NO. 127: RETROSPECT AND PROSPECT

by Epiphany Bible Students


No. 127

My dear Brethren:  Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!

In viewing events of the year just past we usually give little or no attention to scientific achievement – due in part to our own limited knowledge of such matters, but also because they seldom have little bearing on coming events as outlined in prophecy. But in 1965 a piece of inventive genius came to our attention which we feel will delight and enlighten our readers. We are well acquainted with a business­man in Detroit, Michigan, whose brother-in-law is a technician for a very large cor­poration. About the beginning of 1964 this engineer was assigned the task of pro­ducing an instrument that would cause the human heart to beat after the patient had died. After about eighteen months of research such an instrument was developed, and they had opportunity to try it out on a man who had been dead for twelve hours. By that time the blood was in an advanced stage of coagulation, rigor mortis had developed, yet the invention caused the heart to beat and pump the blood through the arteries and veins in rhythmical and normal fashion. However, after twelve hours in death, the brain had become so damaged that it was impossible to revive it; thus, the technicians had a live corpse on their hands – with the pronounced convic­tion, however, that the dead man could have been restored to life had they applied their instrument soon enough.

This phenomenon becomes all the more impressive when we recall that it was not until the year 1628 that Dr. William Harvey, of England, published his first paper outlining that blood circulates through the human body through the action of the heart and the vascular system. That was eight years after the Pilgrims landed in New England. For the thousands of years before that discovery man knew little or noth­ing about the circulation of the blood in his body. Thus we have come a long way in a short time; and offers vivid consideration of the prophecy, “In the time of the end many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” However, from this account let none presume that we cherish the thought that man will eventu­ally hold in his skill the power of life and death.  This is exclusively the privi­lege of our Lord Jesus. (John 5:26-29) Thus, while we do not discount the great “increase in knowledge,” yet we know man’s great knowledge could never gain for him the ability to “redeem them from death, or ransom them from the power of the grave.” And with this introduction we now proceed to consideration of the three essential topics usually considered in our New Year paper:

IN FINANCE

Once more we stress the wastrel spending that continues to pyramid the debt structure. In the past 36 years the national budget of the United States has been balanced only six times; and this in the face of unprecedented prosperity. Thus, the populace is forced to live speculatively, whether they like it or not. And this unsound practice is seldom given even passing notice, although now and then one of our abler intellects does speak up, such an instance being the following excerpt of a speech before the United States Senate – just after the Senator had described the plan to raise the national debt limit as “an exercise in fiction”:

“I do not know exactly what is to be done about it, but it becomes a rather interesting game. First, we raise expenditures and then we discover that we have run out of money. Then we have to lift the debt ceiling. After a while we spend more of what we do not have and then we raise the ceiling again.

“I like the fiction in the appropriation bills. Every one of them starts with the statement, ‘There is hereby appropriated out of funds in the Treasury not other­wise appropriated.’

“I think it is wonderful. There has not been anything in the Treasury that has not been appropriated for so long that the memory of man runneth not to the contrary. So up the expenditures and up the debt; then when we catch up with the debt ceiling, we shall raise it. Then we spend more to catch up with the debt ceiling.

“It is a great little business....

One of the most amazing, startling, and wonderful things about the debt is that the people have to buy it, and they do not know it. I have talked until I was blue in the face.... I look at an audience and say, ‘Be of good cheer. You are going to buy this debt.’ They look at me startled, as if I had hit them with a rock....’

“So I say to my audience: ‘You happy people. You are to be saluted.  You are to be cheered. You ought to be enshrouded in encomiums. You deserve the grand accolade. You own the debt. You bought it with your money.’

“If we can ever persuade the people that they have bought the hole in the doughnut instead of the doughnut, it may be that we shall start to come to our senses about this debt business and give it far more attention than it has had thus far....

‘All hail the most significant week in the history of the Republic. Raise the flags a little higher. Yesterday we pulled down Government income by $4 billion (Reference is to the excise tax cut. Ed.) Today we push up the debt ceiling by $4 billion. If there is anyone who can solve the magic and the mystery of this busi­ness, I will sit at his feet as his most eager pupil and say, ‘Tell me, pray, what is the answer to all this mysticism..... ?’

‘‘Mr. President, if the country is ever faced with any kind of economic crisis, we know what will happen. There will be a clamor such as has never been heard be­fore upon the machinery of Government.... We shall be told: ‘You must do this and that.’ It will all cost money. I am so bold as to predict –and I am distressed to have to do it – that the deficits and the lifting of the debt ceiling may become larger than is reflected in the bill that is before the Senate this afternoon...

A certain Bachelor of Science, also acutely aware of our top-heavy debt and interest burden, asks the question: “What if inflation suddenly got out of hand – ­changed from creeping inflation to galloping inflation? (Such as occurred in Germany under Hitler – JJH) Under these conditions an investor in Government bonds (or any other investment that pays off in dollars) may get back dimes instead of dollars.... When politics and economics clash, politics wins in the beginning, but economics always wins in the final rounds.”

At present the United States Dollar is a promise-to-pay NOTHING, and is certain to eventuate in the collapse of the “free” world. This will not occur, of course, until the mis-led average man becomes acutely aware that it is “raining” and that his “umbrella for the rainy day” is nothing but a sieve. The day of reckoning cannot be far off.

IN POLITICS

Politics continues to improve with age, which means it becomes more repulsive with each succeeding year. And it is quite unpopular today not to be political. As an instance, the visit of the Pope to the United Nations. He wished very much to see President Johnson, and President Johnson wished very much to see the Pope, each believing his prestige would be enhanced by the other’s approval. But then there was the aggravating quandary – The Pope would not belittle himself by calling on the President, and the President would not belittle himself by seeking out the Pope. So an appointment was ‘‘arranged’’ for the President in New York the night before the Pope was due to arrive; thus, he was conveniently available, and neither of them had to lose face by the meeting.  As one friendly commentator said, “They have thought of everything!” Yes, they thought of everything that might win some votes – regardless of how unprincipled the method might be. When Napoleon wanted to see the Pope, he didn’t ask the Pope for an interview, he ordered him to come to Paris and sent his army to Italy to see that his order was obeyed. As a result of that great humiliation the Pope died in France – he returned to Italy as a corpse.

Another situation that has a strong financial flavor, but is in substance really political, is the International Monetary Fund, which had its last conclave in Washington in the early fall. This august body is really a combination of Money in the Government business, and Government in the Money business, and few there be with the audacity to criticize those in such high position; but the London Statist made bold to do it in its October 22 issue, under the caption “After the IMF Feast”:

“The Governors from 103 countries returned to their capitals bloated with good cheer and $75-a-day expenses. The bankers and business men who mill around the outskirts of the meeting have done themselves a lot of good, and the journalists have had their usual blissful experience of rubbing shoulders for five days, drunk or sober, with men whom it would take them months at any other time to get within miles of.

“Idealists continue to complain that the $1000-odd that the dual host organiza­tions spend between them on this bean-feast might have been better used to feed the poor. But the Finance Ministers of the underdeveloped countries reply that they always have the poor with them, while a trip to Washington at the Fund’s expense is a unique way of completing their own education. The older world simply remarks that the meetings work – in spite of the maundering speeches – because although there are no decisions there is an unrivaled opportunity for taking the temperature of the international financial community.

“Nero fiddled while Rome burned.”

From the foregoing it will not require great insight to conclude that the very men who should label the IMF as a hollow hoax are the very ones loudest in their praise of it.  After all, $75 per day expense money (fully tax free) does not grow on every tree, and, Shame on You! if you feel inclined to criticize. It’s much the same as the Pope in his robe and jewels of glory and beauty. Could such a display possibly be wrong? Perhaps not – until we quote our Lord’s words: “The Kingdom of God cometh not with outward show.” (Luke 17:20, Dia.)

IN RELIGION

The religious events of the past year are also in keeping with the affairs of Finance and Politics. The Heavens continue to “roll together as a scroll.” This is perhaps best summed up by one financial publication under the Caption, “Thinking Things Over”:

“The most interesting thing about the Pope’s visit, when you think it over, was that it took place at all. It was not so long ago, as time is measured by history, that it would not have occurred to the Bishop of Rome to come to the United States of America. If he had, he would have set off an uproar of protest. Yet when Paul VI, Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, spent a few hours this week in New York not only the city but the whole nation did him honor. The people lined the streets, the television cameras carried his every movement to people across the continent and the President of the United States journeyed from Washington to receive him.

‘‘All this made it a memorable occasion. It was also one to dramatize the great changes that have taken place in this country, in the world and within the Roman Church itself. Paradoxically it dramatized as well those things which endure amid the changes of men. One reason for the change, of course, is a simple statistical one: There are more Catholics in the United States than there used to be. The English Colonies from which the country sprang were almost wholly protestant, which in those days marked a political as well as a religious difference. Although we pride ourselves in the tradition of religious freedom, in most of those colonies Roman Catholicism was legally proscribed. As late as 1800 there were barely 50,000 Catho­lics in the whole country. Today their number approaches 50 million.....

“If we are more tolerant, it is because, as a people, we no longer care so much about those ideas. This is as true among the Catholics as among the Protestants, the Jews, or the non-believers in anything. Nowadays the arguments are debated with­out passion on quiet television panels. Or, to put the matter another way, the growth of religious tolerance among the people has been paralleled by an increase in relig­ious apathy. That this is so is in part, surely, due to changes within the Roman Church itself. It too has altered and is altering more. And if apathy is too strong a word for those who profess its faith, it is certainly true that those who profess it have lost their militancy, their unshaken certainty in the dogmas of 2,000 years in whose name, once, men were to put to wrack and wheel. The saints of the past would find it passing strange to hear assembled bishops debating not the issue but the words to express the acceptance of religious liberty by the one, true Church; or hear priests raising their voices to debate birth control and other long settled dogmas. There is no doubt that the winds of change blow through Rome.

“You do not have to be a Catholic, or even a Christian, to long for something that will restore to man his spirit, his kinship with something outside himself, a spirit stripped from him by the rationalizations of science and the materialism of ideologies.

“Put briefly, the surmise is that great numbers of people watched the Bishop believing not in anything, but wanting to believe in something, hoping for some mystery that would give them back again their faith. This is the strength of the Roman Church. If you read its history as a rational man, you cannot escape its brutality, its terrors, even its evils. Though raised up in the name of God, it is an institution created by men no less frail and fallible than their brothers. That is why in its past you can find anything you wish to look for.... We all long for what is lost. And so perhaps this brief visit served, if nothing else, to remind us of the paradox of our age.”

The foregoing is what would seem to be a detached viewpoint – probably not written by a Roman Catholic – furbished and moderated to cover over the heinous crimes of the “one true Church,” the sins of the past, which should be forgotten in the camaraderie of the present. But those of us who know the past for what it really is will have none of it; we leave it for those who are unschooled in the proper evaluation of such things. The plea for tolerance is merely the child of necessity – certainly not a product of the heart. “The beast which I saw was like unto a leopard” (Rev. 13:2) – spotted black and white as occasion would dictate. But the spirit of Combinationism is rampant on all hands, and is certain to grow worse before it becomes better. As one observer has stated, the “portest” is now removed from “Protestantism,” but the “ant” is still there; they are aimlessly  milling around.

Nor is R. G. Jolly one whit behind the chiefest of Combinationists, as was so clearly apparent at the Chicago Convention October 29-31. Some one put in the question: If the saints are to engage in Antitypical Gideon’s Second Battle to a com­pletion, would that not indicate that some of them are still here with us? And R. G. Jolly’s answer (not verbatim): “Brother Johnson states that the Little Flock participates unto a completion, which they did unto a completion when the last Little Flock member was glorified Oct. 22, 1950.” We now refer our readers to E-5:158 (23):

“The triumph of Gideon’s little army over a host typified the final victory of Christ and His followers over the hosts of sin... The 300 gained their victory in two battles. These type the two conflicts of the final victory of the Little Flock.” The first victory of the 300 was the confession of the sins of the people over Azazel’s Goat, which was completed by the fall of 1916 – with EVERY MEMBER OF THE LITTLE FLOCK THEN LIVING PARTICIPATING TO FINAL VICTORY. Then Brother Johnson continues: “The antitypical second battle represents the present (in the year 1938) conflict against eternal torment, and the Consciousness of the Dead, wherein the Little Flock participates unto a completion.”

Certainly only one befuddled by Azazel would be moved to offer the sophistical twist that Brother Johnson meant participation until the “completion” of the Little Flock in Glory (no matter whether the Battle was Victory to a completion for them or not); whereas, the Epiphany Messenger was clearly referring to the “completion” of the battle – the same as he was referring to the completion of the First Battle (which they victoriously completed). And hand-in-glove with this atrocity in error R. G. Jolly praised Billy Graham for bringing many to justification in Big Babylon – ­the same Billy Graham who uses his silver-tongued oratory to belch forth eternal torment and man’s “immortal soul,” thus offering an open challenge (as did Goliath to David) to those who are waging antitypical Gideon’s Second Battle. Here indeed is Combinationism in a most unsavory setting!

Fitting companion to the foregoing is Brother Johnson’s comment in E-5:151 (14): “Satan uses the Great Company for his purposes, while the Lord uses the Little Flock for His purposes” – to annihilate antitypical Zebah and Zalmunna. Thus, in the same breath in which R. G. Jolly now eliminates the Saints, he champions one who is among the chiefest in supporting Zebah and Zalmunna – the very ones the Little Flock are commanded to destroy. Having eliminated the Little Flock as leaders from the scene of battle, he now considers himself free to commend at least one of the leaders of Zebah and Zalmunna, who is offering these reprehensible errors to his converts. And how apropos are the Manna comments for November 14:

“Those who arise from among the brethren, taking teaching positions, and using them to falsify the teachings of the Word, are of two classes: Great Company and Second Death sifters. Both teach doctrines that are perver­sions of the Truth, though the latter class does worse than the former class in this respect. They do so to win a following. God’s Very Elect take heed of all three classes, and do so by studying, practicing and spreading the Truth.”

And all these Combinationists are fully convinced they can convert Israel to Christianity – that they can convert the entire world to Christianity – if they have the wherewith. All they need is YOUR money. Just a few of your dollars – and the same from millions of others like you – and the problem is practically solved. The same old package with just another label on it – Priesthood – Priestcraft – Priest-­“graft.” We believe it requires little persuasion that the ideal state for all professionals – doctors, lawyers, preachers – is for them to be economically inde­pendent. Then, with the fees eliminated, with no need for begging, with no occasion for false or padded charges, they could all afford to tell the truth, to follow their vocations for the love of it. ‘Tis an ideal devoutly to be desired!

While the Jehovah’s Witnesses have not the least sympathy for Combinationism with other groups – they are at the other extreme, rigidly sectarian – “bound in affliction and iron; because they rebelled (revolutionized) against the words of God (the Harvest Truth), and contemned the counsel of the most High” (the arrange­ments given by the Lord for the Harvest work) – Psa. 107:10,11. The Witnesses now make determined claim to being the “one true Church,” even as their great twin, the Roman Church, is reducing its claim of one true Church to an inaudible whisper in a desperate effort to effect Combinationism. And, just as the Roman Church went from error to worse error when they were most vociferous in their claims of in­fallibility, so the Witnesses now have lost one truth after another which once adorned them under Brother Russell. ‘‘Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”; and, conversely speaking, Where liberty is lacking, the spirit of the Lord is also sadly lacking. No one in their meetings is allowed to question the voice of “the Channel” (the Watch Tower publications); thus, the Apostle’s words to ‘‘prove all things” become meaningless to them. On p. 730 of the December Watch Tower the question is asked: “What freedom have the religious leaders of Christen­dom and Jewry given to them?” Therefore, we would now propound the question to the Witnesses – What freedom have your religious leaders given to you? Of our own knowledge we know of multiplied instances where their members have been disfellow­shiped for questioning the teachings and arrangements of the Watch Tower. Thus, there is less religious liberty in the Witness organization than in any other re­ligious organization on earth today.

As we consider the events of the year just past, with the overruling Goodness of Him who is ever mindful of the welfare of His people, we face the New Year with resolute confidence and the strong assurance that “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” This, then, is our ardent wish for all, as we reciprocate the many Holiday good wishes that have come to us. “Beloved, I desire concerning all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health.... even as thou walkest in the Truth.” (3 John 2-3) And to all who “walk in the Truth” the promise is certain, “There shall no evil befall thee.”

Sincerely your brother,

John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim

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LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST

Dear Sirs:

Would you please send me copies of “The Resurrection of the Dead” and “Where Are The Dead?” We have been discussing these topics in our adult classes. We would find them most interesting.

Yours truly,  Pastor ------- (First Lutheran Church) (NEW JERSEY)

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Dear Brethren:

The Special Edition of The Herald of the Epiphany was read with heart interest. I am seeking Truth and Soul Righteousness.

Thank you so very much.  May Proverbs 9:11 be yours to continue this work.

Your sister in Christ. ------- (NORTH CAROLINA)

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My dear Brother  Hoefle: Greetings in our precious Redeemer’s Name and Present  King!

I am very late in answering your very kind letter.... and to thank you for your thoughtfulness......... Again, dear Brother, I am very sorry for my late answer, but this has not been done purposely, as I was in Canada visiting some friends and relatives...... But I am very thankful to our Heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus because His Grace and strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Now as to the addresses of the dear friends – some are a problem – as I do not know which ones you now have..... so when I go over them I will try to remember and send them to you.....

Sister joins me in sending our Christian love and His Grace which maketh rich and addeth no sorrow to be your good portion in the Narrow Way for you, for our dear Sister Hoefle and all the dear friends meeting with you. Heb. 13:20-21; Hymn 7; 1 Pet. 5:10

By His Grace your Brother ------- (NEW YORK)

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Dear Brother Hoefle:

Loving Christian greetings and many thanks for the regular appearance of your papers, which I still appreciate. Now, will you please send a few copies of the tracts – and any others you may have and consider suitable, at this special time in remembrance of the last Star Members ­Brothers Russell & Johnson. I find myself out of these special numbers. Thank you again for your faithful service.  Wonderful how the Lord provides!

Your sister in His name ------- (ENGLAND)

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Dear Brother Hoefle: Loving Greetings through our Blessed Lord!

Thanks for your letters of Sept. 29 and Oct. 5, and also for the good papers every month. I get many blessings from them and also from the faithful friends’ letters from other parts of the world.... I hope everybody is well again. My prayers are for you and all with you.

Your sister in the Faith ------- (PENNSYLVANIA)

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My dear Brother Hoefle: Christian greetings in His dear Name!

It has taken me longer to reply to your letter and questions than I ex­pected.... I was sure Sister ------- had records of these events – about Brother Daniel Toole’s entrance to Taft..... He changed his views to Bro. Johnson along 1933-1934, she said.... When I heard the Truth teachings, it was what I had been seeking all my life. I had loved the Bible and God since a child of five or six years of age, but the questions I asked no one seemed to have a satisfactory answer .... So with my husband to help me in the deep and true meaning of God’s Word I was well in­structed. He loved to go over each lesson. The Class had studies twice a week, and I was his student. It came so clear to him – where with me some verses seemed too deep. He was happy to clear it up. Each one in the Class used to say my husband had shown such improvement – grasped the Truth more than any one in the Class. But I saw the change more than they – due to his constant mind, desire to study more and get acquainted with the O.T. and N. T. His disposition was so changed from a fiery temper to calmness and peace of mind. On his job his co­workers were amazed at his knowledge of world affairs, and of the Bible according to present events....

With this last line I pray each of you and family are feeling quite well ­and I send Christian love to each one. As ever your sister in Truth, with prayers for each of us ------- (CALIFORNIA)

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My dear Brother Hoefle: Greetings of Christian love in the Masters Name!

Thanks for the literature... I also received the December paper and found it to be very amusing (and tragic, too, for one who has had such great opportunities as R. G. Jolly! – JJH), especially in his presentation on Psalm 24, with his half-truths that are more misleading to the Measurably Faithful and care­less ones, as to give them a false and incorrect idea of crown-losers and uncleansed Youthful Worthies’ hope. We would say it is good that the “chronic fault-finder” is always there, for by now the ‘clean’ Leader of the LHMM would have gone very much further than he has. The Questions put to him at the Chicago Convention were intelligently put. They seem to have shocked him.... as can be seen by the way he answered them – especially the one on the Youthful Worthies and Consecrated Campers and THE BOOK OF LIFE – shows how much he is confused on these two classes. When he said Yes that these two classes begin to inscribe their names in the Book of Life now at consecration, it is nonsense (Yes, as applicable to his Conse­crated Campers, but quite true of the Youthful Worthies – an “elect” class – as Bro.  Johnson has so ably taught us. It seems R. G. Jolly has forgotten the elemental truth that the Book of Life for Restitutionists has not yet been opened--JJH)

Continue to pray for us, as we cease not to make mention of you. Christian love to you, Sister Hoefle and the dear ones with you.

Your  Brother  by  the  Grace   of   God, ------- (TRINIDAD)