At the beginning of another year, we may look with a measure of satisfaction at the results of the year past, and again express our gratitude in the words of the Psalmist: “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.” (Psa. 65:11) We are optimistic because we know the Lord is at the helm, and He will adjust all inequities in “due time.”
Crime is rampant everywhere – terrorism, robbery, murder, rape, hijacking and kidnapping, besides the illegal drugs and alcohol problems. We are grateful for our noble officers ‑ some have been killed in their pursuit of criminals. If we were without these faithful officers, it would indeed be bedlam, and possible anarchy. Our jails are so crowded that quite a few inmates have been released and are now in the public to commit other crimes. ‑
Calamities, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, etc., have caused many deaths and many to become homeless. Even though medical science is making valiant effort to stem the tide, disease is increasing. Medical researchers are looking frantically for a cure for AIDS, ALZHEIMERS and other incurable diseases, but so far have been unsuccessful. Surgeons are to be commended for their success in kidney and heart transplants, and in some cases operations for brain cancer.
The farmers are having their problems. “LIFE TOO MUCH TO BEAR ‑ FARMER KILLS FAMILY, SELF: Bill Stalder had not been born when the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression ravaged the Plains in the 1930s, but he remembered the words of his father. The specter of another depression, ‘when banks would fail and men would be killing men,’ was more than Stalder could bear. ...
“In the last three years thousands of farmers, dozens of banks and hundreds of rural businesses have failed, causing violent reactions from some of those affected. Last December (1985), for example, farmer Dale Burr of Hills, Iowa, shot and killed three people, including a bank president, because he was about to lose his farm.” (Compiled from Wire Reports)
“WORLD PEACE IS SO FRAGILE – LET’S HANDLE IT WITH CARE. Britisher lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson once said, ‘Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.’
“Three recent events have focused my mind wonderfully on the bleak prospects for peace in the world. One was the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, one of the world’s leading proponents of peaceful solutions to human conflict. The loss of such a forceful voice in behalf of non‑violence is immense. ...
“So how has my mind focused? It has been focused because, like the person to be hanged, I feel as though everyone can see the noose but refuses to see his neck in it. There are many places in the world – the Middle East and Northern Ireland are two – where conflicts appear to be intractable. The only answers that any side has to offer are military solutions, while the world situation becomes more dangerous, peace more fragile. Why is this so? We must have the moral outrage to cry enough. Enough!” (By Irby C. Pugh, Attorney and Environment Activist in Orlando, Florida)
EVANGELIST BILLY GRAHAM SAYS: “Forty years ago I thought I was going to change the whole world. I don’t think that anymore.”
THE LAST WORD: “Britain’s Prince Charles was asked what could be done to improve the world. His Answer: ‘Search me. I don’t know. The older I get the more cynical I get, in the sense that I just think things are going to get worse.”‘ (The Orlando Sentinel, June 28, 1986)
There are many good people in the world today who are doing their best to alleviate the misery all around us. There are individuals and organizations who are doing a good work in easing the difficulties of the needy. The Children’s Wish organization is giving children who have incurable diseases their dying wish. However, all this good work will not stay the Time of Trouble as prophesied by the Prophet Daniel.
“And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be fount written in the book.” (Dan. 12:1)
Also, our Lord says: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt. 24:21) We thank God for the last clause!
The question has been asked, Why does God permit such evils? We have a tract THE PERMISSION OF EVIL – that answers that question. A free copy will be sent upon request.
When the New Covenant is inaugurated with the Jews (Jer. 31:31), God will have all men to come to an accurate knowledge of the Truth. (1 Tim.2:4, Diaglott) “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11:9) All will agree that the “knowledge of the Lord” and His Plan of Salvation is not in the earth today “as the waters cover the sea.”
The economy in this country and the world is steadily deteriorating. While personal and national indebtedness is not mentioned in the news media as much as it warrants, it is steadily increasing. Investment newsletter writers are quite diverse in their prognostications. Many are writing that “Fear of inflation is back and also continued low interest rates.” The general advice for protection of assets is “Diversification.” One writer has summed up the situation well by stating the following:
“Time for the United States is running out. Things have surely not taken a turn for the better. Another $500 billion has been added to the debt of the U.S. Our trade deficits have gone from disastrous to catastrophic and in 1986 for the first time in our history, the U.S. will experience a trade deficit in agricultural products. The national debt has reached $2 trillion, a balanced budget is still nowhere in sight, our trade deficits continue to increase despite a 40 per cent decline in the exchange value of the dollar, bank failures are at a new post‑Depression high of 100+ thus far this year, commercial real estate values have begun to crumble, the international debt problem remains unsolved and worsens by the day. Everyone goes deeper and deeper into debt and financial instability throughout the world is greater than at anytime since the beginning of the Great Depression of the 1930s.” (Contributed)
“FINANCIAL COMMUNITY PAYS DEARLY FOR A FEW PEOPLE’S ILL‑GOTTEN GAINS: The extraordinary desire to attain great wealth, along with a growing fascination with those who have accomplished that, seems to be increasing – and there seems to be no limit to the risks that people will take to make it big.
“In the 15 years as a business writer and columnist, I have never seen a time when fraud and corruption dominated the news as they do today. The go‑for‑broke attitude seems to be leading more people to jail than to mansions with all the earthly comforts, but that doesn’t keep them from trying.
“While some people would argue that corruption is running rampant, others contend that things have always been just as bad as they are today – but that the press is doing a better job of exposing the rascals and that the long arm of the law is reaching out farther than it has in the past to nab the wrongdoers and bring them to justice.
“It is hard to tell whether popular TV shows such as Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Dallas and Dynasty have anything to do with the trend to attain wealth at any cost. But there is plenty of evidence to show that people are doing some pretty desperate – and even stupid – things strictly for the lifestyle that ill‑gotten wealth can bring.
“People who could satisfy all their needs through legitimate businesses seem to be stepping across the line of honesty for reasons that are difficult to understand. What some of them seem to be seeking is not simply the comfort and security of wealth but an opulence that is as bizarre as it is tacky.
“When the Internal Revenue Service went looking for a way to get back some of the $1.8 million owed in overdue taxes and penalties by former Maryland savings and loan operator Jeffrey Levitt, it found 17 luxury automobiles – including Rolls Royces and Cadillacs – at homes in Maryland and Florida owned by Levitt and his wife.
“Levitt, former president of Old Court Savings and Loan in Maryland, Tuesday pleaded guilty to the theft or misappropriation of $14.6 million from the insolvent thrift.
“Levitt is not the first and will not be the last banker to aim for a life of luxury and wind up behind bars. Making restitution is very difficult in such cases, because auctions of such luxurious properties seldom bring in anywhere nearly as much money as has been stolen. Levitt’s fleet of luxury cars, for example, is expected to bring only $350,000 to $500,000 – quite a bit short of the $14.6 million that was stolen or misappropriated.
“It would not be fair to single out bankers. The entire financial community seems hell-bent on ruining its own reputation.
“On the first day after vacation, I glean the financial wire services to learn that nothing much has changed in a week. In Los Angeles, seven men have been charged in a $21 million fraud scheme involving real estate loans. I learn from the news reports that one of those charged was convicted two years ago in another case for conspiracy and making false statements for loan applications.
“And The Wall Street Journal reports that there are a lot of nervous stock traders around New York awaiting the trial of Dennis B. Levine, who is accused of making $12.6 million in illegal profits on inside information. Seeking accomplices, the Securities and Exchange Commission may hand out as many as 200 subpoenas.
“Putting all this together, and the message is that the entire financial community is fast working itself into a crisis. Don’t tell me that these are isolated cases and that I need to look at the big picture. When unscrupulous individuals can threaten the credibility of an entire industry, then it is high time for corrective action and some internal policing.” (By Dick Marlowe) This is the Time of Trouble spoken of by the Prophet Daniel – Dan. 12:1. And at that time Michael shall “stand up” (our Lord) during His Epiphania. It is a time of manifesting Persons, Principles and Things.
A Methodist committee voted to delete “Onward Christian Soldiers” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic” from their hymnals. It was said that some young people didn’t want to become soldiers and go to war. We would remind them that the “weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” (2 Cor. 10:4) We are also reminded to “wage a good warfare” in 1 Tim. 1:18. As to soldiers, the Apostle Paul admonishes Timothy: “Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” (2 Tim. 2:3) It is our duty to explain to our young people who wish to be good Christians, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, what our warfare is, and what it means to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
However, in a later publication there is this: “Methodists decide not to purge 2 militaristic songs from hymnal. The committee decided to review its decision after receiving 8,000 letters and ‘enough calls to jam office phones for 10 days,’ said the Rev. Carlton Young, hymnal editor.
“Larry Stookey of Rocksill, Md., voted against keeping the ‘Battle Hymn.’ He said the song originally was written about the Civil War and the author called on people in the North to die for blacks in the South. One stanza says ‘As he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free.’
“‘I want to know which men. I might have been willing to die to free the Jews under Hitler, but I wouldn’t have been willing to die in Vietnam,’ Stookey said.” (Orlando Sentinel, July 9, 1986)
“PRIEST’S ESSAY TELLS DISMAL STORY ABOUT CATHOLIC CLERGY: It is the cry of rage against the cluttered loneliness of his life, the lament of a soul sorrowful about unfulfilled expectations. It is a priest’s story, a modern testament of inner torment.
“‘If I had a son, would I want him to become a priest? Regrettably, my answer has to be No,’ contends the author, a pastor of a 1,000‑family Midwestern parish. ‘At least in the United States, the Roman Catholic priesthood is a dying profession.’
“Father William Wells says he still believes God calls men to be priests, but says he can’t encourage a young man to consider a profession plagued by ‘conflict, turbulence and uncertainties as the Roman Catholic priesthood is today.’” (By Bruce Buursma, Chicago Tribune)
All Apostles except the Apostle Paul were married, so far as we know. Are “priests” more pious than the Apostles that were married?
“PREACHERS PRAYING FOR FOES’ DEATH: Fundamentalist preachers from coast to coast are urging an age‑old solution to their woes, praying for the death of their foes.
“In Indianapolis, the leader of what he claims is the largest congregation in town says the time for turning the other cheek is past.
“In Texas, state Attorney General Jim Mattox is on the prayer hit list. And in Los Angeles, the pastor of one downtown Baptist church called on his congregation to pray for the death of Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. because he supports a woman’s right to have an abortion. ....
“In Indianapolis, the Rev. Greg Dixon, who endorses prayers for death as a last resort said, ‘We’re tired of turning the other cheek... Good heavens, that’s all we have done...’
“The first such death prayer he could recall in recent times came on April 1, 1982, when Bob Jones, Jr., of Bob Jones University railed against then Secretary of State Alexander Haig, Jr., as ‘a monster in human flesh’ and called on God to ‘smite him hip and thigh, bone and marrow, heart and lungs... and destroy him quickly and utterly.’
“Jones, chancellor of the fundamentalist college in Greenville, S.C., was angered because Haig had refused to grant a visa to extremist Northern Ireland Protestant leader the Rev. Ian Paisley.” – (Orlando Sentinel, June 29, 1986)
Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36) If His Kingdom was not of the world at His first advent, how could it be of this “present evil world” (Gal. 1:4) today? Jesus did not pray for the death of His foes, but said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt. 5:44,45) “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?” (Matt. 5:46)
It would be interesting to know how many of these “death prayers” have been answered. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
“FALWELL AND CARTER SWAP INSULTS: Raleigh, N. C. – Rev. Jerry Falwell said Friday that former President Jimmy Carter ‘got his mouth going before his mind was in gear’ when he suggested the conservative religious leader should ‘go to hell.’
“‘President Carter just needs to let Senator Helms write his speeches for him and he won’t get into trouble,’ Falwell said...
“‘I don’t let Jerry Falwell and others define for me what is a Christian.’ Carter said. ‘I just think he got on a roll in front of those students and got his mouth going before his mind was in gear,’ Falwell said.
“‘When I grew up as a Baptist, one of the basic tenants of my faith was total separation of church and state,’ Carter said. ‘But the fundamentalists of my own denomination have now tried to limit the church and the state. This is of deep concern. (Orlando Sentinel, September 13, 1986)
“It was reported that more than one neo‑Nazi revolutionary group is based in some churches. It was asked the Why of this? All I know is that no church has to disclose in any way how much money it gets or what it does with it.” (Press Report)
PROPHETS AND PROFITS: Many TV Evangelists have found their prophecies profitable. The Rev. Billy Graham has criticized some television evangelists for overemphasizing money. “‘They are hurting the cause of Christ by emphasizing money and ostentatious life style,’ he said Sunday.” Graham later defending his own use of television said “‘I am on 18 evenings a year,’ adding that, besides preaching the gospel, he asks the television audience ‘to remember us because television work is expensive.”‘
“CASTRO IS WOOING CATHOLIC CHURCH: More than a quarter century after the triumph of the revolution that made atheist Marxism Cuba’s idealogy, the leader of that revolution, Fidel Castro, is making overtures to the Roman Catholic Church that are believed to be unprecedented in the communist world... First, they said, was Cuba’s geopolitical attachment to the rest of Latin America, where the church’s spiritual and political influence often rivals those of governments.
“Second, they noted that Castro has shown clear interest in the liberation theology, under which some priests preach a redistribution of wealth and power to favor Latin America’s legions of poor. Third is the intermediary role the church can play with Washington. Castro has frequently sought to improve his extremely poor ties with the United States, and he clearly sees the US church as more receptive to his efforts than the Reagan administration.” (LA Times – Washington Post)
“RABBIS HAIL THE SPIRIT OF POPE’S VISIT – Archbishop Edward McCarthy confirmed Wednesday that Pope John Paul II will visit Miami in September 1987 and announced that the pontiff will celebrate an outdoor Mass and will meet with both Catholic and Jewish leaders. ......
“‘I think this is evidence of a strong rapprochement between the Catholic church and the Jewish community,’ said Rabbi Herber Baumgard, president of the Synagogue Council of America... Rabbi Larry Halpern of the Congregation of Liberal Judaism in Orlando also welcomed confirmation of the pope’s Florida trip... ‘John Paul II’s visit will be a powerful influence on Catholics and for people of all faiths,’ said Rev. David Page, rector of the Cathedral of St. James in Orlando. ‘It marks an occasion of Unity.’ Page anticipated that ‘hundreds of buses’ of Catholics from across the state will go to Miami for the pope’s visit.” (Orlando Sentinel, November 6, 1986)
“POPE LEADS ECUMENICAL SERVICE – The pope led the 40‑minute service conducted in English, at the modern Synod Hall. ......
“‘Divisions among Christians are contrary to the plan of God,’ the pope said in his homily. He said the restoration of unity will not be possible without a ‘wholehearted personal commitment’ by all individuals concerned...
“After delivering the homily, the pope exchanged greetings of peace by embracing the three – Archbishop Stylianos Harkianakisof the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia; the Rev. Henry Chadwick of the Anglican Communion; and the Rev. Jacque Maury from the French reformed church, representing the World Council of Churches. ......
“An ecumenical service is a religious rite without communion. Catholics are not allowed to receive communion in churches of other denominations, and the Vatican bars Protestants from full participation in the Catholic rite of communion. ......
“The other observers were from the Coptic Church, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Methodist Council, the World Reformed Alliance, the Disciples of Christ, the World Baptist Alliance and the Pentecostal Dialogue, all of which have been holding unity talks with the Vatican.”(The Associated Press – WS Journal, October 21, 1986)
It is self‑evident that “unity” will not be had with the Protestants and the Catholic church, the Papal System, if they do not conform with what the pope decrees. What has become of Protestantism? They are still called Protestants, but their PROTESTS seem to have gone. The Bible puts a different construction on the “uniting”: “They shall gather together, but not by me.” (Isa. 54:15) Further from Isa. 34:2, 4: “For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury [in this Time of Trouble] upon all their armies... And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens [Protestantism and Catholicism] shall be rolled together as a scroll.” This is accentuated in Rev. 6:14: “And the heaven [present religious systems] departed as a scroll when rolled together,” as shown above.
“PIOUS PARKS ‑ EVANGELISTS MAKING MULTIMILLION‑DOLLAR PLANS TO BUILD CHRISTIAN
ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEXES….. With the razzle‑dazzle of Walt Disney and the fervor of tent preachers, common‑man evangelists in Texas and Oklahoma also are planning multimillion‑dollar Christian entertainment complexes. At least five such religious resorts are being promoted in the two states this year alone.
“Proposed attractions run the gamut from the religiously significant to the blatantly commercial: passion plays, water rides on the River Jordan, animated Bible scenes, Holy Land plants and crafts, statues of Christ, adjacent shopping malls .....
“One vacation spot in America already has capitalized on that segment of the traveling public. Built by cable TV evangelist Jim Bakker on the North Carolina‑South Carolina border eight years ago, Heritage USA attracts 4 million people annually. That figure is topped only by the two Disney parks.
“Christian dinner theater and televised church services are main events. A water park is open in the summer, and Christmas lights are displayed in winter. Visitors can stay in a four‑star hotel.
“‘A high‑tech theme park is planned with features like the shipwrecked apostle Paul,’ said Neil Esdelin, a vice president at Heritage, USA.” (Fort Worth Star Telegram)
“SATANISM: The ICCC, after holding a meeting with law enforcement officials from New York State, has embarked upon an intensive study into Satanism, a form of devil worship. Satanism has been associated with drugs, vandalism and human sacrificial rites, and is perceived as the largest growing cult phenomenon nationwide... A survey will be taken in the tri‑state area in an effort to ascertain a clearer picture of the impact of Satanism upon our community.” (Jewish Press, September 19, 1986)
Many denominations have built magnificent edifices and churches, and are still building more. The TV evangelists are prospering and even the cults have found religion to be a good business as they, too, become wealthy in a short time.
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES are not behind in building magnificent places of worship. They, no doubt, expect their Kingdom Halls to be preserved during the Time of Trouble. They are God’s organization, so they claim. Naturally they believe God will preserve His place of worship! At one time they taught that their “Great Crowd” would survive through Armageddon, but when so many of their devotees died like the rest of the human family, they modified their teaching.
“LABOR OF LOVE BUILDS ASSEMBLY HALL: When Jehovah’s Witnesses build a Kingdom Hall it usually only takes one weekend... Like a barn‑raising in the Old West, the project is one of love and friendship designed to hold down costs.
“Later this month, however, Central Florida Jehovah’s Witnesses will hold an open house for a different type of building in Plant City... The building will seat more than 2,000 in the main hall with overflow areas that can accommodate 1,000 more. The building includes a dining hall for 780, a baptism pool, huge kitchen facilities, a nursery, a first‑aid room, offices and a two guest apartment.
“The building’s value has been estimated by church officials at $6.25 million, but as a result of the volunteer labor and material contributions the actual cost to the denomination was $2.8 million.” (Orlando Sentinel, August 2, 1986)
The Witnesses have a “first‑aid room” in their new Kingdom Hall. They claim to be God’s organization, and are “dividing the sheep from the goats,” as they tell us that all those who don’t join them will be annihilated in Armageddon. But in God’s Kingdom “they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 65:25) “For when thy judgments [true teachings] are in the earth, the inhabitants will learn righteousness.” (Isa. 26:9) There are very few today “learning righteousness,” the reason being: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor. 4:4) People will not “endure” sound doctrine today, but will accept any kind of hocus‑pocus rather than the true
Gospel – the Good Tidings of Great Joy which shall be unto all people in “due time.” The Adversary is working harder than ever to deceive people during this Time of Trouble.
The Witnesses teach that their organization is the only way to salvation, just as did the Catholics during the Dark Ages. The Catholics have modified their doctrine somewhat now. Most denominations do not teach their sect is the only way to salvation, although they believe that you should join some of their denominations. Billy Graham says, “Make your decision now and join the church of your choice.”
The Jehovah’s Witnesses boast that Pastor Russell was their founder, yet none of the Witnesses know what Pastor Russell taught, as they do not use the Studies in the Scriptures in their class meetings. Their teachings have very little, if any, resemblance to Pastor Russell’s teaching. Pastor Russell taught “Good Tidings of Great Joy” to all, whether they joined with him or not. The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach “Bad Tidings of Great Misery” to all who do not accept them.
The Truth will remain on the earth even though it is scarce in comparison with the errors now being taught. Thousands of Bible Students throughout the world are zealous in distributing the Studies in the Scriptures. They have made a special effort in 1986 to publicize THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES on its 100th anniversary.
David Horowitz wrote the book about PASTOR CHARLES TAZE RUSSELL to bring to public knowledge his name and teaching, as well as to help all Bible Students in their efforts to distribute his Studies in the Scriptures. He has great respect for all Bible Students who continue in Pastor Russell’s teaching on the Jews and God’s promises to them.
All faithful Bible Students know that “Salvation is of the Jews.” (John 4:22) “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion [the Spiritual phase] shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the earthly phase].” (Isa. 2:3)
The Lord has these systems of error in derision: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: The Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath [this Time of Trouble], and vex them in his displeasure. Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” (Psa. 2:2‑6)
The book about “Pastor Russell” has been publicized in many foreign countries as well as in the United States, and been placed in the hands of many Jehovah’s Witnesses. Some of them have gotten their eyes opened and have left that organization.