Another year gone, and we continue to marvel at the scientific achievements of Society. By raising the carbon dioxide content of the air in the storage room it is now possible to keep apples firm and free from deterioration for two years. Also, one farm worker now produces enough to feed 56 people – in contrast to one in Russia feeding only six or eight. One of the advantages that accrues from our efficient farm production is that it frees the other 55 for inventive and productive activity; and this is one of the great causes for the tremendous prosperity that the American people have enjoyed. Only four per cent of the people in the United States are presently engaged in agriculture.
In 1918 one farm worker produced only enough for himself and two other people; and this is silent testimonial to the tremendous progress that has been made in the past sixty years. As late as 1965 one farm worker produced enough to provide for 37 people; thus, even in the past twelve years great strides forward have been made. Therefore, it should be readily apparent that agriculture (from two Latin words, agri and cultura, meaning culture of the fields) is the foundation for our national affluence. The wheat in a 35-cent loaf of bread costs but four cents to produce. Also, presently there is an auto for every two people in the United States. From these two statistics it should be readily apparent that agriculture and the automobile industry must prosper if the remainder of the nation is to prosper. In other words, these two industries must prosper if there is to be general prosperity over the nation.
Furthermore, during this past year the supersonic jet airplanes began to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in about four hours – almost twice the speed of sound. It took Columbus three months to make the same journey when he discovered America. This is definitely one pronounced evidence that we are in “the time of the end” (Dan. 12:4) – “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” The present cruising speed of the ordinary commercial plane is about 625 miles per hour; the Lockheed SR71 made 2,086 miles per hour.
In October 1879 Thomas Edison produced the first incandescent light; and it was such a sensation that the railroads ran special trains for people to take a look at it. This brings to mind the story that sometime later than 1879 a small electric train was invented; and when one rural resident first saw it going without any apparent help, he exclaimed, “You can’t fool me; there’s somethin ‘pushin’ or a pullin’ that thing somewhere.”
Another item of special interest: An effort is now progressing to move the icebergs of the Antarctic region to the Red Sea area. They plan to do this by putting the icebergs in cellophane bags; then tow them to the Red Sea district, take off the cellophane bags and allow the sun to melt them, which would create huge volumes of water to irrigate the dry land of the Red Sea area. It will be recalled that the land of Palestine has very rich soil (“a land flowing with milk and honey”); it is only the lack of water that prevents rich agricultural production.
The deterioration of the financial structure is speeding, if possible, faster than the inventive genius is progressing. According to Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon, interest payments on the federal debt in fiscal 1976 will exceed annual spending for the Vietnam war. He said unless Americans soon begin to realize the devastating consequences of federal spending and taxes, economic freedoms will be lost. Why is it that we do not hear outcries of concern and condemnation of spending programs that are rapidly destroying the spirit of American initiative?
The American dollar today is simply a promise to pay nothing! The value of the dollar has declined over 20 percent in the past four years, and our national debt now exceeds six hundred and four billion dollars. The overall debt – federal, state, city and private is estimated at more than two trillion dollars. Such figures are beyond firm comprehension. The situation is so critical that there are now eighty-one million working in the free enterprise system. This is simply taking it from those who work, and giving it to those who will not, or cannot, work. Bureaucracy has become an uncontrollable monster!
Says another writer about this money thing: “A long time holder of Sterling today would find that he has lost 50% of the value of his money since December 18, 1971. A holder of Lira would have lost 49%. I chose that date incidentally because it was then that the Smithsonian Monetary Agreement was signed. This was, if you recall, supposed to have been an historical agreement that would eliminate the monetary problems that had been plaguing the world.”
Further, quoting the same writer: “Each investment, like the different sections of a symphony orchestra, performs a different function. The cash will be available for personal emergencies or as protective in the event of a major depression. With today’s topsy-turvy economic system resting on an unprecedented pyramid of debt such a calamity cannot be ruled out.”
Comes now the following regarding the Bank of England – onetime money center of the world: “The Bank of England’s minimum lending rate, the key to the nation’s interest rate structure, was raised a staggering two percent to a record 15%. And in another move aimed at curbing the growth of money in the economy, the bank called for a further $1.19 billion in special deposits from the banks. The news had an immediate effect on the stock market, but the pound was boosted on foreign exchange markets from $1.6575 to $1.6685.
“The new rate of 15 percent is a record high for the rate, which has never gone over 13 percent – which it reached September 10 after a 10 percent rise. The urgency of Britain’s bleak economic situation is underlined by the new call for special deposits, just one day after the banks finished handing over deposits called in last month. Special deposits are used by the monetary authorities to cut back the amount of money in the economy. Thursday’s two percent call from the bank will mean that a total of $3.57 billion is now frozen in this way.
“With credit tighter, it will be more expensive for Britons to buy on installment anything from cars to washing machines. British industry will also find it harder to get loans to buy new equipment and expand. The main reason the Bank of England imposed what the Evening Standard called ‘a new era of austerity’ was to impress foreign creditors that Britain is doing something about annual inflation of 13.8 percent and the slide of the pound.” (October 8, 1976)
Another writer gives us this under the caption THE WORLD-WIDE INFLATION DILEMMA: “In Argentina the cost of living rose 335 per cent in 1975. (An interior decorator in Buenos Aires found it cheaper to paper walls with hundred-peso notes than with wall paper!) In Chile consumer prices rose 400 per cent in 1975. Life is marked with shortages, black marketeering, food lines, and civil disorder. In Britain last year, the inflation rate was 21 percent; in Italy 17 percent; in Japan 12 percent; in France 11 percent. These astonishing rates at a time when world inflation was supposedly receding. This year or next, these rates could double, maybe triple....
“Concerning America, you may ask, could that happen here? The answer is it did happen. During the Civil War prices in the South rose an average of ten percent per month for 31 consecutive months. Even in the North, inflation reached high double-digit figures... Living costs are ready to explode. Shocking shortages will follow. The gasoline and food shortages of 1974 were just a hint of what’s in store... In some areas, violence, food riots, and physical danger. Exchange controls will prevent your money being sent abroad. The government may again outlaw private ownership of gold. Travel abroad will be restricted. Wage and price controls will be imposed.... Persons living on fixed incomes will be wiped out.”
On November 3, 1976 – just one day after the election here in the United States there is a detailed description of the situation in England, part of which we quote from the Detroit Free Press: “The latest tumble in the value of the pound is the most dramatic symptom of a sickness that infects Britain, but it is by no means the only sign of economic disease there. The signs of ravage and weakness affect every level of public and private life, and pose the greatest challenge to British stability and financial soundness in years. Put simply, Britain is living beyond her means, and the Labor Government seems unable or unwilling to prescribe a cure...
“A cure, if there is one, will not in any case restore Britain to the ranks of first-class powers, but it might keep her from slipping from second-class into the global minor league... Britain already has taken one big step by applying once more for a huge international loan. This time, Britain wants to borrow $3.9 billion from the International Monetary Fund, which was set up in 1947 so member nations can borrow money in times of trouble...
“The pound, which 18 months ago was worth $2.40, has slumped to as low as $1.56 an all-time low.... The Western World would like to see Britain cut back on its public spending programs, especially in its extensive and expensive social programs that make Britain one of the most comprehensive welfare states... It is an agonizing problem for Prime Minister Callaghan, who contends that his Labor Government has tightened belts at home as much as is politically tolerable....
“Britain has already imposed – with the cooperation of labor unions – limits on wage increases. This lowered the standard of living for the first time since the 1930s. It already imposes taxes so high that thousands of citizens have gone overseas to live and escape them... But more action is needed; a look at the grim statistics show why: Inflation which skyrocketed to 30 percent last year, is still running more than 15 percent higher than a year ago. Only Italy has a worse inflationary problem among rich countries. Unemployment stands at 1.3 million, the highest figure since World War II. The trade balance is heavily in the red; imports are still pouring into the country while exports are dragging. The nation’s debt exceeds $16 billion; and the budget for next year shows a deficit of $20 billion... One major problem is Britain’s need to import more than one-half of all its food and most of the raw materials that its industry needs to manufacture exports. To pay the huge bills Britain must export to survive.
“The public payroll is bloated and an enormous drain on the economy. Some experts think that firing ten percent of the bureaucracy would save Britain the billions that she needs to chop out of the spending program. Others propose a crueler remedy, the elimination of some old-age pensions granted to every one who did not qualify for pensions during their working life. International bankers say that welfare and health care programs, which account for about 65 cents of every dollar spent on medicine and doctors, are all very good, but they are things that a crumbling economy cannot afford.”
In Italy – Another press report says, “Political violence against Italy’s ruling Christian Democratic Party spread from Rome to Florence on Friday. Fears of a government collapse and general elections that could mean Communist gains sent the value of the lira and stocks plummeting for a third straight day. In Florence youths tossed a fire bomb at the Christian Democrats, regional office causing minor damage. Left-wing militants fire-bombed the party’s headquarters in Rome on Thursday and also attacked the Justice Ministry and a police station.
“Christian Democrat secretary Benigno Zaacagnini held talks with Enrico Berlinguer and other leaders of the Communist party, Italy’s second largest. Sources said Zaccagnini rejected proposals to give the Communists a share in economic planning, and there was no progress in easing the crisis. The Socialists, Italy’s No. 3 party with power to topple Aldo Moro’s minority government, have called on the Christian Democrats to give a policy voice to the Communists in an effort to stabilize the economy.
“Milan reported the lira dropped another one percent against the American dollar, closing at 798.90 lira to a dollar, its second lowest ever. It was down 869.75 per dollar Thursday.”
The foregoing means that the lira is worth about 8/100 of one American cent, which means you would be able to buy one ordinary toothpick with one of them. A close personal friend of ours visited Rome last summer; and he told us that Rome is now infested with men on motorcycles, who ride down the main streets of the city snatching purses from people who are walking on the sidewalks. He said this was done to his sister, and the force of the effort knocked her flat into the gutter and just about ruined her clothing.
In Australia – “Australia is as close to industrial anarchy as you can get,” said a top American businessman who asked not to be quoted by name. “The problems with the maritime industry alone are like something out of Gilbert and Sullivan. (It more recently reported that Australia is losing more citizens than are coming into the country—JJH) The frequent disputes and strikes make it almost impossible to do any long-range planning. I think the only reason the labor situation hasn’t scared away potential American investors here is because sitting back in the States they couldn’t possibly realize how ludicrous it is.
“At about the time the ambulance drivers rejected their meat pies, Sydney’s 50 lifeguards pulled down their safety flags and walked off the beach; the fleet of ferries stopped running, leaving thousands of commuters stranded; high school students were planning a strike to protest the present barbaric system of corporal punishment; garbage collectors were out; 6,000 postal workers went on a 24-hour national work stoppage; 760 jail wardens quit work without forewarning, leaving 2,850 inmates locked in their cells; some suburban swimming pools were closed because of a strike at a chemical plant making disinfectant; the petroleum industry was crippled by a strike called when a company supervisor – instead of a union man – handed out wet weather gear to new tank drivers one rainy morning.”
As most of our readers know, the United States will have a new President come January 20. That he is an enigma of most delicate strain is concluded by many men of keen intelligence. The following is taken from a certain writer on the subject: “The radical element of the news media can, when they so determine, take the greatest public official in America, put him in the gutter and convince a majority of the people that he is a crook. The same segment of the news media can take the biggest phony in America and make him appear superior to a combination of Einstein and Solomon. We are seeing this happen in America today....
“A bill is presently pending to guarantee full employment through public jobs, and to provide for total Federal economic planning – a program designed to take from the ‘haves’ and give to the ‘have-nots’.....
“Walter Mondale (Vice-President elect) has the third most strident liberal voting record in the Senate, even more liberal than the Democratic 1972 Presidential Candidate. The President elect has said, and continues to say, ‘Mondale’s political philosophy is compatible with my own’ – a record that is certainly not compatible with the desires of the responsible taxpaying, patriotic citizens, or in the best interests of America.
“One of Carter’s most admired theologians is Reinhold Niebuhr – noted for his favoring of socialism and his support of many pro-Communist organizations such as the ‘American Committee for the Protection of Foreign Born,’ one of the oldest auxiliaries of the Communist Party. He was also one of the founders of the (socialist) Americans for Democratic action. He and his fraternity of theological friends have been among those responsible for the introduction of modernism, liberal philosophy and socialist doctrine into modern religious institutions ....
“The competence of Mr. Carter as a reliable spokesman for Christians must be called into question, for Jesus has said, ‘He that is not with me is against Me.’“
However, we well realize that the Lord sets down one and raises up another – all for His own purposes, especially so during this Epiphany period.
In Italy – As most of our readers know, we are keeping a close watch on the government of Italy; and we follow with a news item of last August: “As Italy lurches into its 39th government in the post-World II period, its friends can only hope that the peculiar chemistry that has held the republic together for the past three decades will once more prove sufficient. Whether it does or not will depend only partly on the whole new political formula under which the still dominant Christian Democrats have had to form their latest government.
“This time the Communists, who received 34.4 percent of the June parliamentary vote, as compared with the Christian Democrats’ 38.7 per cent, have assumed the chairmanships of seven major parliamentary committees, and hold the presidency of the Chamber of Deputies. Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti drew from an all-Christian Democrat list to form his new cabinet, but has had to acknowledge his party’s dependence an communist support, or at least abstention from the vote of confidence that his government will have to face this week. (August 2 item—JJH)
“This will be as much a departure from past form for Communists who have cast negative votes in every previous vote of confidence, as for the Christian Democrats, who for the first time are having to depend on the good will of their Communist adversaries. Since Naples and the largest cities in the industrial north have communist-dominated governments, and since the Communists hold the electoral edge in Rome as well, it’s obvious that the Italian political complexion is changing.” (“They all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up and they shall be changed.”—Heb. 1:11,12)
From the foregoing it should be readily apparent that the Italian government is hanging by a thin thread; and we would counsel our readers to have their financial house in order as much as is possible for them. If the Communists should take over, it will mean the same thing in Italy as respects the Roman Catholic Church as occurred in Russia with the Greek Catholic Church when the Communists seized power there. Even when we do our best in a situation like this, it will still mean the Lord must have us by the hand if we are to escape serious physical and financial catastrophe.
SOUTH AFRICA – In July of last year one financial analyst had this to say: “In South Africa over 300 years ago the whites settled in Capetown and migrated northward. The whites were the first settlers in much of that country. As they migrated northward, they eventually met blacks migrating southward and began to mix. The whites, as original settlers, believe the land belongs to them. They will fight to the last drop of blood to defend it. Today, the whites have all the guns. Their army is the sixth largest in the world, and is one-third the size of the US Army. They have 1,000 planes and 1,000 tanks, Countries like Uganda have five tanks and seven planes. Any serious uprising would make Soweto look like a school picnic....
“Politicians throughout the world inherently lack self-discipline. They have too many constituents asking them to spend more. Give them the opportunity to create money arbitrarily and there is hardly any limit to the amount they will print... I am not suggesting that a return to the gold-based monetary system is imminent. The political realities are such that this is a very remote possibility now. But the current non-system contains the seeds of its own destruction. Unfortunately, the depreciation of the money in your pocket will accompany the determination of the system. The situation is destined to become worse, perhaps culminating in a hyper-inflation if the monetary authorities do not wake up soon. The time for you to protect your assets is before the damage is done, rather than when it is too late.”
What we said aforegoing about Italy could well fit in here, because the Catholic Church is desperately involved in the political situation there. In the last election the Pope threatened to excommunicate any one who supported the Communist cause; but it would seem many of the Roman Catholics ignored the threat. One outspoken example is that of Franzoni, a 48-year-old bespectacled former Benedictine monk, who was abbot of St. Paul without the walls in Rome. His left-wing views lost him the job, and when he spoke out in favor of divorce, he was ordered by the Vatican not to celebrate mass any more.
Another rebellious example is that of Bishop Marcel Lefebvre in Lille, France. In defiance of Pope Paul he performed the mass for 7,000 French Roman Catholics. The 71-year-old priest was applauded when he walked slowly to the altar, the gold stitching on his green chasuble gleaming in the television lights.
Combinationism – Even the Pope himself is departing from the iron-clad rules of the past. In late October he received a delegation of Lutherans and accepted a facsimile edition of the Bible translated by Roman Catholics in 1521. The Pope’s acceptance of the copy of the 1545 Luther Bible and the three-day visit by a delegation from the Lutheran World Federation were seen as steps toward improving relations between the two religious groups... Pope Paul told them their visit served “a further advancement of that mutual understanding which is so basic in the movement toward the re-establishment of full ecclesial communion.”
This brings to mind several prophetic Scriptures: “Say ye not, a Confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, a Confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.” (Isa. 8:12) “They shall surely gather together, but not by me; whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake.” (Isa. 54:15) “The heaven (the present ecclesiastical systems) departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every Mountain (autocratic government) and island (liberal governments) were moved out of their places.” (Rev. 6:14) However, “We shall not fear, though the earth (the present social order) be removed, and though the mountains (autocratic governments) be carried into the midst of the sea” (the restless lawless elements of society).—Psa. 46:2.
A news item along this line emphasizes the growing anarchy: “School crime is growing at a tremendous rate and is costing the taxpayers millions of dollars for the hiring of security police and in damage done to school property. A Fifth Grade class in San Diego, California, recently wrote their State Legislator letters of indignation as a classroom assignment over a certain matter that occurred in their Congressional district, and the four-letter words that were used in the letters written by those youngsters could not be printed in local newspapers, they were so foul and so obscene.”
A further comment regarding the school situation: “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.... The best men in this world are clergymen, and the worst men in this world are clergyman. What could be worse than coming on the television with a program that costs millions of dollars, while making false claims and scoop in the money by the barrel? One of these world-wide ‘soul savers’ was investigated, and it was revealed that he had spent thousands upon thousands, and perhaps close to a million dollars of his ‘soul-saving’ money on the building of a corset factory. Others have established great stock farms filled with grazing herds, cattle, sheep and swine. Remember, I am not condemning the Church or the preachers of the Gospel. I am condemning those who are using the great instruments of communication to deceive and exploit the innocent believers.” (The Vatican has an estimated wealth of about five billion dollars. But of all these men, their presumed leader had said of Himself: “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.”—Luke 9:58--JJH)
The Truth Groups – Since 1916 the Harvest Movement has divided into an oddity of divisions – not as many, nor so numerous as the sects in Big Babylon, nevertheless there is a similarity among some of them in certain respects. Some of these Truth groups are doing a commendable work in the distribution of The Divine Plan of the Ages – a book that is a veritable key to the understanding of the Scriptures. They publish and advertise all the Six Volumes of the Studies in the Scriptures, for which we give our hearty approval and encouragement to all who engage in this good work wherever and whenever opportunity presents itself.
However, we do not include the Jehovah’s Witnesses in this work, because they have long since discarded so much of the teachings of That Servant and have invented “new light” (false doctrines) of their own. They have invented a new Class of their own (“Great Crowd”) for the end of this Age, falsely claiming that all who do not join with them will be annihilated in Armageddon, and thus have no hope of a resurrection. Their reason for casting the teachings of That Servant aside is because these teaching would annihilate their false doctrines.
Another group – the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement – has also invented a new Class (“Consecrated Epiphany Campers”) that their founder never taught, also a Class that That Servant never taught – although they continue to publish the Studies in the Scriptures by both Messengers, which is commendable. Neither of these two invented Classes have any firm Scriptural foundation, or approved by either Star Member. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have repudiated the Scriptural promises to the Jews, and claim these promises for their organization. The Laymen’s Home Missionary also claim the promises to the Jews for their new non-existent Class of Epiphany Campers Consecrated – although they do not eliminate the Jews altogether, as do the Witnesses.
The Jews – A recent press report regarding the Soviet campaign against the State of Israel says this has reached a new peak – hinting at a massive Jewish purge in Russia. At very least, it would seem to be aimed at stalling US Arab-Israeli peace efforts.
Says the news item: “Sen. Jacob Javits of New York, a leading US guardian of the interests of Soviet Jews, was so aroused by this news that he wrote a personal letter to Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin, in which he asked if this latest onslaught has the full backing of the Russian State, or is it just unsanctioned harangues from anti-Semitic extremists. So far as we know, his letter has not been answered.”
According to our understanding of the Scriptures, the troubles of the Jews in all parts of the world will increase before they cease; but the Jews are now established in Canaan land, and no power on earth will be able to expel them again. We offer a few citations: “The Lord said to Abram... I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great... I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.” (Gen. 12:1-3) “I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee... all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession.” (Gen. 17:8) “Behold, I will make thee (Jacob) fruitful... I will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.” (Gen. 48:4) “Fear thou not, 0 Jacob, my servant: for I am with thee: for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure.” (Jer. 46:28)
However, this will not come without a measure of tribulation for the Jews. Concerning the end of the Age, it is written: “That day (this evil day) is great, so that none is like it (“a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation”); it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” (Jer. 30:7)
“I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.” (Zech. 14:2,3)
Thus we say, with strong assurance, the Jews are to have Palestine for an everlasting possession; and no force on earth will be able to evict them from it. And those that give them help will be correspondingly blessed; and those that hinder them will be cursed. “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”
When earth’s last picture is painted, and the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colors have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it – lie down for an aeon or two,
Till the Master of all Good Workmen shall set us to work anew!
And those that were good will be happy: they shall sit in a golden chair;
They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets’ hair;
They shall find real saints to draw from – Magdalene, Peter and Paul;
They shall work for an age at sitting and never be tired at all!
And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master shall blame;
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame;
But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They Are!
We are deeply grateful and appreciative to all who have wished us well for the Holidays and the New Year – and we reciprocate with cordial good wishes to all our readers for their physical and spiritual health now and during 1977. “May the God of all grace make you perfect, stablish, strengthen and settle you.” (1 Pet. 5:10)
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
ANNOUNCEMENT OF GENERAL INTEREST
The date of the Memorial of our Lord’s Last Supper is April 1, 1977, after 6 p.m. Details will be furnished later.