The Bible Tells It Like It Is
This book is non-sectarian and unconventional, a veritable bomb-shell of well-documented good news, addressed especially to frightened, thinking people—people who are turned off by, or not getting enough out of traditional religion—rather than to satisfied churchgoers.
It presents the key that permits the reader himself to unlock the mystery of God’s magnificent plan, and of the prophecies that enumerate, describe and provide the solutions to every terrifying problem of today. It is an exposé of false fears and a revealment of secrets, unknown until recent years, that provides for even the most dejected a glorious reason for living.
It is written as briefly as possible to convey its message, and it should be read through, from beginning to end, because its individual topics are interdependent for depth of meaning. An index to the chapters is provided only for second reading reference, since no chapter is sufficient unto itself. An alphabetical index is provided as an appendix; not an exhaustive index, but an assist in locating items for second reading reference.
All Biblical references are to the authorized King James version of the Holy Bible, originally published in 1611. This is not because it, unlike all other translations, is without error, but because it is the most widely circulated and broadly recognized translation of the oldest recognized manuscripts.
It is my prayer that this writing will bring you, dear reader, comfort, direction, understanding and inspiration—a real zest for living!
AUTHOR’S PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
The First Edition of this joyous book of prophecy was published in 1972. Since then, a continuing love affair with the Bible, and a close observation of prophecies fulfilled by current events have served only to strengthen my wholehearted faith in the message this book relays: that God has a plan for the human race that may appear to be too good to be true, but that the Bible proves it is true beyond the shadow of a doubt!
The considerable correspondence this book has inspired from people belonging to a variety of the best known Faiths, as well as people formerly disinterested in religion, indicates that the book is serving its purpose to expose false fears which were contrived during the Dark Ages, and to bring to light the Bible’s explanation of God’s plan which has been withheld miraculously from our understanding until recent years—a plan so superior to the imagination of man that only God could have conceived it!
This Second Edition is published in grateful response to the beautifully expressed wishes of the book’s many friends in the United States and Great Britain, and with overwhelmingly humble thanksgiving that God is permitting The Bible Tells It Like It Is to continue to help with the distribution of Bible Truths due to be understood during the current transitional period—the end of this Age and the beginning of the next Age—a time when great advantages are available to those who recognize them, and strive for them!
[Dorothy Norwood of Pennsylvania]
Chapter I CREDIBILITY GAPS BRIDGED
You are deeply concerned about the trend of events and it is of little wonder. Our topsy-turvy world appears to be pitching and tossing like a gale-ridden ship with an unmanned helm, and men’s hearts are failing for fear of what—if anything—lies ahead.
Our minds are filled with terrifying questions, such as:
(1) Are there flying saucers threatening us with invasion from outer space?
(2) Might the nuclear, biological or chemical weapons we have stockpiled be released, advertently or inadvertently, to exterminate us overnight?
(3) Will the population explosion strangle us?
(4) Will the air, water, and/or land pollution overcome us before we find a solution?
(5) Is there a solution short of anarchy to the decay of our financial, political, religious and social structure—man’s inhumanity to man?
(6) Is there a God? If so, is He a malicious, vindictive fiend? Has He written us off as hopeless? Has He been overpowered by Satan or, perhaps—is God dead?
All these and related questions that scientists, psychologists, educators, theologians, statesmen and all our most educated minds are failing to answer, are questions that only God can and will answer.
This writing is designed to call your attention to God’s answers to these questions and, beginning at the beginning to provide these answers sequentially, in the order of their chronological appearance on the horizon of each episode necessary to an understanding of God’s unfolding plan. It is designed to erase false fears and to assure the fainting heart, in simple and forthright language, that God is not merely a vague cosmic force, incapable of miracles and individual consideration; that God is not dead; and that things are not out of hand; but rather that:
(1) God is a vibrantly alive, omnipotent, personal being;
(2) God has a magnificent plan;
(3) God is exercising His infinite wisdom, justice, love, and power to complete this plan exactly on schedule; and
(4) God has provided us with the Bible: (a) to spell out the details of His plan; (b) to make plain the rewards for good and the penalties for evil-doing; and (c) to supply us with perfect direction in determining the difference between right and wrong.
The Bible tells us that within a predetermined period of time, God plans to populate this earth with a predetermined number of perfect human beings who will live forever, under perfect conditions. The Bible tells us God knows "the end from the beginning" (Isa 46:10) and, although much can be done to the advantage of individuals, there is absolutely no one nor thing that can hasten or delay God’s timetable.
Yes, the Bible tells it like it is! And the best is yet to come—not in some remote region, at some remote time, in some remote after-life, but right here on earth, and very soon—within your life expectancy and mine—with the establishment of the Fifth Universal Empire.
The Fifth Universal Empire? Mere mention of the possibility of such an establishment sparks our curiosity with who, what, when, where and why questions.
The need for a universal empire or world government is increasingly obvious. We have seen our world grow smaller and smaller in direct proportion with the growth, larger and larger, of our abilities to travel and communicate. The need for world government was first recognized at the end of World War I with the establishment of the League of Nations. Since then, this need has grown to assume the proportions of a necessity in the eyes of many knowledgeable people, who are aware that our technological advancements make neighbors of us all. We can travel at a speed greater than sound, within and without our planet. We can communicate, through television, at the speed of light, now, extensively, and reportedly "when sufficiently sophisticated satellites in sufficient number are placed in orbit—it will be possible for any man on earth, individually, to reach any other."
As more people ponder over the effects of such neighborly facts—effects that bring into their individual living rooms an instantaneous verbal and visual exchange between people living in even the most separated areas of earth, an awareness of the need for world government grows. And, as we might suspect since this need is so apparent, the Bible prophesies the establishment of the Fifth Universal Empire and God provides the answers to our five "W" questions in considerable detail, which will be brought to light as they appear chronologically in God’s unfolding plan.
Today we might look upon the Bible’s presentation of God’s plan for mankind as a jigsaw puzzle, in which history already has placed so many of the pieces that the remaining pieces are dropping into place so understandably and so rapidly that we can easily see the whole picture. In other words, we are living at a time when so many of the Bible’s prophecies have been fulfilled that the remaining prophecies, concerning the redemption of man, are increasingly clear to us, provided our vision is not too clouded by erroneous traditions.
These blinding, erroneous traditions are cunningly devised distortions of the truth, conceived by Satan and executed (often innocently) through man, to subjugate humanity. These falsehoods, born of Satan’s master mind for evil, reflect the ultimate of deceit: they are sugar-coated with appeal to the ambition, selfishness and greed of those used by Satan to promote them; and they are peppered with false threats and promises to arouse the fear and superstition of the masses enslaved by them.
Many erroneous traditions have been established through organized religions. It is not easy to "buck the establishment," as we must in many instances in order to divorce our, minds of truth-distorting tradition; but it is only reasonable to rely upon a "thus saith the scriptures," rather than upon a "thus saith a man of many letters," to learn the accurate word of God. Therefore it is contended that we must lift our Bible from its dusty shelf, read for ourselves what it truly tells us and, as they arise, eradicate from our minds any traditions proven false.
The Bible tells us that God says: "Come and let us reason together." (Isa 1:18). Again, this is not easy, because Satan has so cunningly devised false traditions or credibility gaps that "If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." (Mt 24:24).
However, if we have the strength, the courage, and the. determination to think freely; to disabuse our minds of the man-made distortions of the truth that false tradition has taught us and, prayerfully, to approach the Bible with unprejudiced, teachable minds, the Bible’s simple truths will fill our hearts to overflowing. The Bible tells us: "Ask and ye shall receive." (Joh 16:24), and "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." (Mt 5:6).
One cunningly devised credibility gap is the concept of "no God." It contends that there is no God, a theory designed to appeal especially to the pseudo-intellectual; or it contends that God is dead, a theory designed to appeal to those with whom I wholeheartedly agree, who reason that there had to be a Creator but who would rather believe Him dead than believe Him to be the vindictive fiend described by traditional theology.
The Bible anticipates these concepts and provides myriad assurances that God exists; but here, since we have not yet established the authenticity and infallibility of the Bible, suffice it to quote: "The fool (one who ignores or lacks reason) hath said in his heart, ‘there is no God.’"( Ps 14:1); and "Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." (Ps 90:2); and even that "The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary." (Isa 40:28). But, aside from the Bible, what does reason tell us concerning the existence of God?
Experience has established the fact that we acquire knowledge through our five senses. Applying this fact, we agree that we cannot literally see, hear, smell, taste, or feel God. However, continuing to use our intelligence, we apply the harmonious and equally established fact that for every effect there is a cause, and we find that we discern God through every sense.
We see our universe, we hear the woodland symphony, we smell the aroma of nature, we taste the fruit of the vine, and we feel the glow of the sun.
Surely a Supreme Intelligence was required to cause such effects. Surely the magnificent spectacle of Creation proves to the intelligent mind that there is a God, and that He continues to direct creation’s orderly operation. As Albert Winchester, well-known biologist, said: "A deeper and firmer belief in God can be the only result of a better insight into truth."
Atheistic evolutionists, seeking an explanation of creation without a creator, theorize that intelligent operations like our universe, and intelligent beings like ourselves, are the outcome of unintelligent happenings. Can the thinking mind believe that the endless variety of trees, flowers, and other vegetation just happened, and that their growth, each from a seed of its kind, has been unplanned? Can the thinking man observe himself, the intricacies of his being, and his ability to reproduce himself, and believe that he is not the creation of a magnificently intelligent Creator? Surely the thinking mind must conclude that this theory that our world and all that is in it evolved through a slow-moving, natural process from nothing is incredible.
If the theory of evolution were factual, we should expect to see multitudinous examples of one species evolving into another. However, no evidence of such evolving has ever been found in either plant or animal life. Darwin himself, in his Origin of the Species, was loathe to say: "In spite of all the efforts of trained observers, not one change of species into another is on record." Surely this complete absence of long-sought "missing links" lends credence to God’s decree that all plant and animal life was created, and propagated from seed "after its kind." (Ge 1:11,21).
Many honest people, particularly in the less enlightened past, have been duped by this Theory of Evolution. Fortunately, for those who might still suffer a hangup on this subject, the theories of Darwin, Lamarck, and others have been debunked by many fine authors; and many great scientists such as Albert Einstein have stated their belief in the existence of a supreme, intelligent Creator. For example, Michael I. Pupin, former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said: "Wherever science has explored the universe it has found it to be a manifestation of a coordinating principle, and that coordinating directing principle I call Divine Intelligence." Pupin also said: "When you see the stars, each moving in its own pathway, or see a seed grow up after a definite plan into a tree, or see a baby develop into a full-grown, self-directing human individuality, can you conceive of all that taking place as the result of haphazard happenings? Well, I cannot."
A. Cressey Morrison, former president of the New York Academy of Sciences, said: "By unwavering mathematical law we can prove that our universe was designed and executed by a great engineering intelligence."
It is believed that Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, before his death in October of 1969, expressed well the thoughts of the thinking mind when he said: "Does any intelligent being really think that the cosmic scheme of things is mindless and purposeless, without meaning or destiny? To explain the law and abiding order of the world, the nobility of the human character at its best, as mere happenstance, is like saying that the letters of the alphabet were blown together by a chance wind to form the works of Shakespeare."
Thus we contend that Creation provides irrefutable proof to any conscientious seeker of the truth that God exists. In addition, as we might suspect, since He has imbued us with a longing for such information, if God has provided us with a revelation of our origin and destiny such as the Bible is purported to be, and if that revelation is in accord with His character and reason, then we are doubly assured that there is a God and we are anxious to inspect this last offering of evidence—the Bible.
Another cunningly devised credibility gap is the concept that the Bible is not the divinely inspired Word of God. We hear that the Bible is just a collection of Hebrew myths, that it is an old fiddle upon which any tune can be played, that it contradicts itself. Yes, we often hear: "They say the Bible has been discredited;" but, you will recall, the "they" is usually unidentified, the evidence of discredit is seldom given, and the proof has never been documented.
It is believed that most of the critics of the Bible have not even read, much less studied, the Bible; but have relied on hearsay (tradition) as a basis for their criticism. A case in point concerns Thomas Paine, who wrote Age of Reason, one of the most widely read attacks ever made on the Bible, and who admitted that when he wrote the first part of his book, he did not even possess a Bible. ( Cambridge History of the Bible, page 250.) The contentions of pseudo-intellectuals that most of the historical records of the Bible have no basis in fact but are merely allegories, myths, and fables, are being disproved by modern science.
Archaeologists are unearthing one after another of the ancient landmarks previously claimed nonexistent, such as the cities of Babylon, Bethel, Gibeon, Jericho, Nineveh, Ur, etc. Also, as they excavate the ruins of these cities, archaeologists are finding texts and monuments amounting to a vast treasure of knowledge illuminating the great historical narratives of the Bible. Your time will not be taken now to explore the great bulk of this information that is available, but your attention is called to books such
as Everyday Life in Bible Times published by the National Geographic Society, Keller’s The Bible As History, and New Discoveries in Babylon, and James A. Michener’s novel, The Source.
The Space Program may provide additional evidence that Bible stories, falsely claimed to be myths, are true. This seems apparent in the following astonishing development, related by Mr. Harold Hill, president of Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore, Maryland, and a consultant in the space program.
While checking the positions (past, present and future) of the sun, moon and planets (a step necessary to the mapping of a collision-free course of orbit, covering the life span of each satellite launched), the astronauts, space scientists and IBM technicians at Green Belt, Maryland, were baffled when the computer, running measurements back and forth over the centuries, came to a stop and flashed a red signal, indicating an error in either the input of information or the comparative standards.
The computer’s result indicated the seemingly impossible fact that "a day is missing in space in the elapsed time;" and they were stumped until finally, in the face of considerable skepticism, they called upon the Bible to tell it like it is.
At first they thought that the missing day was explained by the Scripture, "The sun stood still and the moon stayed—and hastened not to go down for about a whole day." (Jos 10:13), but the computer was not satisfied. The computer indicated the elapsed time missing in Joshua’s time was only 23 hours and 20 minutes—not a whole day; rather, as the Bible stated, "about (approximately) a whole day." An unaccounting for forty minutes may appear relatively unimportant in thousands of years of time, but not so in the eyes of the computer or space scientists, because forty minutes multiplies many times over in orbits. Additional Biblical research brought to light the Scripture, "And he (the Lord) brought the shadow (of the sun) ten degrees backward." (2Ki 20:11), and ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes.
It is now logged in the space program logbook that the 23 hours and 20 minutes in Joshua plus the 40 minutes in II Kings equal the 24 hours of the missing day in the universe. Thus it was that the Bible explained a perplexing problem for the space program; and thus it was that the space program supported two Bible stories, formerly pronounced myths:
(1) the story of the time when God made the sun stand still, in recognition of Joshua’s fear that the surrounding enemy, with nightfall, would destroy him; and
(2) the story of the time when God turned back the sun ten degrees in response to Isaiah’s request for this sign to convince Hezekiah that the Lord would heal him.
(For additional information, you may wish to refer to the article entitled "Bible Helps Astronauts Track Trajectory Of Planets In Space" by Robert Schwartz, Press religion editor, and published in the Pittsburgh Press of January 8, 1972.) The most serious assaults ever made on the authority of the Bible have come not from atheists and scientists but from the Christian ministry which, often unintentionally, has misrepresented the Bible’s teachings in an effort to make it support tradition. In addition, today very few theologians will accept the Bible as an authoritative standard; in fact, many of them openly challenge the authority of the Bible.
About these, the Bible tells us: "Lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them?" (Jer 8:9). It is most disillusioning, when we approach the ministry for guidance, to learn only that the clergy does not reach for the Bible as an end to all dispute, and that our questions are unanswered because they concern issues controversial among the clergymen themselves. To this, God says: "But if they had stood in my counsel and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil ways, and from the evil of their doings." (Jer 23:22).
We give excuses for not reading the Bible; as the Bible tells us, "Men deliver (The book) to one that is learned, saying, ‘Read this, I pray thee;’ and he saith, ‘I cannot; for it is sealed:’ And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, ‘Read this, I pray thee:’ and he saith, ‘I am not learned.’"( Isa 29:11,12). But what is the reason we do not read this book of simple instruction from God? Is it because we have been brainwashed to believe that we should rely upon the professionals in the field of religion to read and interpret God’s message for us? Is it because we fear we will discover in God’s message instructions requiring us to change our way of life?
Or is it that the secret has been withheld from us that the Bible reveals explanations of the present and promises for the near future that are more fabulous than anything we ever have dreamed?
No book has had so many enthusiastic supporters or so many bitter enemies as the Bible. It is the world’s perennial best seller, the oldest and most widely published book in existence. An estimated ten million copies of the King James Version of the Bible are reported to have been sold in 1969, and it is impossible to estimate the total number of hundreds of millions of copies printed and distributed throughout the years. Despite the fact that men have tried every means possible to destroy it, the Bible
lives on! As the Bible tells us, "The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away; but the Word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the Gospel is preached unto you." (1Pe 1:24,25). The Bible has survived these many centuries, despite unparalleled efforts to destroy it. Is this not strong evidence that God, whom it claims as its author, is also its preserver?
The Bible has been called the torch for civilization and liberty. Its influence for good in society has been recognized by the greatest statesmen; our best laws have been patterned after it, and even the skeptics agree that wherever the influence of the Bible has been felt, its moralizing force has made the world better. If the laws of the Bible had been faithfully followed there would be no world crisis today!
We are told that "Nothing is sure but death and taxes;" the Bible contradicts this adage on all counts and supplants it with the thought that nothing is sure but the Word of God! We are told that "Nothing is certain about what the future holds for ourselves and our children;" the Bible contradicts this statement and gives us definite assurance of what the future holds for us. The Bible calls our attention to its "sure word of prophecy: Whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn." (2Pe 1:19).
The prophecies came from God; they were not conceived by man; as the Bible emphatically tells us, "No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved of the Holy Ghost (Spirit)." (2Pe 1:20,21). In fact, the prophets foretold many events which they themselves did not understand; as Daniel said, "I heard but I understood not." (Da 12:8).
About one-third of the Bible is prophetic. The fact that history has proved and that current events are proving the bulk of these prophecies accurately fulfilled, surely excites interest as to what prophecies remain to be fulfilled in our time.
The fact that we are imbued with a great thirst for knowledge of our past, present, and future would lead us to believe that our loving Heavenly Father, who created this thirst, would provide the information to satisfy it. It is contended that the Bible is God’s presentation of this information; that it is the divinely inspired Word of God, through which God reveals to us His character, His four attributes including infinite wisdom, justice, love, and power; and through which God provides us with the only satisfactory explanation there is of the origin and destiny of man.
The Bible tells us that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2Ti 3:16,17). Think of it: God has provided us with a perfect Book of Instructions!
We are accustomed to reading sheets, leaflets or books of instructions, designed to assist us in getting the most out of things we acquire; but heretofore few of us realized that the Bible tells us that it, itself, is God’s perfect Book of Instructions, designed to direct us in getting the most out of life!
It is this Book of books that we confidently present to the conscientious seeker of the truth, as final evidence of proof, conclusive beyond the shadow of a doubt, that (a) God is a vibrantly alive, omnipotent, personal being; that (b) God is actively exercising His infinite wisdom, justice, love and power to execute, exactly on schedule, each phase of His magnificent plan; and that (c) the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God, provided to explain the detail of His plan, guide our individual footsteps, and answer our every question.
Do we want to be bothered reading the Bible? It would seem that anyone with a spark of curiosity, whether or not he yet believed the Bible to be the divinely inspired Word of God, or whether or not he yet believed in God, must conclude that such a book as the Bible is claimed to be is a must on his reading list Therefore, "avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so-called" (1Ti 6:20), and WITH BIBLE IN HAND, let us proceed to verify what it really says about our past, our present, and especially our future.
Chapter II FACTS—NOT FICTION—ESTABLISHED
You will observe that the Bible is divided into two main sections, known as the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament tells the story; the New Testament amplifies the story; and we can be sure that the Bible—Genesis through Revelation—will not support a single thought contradictory to the story-the story of God’s divine plan.
The Old Testament is subdivided into thirty-nine books. The first seventeen books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, I and II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther) are largely historical, supplying the background of human experience to which the outworking of the divine plan has been related. The next five books (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon) are largely inspirational, presenting God’s promises of guidance and sustaining power to His people, although they also contain prophecies pertaining to developments in the divine plan. The remaining seventeen books (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) are largely prophetic, although they contain some history as well as assurances of God’s love for His people.
The New Testament is divided into twenty-seven books. The first five books (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and The Acts) are largely historical, recording the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, calling attention to many events that were in direct fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, and furnishing accounts of the experiences of the Apostles and early Christians. The next twenty-one books (Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians, I and II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, I and II Peter, I, II, and III John, and Jude) are largely doctrinal, outlining the details of the divine plan for the recovery of man from sin and death. The last book (Revelation) is largely prophetic and, in beautiful, symbolic language, assures that the divine plan will be executed fully, and that "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away." (Re 21:4).
The Bible does not present God’s plan in sequential story form, but it reflects complete harmony of purpose and direction from its opening three chapters, which describe the creation of man and his fall from favor with God, to its closing three chapters, which describe the restored creation, with sin and its curse removed.
The Bible opens with the statement that "In the beginning (not of the universe, but of our planet) God created the heaven and the earth." (Ge 1:1). It then provides a brief description of what was accomplished on each of the succeeding six creative days. The Bible does not tell us how long ago the "beginning" was, the time prior to the "creative days" when "the earth was without form and void" (Ge 1:2), and in need of preparation as man’s habitat. It may be interesting to note that with the telescope we have photographed spheres, the light of which, at the speed of 186,000 miles per second, required 2,000 million years to reach the earth and that scientists have calculated the age of the earth to be from 28 million to over 3,000 million years. However such calculations do not concern our faith, for the Bible neither supports nor denies such figures but assures us that God is "from everlasting to everlasting" (Ps 90:2), which encompasses any number we might calculate.
The Bible does not divulge the exact length of each creative day, but there are indications that each of the creative days was 7,000 years in length. There are those who would have us believe that the "days" of creation are twenty-four-hour days but they are not; they are eras of time, each era having an obscure "dark" beginning, described as "evening," and a bright ending of the accomplished project, described as "morning." In accordance with this, it should be noted that, while God introduced light on the first creative day the sun, which God appointed to determine the length of a twenty-four-hour day, was not visible until the fourth creative day. This does not mean that the sun did not exist prior to the fourth day but rather that, prior to its appointment, it did not penetrate the clouds of vapor and gas surrounding the earth as brightly as it did after its appointment.
The creative "day" is a translation of the Hebrew word yawm, and while yawm is often applied to a literal day of twelve or twenty-four hours, it also is often translated "year," "season," "time," etc. The Biblical word "day" (yawm), like our English word "day," must be defined in context to assure its meaning. For example, when we read of "Abraham Lincoln’s Day," our thoughts are no more confined to a twenty-four-hour period than they should be when we read of "the day of temptation in the wilderness" (Ps 95:8), which refers to the forty years the Israelites spent in the wilderness; or of a "creative day" which refers to an era, let us assume, of 7,000 years.
In recent years some evidence has been unveiled indicating that certain numerical figures are mistranslated in the Bible, and that each creative day was an era of 8,400 years (7x1200), rather than an era of 7,000 years (7x1000). (An interesting presentation of this thesis is provided in Pyramidology, a four-volume publication available from The Institute of Pyramidology, 31 Station Road, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, Great Britain.) This information is brought to the attention of only the reader who wishes to delve deeper into Bible chronology, because the bulk of the discrepancy concerning this seventh era in which we live concerns the period prior to the flood, and is of little consequence to the message of this book.
The creation and preparation of the earth for man’s inhabitance is broadly described in Genesis, and additional information is provided in other books of the Bible such as Job and Isaiah. Scientists are not able yet to comprehend all the Bible states about our earth but, with the increase of knowledge, elaborated upon later, more and more is understood. For example, until 1492 it was broadly thought that the earth was flat; now, especially since we have seen pictures of the earth televised from outer space, it is well-established that the earth is a spheroid, and now we can understand what the Bible proclaimed 3,000 years ago in the Book of Isaiah, where we read of "the circle of the earth," (Isa 40:22). Now that we know that the earth’s atmosphere does not extend to the moon and that we earthlings dwell in an oxygen tent, we are able to comprehend "that (God) stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in." (Isa 40:22). Now we know that the earth is not resting on the back of Atlas but that "He (God) stretched out the north over the empty place and hangeth the earth upon nothing." (Job 26:7).
In 1955 the first edition of Creation’s Amazing Architect, subtitled "How the Modern Science of Geology Was Anticipated by 3,500 Years," was published. It was written by Walter J. Beasley, then president of the Australian Institute of Archeology, and provides an interesting account of creation, comparing the Biblical narrative with geological and biological research and showing how amply the Bible is supported by modern scientific investigation. Many other publications are available to make extremely interesting a Bible versus Science analysis of Creation; no evidence has been found to disprove the Bible, but a growing amount of evidence has been found to support the Bible and to make us more aware of the incomprehensible wisdom, justice, love, and power of God. However, your time will not be taken now to explore this subject because, for the purpose of this writing, we are anxious to move on to the morning of the sixth creative day and the crowning feature of God’s earthly creation, man—male and female.
Chapter III MAN-MADE TRADITIONS DENOUNCED
The Bible tells us that toward the end of the sixth creative day, "God created man in his own image; in the image of God created He him." (Ge 1:27). That is, God created man not as a robot but as a free moral agent, with the capacity to reason and the ability to choose between right and wrong.
The Bible tells us that "God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Ge 2:7).
Science concurs that man’s body is composed of the chemical elements inherent in Mother Earth, and that man lives by virtue of the oxygen that he breathes.
Another interesting item that the Bible tells us about our anatomy is that "The life of the flesh is in the blood." (Le 17:11). This is interesting, especially as another of the Bible’s truths that we were unable to understand until more recent years, when medical science discovered that the oxygen taken into the lungs is carried by the blood to every part of the body, and that it is thus that the body is kept alive.
In the above-mentioned verse, "God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul," the word "soul" appears in the Bible for the first time, and with it appears the definition. Note that man was not given a "living soul," as tradition would have us believe, but that the body plus the breath of life became a "living soul." The same Hebrew word, here translated as "living soul," is translated as "living creature" in Genesis (Ge 1:21; 24), where the reference is to lower animals. Such lack of uniformity in translation appears to uphold the Immortal Soul tradition by evading the Bible’s simple truth, that man and beast alike were created living souls (living creatures or living beings); both with one and the same breath of life, and that "as one dieth so dieth the other." (Ec 3:19-21).
The Immortal Soul tradition is another of the Devil’s cunningly devised credibility gaps. It claims that man has a spark of indestructible life hidden somewhere within his anatomy, which, when the body dies, escapes and survives death. This tradition denies God’s word, "Thou shalt surely die," (Ge 2:17), and supports Satan’s lie, "Ye shall not surely die," (Ge 3:4).
In both the heavenly and earthly realms, the Biblical word "soul" is synonymous with the words "being" and "creature;" and whether our reference is to a "living soul" or a "dead soul" depends entirely upon whether the body concerned continues to breathe.
In the Bible, the word "immortal (Greek: apthorsia —deathless or death-proof)" appears only once, and refers to God as "immortal" (1Ti 1:17). The word "immortality" (Greek: athanasia —deathlessness or death-proofness) appears only five times: once, referring to Jesus Christ as one "who only hath immortality (God, as always is excepted)," (1Ti 6:16); and four times referring to Christ’s Bride (later discussed) who will "put on immortality" as a reward for great sacrifice and suffering. (2Ti 1:10; 1Co 15:53,54; Ro 2:7).
It is true that God has immortality, that Christ has immortality, and that Christ’s Bride, after the marriage, acquires immortality. It is not true that any other spiritual or human being has immortality, nor does the Bible in any way intimate that any other being, soul or creature will ever have immortality.
We reason that God displays great wisdom in doling out immortality very sparingly when we consider, for example, that Satan, created as a perfect spirit being of very high order, has degenerated to the very depths of evil; and when we realize that if Satan were immortal, it would not be possible to put him to death, as God has promised to do. (Discussed later).
Exceedingly great as is the prize of immortality, won by Christ’s Bride and lost by the estimated 99.99998% remainder of mankind, we should not be shook up or depressed for having lost this prize because everlasting life, under conditions exceeding our fondest dreams, still is within our reach—everlasting life that can be destroyed if it becomes hopelessly evil, not immortality which is indestructible!
The Immortal Soul tradition did not become popular as a tenet of the Christian faith until well after the death of the Twelve Apostles, but after its inception it soon developed into an abominable weapon for keeping the people in line—for terrorizing those ignorant of the facts.
This abominable weapon stemmed from the notion that when the body died, the dreamed-up Immortal Soul had to have some place to go, and the idea was conceived that if a man was "good" (abided by the man-made rules), he would go to Heaven; and if he was "bad" (did not abide by the man-made rules), he would go to Hell—a place described by the rule-makers as a roaring furnace of everlasting torment. What a blasphemous thing it was to claim that our loving Heavenly Father could relegate any of His children to such a place!
This fiendish doctrine of Eternal Torment defamed God’s character to the extent that today many poor deceived souls are too afraid of God to seek His loving care and guidance; others, unable to believe such a fiendish doctrine, have turned away from the Bible which is falsely accused of teaching it The Bible does not teach this God-dishonoring, truth-beclouding theory of Eternal Torment. It teaches that "the wages of sin is death." (Ro 6:23); nothing more, nothing less! Again it says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," (Eze 18:4, 20), and "There is no work nor device, nor knowledge in the grave (sheol) whither thou goest." (Ec 9:10). If there is no knowledge in the grave, certainly there can be no suffering!
The verses of the Bible falsely accused of teaching this doctrine are those concerning the word "hell;" therefore it is necessary for us to examine the instances in the Bible where the word "hell" is used.
We must bear in mind the fact that our English Bible was translated—the Old Testament from the Hebrew language, and the New Testament from the Greek language.
The English word "hell" was selected, in every instance that it appears in the Bible, to translate into English the Hebrew word sheol and the Greek words hades, tartaroo, and gehenna. These same Hebrew and Greek words (sheol and hades), are also translated "grave" and "pit."
The old English word "hell," before theologians gave it a new and special significance, simply meant "to conceal, to hide, to cover;" hence, any concealed, hidden, or covered place such as a grave. In old English literature you will read of "helling the potatoes" (putting them into pits), and of "helling the house" (covering or thatching the roof). Therefore the word "hell" can be said to have been properly used synonymously with "grave" and "pit," to translate especially the Hebrew word sheol and the Greek word hades.
The Apostles supported the exact correspondence of the words sheol and hades when, quoting from the Old Testament, they used the Greek word hades to translate the Hebrew word sheol. For example, the Apostle Peter quoted from Psalms: "Thou will not leave my soul in hell (sheol, hades)." (Ps 16:10, Ac 2:27).
Yes, the word "hell" was used properly; however, the hanky-panky became obvious when the translators, apparently afraid to make plain the truth yet ashamed to tell a lie, used the word "hell" in instances where they thought the word "hell" could be twisted to support the theory of Eternal Torment, and used the words "grave" or "pit" in borderline or other instances where they thought the use of the word "hell" would dispute this theory.
It is not questioned that the scholars who translated the Bible knew well the meaning of sheol and hades; it is believed that they dared not buck the "establishment," which was willing to twist God’s word in order to terrorize the ignorant, and which in many instances is still willing to perpetuate the error.
In the Old Testament the word "hell" appears thirty-one times; each time it is translated from the word sheol. In addition, this identical word sheol is translated as "grave" thirty-one times and as "pit" three times. It is obvious that this Hebrew word sheol, like the Greek word hades in the New Testament, must mean the same in all instances, and that if the Bible reader simply substitutes the accurate phrase "the condition of death" or, for ease of handling, the word "grave" for the word "hell," much confusion will be eliminated.
As mentioned earlier, the New Testament includes two other Greek words that are translated as "hell"; gehenna, which occurs twelve times, and tartaroo, which occurs only once.
Gehenna is the Greek for the Hebrew Valley of Hinnom, which was located outside the city of Jerusalem and served as a dump for the refuse and offal of the city. Fires were kept burning, with brimstone being added to assure complete destruction; but the Jews were forbidden to torture any creature, so no living thing was permitted to be cast into this dump. The High Council, or Sanhedrin, at times sentenced certain very obnoxious criminals to the indignity after death of being refused burial, and these corpses, along with the carcasses of dogs, the city refuse, etc., were cast into the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna) to be consumed. This was a very severe sentence because the Jews, hoping for a resurrection, were (needlessly) very careful of the manner in which they buried their dead. Gehenna represented complete destruction at that time, and it is used in the Bible to represent complete destruction: death without hope of resurrection—"the second death." This same refuse dump is referred to elsewhere in the Bible as "the lake of fire." For example, in describing events to take place at the end of the Millennial Age, the Bible tells us "and death and hell (the grave) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." (Re 20:14).
This means simply that death and the grave will be completely destroyed; there will be no more death after the fulfillment of this prophecy!
The Greek word tartarno occurs but once in the Bible, and it is translated "hell" as follows: "God spared not the angels that sinned but cast them down to hell (tartaroo) and delivered them into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment." (2Pe 2:4). Peter’s word tartaroo closely resembles tartarus, the name for a dark abyss in Greek mythology, but tartaroo seems to refer more to an act than to a place. It is thought, especially in the light of other references to these fallen angels, that a more accurate translation might read, "God spared not the angels that sinned but degraded them to the atmosphere of the earth and delivered them unto chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment." Of course, this verse does not concern human beings; it concerns angels and will be referred to later.
In addition to the false usage of the word "hell" to prove the doctrine of Eternal Torture, there is an erroneous theory that people, not "bad" enough to go to Hell yet not "good" enough to go to Heaven, go immediately to a place called Purgatory when they die. It is falsely claimed that in Purgatory these people suffer until, purged of their sins, they go to Heaven. The word "purgatory" does not appear in the Bible and there is absolutely no hint of the traditional Purgatory teachings in the Bible! There is much said in the Bible about Christian cleansing or purging from sin, but this takes place before death, not after death.
The Bible records the accounts of several people, such as Lazarus (John, Chapter 11), whom Jesus awakened from death as a sample of a future resurrection, in the Millennial Age. We search these accounts in an unsuccessful effort to reconcile this experience of these sample-resurrection people, with the false concept that each of them had an Immortal Soul which, if immortal, of necessity must have sojourned in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory from the time they died until the time Jesus awakened them. We reason that:
(a) They did not sojourn in heaven. None of these sample-resurrection people appeared greater than David, whose heart was perfect before God (1Ki 11:4), and whom God described as "a man after mine own heart" (Ac 13:22). Yet, more than a thousand years after his death, the Bible tells us that even the worthy David "is both dead and buried—for David is not ascended into the heavens." (Ac 2:29,34). In addition, we note that Jesus himself assured us that He did not do these people the injustice of calling them from heaven, when He said, "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man (Christ)." (Joh 3:13).
(b) They did not sojourn in Hell or Purgatory—none of these sample-resurrection people mentioned being in the traditional Hell or Purgatory—obviously because no such places exist; for otherwise, we should expect hair-raising tales to have been told.
(c) They sojourned nowhere because they were dead.
The facts are not reconcilable with the false concept of an Immortal Soul, and we must conclude that, as the Bible tells us, these sample-resurrection people were unconscious in death and "the dead know not anything." (Ecc. 9:5).
Replacing tradition with fact, we reason that it appears clear that the Immortal Soul tradition and its associated Hell’s Fire or Eternal Torment doctrines, is completely false. The expression "Immortal Soul" appears nowhere in the Bible and, as the Bible tells us, "That which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts. All go unto one place; all are of the dust and all turn to dust again." (Ec 3:19,20).
One might hope that, with exposure of the erroneous Hell’s Fire and Purgatory doctrines, and assurance that in the grave there is no consciousness, a release from the fear and abhorrence of death might come; but no, this is not the case. The condition of death is and—at least until the likelihood of it is abolished—will continue to be feared and abhorred by every person in his right mind (not physically and/or emotionally disturbed), because death is not a natural condition.
Vibrant life is the natural condition of mankind!
It is true that some of the most violent records of history are recorded in the Bible, but any cruelty and vindictiveness found are not the will of God; they are the works of man, contrary to the laws of God. The wrath of God is turned not on man but on the establishments that suppress and enslave mankind.
Shame on those who would make us fearful of God!
The Bible tells us that "Fear toward God is taught by the precepts of man," (Isa 29:13), certainly not by the Bible! Let us not accept as gospel what "they" say is in the Bible; rather, let us follow God’s advice to "prove all things; hold fast that which is good." (1Th 5:21).
God proclaims that He is "merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and in truth," (Ex 34:6), and these characteristics are amplified throughout the Bible as it unfolds His magnificent plan. Therefore, let us divorce our minds of bigotry and tradition, and proceed, BIBLE IN HAND, to learn more of what the Bible really does tell us.
The Bible tells us that God placed man in the Garden of Eden, where God had made to grow "every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Ge 2:9).
God told man to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish (fill) the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (Ge 1:28). (The word "replenish" is a faulty translation; the word "fill" is properly used in the Revised Standard Version and other translations—it is translated from the Hebrew word male, meaning "to fill," not "refill.")
God provided man with a bountiful supply of the food necessary to sustain everlasting life and commanded him, saying: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Ge 2:16,17).
The Bible tells us that, through the serpent, Satan beguiled Eve by saying, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Ge 3:4,5).
This was the first of many, many times Satan has used a mixture of truth and error to deceive mankind.
It was true that, as a result of disobedience to God’s law not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Adam, Eve, and, by inheritance, their entire progeny would acquire by experience a knowledge of good and evil. This truth was confirmed later by God (Ge 3:22). It was a lie that as a result of this disobedience they would not die. Satan often uses this cunning method of deceit in which the truth lends credence to the lie.
The Bible tells us Eve was deceived by Satan’s lie and "she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Ge 3:6). It was at this point that man exercised unwisely his freedom of choice—his freedom to choose between good and evil.
There is no doubt that Adam and Eve were well aware of God’s law and of the penalty for breaking it, but they lacked a personal knowledge of evil and, rather than accept as their own the infinite wisdom of their loving Heavenly Father, they chose to disobey him and, consequently, to learn through bitter experience the exceeding sinfulness of sin. Man chose to learn the hard way, and thus displayed a quality expressed to this day in even the littlest child as it reaches, in defiance of its earthly father’s command, to touch the burning stove or to run into the street.
The Bible tells us that because man broke the law and ate of the forbidden fruit the death penalty was invoked. God expelled man from the Garden of Eden, saying, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it was thou taken; for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return." (Ge 3:19).
God had said plainly, "the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," (Ge 2:17), and history confirms that no man has lived longer than the specified thousand-year-day which, in this instance, is defined as "one day with the Lord is as a thousand years." (2Pe 3:8).
It is reassuring to know that "Adam lived 930 years, and died." (Ge 5:5); and Methuselah, the oldest man ever to have lived, died at the age of 969 years (Ge 5:27); no man’s life span has exceeded the thousand-year-day in which he was sentenced to die. (It was after the flood that man’s age limit was set at 120 years—Ge 6:3.) We do not question that, since God created man and his environment, God had every right to set the rules whereby man should live. However, since on the surface death appears to be a mighty stiff penalty for eating a little fruit, we find ourselves questioning why God made the penalty for disobedience so great—why God did not overlook man’s first offense—why God did not restrain our first parents—and why God permitted Satan to tempt man.
The Bible tells us—and we are assured our first parents understood—that God provided us with perfect laws, the keeping of which assures enduring happiness and everlasting life; and the breaking of which results in misery and death. We know that each law is important to our individual and collective happiness; if it was not important, it would not be included among God’s perfect laws. We know also, that God never changes; "he (God) can not deny himself," (2Ti 2:13), and it is "impossible for God to lie," (Heb 6:18); and we are grateful for this knowledge because it gives us assurance that always we can depend exactly upon what He says!
The more we analyze God’s laws the deeper grows our admiration and respect for them—laws which man has never been able to improve; and, too, we shall see that the more we analyze His laws the more we shall become cognizant of the infinite wisdom, justice, and love God displays in his decree that the penalty for disobedience to these laws is death. Obviously God’s laws are not designed to enslave mankind; on the contrary, they are designed to free mankind—to guide us away from unhappiness unto happiness. History relates the depths to which man has stooped to break one after another of these laws and, although we shudder with thoughts of the evils that are rampant in the world today, our visions are trivial as compared with our visualization of the chaotic state in which our world would be if the penalty for sin was not death; if we were permitted to compound generation after generation of evil-doing. With little thought, it becomes obvious indeed that it was exceedingly wise and merciful to make death the penalty for sin, and thus eliminate greater suffering.
We know there are four ways of knowing things: by intuition, by observation, by experience, and by infallible information. Intuitive knowledge belongs only to God, "the eternal fountain of all wisdom and truth." No object lessons concerning the effect of evil
were available for man’s observation, and man demonstrated by his disobedience that he was unwilling to accept infallible information—that he would not accept God’s superior wisdom as his own; and therefore, that he was determined to learn through experience. We know that mankind serves as an object lesson to angels and fortunately that, since Adam s time, many humans are spared bitter experience by gaining knowledge through their faith in God’s laws, or through their observation of the painful results of others’ wrongdoing; but by and large, mankind still is determined to learn through personal experience.
The Bible tells us that "known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world," (Ac 15:18), and there is no doubt that God knew exactly how man would react to temptation. God could have created man a robot to automatically obey him, but instead God created man, a God-like, free moral agent to have dominion over the earth. God knew that man would require practical knowledge of good and evil in order to develop the quality of character necessary to the role he was to play; but he allowed man, the free moral agent, to choose his own course.
It is not easy at first for our finite minds to grasp the wisdom of God’s decisions. However, in the instance of Adam’s and Eve’s transgression, we reason that God did not flaunt the death penalty as a big stick over man’s head to subjugate him; on the contrary, God, as a loving Father, pointed out to our first parents the reward of doing right and the penalty of doing wrong. He gave them a fair and square opportunity to choose, as a source for their knowledge of good and evil, either their Creator’s infallible information or their own bitter experience.
Now, having developed more responsible vision, we look upon the sentence of death as merciful and, since man still is choosing bitter experience rather than God’s laws to guide his life, we see how futile it would have been to overlook man’s first offense, even if it had been morally possible for God to do so. This reasoning indicates that we are beginning to respond to the Bible’s tutelage, and we are delighted with this early evidence that indeed, our minds may develop the capacity to accept God’s flattering invitation to "Come and let us reason together." (Isa 1:18).
The Bible tells us God is "not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness." (Ps 5:4). His purpose is to make manifest the perfection and righteous authority of his laws and to prove to us, and to angels, the evil consequences of violating his laws. God has permitted Satan to tempt us and the associated reign of evil only insofar as it serves His purpose in planning our ultimate good, as will be elaborated upon later.
Thus it was that the sixth creative day ended, with our perfect first parents living in the perfect Garden of Eden under perfect laws which, if obeyed, assured enduring happiness and everlasting life; and thus it was that the evening, the dark beginning, of the seventh day began, with our disobedient first parents turned out of the Garden onto the uncultivated earth, destined to learn the evil of wrongdoing through bitter experience, and sentenced to die.
Chapter IV FIRST SIXTEEN CENTURIES
For about the first sixteen centuries of this seventh seven-thousand-year day, the period from Adam’s disobedience until the flood, God withdrew the personal guidance man had spurned in the Garden of Eden, committed the supervision of mankind to angels, and favored only a devout character or two. (Only Abel, Enoch and Noah receive honorable mention in the Bible).
Man had been created perfect, with a knowledge of God’s law written into his very nature to serve as a guide in his daily life; and after man sinned, God left him measurably to his own course so that he might observe the result of wrongdoing, and learn to appreciate God’s wisdom in demanding absolute obedience to His laws.
The angels failed miserably in their endeavor to lift mankind out of sin, as is elaborated upon later in this writing, and man’s course was down, down, down—until man became so corrupt and depraved that God did "bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh," (Ge 6:17), except that flesh saved in Noah’s ark.
God knew the angels would fail but He permitted their endeavor that by their failure all might learn that the one and only effectual remedy for sin is that provided in Jesus Christ, as is discussed later.
The Bible tells us "the world that then was being overflowed with water perished." (2Pe 3:6). "Every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth; and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark." (Ge 7:23).
The Genesis account of the flood is offered—to those who doubt its authenticity—as the only plausible explanation for the great bulk of evidence, accumulated by science, that there was a time of world-wide cataclysm in man’s history.
In all parts of the world, paleontologists have found fossils of substantial numbers of animals and vegetation irrefutably reputed to have expired en masse under catastrophic circumstances; but, reluctant to admit a catastrophe of world-wide proportions, paleontologists fail to agree on an answer to the puzzle of what happened to so abruptly terminate life.
For example, an expert paleontologist has said that the destruction that came to the dinosaurs, and ended other types of reptilian evolution, was one of the outstanding events in the history of the earth, and that it was an event that still defies all efforts of explaining it In the frigid areas of Alaska and Siberia, considerable evidence of the suddenness with which herds of numerous kinds of animals perished lies in the frozen muck blanket, which has preserved great numbers of them for several thousand years; some have frozen in their teeth and stomachs undigested leaves and grasses. You may wish to read Dr. Frank C. Hibbon’s book, The Lost Americans, for an account of the Alaskan disaster, and the works of Dr. Ivan T. Sanderson, famous British zoologist, for a description of the Siberian catastrophe.
Archaeologists have confirmed the fact of such a flood in the Mesopotamian Valley, and geologists offer proof that such a vast flooding existed in many other parts of the world; in fact, world-wide evidence of the deluge is so convincing that in 1960 Dr. Rhodes W. Fairbridge was prompted to say in Scientific American, "A deluge such as that described in the Book of Genesis occurs in the legends and folklore of almost every ancient people ...such agreement among the legends of so many peoples living in distant parts of the world has caused scholars in modern times to wonder whether mankind did in truth experience the world-wide catastrophe of a deluge." Bravo for Fairbridge; it is impossible to understand how any other conclusion can reasonably be reached!
Prior to the flood Noah, under God’s direction, had built an ark to serve as a refuge for his family and for pairs, male and female, of all of the animal kingdom specified by God (Ge 7:1-3). After the flood subsided, the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat and "Noah went forth, and his (three) sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him. And every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kind, went forth out of the ark." (Ge 8:18,19). It was from these that came from the ark, that the world, as we know it today, multiplied.
The Bible tells us that God instructed Noah, "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shall pitch it within and without with pitch. And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits (547.3 feet by sacred cubit of 21.88 inches), the breadth of it fifty cubits (91.2 feet) and the height of it thirty cubits (54.72 feet). A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above (an opening 21.88 inches high all around the ark under the eaves); and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it." (Ge 6:14-16).
These dimensions provide a capacity of 2,730,782 cubic feet and a tonnage of 81,052. Therefore, we reason that the immensity of the ark was ample to accommodate the eight passengers, the pairs of all the species of animals specified, and the supplies necessary to the voyage ..."The waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days." (Ge 7:24).
After the flood, the Bible tells us, "The ark rested ...upon the mountains of Ararat." (Ge 8:4).
A recent development that may provide additional evidence of the accuracy of the Genesis account of the flood is described in an article by Louis Cassels, in the Pittsburgh Press of June 11, 1970, entitled "That Wood Mass In Glacial Ice: Is It Noah’s Ark?"
Cassels’ article indicates that in June, 1970, a team of eight American scientists and explorers, representing a foundation called SEARCH, would fly to Turkey to determine whether the mysterious mass of hand-hewn timbers that lies embedded in glacial ice about 14,000 feet up the side of Mount Ararat could be the remains of Noah’s Ark. (See also, Science News: 6/13/70, p. 574).
In 1955, explorer Fernand Navarra, following clues given in Middle Eastern history and literature dating back to the time of the Babylonian Empire, discovered a mass of wood embedded in a glacial ice pack at the 14,000 foot level of Mount Ararat He estimated that at least fifty tons of wood were visible through the ice and that it appeared to be organized in a bow-shaped structure, including hand-hewn timbers 150 to 200 feet in length.
In 1969, SEARCH sent Navarra back to the mountain with diamond-tipped boring tools to obtain samples of the wood which, since then, have been tested at scientific laboratories in Europe and America.
Four encouraging factors indicate that this wood mass may be Noah’s Ark:
1. The site is Mount Ararat. (The Bible specifically identifies the mountains of Ararat as the place where Noah’s Ark came to rest).
2. The wood has been identified as white oak, and no white oak trees grow within 300 miles of the mountain. (The Bible specifies "gopher wood" but, as yet, the Biblical "gopher wood" has not been defined in terms of present day woods.) 3. Scientists at the University of Bordeaux in France and at the Madrid Institute of Forestry in Spain have concluded from the amount of lignite, the degree of petrification, and the cell structure of the wood that it must be about 5000 years old. (The Bible indicates that Noah’s Ark was built about 4,400 years ago out of lumber that, we reason, must have required several hundred years of growth to attain the proportions necessary to the building of the Ark) 4. Chemical tests yielded evidence that some of the wood had been waterproofed with bituminous pitch.
(The Bible specifies that the Ark be pitched "within and without with pitch.") Expedition leaders are not deeply concerned that radio-carbon tests in U.S. laboratories suggest the wood samples came from trees that grew from 100 A.D. to 600 A.D., because they say radioactive gases seeping from the volcanic mountain may have affected the isotope composition of the wood.
Expedition member Rennie Noobeergen said, "There seem to be only two logical possibilities. Either we must assume that some ancient people went to a great deal of trouble to hand-hew timbers, haul them 300 miles overland and carry them 14,000 feet up the side of a mountain in order to erect a building for some purpose, or we must conclude that a gigantic flood deposited a large, ship-like object on the mountain."
It was planned that if, in June, 1970, further testing corroborated the thesis that a ship-like object is buried in the ice, SEARCH would send a larger expedition to Mount Ararat in the summer of 1971, to undertake the massive task of digging it out of the glacier.
However, after the arrival of the expedition and their equipment in Istanbul, this plan was stymied by the Turkish Government which, citing "security reasons," refused the SEARCH expedition permission to climb Mount Ararat (New York Times: 7/19/70, p. 11).
Mount Ararat looms 16,945 feet over the heavily fortified Turkish-Russian border, and parts of it are restricted military areas. At last report an effort was being made to reverse the Turkish decision through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Ralph E. Lenton, a Briton who is chief of the expedition organized by the Search Foundation of Washington, D.C.
Over the centuries Noah’s Ark reportedly has been sighted many times, but until recently we have not had the scientific knowhow to properly explore such reports. Our new ability makes it more difficult than it may have been in the past to endure the frustration of awaiting Turkey’s "go" sign for our explorers. At this time no decisive information is available, but it is most likely that Noah’s Ark is preserved, and that, in God’s due time, it will be discovered and serve as a witness to the truth of the Genesis account of the flood. However, although we might judge the present to be an appropriate time for this corroboration to be unveiled, we know of no Biblical authority for our judgment.
An interesting sidelight, in connection with the possibility of sending an expedition to dig this ship-like object out of the glacier, is that there is hope of finding a source of geo-thermal heat to melt the glacier. Dr. Robert C. Faylor is quoted as saying, "Conceivably one could drill into a volcanic mountain, put water in and get hot water out. That would save hauling a lot of fuel up there."
Any mention of geo-thermal heat excites us, as it alerts us to hope that this source of energy may serve to reduce our growing worry related, on the one hand, to our spiraling need for electricity; and, on the other hand, to our mounting conventional fuel shortages and ecological problems associated with generating electricity.
Geo-thermal heat—the heat inside our planet Earth—is claimed to be close enough to the surface, in at least a number of spots, to make useful steam which, aimed at a turbine’s blades, can generate electricity for "free" while causing practically no pollution of our air, water and land. The Wall Street Journal ( 12/10/70 issue) reports that now the Pacific Gas and Electric Company is operating a geo-thermally powered 80,000-kilowatt generating plant in California, and that its capacity is being expanded, hopefully to generate 600,000 kilowatts by 1975.
A number of such spots are said to be accessible in the West, and the Appalachian and Ozark mountains are said to include spots where electricity can be geo-thermally generated for our Eastern states. Federal Power Commission Chairman, John Nassikas, is quoted as saying, "This power source is presently viewed by geothermal experts as a possible rival to hydroelectric power and, in the long run, even nuclear power."
This so much less problematical energy drawn constructively, rather than destructively, from the bowels of the earth, like energies drawn from the rays
of the sun, the waves of the ocean, the turbulence of the air, the current of the waterfalls, etc., appears to be in so much closer accord with Fifth Universal Empire science than our less natural energies, that it is extremely interesting.
The Great Pyramid of Gizeh in Egypt is judged to be another of God’s great witnesses which, in His due time, we all will recognize as a witness to God’s foreknowledge (1) of His magnificent plan for mankind, including our past, present and future as detailed in the Bible, and (2) of scientific facts concerning our planet and universe that we have begun to comprehend only during the present century—only since the prophesied "bright shining" of Jesus Christ has increased our knowledge.
The Bible tells us, "In that day (our day) shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord.
And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt." (Isa 19:19,20).
The Great Pyramid is judged to be this altar and pillar, and it is believed that no conscientious student can carefully examine it, comparing its testimony with that of the Bible, without concluding that the architect of the Great Pyramid and the author of the Bible are one and the same—God.
The Great Pyramid, located at the northernmost edge of the Gizeh cliffs at a point overlooking the open fan-shaped land of Lower Egypt, may be truly said to be at the very border as well as in the nominal center of Egypt. In 1868, when Henry Mitchell, Chief Hydrographer of the United States Coast Survey, discovered that the position of the Great Pyramid marks the inner angle of the quarter-circle arc formed by the remarkable regularity of the curvature along the whole of Egypt’s northern coast, he exclaimed: "That monument stands in a more important physical situation than any other building erected by man."
However, infinitely more significant and more astounding than the facts concerning its location within physical Egypt, is the fact that its latitude and longitude indicate that the Great Pyramid also is located in the geographical center of the land surface of the world, which Egypt typifies in the Bible.
Considering the fact that the Great Pyramid was built thousands of years before that part of the land surface known as North and South America (representing about 26% of the land surface) was discovered, we reason that a superhuman intelligence was required to accomplish its location—to accomplish the fact that, literally and symbolically, the Great Pyramid stands as "an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt."
The Great Pyramid, a building unrivaled to this day, was probably built in 2170 B.C. by, it seems reasonable to believe, the divinely inspired Melchizedek, whom the Bible describes as "King of Salem (king of peace) and priest of the most high God." (Heb 7:1). It and the Bible are the oldest existing works known in the world today. Reportedly, it is 486 feet high and 764 feet broad at its base; it covers 13 acres and contains 2,300,000 blocks, each averaging 2 tons. One of its stones is estimated to weigh 80 tons, and there are stones in it thirty feet in length, said to fit so closely together that you may run a penknife over the surface without discovering the breaks between them. All this was accomplished without mortar, from tools, or the wheel; yet the most awesome features lie in its symbolism and measurements. The building date, unknown for thousands of years, was determined astronomically less than a century ago, when the amazing coincidence was discovered that, at midnight of the autumnal equinox in 2170 B.C., Draconis, the dragon star (symbol of Satan), looked directly down the entrance passage (resembling an astronomer’s pointer), while the ascending passage (much resembling a telescope) was fixed upon the Pleiades (symbol of God). Since the time of this discovery, the year 2170 B.C. has been supported by certain measurements by which the Great Pyramid otherwise indicates its date of construction.
The Great Pyramid is listed first among the seven wonders of the world but is little known as the majestic wonder that it is—a treasury of important scientific, historic and prophetic truths corroborating the Bible. These extraordinary truths, many so profound as to astound the most educated minds of today, are revealed to man by the Great Pyramid’s geographical location, its symbolic construction, and its measurements. Other pyramids, inferior in every way, are mere attempts to copy and, unlike the Great Pyramid, they contain no symbolic features and evidently were designed and used as sepulchres.
The evidence is overwhelming that it is to The Great Pyramid, preserved more than 4,000 years for our comprehension, that the Bible points when it tells us God "Hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day" (Jer 32:20); and it is believed that we can now recognize The Great Pyramid as God’s blueprint of His divine plan for mankind.
Your time will not be taken in this writing to further explore this tremendously interesting but voluminous subject; but, for those whose appetites are whetted, two starter books are suggested: Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid by C. Piazzi Smyth, who presents a scholarly scientific work; and Thy Kingdom Come by Charles Taze Russell, who presents a possibly
inspired religious work. It is to these books we are indebted for the bulk of information here provided which, it should be noted, barely scratches the surface of the astonishing facts they reveal.
Another visual aid which is faith-strengthening and highly inspiring, especially during these dark days when we are threatened with problems which might soon make our earth uninhabitable, is the rainbow.
After the flood, God placed the rainbow in the sky as a token of His promise never again to bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh; and, at the same time, He promised that as we look upon the rainbow, He will look upon it with us. The detail of this makes interesting reading and is available in verses 8 through 17 of the ninth chapter of Genesis.
Previous to the flood, there was no rainbow (the watery canopy enveloping the earth prevented the forming of a bow).
Woodsworth, the poet, said: "My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky;" and so leaps for joy the heart of every person who knows a rainbow’s significance. Few, if any, people are unaffected by the sight of a rainbow, yet the experiences of some are much greater than others. You, too, may recall a moment of desperate loneliness and despair when, perhaps miraculously, you were permitted to view a rainbow; and when, although at the time you may have not fully appreciated that God was looking at it with you, you felt a strange surge of inner peace overwhelm you that you will always remember with reverence.
In addition to the everlasting promises associated with the rainbow, God also promised, "I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" (Ge 8:21,22), and "the earth abideth forever." (Ec 1:4).
Surely these promises eliminate any possible doubt that God will intervene before man has blundered so far as to completely destroy himself and his environment! This is reassuring and we find ourselves more eager to continue our search for what additional experiences are in store for us—for all mankind.
Footnote: The attention of those interested in up-dating and expanding their knowledge of The Great Pyramid is called to, Pyramidology, Book IV by Adam Rutherford, Published by The Institute of Pyramidology, 31 Station Road, Harpenden Hertfordshire, Great Britain.
Chapter V NEXT TWENTY-FOUR CENTURIES
For about the next twenty-four centuries—the period from the flood until after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—God left most of mankind measurably to its own course. However, in the period from the flood until the death of Jacob, God favored a few individuals, such as the patriarchs Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and, in the period from the death of Jacob until after the death of Christ, God favored Jacob’s descendants, "the twelve tribes of Israel," or the Jews, whom God recognized as a typical nation.
The individuals God favored, prior to the death of Christ, who were tried and found true, we call the "Ancient Worthies" and refer to them later.
God blessed the Jews in many ways. He gave them His law, in the form of the Ten Commandments, with the promise that if they kept the law inviolate (a) they would live thereby—not die (Eze 20:11), and (b) they would become "a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Ex 19:4-6); He sent them the prophets to guide them; and finally, He sent them His Son, Jesus Christ.
However none kept the Ten Commandments and, excepting a few, they rejected the prophets and Christ, whom they crucified. A few days prior to Christ’s crucifixion, He exclaimed, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered they children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate." (Mt 23:37,38). Thus their national favor ended and they were scattered throughout the earth to learn the folly of their ways—not unlike the way Adam and Eve were turned out of the Garden of Eden to learn the folly of their ways.
God’s treatment of the Jews is a very important thread, running throughout the tapestry of God’s plan, that should be recognized and understood. Facts concerning this thread are cited, when timely, because of their significance; and in no instance should they be misused by the ungodly as fodder for the support of anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism is anti-Biblical and any attempt to equate it with true Christianity is futile! God’s eternal love for Israel is proclaimed throughout the Bible and nothing is stated, in either the Old Testament or the New, that sanctions the abominable persecutions Jews have suffered at the hands of the ungodly. In fact, the Bible tells us that anyone subscribing to
such persecution will be justly punished; for example, God assured the Jews: "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee." (Ge 12:3).
There are many examples in the Bible of such persecution, and such retribution concerning instances past, present and future, that we are slow to see in their true light, and that will become increasingly clear as time marches on.
The Israelites, or Jews, are God’s chosen people; as God said to them; "You only have I known of all the families of the earth." (Am 3:2). They were not chosen because they would behave differently from the way any other people might behave; rather, they were chosen, in recognition of Abraham’s, Isaac’s, and Jacob’s goodness, to be a typical kingdom. As the Bible tells us, "They were beloved for the fathers’ sakes." (Ro 11:28).
The deep mystery of God’s dealings with, and plans for, Israel is spelled out carefully throughout the Bible, because of the great importance, to both the Jews and the Gentiles (total non-Jewish humanity), of the experiences of the aforementioned typical kingdom and what these experiences foreshadow.
In the section of the tapestry of God’s plan we now are examining, it is important to recognize the Jewish thread, indicating that Christ was the Messiah promised throughout the Old Testament, and that "He came unto his own (the Jews) but his own received him not." (Joh 1:11). Recall that Jesus did not preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, and that He commanded His twelve disciples: "Go not into the way of the Gentiles ...but go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel." (Mt 10:5). In accordance with God’s promise, the Jews were given the first opportunity to accept Christ, and it was not until after they did not respond in sufficient number that the reward, associated with accepting Christ, was extended to the Gentiles. Recall that it was not until after the crucifixion, at the end of the Jewish Age, that the Apostle Paul became "the apostle of the Gentiles" (Ro 11:13), and was directed to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles.
It is true that most of the Jews have been as foolhardy as most of the Gentiles in tossing away their opportunities, but fortunately God is merciful and long-suffering toward all of us. The Jews can be assured, "God hath not cast away his people" (Ro 11:2); and "Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Lu 21:24)—certainly not forever!
The birth of Jesus Christ was the first great step in God’s magnificent plan to provide a savior for the redemption of man. The Bible had long promised a messiah, a savior; a very vague glimpse of this promise was provided as early as in the Garden of Eden when God said, "It (the seed of the woman) shall bruise thy (the serpent’s) head." (Ge 3:15). Other early references concern this plan for salvation; however, it is not until after the flood when God promises that in Abraham and his seed "shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Ge 12:3), that God’s plan starts to become clearer, and especially clearer when we learn that Christ is Abraham’s seed of promise (Ga 3:16).
Jesus Christ is prominent, in one capacity or another, throughout the Bible; and always, as God’s beloved son and as God’s first in command. An historical record of Christ’s life and ministry, during His first advent, is provided in the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), where attention is called also to many events in Christ’s life which were in direct fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, and thus proved Him to be the promised Messiah.
A thorough reading of these four books is highly recommended, because within them Jesus, by word and by deed, teaches the Gospel—the very basis of Christianity. In fact, these four books, plus the fifth book—Acts—which narrates the experiences of the Apostles, are known as "The Gospel Books." Within them is related the wondrous story of how Jesus, motivated by love, joyfully sacrificed His life to redeem humanity. He provided a redemption that guarantees a resurrection of the dead—a doctrine peculiar to the Jewish and Christian religions only.
Jesus made this supreme sacrifice for two beautiful reasons: first, because He finds delight in doing the will of His heavenly Father; and second, because He loves and has faith in us. He has faith that, during his thousand-year reign, He can restore us, individually, to a state of perfection; and, during His first advent, He Himself provided us with the perfect pattern for our Christian lifestyle.
It is well worth pausing to relish the glorious inspiration there is in the realization that Jesus loves and has faith in us! Knowing this, how can we resist having faith in Him? How great it is to realize that Jesus was not merely an ideal; He was a perfect man with whom we can identify, whose perfect love, compassion and unselfishness we can rely upon, and we can emulate!
John the Baptist, introducing Jesus, said: "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." (Joh 1:29). Also, the Bible tells us that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life." (Joh 3:16). Again, we are overwhelmed by this evidence that we are loved so deeply—so deeply that God did exercise such great sacrificial love in our behalf; and the responding goodness in our own hearts makes us hesitate over this Biblical statement, to reason why such a tremendous sacrifice was necessary.
We recall that Adam, and by inheritance his progeny (total mankind), was condemned to death. We recall that Adam was a perfect man and that, according to the God-given Jewish law of an "eye for eye, tooth for tooth," (Ex 21:24), a perfect life would be required to redeem a perfect life. Therefore, we reason that it was necessary for Christ to first prove his perfection, which he did by keeping every "jot" and "tittle" (Mat. 5:18) of the Law of God, given at Mount Sinai and summarized in the Ten Commandments—the measure of a perfect man; and second, to forfeit his perfect life, which he did at Calvary.
We reason that this tremendous sacrifice was necessary because a perfect life was required to pay the ransom price, and because Christ, the only man ever to have kept the Ten Commandments, was the only perfect man to exist since Adam—the only man capable of paying the ransom. The word "ransom" (Greek, antilutron) signifies an equivalent or satisfactory price (1Ti 2:6).
So it was that Jesus Christ fulfilled God’s many promises, cited in the Old Testament, to send a redeemer to ransom mankind "from the power of the grave (sheol) "( Ho 13:14); thus assuring Adam, and all of his progeny, an opportunity for everlasting life on earth, restored to Edenic perfection—Christ redeemed the counterpart of what Adam lost! The Bible clearly tells us that "since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1Co 15:21,22).
We pause to consider whether we think it possible that man can live forever. We recall that when Adam sinned he was turned out of the Garden of Eden onto the uncultivated earth where, instead of only having to reach for perfect food that God said would sustain perfect human life, he had to toil for imperfect food that we know brought eventual starvation to all who survived premature death. God barred man from the Garden "lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever" (Ge 3:22); and God said, "Cursed is, the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Ge 3:17-19).
The Bible plainly states that, properly nourished, man can live forever; and that improperly nourished, he is on a starvation course; but what further evidence do we have of this?
Science tells us that the human body is composed of about 70% water, without replenishment of which man can live only about 72 hours; about 18% organic matter, including sugar, fats and albuminous substances; and about 12% inorganic matter, such as lime, potassium, sodium, iron, magnesium, and silica. It is understood that the blood, composed of these elements and oxygen derived from the air we breathe, contains the material for every tissue of the body and supplies nutriment to every organ, enabling it to perform its individual function. We know that an insufficiency of one or more of these elements in the blood produces a deranged, diseased or deteriorated condition that can be reversed only by correcting the very difficult-to-pinpoint deficiency. Based on these facts and the knowledge that the human body undergoes a continual process of renewal which is completed in cycles of seven years, we conclude that the human body is designed to live forever; and that given perfect food, water and air, including the elements necessary to continually renew his body to perfection, man can live forever once God’s blessing, redeemed by Jesus Christ, is restored.
We digress from our theme another moment, because consideration of the important role the blood plays in supporting life brings to mind another false fear that has played havoc with a number of human lives in recent years—the false fear that blood transfusions are sinful and forbidden by God.
The meaning of certain Biblical texts, forbidding the drinking of the blood of lower animals, is distorted by some sects in an effort to prove that God forbids blood transfusions. As a result, some misguided followers of these sects were denied the benefit of this modern blessing that might have saved their lives, while others, having accepted its benefit, continue to struggle with their consciences.
It is true: (1) that God accepted sacrifices of lower animal blood to foreshadow the sacrifice of Christ’s blood; (2) that since animal blood was used to symbolize the blood of atonement, it should be considered sacred and not common, as ordinary food; and (3) that therefore, God’s ancient people were forbidden to drink the blood of lower animals. It is not true that drinking the blood of lower animals is in any way related to the transfusion of blood from one person to another to save perhaps a life.
The art of transferring blood from one human being to another, like other laudable advances in medical science designed to reduce suffering and extend life, was unknown in Biblical times, and understandably no direct reference to it is made in the Bible. We can be sure that if it was sinful it would be clearly spelled out as such in the Bible, and that, instead of so mis-categorizing it, it should be recognized as a blessed segment of the "increase of knowledge," attained through Christ’s "bright shining" (discussed later), that is prophesied for our time.
Hopefully, anyone previously enslaved by this misapprehension is now free, and never again will condemn himself for having taken, or will restrain himself from taking, advantage of the opportunity to donate his blood to another or to accept the donation of another’s blood for himself. Blood transfusion should be looked upon as a blessing, certainly not as a sin!
Resuming our thoughts, concerning the highlights of this period of about twenty-four centuries between the flood and the crucifixion of Christ, our attention is focused on the thrilling fact that WE HAVE BEEN REDEEMED! No longer must we look upon our short life span as the sum total of our existence. Now we know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has paid our ransom, and that every person who has ever lived is entitled to an opportunity for everlasting life on this earth, restored to Edenic perfection. Christ redeemed exactly what Adam forfeited—the opportunity for everlasting perfect life on earth, in a perfect environment!
This knowledge fills us with delightful anticipation but we wonder how this shall be accomplished, and we are anxious to move ahead to the next step of God’s magnificent plan.
Chapter VI NEXT NINETEEN CENTURIES
For about the next nineteen centuries, the period from after Christ’s crucifixion until Christ’s second advent, God continues to leave most of mankind largely to its own course, but favors a number of individuals who, by faith, accept Christ as their Redeemer and dedicate their lives to walking in Christ’s footsteps.
This period of nineteen centuries, plus the succeeding century, or "time of the end," is called the Gospel Age because it is during this period that the gospel, the "good tidings of great joy" prophesied by the angels (Lu 2:10), is heralded in every nation. The Bible tells us "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end (of the Gospel Age and "this present evil World") come." (Mt 24:14).
The gospel to be heralded is the good news of Christ’s kingdom. It is that Jesus Christ "gave himself a ransom for all," (1Ti 2:6); each and every one of us, including Adam, has been redeemed and individually, under the most favorable conditions, is entitled to an opportunity to prove himself worthy of everlasting life on this earth; and in addition, the very special reward of becoming Christ’s Bride and reigning with Him for a thousand years is offered to those who, during the unfavorable conditions of the Gospel Age, "take up their cross" and dedicate their lives to walking in the footsteps of Christ. The Bible tells us over and over about "our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life (to mankind) and immortality (to Christ’s Bride) to light (to our understanding) through the gospel." (2Ti 1:10).
We pause to pinpoint on our calendar the momentous dates concerning Christ’s payment of our ransom.
There are minor discrepancies in the exact dates accepted among students of Bible chronology; however, since the differences are not relevant to the purpose of this book, we will not explore the detail but will submit the conviction that: 1. Christ was born on October 3, 2 B.C.; that 2. Christ was baptized on October 3, 29 A.D. when He reached the age of 30 (the Biblical age of maturity); that 3. Christ was crucified on Friday, April 3, 33 A.D. at 3 o’clock P.M., after 3 1/2 years of ministry; and that 4. Christ was resurrected on Sunday, April 5, 33 A.D.
We might question, since Christ paid the ransom in 33 A.D., why man was not rehabilitated immediately to the perfect life and environment that Adam forfeited and Christ redeemed.
We are assured that the ransom paid was accepted by God, as complete satisfaction of the debt:
(a) first, by the fact that on the third day after the crucifixion, Christ, "the first fruits" of the resurrection, was restored to life (Lu 24:6,7); and
(b) second, by the fact that at Pentecost, fifty days after the crucifixion; God again displayed His acceptance of the ransom by bestowing His Holy Spirit on the Apostles (Ac 2:4).
Why then, after almost twenty centuries, has the Paradise lost through Adam not yet been restored through Christ?
The Bible makes it plain that there are two reason why the hostage (man and his environment restored to perfection) was not claimed in 33 A.D.:
(a) first, because at that time the hostage was incomplete (an estimated 93% of mankind was not yet born), and the individuals concerned were unprepared (not yet fortified with a personal knowledge of good and evil) to assume the responsibility of perfection; and
(b) second, because at that time Christ’s Bride, the "little flock" of His "footstep followers," destined to share Christ’s kingdom and assist in restoring mankind, was not yet selected, tried and found true.
Again the wondrous wisdom, justice, love, and power displayed in God’s reasoning shines through, and guides our thoughts toward greater, more in-depth understanding as follows:
(a) We reason that, since God foreknew what Adam’s transgression confirmed—that man requires a personal knowledge of good and evil to serve as a basis upon which to intelligently choose between right and wrong, God wisely and mercifully conceived a plan whereby the entire human race, as progeny of the fallen Adam, might be exposed to this knowledge; yet, as progeny of the fallen Adam, might be redeemed by only one perfect man—Jesus Christ.
(b) We reason that this plan satisfies absolute justice because, since only one perfect man sinned, only one perfect man requires redemption; Adam’s entire progeny, born imperfect, can not justly be held accountable to perfect laws.
(c) We reason that this plan tempers justice—as far as morally possible—with loving compassion, because it assures each individual the experience and divine guidance necessary to develop a sound knowledge of good and evil before he is reckoned perfect and held accountable to perfect laws.
(d) We reason also, that Christ’s Bride must be selected, tried, found true, and harvested from people living all through the Gospel Age; and that each member of this "little flock" must experience the many trials on this earth that are necessary to develop his character and understanding of the weaknesses he is destined to help mankind surmount
The Bible tells us (1) that the first step toward claiming the hostage was taken in 33 A.D. when "he (Christ) rose again the third day" (1Co 15:4);
(2) that the intervening steps, designed to complete Christ’s Bride and to equip mankind with a personal knowledge of good and evil, are being taken exactly on schedule; and
(3) that the final step will not be taken until, at the end of the Millennial Age, man and his environment are pronounced perfect. Then after each individual will be as personally responsible for his conduct as Adam was in the Garden of Eden.
Finally, we reason that it is indeed important not to claim the hostage prematurely—not before 100% of mankind has been born and educated to choose responsibly between good and evil. Once understood, this is recognized as a marvelous segment of God’s magnificent plan, and we marvel at its sound logic and beautiful simplicity. Again we are thrilled with our new and growing ability to accept God’s invitation to "come and let us reason together," and we are eager to examine the mentioned "intervening steps" and note their scheduling.
Hopefully, you and I will be among those who will live through the end of this Gospel Age, and will never need to die. If not, we will be among those who have died and are entitled to a resurrection, with the same full opportunity to prove themselves worthy of everlasting life as they who live through the very end of the Gospel Age.
There are two kinds of resurrection: one celestial, heavenly or spiritual; the other terrestrial, earthly or human. This fact, overlooked by many, is the basis of confusion among those who fail to follow the Bible’s instruction to "study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2Ti 2:15). In other words, it is necessary to properly divide God’s statements in accordance with the people to whom they are directed. For example, warning of an impending flood appears contradictory if applied to people living after the flood, just as promises of a spiritual resurrection appear contradictory when applied to the great bulk of mankind.
The spiritual resurrection—the one Christ achieved—is the reward offered to Christ’s "footstep followers," to whom it is promised, that if ye suffer and die with Christ, ye "shall also reign with him" (2Ti 2:12).
Christ said to these "footstep followers," "I go to prepare a place for you; that where I am ye may be also" (Joh 14:2,3); and the Apostle Peter said to these people, "Unto us are given exceeding great and precious promises that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature." (2Pe 1:4).
These "footstep followers," sealed with their "Father’s name written in their foreheads," are referred to in a number of different ways, as for example: "the bride of Christ," "a people for my name," "the elect," "the little flock," and "the church," (Greek, ekklesia) meaning not members of an establishment but a "called-out" people. We do not know the names of more than a few of these people, such as Peter, Paul and the other twelve apostles, but we do know that the total number of them is relatively very, very small, because the Bible describes them as a "little flock" consisting of only 144,000 people. (Re 7:4-8; 14:1-3).
This magnificent reward of a spiritual life with Christ is available only to people living during the Gospel Age, and the qualifying standards are very, very high.
Jesus said one must humble himself as a little child to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Mat. 18:3,4); and also, "If any man will come after me (Jesus), let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me." (Mat. 16:24). The course is not easy, but it is quite possible that some people reading this writing may be of this "little flock" or, if they hasten, some people may be inspired to run for this prize.
It should be noted that membership in any of the establishments known as churches, synagogues, etc.; neither qualifies nor disqualifies a person seeking this reward. Scriptures called upon to support the importance of such establishments are usable through faulty definition of the word "church." The Biblical word "church," often mistakenly defined as the meeting place and/or congregation of any single or collective religious organization, is translated from the Greek word ekklesia, meaning a "called-out" people—people aspiring to be Christ’s Bride. These people are "called-out" of the world; "called-out" of this, that, any, and all establishments to walk in the footsteps of Christ. Jesus, like God His father, is no respector of establishments; His concern is with the heart condition of the individual. The Bible tells us: "For ye are all the children of God ...there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Jesus Christ" (Ga 3:26,28); and, as Christ said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Mt 18:20). Concerning the religious leaders of the day, He also said, "Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 5:20).
You will recall that it was the religious leaders of the day who crucified Christ—the Pharisees and Sadducees whom Jesus described as "hypocrites" (Mt 23:13), and of whose doctrine Jesus bade his disciples to beware (Mt 16:11,12). Remember too, that while the early church established by the apostles presented the pure gospel, it was not long before it became contaminated with doctrines and traditions designed to subjugate the congregations and further the ambitions of their leaders. History well documents the fact that, very few centuries after the death of the Apostles, many pagan influences, pompous and idolatrous, were incorporated in the growing concept of Christianity, falsely so-called; first, in an effort to swell the congregation by attracting the largely pagan populace; and second, in an effort to glorify the leaders of the developing counterfeit "church." Not the "called-out" few of the authentic Church of Christ, but the great establishment of so-called "Christianity," which continually persecuted the "called-out" few who rebelled against the establishment This denunciation of the establishment is not intended to be a blanket accusation, as doubtless there were and are many conscientious and dedicated leaders, as well as congregationists; rather, it is to free the reader’s mind of any fear he might have of any establishment’s influence, and assure him that with God the individual stands on his own two feet. The Bible tells us God "will render to every man according to his deeds." (Ro 2:6).
Jesus did not gloss over the hardships those of this "little flock" of "footstep followers" would experience; He explained, "I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Mt 10:16) and "ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake." (Mt 10:22).
He warned them saying, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." (Joh 15:20). Indeed, these people’s lives have been fraught with trials and tribulations that many times have culminated in a martyr’s grave, but they have borne their cross joyfully in the knowledge that their experiences are permitted in order to soften their hearts and perfect their characters for their glorious work ahead with Jesus Christ. The Bible admonishes them to "Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" (Heb 12:5-7). Jesus advises them to count the cost, saying: "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath (personal will, possessions and earthly prospects), he can not be my disciple." (Lu 14:33). But Jesus also encourages them to "Fear not little flock; it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom," (Lu 12:32), and promises to give them strength to endure every hardship or trial.
The human resurrection—the one to be achieved by people who were such as you and I who are not footstep followers of Christ—is the one to be enjoyed by the great bulk of deceased mankind, including Adam—the first man. (It is remarked that Adam was the first man, especially for the benefit of those who have been falsely told that the Bible infers that Adam was not the first man. In truth, the Bible tells us emphatically that Adam was the first man. For example, note: "The first man Adam was made a living soul." [1Co 15:45]).
This beautiful truth brings to mind another false fear that should be erased for the sake of those poor deluded souls who harbor it—the fear that cremation might somehow interfere with the resurrection of their loved one. This fear is unfounded; there is absolutely nothing in the Bible to support it, or any fear inferring that God’s memory requires jogging to remind Him of the identity of His each and every child. In fact, the Bible tells us that Jesus assured us of our individual importance by saying, "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Lu 12:6,7).
The Bible tells us about the deceased—that "All flesh shall perish together and man shall turn again unto dust." (Job 34:15). It does not specify the method employed in reducing man to dust, but it does assure us that all who are asleep in death shall be awakened.
The Bible tells us that "All who are in the grave shall hear His voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (trial)." (Joh 5:28,29). In this text the use of the word "damnation" indicates that again, the translators of the authorized King James Version of the Bible were trying, by inference, to support the Hell’s Fire doctrine. In the Revised Edition, the word "damnation" has been changed to "judgment," which more accurately describes this period of trial. The Greek word translated as "damnation" is krisis which has essentially the same meaning as our English word "crisis," meaning a testing or trial time. For example, we say that if the crisis of a disease is passed successfully, the patient recovers; otherwise, he dies.
The thought in our text is similar: if the resurrected, under the enlightened conditions of the next age, mends his ways and accepts and obeys God’s laws, he will successfully pass his crisis or trial; and, assuming he continues to obey the laws, he will live forever; otherwise he dies the "second death," from which there is no resurrection.
In the subject text, "They that have done good" concerns largely the "little flock," comprising Christ’s Bride (specifically, only Christ’s Bride, the Great Company and the Ancient Worthies)—they who, despite persecution, have held "steadfast unto death" to the doing of God’s will. These people are accredited with having passed their trial or crisis, and therefore they shall come forth perfect "unto the resurrection of life." "They that have done evil" concerns the balance of humanity (excluding only those, if any, who committed unforgivable sin) who shall come forth "unto the resurrection of judgment" or trial. These people will not be resurrected perfect; they will be resurrected whole of body, but otherwise with the exact appearance and character with which they died, and with thoughts similar to those they might have had in the morning, had their sleep been for only one night. The seed they planted in death is the seed that will sprout in the resurrection. Just as each infant is born of his individual seed, so shall each deceased be resurrected of his individual seed; and he will be resurrected to be taught, to have every opportunity to mend his ways and, in measure with his progress, to attain physical, mental, and moral perfection and everlasting life.
Thoughts of the resurrection, and the opportunity for everlasting salvation it promises every person who has ever lived, brings to mind another false fear that is worth digressing again to erase. It is the false fear, tugging at the heart-strings of many ill-advised, that concerns baptism—the false fear that a loved one, refusing or having died without baptism, may be hopelessly condemned by God.
It was not until after the death of the Apostles, in the second century that, as another example of fulfillment of Biblical prophecy that there would be a "falling away from the faith" (2Th 2:3), superstitious views respecting baptism crept into the growing concept of Christianity. These views soon expanded to embrace pompous formalities and elaboration of symbols and their meanings, many of which are mistakenly honored even to this day, to plague many people who, for one reason or another, are unable to conform with them.
It is not intended to put down true baptism which, the Bible makes crystal clear, is the prime requisite of those people aspiring to be Christ’s Bride. Rather, it is intended to put into its proper perspective the relative unimportance of the baptismal service which, at best, is merely an outward picture or symbol of the real baptism that already has taken place in one’s heart, and that will require one’s continual effort and the help of the Holy Spirit to maintain. It is intended to make it plain that baptism (the symbol) does not assure nor does it deny salvation; and that, during the Gospel Age, it is not appropriate, probably for you, for me, and for the vast majority of mankind.
Much of the confusion concerning baptism stems from, again, not "rightly dividing the word of truth;" from not differentiating between (1) baptism unto repentance (applicable prior to the Gospel Age), and (2) baptism unto self-sacrifice (applicable during the Gospel Age). More specifically, John the Baptist and others (including the Apostles), prior to the acceptance of the ransom price, baptized Jews only, and baptized them unto Moses (Mediator of the Law Covenant); baptized them unto repentance, restoring them to a heart condition ready to receive the imminent Messiah and anti-typical Moses, Jesus Christ. The Apostles and others, after the acceptance of the ransom price, baptized Jews and Gentiles, and baptized them unto the glorified Christ (Mediator of the New Covenant); baptized them into Christ’s baptism, a heart condition of commitment to devote their lives sacrificially to walking in the footsteps of Christ. The Apostle Paul displayed recognition of the difference between these two baptisms when he directed disciples, previously baptized by John, to be baptized again, "in the name of the Lord Jesus," (Ac 19:3-5).
The baptism of the Gospel Age is described well by the Apostle Paul, who said: "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." (Ro 6:3-5).
Baptism is translated from the Greek word baptizo, meaning immersion. The baptismal service of the Gospel Age includes steps as follows: (1) the immersion or inundating of one’s body in water symbolizes the immersion, or death and burial, of one’s will, including all ambitions (present and future) toward human life, into the will of Jesus Christ; (2) the moments of immersion, or inundation, symbolize one’s utter helplessness to recoup oneself from sin without the uplift of our redeemer, Jesus Christ; and (3) the assisted emergence from the water symbolizes one’s resurrection to a spiritual life with Jesus Christ.
Henceforth, the person baptized is committed to walk sacrificially in the footsteps of Christ.
The baptismal service symbolizes a very serious commitment and, knowingly, very, very few people are willing to pledge such selflessness, such complete dedication as is required to bury every earthly ambition in an all-consuming desire to share with Christ "sacrifice unto death," toward the glorification of God and the outworking of His magnificent plan.
In addition, many willing to so pledge find it impossible to accept joyfully, and be properly exercised by the humbling experiences that are permitted by God in order to mold perfectly the character required of Christ’s Bride; and these people, unable to keep their commitment, are not chosen. As Jesus said, in a parable concerning the selection of His Bride, "Many are called, but few are chosen." (Mt 22:14).
Baptism, the symbol of a so-solemn commitment, should not be considered without much mature and prayerful thought. Recall that Jesus studied the Scriptures carefully from boyhood until He reached thirty, the age of maturity, and only then He was baptized (Mt 3:13-17) and began His ministry.
Also, baptism (the symbol) is not essential; doubtless many true Christians, now numbered among those who comprise Christ’s Bride, never symbolized their true baptism. However, baptism is a most beautiful symbol and it is recommended most highly for anyone in whose heart true baptism already has taken place. The baptismal service can be completed in any body of water sufficient for the immersion and, although it appears desirable that a baptized person performs the service, no special qualifications are necessary. Even the Roman and Greek Catholic churches and the Church of England agree that, although every effort should be made to retain all power, privilege, and authority in the hands of the clergy, any person can perform a baptismal service where the services of a clergyman are unavailable.
It is clear that the superstitious traditions surrounding baptism should be categorized with other of the Devil’s cunningly devised credibility gaps that are designed to glorify leaders and subjugate followers, and should be relegated to oblivion. Certainly no one, regardless of how well-meaning, can pledge the heart condition of another—an act such as is implied in infant baptism and in the baptism of a friend, or a relative, for a loved one who has died. Certainly no intelligent person can reason that God has made the eternal welfare of our race dependent upon individual knowledge of, and obedience to, any such traditions.
The Bible tells us clearly that during the Gospel Age the baptismal service is appropriate only for those aspiring to a spiritual life, as the Bride of Christ; it is not appropriate for the overwhelming majority of mankind, who can aspire to everlasting, perfect human life on this earth.
Conversely, no one should recall fearfully having been baptized prior to a complete understanding, with concern that unknowingly he may have pledged a dedication beyond his ability to produce. Be assured that our Heavenly Father holds us accountable for nothing we unknowingly or innocently do; rather, He who reads our hearts accepts our every gesture toward goodness in the spirit in which it is made. A limited example of His tolerant and compassionate attitude is pictured in an earthly father’s loving acceptance when his child, unaware of the meaning of the word, volunteers a promise to be "good."
In conjunction with this erasure of false fears concerning traditional baptism, it is thought that the false fear possibly suffered by the one other class of people not elsewhere discussed in this book, should be considered. This class of people, known as the Great Company, is much more dedicated than you or I are likely to be, yet the Bible refers to its members as "foolish virgins," lacking in zeal but pure in heart intentions. These are they who, fully understanding their commitment, were baptized into Christ’s baptism and who, aware that their baptism signified both their acceptance by faith, of their ransom from Adamic sin and their sacrifice of their associated claim to human life on earth, for a spiritual life with Christ, might fear that if, in spite of continued effort, they fell short of the complete dedication required of Christ’s Bride, they might be subject to a "second death."
Never fear, Great Company! Only willful sinners are subject to "second death," as will be discussed later.
In addition, know that God has great love and compassion for you, and you will be lavishly rewarded in proportion to your effort, as will be all of God’s children in proportion to their efforts.
The Great Company is comprised of people who, although they tried hard to fulfill their pledge of self-sacrifice, were unable to extricate themselves entirely from earthly interests until, near the end of their ministry, they finally learned, through bitter experience, the comparative emptiness of their distractions from their goal. These people will be rewarded for finally having passed their "judgment," or trial, with a spiritual resurrection and an opportunity for everlasting spiritual life; however, unlike Christ’s Bride, they will not attain immortality, and they will serve before, rather than on the throne, they will be not as sons but as servants.
We do not know the exact number of these people; the Bible indicates that their number is exceedingly small in comparison with the earth’s population, but relatively large in comparison with the "little flock" comprising Christ’s Bride. In Revelation, the Great Company, in comparison with Christ’s Bride, is spoken of as "a great multitude ...of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues," and it is explained that "These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes (cleansed their characters), and made them white (pure and unspotted), in the blood of the Lamb (Christ’s ransom). Therefore are they before the throne of God (not on the throne with Christ and His Bride), and serve him day and night (continually) in his temple (the true church, comprised of Christ and His Bride—see 1Co 3:16); and he that sitteth on the throne (Christ and His Bride) shall dwell among them (associate with them and permit them to assist in, for example, the restoration of mankind to perfection)." (Re 7:9,14,15).
Note that these people are elevated to a position on the spiritual plane that is next to that of Christ’s Bride—a position higher than that of any of the angels. Is this not lavish reward?
Resuming our thoughts concerning what the Bible tells us about the human resurrection, it comes to mind that even in the days of the Apostles the teaching of the resurrection of the dead was questioned. We recall that Paul, with amazement, asked King Agrippa, "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?" (Ac 26:8). It is not unreasonable to hesitate, especially in view of the current concern over the population explosion, while we determine whether or not it is logical to believe that the earth can hold and sustain all the people who ever have lived upon it.
We know that there was a break in the doubling of the population at the time of the flood when "Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark." (Ge 7:23). At that time, the population was reduced to eight (Ge 7:13; 8:16). However, such a few thousand people lived prior to the flood that the number is not relevant to our calculation.
Therefore let us take the number 2, representing Adam and Eve, and double it (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc.), as many times as necessary to reach a recent population of 3.1 billion. We find that the sum of the numbers we have allowed for each doubling of the population, including the last double of 3.1 billion, equals 6.185 billion. Expressed another way, if all the people who have ever lived were resurrected now, our population would be about 30 million less than it will be if it is permitted to double one more time, which scientists estimate it will do before the year 2000.
A simple experiment proving this theory can be achieved with a glass, a dropper and a little water.
Starting with two drops, add doubles of drops of water to the glass until it is half full; then add the last double of drops, observing that the water will overflow the glass before the last double of drops is completed.
Thus we conclude that it is reasonable to believe that the earth can hold and sustain all the people who have lived upon it to date, but we question that it can hold and sustain many more. This thought is exciting; it makes us aware that soon God must intervene, and it arouses our interest with regard to where we stand in the stream of time; with regard to how much longer we must wait for Christ to establish His kingdom.
Chapter VII THE DAY OF PREPARATION, OR THE TIME OF THE END
For about the next century, the period from Christ’s second advent until the establishment of His kingdom on earth, God continues to leave most of mankind to its own course but favors and harvests "the little flock" of Christ’s "footstep followers;" and ultimately, through his son Jesus Christ, passes judgment upon the institutions or establishments of "this present evil world," binds Satan, and establishes Christ’s kingdom; first, the spiritual phase, and finally, the earthly phase.
This period of transition is known Biblically as "the day of preparation" for the establishment of "the world to come"—The Fifth Universal Empire; or as "the time of the end" of the Gospel Age and "the present evil world."
This period is of paramount interest to us because it is during this period we now live. In fact, we—you and I—now live in the waning years of "the day of preparation" and "the time of the end;" and this has a most glorious meaning!
The Bible tells us, concerning those people living at the beginning of this "time of the end," that "This generation (not the entire generation but at least a representative few) shall not pass, ‘till all these things (prophesied "signs" or steps leading to the complete restoration of mankind) be fulfilled," (Mt 24:34); and we are living not at the "beginning," but at the end of this "time of the end." WOW! HOW SMASHING! This means that MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF US WILL NEVER DIE! Hopefully, you and I are included!
Many people harbor the false supposition that "Christ will not return to earth until the earth is made ready for Him;" that is, He will not return until the world has been so evangelized that all people are converted
to Christianity, and are leading Christian lives. This false supposition is born of and promoted by the equally false claim that any—one or another—religious establishment is "Christ’s Kingdom on Earth." Both falsehoods are in direct opposition to the Bible’s teaching, which assures us that Christ would find little faith in the world, upon his return to save us from racial suicide; and that He will not establish His kingdom on earth until at the end of the Gospel Age, when He will devote one thousand years toward making true Christians of us—toward perfecting the human race through His "bright shining."
It is not the purpose of the Gospel Age to convert the world, nor to interfere with God’s plan to fortify man with a knowledge of evil, as well as of good, to serve as a basis upon which he can choose intelligently between the two. It is the purpose of the Gospel Age to select, develop, and prove true the "little flock," comprising Christ’s Bride, and to spread the Gospel throughout the world as a witness that all nationalities have equal opportunity to accept and reap the benefits of accepting the Gospel—the "glad tidings of great joy."
Fortunately, the punctual operation of God’s timetable in no way depends upon man! God’s scheduling is exact, and no one nor thing can interfere an iota with its accuracy. God has a magnificent plan which He has carefully spelled out for us in the Bible, and He assures us: "I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure ...yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have proposed it, I will also do it." (Isa 46:9-11).
The Bible does not divulge prematurely the exact date events will take place, but it does provide "signs of the times" to indicate where we stand in the stream of time, and it is for the fulfillment of these "signs" that we watch. When Jesus was asked for "signs" of his second presence and the end of the world (Mat. 24:3), He explained that only God knew the day and the hour of the establishment of Christ’s kingdom, but He told us to watch for the "signs" of the time. He further emphasized this when he said: "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it (The Fifth Universal Empire) is near, even at the doors," (Mat. 24:32,33); and again He said: "I say unto all, Watch." (Mr 13:37).
Observation of fulfillments of myriad "signs," indicating that the time is at hand for the ending of the Gospel Age and the establishment of Christ’s kingdom on earth, are very faith-strengthening to those who are watching. In fact, those who understand God’s magnificent plan are walking now largely by sight, rather than largely by faith as previous generations have had to walk.
Perhaps time should be taken to explain that, although exact dates are not divulged prematurely, it is not doubted that exact dates are provided in the Bible; rather, it is believed that they are provided, but miraculously hidden from our understanding until they become what the Bible terms "Meat in due season" (Mt 24:45). Properly considered, we reason that this is another manifestation of God’s great goodness and wisdom because, if we knew the exact date of certain events, we might make capital of our knowledge. For example, if we knew that tomorrow our money would be of no value, we might go on a degrading spending spree today.
Through the centuries this method of hiding information until due time for it to be understood has been employed many, many times. For example, an instance regarding this century concerns the Apostles’ questions to Jesus: "What shall be the sign of thy coming (parousia, presence)?" (Mt 24:3). This question was asked after the Apostles had understood that it was necessary for Jesus to leave for some time and, recalling that Christ’s first presence (although well-prophesied in the Old Testament) was recognized by very few, they wanted assurance that His second presence would be recognized from the beginning, and not overlooked as was His first presence. The real depth and compatible logic of this question and Christ’s reply was not understood until some time after Christ’s second presence, when it was learned that the Greek word parousia, meaning "presence," had been mistranslated as "coming."
Through archeological discoveries, it was learned that in ancient times the Greek word parousia was used to describe the visits, from beginning to end, of kings to the various cities or provinces of their realm; and it was discovered that, in at least one instance, special parousia coins were issued to raise taxes to pay the expense of such a visit The subject text, corrected to read: "What shall be the sign of thy presence?"
permits the "signs of the times" to make sense, and agree with Bible chronology: Christ is not "coming;" Christ is "present"—CHRIST IS HERE!
We cannot see Christ because He is a spirit being, invisible to human eyes. We recall that He gave his humanity to redeem Adam, and reason that He could not withdraw the ransom price He paid. As Christ said, "My flesh ...I will give for the life of the world," (Joh 6:51); therefore, never again will it be possible to see Him in the flesh. Jesus explained,
concerning His second presence, "Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold He is in the desert, go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning (Greek, astrap—bright shining) cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall the coming (parousia, presence) of the Son of Man be." (Mt 24:26, 27).
Jesus is conveying to us that we will not be able to see Him here or there, as we might be able to see a human being; but that we will be able to discern His presence by the "bright shining" of His influence which will expand at a rate comparable with the light of the sun which, from a small beginning in the east, grows to flood the entire earth, even to the west. The Bible asserts to this when it says of Jesus, "the Sun of righteousness" shall "arise with healing in his wings." (Mal 4:2). This "bright shining," or increase of knowledge, is cited throughout the Bible as the basis of the method used to restore man to perfection; it will grow, and grow, and grow, ad infinitum!
The Bible tells us that Christ’s first order of business is to overthrow Satan’s empire, "the present evil world;" and ultimately, by the end of the Gospel Age, to bind the Devil himself. In reporting a vision of things to come, John said: "He (Christ) laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years." (Re 20:2).
This period in which we now live is the Day of Judgment for the kingdoms and institutions or establishments of "this present evil world," and the Bible assures us that everything evil will be torn down. The social disorder resulting from this tearing down and overthrow of Satan’s world is described as "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." (Da 12:1). In fact, the Bible tells us that "except those days should be shortened there should no flesh be saved but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened." (Mat. 24:22). (Note that a more accurate translation of this text excludes the word "sake" and indicates that through or by the elect those days shall be shortened.) However, this is not the Day of Judgment for the people per se, and the Bible encourages us individuals with the admonitions: "Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger." (Zep 2:3).
Surely none of us doubt that Satan is "the god of this world," (2Co 4:4), "the prince of this world," (Joh 16:11), the invisible ruler of "this present evil world" who "as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour." (1Pe 5:8). Since Satan tempted Eve, he has devoted his cunning, except as restrained by God, to deceiving mankind. To be sure of this, we need only to reflect upon. the resultant misery—the sorrow, sickness and death of the past almost six thousand years.
Is it reasonable to believe that Christ must overpower Satan’s empire and render Satan powerless before He can establish His kingdom? We are aware that in order to build a new structure it is necessary first to raze the old structure, and Jesus provided a more appropriate simile when, speaking of "casting out devils," He said: "How can one enter into a strong man’s house (Satan’s present evil world) and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then He (Christ) will spoil his goods (sin, sickness and death)." (Mt 12:29). We reason that the answer to our question is "Yes, it is not only reasonable—it is mandatory that the old world ends before the new world begins."
Here we pause to erase another of the Devil’s cunningly devised credibility gaps, known as the Doomsday or Judgment Day tradition. This erroneous tradition contends that "this present evil world" will end during a wild twenty-four-hour day of tumbling tombstones, hurried sentencing of the "good" and the "bad," and finally, with the destruction of the earth in a ball of fire. This Doomsday tradition produced such hangups that, even now, thoughts of the end of "this present evil world" fill some people with terror, rather than with anticipatorial delight.
In the Bible, the word "world" is translated from the Greek word kosmos, meaning an order of things, and it is used to refer not to our planet but to an order of things, or to an era or period of time. The Bible uses the word "world" as we use it today when we speak of "old world ideas" or "the pre-1914 World." In addition, the Bible uses the words "fire," "storms," "clouds," etc., in the same pictorial manner we use them today, to describe the catastrophic trouble we are going through: but the Bible assures us that God created the earth "not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited," (Isa 45:18) and that "the earth abideth forever." (Ec 1:4).
Jesus tells us of this present "day of preparation" that "now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world (Satan) be cast out." (Joh 12:31). There can be little doubt that Christ’s first order of business is progressing rapidly; all around us we see man-made establishments of selfishness and greed being exposed and torn down. We observe, too, that, as the Bible prophesied, this tearing down is being accomplished through Christ’s "bright shining"—through the increase of knowledge.
It has been said, and we must concur, that the phenomenal increase of knowledge during this generation provides the only plausible explanation for why the masses, after thousands of years of illiteracy, poverty and slavery, have suddenly been transformed into an enlightened public, demanding rights and the establishment of a world order in which all share equally in the common blessings provided by Mother Earth.
Prophecies that at this time "knowledge shall be increased," (Da 12:4), are being fulfilled at an unprecedented rate; in fact, it is reported that now world knowledge is doubling every ten years rather than every two thousand years—the rate at which it is reported world knowledge doubled prior to Christ’s "bright shining." It is claimed that 90% of all the scientists who ever lived are alive today, and unquestionably the knowledge of these and other experts is, or can be, diffused throughout the earth almost instantly through the media of speech, the printed page, radio and television. Another relevancy, concerning children of High School age in the United States, is statistics indicating that 10% were in school in 1900 as compared with 95% in 1970. The well-known Dr. Mortimer Adler expressed recognition of this fantastic increase of knowledge meaningfully and concisely when he said: "During the twentieth century we crossed an extraordinary threshold from an oppressed majority to an oppressed minority."
Reflect a moment on the changes that have come about since the beginning of Christ’s "bright shining;" think, even of only the material things that have been invented to shorten our workday and expand our pleasure. In early 1970, President Nixon said: "Never have we had so much and enjoyed it so little."
This is true, because while we have increased blessings to enjoy, we also have to conjure with increasing awareness of the inequities in our system that divide the "haves" from the "have-nots."
The Bible prophesies that "many shall run to and fro" (Da 12:4) at "the time of the end." Fulfillment of this prophecy is evident in the enormous increase of travel that is one of the most prominent characteristic of this century. After thousands of years of traveling no faster or farther than horses and sailboats could transport him, man now has machines in which he swarms over highways, skyways and waterways to the extent that many of us travel more extensively in one day than the ancestors we can remember traveled in their lifetime. An interesting sidelight is that it was on this prophecy that Sir Isaac Newton based his conclusion that one day man would travel fifty miles an hour; and it was for this conclusion, at that time thought absurdly impossible, that Voltaire referred to Newton as a "poor old dotard."
The Bible expands on this prophecy with another: "Chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of His (Christ’s) preparation, and the fir trees shall be shaken. The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall jostle one against another in the broad ways; they shall seem like torches; they shall run like the lightnings." (Na 2:3,4). Is it not faith-strengthening to note that hundreds and hundreds of years before thoughts of such things entered the minds of men, the Bible could describe so well the airplane and the automobile and the effects they would have?
The airplanes, especially the jets belching exhaust and vapor streams, do look like "flaming torches," and that they cause the "fir trees" and much else to "be terribly shaken" is the complaint of everyone living close to an airport. In the United States alone there are reported to be more than 105 million "chariots" (cars, trucks and buses) "raging in the streets" and that they are "jostling one against another" is alarmingly evidenced by statistics indicating 30,385,000 reported highway accidents with 4,600,000 people injured and 56,300 people killed in automobiles during the year 1969.
Both land and air "chariots" are designed to more and more "run like the lightnings;" our latest jet, the "747," can carry three hundred and sixty-two passengers and a crew of thirty at a speed of over six hundred miles an hour, and yet we are not satisfied.
Our dissatisfaction with dilly-dallying along at 600 mph is exemplified in the development of the SST, our supersonic transport designed to travel 1800 mph; and that the SST is not the last word is indicated in the 1/4/71 Wall Street Journal which dubs the SST a "turtle" as compared with the HST, our hypersonic transport, designed to travel 6000 mph, which is on the drawing boards for the year 2000.
The Bible tells us that when Daniel complained of his inability to understand visions of things to come, about which he wrote, God said: "Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." (Da 12:9). Note that an understanding of the prophecies was "sealed" or withheld not forever, but only "till the time of the end." Therefore, we conclude that our present ability to understand these prophecies presents another sure "sign" that we are in "the time of the end," and our witnessing of the fulfillments of so many of these signs strongly indicates that we are nearing the very end of "the time of the end" of "this present evil world." This knowledge excites a greater thirst for information, and we are anxious to proceed and find additional "signs" or prophecies—prophecies fulfilled that increase our faith, and prophecies to be fulfilled that prepare us for what yet is to come.
Chapter VIII PROPHECY FULFILLMENT CONTINUES
The prophecy mentioned earlier in this writing, that "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come," (Mat. 24:14), has been almost fulfilled. That is, we believe we are very near to the time of fulfillment of the last phase—"then shall the end come"—the ultra-finale or very end of "this present evil world."
We might say this prophecy was over-fulfilled in the sense that the Bible was carried to the moon when, on December 24, 1968, the astronauts from the Apollo 8 spacecraft, in orbit around the moon, read the Ge 1:1-10 account of Creation. However, more seriously speaking, the American Bible Society reports that the Bible has been translated into more than 1400 languages and dialects, covering those spoken by 97% of the world’s population; and that today, more than 3,000 national and missionary translators are at work on about 800 projects, producing an average of two new translations every month for people speaking one of the perhaps thousand remaining dialects.
The heralding of the gospel has been accomplished with the publication of appropriately translated Bibles in every nation of the world, as well as through the prophets and teachers, beginning with Jesus and the twelve apostles, whom God has raised up to carry the truth to every nation of the world. A most interesting and enlightening book concerning the Gospel is entitled, The Divine Plan of the Ages. It was written by Charles Taze Russell, from whose works I have drawn liberally, and originally published in 1886, but it is available still through the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey. It should be noted that for accuracy one must read for himself the original works of this author, rather than rely upon what it is claimed he has said by certain sects that have twisted his words, like the words of the Apostles, to support their erroneous views.
The population explosion strongly indicates that "the time is at hand" for the ending of the Gospel Age and the establishment of Christ’s kingdom on earth, the Fifth Universal Empire. The eminent populationist, Dr. Paul Erlich, trying desperately to arouse worldwide action on population and environmental controls, says: "If things continue as they are, I can’t see how we’ll last more than two more decades. That’s 1990. My feeling is that it could all be over by then."
Dr. Erlich is predicting the end of the world—the end of civilization—by 1990—and we know that God has promised to intervene before man destroys himself.
Demographers provide us with information indicating that for many centuries our population increased at a very slow pace but that, since the time of Christ’s first advent, the pace has accelerated to the extent that now, the world’s population is doubling at the rate of once every thirty-five years as follows: YEAR A.D. POPULATION 0 250,000,000 1650 500,000,000 1850 1,000,000,000 1930 2,000,000,000 1960 3,000,000,000 1969 3,600,000,000 1980 4,500,000,000 2000 7,500,000,000 2035 15,000,000,000 At this rate of increase, there appears to be few years left before the population will be completely out of hand, and we do not wonder that many thinking people believe the population explosion, and resultant food shortage, represents mankind’s greatest, most urgent problem.
Studies indicate that food supplies must be doubled by 1980 and tripled by the year 2000, for even now two-thirds of the world’s people go to bed hungry and 10,000 to 15,000 people die daily of malnutrition; yet our food supply is reported to be leveling off rather than increasing.
In 1971, for the first time in twelve years, world food production is reported to be at a standstill, yet world population continues to explode. Chester Bowles, former U.S. Ambassador to India, said that the approaching world famine threatens to be "the most colossal catastrophe in history." Dr. Robert H.
White-Stevens warns, "The last third of the twentieth century will prove to be of unparalleled gravity for civilization as it is now organized. The perils of the Dark Ages, the strife of the Hundred-Years’ War, and the desolation of all the marauding armies of history combined will not match the devastation and loss of human life that will occur between now and the year 2000. Famine can be expected as the paramount force ...by 1975, and continue to a point now totally unpredictable, where human society could fragment into total chaos on a global basis."
Many other knowledgeable people of similar views could be quoted, but in this writing it is sufficient to observe that, unless a monumental change occurs very soon, we are doomed.
Regarding the famine: It is not surprising to students of the Bible that world famine is recognized as imminent, because the Bible prophesies that famine is one of the "signs" acclaiming "the time of the end" in which we live. It tells us "great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences." (Lu 21:11). Our hearts are torn with such reports but our particular interest lies in hearing intelligent estimates of the date such conditions will prevail.
This is because such dates help us to pinpoint more accurately the date God will intervene before man destroys himself.
The year 1975, thought critical by many, is earmarked also by William and Paul Paddock, authors of the well-known book, Famine-1975, as the year in which they estimate world famine will begin; and they declare, "revolution and turmoil will be the order of the day in most of the affected countries."
It should be noted that there are two major contributing factors to the impending famine:
(1) the population explosion; and
(2) man’s mismanagement that has disturbed the equilibrium of nature. Man’s mismanagement includes the indiscriminate removal of trees and other vegetation from our hills and plains that make possible the washing or blowing away of our topsoil, the deterioration of our watersheds, and the flooding of our lowlands, as well as other abuses that have decreased the quantity and quality of the earth’s production.
Over the centuries famines have been localized, and usually alleviated by the import of food from other areas, but now, world famine—famine so widespread as to contribute to world distress—is seen nearing our door, and is prophesied in the Bible, as a "sign" of this "time of the end." That food will be scarce, expensive, and rationed is indicated in the Scripture: "A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny." (Re 6:6). This scripture becomes more meaningful when we learn that a more accurate translation describes the "measure" as "a small measure," and that "a penny" describes the day-wage of a laborer. (Mt 20:2). However, that we all shall not starve is assured by God’s promise to intervene—not to permit man to commit racial suicide.
Regarding the population explosion: The Bible assures us there is no need to push the panic button; no need to get up tight and no need to consider such places as the moon to ameliorate the problem. The populating of the earth was arranged by divine decree, and the process will be halted when divine wisdom decides that the earth has been sufficiently filled. God told man to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth;" God did not tell man to over-fill it, and we can be positive that in the final analysis there will be not one person more, nor one person less, than God originally determined as the perfect number of people to populate our earth.
The Bible does not at this time divulge the perfect number of people to populate our earth. Doubtless the perfect number is included in the Bible, which is fastidious about such detail, but it is miraculously hidden from our understanding until this information becomes "meat in due season." However, we might estimate the perfect net number to be 7 billion, including 3 billion plus now dead, 3 billion plus now living, and less than a billion yet to be born, minus the relatively small number to be excluded from the human race (the saints, attaining a spiritual life, and the willful sinners, cut off in "second death").
Assuming the land surface of the earth to be about 58,552,000 square miles, a population of 7 billion would allow one square mile for every 120 persons or a little over 5 acres per person.
This would appear as a comfortable allowance, especially in light of the fact that the Bible promises that much of the one-third of the earth’s land surface now arid will be reclaimed and cultivated, along with the remainder of the earth, to Edenic perfection. For example, it is promised that the "land shall yield her increase" (Ps 85:12), which she has not done outside the Garden of Eden; that "instead of the thorn shall come up the fig tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree" (Isa 55:13); that "the desert shall blossom as the rose;" that "waters shall break out in the wilderness;" that, etc. (Isa 35:1,2,6,7).
Nevertheless, right or wrong in our estimate, it is certain that at the exact moment the perfect number of people, living and dead, is reached, God will intervene through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who will establish His kingdom on earth. Thereafter no more children will be born and mankind, as it reaches perfection, will become not neuter gender but, to coin a word, "bi-gender;" with each person a perfect unit, as the angels are now, and as Adam was before his gender was divided and Eve was made of Adam’s rib. (Ge 2:21,22).
This thought may seem startling until we reason that we are already at home with the fact that at a certain age man loses his procreative power; and that already we observe the tremendous narrowing of the appearance and behavioral differences between the sexes. Apparently this phase of God’s plan was difficult to quickly comprehend even at the time of Christ’s ministry, because the Sadducees, citing the case of a woman who successively married and buried seven brothers before she herself died, tried to trap Jesus with the question: "In the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven?" Jesus explained, "In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven," (Mt 22:30) who, as mentioned, are bi-gender.
The Women’s Rights issue provides another indication that "the time is at hand," because it evidences the expiration of the curse put upon woman in the Garden of Eden. God, when disciplining Eve for her disobedience in eating and persuading Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit, said to the woman: "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." (Ge 3:16).
The time of this curse expires with the Gospel Age and the unrest we are experiencing now, concerning Women’s Liberation, is simply the death struggle of the traditions supporting this curse put upon woman.
The Civil Rights issue provides a similar indication that "the time is at hand," because it evidences the expiration of the curse put upon the black man long before he became sunburned. Certainly there can be no doubt that, regardless of the effect various climatic or ecological conditions might have had on the coloring of our skin, we are all brothers! Paul tells us "(God) hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." (Ac 17:26).
The Bible tells us that after the flood "the sons of Noah that went forth of the ark were Shem, and Ham and Japheth; and Ham is the father of Canaan." (Ge 9:18). "These are the three sons of Noah; and of them was the whole earth overspread." (Ge 9:19). Each and every person living is the blood brother of his neighbor, for each and every person living stemmed from one of the three sons of Noah. It is supposed that the sons of Shem settled Asia, the sons of Ham settled North Africa and the sons of Japheth settled Europe. After the flood Noah planted a vineyard and, unaware of alcohol, since before the flood there was no fermentation, Noah drank some wine and become intoxicated. Upon learning how each of his three sons responded to his humiliation, Noah was so grieved with his son Ham’s lack of heart nobility that he said to Ham: "Cursed be Canaan (Ham’s son); a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." (Ge 9:25).
The time of this curse of subservience also expires with the Gospel Age, and the unrest we are experiencing now concerning the Civil Rights of the Negro, is simply the death struggle of the traditions supporting this curse put upon Canaan (Ham’s son) and by inheritance, his offspring.
Cited above is the scripture: "These are the three sons of Noah; and of them was the whole earth overspread." (Ge 9:19). It is likely that some folks may pause to question the logic of this Biblical statement that, since the flood, world population stems from Noah’s three sons. Question it on the basis that, since it is reasonable to believe that a son speaks the language of his father, it is not reasonable to believe that the people of the world, speaking so many different languages, could have stemmed from the three sons of one father. (Linguists estimate that man speaks about 2800 languages or dialects, diverged from about 100 major language families or groups.) The Bible justifies this reasoning that, left to his own resources, mankind would have a common language, for it tells us that, some generations after Noah, "the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech," (Ge 11:1)—doubtless the perfect language inherited by Noah from Adam. However, man misused this great advantage of a common language and it became necessary for our ultimate good that God withdraw this favor.
The Bible tells us that the people dwelling in the land of Shinar contrived to defy God’s decree that they scatter and overspread the earth, saying: "Let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." (Ge 11:4).
As they proceeded, God, observing what they were doing and that it led to evil rather than good, determined to foil their plan—to "confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech." (Ge 11:7). Thus the Bible tells us how and why, since the Tower of Babel, we are not a people of one language and explains, "Therefore is the name of it called Babel: because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." (Ge 11:9).
Evolutionists, theorizing that language was born of the grunts, groans and other sounds of animals, and evolved gradually into the various tongues of today, are frustrated by the facts which point to a contrary conclusion. Our languages have not evolved; they have "involved" or retrograded. This we must conclude when the linguists inform us that, instead of evolving from simple to complex means of communications, our languages contract as our cultures expand—the rich vocabularies and intricate grammatical structures of all languages tend to simplify with the cultural growth of the people concerned. For an extreme example, we might compare the continued complexity in the language of the less cultured Australian aborigines with the considerable simplification in the Old English language of the more cultured Englishman or American. The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1960 edition, states: "All languages of today are equally complex and equally adequate to express all the facts of the speaker’s culture, and all can be expanded and modified as needed. There are no ‘primitive’ languages, but all languages seem equally old and equally well-developed. There are also, as has been said, no human beings without language."
Aside from the Bible, no satisfactory explanation of the origin of language has ever been given. Dr. Mario Pei, world famous linguist, said: "If there is one thing on which all linguists are fully agreed, it is that the problem of the origin of human speech is still unsolved." Why, oh why not accept the reasonable fact that the Bible tells it like it is? No evidence ever has been found to refute it!
Here we might take a moment to point to this Tower of Babel incident as one of the many incidents manifesting God’s power to restrain Satan. Note that when the people, responding to Satan’s evil influence, contrived to thwart God’s plan for our ultimate good, God restrained Satan: He simply confounded the language of the people so that they could not collaborate on Satan’s evil design, and so that their inability to communicate created differences which forced their segregation and fostered their desire to overspread the land, as God had decreed.
Another curse obviously expiring, and thus indicating "the time of the end," is one put upon Adam in the Garden of Eden when God, disciplining Adam for having eaten of the forbidden fruit, said: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread." (Ge 3:19).
History reveals that for almost six thousand years man has continued, as God decreed, to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. Even at the beginning of Christ’s "bright shining," man still worked from sunup to sundown, and often from childhood to the grave, with little or no vacation or retirement.
Current events indicate strongly that the time for the expiration of this curse is near. For example, since the beginning of Christ’s "bright shining" the average work-week in the United States has dropped from 72 to 38 hours; and many large industries are contemplating a 30 (or less) hour work-week, with "30 and out" retirement described in Nation’s Business (February, 1971 issue) as retirement on full pension after 30 years of service, regardless of age. The time of this curse of laborious toil expires with the Gospel Age, and the unrest concerning labor relations that we are experiencing now is simply the death-struggle of traditions supporting this laborious "sweat of thy face" curse.
The decrease of work hours and the associated increase of leisure hours is also reflected in the booming leisure industry; a "middle-of-the-road" estimate is that in 1971 Americans will spend $100 billion on leisure, and that by 1975, this expenditure will increase to $250 billion. Such astronomical figures focused on amusement, in comparison with the annual $15 billion now focused on public welfare (aid to 14 million children, elderly, blind, disabled or otherwise state-dependent people), make us stop and think.
They make us stop and think—especially since we see no avalanche of widespread happiness and contentment associated with this newly found and generously financed leisure—that this money, and especially this leisure time and energy, spent largely toward selfishness, might be spent more rewardingly toward unselfishness—toward conceiving and implementing ways and means of elevating people less healthy, wealthy, or worldly wise.
Obviously we are misusing our increasing leisure which, in the Fifth Universal Empire, will be divided equitably and rewardingly among all people. Imagine, for example, the thrill, far beyond the sight of dollars, we will experience then if in our leisure you and I are able to create something we can give freely for the pleasure of humanity. (Money is used often in this writing as a unit of measure; not because it commands our respect, but rather because it is a common denominator understood by the great majority of people.) The Bible describes well conditions existing today when it prophecies, "In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." (2Ti 3:1-4). Can any thinking person linger a moment, to think on any of the characteristics here described, without being overwhelmed with today’s examples flooding his mind with fulfillments of this prophecy provided in the headlines and in his private life?
The Bible tells us that at "the time of the end" Christ will find little faith in the world, and it likens the morals of the people to those existing before the flood in Noah’s day (Mat. 24:37). Certainly there is a diminishing faith, even to the extent that some believe "God is dead," while others have established churches for Satan worship.
Dr. Anthon La Vey, known as "The Black Pope," heads the Church of Satan and describes it as a worldwide movement with headquarters in San Francisco, California, that started in 1966, or "Year 1 of the Satanic Age." He also points out that, "for the first time in the history of the world, it is fashionable to be a witch." A leading Satan worshipper lectured recently that, since world conditions make it obvious (from his short-sighted view) that Satan is more powerful than God, it is only common sense to worship Satan rather than God. Fortunately it takes little light to see that he points to the wrong band-wagon with this Satanic philosophy. The Bible assures us that Almighty God permits Satan to exercise his evil influence only insofar as it serves God’s purpose in establishing our ultimate good. By no means, now or ever, is Satan overpowering God; in reality, God is "using" Satan, and this fact is conspicuous in almost every periodical we pick up.
For instance, we read of "The Global Scramble for Cheap Labor," and learn that millions of jobs (A.F.L.-C.I.O. estimates 700,000 from U.S.A. between 1966 and 1969) are being shifted, as companies in industrialized nations move factories to poorer nations in their quest for cheaper labor; and that as a result, underdeveloped countries are being speedily industrialized and introduced to a higher standard of living, while developed countries, shifting their work force to higher technology products, are increasing their productivity and elevating their standard of living.
As we digest this information, it becomes flagrantly obvious that in this instance, God is "using" Satan—using the selfish desire for greater profits, with which Satan has impregnated the companies, as a tool in accomplishing His decree that Christ’s "bright shining"—the increase of knowledge—shall cover the earth; and too, it is visible that this tool, contrary to Satan’s design, accomplishes God’s decree more expeditiously than some of the more philanthropically oriented tools not born of Satan.
Immorality is rampant; statistics concerning the worldwide SEXplosion and the accompanying skyrocketing of venereal disease, illegitimacy, and broken homes, are as astonishing as statistics concerning the increase in crime and violence and the growing numbers of alcoholics and drug addicts.
In the vein of sex there is another false premise that should be erased—the false premise that sex is debasing, evil and sinful which, over the centuries, has been the root of guilt complexes, false modesties and other hangups that have stifled many people’s entire lives and made them miserable.
The Bible tells us that sex is beautiful, warm, and good; it is a physical magnetism, bestowed by God with His blessing, that is designed to consummate a union, and thus fulfill God’s command to "be one flesh" (Ge 2:24), as well as His command to "be fruitful and multiply." (Ge 1:28).
It is true that the Bible recognizes the fact that sex can be one of the most degrading as well as one of the most glorifying of motivating forces known to man; and for our guidance, the Bible provides many candid examples of its use and misuse, leaving no doubt as to what is good and what is bad; and, for man’s personal and collective good, it forbids what is bad or sinful.
Also, it should be brought to some readers’ attention that God’s laws should not be brushed off as old-fashioned or otherwise treated lightly, because the painful experiences to which such foolish evaluations lead, prove what the well-known evangelist, Reverend Billy Graham, said in an article written May, 1970, for the Reader’s Digest:" The ‘thou shalt nots’ of Scripture are not pious prohibitions aimed at taking all the joy out of life; they are signposts set by God himself to protect our happiness and to help make our life’s journey as tragedy-free as possible. Every command that God gives is for our good."
The fourth commandment, "Keep the Sabbath Day to sanctify it," (De 5:12), is the one most often pointed out as a shining example of God’s "killjoy" thirst for homage or patronage; therefore, we should examine it.
It is true that tradition misrepresents this commandment to mean that every seventh day should be devoted exclusively to the worship of God; and that most religious leaders, due either to a conscientious misunderstanding or a desire to swell the gate of the establishment, continue to endorse this error and use it to defend such things as "blue laws."
It is true also that the seventh day, as well as any other day, could not be spent to better advantage than in deriving strength and stature from the self-edifying process of worshipping God; but it is not true that Divine worship is a requisite of keeping the Sabbath Day. This commandment points one’s steps no more toward the house of worship than toward the golf course; rather, it commands only that he, she, and it rests, and does not work.
Sabbath Day means "Rest Day," and the intent of the law is related not to worship but to REST. God made this clear when he relayed this law, given through Moses to the typical kingdom of Israel, saying: "Six days thou shalt labor and do all the work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of the cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as thou." (De 5:13,14). The Sabbath applies not only to mankind and the animal kingdom but also, on a yearly basis, to the earth; as Moses said: "The seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land—thou shalt neither sow thy field nor prune thy vineyard; that which groweth of its own accord, thou shalt not reap." (Le 25:4,5).
More than once Jesus Christ called to the attention of the Scribes and the Pharisees (the religious leaders of the day) their hypocritical misapplication of the Sabbath law, and He assured us saying: "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath; therefore, the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath." (Mr 2:27,28). In other words, the Sabbath was made to provide man with a day of rest from toil and he should use it, as best he can, to rejuvenate himself.
Seen in its true light, this commandment to "remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy (pure and undefiled)," (Ex 20:8), is just the opposite of a "pious prohibition aimed at taking all the joy out of life!" It is designed to restrain the Simon Legrees and other selfish influences, but to free and bring health, happiness and well-being to man and his environment. Also, it will be observed that a disregard of this, or any other of God’s laws, leads to trouble; a remote case in point, becoming increasingly obvious, concerns our topsoil.
Agriculturalists disclose that the topsoil upon which we depend for the production of our food, is an average seven or eight inches deep and, in healthy condition, is composed of 25% air, 25% water, 5% organic matter, and 45% minerals. The quality of this soil’s production—our life-sustaining fuel—depends not only upon the availability of the elements mentioned, but also upon the thousands-per-acre of earthworms and the billions-per-acre of other living organisms that live in the soil and busily process its elements for vegetation’s assimilation. Under God’s direction, Mother Nature maintains a soil rejuvenating cycle wherein plant and animal litter, falling to the ground, decays to make the humus-rich soil that is necessary to the life of these living organisms, and to their preparation of the proper balance of elements required for healthy plant consumption and/or production.
Dissatisfied with Mother Nature’s productivity, man has not only waved aside God’s law to remember the land’s Sabbath, (allow it to rest every seventh year), but also he has interfered with Mother Nature’s soil-rejuvenating cycle, and "doped" the soil itself into yielding abundant but inferior crops.
Since World War II farming has been industrialized to the extent that, instead of resting soil, rotating crops, and returning to the soil the animal and vegetable wastes necessary to its vigorous health, we force-feed the soil with chemical fertilizers. Initially those chemical fertilizers reward with high crop yields but, as is increasingly evident, they contaminate the soil and create an imbalance that produces bumper crops of unbalanced plants; and, when Mother Nature attacks these plants with the battery of insects and diseases she employs to weed out unhealthy plants, we deluge the area with chemical pesticides which, in conjunction with the chemical fertilizers, further contaminate the soil, annihilate its living organisms, and leach out to drain off and contaminate our waters.
For additional information, you may wish to read the works of noted soil scientists such as Eric Eweson, William Albrecht and Sir Albert Howard, the famous British agriculturalist, who was knighted for his work in this field.
Crops grown in this abused soil have been lush in quantity but increasingly deficient in balance and in protein, vitamin and mineral content, to the extent that successive plantings soon fail to properly nourish and often refuse to produce a seed stock capable of germination. They sometimes include excesses that are harmful, and usually lack the stamina to fight off disease. Witness reports that in our Midwest the protein content of wheat has dropped from nearly 19% in 1940 to an average 10.5% in 1969; that our 1970 corn crop shrank 10% as a result of a blight that "for reasons unknown" has infested the crop throughout the corn belt; that rice blight is now a problem; that worldwide arable land is shrinking, water tables are sinking, and soil fertility is declining; that etc., etc.
Viewing this backlash makes us increasingly aware that God’s laws, in this instance concerning our topsoil, are wisely and lovingly conceived for our good; and it is contended that, unless we stop our unnatural practices and start abiding by God’s laws pertaining to the natural method of rejuvenating the soil, the quality of the soil and the food it produces will continue to deteriorate until the Fifth Universal Empire puts an end to such bad practices.
Perhaps it should be noted—for those not yet thinking straight—that such backlashes are not the result of vindictiveness—no such flaw exists in God’s perfect character! We do not blame the manufacturer for the result of our failure to follow his instructions to fill with gasoline, rather than water, the tank of our automobile; why, then, should we blame our Creator for the result of our failure to follow His instructions toward getting the most out of life? All repercussions from disregarding God’s instructions, issued verbally in the Bible and pictorially in Nature, are the fault of man; certainly they can not be attributed to God, who has foreseen them and who has warned us against them.
There are those who disavow the Ten Commandments, maintaining that they were given only to the Jews, but this is contended to be folly.
It is true that the Ten Commandments were given to the Jews (given to the typical kingdom of Israel), and that they were nailed to the cross (Col 2:14), at the end of the Jewish Age and expiration of the Law Covenant (promising eternal life to anyone who eternally kept the law). They were nailed to the cross with proof that no man excepting Christ could keep them—more specifically, proof that a perfect man (Christ) can keep them but that an imperfect man (anyone living prior to the Millennial Age when perfection becomes attainable) cannot keep them.
On the other hand, it is also true that Christ’s single commandment ("Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself"—Lu 10:27), issued to all of us for now and eternity, not only embraces but also amplifies the Ten Commandments. For example, consider the Commandment "Thou shalt not kill," (De 5:17), amplified by Christ’s counsel to "turn the other cheek" and to "love your enemies," (Lu 6:27-38).
Our love of God is displayed in our keeping of His Commandments and in the extent of our delight in keeping them. The Bible tells us "this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and that his commandments are not grievous (not burdensomely kept, but rather kept with an "I delight to do thy will")." (1Jo 5:3).
However, the real folly in disavowing the Ten Commandments lies in allowing oneself to look upon them as retardants, rather than as beacons guiding us away from unhappiness unto happiness.
Even a short pause for reflection upon Commandments broken and penalties paid, should make us agree with the psalmist who said, "I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold," (Ps 119:127), for indeed little experience is required to make plain that they map our course to a treasury of peace, contentment, and well-being that far surpasses material wealth.
Chapter IX THE OCCULT EXPLOSION AND PRAYER EVALUATED
The Occult Explosion, conspicuous through every medium of communication today, is further evidence of the foretold degeneracy prevalent at "the time of the end." This becomes especially pointed when, as the Bible suggests, we liken current conditions to those existing prior to the flood, when evil spirits were rampant.
Some universities and hospitals have launched serious studies into psychic phenomena, astro-projection, and extra-sensory perception, familiarly called ESP. In universities and high schools where courses in witchcraft have been offered, the classes have been over-enrolled. Jeane Dixon, a well-known seeress, has sold more than three million copies of her book, A Gift of Prophecy. Maurice Woodruff, well-known English clairvoyant-astrologer, has had combined world sales exceeding 20 million copies of his two books, and he is quoted as saying that his newspaper column, syndicated around the world, has a combined circulation exceeding 50 million. In the United States, the zodiac has turned into a $200-million-a-year business, and in 1969 more than two million ouija boards were sold. Sybil Leek, described as the world’s best known witch, said that more than four hundred witch covens are practising in America. Also, there is a growing interest in Tarot cards and metaphysical healing. The late James A. Pike, former Episcopal bishop, spoke and wrote of communicating several times with his deceased son through seances and, since Bishop Pike’s death, his wife has spoken and written of communicating with her deceased husband.
Some of these mentioned snares are approached—particularly in the beginning—as fun and games, but when they are taken seriously, when unnatural influences are invited to play a part, these snares fall under the heading of spiritualism. Yes, spiritualism, having been relatively quiet for a while, again is rearing its ugly head, and those toying with it, including any and all of its occult branches claiming clairvoyance, are playing with fire! The spirits they think they are "using" eventually will use them!
Satan’s lie: "Ye shall not surely die," (Ge 3:4), twisted, since death has become apparent, to mean that you only seem to die, is the basis for spiritualism. It alleges that when one dies it is merely the "corporeal body" or outer shell that ceases to exist; and that the "ethereal body," or real person, continues to live; and that the real person can and often does communicate with friends and relatives living on earth. Through this false doctrine, Satan capitalizes on the grief of the bereaved who yearn for closeness with their departed loved ones, and on the gullibility of mankind in general, who has an innate need for supernatural guidance and a curiosity about the future.
We know that it is impossible for the living to talk with the dead; the Bible tells us that when a man dies "his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." (Ps 146:4).
However there must be, and there is, an explanation for the phenomenal evidences seen and heard in the seance chambers, of man communicating with intelligent beings unseen by man—evidences beyond the hocus-pocus often employed.
The spirits of spiritualism are what the Bible describes as "evil spirits," "lying spirits," and "seducing spirits;" "the angels which kept not their first estate." (Jude 6). We recall that prior to the flood the supervision of mankind was committed to angels.
Some of these angels, instead of uplifting humanity, were themselves enticed into sin and misused their power to materialize in human form, to start another race. (Ge 6:1-6). Their illicit progeny was blotted out with the flood and since then, these fallen angels have been isolated from the holy angles, restrained from assuming physical bodies, and restricted from exercising their powers in the light. The Bible tells us, "God spared not the angels that sinned but cast them down to hell (Greek: tartarus; atmosphere of the earth) and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment." (2Pe 2:4).
It is no longer difficult for us to comprehend that spirit beings can be present without our hearing or seeing them. We now know that sounds are inaudible and sights are invisible if they are below or above a certain range of frequency attuned to the human eye or ear. The various wireless systems of communication have helped us to realize the power of inaudible and invisible forces that are beyond our comprehension, and a simple example of sound that can be heard by your dog, but not by you, is available in a whistle sold by most pet stores.
We know that these evil angels, demons, or devils, are more intelligent than we because we know that man was created "a little lower than the angels." (Ps 8:5). We know that they are spirit beings,
(1) able to be here, there and everywhere without being seen by human eyes,
(2) able, when permitted, to read the human mind, and
(3) able to call upon six thousand years of experience for the detail of any episode they choose to recall. We know they cannot tell the future, for only God can do that but, if it suits their purpose, they can draw upon their abilities to provide the bereaved with a flawless description of the deceased, as well as with his exact words, perhaps originally whispered in confidence; or provide the curious with such information as the plan for a merger, conceived in secret behind the closed doors of the board room.
Anything they saw or heard or "mind-picked" they can tell, and anything their experience permits them to project they can shrewdly guess, but they cannot tell the future, and they tell the truth only if it suits their evil purpose.
Throughout the ages these evil spirits have been constantly alert for persons through whom they could operate, and the Bible provides examples of people obsessed with not only one but many demons at one time, and often with all of them fighting for supremacy. Fortunately the human will must consent before these demons have power to take possession; however it is extremely dangerous, as is exemplified by the high percentage of spiritualists to be found in our mental institutions, to invite obsession by accepting any offering associated with talking with the dead, fortune-telling, or anything else that smacks of the occult.
Satan is a master promoter who, by comparison, reduces the advertising genius of Madison Avenue to the proportions of the naive babblings of babes. We must be especially alert not to be enticed innocently upon his toboggan to the greatest degeneracy of all—the degeneracy of association and communication with Satan and his evil spirits.
The Bible tells us, "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them," (Le 19:31), and says that, "There shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord." (De 18:10-12).
Indeed, there are many passages in the Bible that forbid mankind to seek information from these demons or devils. (Le 20:6). Also, the Bible alerts us to be especially wary at this "time of the end," when these Satan-led spirits will be so increasingly wily in their struggle for supremacy and survival as to deceive even some of those with established faith. The Bible prophesies, "Now the Spirit (Holy Spirit of God) speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." (1Ti 4:1).
It is known that once these devils take possession they use the person possessed to serve their evil purposes, making life intolerable, often to the extent of madness.
However, those ensnared by this evil are not without hope! Many examples of casting out devils are recorded in the Bible. For instance Christ, who rescued many suffering the horrors of obsession, freed Mary Magdalene from the seven devils that possessed her (Lu 8:2). Also, after Christ "called his twelve apostles together, and gave them power and authority over all devils," (Lu 9:1), the apostles exercised this wonderful ability bestowed upon them to cast out devils many times. Recall, for example, the incident when the Apostle Paul, grieved with the plight of the "damsel possessed with a spirit of divination, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour." (Ac 16:16,18).
It is suggested that any reader ensnarled by the deceptive practices of these evil spirits, who now recognizes the truth, seeks to free himself by prayer and earnest Bible study. It will require great fortitude and abounding faith in God but it can be done.
Examples of blessed deliverances in our time are available, and we are assured that divine help is available!
It is thought that this subject, concerning the great dangers of the occult, should not be dismissed without issuing a warning to those considering the use of mind-altering hallucinogens such as marijuana, speed, LSD, etc. An uncontrolled mind is very vulnerable to the wiles of Satan and his imps. There are doubtless few, if any, addicts who originally did not scorn the threat that they, of all people, would ever become addicted to alcohol or drugs, yet in the United States alone there are an estimated 9 million problem drinkers, costing industry $4 billion annually; and the estimated number of people enslaved by the dope habit is escalating so fast as to be hardly worth repeating. Our heartfelt sympathy is extended to these pitifully sick souls who, no doubt, innocently fell prey to their plight, together with assurance that God will remove their affliction if, with faith and sincerity, they take their problem to their Heavenly Father and pray for His help.
Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, has guided many to this rewarding path.
Prayer, scoffed at by many ignorant of the facts, is a veritable lifeline to others. Many psychiatrists, knowing what a pillar of strength it can be, recommend prayer to their patients. The Bible tells us "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust him." (Na 1:7).
What a pity there are not more who know this, that they can take their broken hearts to their loving heavenly Father for mending, and know too that He will provide them with guidance and strength in their daily lives. In fact, if our nation, as well as any or all nations, would bring itself to its knees, as ultimately it must do, and pray for God’s help, our troubles would be over because God promises: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2Ch 7:14).
The Bible provides us with many examples of prayers; Christ provided a beautiful sample prayer (Mt 6:9-13) as follows: "Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation. but deliver us from evil; For thine is the kingdom, and the power, And the glory, forever. Amen."
The language of a prayer is not important; it is the sincerity, the heart condition that counts. As Jesus said, "When thou prayest thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." (Mt 6:5,6,7).
Jesus, overwhelmed with anticipation of the trials of the last days before his crucifixion, prayed, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt." (Mt 26:39). Then, after thinking about temptation and the willingness of the spirit yet the weakness of the flesh, he hastened to emphasize His humble desire to do God’s will, with another prayer: "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it, thy will be done." (Mt 26:42). Christ expressed his desire but asked God to make the judgment as to what was for the best. It was well He did, because if the cup had passed, if Christ had not completed His commitment to pay the ransom price, then we would not have been redeemed, and Christ would not have become our future King.
There is no doubt that prayers are answered; evidence of this is sprinkled throughout the Bible, which tells us to "pray without ceasing." (1Th 5:17). Is it possible to believe that God who has not forgotten one sparrow (Lu 12:6), is not cognizant of the plea of a man? We think not! Reason tells us what comes from the heart goes to the heart; a sincere request is given sincere consideration.
Reason tells us, too, that an important part of every prayer is the phrase "Nevertheless, not my will but thy will be done." This phrase relieves our shortsighted minds of responsibility, as the final decision rests with God as to what is ultimately in our best interest. For example, we might pray shortsightedly, that a loved one’s life be spared, while God might decide, farsightedly, that it was for the best of all concerned to allow our loved one to sleep in death until the resurrection. In such an instance the wisdom and mercy of God’s decision might not be appreciated, unless for example: (a) we who prayed for one undergoing surgery, heard the surgeon confide that if the patient had lived he would have been a hopeless mental case; or (b) we who prayed for one going into battle, heard the military report that all survivors had been taken captive and tortured.
Properly considered, we are most grateful that we, shortsighted, pray; while God, farsighted, decides.
This knowledge gives us great peace of mind, great freedom to ask for what appears to be for the best, with the assurance that if we have misjudged our true interest God, who sees and knows all, will overrule our judgment.
This wonderful opportunity to take our problems to the highest court is ours for the asking, and unless we are very foolish we will avail ourselves of this opportunity to pray, in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ,
(a) in order to express our gratitude for the blessings we enjoy;
(b) in order to seek forgiveness for the wrongs we have done, and
(c) in order to attain the inner peace of knowing God’s guidance and gracious care in our daily lives. The Bible tells us, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you," and "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up." (Jas 4:8,10).
There are some poor misguided souls, so conscience-stricken over some thing or things they have or have not done, that they live in a state of torment with the fear that they are beyond hope of redemption. The very fact that one harbors such a fear indicates repentance, and the assurance that he has not committed unforgivable sin. The Bible tells us, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." (1Ti 1:15).
Think of it; Christ’s very purpose in coming into the world is to save sinners—to save you and me and those better and worse than we! We need only to sincerely ask for forgiveness and help in doing better, for we are assured, "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth"—(Lu 15:10)—Joy in saving even one sinner!
The Bible tells us that "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble," (Ps 46:1), and it reaches out, especially taking note of those dear distraught souls who are suffering nervous breakdowns or fears judged insurmountable, with the assurance "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid," (Joh 14:27), for "the things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Lu 18:27). As the Bible says, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Ro 8:31)!
Have faith, dear reader. "Trust in the Lord with all thy heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding," (Pr 3:5), and soon you will be among those who gratefully say; "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." (Ps 34:4).
Chapter X PROPHESIED DISTRESS OF NATIONS CONTINUED
Prophecies that in this "day of preparation" or "time of the end" there would be "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation," (Da 12:1), and there would be "distress of nations with perplexity," (Lu 21:25), began to be fulfilled at the time of the First World War—the year 1914 which is a highly significant date to students of Bible chronology.
Henceforth the Bible likens world anguish or distress to the pangs of "a woman in travail;" that is, the spasms of trouble will intensify, and the periods of easement will diminish, until the birth of the new kingdom, The Fifth Universal Empire, is accomplished. (1Th 5:3).
The Bible prophesies that "There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming (parousia, presence)? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." (2Pe 3:3,4). The Bible says it will be so; yet it hardly seems possible that anyone can look upon the wars, famines, depressions, and other world conditions we have suffered since 1914, and brush off these spasms as "history repeating itself." Surely the fulfillment of prophecy is obvious!
It is true that feuds and wars have played a prominent part throughout history; in fact, this in itself has been a fulfillment of prophecy. When Christ’s apostles questioned him, saying, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming (Greek: parousia, presence), and of the end of the world?" (Mt 24:3), part of Jesus Christ’s reply was "Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise
against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." (Mt 24:6-8). As Jesus foretold, we have witnessed wars for centuries but it was not until 1914 that war assumed the worldwide proportions Jesus described as indicative of "the time of the end;" and since then, as the Bible prophesies, we have witnessed spasms and easements but no real peace.
It is reported that in the first half of this century the world spent four trillion dollars on the military and that, at the current rate, the world will send down the same drain another four trillion dollars in the next ten years. Statistics indicating that in this century more than ninety million people have been killed in warfare, prompted Jose Barroso, Chairman of the Red Cross League, to say: "If we continue on the road to violence ...our century will figure in history as the most humiliating in the existence of the human race."
World War I was given the slogan, "The War to End War;" but since this war there has been no real peace, and world leaders have grown more and more perplexed about what to do to still the increasingly troubled waters. Never in the history of mankind has there been such an all-out cry for peace, and about this the Bible tells us, they shall say "Peace, peace; when there is no peace," (Jer 6:14), until God intervenes, which He has promised to do at the end of the Gospel Age; and then, in the Millennial Age to follow, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war anymore." (Mic 4:2,3).
The problems of the twentieth century are unprecedented, of far too formidable destructive power to be brushed off as "history repeating itself." For example, consider another part of Jesus Christ’s reply to His apostles’ request for "signs" of "the time of the end." "Then (at the time of the end) shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved." (Mt 24:21,22).
Prior to the twentieth century it required considerable faith to believe this statement, for the reason that man could not fathom how mankind could annihilate himself. No longer is this incomprehensible; now we are painfully aware of numerous ways!
Since World War II, when the atomic bomb destroyed the city of Hiroshima, Japan, we have become increasingly, painfully cognizant of mankind’s ability to exterminate himself in not only one but in various
ways, and many scientists warn that, unless we reverse our behavior in this decade, we will not survive the twentieth century. No longer does it require faith to accept Christ’s statement. This "sign," foretold by Christ, is far too obvious, and we thank God that Christ hastened to add the promise that "those days shall be shortened." (Mt 24:22).
Even without the guiding light of Biblical prophecy, many writers and non-writers of today have observed that the old world is ending and—the more optimistic of them—that a new world is dawning. For example, Professor Zbigniew Brzeiznski said that "We are approaching a third world," and his book, Between Two Ages, expounds his view that we are living in the transitional period between the industrial and technetronic ages. The Bible concurs that "we are approaching a third world;" it speaks of "the world that then (before the flood) was," (2Pe 3:6), and assures us that now we are living in the transitional period between "this present evil world," (Ga 1:4) and "the world to come," (Heb 2:5), The Fifth Universal Empire.
The Bible prophesies that at "this time of the end" there will be "men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." (Lu 21:26). We cannot doubt the fulfillment of this prophecy when we hear the ecologists’ estimate of how little longer mankind can survive the growing pollution of our air, water and land; and the statesmen’s estimate of how long it will be possible to restrain the impending nuclear, biological and chemical warfare.
It is estimated that Americans alone introduce 214 million tons of pollutants into the air annually. In early 1970, President Nixon proposed the spending of ten billion dollars toward purifying our water, but this is a small beginning, since it is estimated that in the United States alone we must spend over 100 billion dollars over the next ten years to cleanse our fouled nest.
Some scientists warn that unless we effect a complete and immediate reversal of our pollution policies in the seventies, the end of life on our planet is a certainty; other scientists warn that we may already have passed the point of no return. An example, perhaps not as obvious as some others, concerns our oxygen supply. Oxygen is produced by green plants, and is distributed throughout the world by atmospheric circulation; areas lacking in green plants, such as deserts and polar regions, are dependent for oxygen upon areas lush with green plants.
We might think of the United States as a self-sufficient country, willing and able to contribute its abundance of oxygen to less fortunate countries; however, our buildings, highways, shopping centers, airports, strip mines, contaminants and other land-mongers have gobbled up our green fields, forests and water banks to the extent that now, it is estimated, we are using forty percent more oxygen than we produce, and we ourselves must be beggars.
It is estimated that fifty to seventy per cent of the world’s oxygen is produced by phytoplankton—free-floating aquatic plants. We know that great beds of phytoplankton have been wiped out by pollution, but it is not known to what extent the remaining phytoplankton eventually may be affected by pollutants already dumped into our oceans and seas.
Our fears of biological and chemical warfare increase with reports of advancing technology in these fields.
For example, fear arises with the report that the biological agent, botulinus, strategically placed in relatively few places by noon, could wipe out humanity by sundown; and even more intolerable fears are aroused by reports of strides made in developing biological and chemical elements, such as virus, to incapacitate us. In addition to our fears concerning the deliberate or inadvertent use of world armaments, we fear problems concerning how and when to dispose of armaments previously stockpiled in containers that may be deteriorating.
It is claimed that in the United States alone there are stockpiled nuclear bombs sufficient to kill every man, woman and child on earth a hundred times; and the overkill capacity of Russia and, we fear, of other countries is no longer doubted. Dr. Edward Teller, leading scientist and one of the creators of the atomic bomb, who continues to be actively engaged in our defense effort, expressed great concern in the spring of 1971 that we Americans are lulled into a false sense of security by our policy of secrecy. This policy, which he cites as a help to Russia and a hindrance to the free world, forbids him to speak freely; but he does say
(1) that Russia is ahead in nuclear technology;
(2) that the United States is ahead in computer technology; and
(3) that he is working on what he hopes will be an ace in the hole.
Our fears concern even our food and drink, as indicated by Fran Lee, expert consumer advocate, and in, for examples, Ralph Nader’s reports and Ruth Winter’s book, Poisons In Your Food. The cyclamate scare, resulting in the United States banning the use of the artificial sweetener cyclamate, of which we have consumed about twenty-million pounds per year in products with annual sales estimated at about a billion dollars, has increased our awareness of the possible hazards encountered in eating and drinking products, including one or more of the other several thousand chemical food additives that are suspected of being harmful.
An example, considered by many authorities by no means the most potentially dangerous food additive used, is monosodium glutamate. Several baby food companies have discontinued the use of monosodium glutamate, linked in laboratory tests with brain damage; but this additive continues to be used extensively in many other products that are in almost everyone’s diet. Nor are processed foods the only edibles troubling us. We look upon the goodness of sea food with mounting suspicion, as we learn more about the extent to which contaminants infest our waters; and the growing concern of people, aware of the unnatural elements induced, and methods employed, in the commercial production of meats, poultry, dairy products, grains, fruits and vegetables, is reflected in people’s increasing willingness to pay premium prices for foods advertised as "Naturally Produced," "Organically Grown," "Chemical-Free," or the like.
Our fears, broadly covered in the beginning of this writing, are too harrowing and too numerous to list but now, thank God, we know there will be divine intervention before our fears become overwhelming realities to destroy us—to destroy humanity! It is pitiful that, in the meantime, man must suffer bitter experience in one avenue after another before he is convinced that God’s way is the best way. Would that man could simply wipe from his vision the clouds of selfishness and greed, often disguised as "progress," to see clearly the wisdom and enduring benefits in operating in accordance with God’s instruction, as set forth in the Bible and in Nature.
The decline in stature of organized Christianity—Catholic and Protestant—is another indication that we are approaching the end of the "day of preparation."
The traditions and ceremonies of these organizations, often falsely claiming to be Christ’s kingdom on earth, are being viewed increasingly, by growing numbers of people inside and outside the establishment, as "sterile," "out-moded," "irrelevant," and "unfounded."
These institutions are responding with calls for unity, merger procedures, relaxations of the rules, and broadenings of civic activities, but apparently with little avail. Disenchantment with the establishment continues to grow among both the clergy and the laity. British author Malcolm Muggeridge recently said, "Institutional Christianity, it seems to me, is now in total disarray and visibly decomposing, to the point that, short of a miracle, it can never be put together again with any semblance of order or credibility." The result of comparing two Gallup polls, indicating the number of Americans who thought religion was "losing" its influence in American life (14% in 1957 with 70% in 1969), was described by George Gallup as "one of the most dramatic reversals of opinion in the history of polling."
A Doctor of Divinity, well-known author and campus lecturer, recently said that, since so many of our leading scientists associated with leading universities believe that, despite all reversals of conduct we are capable of making, our civilization will phase out within the next forty years, this likelihood cannot be overlooked. Therefore he concludes that all that is really left for us is religion; not the old conventional evangelism but a new concept of fate—acceptance, born of love and tolerance for one another, that will guide us to greater personal fulfillment and more graceful phasing-out.
It is not questioned that these scientists, untrained to weigh Biblical factors in their graphs, reason well in protracting the trend of deteriorating conditions to a point of genocide for the human race. Recall that the Bible tells us that we are on a collision course and that, except for God’s intervention, "there should no flesh be saved." (Mr 13:20). Rather, it is deplored that the ministry, supposedly trained to reach for the Bible as an end to all dispute, fails to relate God’s promise to intervene before such a catastrophe takes place (above Scripture, for example), and instead tries to re-tailor God’s plan to the concepts of man.
The decline of organized Christianity carries with it the decline in the recognized stature of God and of His word, the Bible, which is falsely reported to support traditional errors. For example, history appalls us with records, especially of events during the Dark Ages, of horrifying outrages perpetrated in the holy name of Jesus Christ; yet we observe that in truth the Bible tells us that the absolute foundation of Christ’s ministry is LOVE—pure, gentle, tolerant, unassuming and self-sacrificing love! We properly reason that organized Christianity—often unintentionally—has been largely anti-Christian, and that it behooves us to free ourselves from sectarian bondage and to rely upon what we ourselves find said in the Bible.
The course of religious events marks progress in the religious phase of the symbolically prophesied judgment of "the heavens (spiritual ruling power) and the earth (world order) which are now" (2Pe 3:7), and which will be stripped or crucibled of their error and/or evil, prior to the establishment of the Fifth Universal Empire—"the new heavens and the new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." (2Pe 3:13).
We are assured that Satan, the spiritual ruling power or god of "this present evil world," will be overpowered and replaced by Jesus Christ, the spiritual ruling power of "the world to come!"
Another indication that the "day of preparation" is well spent concerns the Jews. The Bible prophesies that, during "the time of the end," the Jews will be regathered and their land will be restored to them. The Bible says, "It shall be no more said; the Lord liveth that brought up the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but the Lord liveth, that brought up the Children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them; and I will bring them again into the land that I gave unto their fathers." (Jer 16:14,15). This does not mean that every last Jew must return to Israel; it means a representative number of them must and will return.
The Bible tells us the method God would employ to regather the Jews; it says, "I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them." (Jer 16:16).
Undoubtedly the Zionist movement, organized as long ago as 1897, served to "fish them," because its members, as "fishers", baited and lured the Jews to their homeland; and undoubtedly countries throughout Europe, and especially the Hitler regime, served to "hunt them," because their members, as "hunters," persecuted, massacred and relentlessly drove Jews to Israel.
Thousands of years ago God foresaw that Satan, appealing to the selfishness and greed of man, would torment the Jews at this time and in this manner as we have seen it done; and God warned us against this revolting record of recent history. We might pause here to appreciate the observation that if the Jews had harkened to God’s decree, plainly stated in the Bible, and had responded to the Zionist movement, luring them back to Israel, there would have been no opportunity for "hunters" such as Hitler to drive them back to their homeland. However, as God foresaw, they did not respond in sufficient number to the "fishers" and, for their ultimate good, it was necessary to permit "hunters" to drive them back. Truly, the Bible tells it as it is; it is God’s book of instruction!
In this instance, it told us that God made a decree and warned us of the penalty for disobeying that decree. If we had taken heed, what great suffering would have been avoided!
The fact that this phase of Jewish history was foreseen by God in no way excuses the action of any person who, by word or deed, has taken even the slightest part in bolstering anti-Semitism. Knowing that, from the beginning of man’s history, Satan has
conspired to thwart God’s plan, we might suspect that much of his energy is directed against the Jews—God’s chosen people—and therefore we might ever be alert to not unwittingly cooperate with Satan, by in any way opposing the will of God for Israel. From time to time, throughout the centuries, God has permitted great hardships to be visited upon the Israelites, as a disciplinary measure allotted in response to their rebellious disobedience, but He has always intervened at the point where continuance would no longer contribute to their ultimate good, and never has He permitted the aggressor, through whom Satan has operated, to profit by his aggression.
God chose Israel to be the channel of world redemption when He promised Abraham, "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Ge 12:2,3). For a time, the remainder of the earth may be selfishly haggled over by man, but the land of Canaan belongs to Israel; about this God left no room for doubt when He said to Abraham: "Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever." (Ge 13:14,15).
The Bible tells us "all Israel shall be saved" (Ro 11:26); and the miracles associated to date with the establishment of Israel are so obvious that it is astounding that everyone does not recognize them, and that anyone might suggest there is a possibility of taking Israel away from the Jews. Military experts speak of Israel’s brilliant tactics in the Six Day War as "unbelievable" and "fantastic," while an inspection of prophecy dictates the more accurate adjective—"miraculous." Israel’s achievements toward the restoration of her land and her people, in such an incredibly short period of time, is so remarkable as to be recognized as "miraculous" by even a number of people who are not religious enough to believe in prophecy. Another very interesting kernel of thought is that Israel’s accomplishment of so much from so little, without robbing her citizens of their human dignity and personal liberty, is probably the greatest challenge to communism existing in the world today.
Today only a fraction of the Israelites recognize the extent of God’s hand in their affairs, and additional miracles will be required to open all of their—and other—eyes, but the time is short until this will be accomplished. You and I are blessed because now we recognize God’s will for Israel, and now we are aware that we can attain additional blessings by extending our effort toward helping and encouraging the Jews—by following the Bible’s admonition: "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sin." (Isa 40:1,2).
God promised, "I will gather you (the Jews) out of all countries; and I will bring you into your own land," (Eze. 36:24), and "ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers." (Eze. 36:28). Unquestionably these prophecies were fulfilled largely by the year 1948, when Jews from almost a hundred countries had assembled in Israel, and when Israel was recognized as a nation. However, since at this time the Bible does not divulge the total representative number of Jews to be restored to their homeland, it should be said that it is not known how much additional "fishing" and "hunting" is required to complete God’s decree. We note that certain countries are still persecuting and refusing exodus to Jews within their borders, and that both of these Satanic actions inspire increasing effort on the part of the Jews to return to their fatherland.
Is it not faith-strengthening to observe that after twenty-five hundred years, and under extraordinarily poor odds, Israel was restored? And at the time, and in the manner, the Bible prophesied it would be restored!
Surely the fact that God is able to foretell the future and bring it to pass is proof positive of His existence and of the reliability of His Word—the Bible!
The Bible continues to prophesy in considerable detail that while the Israelites will continue to live in their land, and continue its restoration to a high level, they will not live in peace but will be subject to much persecution, until finally, near the final death struggle of "this present evil world," a mighty army from the north shall come against Israel. At this time, when Israel is reduced to desperation and calls upon God—rather than upon her own failing resources—for help, God will so miraculously destroy her enemy that the whole world will recognize God’s intervention.
The Bible tells us for example, "And thou (Gog, leader of the plunderers of Israel) shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses (highly mobilized), a great company, and a mighty army; And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen (gentiles or non-Jews) may know me when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog before their eyes." (Eze 38:15,16). "I (God) will plead against him (Gog) with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire and brimstone (symbol of complete destruction)." (Eze 38:22). "So will I make my holy
name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more, and the heathen (gentiles) shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel." (Eze 39:7).
Again the Bible tells it like it is—but will mankind listen? It tells us that very soon a mighty army will try to take Israel away from the Jews, and it is yet to be seen whether this army will heed God’s warning and disperse before it is too late, or whether it will, as God foretold, strike and be annihilated by God. God has directed us—but will we listen?
This prophesied battle of Armageddon (Re 16:16) we might call the finale of "this present evil world;" since at the end of this battle Jesus Christ will establish on earth His kingdom for which we have long prayed—the magnificent Fifth Universal Empire.
Chapter XI THE FIFTH UNIVERSAL EMPIRE
For the next ten centuries—the period from the establishment of Christ’s kingdom on earth until the end of His reign—God will deal with mankind on an individual basis, through His Son and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
This period is sometimes called "The Millennial Age" because it is the time of the thousand-year reign of Christ. Hallelujah! Now, today, at this very moment we are living on the brink of this seventh day (1000-year day) of this seventh day (7000-year day) since creation—the day when our prayer, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven" (Mt 6:10) will be answered. How magnificently beautiful!
WE STAND ON THE THRESHOLD OF THE FIFTH UNIVERSAL EMPIRE!
THE FIFTH UNIVERSAL EMPIRE is a theocracy, the object of which is to restore mankind and his environment to perfection. The authority of the government flows from God, through the Celestial Body, through the Terrestrial Body, through Mankind, to the Animal Kingdom and the environment.
THE CELESTIAL BODY consists of Jesus Christ (the King) and the "bride of Christ," which is the "little flock" of 144,000 who will "live and reign with Christ for a thousand years" (Re 20:4). These are the "footstep followers" of Christ who, since Christ’s crucifixion (more specifically, since Pentecost—fifty days after Christ’s crucifixion) were tried and proved true, and who, as a reward, were
promised a spiritual resurrection—the first resurrection. The Bible tells us "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Re 20:6).
Near the beginning of Christ’s second advent, all of this "little flock" who were asleep in their graves, were resurrected en masse. Since then, each of the remainder has been resurrected immediately following death; the Bible says they are changed from a human being to a spiritual being "in the twinkling of an eye." (1Co 15:52).
The Celestial Body, being spiritual, is invisible, of course, to the human eye, and will operate largely through the Terrestrial Body.
THE TERRESTRIAL BODY consists of the Ancient Worthies, Abel through John the Baptist, who "walked close to God." These are they who, prior to Christ’s crucifixion, were tried and proved true, and who, as a reward, will have a "better resurrection"—the first earthly resurrection, and a resurrection unto perfection. This means that they, unlike the balance of mankind, will be resurrected physically, mentally and morally perfect, and this in itself will be quite an inspiration to us who have never seen a perfect human being ...what a pattern to emulate!
The Ancient Worthies were people (male and female) such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, Daniel, and Moses. We do not know the total number of them but we know that John the Baptist, who was beheaded shortly before Christ paid the ransom price, was the last of them. The Bible tells us that "among them that are born of woman there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist, notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Mt 11:11).
Immediately after the Battle of Armageddon, the Ancient Worthies will be resurrected en masse and will assume their individual positions in the Terrestrial Body. People shall come from all over the world for their guidance; as the Bible tells us, "Many shall come from the east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." (Mt 8:11).
Prior to Adam’s sin when he was perfect, Adam was able to commune directly with heavenly powers and, just so, the Ancient Worthies, resurrected perfect, will be able to commune directly with the Celestial Body, without need that the spirit beings assume fleshly bodies for the purpose of communicating the laws, etc. The Terrestrial Body, being human, will be visible of course, to the human eye and, being
perfect, will be well-qualified to receive instructions from the Celestial Body, and to administer the law and distribute the rich blessings to mankind. The Bible tells us "Behold a king (Jesus) shall reign in righteousness, and princes (Ancient Worthies) shall rule in judgment." (Isa 32:1).
MANKIND, the citizens of this empire, consists of the entire human race. We recall that of all the people who ever lived only a relatively very, very small number excluded themselves from the human race; only those few who attained a spiritual life and those few, if any, who were condemned to "second death" (extinction).
The people who are living at the beginning of this glorious new kingdom, (hopefully you and I are included) need never die! These people, having the benefit of their experience with good and evil and being free of Satanic temptation, will learn quickly the wisdom of the plainly spoken, righteous laws; and they will have not even the fear of sickness or death, for as their morals improve so will improve their health, vitality and mentality until they are perfect human beings, assured of everlasting life.
The people who are sleeping in their graves at the beginning of this glorious kingdom will be resurrected to have the same opportunity as those alive at its inception. The Bible tells us "The hour is coming when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live." (Joh 5:25).
Again, it assures us, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (ultimately restored to the full life that Adam lost). But every man in his own order: Christ (Head and body—The Celestial Body) the first fruits; afterward (during the Millennial Age) they that are Christ’s at his coming (during his parousia, presence)." (1Co 15:22,23).
Shortly after the establishment of the Fifth Universal Empire, these people will be resurrected gradually; that is, they will be resurrected as quickly as their living loved ones become so adjusted as to be prepared to receive them; "Many (such as Adam and Eve) that are first (to die) shall be last (to be resurrected); and the last shall be first." (Mt 19:30).
We pause to consider the wisdom of this procedure and almost burst with ecstasy over its simple, smooth and glorious prospects. We envision that as soon as we are made aware that the resurrection of the dead is possible, our hearts will fill with a new, rapturous kind of yearning for our dear departed, and we will pray for and prepare for their return. This might be likened to an incident of today, wherein we pray for and prepare for an infant to be given to us, except that in tomorrow’s incident our feeling will be more fervent, in anticipation of our reunion with an infant, a child, a parent, or another whom we knew well and learned to love. Once our preparations are complete, our prayers will be answered; our loved one will be restored to us; and ours will be the privilege of acquainting him with his new surroundings until he, feeling sufficiently oriented, prays for and prepares for other loved ones. Thus, without confusion, generation after generation will be welcomed by loved ones when they are resurrected, until finally Adam himself, now fortified with a practical knowledge of evil, will be resurrected to have another opportunity (purchased by Christ’s ransom price) to prove himself worthy of everlasting life, and this time Adam’s trial will concern only himself, for each of his progeny will have his own individual trial.
There is a verse in the Bible quoted by some "die-hards" as a last resort to prove that the Bible contradicts itself. They say that it contradicts the many verses documenting God’s plan to start early in the Millennial Age to gradually and sequentially resurrect to judgment, or trial, all that are in their graves. This verse which follows a verse describing the "little flock" who live and reign with Christ a thousand years, reads: "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." (Re 20:5).
This verse is marked spurious by most students of the Bible because it is not found in the oldest and most reliable Greek manuscripts. However, we would not quibble with those who treasure it because, in the sight of God, all those condemned to death are reckoned dead, and it is true that the dead will not regain the fullness of life that Adam enjoyed until the end of the thousand years of restitution. In the sight of God, who is satisfied with nothing less than perfection, none of mankind, by our lesser standards living or dead, will truly live again until, at the end of our thousand-year judgment or trial period, Jesus Christ pronounces mankind and his environment restored to Edenic perfection and turns over to God the perfect kingdom.
This thought is clearly stated in, for example, verses we examined earlier; "All who are in the grave shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good (only Christ’s Bride, the Great Company and the Ancient Worthies), unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil (the remaining bulk of mankind), unto the resurrection of judgment." (Joh 5:28,29). Also, Jesus showed recognition of this thought when He said, "Let the (living) dead bury the (physically) dead." (Lu 9:60).
There cannot be one contradictory statement in the Bible as originally written, and if there is a statement that, on the surface, appears to be contradictory, it behooves us to dig deeper for the truth—to ascertain if the erroneous contradiction is spurious, mistranslated or misunderstood. For example, if when we find the subject verse, we recall God’s invitation to "come and let us reason together" (Isa 1:18), we will reason that, since it is the purpose of the Millennial Age to educate mankind to a state of perfection, it would defeat the purpose to leave a large portion of mankind in the grave until the educational period was over; therefore, reason would demand that we search further for a reasonable explanation. As John Greenleaf Whittier said, "Reason’s voice and God’s are never at odds."
Unlike the Ancient Worthies, mankind, our subject people, will not be resurrected perfect; they will return whole of body and not sick, but otherwise completely recognizable as the deceased. How wonderful this reuniting of loved ones will be!
What a joy to read Resurrection Notices rather than Death Notices! The Bible tells us "The ransomed of the Lord shall return with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." (Isa 35:10).
THE ANIMAL KINGDOM consists of the entire non-human animal life; "the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air and every living thing that moves upon the earth," (Ge 1:28). These beautiful creatures will be under the dominion of man, but man’s ruthless depravity will be restrained until he learns the loving care with which God intends man shall rule the animal kingdom.
It is true that God, through Christ, will exercise the greatest love and mercy in rescuing man from his evil ways, but it is astonishing that man should expect such consideration, in view of the manner in which he, having dominion over the animals, has ruled his subjects. Zoologists warn that if the present rate of killing continues, all of the species of mammals left on earth will disappear by about the year 2000 but, thank God, in the Fifth Universal Empire there no longer will be tolerated the sadistic torture of horses and bulls in the arena for amusement, the wanton destruction of animals by the hunter for sport, the fiendish skinning of baby seals in Alaska for furs, the mass slaughter of animals in the stockyards for market, or any other of the barbaric atrocities perpetrated by man on the animal kingdom. If the author appears adamant on this subject, it is because of her shame in having thoughtlessly shared in the spoil of some of these atrocities.
We are glad to see beginnings in the education of man’s conscience, for examples: the many more enlightened, responsible people, such as Roger Caras, who are writing, and speaking, and forming organizations to arouse decency toward animals in the hearts of the heartless; a diminishing interest in—especially leopard—fur coats; and the launching of the new meatless meat industry, which is producing from soy beans a vegetable-meat said to look, taste and nourish like various cuts of animal meat. Although U.S. Government home economists predict that in the year 1972 each member of a typical American family will consume 183 pounds of meat, we know that the time is coming when we all will look upon the eating of animals with the same repulsion as we now look upon the eating of men.
The new policy for the animal kingdom also presents a joyous picture as we visualize all the beautiful animals, gentle and unafraid, roaming about for our pleasure. The Bible tells us "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain (kingdom) for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Isa 11:6-9).
THE SEAT OF THE GOVERNMENT will be in Israel, the Celestial phase symbolized as Zion, and the Terrestrial phase symbolized as Jerusalem. The Bible tells us "The law shall go forth of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Mic 4:2). This setup is similar to that of God’s typical kingdom of Israel which God ruled from Mount Zion (called Mount Sion in the New Testament) in Jerusalem.
This typical kingdom was overthrown in 606 B.C. when Israel’s last king, Zedekiah, was overthrown, and the Israelites were taken captive to Babylon. The anti-typical kingdom, the Fifth Universal Empire, will be established in Israel and "the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore." (Eze. 37:28).
THE HALLMARK OF THIS GOVERNMENT may well be a likeness of the cross and crown of Christ, the King, surrounded by the olive branches, symbolic of His eternal love, and the dove, symbolic of His unlimited power through the Holy Spirit.
THE EMBLEM OF THIS EMPIRE may well be a likeness of our globe, fore and aft, upon which is overlaid the great pyramid of humanity, crested by Christ, the King, and His Bride; and thus indicating
that by the end of Christ’s thousand-year reign each stone comprising the whole of this structure shall have been molded in the image of Christ, its chief cornerstone, to form a perfect pyramid. The Bible tells us God said, "Behold, I lay in Sion, a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded." (1Pe 2:6).
THE LANGUAGE may well be the perfect one spoken by Adam and all of his progeny living prior to the incident at the Tower of Babel, when "the whole earth was of one language, and one speech." (Ge 11:1).
At least we know it will be a universally common language, because the Bible tells us "then (in this Millennial Age) will I turn to the people a pure language." (Zep 3:9). There will be no more language barrier, no more double-talk, and no more communications gap to confuse and divide the people!
THE LEASE for this government extends for one thousand years, at which time the kingdom shall be turned over to God in perfect condition. This thousand-year period represents the Judgment Day for the entire human race.
THE MOTIVATING FORCE is love, ever expanding love, Love, LOVE! Descending and ascending love; love of God for man, and love of man for his neighbor and for God.
"What is love?" is the question most frequently asked of his guests by David Frost, probably the most popular host on American and British television, and the answer to this question is probably the one answer for which his audience most intently listens.
The most simple, yet the most brilliantly accurate answer I have ever heard is one my sister, Ruth Wyant Riggs, modestly gave when she said, "Love is unselfishness."
Can any intelligent person thoughtfully recall his experiences without learning that the most gratifying of all his experiences were motivated by his unselfishness. Today, alas, love—unselfishness—is stifled by the popularity of selfishness and greed, but tomorrow this no longer will be so. For example, no longer will it be fashionable to "keep up with the Joneses"; rather it will be fashionable to "keep the Joneses up with us." We will less and less measure ourselves in accordance with what we have acquired, and more and more measure ourselves in accordance with what we have given our fellow man.
THE OBJECTIVE, worth repeating, is to restore to perfection and everlasting life mankind and his environment: to restore the perfect Edenic life Adam lost (for himself and, by inheritance, for his progeny) when he sinned, and Christ redeemed (for Adam and, by inheritance, for Adam’s progeny), when He paid the ransom price. The Bible tells us that "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (1Co 15:22). Christ said, "I came to seek and to save that which was lost." (Lu 19:10). Therefore each of us who will accept and obey the laws of God is guaranteed everlasting life on this earth, restored to Edenic perfection. Perfect life in a perfect environment is what was lost through Adam; perfect life in a perfect environment is what will be restored through Jesus Christ!
THE METHOD OF OBTAINING THE OBJECTIVE is to employ the "bright shining" of Jesus Christ—"the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Pr 4:18). Laws and blessings reflecting this expanding "increase of knowledge" will emanate from the spiritual phase of the kingdom to the earthly phase, to the citizens; to enlighten every member of the kingdom "from the least of them to the greatest of them," (Jer 31:34). This government will have the wisdom to make perfect laws and the power to enforce them, tempered by the insight to deal justly, and the loving desire to make each of its subjects a happy, contented, perfect individual.
THE BLESSINGS to be relayed are beyond our fondest dreams. The Bible tells us "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things God hath prepared for them that love him." (1Co 2:9).
There shall be "no more sickness!" What joyous news this is! The magnitude of the problem concerning illness in our present evil world is indicated in the 5/11/70 issue of Time, reporting that U.S. citizens alone spend $60 billion a year for medical assistance yet, by the best estimate, 80 million Americans lack adequate health care. The September 7, 1970, issue of Washington Report, published by Chamber of Commerce of the United States, indicates that by 1975 health care may be monetarily our nation’s largest single industry, with a predicted annual expenditure of $100 billion, 8% of gross national product. How great it will be to see this mushrooming industry topple for lack of need—lack of need because, as the Bible tells us, in the Fifth Universal Empire "the inhabitant shall not say I am sick." (Isa 33:24).
How great it will be to see the current growing concern over the alarming insufficiency of doctors and medical facilities eliminated; and to see our hospitals and other institutions for the mentally and physically infirm emptied.
"The eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped, then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing." (Isa 35:5,6).
The mentally retarded and malformed children shall be made alert and whole; and the old and feeble, nourished with perfect food, soon will attain physique, vim, vigor and vitality beyond that which they enjoyed in their youth.
Think of it! Never again will man be plagued by the sight of his loved ones, or himself, aging—"aging" in the sense that with each passing year a senior citizen becomes less self-reliant, and more vulnerable to the clutches of the Grim Reaper. The aging problem, like our many other problems, is growing.
That our younger society of today will become our "older" society of tomorrow is indicated by statistics concerning the number of people over 65 years of age in the United States. In 1900 there were 3.3 million people in the over-65 group; in 1970, this number had grown to 20 million (10% of our population); and Federal population specialists predict that, by the year 2000, the over-65 group will increase to 33 million. This prediction is thought too conservative by Dr. Phillip Hauser of the University of Chicago, who predicts that in 2011, when the bumper crop of World War II babies reaches 65 years of age, the over-65 population may reach 55 million.
The growing proportions of the aging problem have been recognized as a high priority item with the scheduling of the November, 1971, White House Conference on Aging. This conference, designed to evaluate and alleviate some of the social and economic problems of retirement, is good, but it amounts to naught in comparison with the program soon to be established by the Fifth Universal Empire: to restore to physical, mental and moral perfection each willing member of the human race. Then, this word aging—"aging" in the sense that with each passing year a citizen grows more nearly perfect—will take on a new and glorious meaning. Of a certainty, God’s ways are higher than man’s ways!
Our loved ones will return to us from their graves, and none will have even the fear of sickness or death as long as he is making an effort to improve his character.
Among these will be restored the "crib death" infants, currently accounting for more than 25,000 deaths annually in the United States alone. Associated with these sudden, unexpected infant deaths, frequently occurring in their cribs, there have been many grievous instances of parental or attendant self-reproach that are totally unwarranted. The medical profession has not yet determined the cause of this tragedy, but it assures us that there is absolutely no basis for suspecting neglect as a factor; the condition strikes with no apparent symptom and, as yet, there is no known prevention.
The Devil, including his imps, will be chained, and no thing nor any one will be able to harm us.
There shall be no more "have-nots," no more a feeling of economic insecurity, for "there will be a feast of fat things for all people," (Isa 25:6); and "they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it." (Mic 4:4).
"Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." (Mic 4:3).
The material things to be invented for our pleasure are far beyond the comprehension of today’s genius, and our leisure to enjoy them no longer will be curtailed by the curse, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," (Gen. 3; 19), for the reason that this curse will have expired. Evidences of the expiration of this curse are manifested by the decrease in the number of hours in today’s work-day, as compared with those in the work-day prior to the beginning of Christ’s "bright shining."
Our environment will be perfected: "I (God) will open rivers in high places and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the olive tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together." (Isa 41:18,19). It is estimated that today only ten per cent of the earth’s land surface is under cultivation, the remainder being too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, too high or too low, etc. Obviously no such retardants will exist tomorrow; our environment will be "not too"—just right! Such ecological changes as are promised to restore our lost Paradise will perfect our setting so as to completely satisfy our esthetic and physical needs. God has promised "The desolate land shall be tilled, and they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden." (Eze 36:34,35).
In the Bible, many, many more Scriptures elucidating the promised blessings are available for the seeking, and we can be sure that concerns such as the air, water, and earth pollution problems that are bugging us will be eliminated post haste. The Bible assures us that these are "the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began," (Ac 3:21); the times when all will be restored that Adam lost and that Christ redeemed!
RELIGIOUS POLICY is to "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." (Lu 10:27). No longer will it be necessary, as they say, for a person seeking a religious association to choose from among a multiplicity of gods or, having chosen the true God, to choose from among a multiplicity of sects born of a jargon of conflicting claims, because the Bible tells us, "Then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent." (Zep 3:9).
On the surface this requisite of an all-consuming love of God may appear dictatorial and subjugating to our rebellious minds, but if we look at it closely, we begin to realize that this requisite is not to inflate God’s ego; about His superiority and supremacy there can be no question; but rather it is to give us a "Rock of Gibraltar" upon which to lean in every hour of need.
Such love leaves no room for the demeaning worship of false gods, animate or inanimate, and the many "sacred cows" associated with them that gouge evil dungeons, rather than "build stately mansions," in our natures. Perhaps the most demeaning of false gods eliminated by this love, is Self and the associated sacred cows: Greed, Hate, Lust, Covetousness, etc.
Such love reflects unabated faith in the loved one, and if we have such faith in God we will find our pleasure in following His perfect direction, which is designed by a perfect mind to bring us the ultimate in happiness. If we had such faith now, how carefree our hearts would be, and what inner peace we would know! As the Bible advises us, "Be careful (or fearful) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ." (Php 4:6,7).
The associated requisite to "Love thy neighbor as thyself" of a certainty will irradicate selfishness, the root of all evil. Pause a few moments to imagine how quickly the problems of our world would be solved if each of us would employ this future requisite now. Imagine, if our motivating force was reversed from selfishness to unselfishness, the difference there would be in our city, in our neighborhood, and even in our home and in ourselves.
A little experiment, well worth trying because it is so enlightening, is to dedicate a few days to studiously practicing the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you." (Mt 7:12). We find that good begets good, and understanding begets understanding. We find that in our effort to be fair, rather than dictatorial or patronizing, we no longer listen with deaf ears, and our open mind grows in stature and in confidence as it reasons with another to revise its contention, or to gently persuade another to its view. We find the little sacrifices we make for another bring us a greater glow than had another made similar sacrifices for us. We find a wealth of jewels for retrospection, greater even than Wordsworth found in the daffodils when he recalled:
For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.
LAW ENFORCEMENT will be rigid. The Bible tells us Christ will "rule with a rod of iron," (Re 2:27), and that "he must reign till he hath put all enemies (sin, sickness and death) under his feet." (1Co 15:25). Yes, the laws will be wise, just, and unchanging, and we will be guided with a firm hand; but boundless love and compassion will be exercised in educating us until the keeping of these laws becomes our heart desire.
Experience has provided us with some knowledge of the goodness of God’s laws, and there are few who will not agree that if God’s laws were kept there would be no unhappiness and misery in the world today. However, it is the consensus that only a dreamer thinks these laws ever can be kept because, they unknowingly say: "The willing to try always will be trampled by the unwilling."
It is reassuring to know that in the Fifth Universal Empire God’s laws will be kept because the government will have the divine miracle working power to enforce them, until they are so deep-rooted in the hearts of men that no force will be necessary.
For example, a has-been murderer might raise his knife-clutching fist to kill his neighbor, only to find it paralyzed in mid-air. After suffering perhaps weeks of humiliation, in being unable to lower his arm or release the knife, he might become genuinely repentant; and at this time no doubt his prayer for forgiveness would be answered, and his paralysis removed. If this has-been murderer was exercised properly by this experience he will attempt murder never again; if not, he will require another lesson; and—perish the thought—if after a hundred years of lessons he still refuses to mend his ways, he will be cut-off in the "second death" (extinction).
Chapter XII NITTY GRITTY CONTINUED
In the present evil world, where the strong are applauded as they trample the weak on their rise to fame and fortune, it is hard to believe that we get out of life what we put into it, but it is unquestionable that ultimately we will—that in the good world of tomorrow this adage will become an axiom!
It may occur to some that since everyone is promised ample opportunity in the coming kingdom to repent his transgressions and mend his ways, they might just as well live it up now and repent later. On the contrary, it behooves us to watch our Brownie points.
Now is the time to begin our very own Headstart Program—to "lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven," (Mt 6:20) by cleansing our hearts of selfishness and greed, and developing as many as possible of the qualities we must develop in the world of tomorrow—the Fifth Universal Empire.
Through the centuries God promised rich rewards for those who diligently strived to do His will, and those of us who missed the grand prizes already mentioned, can be sure that when Christ’s kingdom is established we will be rewarded in generous proportion to the good we have done.
Another wrong premise is one shared by those "goodie-goodie" pillars of the church who enshrine themselves in sanctimonious sentimentalism, and display a counterfeit piety that reeks of hypocrisy.
There is nothing "goodie-goodie" or "namby-pamby" about a true Christian; he is a stalwart character who, despite surrounding temptation, has the courage to demand of himself noble reactions and honorable deeds. He has a sympathetic tolerance for the weaknesses of others; he reasons that "there but for the grace of God, go I"; and he does not try to fool himself or others into thinking that he is righteous.
He strives to harken to the admonition, "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (Jas 1:22).
The scripture, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth," (Mat. 5:5) often is quoted as proof of the milksop nature of a Christian. The word "meek" is used seventeen times in the Bible, and in no instance does it carry the connotation of lacking spirit or backbone; it means humble and teachable, as opposed to arrogant and know-it-all.
What is sin? This is a question often asked sincerely, and sometimes asked arrogantly in a tone that defiantly questions also: "Who feels himself qualified to answer?" Most assuredly there is none among us
without sin and qualified of himself to answer or, as it were, to "first cast a stone." (Joh 8:7). The Bible tells us "There is none righteous; no, not one," (Ro 3:10). However there is an authoritative source for our answer: the Bible defines sin very simply; it tells us, "Sin is the transgression of the law." (1Jo 3:4).
The law is a perfect design for living that assures maximum happiness and everlasting longevity for individual and collective mankind. Jesus reassured us of this when the young man asked Him, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" and Jesus replied: "Keep the commandments." (Mt 19:16, 17). This tip—use the staple values of the Commandments to guide our path to enduring happiness—is appropriate particularly today, when our man-made rules and regulations, swinging and swaying to the tune of moral relativism (the concept of permissive psychology that our standards must be held in a state of flux), provide such a wobbling rod for the measurement of right and wrong that even the conscientious are confused.
Prior to the establishment of the Fifth Universal Empire wherein we will have abundant help, it is not possible for any of us, in our degenerated condition, to withstand temptation sufficiently to keep God’s law, but the closer we can operate within the confines of that law the happier we will be and the greater will be our rewards.
An excellent rule of thumb, applicable to any quandary over determining suitable direction, is to weigh our proposed action on the inspiring/degrading scale, and that we can perfect and maintain the precisional balance of this scale, through reference to the Scriptures, is assured. We recall that the Bible tells us, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instructions in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (2Ti 3:16,17). Think of it; instruction sufficient "that the man of God may be perfect!"
It is believed that the majority of us would rather do good than harm; however, most human beings have the common defect of selfishness, which motivating principal controls their thoughts and actions. Too, all of us are underprivileged and some of us have been privileged even less than others. By this we do not mean that we have lacked worldly goods that bring only temporary superficial pleasure; we mean that we have lacked the training and experience that develop the rarer, priceless values such as charity, self-sacrifice, honor and nobility of heart. However, none of us need flounder longer in the dark, for the
reason that the Bible provides ample and infallible advice and direction covering our every need for guidance in developing these qualities; attention is called, for example, to the Book of Proverbs.
The "generation gap," much discussed today, is an example of the result of underprivilege. We are aware that "as a twig is bent so shall it grow;" and the Bible tells us "he that spareth the rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." (Pr 13:24).
"Not sparing the rod" has a much broader meaning than the physical one often applied to it. It means that, with loving thought and great care, we should establish edifying rules and regulations behind which we should stand firm, to see that, through patient reasoning with him, our child is properly exercised by his experiences and develops a sound foundational knowledge of right and wrong to serve, throughout his lifetime, as his ethics. A similar thought is conveyed by the promise that Christ’s kingdom will be "ruled with a rod of iron," (Re 19:15); ruled with a measuring stick of perfect, unchanging, unbending laws upon which we always can depend.
Some well-meaning parents mistake permissiveness for love, but children do not want permissiveness; they want LOVE. The love they want and need requires much time and great patience. For example, to:
(1) reason out with them each little problem they encounter so that they understand the philosophy of their conclusion;
(2) install meaningful laws so that they learn fair play and the rights of others;
(3) establish just penalties so that they learn self-discipline; and
(4) provide encouragement so that they learn self-appreciation and the satisfaction derived in attaining earned praise.
Love does not smother, over-shelter or over-shield; it encourages the experiences that instill a sound feeling of self-reliance in the child. Dr. Haim G. Ginoft’s book, Between Parent and Child, provides interesting everyday examples of giving children proper consideration; and the Bible provides infallible guidance in the moral principles children should be taught.
It is contended that if parents provide their children with sufficient love during their formative years, there will be no generation gap and no reason for parental
concern during their children’s adolescent and adult years. Conversely, it is contended that only a juvenile delinquent would pass the buck by pointing the finger at parents who had set a bad example, or who had been too preoccupied to give him proper consideration. A properly maturing mind would not be so unforgiving as to neglect the Bible’s admonition to "Honor thy father and thy mother," (De 5:16); rather, it would reason that no doubt the parent’s training had been even less considerate than his own, and lovingly he would extend his energy toward helping rather than blaming his parents.
An interesting youth movement, already having a toehold in high schools, colleges and universities located in a number of places, is the Jesus Movement. It is non-denominational and described by Brian Vachan, in Look magazine (2/9/71 issue), as an evangelical group of well-scrubbed, fervent, Bible-toting kids that are turning to Jesus and turning from drugs. Their highsign is the forefinger pointed heavenward; slogans like "Love Your Enemy—It Will Drive Him Crazy" are plentiful, and prayer is their fountain of strength.
Look indicates that it is an active group. Prayer and testimonial gatherings of a few, or of many, are not confined to Sundays but are held frequently, indoors and outdoors, and in divers places. Volunteers man round-the-clock emergency phone centers where kids call with problems, ranging from bad trips to unwanted pregnancies, and the help provided results in a high percentage of converts. One lovely young girl, rescued from an out-of-control drug habit, is quoted as saying: "Drugs are a ‘down.’ This is the most incredible ‘up’ in the world. I feel like I’m floating all the time, with Jesus."
Vachon’s article covers the Jesus Movement in and around Stanford, Berkeley and UCLA, and asserts that it "has caught hold in California, and it shows every sign of sweeping East and becoming a national preoccupation."
The Jesus Movement is described by another writer as "another Christian cop-out;" and he contends that "the ‘turn on with Jesus’ idea of the hip set is as false and meaningless as the values of the society they reject."
These are disillusioning words that we read grievously and reject, as we assure ourselves that our youth of today will not fail us; they will prove false this accusation of hypocrisy.
We know, unquestionably, that any effort truly patterned after the ministry of Jesus Christ will yield good fruit, and we are thrilled with the possibility that this Jesus Movement just might develop into something really great. We acknowledge that to date this movement accepts as gospel many erroneous traditions mistakenly endorsed by the establishment, but this movement is in its embryo stage, and hopefully it is comprised of alert, idealistic young adults with no conflict of interest, whose inquisitive and research-oriented minds we might expect to ferret out the truth. We might expect them to accept hearsay but not for long; soon, they will demand to see for themselves the accurate Word of the Bible.
If our confidence in the ability and sincerity of these students is justified, none on campus will be so turned on as they who, electrified with the "bright shining" of Jesus, will evangelize the world with the revolutionary thought and sound logic of God’s magnificent plan.
In the present evil world each of us has inherited the sins of our fathers as far back as through Adam, but in the world of tomorrow this will not be so. We are told, no more will it be said that "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge." (Eze 18:2). In Christ’s kingdom "the soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die." (Eze 18:20,21).
The Bible tells us "The Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men might consider slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2Pe 3:9). However, it says too that "God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Ga 6:7). In other words, the more good habits we have learned the less good habits we shall have to learn; and the less bad habits we have learned the less bad habits we shall have to break.
Thoughts of "good habits" already learned might bring to mind the good Samaritan who, at considerable expense and inconvenience to himself, tended with great care and compassion the traveler who had been stripped of his clothes, wounded, and left half-dead by thieves. Recall that Christ cited the good Samaritan as a good neighbor, in opposition to the unneighborly priest and Levite who, when they saw the wretched plight of the traveler, went out of their way, rather than become involved. (Lu 10:29- 37). We reason that this good Samaritan already has learned the good habit of, for example, neighborliness.
Thoughts of "bad habits" to be broken might bring to mind the criminal crucified with Christ who, grasping at what he probably considered a mere straw of hope, requested: "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom," (Lu 23:42); and to whom Christ replied: "Verily I say unto thee today (even today when the possibility seems so remote), thou shalt be with me in paradise." (Lu 23:43). We reason that this criminal will have to break the bad habit of, for example, stealing.
It should be noted that the King James Version mispunctuates Christ’s reply—it places the comma before rather than after the word "today"—and thus conveys the thought that Jesus promised the thief would be with Him in paradise on the same day they were crucified. This thought is obviously not possible;
(a) Christ was dead in the grave for three days after the crucifixion,
(b) the criminal still is dead in the grave, and
(c) the paradise God planted in Eden has not yet been restored. Christ, already on the cross and knowing that He was all but finished with paying the ransom price, related the fact that even on that dark day of crucifixion, when it appeared Christ was an impostor, the thief could be sure that ultimately he would be resurrected and that he, together with all the rest of mankind, would be with Christ in His kingdom when it was established—in Paradise restored. Now, thank God, we know that when Christ’s kingdom is established, the thief and we others, if we mend our ways, will live forever in our restored paradise; the Bible tells us: "To him that overcometh (evil) will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." (Re 2:7).
Thoughts of extremes might bring to mind villains such as Hitler, and we might question why they are not considered too vile for resurrection and a day of judgment. Then we recall that no one can commit unforgivable sin unless he does so "in full light"; and we reason that, incensed as we might be with Hitler’s fiendish actions, we cannot say that he has had a fair trial—he was born of tainted blood, as were all of Adam’s progeny; he never was taught the difference between right and wrong, and quite likely he was insane. We know that it is going to be very difficult for him to face and live in the same world with the billions of people who know what he did, but we know too that it will be possible for him to so mend his ways as to ultimately gain their forgiveness.
The Bible tells us that there are some willful sinners who refuse redemption, who must be cut off in "the second death" from which there is no resurrection. For example, Jesus said, "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men." (Mt 12:31). The Holy Spirit (mistranslated Holy Ghost in the King James Version) is the invisible power of God, exercised by God to accomplish the good purposes of His will.
The Holy Spirit is not an entity, as falsely claimed by the false doctrine of the Trinity.
The irrational doctrine of the Trinity (that God is a trinity of persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; one in all, and all in one) is not mentioned nor remotely implied in the Bible. This statement comprehends an awareness that the authorized King James Version includes the following verses: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one." (1Jo 5:7,8); and that these verses should be correctly combined as follows: "For there are three that bear record: the spirit, and the water, and the blood; and these three agree in one." The deleted words do not appear in any Greek manuscripts dated prior to the seventh century; they are recognized as spurious by essentially all Greek scholars of today, and they do not appear in the Revised Version. A reading in toto of the fifth chapter of I John is suggested to make even clearer the absolute truth, stated in the corrected verse, which is fully in accord with all other Scripture, and which indicates that "there are three that bear record: the spirit (truth, basis of heart baptism), and the water (typical baptism), and the blood (literal baptism): and these three agree in one (that Jesus is the Christ)."
Among theologians, it is the consensus that this doctrine of the Trinity was initiated, vaguely, in the writings of Theophilus, in approximately 180 A.D., and that it was not until the last quarter of the fourth century, Anno Domini, that it became recognized as dogma by organized Christianity.
We can see why it is said that "the doctrine of the Trinity cannot be explained nor understood but must be accepted in blind faith." Surely it is inconceivable that God was talking to himself when he said: "This (Christ) is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased," (Mt 3:17); or that Christ was praying to himself when he said: "O my Father, not as I will but as thou wilt," (Mt 26:39); or that entity or person should be given to the Holy Spirit or power of God, any more than to the Unholy Spirit or power of Satan.
What difference between these two Spirits? The Holy Spirit has unlimited power and is motivated by good; the Unholy Spirit has limited power and is motivated by evil; both are inanimate influences!
What difference between God and Christ? They are father and son, and as Christ said of God, "My father is greater than I." (Joh 14:28). There is a verse in the King James Version, mistakenly used to support the error that God and Christ are one and the same person, which reads: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (Joh 1:1).
This is a faulty translation which should be corrected to read: "In the beginning was the Word (the logos, the King’s spokesman), and the Word was with the God (Greek, ho theos—the God), and the Word was a god (Greek, theos—a God)." Thus corrected, this verse clearly states that Jehovah God is the God and that the Word, or Christ, is a God, which agrees with the Apostle Paul’s writing that "There is one God, and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all." (1Ti 2:5,6).
In the second chapter of Acts, we read of one of the innumerable manifestations of God’s power or Holy Spirit. In this instance, Jews of every nation had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost, a special day of feasting, and the Apostles were miraculously filled with the Holy Spirit, which enabled them to "speak with other tongues;" that is, to speak in the many languages necessary to explain to these foreign-speaking visitors the Gospel to be taken back with them to their homelands. The enemies of Jesus, rather than recognize God’s blessing, charged that the Apostles were intoxicated, and the perpetuation of this lie is evident today among those who babble jibberish, called "glossolalia," as a part of their "speaking with tongues" ritual.
Another manifestation of this power of God, called the Holy Spirit, concerns what is incorrectly referred to as "the immaculate conception" of Christ. The Bible tells us, in the Old Testament, that "a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (one of Christ’s names)." (Isa 7:14). It explains in the New Testament that Christ is the son of God, and his virgin birth was conceived through the Holy Spirit, the power of God. (Mt 1:18-25). It explains that Christ was "the seed of the woman," not the "seed" of Adam, whose progeny is born in sin, and therefore imperfect and incapable of paying the ransom price for a perfect man. The enemies of Jesus charged that Christ was not the son of God, and the perpetuation of this lie is evident today among those who dispute the virgin birth of Christ.
The two lies mentioned are examples of "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit," and anyone knowingly endorsing one or more of them will not be forgiven.
However, it is believed that the great majority of people endorsing such lies do so in ignorance and therefore are not held accountable.
The Bible assures us that we are held accountable for only what we know; it is not possible to commit unforgivable sin without full knowledge of what we are doing! With God, who knows our inner thoughts, ignorance is an excuse for breaking the law; we can commit unforgivable sin only "in full light."
During the thousand-year reign of Christ each individual will be given ample opportunity to perfect his character. The Bible indicates that each individual will have at least one hundred years of judgment or trial—"the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed (cut off in death)." (Isa 65:20). However, throughout this Millennial Age, those willful sinners who refuse to learn from their experience with restraint, and continually refuse to keep God’s laws, will be cut off in "second death."
In addition, at the end of the Millennial Age, when all of us are well-fortified with the seven thousand years of practical knowledge of good and evil that Adam chose for us in the Garden of Eden, Satan "must be loosed a little season." (Re 20:7). ‘Tis during this "little season" that Satan will be permitted to exercise his wiles upon a populace more knowledgeable than the naive Adams and Eves upon whom he formerly preyed, thus proving how ineffectual are his cunning deceptions once exposed to the full light of Christ’s "bright shining." ‘Tis during this "little season" that we, then fortified with a knowledge of good and evil, will have our individual opportunity to prove our immunity from the artifice of Satan. ‘Tis during the "little season" that any remaining willful sinners will be weeded out in "second death." ‘Tis at the end of this "little season" that Satan himself will be destroyed.
The release of Satan for even "a little season" again brings to mind an old, old question that perhaps more than any other has plagued mankind. For thousands of years man has questioned why God permits evil and, failing to comprehend the Bible’s answer, many have attributed the reign of evil to God’s vindictiveness, to God’s indifference, to God’s inability to restrain evil, or to some other quality equally unreconcilable with God’s perfect character.
Early in this writing we questioned why God permits evil. Now we are able to better comprehend the infinite wisdom, justice, love and power reflected in the fact that God permits evil only insofar as it serves His purpose, to make manifest the perfection and righteous authority of His laws, and to prove to us and to angels the evil consequences of violating His laws.
Now we know to not judge God from the narrow viewpoint of man but to seek His in-depth reasoning.
As the Bible tells us, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isa 55:8,9).
Now we know not to doubt God’s power. As the Bible tells us, "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater; so shall my (God’s) word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isa 55:10,11).
Now we know that the object of God’s purpose is not to glorify Himself, as at first our suspicious minds might suspect, but rather that His objective is to fortify us with a practical knowledge of evil as well as of good, to serve as a basis upon which we can intelligently evaluate each crossroad on the pathway to eternal life—to provide each of us with a comprehensive knowledge of good and evil before our individual Judgment Day.
Now we know that mankind has paid no more heed to God’s written instructions—the Bible—than Adam paid to God’s verbal instructions; therefore we reason that without a practical knowledge of evil as well as of good, we would be as naive and as vulnerable to temptation as our first parents who, when tried, chose evil and death.
Now our sights are broadened and we begin to understand that in God’s sight the permission of evil is but one brief semester in the necessary school of experience. For almost six thousand years mankind has suffered the bitter result of mistrusting and disobeying God; however, we reason that for each individual the time of suffering has been for only as long as he lived, and his short span of life has been as a moment compared with the endless years of perfect life on this earth that are in store for him if he but chooses good rather than evil.
Now we begin to comprehend the wisdom and the benevolence of God’s plan to expose each generation to life during the evil reign of Satan, and to life during the righteous reign of Christ, so that from these exposures man can draw upon a comparison of the two kingdoms for intelligence that will prove conclusively the perfection and righteous authority of God’s laws, and the evil consequences of violating them—for intelligence that will develop a sound judgment, immune to temptation during Satan’s "little season."
The Bible tells us "When the thousand years are expired Satan shall be loosed out of his prison," (Re 20:7), and those whose characters have not been made strong enough to withstand his wiles during this "little season" will be cut off in the "second death." "It shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that Prophet (Christ), shall be destroyed from among the people." (Ac 3:23). At the end of the "little season" Satan himself will be cut off (Re 20:10): and then, "Death and hell (the grave) were cast into the lake of fire (symbol of complete destruction).
This is the second death." (Re 20:14).
Thus will be fulfilled the prophecies
(1) that "He (Christ) must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death," (1Co 15:25,26);
(2) that the "earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea," (Isa 11:9); and
(3) that then all will know "The tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God." (Re 21:3).
Thus will be attained the objective of the Fifth Universal Empire, to restore to perfection and everlasting life mankind and his environment; and, at the end of the thousand years, Christ shall deliver up to God the perfect kingdom. (1Co 15:24).
Throughout the Bible God’s plan for the redemption of man is stated and amplified in many ways, but it is always the same plan, with no deviation from the theme!
God’s plan is stated concisely, for example, in the book of Daniel (Chapter 2). In this revelation, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had a dream that Daniel was requested to relate and interpret. The dream was of a great image with head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and feet and toes part of iron and part of clay. A "stone," cut out of the mountain without hands, smote the image on its feet and crumbled the entire image so that the wind carried it away, and then the stone became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Daniel explained to the king that in the dream God had made known what was to come to pass. Daniel explained that the gold, the silver, the brass and the iron represented four successive kingdoms that would rule over the earth, and that the clay represented weakening influences entering the strong iron. The "stone," Daniel explained, represented the Kingdom of God which, after the smiting, will grow to fill the whole earth.
Daniel told us that the gold represented Babylon, the first universal empire. History tells us that the silver proved to be Medo-Persia, the second universal empire; the brass proved to be Greece, the third universal empire; and the iron proved to be Rome, the fourth universal empire and its divisions, depicted by the toes, that we have seen grow weaker and weaker as indicated by the clay. We agree with Daniel that the "stone" is the Kingdom of God, entrusted to His son Jesus Christ for a thousand years—the great Fifth Universal Empire.
Today we observe that, as Daniel prophesied, the Celestial Body of this "stone" already has struck and almost completely destroyed the remnants of the old Roman Empire, and that the time is near when the Fifth Universal Empire will be established on earth and grow to fill the entire earth.
Students of chronology may pause here to examine other prophecies throwing light on these "Times of the Gentiles" prophesied by Daniel, in an effort to determine whether prophecy, history and current events can be reconciled to confirm or deny that this phase of God’s magnificent plan is being executed exactly on schedule.
In an effort to establish the beginning date of the "Times of the Gentiles," chronologists may examine Jesus’ prophecy. "Jerusalem (representing the nation of Israel, just as Washington represents the United States or as London represents England) shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." (Lu 21:24). This prophecy indicates clearly that the "Times of the Gentiles" is a fixed period, equivalent to the period during which the Jews "shall be trodden down of the Gentiles"; each of these periods, or "times," begin and end simultaneously. Therefore it is clear that the "Times of the Gentiles" began in 606 B.C., when God’s typical kingdom was overthrown by Babylon—when Zedekiah, the last Jewish king, lost his crown to Nebuchadnezzar, the first Gentile king authorized by God to have world dominion.
In an effort to establish the duration or total length of the "Times of the Gentiles," chronologists may examine God’s prophecy: "I will set my face against you (Israel) and ye shall be slain before your enemies; they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not for all this (previous chastisements) harken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins." (Le 26:17,18). This prophecy indicates clearly that Israel’s punishment would last for a period
of seven "times" and, since we know that one "time" (by ancient Hebrew definition) equals one lunar year of 360 days, we easily calculate that seven "times" equal 2520 days (7x360= 2520). Aware that in previous years Israel had been chastised more than once for periods exceeding 2520 days, we conclude that this last, greatest and final punishment is obviously a measure of symbolic—not literal—time to which we must apply the scale provided by the Bible for use in calculating symbolic time. God says, "I have appointed thee each day for a year," (Eze 4:6), and this 1 day = 1 year scale is applicable throughout the Bible. Therefore, it is clear that the "seven times" symbolize 2520 years; that the "Times of the Gentiles" is a fixed period of 2520 years, that ends simultaneously with the removal of the Gentile yoke from the Jews.
Thus chronologists conclude that the "Times of the Gentiles"—the period during which Divine decree gave dominion of the world to Babylon (including the empires succeeding Babylon, as such)—was a fixed period of 2520 years, the lease of power beginning in 606 B.C. and ending in 1914 A.D. (2520-606 = 1914). Therefore, these data indicate that momentous changes would take place beginning in the year 1914 A.D., and that these data can be reconciled with Daniel’s prophecy as follows: Symbol Empire Period of Region Total Years Gold-Babylon-606 B.C.-538 B.C. -68 Silver-Medo-Persia-538 B.C.-331 B.C. 207 Brass-Greece-331 B.C.-168 B.C. -163 Iron-Rome-168 B.C.-476 A.D. -644 Iron and Clay-Divided-476 A.D.-1914 A.D. -1438 Total "Times of the Gentiles" 606 B.C.-1914 A.D.- 2520 Total "Times of the Gentiles" reigned 2520 years History confirms that in the year 1914, exactly on schedule, Daniel’s "image" was struck. It was in the year 1914 that World War I began, and it was out of World War I that there came two major changes:
(1) the Jews emerged from the Gentile yoke and
(2) the Gentile’s "Divided Empire" of Babylon crumbled.
The Jews, for the first time since 606 B.C., secured the opportunity to return to their own land, and to build up their own land for their own use as a people.
The Balfour Declaration to this effect came in 1918; this was confirmed later by a mandate from the League of Nations; and the State of Israel was established in 1948. Thus, for the whole world to see, Israel is today a free nation no longer "trodden down" under the yoke of Gentiles.
The Gentile’s "Divided Empire" (the iron and clay toes of Daniel’s image) crumbled with the overthrow of the crowned heads of Europe who presumptuously referred to their authority (the filtered down permission to rule given by God to Nebuchadnezzar in 606 B.C.) as "the divine right of kings." In 1910, the great assemblage of royalty for the funeral of King Edward VII appeared to be entrenched in power and wealth forever. Then, it was unthinkable that the Bourbons, the Hapsburgs, the Hohenzollerns, the Romanoffs—the mighty intermarrying band that had owned and ruled Europe for centuries—could topple within a few years; yet as prophesied, this mighty band did topple, to the extent that today we no longer respect any claim to "the divine right of kings."
Perhaps we should digress a moment to make plain our definition of a Jew. This thought is in response to the number of times we hear the question "What is a Jew?"; and to the number of times we hear conflicting answers to this question. Biblically speaking, total humanity is comprised of Jews and Gentiles; the difference between the two is determined by heredity. Jews are descendants of Abraham through his son Isaac (Ge 17:19-21); all others are Gentles.
It is true that Arabs are descendants of Abraham, but not through Isaac, therefore Arabs are Gentiles, not Jews or Israelites, and they have no claim to Israel’s inheritance. The Arabs are descendants of Ishmael (Abraham’s son through Hagar, who was not Abraham’s wife but his wife’s handmaid—Ge 16:1- 16) who founded the Ishmaelites; and Esau (Abraham’s grandson and Isaac’s eldest son, who sold his birthright to his twin brother, Jacob—Ge 25:19-34) who founded the Edomites.
Resuming our thoughts concerning Daniel’s prophecy, our attention is drawn to the sickening observation that, just as the Jews harkened not unto God and failed in their opportunity, the Gentiles, brushing aside God’s Book of Instruction, failed miserably in their opportunity to govern the world.
We are thankful, so thankful to know that once the last remaining hours of "The Day of Preparation" are spent, the righteous Fifth Universal Empire will be established on earth and, as Daniel prophesied, "It shall stand for ever." (Da 2:44).
If now, prior to the earthly establishment of the Fifth Universal Empire, you and I who aspire to a human rather than a spiritual life are blessed with an understanding of God’s magnificent plan, it means that we have the tremendous distinction of being called to serve with a chosen few, who will assist the Ancient Worthies in educating the billions of uneducated who will be restored to perfection. If we have been called to this glorious opportunity for leadership in the distribution of the fabulous blessings of the Millennial Age, it now is up to us to answer the call, to make our election sure. It is up to us to extend every effort to mold our characters to fit the unselfish requirements of the roles we are to play, and to search the Scriptures to expand our ability to spread the "glad tidings of great joy"—each of us to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meakness and fear (reverence)." (1Pe 3:15).
Today is our lucky day! If luck is defined as the ability to take advantage of unforeseen opportunity, and if God has permitted us—unlike the bulk of mankind—a foreknowledge of His magnificent plan, then today is indeed our lucky day; for today we—you and I—have the ability to take advantage of the previously unforeseen opportunity to become involved—even to become members of the avant-garde of the Fifth Universal Empire.
Now that we have verified what the Bible truly tells us, and have observed, through history and current events, the astounding accuracy to date with which it forecasts the individual steps toward the completion of God’s magnificent plan, we no longer can doubt that:
(1) there is a God, vibrantly alive, who is exercising His infinite wisdom, justice, love and power to complete, exactly on schedule, His magnificent plan to provide the human race, including Adam, with everlasting, perfect life on earth, restored to Edenic perfection; that
(2) God is the author of the Bible which was written by His amanuenses, as moved by His Holy Spirit: the Old Testament written by selected and divinely inspired Ancient Worthies, and the New Testament written by selected and divinely inspired members of the "little flock" comprising Christ’s Bride; and that
(3) the Bible is provided as a book of explanation to satisfy our curiosity concerning our origin and destiny, and as a book of perfect instruction to guide us away from unhappiness unto happiness.
The Bible tells us "The god of this world (Satan) hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2Co 4:4). But now you and I no longer are blinded by the Devil’s cunningly devised credibility gaps. Now we have seen for ourselves what the Bible really says, and now we have the golden opportunity to let our "light" shine—to share with others God’s magnificent plan for the redemption of man.
This is not to say that we are to take off as an irresistible force bucking an immovable object, for ours is not to force upon anyone the "light" we have been permitted; rather, ours is to seek every opportunity to graciously share these "glad tidings of great joy." Ours is to remember that while we may be permitted the privilege of planting the seed of truth, only God can give the increase. (1Co 3:6).
We are inspired by the knowledge that now if man, individually and/or collectively, knew God’s plan and harkened to God’s righteous laws, man would correct the evil of his ways and thus escape the painful ordeal of whatever additional experiences are necessary to make him mend his ways. We need not look far for examples; for instance, it is obvious that if sufficient of our hearts reach out to those in our local ghetto, we will take the steps necessary to correct the misery there, and thus escape the riots thought necessary to eliminate this evil.
We will suffer disappointment when rebuffed by those who are too blinded by tradition to see reason, but these disappointments are more than offset by the inner glow realized when we can help one here, and one there, to overcome traumatic fears or to avoid painful pitfalls. Too, when we are overwhelmed with compassion for individuals or groups we cannot reach, we have the blessed comfort of knowing that the time is near when all the world will cease suffering and be blessed with life in the coming kingdom.
We are rewarded with the consolation of knowing that the period of waiting is short, because together we have carefully examined many of the prophecies, and observed sufficient of their fulfillments to sharpen our focus on the timeliness of the Bible’s promise that "When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." (Lu 21:31). Hopefully we will continue to search the Scriptures for the many additional prophecies that are available to increase our awareness of steps to come, and further enrich our knowledge of God’s magnificent plan.
Now, dear reader, you and I know that the Bible tells it as it is, in response to our questions; and that now we have an opportunity to perfect our response to the Bible’s question: "How hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?" (Job 26:3)!
The Bible tells us that as it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end. In this restored Garden of Eden that is soon to cover the earth, or "Paradise," as Christ called it, "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed away." (Re 21:4).
Truly, the Bible tells it like it is. God’s thoughts are higher than man’s thoughts; the Utopias and Shangri-Las of our dreams are bedwarfed by the magnificence of Christ’s kingdom—the soon-to-be-established Fifth Universal Empire!
May God bless you, dear reader, with an early understanding of His magnificent plan.