At the beginning of another year, we thank the Lord for all His benefits toward us, and again express our gratitude in the words of David: “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.” (Psa. 65:11) It grieves us that there were so many people during the past year who suffered tragedies from calamities, accidents and diseases. But all these things will be changed in His “due time.” When our Lord says, “Peace be still” (Mark 4:39), there will be a great calm. He will adjust all iniquities and will bring “Good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10) ‑ to all who will learn to love righteousness and hate iniquity. “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend [stumble] them.” (Psa. 119:165)
Crime is rampant not only in the United States but in all countries: terrorism, robbery, murder, the illegal drugs and alcohol problems. Young people are committing suicide, as well as older people. Their problems are more than they can cope with. There are many good people doing a commendable work for such people and helping the poor and needy ‑ also there are quite a few good organizations reaching out to help people.
Medical science continues to do a noble work in research to find a cure for AIDS and ALZHEIMER, and other incurable diseases. In performing AIDS research, a technician was infected himself in his efforts to help others. Secretary Otis Bowen said, “At least 1.5 million Americans are infected with the AIDS virus but display no symptoms of the disease. More than 40,000 people in the United States have contracted the disease, which killed 28,000 of them. By 1991 the disease will have struck 280,000 people in the United States, and 179,000 of those will have died.” (Orlando Sentinel, October 10, 1987)
“A Rip Van Winkle Waking Today Would Find Few Changes For The Better: Just as a vehicle for putting things into perspective, let’s imagine that the Rip van Winkle story really could happen and that old Rip is just awakening from a 20‑year nap ...
“Rip might be interested to learn that folks are still threatening each other with war and that the major nations of the world have gained enough military might to blow up the Earth several times without having made one inch of progress in relieving the tensions among themselves. And he would find that there is still no danger that peace will break out and throw the world’s military‑industrial economy into chaos. With terrorism on the increase, Rip would find virtually no nation on Earth threatening to wage peace.
“While the past 20 years have brought a few significant inventions, such as smaller computer chips and bigger computers, Rip probably would take more notice of sociological and philosophical changes than industrial advances. ...
“Rip probably would observe that medical science has not found magical cures for diseases like cancer and arthritis during his absence, even though hospital bills and insurance costs might lead him to believe otherwise. And he would learn that the prospects for remedies are mixed: New diseases have appeared, so researchers now have even more problems to solve.
“In some ways Rip might be pleased with what he would learn on awakening. In other ways, he might be led to believe that he died and had gone the wrong way.” (Dick Marlowe, Orlando Sentinel, May 27, 1987)
We are in the Time of Trouble as given in Daniel 12:1 and Matthew 24:21. Conditions in the whole world today confirm this. Especially since “Black Monday,” October 19, financial writers are very pessimistic regarding the near future and the long‑range prospects. Many are using the terms such as recession, depression, disaster, chaos and even anarchy.
One newsletter writer states: “Black Monday left Wall Street and Main Street in a state of shock. Nobody has ever seen anything like it. In ferocity it far exceeded any of the three major crash days of 1929 (i.e., October 28 down 12.8%, October 29 down 11.7% and November 6 down 9.9%).”
Writing on this bear market, this same writer continues: “The reason bear markets are deflationary is that during bear markets billions of dollars of assets are lost they disappear into thin air. Already over a trillion dollars in values have been lost in the U.S. markets VIA stocks, bonds, futures, options, mistaken speculative overseas stock exchanges. The U.S. authorities are aware that this nation is so loaded with debt that they see that a recession or depression in the face of the debt‑logged U. S. would be a disaster.”
The U.S. is not alone with these problems. Losses in many foreign markets were severe. The Mexican stock average lost 58% of its value, Australian stock lost 44% from their peak, London was down 33%, Hong Kong 44%, Singapore 48%, Tokyo only 17%.
Another writer states: “Black Monday, October 19 was the largest one‑day percentage decline in the recorded history of the stock market. That is now common knowledge. What has not been recorded is that the day witnessed the most negative daily advance decline ratio in the recorded history of the U.S. stock market. For every stock up that day 38 were down – a 1;4 ratio is normally considered a rout. Black Monday was ten times as bad.”
This same writer states that, “The present condition is only the first phase of the trouble which will proceed to a second phase of deteriorating business conditions and then proceed to a third phase which will witness the final collapse.”
Excerpts from three financial writers follow: (1) “The Great American Stock Market Bubble of the 1970’s has burst, and there is no way to put it back together.” (2) “The U.S. banking system, by most sensible accounting standards, is for the most part broke. This is due mainly to the tremendous loans made to third world countries which will never be paid back.” (3) “At the IMF meeting, no one had any meaningful answers, because there are none ‑ except bankruptcy.”
Such statements make many gloomy, but as Bible Students we know God has a set time for this Time of Trouble; and the Old Order may yet be able to survive longer than any one is able to estimate. However, we know that this Trouble will include War, Revolution, Anarchy and Jacob’s last trouble. Jacob’s last trouble will precede the establishment of Christ’s Mediatorial reign. When Jacob (the Jews in Jerusalem) call upon the Lord in their trouble, “He saveth them out of their distresses.” (See Psa. 107:17‑21)
God has a set time for the duration of this Time of Trouble. We are to wait and be guided by the “signs of the time” for each phase of these troubles. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen shine heart.” (Psa. 27:14) “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
Many financial advisers are recommending to sell stocks, bonds, and securities, and invest in gold, indicating their fear of the future. “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven [the present ruling powers ‑ ecclesiastical and civil] shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:26) “They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord.” Ezek. 7:19) (Contributed)
“Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zeph. 2:3)
“Crash’s Full Impact Will Hit Much Later: Monday began like any other working day ‑ a cup of coffee to my left, a stack of mail to my right. The first envelope proved something of an omen.
“Dow Theory Forecasts, a market letter that polls the nation’s 30 ‘leading advisers,’ revealed that 50 percent of the select group were advising investors to buy common stocks. Twenty‑five percent were advising clients to sell, and 25 percent were advising clients to hold. The first sentence under the digest of opinions said, ‘Despite a volatile market, many advisers remain decidedly bullish.’ It was dated Oct. 19, 1987.
“On Tuesday, Oct. 20, headlines said in the boldface type reserved for world wars and other disasters, ‘DOW DIVED 508.’ Included in the reasoning of experts was one line that is commonly heard but always perplexing: ‘The fact that so many people are worrying about the market is one of the best indicators that life remains in the market.’...
“The stock market had its worst day in history, and only one expert in four saw it coming. One adviser was right on the mark with the comment, ‘The correction is all too real and will be with us a lot longer this year.’
“Lest we be made overconfident by the huge rebound of the market on Tuesday, it might be wise to review history. Alan McConnell, a stock market technical analyst who is president of A‑Mac & Associates, puts it this way: ‘History teaches us that the initial decline is very seldom the final blow. A lower low after a bounce usually takes place some weeks or months later ‑ on consistently less volume.’ ...
“A lot of people have a misconception about the stock market crash of 1929. ... The economy bounced right along for some time following the crash. The soup lines did not form, the Apple Annies did not appear on street corners of the nation’s large cities, and the nation’s depression did not reach disastrous proportions until late 1932. Unemployment, at 3 million in October 1929, reach 10.5 million in March 1933. ...
“The similarity between 1929 and 1987 is well pointed up by a familiar jingle expressing the opinion of common folks in 1930s, that the nation got into the mess it was in by the combination of bad politics, bad banking and a lunatic fringe eager to get in on overnight profits in the stock market.
“It went like this:
‘Hoover blew the whistle
Mellon rung the bell
Wall Street caught the signal
And the country went to hell.’
“You can still make it work if you insert the words Reagan (Congress if you prefer) and Chemical or Citicorp in the proper places.
“Not all experts have been wrong. Several warning blasts have been given by people whose opinions should have been respected, among them economist John Galbraith and 1986 Nobel Prize winner James M. Buchanan. Both have sounded alarms that something is wrong with the economy.
“Most timely of the warnings came this month in The Atlantic Monthly in an article titled ‘The Morning After.’ Peter G. Peterson, former U.S. secretary of Commerce, wrote, ‘America is about to wake up to a painful new economic reality, following the biggest binge of borrowing and spending in the history of the nation.’
“Monday ended on a discouraging note. Someone I know had a call at 4 p.m. from someone wanting to sell him an investment. ‘You try to sell me stock on the day when the market is off 500 points!
“‘Geez,’ the caller said. ‘No kidding?”‘ (Dick Marlowe – The Orlando Sentinel, October 25, 1987)
Other Predictions – In our January‑February 1987 article, we stated that the economy in this country and in the world is steadily declining. The United States’ trade deficit has gone from disastrous to catastrophic.
October 19, 1987 will long be remembered as “Black Monday” because the Dow had a 36% drop in one day. In the month of October the Dow dropped from a high of 2722 to a low of 1763. Stock prices fell because they were too high. This was because institutions and individuals had so much cash on hand they didn’t know how to invest it.
Looking back on that day, there was one trillion dollars worth of stock market profits erased in one “whack.” People say these losses were only on paper, but this does not hold up as we continue to have bank failures. This means people are not paying their debts. Building and Loans have been having problems for the past two years. This is due to higher interest rates than people can afford.
It didn’t come out until the first of December that on Tuesday, October 20, the stock market – by extension all the world’s financial markets – faced one of the greatest crises. Stock options and future trading all but stopped during a crucial interval. Many major blue chip stocks, such as IBM, couldn’t be traded. Large and small investors couldn’t sell their stock as there were no buyers.
The Dow Jones average was meaningless because there was no trading. Many investment banking firms urged the New York Stock Exchange to close, and only the intervention of the Federal Reserve and the announcement of corporate stock buy‑back programs saved the market from a total melt down. The story of that Tuesday disclosed major weaknesses in the United States’ financial system and raises the specter that such a crises could arise again. The full details on what happened that fateful week are the subject of major inquiries by a Presidential Commission and a Congressional Committee.
Economists are predicting that during 1988 the inflation rate will be about the same as this year ‑ a shade over 5%. The weaker dollar will make imports more expensive (cars, electronics, etc.). A Presidential election year makes political unrest on both sides. Precious metals should hold their own. The consumer price index from December 1986 to December 1987 should be around 4.7% (est.). In 1988 it should be approximately 5.0%, which will be the highest since 1981 when it was 8.9%.
Economists are also predicting 1988 will be a “roller coaster” when it comes to finances. The stock market will edge up the beginning of the year, and then it could drop again during the balance of the year. They do not expect a high rise as it was before October 19.
“Old Fight Over Bible Takes On New Intensity: For millions of Christians, a literal belief in the Bible – with all the miracles, bloody battles, inspiring teachings and hymns of praise – is their main defense of God and Jesus, the man they believe was God’s son. ...
“Disagreement over the concept has: Nearly torn apart the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, the 14.6‑million member Southern Baptist Convention.
“Sparked an investigation of three professors at the Christian Reformed Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“Barred women from the ministry in many churches. Left more than 3 million Lutherans outside the new Lutheran church being formed this year.
“Caused pain and confusion in other denominations. ‘That’s a very bitter debate, and it goes to the very heart of Christianity,’ said the Rev. Truman Dollar, pastor of the 8,000‑member Temple Baptist Church in Redland Township, Michigan. ...
“Rev. R. L. Hymers says, ‘The liberal theological professor, the prostitute, the drug addict, and the murderer – all agree on one thing” – that the Bible is not the Word of God.’ ...
“The Gallop Organization reports about one‑third of all Americans believe the Bible is the literal ‘Word of God,’ but it is dramatically lower since 1963, when two‑thirds of Americans surveyed described it as literal.
“‘The proportion of Americans who have some college education has just about doubled since mid‑1960s and this kind of change is related to that,’ said Jim Castelli, co‑author of a syndicated newspaper column for Gallup...
“Many other Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, have felt the heat of this battle of the Bible. ...
“‘The increased interest in Bible study has made inerrancy a burning issue for Catholics,’ Rev. Harry Benjamin said.” (Orlando Sentinel, September 12, 1987
Many Christians take symbols, parables and types literally, but they are not literal statements. There are many texts in the Bible that are literal, however. Our Bibles are only the translation of God’s inspired Word – the real Bible. We believe that most of our translators were sincere in their efforts. But all of them were prejudiced because of their belief as to how it should be translated.
The Emphasized translation by Dr. Rotherham, is one of the best. The King James version is one of the most beautiful, although it contains many mistakes. Most all of the translations contain some of God’s inspired Word – enough that we will find God has a Plan of Salvation for all mankind. In Eph. 3:11 the Diaglott translation gives “Plan,” but the King James translation gives “Purpose” in this text.
When a text does not harmonize with God’s character of WISDOM, LOVE, JUSTICE AND POWER, it is either misinterpreted, or spurious. The mistakes are not inspired. Only God’s Word is inspired. There are seven axioms we should follow: (1) A doctrine must harmonize with itself; (2) With all Truth; (3) With all Scriptural doctrine; (4) With God’s character; (5) With the Ransom; (6) With facts; (7) With the purposes of God. There is much confusion on the interpretation of the Bible. God is not the Author of confusion – man is. He is a God of Truth and harmony. We are thankful for these texts: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Tim. 2:3‑6) These texts are literal. God is faithful that promised. (Heb. 10:23)
Jehovah’s Witnesses: Upon calling at a house recently, a JW told the lady of the house that the Witnesses no longer objected to the reading of the Studies in the Scriptures by Pastor Russell – that, in fact, they were republishing the Studies in the Scriptures. Whether her information is true or not, there is some implication in their Watchtower that they are continuing the work started by Pastor Russell in 1885: “In 1892 missionary work in foreign countries was considered. Today, the Bible Students (?) – well known as Jehovah’s Witnesses – preach ‘this good news of the kingdom’ in 208 countries and territories and in some 200 languages – Matthew 14:14).” (Watchtower September 15, 1987, page 29)
Pastor Russell taught “Glad Tidings of Great Joy” to all people, whether they joined his organization or not. The Witnesses teach “Bad Tidings of Great Misery” to all who do not join their organization before Armageddon. The majority of people will not join them. The Witnesses claim that they are “God’s organization on earth.” Pastor Russell made no such claim for his organization. He simply used the Watch Tower, and other literature, to teach what he believed to be the Truth. Evidently, the Witnesses have cast Jesus’ Words aside – that there would be a resurrection of the good and evil. (John 5:29) Also they have cast aside Acts 24:15: “There shall be a resurrection of the just and unjust.”
As they continue with their gross errors, they are attempting to “pains their faces” as did Jezebel. (2 Kings 9:30) The Pope, too, is attempting to “paint his face.” Jezebel is a type of the Catholic Church, as well as the Jehovah’s Witnesses – the prototype of the Roman Catholic Church. Antitypical Jezebel will be destroyed from within, and we see this happening in both these “systems of error.”
The JWs advertise their purity by telling us they have disfellowshiped 37,426 of their former brethren – mostly because of “sexual immorality.” Whether they disfellowshiped all these people, or whether they left of their own accord is debatable. Some may have been disfellowshiped because they questioned some of the claims of the Witnesses. (See Watchtower, September 15, 1987, page 13)
When any one was disfellowshiped during Pastor Russell’s day, it was mainly done by the various classes, who were the mistresses in matters pertaining to Matt. 18:17. Pastor Russell did not advertise these disfellowshipment cases in the Watch Tower, even though he no doubt knew about them.
“His punishment is not at all the object. Punishment is not ours but God’s... Indeed, even if the transgressor refused to hear (obey) the decision of the entire Church, no punishment is to be inflicted or even attempted. What then? Merely the Church is to withdraw from him its fellowship and any signs of manifestations of brotherhood.
“At no time in these proceedings are the faults or failings of the offender to be made public property – scandalizing him or the Church. Nor is he to be harshly spoken of even after the separation; just as we are not to berate, or rail against, heathen men and publicans, but are to ‘speak evil of no man’ and to ‘do good unto all men.’ (Titus 3:2; Gal. 6:10)” (Volume 6 of Studies in the Scriptures, p. 290)
The above is quite different from the way the JW’s treat their disfellowshiped brethren. We know of cases where such brethren were persecuted and railed against by the Witnesses. These disfellowshiped brethren are not permitted to visit their families – and some of these families won’t receive the ex‑JWs in their homes, and won’t even speak to their sons, daughters, brothers and sisters who are disfellowshiped. The following letter is more about the JWs and ex‑JWs:
“Dear Andy, Bill and Doug,
Since you say you love Jesus, why do you not obey Him?... In Matt. 6:33 Jesus said ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom.’ So it is sad indeed that you ‘reach out’ to the JWs and others, only to lead them down the path into deeper and deeper pagan darkness. Yes, Bill – I now have 12 Bible studies in ex‑JWs in Ghana and Nigeria, and I am involved with a group who are sending food and clothing to our brethren in Africa. Jesus died to save us and to assure us of life in the Kingdom here on earth. It is a sin to teach the devil’s lie of a ‘soul’ floating off to heaven or hell at the moment of death.
“Have not the JWs suffered enough at the hands of the Watchtower? It is double cruelty to add to this pain. I just want you to know that many are working to help the ex‑JWs – not to hurt them. Joan Ashley, N. H.” (The New Creation, Sept‑Oct 1987, pp. 23 and O)
No doubt our readers are well acquainted with the PTL‑TV Evangelist scandal, but they may appreciate the following reports from our local newspaper which puts the matter in proper perspective:
“TV Holy Wars Are Hardly God’s Work: Those televangelists smiling through their telegenic teeth as they talk of love and knife one another in the back have little to do with religion and everything to do with market shares and cash flow. It is not a holy war over doctrine or even sin. It’s a corporate takeover fight to determine who will get to fleece the sheep. ...
“As entertainment, it is a great show. Jerry Falwell and John Ankerberg make J. R. Ewing and Angela Channing look like benign bunglers. The sincerity that drips from Jim and Tammy Bakker is Emmy‑level acting. ...
“Those who peddle religion for personal profit have done far more harm than picking the pockets of their supporters. In a nation that has an increasing hunger for moral guidance and spiritual comfort, they have made religion a dirty joke. They have exploited the generosity with which their followers have given money and made it seem a foolish naivete.” (Joan Beck, Orlando Sentinel, June 3, 1987)
“Signing Off: The Rev. Jerry Falwell is pulling his Old‑Time Gospel Hour off nearly 50 TV stations. Spokesman Mark DeMoss said donations from viewers were down $5.3 million over the past six months, apparently because of the publicity about the PTL scandal.” (Orlando Sentinel, October 6, 1987)
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” (Psa. 2:4) “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God.” (Psa. 14:2)
“The Time Has Come For Prayer Tower World: Oral Roberts’ award‑winning evangelistical rendition of P. T. Barnum – ‘a sucker is born every minute’ – is causing more than casual interest in prayer towers.
“Roberts climbed his Oklahoma prayer tower to fast until the faithful poured into the coffers of Oral Roberts University. Therefore, I predict a flourish in the construction of prayer tower time‑share condos around the country. Moreover, Disney World; make room for Prayer Tower World. ...
“Full page ads in newspapers and magazines could boast: ‘Buy one week or more of this innovative lifestyle. First 10 buyers receive lifetime subscription to syndicated Jim and Tammy or Jimmy and Oral programs.
“When Prayer Tower World is complete, Oral Roberts – for a nominal donation, of course – might consider coming to cut the ribbon during the grand opening. Or better, he could buy one of the units – say the last week in March – and perform an annual reenactment of his now famous ‘God will kill or else routine.”‘ (Bill Bond, Orlando Sentinel, March 27, 1987)
“Takeover Talk Makes TV Religion Sound More Than Ever Like Big Business: The argument over whether some religion is big business in disguise has been going on a long time, and those who argue that it is are getting a lot of ammunition as the electronic‑evangelist wars gain momentum. But recent events are showing us that cable TV evangelism should never be confused with pious religion. ...
“Oral Roberts sees a lot of visions these days, including a 900‑foot Jesus. Oral also revealed that he once wrestled with the devil in his own home. He didn’t say who won.
“And then there is Pat Robertson, the great soldier and hernia healer who once changed the direction of a hurricane. Pat doesn’t want to spoil and damage his budding political career by taking sides in the Jim and Tammy vs. Swaggart & Falwell tag match. Honestly, Folks, I didn’t make up this stuff. I only know what I read in the newspapers and what I see on television. ...
“The more ludicrous the plot gets, the more money people send in to keep the ‘ministries’ going so that the devils can be chased away from the safe deposit box. ... (Dick Marlowe, Orlando Sentinel, March 27, 1987)