously now, is real FASTING, and fervent PRAYER, before the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles!
We must be vigilant in this, and put it first in our lives to avoid neglect—for the TIME IS NOW SHORTER THAN EVER!
Now let me add this much to you brethren and co-workers: I shall not attempt to appear and speak at ALL United States and Canada Festival sites this year. But I plan to open at the Feast site here in Tucson, Arizona, then fly to Savannah, Georgia, where I plan to speak Thursday, then to St. Petersburg, Florida for the last great eighth day.
Mr. Rader is still in Peking, China, working out plans for my official visit there, about the first of November. It will be an official visit, arranged by the government of the People's Republic of China and at government expense while in China. As I write, ex-President Nixon is there on invitation of the Chinese government. The Vice-President of the United States, Walter Mondale, was recently there, and allowed to speak to the whole nation, the largest nation on earth, over the official government radio network. Bob Hope was there with NBC cameramen, allowed to produce and photograph a special television show, broadcast to all America by NBC.
And now, I am to go on special invitation of the government of the People's Republic of China. I am most certainly the first religious leader to be invited there— an atheist nation which does not believe in God. It is a tremendous honor. I do not expect to be given free time on their national radio network, but the government is planning to host a great dinner in my honor, to be attended by 400 or more important people. Our TV cameramen are there now, and have been taking many televised pictures to be used as background material for my appearance there, as well as to photograph me, according to my present understanding.
Mr. Rader was invited to give a two hour lecture before their major university law school. GOD IS SURELY OPENING DOORS!
The two recent hurricanes plowed through two of our Feast sites, Savannah and Biloxi, but did not inflict any damage serious enough to prevent the holding of the Feast. I hope no extreme damage was caused to any of our members and I'm sure we were all praying that God's people would be spared who lived in the paths of the hurricanes. In all the years we held festivals at Jekyll Island, we were threatened by hurricanes during the Feasts, but always God caused the hurricanes to veer off in another direction. But this year, I have heard that Jekyll Island was severely damaged.
I hope to see many of you at the three Feast sites I shall attend. Meanwhile, keep tithes and offerings coming, in my name, to Tucson, Arizona.