"God hath appointed a Day in the which He will judge the world." (Acts 17:31)
True, it is not today fashionable in civilized communities to worship images; and yet in another sense it is still fashionable. To a great extent idolatry still prevails throughout the civilized world, but in a different form from that of old. No longer do we bow before wooden images, but before inward images ─ the images of our minds, our mental aspirations ─ with some, wealth and fame; with others, ease and pleasures; and with still others, the creed idols of our forefathers ─ miserable misrepresentations of the true God.
St. Paul on Mars Hill preached Jesus and the resurrection ─ Jesus as the Redeemer from the death sentence, making possible the resurrection of the dead by satisfying the demands of Divine Law against the sinner ─ the resurrection as the means or agency through which the blessing of the Savior's death will reach Adam and all the families of the earth. As we follow St. Paul's thought we shall surely be blessed by his view of the Gospel.
Addressing the Gentiles, the Apostle explains that for a long time God had "winked" at polytheism and image worship, “but now,” he says, “God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” Let us note the meaning of these words. How did God “wink” at sin and idolatry? And does He still “wink” at it? And why did He change and when did He begin to command all men to repent?
The answer is that for four thousand years idolatry prevailed and God “winked” at or took no notice of it. He did not “wink” at the idolaters dying in their ignorance, and say to the devils, “Take these poor creatures who know no better! Roast them to all eternity!” Nothing of the kind. Our forefathers merely imagined that, and by false reasoning convinced themselves, and twisted some texts of Scripture which they did not properly understand in support of this theory; and then they handed it down to us to our perplexity and to the testing of our faith in God.
God “winked” at idolatry and sin for four thousand years in the sense of not noticing it, making no comment on it, sending no reproofs, leaving the heathen in their ignorance. The only exception to this was God's dealings with the little nation of Israel. To the Jews He gave a Law Covenant which offered eternal life on the condition of their thorough obedience to the Divine Law, the measure of a perfect man's ability, which they were unable to comply with; and hence they died the same as did the heathen. All went to the Bible hell ─ to the tomb ─ to sheol, to hades, the state or condition of death ─ an unconscious state, a “sleep.”
JESUS THE REDEEMER
God was in no haste, however. Over four thousand years elapsed before Jesus was born, and thirty years more before He began His ministry. Had it been true, as some aver, that millions for all those centuries were blindly stumbling into eternal torture for lack of a Divine revelation, we may be sure that our gracious God would not have left them without it. Who can think of a just and loving God as winking at the going of millions of His creatures to eternal torture? But since they merely "fell asleep" in death, He could very well “wink” at the matter in view of His future plans, as we shall see.
The fact is that no release from death could possibly be made until the Redemption-price had been provided for the original sin under which they were condemned to death. This is the Apostle's argument, viz., that “now God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” The now implies that He did not command men previously to repent; and the reason why He did not do so is manifest; for all the repenting they could do and all the righteous living possible to them would not have saved them. They would have died anyway. Hence there could have been no message sent to them; for if the messenger had come and had said, “Repent, and live contrary to your fallen tastes and appetites," the people might properly enough have said, "Why? For what reason should we practice self-denial, self-restraint? Would it bring us any blessing of everlasting life or harmony with God?” The truthful answer would have been, “No, because you are already under a death sentence and alienated from God as sinners.”
Hence God merely overlooked or “winked” at the ignorance and superstition of the period from Adam to the death of our Redeemer. But as soon as Jesus had died, “the Just for the unjust,” to make reconciliation for iniquity ─ immediately the message went forth ─ God offered forgiveness and reconciliation to those who would believe in Jesus and would accept the Divine terms. Such have their sins forgiven. Such may come back to fellowship with God. And, in the next Age, such may eventually attain full human perfection by restitution processes, up, up to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed at Calvary (John 3:16,17).
GOD'S APPOINTED DAY
Let us note carefully what the Apostle says respecting God's appointed Day for the judging of the world. He says that the command to repent now goes forth to all men everywhere, “because God hath appointed a [future] Day, in which He will judge the world.” The Apostle does not refer to that Day as already begun, but as merely appointed or arranged for in advance. He means that in arranging that “Jesus, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man,” God was arranging that every man might have a judgment or a trial, to determine whether or not he will be worthy of this blessing which Jesus’ death provides him an opportunity to secure. The Day was future in St. Paul's time, and it is still future, because God has other work which He purposes shall be accomplished first, before the world's Day of Judgment or trial shall begin.
The world’s Trial Day, or period of judgment, or testing as to worthiness or unworthiness for everlasting life, will be one of the thousand-year Days mentioned by St. Peter, who said, “A Day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” The same period is called elsewhere the “Day of Christ,” the Day or period of Messiah's glorious reign. By the righteous ruling of His Kingdom, by the suppression of Satan and sin and the scattering of darkness, ignorance and superstition, by the shining forth of the Sun of Righteousness with healing in its beams, that glorious Day will bring blessing to the world in general – opportunity for each individual to come into judgment or trial, the result of which will be either the reward of life everlasting or the punishment of death everlasting – “everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (2 Thes. 1:9)
That great thousand-year Day is still future; and, meantime, the Apostle’s words respecting mankind are still true: “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together” ─ “waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:22,19) If the nineteen centuries’ delay in the introduction of this great Day seems long, let us not forget that it is less than half as long as the period which preceded ─ the period prior to the coming of Jesus and His dying, “the Just for the unjust.”
Nor is the entire period long from the Divine standpoint; for as the Prophet declares: “A thousand years in God’s sight are but as yesterday,” or even shorter, “as a watch in the night.” The six great Days of a thousand years each, in which Sin and Death have reigned, are to be followed by a great Sabbath of rest from evil ─ a thousand years of refreshment, reinvigoration, upbuilding, restitution (Acts 3:19-23).
"THE MYSTERY OF GOD"
The purpose of the nineteen centuries between the time when Jesus died as man’s Redeemer and the time when He will take His Throne as the Restorer of Adam and his race is spoken of as a Mystery, because the great work of grace herein accomplished is measurably hidden from the world. The Jews do not understand it; they expected that Messiah’s Kingdom and their own national exaltation would have come long ago. They cannot tell now why they have been for eighteen centuries outcast from the Divine favor. It is a mystery to them.
The Scriptures tell us who may know or understand this Mystery and when it will be finished. They say, “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His Covenant.” (Psa. 25:14) They tell us that “in the days of the voice of the Seventh Angel, when he shall begin to sound, the Mystery of God shall be finished” (Rev. 10:7), which He hath kept secret from the foundation of the world. St. Paul refers to this Mystery, saying that it was “hidden from past Ages and Dispensations,” and that it “is now revealed to the saints.” He explains what it is, namely, that we should be fellow-heirs and of the same nature with our Redeemer (Eph. 3:6).
This clearly means that the entire Church class, sometimes called “the Body of Christ, which is the Church,” and sometimes styled “the Bride, the Lamb's Wife,” is to be sharer with the Redeemer in the sufferings of the present life and in the glories of the future. The nearly nineteen centuries of this Age, therefore, according to the Scriptures, have been for the purpose, not of giving the world its trial for everlasting life or death, but for the trying, testing, the electing or selecting of the Church, and her perfecting with her Lord as sharers in “His resurrection,” “the First Resurrection.”
We have in the past made two serious mistakes respecting the Divine purposes. One was that we assumed without Scriptural authority that the whole world is now on trial for eternal life, failing to see that it is merely the elect Church, the consecrated class. The other mistake is that we reasoned as though the Church were part of the world and, therefore, that the trial of the Church meant the trial of the world. But hearken to the Scriptures respecting the Church: “Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world”; “I have chosen you out of the world”; and again, “Let your light so shine before men that they, seeing your good works, may glorify your Father which is in Heaven” “in the day of their visitation.” (John 15:19; Matt. 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12)
TWO DIFFERENT REWARDS
We should notice also the wide difference between the reward promised the Church and that proffered the world. In both cases the reward will be everlasting life. In both cases this will mean full harmony with God, because “All the wicked will God destroy.” And again we read that “Whosoever hath the Son hath life, and whosoever hath not the Son shall not see life.” So, then, the attainment of everlasting life, either by the Church class or by the world, will mean coming into full harmony with the Heavenly Father and with the Lord Jesus, by the merit of Christ’s sacrifice. It will mean a full turning away from sin and a full devotion to God and to righteousness (Psa. 145:20; John 3:36; 5:12).
The difference will be as to nature. The reward for the world will be earthly nature, human nature, with everlasting life in an earthly Paradise or Eden ─ worldwide. Mankind never lost a spiritual or Heavenly condition through Adam’s disobedience, nor in any other manner. He never had such a condition or nature, or a right to it, that he could lose it. He was made man, “a little lower than the angels.” His crown of glory and honor was an earthly crown. His dominion was over the birds of the air, over cattle and over the fish of the sea. This which he lost Jesus gave the Redemption-price for at Calvary; and these things lost are the very things which Jesus and His elect Bride will restore to mankind during the thousand years of the Messianic Kingdom. Thus we read: “The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Gen. 1:26; Psa. 8:4-8; Luke 19:10)
PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE
The reward of the Church, eternal life, perfection and harmony with God, will be on the spirit plane ─ wholly different from the human. Man in perfection will again be a little lower than the angels; but the Church, as the Body of Christ, will share with her Lord in His exaltation, “far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named” ─ the Divine nature. This reward comes to the Church under a special covenant of sacrifice, which the Bible specifies (Eph. 1:21; Psa. 50:5).
This Church class, like her Lord, must sacrifice the earthly nature, earthly interests, hopes and aims, and must be begotten of the Father to a Heavenly, spiritual nature, in order to be a sharer in the First Resurrection; and she must enter into her reward before the Messianic Kingdom can be established for the blessing of mankind in general – the saving of the race from sin and death.
Thus the Apostle wrote that the groaning creation “waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:19) “Now are we the sons of God, but it doth not yet appear what we shall be [how glorious, how great], but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him.” (1 John 3:2) Our resurrection change will make us like the Savior; as it is written, “We shall all be changed, in a moment, in a twinkling,” because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Come back again to St. Paul's words. He does not say that God commanded the Church to sacrifice; for if sacrifice were a command it would cease to be a sacrifice. Nowhere are God's people commanded to present their bodies living sacrifices, nor to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, nor to take up the cross and follow Him. To the saintly these sacrificing features are set forth as a privilege ─ as an opportunity. If they do these things the Divine arrangement is that through the imputation of Christ's merit their sacrifice will be holy and acceptable unto God, and they will be granted a share with the Redeemer in His high exaltation ─ the reward of sacrifice, of self-denial, of loving, voluntary service to God, the Truth and the brethren.
“COMMANDETH ALL TO REPENT”
But to the world in general the Lord issues a command, viz., Repent; turn from your sins; come back to Me; seek My face; seek to know and do My will. The basis of this command is the Divine declaration that God's grace has provided redemption in the blood of Jesus, a reconciliation through His blood, and that by and by the whole world will be on trial for life or death everlasting, in a great Day of trial, which God has ordained and over which Christ and the Church will supervise, as Judges (1 Cor. 6:2,3).
Whoever comes to a knowledge of this great Divine arrangement through Christ has an incentive to live righteously, soberly and godly in this present time. Whoever hears and heeds this command is laying up for himself a good treasure of character and preparation for his life or death trial in the great Judgment Day of the Messianic Kingdom. Whoever ignores this knowledge and “sows to the flesh” will find himself reaping to the flesh further weakness, further degradation and severer stripes or punishments in that great thousand-year Judgment Day. (Pastor Russell, Pastor Russell’s Sermons, page 148, March 10, 1912)
When He who is our life
Appears, to take the Throne,
We, too, shall be revealed, and shine
In glory like His own.
THE LORD’S PRESENCE
Satan is working very hard these days. He seems to know that his evil Kingdom is about to end and he is trying every trick he can to prevent that. The Devil has always changed his methods to suit the times. Here is some of what is transpiring today.
First, there are the so-called Judas Gospels, purporting to be written by Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. It claims that Judas and Jesus had a conspiracy. They were to pretend that Jesus was crucified, but in reality He would be hidden away somewhere. In the first place the word Gospel means good news, and if the above were true it certainly would not be “good tidings of great joy,” because we would still be in our sins due to the fact that Jesus would not have died for us.
Here is what That Servant said about Judas: “We judge that if Pilate and Herod and the Roman soldiers had some responsibility for Christ’s death, the multitude who clamored “Crucify Him! His blood be upon us and on our children!” had much more responsibility; that the better educated, envious Pharisees and Priest who incited the illiterate, common people, had yet a greater responsibility (Matt. 23:15-33), and that Judas, His betrayer, was the chief, the real crucifier, because of his knowledge and willfulness.
“Upon him alone, of all who had to do with His death, our Lord placed the full responsibility, the full guilt, when He said: ‘The Son of Man goeth [to death] as it is written of Him [prophetically], but woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It had been good for that man if he had not been born!’ (Matt. 26:24) Should Judas be granted eternal life, under any circumstances or after any experience, his birth could not be considered a disadvantage to himself. See also Psa. 109:6-8; John 6:70,71; 17:12.” (Reprint 4906, November 1, 1911)
Now comes an advertisement from a new church or a new denomination, we do not know which. The headline reads: Christ is Coming Very Soon! Then it goes on to give many reasons why. They are: (1) Israel’s rebirth (2) Plummeting morality (3) Famines, violence and wars (4) Increase in earthquakes (5) Explosion of travel and education (6) Explosion of cults and occult (7) The New World Order (8) Increase in both apostasy and faith.
All of these are true events, but they are to happen after the Lord is present, because He is present to take over the world, which He bought, and banish the Devil and his evil Empire. The problem is that most people expect the Lord to return in the flesh, but Jesus said, “A little while and the world sees me no more.” (John 14:19) His Kingdom is to be an invisible Kingdom just as the Devil’s, now still present with us, is invisible (2 Cor. 4:4). We do not see Satan personally, but we see his effects and troubles throughout the world. Thus will we see Jesus’ Kingdom. In fact we are already seeing some of the effects of His reigning, because there are good things happening, as well as the bad. It is just that the bad receives more attention. Some of the good things are the return of Israel, great strides made in medicine, which are saving many lives, and all the inventions that have come about in the last 100 years or so ─ for instance, the automobile, telephone, aircraft, computers, new and better farm machinery, and many more. These things could not be from the intelligence and ingenuity of the people, but because the Lord has opened up the way for them to come about.
We will comment on just one of the eight items listed above in the advertisement. That is number 6, the explosion of cults and occult. The publisher of the advertisement could be a part of the explosion of cults. Cults have been multiplying in great numbers in recent years, with many splinter groups from the traditional denominations forming new churches, and each one is just as bad as the originals. None of them, including this one, have come out with exposure of the errors of the traditional churches. In fact they just repeat those errors in a different way.
And the explosion of the occult is very noticeable in the many present television shows. Those shows are Ghost Whisperer, Medium, Supernatural, etc., and they all have story lines that have characters speaking with the dead. Of course, this has risen out of the error that the dead are not really dead, that they just seemed to die and are more alive than ever. But the Scriptures say that the “dead know not anything” (Eccl 9:5) and that “there is no work, nor device, neither knowledge nor wisdom in the grave” (Eccl. 9:10). The Scriptures also tell us not to try to talk to the dead, but to God. We should talk unto God on behalf of the living, not to the dead (Isa. 8:19).
Sadly, some people, we hope not many, will listen to these lies and machinations of Satan and believe them, as has always been true from the beginning, when he told lies in the Garden of Eden. He told Eve that she would not surely die, and that lie has been believed ever since. But Bible Students know the Truth and it has made us free of being deceived by all these lies. However, we look forward to the good time coming when “all shall know Him from the least to the greatest” (Jer. 31:34), and they will serve the Lord with one consent (Zeph. 3:9). Hallelujah! What a glorious time that will be.
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION ─ Is there a call given in the Bible for any elect class other than the one for the High Calling mentioned in Philippians 3:14?
ANSWER ─ The High Calling is for the Bride of Christ ─ those that suffer with Him: “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psa. 50:5) The Little Flock, the Bride class are “more than conquerors.” (Rom. 8:37) Another elect heavenly class runs concurrently with the High Calling. They were originally called to be of the Little Flock, but lost their crowns because of measurable unfaithfulness (Rev. 7:14). They loved the Lord and when they washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14) they were “overcomers” but not “more than conquerors” as were the Little Flock. “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” (Rev. 7:9) The palms in their hands mean they were victorious. “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (Rev. 19:9) The Diaglott translation is better: “And he says to me, ‘Write: Blessed are those who have been invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ He also said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.’”
That Servant taught four elect classes, two heavenly classes and two earthly classes ─ the Ancient Worthies of Hebrews, chapter 11, won before the High Calling was open, the Little Flock, the Great Company referred to in the Scriptures as the “great multitude” and the unbegotten class we call Youthful Worthies. That Servant taught in Reprint 5761, column 2, paragraphs 1 and 2 as follows:
“THOSE CONSECRATING BETWEEN THE AGES”
“It is our thought that with the closing of the ‘door’ of this Gospel Age there will be no more begetting of the Holy Spirit to the spirit nature. Any afterward coming to God through consecration, before the inauguration of the restitution work, will be accepted by Him, not to the spirit plane of being, but to the earthly plane. Such would come in under the same conditions as the Ancient Worthies who were accepted of God. The Ancient Worthies came in, no call being opened to them ─ the High Calling not being yet open and the restitution opportunities not open. But they freely gave themselves up to God without knowing what blessings their consecration would bring, except that they had the intimation that they would, in the future life, have a ‘better resurrection’ than would the remainder of the world.
“Our thought is that whoever under such conditions as these will make a full consecration to the Lord, to leave all to follow in His ways, and will live up faithfully, loyally, to that consecration, may be privileged to be counted as a similar class to those who preceded this Gospel Age. We know of no reason why the Lord would refuse to receive these who make a consecration after the close of the Gospel Age High Calling and before the full opening of the Millennium.”
The question is: Is there a calling given in the Scriptures for the two classes that will receive an earthly reward? We do not know of any Scripture that says there is a calling for these classes. However, there is an opportunity to serve the Lord in faith and obedience. That is the requirement for these classes. They are not on trial for life, but for faith and obedience. If unfaithful they will be demoted to the world and have restitution opportunity as described in Acts 3:19-23. It seems they would be in a worse condition than some who had never made a consecration to do God’s will while evil and sin are in the ascendancy. But we leave such things for The Christ to judge during the Kingdom (Acts 17:31). If faithful, however, they will be the visible earthly rulers ─ “Princes in all the earth.” (Psa. 45:16)
That Servant gave three ways that would indicate that the door to the High Calling is closed. (1) By a definite Bible statement of the exact date; (2) By such a reversal of public sentiment with reference to the truth, that fidelity and zeal for its service would no longer meet with opposition, and when suffering with Christ for the truth’s sake (Rom. 8:17) would no longer be possible; (3) Such a condition of affairs obtaining in the world that all opportunity for such service would be effectually obstructed, thus leaving no oppor-tunities for candidates to enter into the work and to develop and prove their love and faithfulness by their activity and endurance. (Thy Kingdom Come, Volume 3, p. 207, par. 2)
We believe the second way applies to our times, as we receive no persecution for believing the Truth. Most people do not care what we believe. Persecution today is mainly political. But we should witness the Truth when we have opportunity. Witnessing, together with our untoward experiences in illness, disappoint-ments and hardships will develop in us a character pleasing to the Lord. “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Tim. 2:3) If our trials are too much for us to endure and be faithful, He will make a way of escape, “that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13)
As for No. 3, there will come a time when “they will not endure sound doctrine.” (2 Tim. 4:3) This will be in Anarchy, but for now we still find some who will listen to “sound doctrine,” and we should be diligent in serving the Lord at every opportunity.
We do not find a definite Bible statement teaching us that the door to the High Calling is closed. However, we have no definite Bible statement for many of the dates that Brother Russell presented, such as 1874, 1878, 1881, and 1914, but all are given to us by Bible Chronology. That Servant predicted that 1914 would be the end of Gentile Times. World War One began right on schedule and confirmed our belief.
When Brother Russell announced that the Kingdom was set up September 21, 1914 in Reprint 5632, column 2, par. 4, we believe the ejecting of the nations began then and is still going on. The peoples of the world are protesting that their governments are unfair. The marching of the people against all institutions is God’s great army. When the Kingdom was set up September 21, 1914 the Saints were sealed in the heart, but had to be sealed in the forehead (sealed intellectually ─ know the truth) to participate in the Smiting of the Nations going on as given in the 1915 Reprint. The Smiting was done by the distribution of tracts and other reading matter, as well as the Photo-Drama. Did Brother Russell make the announcement that the Kingdom was set up by his own imagination or by Bible Chronology?
Brother Russell wrote many times of the unbegotten class which we call Youthful Worthies. One instance is in Parousia Volume Six: “And we may be sure that any consecrating and performing a full sacrifice of themselves in the interest of the Lord’s cause after the heavenly class is complete, will find that the Lord has plenty of blessings of some other kind still to give; and that all of His blessings are for such consecrators, self-sacrificers. Possibly they may be counted in with the Ancient Worthies who had the sacrificing disposition that is pleasing to God prior to the beginning of the high calling.” (Volume Six of Studies In The Scriptures, p. 157, top)
The Ancient Worthies were “faithful and obedient” and will have a “better resurrection” than the world in the Kingdom ─ they will be resurrected perfect (Heb. 11:39,40) The Ancient and Youthful Worthies are on trial for faith and obedience and not for life as were the Saints. If the Worthies are unfaithful they will go back into the world for restitution purposes.
(Reprint 478, October 1996)
“TO HELL WITH LIMBO SAY THEOLOGIANS: The Roman Catholic Church may soon jettison a disputed but long-held belief in an ethereal bit of real estate on the outskirts of heaven known as limbo. According to Catholic tradition (though not official church doctrine), limbo is the dwelling place of worthy nonbelievers and babies who die before they can be baptized. But a commission of theologians that met in Vatican City last month is expected to recommend to Pope Benedict XVI that limbo be officially dropped from church teachings.
“The idea of limbo originated in the Middle Ages, but it has been contested for years. In 1984, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the current pontiff said the concept of limbo had “never been a definitive truth of the faith.” The word itself comes from the Latin limbus, meaning edge or hem. This hemline of heaven was reserved for those who do not deserve heaven or the suffering of purgatory and hell.
“While an official doctrine on limbo is still, well, in limbo, a draft catechism reportedly says that unbaptized babies who die – and presumably, aborted fetuses will be seen as fit to enter heaven. An official announcement is expected within a year or so.”
(US News & World Report – January 9, 2006)
Comment: It doesn’t matter whether the tradition of limbo is done away with, the Catholic Church still has the catechism which says that unbaptized babies who die will go to heaven. It seems, if this is the case, that we all would be better off dying in infancy without baptism rather than having to live many years battling “this evil world” and Satan.
HERE THEY COME AGAIN
In 1948 when Israel became a State, the Islamic nations attacked them and vowed to wipe them off the map. But Israel prevailed against them with the help of the Lord. Then in the 1967 six days war, they again were attacked with the announcement that they would be chased out into the sea. Again the Lord was with them and their enemies were beaten. Now here comes Hizbollah, backed and financed by Iran and Syria, two Islamic nations, and their aim is to kill every Jew they possibly can. We sincerely believe that they, too, will be defeated, with the help of the Lord. They have struck out twice and will do so this third time.
The Lord told Israel: “Fear thou not O Jacob my servant; for I will make a full end of all nations whither I have driven thee; but I will not make a full end of thee; but I will correct thee in measure; yet I will not leave thee wholly unpunished.” (Jer. 46:28) And in Zech. 12:9: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” This does not mean that He will destroy the people of all the nations, although some will be destroyed, but it means that they will be destroyed as nations. This includes, not only non-Christian nations, but also the Christian nations who come against Jerusalem. In fact, the Christian nations will probably suffer more because they have had more light, truth and freedom, which they did not properly appreciate.
But the Lord also says that He will “destroy all the wicked.” (Psa. 145:20) If these terrorist nations were to be left here when the Kingdom takes hold, they would be a hindrance to peace and good-will.
It is regrettable that many innocents have been injured or killed and we have great sympathy for these and their families. But God has often used warfare in His progressive Plan, as he did in ancient times and as he did in the above incidents in 1948 and 1974. So if this warfare brings the Kingdom closer at hand, we will accept and endure it.
When those who suffered in this war are returned from the grave with their injures healed, we believe they will be able to appreciate the Kingdom blessings even more than some who have had it relatively easy in their present lives.
So we earnestly pray for that Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth.
“DE-DESERTIFICATION: Israelis scientists using know-how gained from decades of dealing with desert soil, are at the forefront of the global effort to solve the problem of increasing drylands caused by global warming, growing world population and exploitation of natural resources.
“Among experiments currently being conducted in Israel to prevent desertification of drylands are projects to recycle waste water, speed up plant growth and raise fish in desert ponds.” (World Jewry, July/August 2006)
(“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” ─ Isaiah 35:1)