In the beginning of the New Year, we thank God for the blessings we have received the past year. “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” (Psa. 126:3) “Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and everything that moveth therein. “ (Psa. 69:34)
Many have had much grief with disasters in the past year, with earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and fires. We thank the Lord for the good people who have gone to their aid. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. “ (Prov. 15:3) Our deepest sympathy is with those who have lost their homes and lost some of their loved ones. “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. “ (Rom. 8:22) And we groan with them.
1995 IN REVIEW: (1) Tens of thousands are killed as Russian forces try to subdue the breakaway republic of Chechnya.
(2) In January and again in March, flooding in California leaves death and destruction.
(3) Banking scandals: Rogue traders bring down England’s Baring banking dynasty and bring disgrace to Japan’s Daiwa Bank, shaking confidence in that country’s banking system.
(4) In Kobe, Japan, an earthquake kills more than 5,000 people and destroys 750 buildings.
(5) Old enemies shake hands as Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat reach an agreement to extend Palestinian self-rule.
(6) Killer fumes – unleashed in a crowded subway by a doomsday cult – killing a dozen and injuring more than 5,000 in Tokyo.
(7) An outbreak of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in Zaire costs more than 200 lives and causes worldwide alarm.
(8) The Washington Post and the New York Times publish a 35,000-word treatise by the Unabomber, in an effort to halt his attacks that have killed three and injured 23.
(9) A peace agreement hammered out in Dayton, Ohio, may end the war in Bosnia, the bloodiest European conflict in 50 years.
(10) The pope visits the United States, preaching to 130,000 in New York’s Central Park and strongly condemning abortion rights.
(11) Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan brings his Million-Man March to Washington, D.C.
(12) Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist. [Rabin’s assassination was shocking world wide. There were 70 or more countries represented at his funeral.]
(13) The Southern Baptist Convention renounces its racist heritage, including its past support of slavery.
(14) France and China outrage the international community by resuming nuclear-testing programs.
(15) World marks the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II, the beginning of the United Nations.
(16) The Dow Jones industrial average closes above 5,000 for the first time.
(17) The United States re-establishes formal diplomatic ties with Vietnam.
(18) The sexual assault of a 12-year-old Okinawan schoolgirl by three U.S. servicemen raises an outcry in Japan.
(Excerpts from The Orlando Sentinel, November 26, 1995)
SCIENCE: “A scientist thinks every man on Earth is indebted to this male who lived before anatomically modern humans evolved.
“NEW YORK – Every one on earth today can trace his Y chromosome to one male who lived about 190,000 years ago, before anatomically modern humans had evolved, a study suggests. ‘There were many males around at the time, but only this one left a Y chromosome legacy that persists today,’ said researcher Michael Hammer.
“The Y chromosome is one of 24 kinds of microscopic threads that hold genes. Unlike the other chromosomes, it passed only from father to son. The new study also supports the idea that modern humans arose in one place, rather than evolving in more than one continent.
“The results suggest that all men alive today could trace their Y chromosomes back for about 188,000 years to the same person. ‘We would all have a Y chromosome that existed in the same guy.’ Hammer said the study suggests that the ancestor lived just before anatomically modern humans appeared around 100,000 years ago, a date that is in dispute among scientists... Other scientists published a study saying the Y chromosome in modern-day men can be traced back 270,000 years.
“Hammer said his findings also suggest a single place of origin for modern humans. ‘The findings don’t indicate where, but Africa is a good bet,’ he said. “
(Excerpts from The Orlando Sentinel, November 23, 1995, page A-16)
What do we care if they find that 100,000 or 188,000 or a million years back is when man started evolving. They are teaching that man as well as other living creatures evolved from something. What caused that “something “ to come into existence? Even that “something “ must have been created. We know when the first man was created by God and it was not a happenstance. God’s inspired Word is the only scientific authority we have. When scientists study to find something that is supported by His Word that is a valuable find. Some scientists have done so. They tell us one time it is thousands of years ago and after much study change their findings to more or less time, but they don’t tell us about this fiction man. Did he have brains? If so, why didn’t he leave us some history?
In chapters one and two of Genesis we are told of the creation of all things – the animals, fish, as well as the Heavens (the firmament) and the Earth, and then man. He created all things for man. Man was to have dominion over the fish, the fowl, the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing (Gen. 1:26). Of course there has been many misunderstandings of the Creation of God, but those who have the correct understanding will know we have a Creator of Justice, Love and Power. “Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them. “ (Psa. 119:165) So we search the Scriptures, because we know He is the Creator of all things. We did not evolve from an object. Did that object make itself? Some scientists change the tens of thousand years to more or less. They are like the chameleon who changes color frequently. Its tongue is hollow.
We have published these scientist’s opinions for the purpose of showing the foolishness of the wisdom of this world. “Avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.” (1 Tim. 6:20)
Looking back over the past year and looking ahead in prospect we must admit that there is no agreement as to what will happen next. We have bulls and bears, optimists and pessimists, and both have statistics to support their opinions.
The S & P stock market index has risen steadily to new highs as of December 6, 1995. The bulls feel that this is the reason for correction. Some feel that it well be severe – even worse than the crash of 1929.
Japan is in the midst of a serious banking crisis. Much of the $540 billion in real estate loans, loaned by Japan’s 21 largest banks in the late 80s has gone bad. Since the 1989 real estate peak in the major Japanese cities, such as Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, commercial land prices have lost their values. The Japanese real estate market is in a state of collapse and Japanese banks are faced with over one trillion dollars – and growing.
The Congressional Budget Office projects a deficit this year of $161 billion, the smallest deficit as a percentage of the gross domestic product – 2.3 percent – since 1979. The most recent figures for the last 12 months show that the national debt has increased $313 billion. At this rate we’ll add another trillion dollars of debt to the 4.9 trillion now on the books in the next three years.
One of the foremost respected financial journals writing on the economy for 1996 states that “INFLATION IS ON A SLOW TRACK. “
INTEREST RATES WILL STAY LOW: Long-term rates could drop below 6 percent. There’s nothing on the horizon to compel the Fed. to raise short term rates. Occupants of the White House like to keep the good news flowing during an election year. Perhaps it’s no accident that the market has delivered positive returns every election year since 1940. NO RECESSION BEFORE 1997!
Those who are “Of the Truth “ (John 18:37) realize that we are in the “Time of Trouble “ since 1914, including war, revolution and Anarchy winding up with Jacob’s Trouble (Jer. 30:7). We can expect conditions to deteriorate and go down like wax, or removed like a cottage (Isa. 24:20), as God has promised (Heb. 10:23). The Lord’s people should heed the admonition of James 4:8: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. “ (Contributed)
For the past several years we have mentioned that the present order of things are deteriorating rapidly. In 1994 the stock market hit an all time high – and obviously as everyone knows, that in 1995 the Dow Jones for the first time hit over five thousand. The prime interest rate is still at a high of 8.75%. You can read about the Gross National Products being down with the unemployment rates going up. It’s hard to figure out what is really going on.
To quote from last year, the United States may be on the road to economical health, productivity, employment and total national income up. But the decline of spendable income is down because people are still going in debt. The present administration believes that job skills training and investing more money in education will lead to a greater rise in the median family income, but that has yet to be proven. That would take may years to achieve.
The world economy is still growing. More of the world’s stock market values is outside of the United States, although people still believe the United States is a safe place to buy stocks. Gold and silver have been stable but still lower than it has been in previous years. The wizards of Wall Street are treating bad news as good news.
Retail sales for Christmas have been lackluster. Bargain hunters packed the stores and after Thanksgiving have almost vanished. Factory output declined for the fourth straight month. Manufacturing employment continues to fall although new orders are up slightly. However, no economist is predicting that this slow down will turn into a recession.
One of the things driving the economy is the new technology such as new computers. Companies are investing in new technology which eliminates jobs and increases productivity with better profit. People are investing capital in all areas.
One of our biggest problems is the USA has the most expensive health care system in the world. That is a problem that all businesses are facing – how to handle this problem without government help.
If the USA doesn’t face up to the enormous debt that it has accumulated each year and to the fact that the National Debt for the American people is still growing with Congress still arguing over tax rates and tax cuts the stock market can certainly change in a downward trend just as fast as it did on an upward trend.
World War One was to end all wars, but since that time we have had World War Two, the Middle East War, and “wars and rumours of war... but the end is not yet.” (Matt. 24:6) However, we can commend leaders who are seeking means and ways to bring peace to the world. Man cannot do that but God can and will in His “due time.” He has promised to judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31), and He is faithful that promised (Heb. 10:23). Nothing will hurt and destroy in all that glorious mountain (Isa. 11:9). The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness (Isa. 26:9). So we continue to pray, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is done in heaven. There will be a time when war will be no more.
CATHOLICS: “The 75-year-old Pontiff arrives this week for his fourth papal visit to the United States, and will stand firm in proclaiming what he believes are truths in an Age of moral relativism. ‘It has never been easy to accept Gospel teachings in its entirely,’ the leader of the world’s 960 million Roman Catholics told U.S. bishops in 1987. ‘And it will never be!’ Just what constitutes the Gospel in its entirety, of course, is a matter of dispute, especially among many American Catholics who disagree with the Vatican’s strict stand on sex and gender issues.
“No nation, in John Paul’s view, has a greater responsibility than the United States. The pope’s ‘big problem with America,’ says one official Vatican observer, ‘is that it is such a wealthy country and the wealth is confined to few people. He thinks the United States is too materialistic.’” (Excerpts from U.S. News and World Report, October 9, 1995)
The pope’s problem is with the Roman Catholics in the U. S., and shouldn’t be with the United States itself. Italy’s wealth is also confined to few people, and the Vatican is very wealthy. The question is what does the Vatican and the wealth few of Italy do with their wealth? The United States is known for its liberality, as are its wealthy few. Italy is the seat of Papacy, therefore, has more responsibility than other countries, including America. The pope should tell us whether he is referring to the creed of papacy or the Bible. The creeds of both the Catholics and Protestants teach that the whole world is on trial for life during this Age; and they are seeking to save the souls of the world. The Bible teaches that God is taking out a people for His Name during the Gospel Age (Acts 15:14) – a people to bless the world in the Kingdom. Jesus said, “I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. “ (John 17:9) Jesus paid the Ransom for all, which will be testified for the world in “due time. “ He has appointed a day to judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31). In that day “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain. “ (Isa. 11:9) In that Kingdom Satan will be bound (Rev. 20:3) and will not deceive the people during that thousand-year day. Today the world is full of error: “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) “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. “ (Rom. 11:32) It will be “to the Jew first “ and then to all others. (Rom. 2:10)
Jehovah’s Witnesses: At one time they taught that all who didn’t join them before Armageddon would die in Armageddon and never be resurrected. However, they have softened their teachings and now teach that those of the world who are in the “City of Refuge “ will be resurrected. They also say that by dying they pay for their sinfulness (November 15, 1995, Watchtower, p. 19) They cite Rom. 6:7 and Heb. 9:27 as ‘proof.’ However, Rom. 6:7 applies to the Little Flock, and Heb. 9:27 represents Christ as the antitypical High Priest. This is easily understood by reading the preceding and following verses in each instance. They say “War broke out in heaven: Michael [Jesus Christ] and his angels battled with the dragon [Satan the Devil], and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them in heaven. “ (Watchtower, July 15, 1995, p. 5, par. 2)
There was never a war in heaven, which is God’s abode. The Lord gave us the prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. “ We have no record of anyone disobeying and sinning in heaven. When Satan sinned in the Garden of Eden he was never permitted to go back to heaven. When the angels sinned it was on earth, and they were not permitted to go back to heaven. It is ridiculous to think that the heaven mentioned in Rev. 12:7-9 is the abode of God, Jesus and the good angels. It is symbolic (as is most of Revelation) and represents the conflict between Papacy and it supporters, and Pagan power. The dragon of v. 7 are Pagan rulers, and the great dragon of v. 9 is the Pagan Roman Empire. Also, we do not die to pay for our sins. We die because of Adam’s sin, and Jesus died to save us all. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22) “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. “ (1 Tim. 2:6) The Jehovah’s Witnesses change their teaching when it is to their advantage, just as the Chameleon changes its color. The tongue of the Chameleon is hollow. One dictionary meaning of the word hollow is empty, worthless, which is a good representation of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ teaching.
BAPTIST: “Woman from Orlando church elected to key Baptist post: Lois Wenger, an active lay leader of the First Baptist Church of Orlando, was elected to a top post at the Florida Baptist Convention... ‘We’re trying to give women their proper due,’ said J. C. Mitchell of the Winter Park-based Pembrook Foundation.
“In other convention action, First Baptist Church of Winter Park was recognized for its role in establishing new churches in Florida, donating approximately $3 million to that cause.” (Excerpts from The Orlando Sentinel, November 18, 1995)
EPISCOPAL: “Retired Episcopal bishop may face heresy trial over ordaining gay. WASHINGTON – Conservative bishops have obtained the votes they need to put the retired bishop of Iowa on trial for heresy, Episcopal Church headquarters announced Friday.
“The accused, Bishop Walter C. Righter, 71, is charged with violating church doctrine by ordaining a ‘practicing homosexual’ as a church deacon.
“Several other bishops, including Washington, D.C.; and Stewart Wood of the Michigan diocese, have also been criticized for ordaining openly homosexual people. “
(Excerpts from Santa Barbara News Press, August 19, 1995)
METHODISTS: “Problems Cited in ‘confusion’ of Methodists: They may not be suffering an identity crisis, but United Methodists are finding out that a flexible theology can lead to confusion.
“An unprecedented study led by Duke University scholars has found that many United Methodists don’t quite know were the church stands.
“The denomination’s traditional openness to other perspectives – for instance, from women, blacks, Latin Americans or Asians – confuses some people and irritates others, said Dennis Campbell, the dean of the Duke Divinity School and one of the study’s directors. ‘There is an great deal of diversity,’ he said. ‘This has caught up with us in ways that are causing people to say, ‘Is there anything you really stand for?’
“The study’s 45 researchers are meeting at St. Simons Island, Georgia, this weekend to put their data on the table.
“In a speech Friday to open the meeting, Campbell said that preliminary conclusions have turned up four major problems: money, a bulky bureaucracy, a leadership gap and a theology that is seen as fuzzy and soft.
“‘The confusion in theology that now characterizes the church has resulted in a situation that leaves us without clarity,’ he said. ‘One of the most serious problems for United Methodism is the perception that there are no theological norms, no bounds beyond which it is impossible to go and still be a Methodist...’
“The faith’s tolerance of other ideas – thinking of God as a woman, for example – clashes with some members’ demands that United Methodism should return to the Bible as the authority.
“‘There is a point of view that is very hostile to the openness of the church,’ said the Rev. Steve Hickle of Fairmont United Methodist Church in Raleigh. ‘There is a hostility to the openness of all people, the openness to talking about ideas, the openness to theologies that come from the Third World perspective or the feminist perspective.’
“The Rev. Jerry Smith of Ashbury United Methodist Church said that one reason for the drop in membership is a growing distance between the leadership and churchgoer.
“‘There has been a disconnect between the hierarchy of the church and the person in the pew,’ he said. ‘As a result, I think that we have not told our story and claimed our roots as effectively as we should have.’
“Campbell said in his speech Friday that the Lilly study also has found something of a brain drain in the leadership. ‘Many Methodists worry that the church is not developing the lay or clergy leadership it needs to move beyond the bureaucratic response to critical issues,’ he said. (Associated Press, Winston-Salem Journal, August 29, 1995)
The Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement: The LHMM magazines have been much better than in the past. Very little is mentioned about their non-existent class – Consecrated Epiphany Campers. But they teach that there is no longer an opportunity for Youthful Worthies since 1954, although Brothers Russell and Johnson teach that Youthful Worthies are to be won “until Restitution begins.” See Reprint 5761, September 1, 1915, regarding an unbegotten class to be won after the door to the High Calling is closed. The LHMM also teach that the Epiphany is overlapping into the Basileia since 1954. Their overlapping is now longer than their Epiphany proper. Their Bible Standard of Christ’s Kingdom for July, 1995, p. 54 states: “As shown in E Vol. 4, pp. 53-58, the Epiphany and the Time of Trouble are identical (Luke 17:29). Hence the end of the lease of the power to the Gentiles, and the beginning of the Time of Trouble in 1914, indicate clearly the beginning of the Epiphany period at that time.” Since the Time of Trouble did not end in 1954 the Epiphany did not end then. Thus, we are still in the Epiphany and the opportunity for Youthful Worthies remains open.
Bible Students: Some Bible students believe the door is still open to the High Calling. Do they believe there will be opportunity to consecrate for the Bride of Christ “until Restitution begins?” These Bible Student groups have not invented a new class for which they are to be commended. However, they seldom mention other elect classes such as the Great Company and the Ancient Worthies, nor do they mention the unbegotten class That Servant taught in Reprint 5761. They believe Brother Russell was That Servant, and so do we, but we do not believe he was infallible. If the Bible Student groups do not believe in the unbegotten class and a second Harvest, they should inform us of this and let us know their reasons for not accepting this doctrine.