At the beginning of another year, we thank God and praise Him 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) “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” (Prov. 30:5)
We are not unmindful of the many tragedies people have suffered during the past year – crime and calamities have caused much suffering and sorrow. We grieve and sorrow with them. “We rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psa. 30:5 – the morning of the Kingdom) “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) He is faithful that promised. (Heb. 10:23)
“Elderly Abuse – Crime Rarely Punished: A door‑to‑door salesman with a criminal record befriended an 80‑year‑old man living alone in Lake County last summer, and over a few months conned him out of his life’s savings of more than $12,000. No charges were filed.
“In St. Petersburg, a nursing home worker in 1985 routinely beat helpless patients, many of them unable to rise out of bed. Although the nursing aide was charged with assault, the trial was delayed until this year, when the case was settled with a plea bargain that allowed the aide to plead guilty but avoid jail.
“Last year, again in Lake County, a foster‑home owner was suspected of repeatedly kicking and abusing an elderly client, threatening he would be sent to an old‑age home and left to die if he dared complain. No charges were filed.
“The cases from the files of the state Department Rehabilitative Services are typical of thousands of reports of abuse and exploitation of the elderly that HRS investigate. Rarely are they prosecuted as crimes. ...
“‘We ought to be more concerned about it than we are. After all, we’re all going to get old some day,’ said Hetz.” (Orlando Sentinel, November 6, 1988)
“Money’s The Root Of Hospital Evils In Doctor’s Book: The thought of Fortune 500 companies running America’s hospitals really bothers Dr. Michael Palmer.
“What worries him most is the notion that the business of hospitals might soon become business. The growing number of corporation‑owned hospitals will, he fears, cut corners and staffing in the hopes of saving money. The drive for profits will also mean routinely turning away poor, uninsured patients. ...
“Flashback’s Ultramed‑Davis Regional Hospital is a sick person’s nightmare. An elderly woman falls and breaks her hip in an attempt to go to the bathroom. She hasn’t seen a nurse in several hours because the number of nurses had been cut back.
“Elderly patients are routinely shipped to the local nursing home (also owned by the hospital corporation) to recover because Medicare pays the hospital a flat fee based on the diagnosis, not the length of stay.
“Most frightening of all is a scheme by the hospital administrator, a surgeon and an anesthesiologist, to test an experimental anesthetic on unwitting surgical patients in the hopes of coming up with a new drug that could make millions.
“Could this really happen? Palmer admits it’s a worst‑case scenario, but he notes that his horror story is not out of line with some of the well‑documented horrors foisted on the public by other corporate giants. ...
“‘I’m no crusader. I just like to write books that make people think.”‘ (Orlando Sentinel, September 3, 1988)
“400 Richest Americans Could Cover ‘88 Deficit: The stock market crash wiped out some of their wealth, but the 400 richest Americans still had a total worth of about $220 billion, enough to cover the federal budget deficit for a year, according to Forbes magazine. ...
“The number of American billionaires nearly doubled in 1987, but Forbes’ 1988 list has only two more billionaires, bringing the total to 51. ...
“On the list, as usual, was Forbes publisher Malcolm Forbes, whose holdings include a 400‑square‑mile Colorado ranch and a French chateau. Although not officially disclosing Forbes’ net worth, the magazine put him in the $500 million category and cited various published reports that pegged his wealth at $400 million to more than $1 billion.” (Orlando Sentinel, November 11, 1988)
“Woe unto you that are rich! for you have received your consolation.” (Luke 6:24) “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.” (James 5:1) “Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you... Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.” (James 5:3)
“Marcos‑Duke Episode Shows Where The Sympathies Of The Very Rich Lie: It warms the cockles of my heart when folks extend a helping hand to each other in times of need... Imelda probably could have come up with the bail money on her own, but it would take a couple of days to sell that many shoes. ...
“Actually, Mrs. Marcos hasn’t been convicted of anything yet, and I contend that she shouldn’t be tried in the newspapers, at least not for plundering her country of $100 million or so and then nailing U.S. banks for another $165 million. ...
“The Doris‑Imelda Marcos story is an interesting one in that it goes a long way to point out the concern the very rich have for the extremely poor. The Good Samaritan act by Doris Duke should set to rest the rumors that rich folks don’t have hearts. I have to admit, though, that I might have felt a little better about it had Doris contributed $5 million in bonds to the aid and comfort of the Filipino victims, rather than bail out the accused.
“It would have been an equally good idea to have pledged a similar amount to fight poverty in America or to support medical research or for that matter to help balance the federal budget. Any patriotic American interested in giving a helping hand to politicians who exploit their constituents and loot the national treasury ought to know that they do not have to go abroad to do so. They don’t even have to look beyond Congress to find recipients of such largesse.
“Meanwhile, I noticed that the $5 million Doris Duke is putting up to bail Imelda Marcos is in the form of municipal bonds – a favorite investment of folks who aren’t too keen on paying taxes. ... It would be interesting to know how much Doris Duke – one of the richest women in the world – actually pays in annual taxes.
“I hope you don’t get the idea that I am embittered and mean‑spirited in regard to Doris Duke’s generosity, but I have to admit that I will get a belly laugh if Imelda decides to jump the bail.” (By Dick Marlow, Orlando Sentinel, November 8, 1988)
“Fossils From Cave Show Modern Humans Existed 92,000 Years Ago: Fossils from an Israeli cave show that anatomically modern humans were living about 92,000 years ago, more than twice the age scientists had been able to establish reliably before, researchers say. ... Pilbeam said the Israeli finding more than doubles ‘what was previously accepted as a really good age for modern humans,’ which was 35,000 to 40,000 years. ... ‘The humans in the Israeli cave may well have been members of early Eurasian stock, different from any living race but near the common ancestor of non‑Africans,’ Delson said.
“Stringer, in his editorial, said the early date for the Israeli population poses some questions, such as why modern humans took another 50,000 years to register their presence in the Far East.” (Orlando Sentinel, February 18, 1988)
The figures pose another question: Why “modern humans” did not leave us a history of their time? We rely on God’s Word about the six days of creation, and the creation of the first man. We do not believe that God’s creation was in six literal days. Our papers No. 390 and 391, “In the Beginning” are most informative. Copies free upon request. “O Timothy , keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.” (1 Tim. 6:20)
In his book on the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon lists the reasons for the dissolution of the great political force which held the civilized world together for more than 500 years: “1. Excessive spending by the central government; 2. unwillingness of the young men to bear arms in the defense of their country; 3. overindulgence in luxury; 4. widespread sexual immorality and easy divorce, which destroyed the integrity of family life; 5. the spread of effeminacy‑girls looking and acting like men – men looking and acting like girls; 6. disregard for religion. This was Rome 1400 years ago. Do we find history repeating itself?”
In our recent presidential campaign some of the most prominent issues were the national debt, a balanced federal budget, the balance of trade, bank failures, the falling dollar, and taxes. No clear‑cut solutions were offered. These problems are still with us and getting worse. Since President Nixon came in office, each succeeding president has promised to restrain federal spending, reduce taxes and still maintain a balanced budget. The national debt continues to escalate to astronomical heights.
The president of a large mutual fund company states: “The United States of America remains in lock‑step on an inexorable march to total destruction of our monetary system because of our inability to live within our means. Bear in mind that all debts may not be paid, but all is liquidated; that is, disappears. Governments on the other hand, can pay for their deficits with new money that they create out of thin air. There is no additional value backing that additional money. That is why in the daily news we hear that the dollar is down against foreign currencies much more frequently than we hear that it is up. As long as governments can control the money of the country they govern, they can postpone the inevitable for long periods – sometimes for decades – until the people being governed realize that their money will continue to depreciate until it becomes worthless. The people then reject it for harder assets. That is beginning to happen.”
In Matt. 24:37‑39, we read, “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the presence of the Son of man be. (v.37) For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark. (v.38) And knew not [or understood not] until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the presence of the Son of man be. (v.39)”
Some financial advisors are optimistic and some are pessimistic, but they are all very cautious in their prognostications – because verse 39 tells us, “they knew not” or “understood not.” It is only by the understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation, that we know that this present “evil” (Gal. 1:4) order of things must be destroyed in the Time of Trouble before Christ’s Kingdom can be established.
Our only advice at present is to “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) “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5) (Contributed)
Although 1988 has been an unpredictable year, we have not had a Black Monday like October 19,1987, in the stock market. However, the Dow has not climbed back to its all time high of 1987. The dollar is still weakening. The weaker dollar has certainly strengthened foreign investments. A lot of economists predict a recession in 1989 or 1990. Our new President elect will certainly do everything possible to prevent a recession from happening.
As a nation, we think we are living better, despite the fact that we are doing so on borrowed money. Consumer installment debt is at a record high, corporate debt is at 1.79 trillion, and national debt is at 2.6 trillion. All of these are record highs and still growing. Some major economists think that President‑elect Bush will make 1989 a stable year. The stock market could dip lower, and there will be some tax increases to the American public in some form or other.
We are proud of our country, because we believe the Bible refers to the United States in Isa. 18:1: “Ho to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.” (‘Ho’ is mistranslated ‘Woe’ in the King James version. See Young’s concordance for ‘woe’ in this text.) The ‘land’ refers to the United States; the ‘Shadowing with wings’ is Divine Providence which has caused our country to be an asylum for liberty lovers and truth lovers; ‘which is beyond’ is a fitting description of the location of the United States of America.
Dan. 4:17 says, “The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” We know this is true of many heads of governments in the past, and in our day Hitler, et al. But it is not true of our country, as none of our Presidents have been the “basest of men.”
“Confession Losing Appeal To Catholics: Are Catholics giving up on confession? Eighty‑three percent of U.S. CATHOLIC readers polled said that if they were on their deathbeds they would want to tell their sins to a priest. Seventy‑six percent of the readers polled said confession is a good idea. But they are undecided as to just how good it is... Said a Minnesota reader: ‘The kneeler in the confessional fell down on my foot and broke my toe. In a cry of discomfort I let out a four‑letter word. The priest then added a new penance for my four‑letter sin.”‘ (Orlando Sentinel, October 15, 1988)
The Last Word: “Dissident Roman Catholic Bishop Richard Williamson of Ridgefield, Conn., excommunicated from the church, said Pope John Paul II is wrecking his own job. ‘He is like a soft‑drink seller praying for cold weather. He’s going to put himself out of business.”‘ (Orlando Sentinel, September 17, 1988)
Jehovah’s Witnesses: In the September 15, 1988, Watchtower, there is an article, “Listen Jehovah’s Watchman Speaks!” They claim to be the Watchman of Ezek. 3:17. They tell us, “Your very life depends on your responding to that message... Do you hope to be among them? (Ezekiel 26:23; 39:7; 2 Peter 3:8‑13) You may be, but only if you listen when Jehovah’s ‘watchman’ speaks.” The Witnesses pick out texts and apply them to their organization to further hoodwink their devotees and entice others to join them.
The Witnesses’ similarity to Papacy is unmistakable. They are “little” Papacy they frighten people into joining them as did Papacy in the Dark Ages. However, Papacy has modified their teaching somewhat in our day – Jezebel painted her face. (2 Kings 9: 30) Likewise the Witnesses have been forced to change their teaching many times when time revealed the falsity of their teaching. They taught at one time that their “Great Crowd” would live through Armageddon and never experience death. Since so many of their faithful devotees have died, they now teach that the “Great Crowd” who dies before Armageddon will be resurrected and “rule” with the “Great Crowd” who survive. As the chameleon changes its color, the Witnesses change their teaching to suit their purpose.
When God judges the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31), “then the eyes of the blind shall be opened” (Isa. 35:5), and “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain” (Isa. 11:9). Today the “god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not.” (2 Cor. 4:4) Today there is a “narrow way” and “few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:14) In His Kingdom there will be a “highway of holiness” (Isa. 35:8) – an easier way for those of little faith and “believe not.” We worship a God of Love, Justice, Wisdom and Power. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Rom. 11:32) in that glorious Kingdom.
God’s inspired Word repudiates and nullifies completely the gross error of the Jehovah’s Witnesses that the “evil” who do not join them will never be resurrected. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28,29 – Judgment is mistranslated ‘damnation’ in this text.) Shouldn’t we believe God’s inspired Word instead of the Witnesses’ word?
The Last Word: “The Rev. Joel Gregory, pastor of the Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, addressing a recent meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention on discord among its members: ‘We are at a flashpoint. Southern Baptists cannot survive many more months of personal animosity in our midst.”‘ (Orlando Sentinel, July 9, 1988)
Biblical Commentary: “Forty‑four writers have been enlisted to contribute to a new 40‑volume biblical commentary to be published by the Southern Baptists to reflect views of ‘inerrantists’ – those who believe the Bible is free of error in history, science or religion.” (Orlando Sentinel, October 1, 1988)
The Last Word: “The Rev. Emilio Castro, an Uruguayan Methodist minister and the World Council of Churches’ general secretary, commenting on Jimmy Swaggart’s support for the military government in Chile and apartheid in South Africa: ‘If someone was thinking of giving $10 to Jimmy Swaggart and asked my opinion, I would say for my country, his ministry is a disaster.”‘ (Orlando Sentinel, June 25, 1988)
“A Hostage And A Bible: Roger Augue, a Frenchman who was held hostage in Lebanon, reports that he was given a Bible in English by one of his captors. Although he was not a believer before his capture, he held fast to the comfort of the Bible while chained in darkness 23 hours a day and being denied water for long stretches of time. Augue says that the one who gave him the Bible did him a blessed service, for it kept him from losing his sanity. He prayed every day and learned the Psalms in English by heart.” (The Church Around the World, July 1988)
Quotable Quote: “About the time of the end a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the Prophecies and insist upon their literal interpretation in the midst of much clamor and opposition.” (By Isaac Newton 1642‑1726)
“The New Age Movement: The class description was alluring: ‘Energize and relax. Develop your facilities with basic exercises of this style of Yoga. Learn techniques for energizing and deep relaxation through exercising and meditation.’ Sounds innocent enough?
“For just twenty dollars, students at a Northwestern University could take this physical education class in the hopes of calming the cares of college life. What they might not know – and weren’t told in the catalog – is that kundalini yoga is a Hindu practice that aims to release the ‘serpent goddess’ (kundalini) coiled at the base of the spine. Mastery of kundalini is said to lead to a union with Brahman, the inner deity of the Hindus. But yoga experts admit to its dangers – the serpent may bite, inflicting pain, burns, ill health or even death to the practitioner.
“This is not an isolated case. It reflects just one example of an insurgent world view that aims to engulf the globe. A philosophically united movement involving cinema, education, science, medicine, psychology and politics has begun to converge on Western culture. It heralds a New Age of hope for humanity.
“One of its heralds is someone we all know – Shirley MacLaine. Having become well known through her acting, dancing, writing and political activism, she chronicled her conversion to the New Age in the best‑selling book Out on a Limb... She was convinced through a series of extraordinary events, such as out‑of‑the‑body experiences, contact with extra terrestrials, ‘trance channeling’ with various spiritual beings, personal conversations and wide reading.
“Her New Age message is fourfold: (1) we are all gods; (2) we have lived before and will live again (reincarnation); (3) there is no death; (4) there are as many ‘realities’ as there are people. To promote her book, Ms. MacLaine practically dominated the media for many months; she quickly became a celebrity evangelist for the New Age... She offers a tantalizing invitation to enter the New Age where we can all become unlimited beings, gods of our own universes.
“The very idea of reincarnation and karma (good or evil deeds) also suffers from logical and moral flaws... If we do not remember supposed past lives, how is it just that we are either rewarded or punished because of them? Karma, after all, is supposed to be a universal system of justice. Do we spank a child and not tell her why we did it?
“By realizing not our divinity but our need for God’s grace and power, we can experience new life. Unlike Shirley MacLaine who prays to ‘the best in herself.’ Christians are freed from self‑centeredness to pray to the Lord of the universe for whom all things are possible.
“New Age, Old Lie: The New Age repeats an ancient lie – the notion that we find life and salvation within ourselves, apart from the one true God. This was the serpent’s temptation in the garden (Gen. 3), and his strategies haven’t changed.
“Christians need to press those interested in the New Age on the meaning of their terms, with an eye toward showing the distinctives of the gospel. Although the New Age endlessly repeats its motto of ‘all is one,’ the New Age is not one with Christianity... Christians should point out the reality of lying and seductive spirits. As John said, ‘Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.’ (1 John 4:1)
“The touchstone of spiritual discernment is Jesus Christ. Any philosophy, religion or experience that denies his unique lordship and saving work is a spiritual counterfeit. (1 John 4:2‑3) (Excerpts from Douglas R. Groothuis’ book, The New Age Movement)
“The Garment Of Praise For The Spirit Of Heaviness: The word for garment here denotes a covering and the implication is that the Messiah envelopes His people. When this happens grief is swallowed up in praise, an experience not manufactured or manipulated. Rather it is the fulfillment of a relationship and an unshakable conviction of the efficacy of the sovereign grace of God. Such an encounter is entered into by the faith and obedience of the individual, though one day it will be the fulfillment of the eyes.
“There is a great longing in the hearts of many for this transforming event to take place, but we know not the time or season when the Lord will choose to bring it to pass. Until He does we are required to have a faith relationship with Him through His Word and Messiah. For the day of His favour is with us now in the personal realm, and we may all enter into it.” (R. N. Hawkins, The Vineyard, July 1988)
“Garden Of Eden Popular In Colleges: About 38 percent of American college students believe that human life originated in the Garden of Eden, according to a recently published survey. That and other findings indicate that, despite taking many courses in science, many students maintain biblical beliefs about human evolution... Other findings: nearly 10 percent of Southern students believe the earth was created 6,000 years ago – a calculation from creation science – compared with less than 3 percent in the East who believe that. Scientists calculate the Earth is 4.5 billion years old. [Great minds have great figures.] About half of the rural students believed that fossils are from animals that died during the flood described in the biblical story of Noah. Among urban students, 41 percent shared that belief.” (Orlando Sentinel, June 5, 1988)