Looking back over 1977 we are once more awed by the tremendous scientific achievements of the more enlightened nations. For instance, the French now have the fastest operational bomber – the Dassault Mirage IV – which can fly 1450 miles per hour at 36,000 feet, which is more than twice as fast as the speed of sound. The best commercial planes in the United States have a cruising speed of about 625 miles per hour less than half the speed of the bomber. Also, the world’s heaviest bomber – the Boeing B-52H Stratofortress – has a maximum takeoff weight of 488,000 pounds. Another commercial airplane now can go from the U. S. to England in 116 minutes; these figures stagger the imagination, especially so when we consider that the airplane was invented in 1903 – a little over 75 years ago. “In the time of the end many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.” (Dan. 12:4) When we consider the great numbers of people who “run to and fro,” and the great increase in knowledge, this one item alone without any chronology, without any parallel dispensations, etc. – should convince any open mind that we are definitely “in the time of the end.”
The same applies also to agriculture. Note this news report: “What Mohammed Ali is to boxing, Roy Lynn of western Michigan is to corn, the champ Lynn claimed the title Wednesday (published October 20, 1977) after completing a harvest of 352.64 bushels of corn from a single acre of his farm just south of Kalamazoo.” When we were a boy on an Ohio farm we produced 50 bushels to the acre, and it was the admiration of the entire county.
A telephone company employee has told us they now have instruments so sensitive that if a telephone is tapped anywhere in the city, they will know it in thirty seconds; and will know whether it was tapped on the property of the user, or on the line out in the alley. These instruments are so sensitive that they are affected by smoke; therefore, no smoking is allowed in the room where they are kept.
The debts of the various nations continue to snowball at a rapid rate. Here in the United States some statisticians estimate the overall debt – national, state, city and private at something between three and four trillion dollars. All the large cities are hopelessly bogged down with debt, which prevents them from maintaining adequate police protection, and proper maintenance of public facilities. Recently in Detroit all the street lights went out on a main street in the downtown area; and it was over three weeks before they were restored, thus exposing the citizenry to the mercy of hoodlum elements.
In New York City – “They turned the lights out in New York last week. (July 1977) They should have left them off! When they came on again a sorry sight was revealed. Large sections of the city were in a complete shambles. Looting and burning of commercial establishments was on a scale rarely, if ever, seen in any other part of the United States. At one automobile showroom, display windows were smashed and fifty brand-new cars were driven away. In another location, a four-story furniture store was completely emptied! Looters even took the light fixtures off the walls. On one street, forty out of forty-six stores were completely destroyed or vandalized. In some of the clothing stores, looters had not only taken all the clothing, but they stole the mannequins, too. Out of town papers have described sections of New York as war zones. It is little wonder! Policemen who were attempting to arrest looters encountered organized sniper fires that prevented them from doing their duty. Older people in these communities are saddened and will be severely affected. One mother poignantly summarized the impact of the looters when she stated, ‘They are destroying their own neighborhood and they think it’s a game.’
“Sociologists, television commentators and newspaper editors have been offering a variety of interpretations of the causes of these calamitous disorders. There are, of course, any number of sociological implications in any such catastrophe. I find it ironic that of all the analyses done so far none seems to have come to the heart of the problem – inflation.
“Century after century in one civilization or another it has been proven that when the value of money is destroyed the destruction of society follows. Order vanished in an inflationary environment. The financial squeeze resulting from inflation forced normally reasonable people to do the unthinkable. This has occurred throughout history and it is happening right now. Countries plagued by chronic inflation are continually beset by political disturbances. Even such civilized nations as England, France and Italy are being wrecked by unprecedented instability. The English policemen have never had to carry guns, so high was the respect for law and order in that country. Now they are considering carrying weapons. The Bobbies are finding that their wooden truncheons are no match for angry mobs, anarchists, bomb throwers or the hardened criminals roaming the streets today. France and Italy have exorbitantly high inflation rates. The administration of government in both of these countries is collapsing and the Communists are close to victory......
“An inflation-infected country finds the virus spreading into all aspects of society. There is a complete breakdown of moral conduct. Pornography and prostitution are thriving. The widespread breakdown of morality serves as the ultimate rationalization for the looter and criminal........
“No End In Sight – The news on the inflation front is not at all encouraging these days. Public officials are trying to persuade us that the 6% – 7% current inflation rate is something you can live with. But, even a 5% inflation rate doubles the price level in fifteen years. If you are in your fifties and planning for your retirement, do you think you will find it easy to set aside a cash reserve that will provide you double today’s living costs? Last year alone the price of an average new car rose $700 over 1975..... We are now told that this year’s and next year’s combined deficits will be over one hundred billion dollars. Think of it – a one-hundred-billion dollar deficit in just two years!
“There are already fifteen million people on government payrolls now. Their wages are $4000 above the average of all domestic industries. Government employees are earn 36% more than the guy working in the private sector. This continuous expansion of the public sector is precisely the route England has followed over the past thirty years. As more and more people are taken out of the profit stream and put on public payrolls, profits will not only shrink, but the burden an those working in the private sector becomes even greater. They have to support a larger number on the public payrolls. It is very much like the situation in New York City, except an a much larger scale. The relief load and the public payroll in New York has grown so large that it creates an enormous tax burden on the few working people who remain. These taxes just drive more and more productive people and corporations out of the city and make the problem even more serious.
“The United States is not yet in the same predicament as England, Italy, France or the banana republics. However in 1975, agricultural exports from the United States peaked at $11.5 billion. The best guess is that, this year, agricultural exports will be around $7 billion. Merchandise exports have also been on the decline. The U.S, is gradually losing its competitive position.
“Finance Minister Hans Apel has been alarmed about the constant decline in the dollar. He stated, ‘a steady fall in the dollar would ultimately bring about serious worldwide currency unrest.’...... This could result in the destruction of many of the financial markets as we know them today..... Many Germans clearly remember the great inflation between World War I and World War II. It destroyed the middle class and helped bring Hitler to power. They are well aware that inflation not only destroys capital, but society as well..... The U.S. is losing control of its people, prices and export markets.” (July 22, 1977 by BAXTER FINANCIAL Bulletin 29)
We have quoted much more than usual from the above because we believe it expresses accurate appraisal on finance in general. Following is a quotation from another writer:
“Our readers are not interested in politics. We just show them pictures of people getting bashed on the head. The sex market is saturated. Violence is going to be the next big thing in this field, and we are on the ground floor. Indeed – And the earthquake that is rumbling and that will bring down the building society that planted such a leaf will come down upon those denizens of the ground floor.” Another newspaper carries this story: “ROME – Two Fiat car company executives were wounded by leftest, and a night watchman was found shot dead, apparently by rightists, in gun attacks yesterday that followed a night of bombings........ The shootings came after bombings during the night in Bologna, Pardenone, Rome and Spoleto....... Fourteen people have now been the victims of such attacks this month......... The hitherto feuding Christian Democrats, Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, Republicans and liberals all agreed on a program to try to halt political violence, as well as curb rampant inflation and unemployment.”
In England there is an organization that has but three goals: Violence, sex and destruction.
Come January 20 of last year a new president took office in the United States. That he had made campaign promises prior to election that were just impossible for him or any one else to keep was apparent to some of us then; and it is now apparent to many people. He had promised to balance the Government budget; and what we quoted aforegoing about a 100-Billion-Dollar deficit for his first two years in office needs no further comment.
In keeping with this, we quote now from the Jewish Press, which fits in well here: “After spending nine days in Davos, Switzerland attending the European Management Symposium, where pessimism ran high, it is not too difficult to understand why President Carter rushed Vice-President Mondale to Europe to meet with each European Head of State. If the European leaders think and feel the way the politicians, industrialists, scholars and bankers attending this Symposium thought, it is not hard to guess what Mondale was told. Present at this Symposium were six hundred of Europe’s top executives, including chief executive officers of the largest industrial concerns and banking institutions, along with political leaders and university professors among which were several Nobel Prize winners. The participant American companies at the Symposium were multi-national in nature with extensive investments in Europe.
“I have been to Europe ten times since the Yom Kippur War, but only now is it apparent that the scholars and industrial leaders realize the true significance of what happened that October day in 1973. The world can never be the same. It must recognize that we entered a new era and must face the new realities, economic as well as political that were created by the events of 1973-1974. Just as the end of World War I in 1918 ushered in a world totally changed from that which existed before the first shot was fired in 1914, raising dramatically the expectation levels of the newly created, as well as the old, freedom societies. Just as the stock market crash of 1929 brought a 12-year era to an abrupt end, forcing the advanced, developed societies of Europe and America to make abrupt changes in their personal and collective expectations.
“Just as these expectations developed and grew over the post World War II period, they parallelly developed into rights, claims against the governments and then to legal entitlements. Western Europe, Japan and the United States have entered a new era, which began that Yom Kippur day in 1973, in a world where the very high level of growing expectation had evolved into a very legal entitlement. Now the free world is in a net deficit balance of payments. A huge amount of capital is flowing to the OPEC Nations. The demand for capital for expanding the economies to absorb the unemployed, under employed and the new entries to the labor market cannot be met due to the high level of claims against the remaining capital needed to satisfy those legal entitlements in the form of social services.
“The fact of the matter is that the free world, especially Europe, is faced with the problems of readjusting its expectations and local entitlements or face political disaster. The mood of the Symposium participants was bleak to say the least. The demands by the societies of Europe are beyond the ability of the present leadership to fulfill. The economic uncertainties created in Europe by this situation are causing European capitalists to cut down their investments in Europe, creating a large flow of capital from Europe to the United States. Billions of dollars are in the process of being invested in the United States by European investors. Couple that with increased flow of capital to OPEC, and the situation becomes most delicate indeed.”
The political marauders are truly on the march; and time has taught them some things – one of these being that the capitalist giant was much too strong for them to conquer. Therefore, they have adopted a different approach: Let the giant destroy himself; let the capitalistic burden become so great that it will topple over of its own weight. The Social Security system is presently insolvent, and the politicians are busy making such adjustments as will postpone the fatal reckoning – at least until they are out of office. Many industries today owe more to their pension fund than the market value of their stocks. As one workman said to another, “I just received a raise in pay; now I can afford to go a little deeper in debt.”
The religious structure is also much infested with “wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores; from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it.” (Isa. 1:6) “How is the faithful city become an harlot! It was full of judgment (sound teachings); righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards.” (Isa 1:21,22) Here is a paragraph from one publication:
“The University campuses and even the elementary schools are filled with teachers and professors who place no faith in spiritual values, and are teaching their students that faithless materialism is the solution of life. Even if they do consent to a form of faith, they almost invariably ridicule the Christian religion.
“To be an apostate is to betray the traditions of Christian faith which are summarized in the New Testament. These traditions recognize the virgin birth, the deity of Jesus Christ, the resurrection from the grave, the ascension to Heaven and the introduction of the Holy Spirit to lost mankind by the apostles approximately ten days after the ascension. Today we have thousands of clergymen in Protestant and Catholic churches who do not believe these fundamentals. Many of them dress like clergymen with reverse collars and black robes, others do not, but they accept the ordination and represent themselves as ‘Reverends.’ They have seized control of the bureaucratic and ecclesiastical machinery of most of the denominations both Catholic and Protestant, and those of us who still believe in the great miraculous simplicities of traditional faith are being made the objects of ridicule – not only in the materialistic educational institutions, but from the very pulpits that were built by the blood, sweat and tears of our believing fathers and mothers. When the late Bishop Bromly Oxham, the head bishop of the Methodist Church, died it was revealed that he had taken special training in Moscow and had at one time or another belonged to some 33 Red-front, pro-Communist and Communist organizations.
“Hold yourself while you read this sentence. The clergy of America, both Catholic and Protestant, are saturated with the perverted crime of homosexuality, lesbianism, and sodomy. One Bishop of the Episcopal Church recently congratulated those who were giving sex perverts a warm welcome into the church without asking them to repent of sin. He pronounced them as a minority and said they deserved the cordiality of the church as much as any one. The Governor of California (a bachelor) recently signed a bill repealing the laws against homosexuality, lesbianism, adultery and sodomy – even though he admitted that his mail from the public, before he signed the bill, was 100 to 1 against its repeal. A high official in the government of Los Angeles recently announced that he was naming a homosexual to his executive staff in order that that element of the public might be represented. As this went to press, the State of Connecticut was voting on a bill to legalize sex perversion and remove it from the criminal list, etc., etc. It is not difficult to see that this pervasive circumstance could drop us into the same pitch pit of satanic destruction that swallowed up Sodom and Gomorrah.
“Even though America has not voted itself into the Communist column, the Christ-hating materialism of Marxist Communism and Socialism is blighting every phase of our life, and we hear Socialism and Communism glorified in school rooms, on university campuses and from church pulpits. In California there is a Black woman by the name of Angela Davis who is one of the highest authorities in the Communist Party. She cannot keep up with her speaking engagements and is paid from $1,500 to $3,000 per speech to address students on American campuses where the whole expense of the campus is borne by the taxpayers of America.”
On the brighter side of things there is this refreshing statement: “A major church is changing its story on a fundamental ‘Christian’ doctrine – the immortality of the soul. The German Lutheran Evangelischer Erwachsenenkatechismus (Evangelical Catechism for Grown-ups) states that the source of this teaching is the ‘Greek’ philosopher Plato (427-347 B.C.), who contended emphatically that there was a difference between body and soul.
“This new Lutheran catechism states: ‘Evangelical theologians of modern times challenge this combination of Greek and Biblical concepts. They reject the separation of man into body and soul. Since man as a whole is a sinner, therefore at death he dies completely with body and soul (full death). The resurrection of the dead therefore has no connection with man, it is a completely new creation by God. Between death and resurrection there is a gap; the individual continues his existence at best in God’s memory.”
The Baptists – “President Carter’s appointment last week (July 18, 1977) of a personal representative to the Vatican has infuriated the President’s fellow Baptists and has touched off a flurry of religious strife. The Rev. Jimmy Allen of San Antonio, newly elected president of Carter’s denomination, the 13-million-member Southern Baptist Convention, fired off a telegram to the President charging that the appointment ‘is in violation of the spirit and probably the letter of the first Amendment to the Constitution.’ The First Amendment provides for separation of church and state.
“Dr. James E. Wood of the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, with a constituency of 25 million Baptists, raised a similar complaint in a telegram of protest to the White House. He added that the appointment of a Vatican envoy ‘also officially underscores the special concern of this government for one religious body to the point of preferential treatment not accorded any other church or religious body anywhere else in the world.’” (From the Washington Post)
Episcopalians – Another newspaper: “Four Episcopal priests whose congregations voted to sever relations with the Episcopal Church after it accepted women as priests have been removed from the ministry. Bishop Robert C. Rusack of the diocese of Los Angeles took the action in the chapel of the diocesan headquarters Friday morning, it was learned Wednesday. Rusack had suspended the priests six months ago after their congregations had decided to break away from the denomination and exercise autonomous control over their church property. The recent strife over women priests and a proposed new prayer book, changes traditional Episcopalians deplore, has caused unrest throughout the denomination. At least a dozen parishes have voted to secede from dioceses, and more separations are contemplated. Only one other priest – in Denver – had previously been deposed over the issue.”
Billy Graham – In another newspaper there are three columns about this man and his finances. It seems he has accumulated assets of 23 million dollars – in stocks, bonds and real estate. That would be the book value, of course, so the net worth could be very much more than that, or very much less. We quote one short paragraph: “Graham has written a 2500-word defense .... but what he did not say is that without knowing of the fund’s existence, there is no way to check with the IRS about it. And Graham and his associates have gone out of their way to make sure people didn’t find out about the fund.”
Roman Catholics – Here is a portion of what one newspaper printed regarding this group: “Since it lost the power to burn heretics at the stake 200 years ago, excommunication has been the Roman Catholic Church’s strongest weapon. Now its impact appears weak. Past pontiffs could and did topple kingdoms by excommunicating delinquent monarchs, thus absolving their subjects from oaths of obedience.
“Bishops once could isolate a man from his friends, destroy his business and even drive him out of town with an excommunication decree. Excommunication instilled such horror in Roman Catholic Emperor Henry IV, for instance, that in 1076 he humiliated himself on his knees in the snow to beg forgiveness from Pope Gregory VII. But for most of today’s 700 million Roman Catholics, excommunication – barring a Catholic from receiving the sacraments and thus inflicting a ‘spiritual death’ on the believer – it is a holy terror no longer.
“In today’s pluralistic societies these kinds of penalties don’t mean much. You might say excommunication is going out of style. Because of its diminishing impact in the modern world the church has become increasingly reluctant to wield its most powerful weapon. But some excommunications are automatic and are thus incurred by the very fact that a person has committed a certain offense. The 40 grounds for automatic excommunication include such obvious crimes as ‘laying violent hands on the person of the Roman pontiff,’ ‘casting away or keeping the host for evil purpose and stealing papal property.’ “Other grounds are surprising – not in the offenses they list, but in those they do not mention. Excommunication is the penalty for dueling, but not for premeditated murder. A woman who has an abortion is excommunicated, but a rapist is not. A woman who falsely accuses her confessor of attempted seduction is excommunicated, as is one who fails to report such an attempt. There is no excommunication, however, for the priest guilty of “solicitation” in the confessional, unless he pretends to absolve his accomplice in sin of the “impurity.”
“The most serious excommunication is one where the culprit is decreed “vitandus” or be shunned. But with the exception of certain vile crimes, such as doing violence to the pope, it is rarely inflicted. The crimes for which one can be excommunicated “vitandus” are so terrible that people don’t talk about them – and probably don’t do them any more, said a Vatican legalist.
“No one, not even the pope, can decide that a man will go to hell,” said one Jesuit authority. ‘That is something that is between each man and God.’ He said excommunication is the way of saying you’ve got to change your ways if you want to call yourself a Catholic.
“For much the same reason that Britain’s King Henry VIII was excommunicated in 1533 for refusing to bow to papal authority, Cuba’s premier Fidel Castro was excommunicated for impeding the work of clerics in Cuba. The church has also tried to fight Communism with decrees threatening automatic excommunication for any Catholic who voted Communist. Under that ruling, ten million Catholics technically excommunicated themselves by voting Communist in the 1976 national elections.
“The church has also used excommunication in the cases of ‘public outrage’ as a way of setting an example. In such an effort, Archbishop Joseph F. Rummel of New Orleans in 1962 excommunicated three Catholic segregationist leaders who had tried to block his school integration orders.”
Although excommunication is waning with the Roman Catholic Church, not so with the little Catholic Church – the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It seems that the Catholics have reformed somewhat when they say “No one, not even the pope, can decide that a man will go to bell. That is something that is between each man and God.” Not so with the Jehovah’s Witnesses – they tell us that all who do not join with them before Armageddon will be annihilated in Armageddon! They are ever ready to cast out from their midst any and all who tend to question any of their atrocious errors. Thus they are now taking up where the “mother church” has left off. The Laymen’s Home Missionary adopts much the same tactics, although in a more limited degree: they say those who actively oppose their errors are out of the Household of Faith. However, they are more generous with others who don’t agree with them – especially those who do not actively attack their errors. All during the Age strenuous efforts were made to crush any and all who exposed the errors of the “one true church”; but it only tended to invigorate the protesters. In this connection, it is well to stress here that the Witnesses are the only group emanating from the Harvest Truth of which we know that has forsaken the six volumes of Parousia Studies in the Scriptures.
Volume One – The Divine Plan of the Ages – is a clear and eloquent outline of the “Plan of the Ages, which he formed for the anointed Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:11, Dia.) All the other groups with whom we have had any contact are distributing those books especially so The Divine Plan – and we ourselves never pass up an opportunity to distribute this wonderful book. Regardless of what faults may appear in any of the groups, we feel they all should be warmly commended for their activity in the distribution of these books. We would also add a word here for Parousia Volume 4 – The Battle of Armageddon. It was written eighty years ago in 1897, yet much of it reads as though it were written in 1977. We emphasize especially pages 145-147; and we will gladly supply this book to any one who requests it.
Follows now another item re Catholics just ignoring Hell: “Hell has fallen so far out of fashion that it has even lost its oomph as a curse word, the Rev. James Breig said in the November issue of US Catholic magazine. Surveys show 70 per cent of Roman Catholics believe in life after death, Breig said, but only one-third believe in hell. And of those who do believe in hell, only one person in eight feels hell is a real threat to him, he said. Catholics are not so much denying hell as just ignoring it, he said. What we may have here is closing our eyes and hoping it will go away.
“For many, he said, Hell is sort of a whimsical place, more of a joke than an eschatological reality. It is a fictional domain, created from one part Dante and one part Milton, with a dash of religious art thrown in. The effects of the ‘trivialization’ of hell extend even to the language, Breig said. Hell has become so trivialized that it has lost its force as a curse. ‘Go to hell’ is a suggestion friends share. ‘The hell it is’ is an exclamation of surprise and incredulity. “Damn it’ is something we utter when we stub our toes, and not an eternal sentence.”
GENERAL – It is reported that Communist reorganization has been done at the expense of more than one million lives, many of whom were slaughtered in an assembly-line fashion by Communist soldiers savagely stabbing their victims through the chest and in the back. This gruesome story has been written in detail by Reader’s Digest editors John Barron and Anthony Paul, who said the theory behind the “total social revolution” was to destroy traditions and culture surrounding Cambodian citizens and instill them with new values created by the Communist party. People desperately ill in hospital beds were ordered to get out and walk to the jungle, where many of them quickly perished.
“In every large society, the have-nots (Communists: A Communist is simply a capitalist that’s broke—JJH), the need-mores, and the want-mores always constitute a majority. The trend to the left begins the day this majority discovers that, by virtue of the principle of majority rule, they possess the political power to elect governments that will provide them free services and benefits which will be paid for out of taxes levied on the have-more minority.” (Clare Booth Luce)
From another magazine: “The courts have consistently ruled in favor of pornography. America is being eaten up by this cancerous infection. It is satanic; it is evil. It is repulsive and it is taking on a more ominous toll each day, and we are likely to share the terrible fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Another paragraph: “Arson has become one of New York’s plaguing crimes. In the last six months before the blackout, fire department officials counted 3,704 fires caused by arson, as well as another 27,196 structural fires, half of which are believed to be arson. During the 36-hour blackout period 1,037 fires were recorded, about 70% of which are estimated to be arson. In 1976 there were 6,776 arson and 56,127 structural fires recorded – a loss estimated at $200 million.”
Many thanks for the Holiday greetings of good wishes, love and prayers, which were appreciatively and gratefully received. We extend to all our warm Christian love and good wishes for your physical and spiritual health throughout 1978. “Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” (Psa. 97:12) The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
I am hoping you are always in good health – you and all with you. I am happy and glad to send a translation of your paper No. 260 – printed in French. It is a very good article! I am now translating some questions and Answers from your papers for another special paper in French. I trust the Lord will bless my labor for the brethren. But there’s one sure thing: He very much blessed me by the articles from you, my dear Brother! May our dear Heavenly Father continue to bless you and all the others at the Bible House in your labor of love for the brethren.
I am sending to you, Sister Hoefle and the others my warm brotherly love and my Christian kiss.
Affectionately in Him, I am your brother, ------- (BELGIUM)
Dear Brother Hoefle:
We are having a wonderful and studious time here in the Holy Land – have traveled much to see the many Bible sights. Your papers are proving stimulating and enlightening. I’m sure you are doing a wonderful work for the Lord. Will be leaving for home tomorrow. God bless you and keep you!
Your brother ------- (JERUSALEM)
As per your offer, please send me The Resurrection of the Dead, Two Distinct Salvations, The Three Babylons, God’s Great Sabbath Day and The Great Reformer.
Yours truly, ------- (NEW JERSEY)
ANNOUNCEMENT OF GENERAL INTEREST
Our Memorial comes this year March 21 after 6 p.m., and we suggest Sunday March 11 through Sunday April 1 for our Special Effort in Antitypical Gideon’s Second Battle against Eternal Torment and the Consciousness of the Dead. All who wish to join us in this “good fight,” please order the pertinent literature in time. Our literature is free, postage paid.