Another year gone – with events in finance, science, government and religion too numerous to detail. Considering first a few scientific facts: It is common news about the Astronauts who circled the earth for eleven successive days at a speed of 17,000 miles per hour. What a contrast to Sir Isaac Newton’s prophecy that he believed the time would come that men would travel at the rate of fifty miles per hour. And for this he was called an old man in his dotage, taken to reading the Bible, which had prompted him to such a foolish prediction. But, viewing present-day speed in the light of Bible prophecy – “In the time of the end many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Dan. 12:4) – this one thing alone, the great increase in speed and travel, should persuade even the skeptical that we are indeed in “the time of the end.” Some months back we left Detroit, Michigan in the early morning by plane for Albany, New York – spent about five hours there, then to New York City, thence to Orlando, Florida, all within a period of about fifteen hours. We observed afterward that it would have taken our Lord about a whole year to cover that much mileage when He was here at His First Advent.
Further, a radio report stated a scale had been developed that was sensitive enough to weigh a fly’s tongue. Whether or not this may have been exaggeration, we know of our own knowledge that the gold-mining industry has balances so fine that they will weigh a sheet of paper, then will record the additional weight of a heavy pencil mark on that paper. Also, a clock has been developed that will keep time to one-millionth of a second – will not lose or gain more than one second in three years. And computers are now operating that will handle items at the rate of 400,000 per second – almost the speed of light.
The “house of paper” money continues to enlarge almost in keeping with the items aforementioned. Early last year a gold crisis appeared, making such a run on the United States gold stock that the gold markets over the world were forced to close. Over that week-end a makeshift arrangement was adopted, but of such shoddy nature that many financial experts agree it has only postponed the awful day of reckoning. As one wit has expressed it – Economics are terribly simple, bit simply terrible when politicians get into it.
In May-June the economic structure of France almost collapsed; but, whatever may be our opinion of General DeGaulle, many brilliant minds admit he revealed superb strategy in the way he handled the situation then. But conditions in France are by no means firmly settled.
With all this the International Monetary Fund continued its annual September get-together (this last year in Washington, D. C.) for the usual feasting, drinking, and foggy effusions that somehow seem to justify its continuance. One English financial publication of recognized merit said something like this about that meeting:
“It was very tempting in Washington this week to crack the old joke about the joint get-together of the International Monetary fund and World Bank by describing it as the fun and bunk meeting. So it seemed for the most part. The monologues delivered by one finance minister after another to a half-deserted flag-draped hall in the Sheraton Park Hotel seemed even more thanusually full of platitudes and sanguine hope. But let’s be fair: few of us expected that anything much could happen and what has occurred has been good.
“First, some progress was made in the debate on South African gold sales. Second, positive encouragement was given to the activation of the new scheme of Special Drawing Rights in the IMF, SDRS. Third, some oneness of mind was expressed about possible further reforms in the international monetary system of the kind that only a year or so back would have been looked upon as utterly crackpot in any bankers’ forum.
“It hasn’t, therefore, been playtime for everybody. Behind the formal scenes many officials concerned themselves day in and day out with the problem of South African gold. At first Americans and Europeans mistrusted each other so much that neither side would allow the other to meet the South Africans alone. But, as in so many similar circumstances, it soon became a matter of finding an agreed wording sufficiently flexible to be face saving all around. The Americans want a formula that would in theory allow the gold price in the free market to fall below $35 an ounce, while at the same time conceding that under certain circumstances gold producers should be guaranteed purchases by the IMF at the official price. There is no doubt that the IMF has a legal obligation to purchase gold from members at $35 an ounce, and nobody believes that a realistic distinction can be made between monetary and newly mined gold. On the other hand the IMF has an overriding obligation to maintain stability in the international monetary system, and it might argue that these two obligations are not compatible.”
At this writing (Nov. 11, 1968) the price of gold on the open market is over $39 per ounce, so it has advanced above the official $35 price instead of falling below it, as some argued it would do if allowed to find its own market level. The English commentator continues:
“Central bankers will be in no mood to consider any other radical changes for some time. Yet, for all their brave front, they have been badly shaken by the awful financial crises of the past twelve months, and they suspect that in the end some further re-shaping of the mechanism will be inevitable.”
And in keeping with the foregoing, the debts of Governments, States, Cities, Corporations and individuals (especially here in the United States) continue to rise, which has prompted one financial counselor to offer this appraisal:
“I would guess that one-third of all American families are over-extended in their debts and are on the brink of serious trouble.... If this country, for just a period of ninety days, eliminated credit, it would make 1929 look like an age of optimists.”
Yet, with all of this tremendous debt increase the interest rates are going up instead of down. One prominent Canadian authority takes note of this by pointing out that the total interest on the Canadian national debt in 1937 was $127,900,000; but in 1967 it was $1,270,939,000 – about ten times what it was thirty years ago. He then offers this sage conclusion:
“Humanity can have peace and goodwill, but it cannot have peace and USURY.” Another writer on the same subject: “If you want to compare this entire inflationary situation with 1929, it will scare you down to the end of your big toe. In 1929 most people who had homes owned them. Today hardly any one owns his home. He owes it! In 1929 most people who had automobiles owned them, or for the most part owned them. Today everybody owes their automobiles. In 1929 the furniture in your house was paid for. Today it is not. The credit structure of today is absolutely staggering. Banks have about an 8% cash reserve.” And we ourselves might add here that banks are permitted to carry their Government and Municipal bonds in their portfolio at what they paid for them; whereas, some of these bonds are down almost thirty per cent from the original purchase price. If they were forced to show these bonds at present market price, many banks would be insolvent.
A METHOD TO THE MADNESS – Many have been the criticisms by those who see clearly the fallacy of present policies, but their protests fall on deaf ears for the most part – partly because of the apathy of the average citizen, and partly because of the economic circumstances of many of them. It matters little to a street sweeper what is our national debt; nothing could bother him less. Also, few of the politicians know much about finance, and most of them are too lethargic to inform themselves about it, leaving it, as they do, to the ‘money’ men – the Secretary of the Treasury, etc. But one monetary authority has caustically remarked:
“Never under-estimate the stupidity of the Treasury Department.” Yet another one comments: “You should not attempt to follow the fortunes of the United States Treasury Department unless you have a distinctly developed taste for soap opera.”
But there is yet an underlying cause for the present financial turmoil: The Marxists and men of similar bent have been shrewd enough to realize the colossal strength of the capitalistic system, and to realize they cannot topple it over of their own strength – much for the reasons stated aforegoing about the attitude of Mr. Average Citizen. So they determined upon a deep-laid scheme to allow capitalism to provide its own undoing, the central part of the plan being to have the capitalistic countries issue so much paper that the system will collapse of its own weight. Such a jolt, accompanied by widespread losses among the uninformed, would then arouse all to the weaknesses of present monetary policies; and it would then be easy enough to create a world-wide socialism upon the ruins of the present structure. And it would seem the realization of their scheme is not too far in the future.
Of course, the spoilers of present capitalism fail to recognize the fallacies inherent in their own invention. Were they possessed of that much financial skill, they would now be capitalists themselves, with no wish to change the system. In fact, we ourselves are acquainted with some who were ardent Socialists until they came into ‘money’ – then they were more “capitalistic” than the capitalists themselves. We believe That Servant gave the proper analysis when he said that capitalism is the best system for the human race in its present undone condition. The average person is yet totally unprepared for Utopian conditions, wherein every man may be a king, with policemen and armies an unnecessary burden. It is not at all difficult to see the faults of present capitalism; but this does not mean at all that Socialism or Communism offer a better answer to man’s problems. As one prominent speaker has said, A Communist is simply a capitalist that’s broke. Thus, we advise our readers to follow the advice of That Servant to stand aloof of present social elements, to refrain from positive action against existing institutions, knowing that eventually the only cure for present ills is the gracious voice of The Christ, “Peace, be still.”
The political status has changed in the United States once more; and we believe it is safe to assume that the change will bring with it increasing difficulties – domestic and foreign. A new broom usually sweeps clean; but, when people have been accustomed to living in bad surroundings, they often resent any attempt to cleanse their residences – much the same as bugs living under a rotten board object to the daylight. For some thirty years now most nations have been on a tremendous spending spree, and any attempt to correct this is certain to produce opposition. To illustrate the distorted thinking that prevails in some minds today, a certain company had been losing money for a few years – so much so that it was no longer practical or sensible to continue the operation. But when the plant was closed the cry went up that the Company was putting money before people – they should continue right on losing money rather than put people out of work. Many railroads have discontinued their passenger service because they could no longer operate at a profit; and the same argument was raised against them.
It is indeed a rarity today to see any national leader arise to power without making promises that he himself knows can never be achieved. One of the outstanding virtues of Abraham Lincoln was that he was just an honest man – determined “to do the right as God gives us to see the right.” The great Gladstone, political star in England during the late nineteenth century, was once asked what makes one a successful politician. His answer: He must be a man with a pleasing personality; have a reasonably euphonious name, easy for people to pronounce; and he must be a man without any self-respect. With such a formula for success, it becomes very easy to understand the summation in Dan. 4:17: “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.” Thus, we seldom see great national decisions made that are not influenced at least in part by selfish motives; and St. Peter informs the true Christians that they have escaped “the corruption that is in the world through lust (selfishness).” (2 Pet. 1:4)
This is clearly evident to the most of us concerning the leadership in the Communist countries; and one writer has given a very lucid picture of the working of their minds: “Independence, like coexistence, is a malleable word; to the militant Communist it might mean the right to take over the political structure by force, murder the opposition, eliminate the middle class, weaken or dissolve the family unit as the basis of society, inhibit the established religion, cut off all communication with the outside world, prohibit individual enterprise, deny the ethical basis of individual reward for effort, substitute the state’s supremacy for the individual’s dignity, forbid dissent, control the press, put up posters of the Communist gods and command their adoration, tell the people lies about Western imperialism, nourish a new generation on hatred, suppress freedom of thought in the arts and sciences, create agricultural poverty and industrial stagnation, and then build a wall around the whole mess to prevent any one getting out.
‘‘All this is part of a well-established pattern, which we certainly don’t recognize as either the will of the people or as ‘independence’; moreover, this pattern was certainly not contemplated in the Geneva Agreement.......
In keeping with the foregoing, another writer offers this terse observation: “The brotherhood of man has been turning out too few brothers and too many hoods.”
When the French revolutionists sent most of the French intelligencia to the guillotine, they paved the way for Napoleon, which in turn made of France a decadent nation for many years after Waterloo. It does not require great wisdom to see that the capitalistic system is lacking in many ways, and this makes it very easy for many to accept the philosophy that Communism would improve things; but we observe that the only real way to improve the human relationship is to improve the morale of the individual to such an extent that he will no longer be influenced by the hokus-pocus of getting something for nothing. When America began to be colonized, many persons readily accepted transport to this country, believing they would have a life of ease, free of the task to live; and this forced Captain John Smith to apply the Bible law: “If any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thes. 3:10)
In the hope that we are not overdoing the political in this paper, we offer one more writer’s opinion: “Almost everywhere the established authority is being challenged as never before.... The infection – the trend toward violence on the one hand and repression on the other – is a world-wide disease.... It would seem, in fact, that economic and social progress has actually fed the fires of discontent in many countries.”
The foregoing quotes are not from politicians; they are from men of good sound and respected reasoning. In contrast, the Attorney General of the United States (a politician) gave newsmen the inane observation that there is no crime wave in this country. The Mayor of Detroit (also a politician) seconds this statement. Both of these men, however, – both robust and well fed – are afraid to go about without an armed guard with them. Naturally, under such circumstances there is no crime wave for them. But we are well informed that the best hotels in the larger cities are informing their incoming guests not to leave the hostel after dark, and to be very cautious about the streets in high daylight. Thus, the statements of the politicians fit in very well with the quip about three friends, a Catholic, a Protestant and a Christian Scientist, all of whom died and went to the nether world. Upon meeting, the conversation went something like this: The Protestant to the Catholic – I’m surprised to see you here. The Catholic – I expected to see you here. The Christian Scientist – I’m not here. It is a matter of indisputable record that there were six times as many bank robberies in the United States in 1967 as there were in 1957.
Nations, like trees, die in the top first. This simply means that the politicians, like the ostrich hiding his head in the sand, refuse to recognize the coming events whose shadows are plainly visible to many. Five minutes before Louis XV of France was beheaded he was a well and active man whose mind had been blinded to the handwriting on the wall. When Babylon was taken by the Medes and Persians the politicians were eating and drinking themselves drunken with Belshazzar – just as the Roman political leaders had become soft and flabby, an easy prey for the virile Teutonic barbarians.
“Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.”
Much of the religious leadership today is boon companion to the faulty political leadership, although it is to their commendation that some of them at least see rather dimly the approaching storm, and are feverishly trying to combine – to form the ‘Universal Church’ – realizing, as they do so, that if they do not hang together, they shall all hang separately. Some of this is deftly set forth in the April 22 issue of Newsweek:
“After nearly two centuries of separation, the differences between most Anglicans in the Church of England and their British cousins in the Methodist are largely matters of style. (Quite a contrast to the attitude of the noble and saintly John Wesley, of whom George III – the same one against whom the American colonies rebelled in 1775 – made the praiseworthy comment that Wesley and his ministers had done more good for England than the entire Church of England combined—JJH).... Earlier this month commissions from both churches approved a blueprint for reunion.... A far more sweeping call for unity was issued last week by Episcopal Bishop C. Kilmer Myers of California, who boldly suggested that this summer’s Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Bishops in London and the World Council of Churches meeting in Uppsala, Sweden, be reconvened in Rome with the world’s Roman Catholic Bishops and under the leadership of Pope Paul VI as acknowledged ‘first among equals of the Christian Church on earth.’ Beyond that he proposed a ‘World Congress of the Great Religions of Man’ including humanism – in order that the vast majority of the earth’s population may speak out, through its spiritual leadership, for human worth and dignity.” Thus, we now offer the timely Scriptures: “They shall surely gather together, but not by me.” (Isa. 54:15) “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, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.” (Isa. 34:4) The end of all this is graphically set forth in Rev. 6:14: “The heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain (powerful absolute monarchies) and island (republics and lenient governments) were moved out of their places” – of which we have seen so much since the collapse of the powerful Czarist regime in Russia in 1917.
THROW HER DOWN – In previous papers we have offered some considerable detail about the destruction of antitypical Jezebel (The Roman Catholic Church), but there is one point on which we have said nothing – an item on which the past year has cast some light because of the controversy that has arisen within the Church itself over the Pope’s birth control edict. The news has mentioned numerous priests and nuns who have registered open defiance on the subject, and this may now be giving us the fulfillment of 2 Kgs. 9:30-33: “When Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.... And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? Who? And there looked out at him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down.” It is quite probable that the action of the rebelling priests and nuns (the antitypical eunuchs) that became so open in 1968 is the beginning of Jezebel’s fall from the window that caused her death.
All of this uproar and slinging of dust affords ample opportunity for all sorts of legerdemain. For the past year or more there is an early Sunday morning radio service, in which the preacher urges his listeners to send to him a handkerchief, a napkin, or other personal pieces of cloth (along with $10 or more, of course), which he will bless to their physical and financial increment. As authority for this, he quotes Acts 19:12: “God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul (one of the twelve Apostles who alone were able to confer the miraculous gifts of the Spirit a power which died with them): So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” All in the blessed name of Jesus, of course!
IN LITTLE BABYLON – The confusion among the former Truth groups is now even surpassing some of the flummery in Big Babylon. One segment now emphatically proclaims there is not one word in the Bible about an earthly Kingdom. Seemingly they have never read the Lord’s prayer: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth.” Another is now proclaiming that That Servant was the last saint; while yet another is saying the Lord is not yet even present – thus the Harvest is yet in the future, and That Servant has not yet arrived. Was Big Babylon ever more confused!
THE LAYMEN’S HOME MISSIONARY MOVEMENT – This the latest sect to arise in Little Babylon has not gone to the ridiculous extremes mentioned above, yet they have revolutionized against many truths they once enthusiastically accepted. We have noted many of them at various times, but we specially stress now the one explained in our last paper – the explanation of Rev. 19:6-8. That Servant clearly stated that message was to be given “after Babylon’s fall”; and the Epiphany Messenger full agreed with that. But a Levite now says that is all wrong – those two just did not know whereof they spoke – so he has been giving this ‘message’ since 1950, and especially emphasized since 1954 as a part of his “Attestatorial Service.” And this he does despite the clear statement of verse 6 that it would be “as the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings.” This he offers as a “parallel” to the 1914-1916 Little Flock Attestatorial Service: wherein ALL the Little Flock then living engaged enthusiastically unto a completion; whereas, his present Great Multitude – those who joined with him in 1950, and even up to the present – is not one-tenth of one percent of the present total Great Multitude, and no visible representation at all of the “many waters” engaging in it. The message itself is the Truth; the error lies in the “due time” selected for its delivery. This is akin to J. F. Rutherford’s Millions Now Living Will Never Die message back in the early twenties. That message is partially true, but the “due time” for its delivery was decidedly out of keeping with the “signs of the times” and now with many of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ adherents long since dead who expected to “never die.”
To some our criticism in this instance may seem trivial – “straining at a gnat,” as it were; but the time element is definitely of far-reaching importance. If the leader of the LHMM is correct in his delivery of that message now, then all his kinsmen in Big and Little Babylon are just that much out of Present Truth (although they should be declaring the message also if the teaching of the Star Members is correct); they may be working for the Lord, but they are not doing the Lord’s work (that is, if the message is now due to be proclaimed) – just as was true of those during the Parousia who continued to sow the seed, when they should have been engaged in the reaping work. On the other hand, if That Servant and the Epiphany Messenger were right in their interpretation of Rev. 19:6-8, then the LHMM is certainly not now doing the Lord’s work: they have a “zeal, but not according to knowledge.” Thus, they must eventually reap the reward of “the unprofitable servant” (the Great Company – see Berean Comment) – “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 25:30) – “sorrow, disappointment and chagrin in every sense.”
COMBINATIONISM – The third Slaughter Weapon of Combinationism (Eze. 9:2) that made its first world-wide appearance in 1893 is again prominently active, as shown by the references previously given herein; but it is not only active in Big Babylon, but Little Babylon is also doing its best to keep the pace. In the LHMM this is true in a limited way with persons, but it is also becoming more prominent each year in their combination with Big Babylon’s methods and teachings.
ISRAEL – The turmoil continues to intensify there, although we have covered this feature pretty well in our paper No. 158. We now mention one item, however, that is not featured in the news, so it is not general knowledge. The Arabs are selling their oil mainly to countries where the US Dollar is dominant, and the pressure is being put upon them from such sources. And since we are still in the time when “money talks,” the Arabs are forced to soften somewhat their attitude toward Israel. The overlords there are reveling in too much luxury to allow the flow of US dollars into their coffers to be jeopardized, although it is clearly evident it is a strenuous effort for them to restrain themselves.
A Canadian financial paper of restricted clientele offers a rather enlightening article – “THE WORLD WE LIVE IN” – from which we offer just a few paragraphs:
“Things move so fast these days – new inventions, new developments are continually cropping up all around us – that few people appreciate the scope of what is happening. It pays, therefore, to pause occasionally and reflect; to take time out from the day-to-day strife of meeting the payroll, placating the boss, or bleeding for the unfortunate in Biafra, Vietnam and scores of other places. Instead, we should count our blessings and renew our strength by looking back on some of the accomplishments of recent years.
“If any one should doubt the lightning changes that are taking place, let him reflect that next year we are scheduled to see the first landing of man on the moon. By 1978, according to an official of a company deeply immersed in space projects, we should have regular traffic back and forth to the moon. Further, he says, we’ll be keeping orbital systems above the earth with space labs flying crews of up to thirty people. And, in another 10 or 15 years trips to other parts of the solar system may be possible.
“With barely any thought a host of new inventions that made their first appearance only a few years back can be compiled – electric toothbrushes, polaroid cameras, color TV, tubeless tires, direct long distance dialing, and so on, almost ad infinitum.
Not everything that is new and bright meets with every one’s approval, but no one can say that this is not an exciting and challenging world in which we live. And from the developments currently in progress it is likely to stay that way for a long while yet.”
Truly, this is “the day of preparation,” as it is also “the evil day” (Eph. 6:13) the best of times and the worst of times. The luxuries appearing on every hand are wanted just as much – perhaps even more – by those who cannot afford them as by those who can afford them. This is undoubtedly one great contributing cause to the great upsurge in crime – an effort by the have-nots to secure from the “haves” by theft, intrigue, violence, what they cannot secure by legal orthodox methods. Thus, our readers are well reminded of the Scriptural counsel: “The end of all things is at hand: Be ye therefore sober and watch unto prayer” (1 Pet. 4:7), for “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7)
To all our readers we send for the year ahead the prayer for the blessing that maketh rich, and for that “godliness with contentment which is great gain.” (1 Tim. 6:6) We also heartily reciprocate the many Holiday greetings that have come to us, wishing for all throughout 1969 a rich increase in Grace and in the Knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
OF GENERAL INTEREST
In November 1968 the United States Government granted tax exempt status to the Epiphany Bible Students Association. This will result in a considerable saving in our postage – more than two cents on each monthly paper or tract mailed from here.
Also, this allows contributors to use as deductible expense in their income tax returns any contributions made toward the work we are doing. Some thirty years ago we secured this same status for the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement, although it required a long and rugged and expensive lawsuit to accomplish it – an action which cost the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement not one cent, as the entire cost was at our own personal expense. At that time the Government was very adamant in their contention that the LHMM was merely “a private venture of Mr. Johnson,” a decision they were forced to retract by their own Board of Tax Appeals Court. Based partly upon that decision – and aided by the experience we received in that action – it was not necessary to resort to litigation to secure the present ruling. If any of our readers do desire to use their contributions as deductions from their federal income tax returns, our suggestion would be that they make the checks payable to EPIPHANY BIBLE STUDENTS ASS’N, rather than to John J. Hoefle. While either way is legally all right, it may avoid some argument if the Movement’s name is used on checks, instead of a personal designation.