The question was asked in a recent Reader's Digest, "How Religious Are We?" According to a Reader's Digest-Gallup Poll survey, it was found that Americans are quite religious.
Disregarding the breakdown into percentages and categories, it is noteworthy that Kenneth Briggs, former religion editor of The New York Times, says the religious revival is the most visible in the American attitude toward prayer. He called it "the most powerful, least documented development within American religion. “Out of 87 percent who say they pray sometimes, the figures include 75 percent who say, they do not have membership in either church or synagogue.
Whether people believe there is a Higher Power Who controls the destiny of the world is utterly irrelevant. The world will eventually learn as did the ancient Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar that "the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will." (Daniel 4:32)
The Jews are the nation of Israel and have been from the days of their beginning with the Abrahamic Covenant, and the little geographical area which is today called Israel is their land. The Jews and the nation of Israel make up that which is called "God's Chosen People." But as Elmer A. Josephson, clergyman, writer and lecturer, stated in his book, Israel, God's Key to World Redemption, "The Almighty did not choose Israel to coddle, to show them special favors, or 'spoil them' as a pet child. On the contrary He has permitted them to suffer more than any other nation in their role as 'Mahmlechet Koahneem -a 'kingdom of priests' to the nations."
There is a persistent belief among Christian Zionists of every nation that the degree of well-being and prosperity of each nation depends upon the treatment extended to the Jewish population -and to the nation of Israel. And many among Christian Zionists of America also believe God has raised up America for the very purpose of aiding and sustaining Israel through the difficult time of her rebirth as a nation again in her own land.
The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America was signed July 4, 1776. One hundred seventy-two years later, on May 14, 1948, the Declaration of the State of Israel was signed and the ancient nation of Israel was reborn.
In 1976, a remarkable little booklet was published by the American-Israel Friendship League on the occasion of the Bicentennial of our country, The Birth of Two Nations -An Historical Account of a Nation Born and a Nation Reborn.
To those who so loudly proclaim that ours is not a Christian nation -and admittedly, it falls far short -let it not be denied that it was founded upon the Judaeo-Christian principles of the Bible. To quote from a passage in the booklet: "American history, from the colonial days to the present, abounds in memorable manifestations of support for the age-old aspirations of the Jewish people for the return to Zion. This unbroken thread in the fabric of American history is rooted in the influence of the Old Testament upon the Founding Fathers and the spiritual legacy they handed down to the generations that followed. The Hebrew prophetic teachings, which served as the guideline for the lifestyle of the Puritan fathers and the early pioneers, were subsequently embodied in the tenets of the American Constitution."
It would be interesting to research the many towns and villages in America with the names of Bethlehem, Salem, Jericho, Hebron, and even Jerusalem. Parents named their children after beloved and revered Bible heroes, and today the custom is being revived.
Of the 16 presidents who have held office from William McKinley in 1897 to Ronald Reagan since 1981, everyone has publicly stated support for a “Zionist State.”
In spite of the controversies and political maneuverings, America has been a strong supporter of Israel from the very beginning. In his famous letter to the Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I., which is now enshrined in the archives of the synagogue and in American history, George Washington wrote, "To bigotry no sanction, To persecution no assistance. The Biblical injunction inscribed on the Liberty Bell, 'And Proclaim Freedom Throughout the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof ' (Leviticus 25:10), is evidence of the deeply rooted love and respect for the heritage of the Jewish People." So say we all.
And our nation has struck a hard blow -a blow for freedom -against terrorism in the bombing of military targets in Libya.
Freedom and peace for Israel is both the key and the gateway for freedom and peace for the whole world. Will it end now? No, not yet. It will even get much worse, but it will come out all right. I have read the Book. (Yvonne S. Lewerke, of Clear Lake, is associated with Iowa Christian Friends of Israel)
GOD'S LOVE FOR ISRAEL
“I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love.” (Hosea 11: 4) Hosea prophesied in Israel -the ten-tribe kingdom -prior to the Babylonian Captivity, dying about the time that Samaria capitulated: The name Hosea signifies salvation and corresponds well with the prophecy. The Lord through Hosea made plain to Israel that their national destruction and captivity was at hand; that it was a punishment for sin; but that it also told the people of God's sympathy for them, of His many loving forbearances, etc., and assured them that He would continue to love them to the end, and eventually bless them and recover them from the land of the enemy.
Hosea's own experiences in life in some degree pictured the Lord's experiences with Israel. Hosea's wife was unfaithful to him, as Israel had been unfaithful to the Lord. Following the Lord's direction, Hosea took back his wife, reclaiming her; and his message to Israel was of God's continued love for that people -that although they had been unfaithful to the Lord, He would nevertheless loyally receive them again when they should have learned their lesson and be glad to come back as a bird from Egypt and a trembling dove from Babylonia.
“THE LORD LOVED THEE”
Love is the keynote of the Bible, notwithstanding the fact that it contains threatenings as well as promises, and declarations and manifestations of Justice as well as of mercy. If God's character were devoid of Justice--if His love should override His Justice--it would be a terrible calamity for all those dependent upon Him. It would testify weakness of character instead of strength. It is the fact that God's wisdom, justice, love and power operate in full harmony--in coordination--that gives us admiration for Him, confidence in Him, love for Him; and all these appreciations are intensified as we realize His unchangeableness.
From the beginning God foreknew His plan as we see it gradually ripening. He foreknew that man, allowed to take his course, would fall deeply into sin and be overwhelmed in its penalty, death. He foreknew His own purpose to provide in due time the Lamb of God as a ransom-sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. He foreknew the ultimate blessing of all the families of the earth: purposing that the glorified Redeemer should be the deliverer of mankind. He foreknew and arranged a thousand years of restitution work, when under Messiah's glorious Kingdom all mankind should be brought to a full knowledge of God
and a full opportunity for returning to all that was lost in Eden, all that was redeemed at Calvary; and when the ultimately rebellious should be destroyed. He foresaw from the beginning the glorious result when every knee would be bowing and every tongue confessing the glorious work of Messiah's Kingdom. This entire program was to be of the Father and through the Son. (1 Cor. 8:6)
It was incidental to this great plan that God foresaw the wisdom of having a saintly company associated with Jesus in the great work of His Millennial Kingdom, which is to govern and bless thousands of millions. God determined to have two saintly companies. One class was to be of the earth, earthy, samples of what mankind might all eventually attain to through the assistance of the Kingdom. The other class of saints, still more highly exalted, were to be the Bride of Messiah and His Joint-heir in the Kingdom on the spirit plane. God could have filled these honorable positions with angels, who would have been glad of the opportunity of thus serving. However, instead, He chose to gather these companies from amongst men -from amongst the sinners themselves.
CALLING ABRAHAM'S POSTERITY
Many ways were open before the Lord for the gathering of the elect for the future service. The one which He chose and has been carrying out was undoubtedly the wisest, the best. First of all, God called Abraham -a sinner like others, but one whose heart was full of trust in God and who delighted in the right ways of the Lord to the extent of his ability. God's promise to Abraham was that his seed should constitute the elect, and that through that seed all nations would receive a Divine blessing.
The period of nearly four thousand years since God's covenant with Abraham has been devoted to the development of Abraham's seed -a natural seed and a spiritual seed. The two were mentioned to Abraham indirectly when the Lord said, "Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven and as the sand of the seashore." (Genesis 22:17) The stars of heaven thus are used to represent the spiritual seed of Abraham; the sand of the seashore, the natural seed.
For more than eighteen centuries God dealt with the natural seed of Abraham. His promises to them and the Law Covenant made with them were great blessings, inspirations, assistances. For although the Israelites, like others, were unable to keep the Law Covenant, being imperfect, sinners, nevertheless the endeavor to obey was helpful. The various chastisements of Israel, including their Babylonian captivity, were lessons intended for their good, and eventually made that nation, at the time when Jesus came to be the Redeemer, the most holy people in all the world -the only people recognized of God.
“HE CAME UNTO HIS OWN”
Nevertheless, much of the holiness of Israel in Jesus' day was merely a form of godliness t which did not stand the test. Only Israelites indeed -pure in heart, in motive -were enabled to appreciate the Gift of God and to become Jesus' disciples probably 25,000 in all. Then the door of opportunity to become fellow-heirs with the Jewish saints was thrown open to the Gentiles; and God t s Message was given them, inviting them also to Joint-heirship with Christ. The gathering of this class has proceeded for eighteen centuries, while the nation of Israel has been rejected from God's favor. Now we are entering the great Time of Trouble which is to inaugurate Messiah I s Kingdom. During this trouble the Church is to be glorified in the First Resurrection. Then the thousand years of Messiah's reign with the elect, spiritual bride, drawn from both Jews and Gentiles, will begin.
Still God's favor will pursue the natural seed of Abraham. Their lessons and chastisements will fit and prepare them more quickly than others of the world to receive the Messianic blessing. The earthly phase of Messiah’s Kingdom will be Israelitish, in that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets and saintly ones down to John the Baptist are to be made "princes in all the earth" (Psa. 45:16) -the earthly representatives in human perfection of the spiritual Kingdom of Messiah.
Naturally enough, Israel will then in a natural way come first into harmony with the Divine arrangement and be the first to get the blessing. However, during the thousand years of the Kingdom, as the Scriptures declare, all nations shall bless themselves in becoming Abraham's seed -in coming into relationship with the Kingdom, which will have an Israelitish basis. (Jer. 4:2; 1sa. 65:16; Gen. 12:3) Eventually, all will be destroyed who do not thus become true Israelites. Thus Abraham's seed will eventually include all the families of the earth -all for whom God has provided life eternal. As for Gentiles -strangers from God -none will remain. (That Servant, Reprints 5809, 5810, December 1, 1915)
BARAK ISN'T ISRAEL'S SAVIOR
The election of Ehud Barak as Israel's new prime minister changes nothing: The terms of the Jewish state's surrender and the methods that will be 'Used to annihilate it remain the same.
From the Clinton White House, to State Department Arabists, to Israeli secularists who define evil as something done by Israeli leaders but not by their enemies, there is the misplaced hope that the election is an indication that "peace" is at hand.
Yossi Beilin, a Labor Party Knesset member who will be an influential player in the new government, wrote in Tuesday's Jerusalem Post: "There can be no peace without compromise and without peace there will never be real security in Israel has frequently compromised. It has lived up to its commitments in the Oslo accords, asking only that the Palestinians do the same, which they have not. When Israel relinquished control of Gaza and its sacred city of Hebron, there was a momentary lull. But soon it was back to diplomatic and physical terrorism because the goal of Palestinians is not compromise and coexistence. For them, such things are not ends but means to complete and total control of all the land and the elimination of every Jew (in fact, every non-Muslim "infidel") living and dead, from it.
When the policies of the Clinton administration (and George Bush's before it) of unrelenting pressure on Israel provoke another war, will the weakened U.S. military come to Israel's aid? If we aren't sending ground troops into Kosovo to stop the slaughter of hundreds of thousands, where will we acquire the will to intervene on the ground to save Jews? The United States turned away from the Jews once before in this century. To repeat that error would be an unpardonable sin.
Barak is celebrating the spoils of political victory, but he will be under intense pressure to deliver on a mirage. President Clinton, lusting after an honorable legacy and running out of time, will use the State Department and the anti-Israel cabal in the United Nations to try to force Israel to cave and deliver. Look for Beilin and former Prime Minister Shimon Peres to pressure Barak from within to surrender the Golan Heights down to the border of Israel's main water supply, the Sea of Galilee. But when war breaks out, launched from territory recently acquired by the Palestinians; will the leftists stay and fight? Or will they catch the first plane or boat to safety and indulge in "what might have been" theorizing if Likud had never ruled? Their line will be that Israel didn't compromise fast enough and so made her enemies angry.
This is the stuff of the morally challenged who see not evil but potential goodness in us all. The evil ones use such notions against the naive and allow them to dig their own graves.
Now the Palestinians have resurrected the original 1947 U.N. proposal to partition "Palestine," allowing Jews and Palestinians to live side by side. Then, it might have worked, but it was rejected by the Palestinian side, which began a war against Israel that has never stopped. Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat senses that this fraudulent diplomatic ploy might be another means by which he can seize land for his ultimate and never-changing objective: the consignment of the Jewish state to the dustbin of history. (By Cal Thomas, The Orlando Sentinel, May 21, 1999)
QUESTIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST
"The Most High ruleth in the Kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." (Dan. 4:17)
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God." (Rom. 13:1, 2)
QUESTION -Should we understand from the above Scriptures that God guides the affairs of nations, and chooses their rulers?
ANSWER -These Scriptures are in harmony with other statements of Scripture. In the
case of Nebuchadnezzar, for instance, after he had been seven years insane, lying amongst the beasts of the field, his reason returned to him and he extolled the God of Heaven, acknowledging that God sets up those whom He will and puts down those whom He will. We understand that God's dealing with King Nebuchadnezzar was prophetic.
In the case of Israel God had very particular oversight of their affairs t and dealt with their rulers. David was anointed when he was a youth, to be king in due time instead of Saul. So with several others of their kings -the Lord had them anointed in advance. It might be said of Israel, that whoever sat upon the throne was there as the Lord’s representative. We remember also that on one occasion the Prophet of God was sent to anoint one of the kings of Syria and to give him a prophecy respecting himself, that he should take the throne.
Looking back, we see that in the case of Pharaoh, the perverse king of Egypt. God declared, “For this very purpose I raised thee up, that I might show forth My Power in thee.” (Ex. 9:16) God did not approve of Pharaoh, but used him to show forth His own glory. God also used King Cyrus of Persia as a servant to perform His bidding.
All of these recorded instances show a vital interest on God's part as to who shall come forward and who shall be hindered when these matters would affect His own Plan. We are not to understand that these different kings represented God's choice as respects their loyalty to Him, but that these were the ones through whom the Divine Plan in operation could be signally manifested and worked out. And so it is today. The Lord knew which of the men running for the office of President of the United States in the fall of 1912 would be the most suitable -the one who would most fully cooperate in the carrying out of the very conditions which He is pleased to permit to come to pass at this time.
The Lord guides in the affairs of nations now, only in so far as such oversight will promote the fulfillment of His own purposes. When the monarchs of various countries declare themselves "king by the grace of God," we do not agree to the thought they have in mind in making such claim. They are expressing the thought which has prevailed throughout Christendom for centuries -that they reign as representatives of the Kingdom of God, and by His special favor. And likewise the Catholic Church: When the pope claims that he is the head of the Church of Christ, that he is Christ's Vice-gerent, he thus claims that Christ has set us His Kingdom, and that the pope reigns in His stead.
After the Papal power waned in Europe, and the Protestants came into power, the Protestant rulers claimed the same right that the Catholics had claimed -to rule as the Lord's special representatives. And it is from this standpoint that kings maintain that they reign "by the grace of God, that the Kingdom of God is set up, and that they are reigning in God’s Kingdoms. We do not understand this to be the right thought, but that in God's providence He permits these to occupy the thrones 9f the world for the time being. We understand that God does exercise a supervisory oversight in respect to them -not that He has authorized them to represent Him, or that He is responsible for their deeds and acts, but that He is so controlling matters as to cause them to work out His own arrangements.
God will not convert a ruler in order to do this; He will not make him a saint. But he can allow or hinder events without interfering with the free will of any individual, and without becoming responsible for his government.
We may assume that this supervision of Divine Power is for the ultimate interest of mankind. We remember that there is a Prince of Darkness, who is seeking to do violence to humanity. Our thought is that the Divine Power hinders or restrains, so that the worst thing cannot come to pass until His due time, and He overrules to bring those into power who will have the disposition to do what He purposes to permit when His due time has arrived. However, since the Lord does not explain just how He does this, it would be wise for us not to be too emphatic in our statements. (That Servant, Reprint 5466, May 15, 1914)
QUESTION –“And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matt. 19: 24) The Jehovah's Witnesses say this means exactly what it says, and the "needle" is a literal needle. If that is true, then wouldn’t it be impossible for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom -i.e., have any part in the elective salvation?
ANSWER -Brother Russell has explained this passage in this way: “A small gateway of ancient cities, used at night; camels could pass through unloaded and on their knees only.” That is a reasonable explanation and in harmony with the Truth and its spirit. It is certainly true that the rich have to "unload" -i.e., they are as much in need of a Savior as the poor, although the vast majority can't see that. Jesus also said, "Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 19:23) But in that statement He also teaches that there is a possibility of some entering the Kingdom. "All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them." (Matt. 13: 34) At this same time His disciples were exceedingly amazed. and said -Who then can be saved? Jesus answered that "with God all things are possible. “If we take that Scripture without qualification, then we would say that it is possible for God to lie. "That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us." (Heb. 6:18)
It has been said that God must love the poor, because He made so many of them. It is self-evident that the "poor of this world" are better prepared to enter the Kingdom than the rich, because they have less to overcome in many instances. As Jesus has said, It is harder for a rich man. The poor more often feel the need for a Savior -far more than the rich, the mighty and the noble of this world. "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." (1 Cor. 1:27) However, there have been some rich men that have truly "humbled themselves under the mighty hand of God," as we can see from church history. They are those who did not place their trust in their possessions and were faithful stewards of their wealth. “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch." (Prov. 11:28)
One outstanding example of such is "St." Francis of Assisi, born in 1182 of a rich merchant in Assisi in Umbria. His proper name was Giovanni Bernardone; but he is known in Roman Catholic circles as St. Francis of Assisi, or "The poor little rich man. “ Motivated by the words of Jesus in Matt. 19:21, “Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven," he did just that. Disposing of all his treasures, he became the first of the begging friars, whose shibboleth was, "Help the poor, help the poor." Thus, one historian writes of him:
"In the unexampled power of his self-denial and renunciation of the world, in the pure simplicity of his heart, in the warmth of his love to God and man, in the blessed riches of his poverty, St. Francis was like a heavenly stranger in a selfish world.
"Any who wished to join him were required to distribute all their possessions among the poor, and dress in the poor clothing of the order, to carry out in their personal lives the ideal of poverty, joined with loving service in institutions for the poor, the sick, and the lepers."
Of course, all of the foregoing in itself would not make of anyone a saint, and it is quite probable that Francis cannot be counted among that "elect" group. Justification for this conclusion is found, we believe, in his attempt to "tempt the Lord," as he endeavored to convert the Moslems to Christianity in Africa, Sicily and Spain. Here is what the record says of him on that occasion:
"St. Francis himself started this work when he entered the camp of the Sultan Camel and bade him kindle a fire and cause that he himself with one of the Moslem priests should be cast into it. When the Imam present shrank away at these words, St. Francis offered to go alone into the fire if the Sultan would promise to accept Christianity along with his people should he pass out of the fire uninjured. The Sultan refused to promise, but sent the saint away unhurt with presents, which, however, he returned."
Indeed, "Many shall say unto Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will plainly declare to them, I never approved of you." (Matt. 7:22.23, Dia.) Had the course of Francis been the correct one, St. Paul would certainly have prodded those wealthy Corinthian brethren to do as Francis had done.
There have been some also who have failed because of their possessions -whether those possessions were greater intellect, wealth, or other talents. Their trials and temptations are greater, but the Lord will give them corresponding strength if they continue in humility and obedience -if they look to Him in full faith and faithfulness. Their responsibility, too, is correspondingly greater. That doesn't mean that the poor won't have severe temptations, too. Some of the “poor” who "would be rich" if they could be, have much the same severe temptations. "They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." (1 Tim. 6:9) The Berean Comment on this text says, "That will be rich, whether they succeed or not… Who are determined to be rich at all hazards." In 1 Tim. 6:10, Dia. we read: "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which while some longing after. wandered from the faith, and pierces themselves around with many sorrows." Certainly, this does not apply to money itself, for without money we can do very little in the Lord's work. And there are quite a few people who "love" money even though they have very little of it; and some who have money, but do not love it -value it -above that which is right and proper.
We have known those who had nothing to go out and "stomp" for equal distribution of the wealth of the country -for socialism, etc., but when they came into money they changed their views. Of course, among the Lord's people those who have more of this world's goods also have more responsibility -just as those who have more knowledge of the Truth, and are in position to impart that knowledge, have more responsibility to the brethren and to the world. Possessions of any kind are to be treated the same as a stewardship of which we are expected to be faithful. Blessed are we when we. can appraise what we have and what we are in proper perspective, because then we will be the better enabled to serve the Lord in Truth and in deed. However, we are to appraise our own and not the possessions of others. We are not stewards of the possessions of others. We might qualify this, as it may be proper enough at times to apprize a Brother or Sister of his "opportunities of service," if done in a loving and helpful spirit, and for his own best interests. Brother Russell had occasion to do this at times when brethren didn't seem to realize they had such "opportunities of service" -either in ability to serve in public speaking or in some other capacity.
It will be noticed that there are many Scriptures regarding the poor -how we should not oppress them, etc., with nothing said about “oppressing” the rich. There is a reason for this, we believe. Usually the rich (whether in the Household of Faith or in the world) can look after themselves, because they have had more opportunity of education, business experience, etc. And. too, because there has been, and still is to some extent, power in money. So there is no warning in the Scriptures -not to "oppress" or misuse the rich -although, in some cases they have been abused and misused. Today the slogan is to "soak the rich" -take advantage of them in any way you can. We are living in that special period when it is indeed "woe unto the rich"! This is especially true of those who "withholdeth more than is meet" (Prov. 11:24) -that is, those of the Household and those of the world who are miserly with the poor. "Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabbath." (James 5:1.4) Some of this "crying" has already begun.
Some of the Lord's people who have had much in this world's goods have unselfishly ministered it to their brethren, and to others with whom they have had to do; and some have unstintingly supported their sects -the sects of all denominations of Babylon believing they were "giving to the Lord." And if such were their hearts attitude, they will be blessed in "due time" with the Truth. And in this they have apparently been, "examples of the believers" to many. However, the real examples of the believers are those who like Jesus, gave their all to “bear witness to the Truth” -and they diligently studied God's Word to know what is Truth. They willingly and gladly accepted the Truth and its responsibilities, and "Through honor and dishonor, through evil report and good report, as deceivers, and yet true; giving no offense in anything, that the ministry "be not blamed." (2 Cor. 6: 8, 3)
All who have received the Parousia and Epiphany Truth are much blessed in every way, and it is our hope and prayer they will daily seek to be faithful to that Truth, and be a living (active) "example of the believers.” May the Lord bless all who are endeavoring to "walk in His steps, n and enable them to come off victors, whether they have little or, much of this world's goods.
(Brother Hoefle, Reprint No. 379)
QUESTION -If the Lord’s people are in such a condition that they cannot get along without help from others, what should they do?
ANSWER -If they are living alone they should go to an existing retirement home. The Lord's people do not have hospitals of their own, but in many cases need to go to a hospital. That doesn't mean that they have forsaken the Lord's work, as many times they can witness truth to those they wouldn't have been able to otherwise. In some cases their physical problems wouldn't permit them to witness to others. Remember that the Lord overrules all things “for good” (Rom. 8:28) for them that love God.
However, if it is a matter of semi-retirement for those who cannot continue to live as they had been, then these retirement homes that provide assisted-living would be the best place for them -that is if none of the Lord's people or their families who are not in the truth could or would care for them. The Lord will provide for His people! "There hath no temptation [trial] taken you but such as is common to man: but God is' faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation [trial] also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Cor. 10:13) The Lord knows when we are unable to bear it. We think we cannot bear such things when the Lord knows we can. It is through much tribulation that we persevere to be faithful (Acts 15:22).
The Time of Trouble is not for the saints or to the saints, but for the world and to the world. We have not heard of any brethren who are destitute that the Lord's people did not go to their help. But the Lord's faithful look to Him in their time of need.
We quote what That Servant said on the matter: “lt is told of a man who wished to add to the collection of insects that by good fortune he obtained a cocoon, and hung it up in his library all winter. In the spring he found the moth trying to emerge. The hole was so small, and the moth struggled so hopelessly, it seemed, against the tough fiber that he snipped the hole with his scissors. Well, the fine large moth emerged, but never flew. Someone told him afterwards that the struggles were necessary to force the juices of the body into the insects wings. Saving it from the struggle was a mistaken kindness. The effort was meant to be the moth's salvation. The moral is obvious. The struggles that men have to make for temporal good develops character as it could not be developed without them. It is well, too, that spiritual enrichment has to be striven for." (Parousia Volume 6, Pages 192,193)
"Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22) "Beloved think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. (1 Peter 4:12)