by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 354A

At the beginning of another year, we may look with a measure of satisfaction at the results of the year past, and once  again repeat with gratitude the expression of the Psalmist: “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness: and thy paths drop  fatness.” (Psa. 65:11) One correspondent from Africa has pretty well expressed our own views on world conditions: “Having  just returned from Europe, I see that the Evil One has unleashed a Spirit of Revolution which is sweeping the world. Practically no country is exempt. This is part of the Evil One’s strategy; to break down and destroy. By shaking men’s hearts  with fear he is preparing the way of the one whom Jesus Himself prophesied would come, ‘I come in my Father’s name and  you receive me not, but there is coming another one in his own name, him you will receive!’ We rejoice in these signs and lift  up our heads for the end draweth nigh.”

Part of our answer to this follows: “Of course, we have the signs of the times, the Bible chronology, types and  prophecies to bolster our faith; but in private conversation I often stress that one text alone should persuade us that we are at the threshold of that Kingdom: “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” – Dan. 12:4. (This is  taken from what Brother Hoefle gave in No. 307, January 1981, which is just as timely for 1985.


A noted economist has stated, “Financially the United States economy is at a most crucial cross roads. Present  government policy could either abort the present recovery or refuel inflation within six months to a year.”

We do not know at this point in time how long it will take for the bubble to burst – because we are headed for the  worst financial crash of the 20th century. We are faced with a convergence of negative events, both unprecedented in  scope and almost terrifying in their implication. The U. S. debt and interest on the debt are so astronomical in size that most  economists predict that they will never be paid. A similar condition prevails in almost every country in the world. Even  individuals are abusing credit – some purchasing items that they never hope (desire or expect) to pay for. This is all in disobedience to the admonition given in Rom. 13:8: “Owe no man anything, but to love one another.”

This is what private economists are saying in their news letters: “Unless all economic laws have been repealed  – which  they have not been and cannot be – the U. S. is now entering one of the greatest periods of inflation in its history. The invisible enemy is present! – Economic Depression, omnipresent, but you can’t see him – He lurks in unpaid bills, the ravaged checking accounts – bankruptcy court proceedings, bank failures, increased feelings of uncertainty and anxiety of millions of Americans. The economy is declining and could turn into recession in 1985. In the last nine years, the cost of living in the U. S. doubled.  In the next nine years it could again double.

“France is now the 4th most indebted country in the world, and conditions will get worse. Unemployment and  poverty are soaring. U. S. $ is bolstered by huge foreign capital flows attracted by high interest rates – unlikely to come down in 1985. Foreign debtor nations will default on their loans and will be bailed out by the Federal Reserve System. 

“Banks are actually weaker today than they were during the Great Depression. In 1929, banks had capital equal to 14% of assets. Today the capital  to asset ratio is under 8%. The financial world is in turmoil. The economy will  slide into recession by the end of this year, and into depression next year. Possibilities for double digit inflation next year: (1) Budget deficit; (2)  National Debt Interest; (3) Social Security; (4) Bad Foreign Loans; (5) Banks  Non equity; (6) Foreign Trade Deficit; (7) Farm Bankruptcies.

“The impending collapse of the dollar will be the big economic news of 1985. The banking crisis is not easing. It will get much worse, but no major bank will be allowed to fail and this will be highly inflationary.

“Government plans to issue new multi‑colored currency to replace present ‘greenbacks’. This is supposed to deter counterfeiting.” Luke 21:26: “Men’s hearts failing them for fear and looking after those things which are coming  on the earth.” Zeph. 2:3: “Seek righteousness, seek meekness, it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Contributed)


The people have demonstrated their confidence in President Reagan by giving him a landslide election for another four‑year term. Since many prominent Protestants and Catholics are supporting him, he has a good send‑off for a successful term for another four years. In this campaign for President, religion has played a large part. Especially has Armageddon been made  prominent. Time magazine reports: “For the first time in history, the end of  the world has become a campaign issue. It arose... when Ronald Reagan was asked if he truly believes that the world is headed for a ‘nuclear Armageddon.’...  The commander in chief insisted that he has never said that ‘we must plan according to Armageddon.’ Reagan’s answer, however, did not close the case... ‘How much of all this Ronald Reagan believes is known only to him.’... But last  week even Jerry Falwell was calling on the candidates of both parties to ‘repudiate....any extremist world view which demands a nuclear Armageddon.”‘

Under the heading of ARMAGEDDON AND THE END TIME, the Times reports what Professor A. Berkeley Mickelsen says: “When Christ really does break into this scene, there will be a lot of surprised people.”

Another press report says, “In Washington at a heated news conference, more than 100 national religious authorities and leaders Tuesday petitioned President Reagan and Democratic challenger Walter Mondale to repudiate a  belief that the Bible predicts inevitable nuclear warfare in the near future... Reagan and Falwell both denied their belief in such a prospective.”

Under the heading, RELIGION HAS A PLACE BUT NOT IN POLITICS, the press  reports: “Reagan and his Democratic opponents would do well to keep religion out of this fall’s campaign.”


Crime continues the world over – murder, rape, thievery and bank robberies. Nikki Meredith has an article in the Science magazine for December 1984  entitled: THE MURDER EPIDEMIC. She reports, “One American kills another every 23 minutes. Homicide doubled in this country in the past 20 years and is now claiming more than 20,000 lives a year. Many of our law enforcement agents have  given up trying to figure out why. ........

“An epidemic is defined as a condition occurring at a rate exceeding its  natural occurrence. American homicide qualifies because it has increased so dramatically since the 1960s. At least 80 percent of the countries that report  homicide statistics to the United Nations have rates lower than the U.S. rate of almost 10 for every 100,000 citizens. The few countries with higher rates include South Africa, Nicaragua, and Mexico. Mexico, at 17 per 100,000 population, has one of the highest in the world, whereas Canada has a mere two per 100,000 population.” 

World War 111 May Be Terrorism Vs. Civilization” is the heading of a press report: “Logic suggests that sooner or later the terrorists’ bombs will be nuclear. So far, this has been the stuff of page‑turners, but just as science‑fiction writers predicted routine space flights, the scary stories of today’s paperbacks presage tomorrow’s real crises. A generation from now, the Reagan presidency will be remembered for sinking the socialistic Law of the Sea and for launching the world’s counter terror space defense. How many of us will be able to say we supported him in his greatest moves?”

Suit Attacks Formal U.S. Tie To Vatican. Religious leaders Wednesday challenged the United States’ formal diplomatic ties with the Vatican with a suit in federal court.... The religious leaders include some who support President Reagan for re‑election. They said their chances for winning are excellent. ... The lawsuit also says that granting special status to one religious faith entangles the U.S. government in the internal affairs of the  Roman Catholic Church, in violation of the Constitution.”

Ambassador To Vatican Still On Penzoil Board – William Wilson, U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican and a friend of President Reagan’s has been allowed to remain on a corporate board despite a general government policy against the practice, officials said Thursday. ... Wilson had served as the president’s unpaid personal envoy to the Vatican until the United States and the Holy See established formal relations this year.”

Says Rev. Jerry Falwell: ‘If we do not awaken from our religious stupor and get involved, we’re going to lose this country.’ As he told about 150  ministers and church activists meeting in Orlando. Falwell, 50, said he hopes to add 85,000 Christian voters in Florida, although state‑church leaders said Tuesday they could double that number.”

It is apropos to quote Brother Hoefle’s No. 307, January 1981 paper,  p. 3, par. 5: “Well, the Bible puts quite a different construction on it. ‘They shall gather together, but not by me.’ (Isa. 54:15) Further, from Isa.  34:1‑4: ‘The indignation of the Lord is upon all the nations... the  mountains (powerful monarchies, such as Russia, et al) shall be melted (overcome by the radical elements)... the heavens (the present religious systems) shall be rolled together as a scroll, and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine.’ This is accentuated in Rev.  6:14: ‘The heaven (present religious systems) departed as a scroll when it  is rolled together’”

Some banks are tottering. “U.S.Steps In To Save Big Illinois Bank. The government Thursday put together a bailout of Continental Illinois National  Bank & Trust Co., whose high‑flying lending practices had it teetering with  huge portfolio of bad loans.”

Butcher Indicted On Fraud Charges” is the heading of a press report. “Financier Jake Butcher, who once headed the $1.5 billion chain of United  American Banks, was indicted Tuesday on 44 counts of diverting millions in bank funds to his personal use in connection with the failure of the banks in Knoxville and Chattanooga. Also indicted were financial consultant, Jesse Barr, 47, and Jack Patrick, 46, a vice president of the now‑defunct United American Bank of Knoxville. The charges include bank fraud, conspiracy and  making false bank entries. ...If convicted, Butcher and Barr would face up to 220 years in prison and fines of $225,000 each. Patrick would face 160 years in prison and a $165,000 fine. ... Butcher and his family moved last  year to a $675,000 home in an exclusive subdivision in southwest Seminole County, Fla. His wife, Sonya, purchased the home with cash.”


Religion continues to be a money‑making pursuit. A Charlotte press  report says: “PTL President Jim Bakker and his wife, Tammy, have acquired a  $449,000 house near Palm Springs, Calif., and a Mercedes and Rolls Royce  costing about $100,000 while continuing pleas to get their television  ministry out of debt. ...Mrs. Bakker said in a telecast Aug. 1 that supporters of PTL, which stands for ‘People That Love,’ must pay the bills  for the organization. ‘Jim and I can’t,’ she said, ‘We’ve given everything  we have. And literally we have given everything.’” 

Tv Preachers Don’t Let Up In Money Crusades,” is the heading of an article by Bruce Buurama: “Money may talk anywhere, but it seems about resoundingly and unceasingly on most religious television broadcasts in this  country. .... The average figure .... means a viewer who watches two hours of  television religion every day can expect to be asked for $138,350 over the course of a year, a sum that is thought to exceed the annual salaries of even  the big‑name evangelists. .... The best known television evangelists included  in the study, all of them Protestants, were Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, Robert Schuller, Rex Humbard, Jim Bakker, M. G. ‘Pat’ Robertson,  Kenneth Copeland, Jack VanImpe and Ernest Angley.”

Gallop Baffled By A ‘Giant Paradox’ – Churchgoing, interest in religion rise along with ‘immoral behavior.’ The man who measures the mood of the nation, pollster George Gallup Jr., has charted confusing and even conflicting  trends before, but none that seem so utterly contradictory as the current  upsurge in America’s religious interest and similar swing toward ‘immoral behavior.’ It is, he said, a profound and ‘giant paradox’ that religion is showing clear signs of revival even as the country is ridden with crime and other problems regarded as antithetical to religious piety.

“‘There is no doubt that religion is growing,’ Gallup told a national seminar of Southern Baptist leaders that concluded Wednesday in Arlington. But we find that there is very little difference in ‘ethical behavior’ between  churchgoers and those who are not active in religious matters. The levels of  lying, cheating and stealing, he added, are remarkably similar in both groups. Eighty percent of Americans consider themselves Christians, said Gallup, yet only about half of the self‑designated believers could identify the person who delivered the biblical Sermon on the Mount (Jesus Christ), and fewer still  could recall as many as five of the Ten Commandments. ...’The Bible for many, is inaccessible,’ said Gallup. ‘We revere the Bible but we don’t read it.’ Pollster George Gallup said, ‘Surveys show most Americans are religious but  their faith often tends to be a superficial sort of feel goodism.”‘

There is an article in Time magazine with the heading “I Was Beheaded In The 1700s. Underneath is “Reincarnation is alive and well in Hollywood.” It is questionable to treat of reincarnation as religion. However, the article states that many stars believe they have lived before. “Sensing the market the National Inquirer hired Pittsburgh Hypnotist Ralph Grossi for flights to Hollywood, where he unfurled the past lives of actors through trances... Says  he: ‘Stars are easy to hypnotize, simply because they are such positive thinkers.’ Loretta Lynn says she wishes she had not learned about previous lives because ‘one life is plenty enough for anybody.”‘

Jehovah’s Witnesses ‑ Time magazine reports: “A secret Michael Jackson cult spreads within Jehovah’s Witnesses, splitting the sect and embarrassing its most famous disciple.

Witness For The Millennium – According to longtime Witnesses, the movement founded by Charles Taze Russell, a Pennsylvania haberdasher  preoccupied with cosmology and Biblical prophecy, was a joyful band of  religious separatist. ...Russell died in 1916, and his autocratic successor,  Judge Joseph Rutherford, saw to it that no matter how many prophecies failed, the Watch Tower Society would survive as God’s own publishing house.  ...Indeed, unless the end comes soon, time will run out for the Witnesses. ... They have mathematical arguments to put off the date of Armageddon until the early decades of the next century, perhaps, but no further.”

Pastor Russell was That Wise and Faithful Servant of Matt. 24:45‑47 – and as such had no successor. However, the Lord has raised up faithful servants who continue to teach in harmony with the Truth that Pastor Russell taught. He was the founder of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, an organization he used to dispense the Truth as given in God’s Word. He never  claimed that organization was “God’s own publishing house,” although during his  lifetime he did use it to glorify God and His Word. But he was not the  founder of the gross errors that are promulgated by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, nor is he responsible for the unrighteous use of that organization as being used today. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have discarded the six volumes of the Studies in the Scriptures, and many of his teachings. They boast of Pastor Russell as their founder when  it suits their purpose.

When Pastor Russell was alive many professed Christians and the clergy, slandered, vilified and falsely accused him when they could not meet the Truth he presented. These were the only weapons they could use, as our laws prohibited them from using physical violence. During the Dark Ages the religionists burned many faithful at the stake, or banished them. Because many faithful Bible students are distributing thousands of the six volumes of the Studies in the Scriptures here in the U. S. as well as in foreign countries, the same kind of religionists continue to slander ant vilify him – a man who has been dead over 68 years! His works do follow him, Just as promised to the faithful:  “Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow  them.” (Rev. 14:13)

In “due time” Pastor Russell’s character will be fully vindicated, although his slanderers and false accusers will be long gone. He was loved and admired by many faithful Christians and Jews. One man said to him, “You are the most loved man in the  world.” “Perhaps – and the most hated,” he replied. He predicted that the Jews would be planted back in Jerusalem after 1914 as a nation – never to be plucked up anymore. They are still having their troubles the same as the Gentile nations are having their troubles. Indeed, we are living in the “Time of Trouble” spoken of by the Prophet Daniel  in 12:1.

However in Jacob’s last trouble, when the anarchists try to crush the Jews in Jerusalem, they will cry unto the Lord, and He will rescue them – fight for them as in the days of old. After their last trouble is over, a new order will be established: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills: and all nations shall flow unto it. 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 of the Kingdom) shall go forth the law, and word of the Lord from Jerusalem (the earthly phase  of the Kingdom).”(Isa. 2:2,3) Of course all will accept Jesus as the promised Messiah at  that time. All peoples will have to become Israelites if they get the blessings of the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31‑33). The New Covenant will be made with the Jews, and therefore  will be Israelitish.

Pastor Russell never tried to convert the Jews to Christianity, knowing that God’s promises were made to the faithful Jews who believe in the Mosaic Law, and God’s promises to them. So he predicted that the Jews would be planted back in Jerusalem  before they recognized Jesus as their Messiah. Pastor Russell was indeed That Wise and  Faithful Servant referred to in Matt. 24:45‑47’ “The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.” (Prov. 3:35)

Pastor Russell is mentioned in several dictionaries and encyclopedias as an American Pastor. However, he gave discourses in many foreign countries including Jerusalem. He was more than an “American” Pastor, as his ministry was world‑wide. In these same dictionaries and encyclopedias Judge Rutherford is mentioned as an  American leader of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Knowing that God has a Plan of Salvation for all mankind, Pastor Russell diligently  searched the Scriptures to learn that Plan: “According to a Plan of the Ages, which he formed for the Anointed Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:11, Dia.) The title of his first volume of the Studies in the Scriptures is taken from that text – THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES.  This book is a veritable key to the understanding of the Scriptures. As said, these volumes are being distributed all over the world by faithful Bible students. However, these volumes, as well as much of Pastor Russell’s teachings, have been set aside by the  Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Contributed) 

It is marvelous to see so many Christians working for the prosperity of the Jews and Jerusalem. Some of these Christians do not fully see God’s Plan and Purpose for all  mankind, but nevertheless the Lord, as He promised, will reward them for their faithful  work in seeking to restore Jerusalem to peace and prosperity. We well realize that a  few who claim to be working for the Jews are doing so for political or other selfish  reasons, but God is overruling all things for the good of His Chosen people, Israel.

A. E. Norden, Jerusalem Post Reporter, On Ishmael And His Brother, gives the  following: “For the Palestinians are only those Arabs and Moslems most hurt by Jewish return to the Promised Land, dispiriting as it may be, the prophetic fact is that the Arabs and we Jews are fated to keep fighting over this sliver of real estate until one side wins and the other loses, or the Messiah comes. ....Upon the final outcome of the battle between these two peoples, representing two opposed principles, the fate of the entire world will depend. ....Ishmael and Isaac, the Arabs and the Jews, aren’t cousins. We’re closer than that – we’re actually half‑brothers. And we have unfinished family business. ....The Old Testament says Ishmael will be ‘a great nation,’ but nevertheless  ‘a wild man’; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. In  any case, the inheritance – the Promised Land – will not be his. .... Hagar’s son will always nurse a fearful grievance. ....As soon as the Jews started coming back with big ideas, Arabs such as Azoury understood what was going on: the formerly favored  half‑brother was coming back from his wanderings to reclaim his inheritance. Isaac would try to elbow Ishmael across the river and into the desert again, at precisely the moment when the Ishmaelites were getting big, nationalistic ideas of their own. ....The Arabs  already have 21 nation‑states of their own, and the Moslems another 21.”

Behind The Scenes At The United Nations ‑ David Horowitz – 5 April 1984 – “The President is not unmindful or ignorant of biblical prophecy which he quotes occasionally. The writer would advise him to open his concordance and check what it has to say under the  word ‘Jerusalem.’ There’s especially one reference which is relative to the day, namely,  Zechariah 12:2‑4: ‘Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of staggering, to all the peoples  round about ....And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all the peoples. All that burden themselves with it (against Israel) shall be sore wounded ...And I will open My eyes upon the House of Judah…

“Tom Lantos, who is the ranking majority member of the Europe and Middle East Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and – note well – the author of  H.B. 4877, the Jerusalem Bill to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, took special pleasure in citing the phrase ‘standing still’ which he said, the ‘President likes to use.’ It has ‘many meanings,’ Lantos notes. ‘In fact, its only meaning is standing on principles. Politics based on appeasement cannot succeed,’ he  emphasizes. ‘We should abandon the hypocrisy of keeping our embassy out of Israel’s capital. It is time to stand tall – on Jerusalem.’”