Audio - 16 Feb 2019

Latest Audio - 2019-02-16

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World Tomorrow
by Mr Armstrong
Nuclear Terrorism
broadcast in the 1980s - played UK 16 Feb 2019
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by Jon Bowles
Glorious Law Of Liberty - Part 4
given Bristol UK 8 Dec 2012 - played Wales 16 Feb 2019
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News Review - 15 Feb 2019

German air force in a sorry state… ammunition stocks low… submarines not in use… army not combat ready… weapons sub-standard…

Truth – or Propaganda?

In the run up to the end of the age, we are getting very mixed messages from Germany. On the one hand, they tell us that their military is bordering on being non-operational – yet they are already involved in several overseas war zones.

The problem the German government has is that it has had to change the attitude of the people – who, since WW2 have been pacifist – happy to live under US protection.

As the following article points out, many allies want Germany to take a more leading role in world affairs. To achieve this, the pacifist attitude of the German people had to be changed.

13/12/2014 “The need for a ‘more active foreign policy’ clashes with the deep-seated pacifism of the federal republic. The atrocities of the Third Reich, in which the army played an active role, left Germans with a profound aversion to any sort of military adventure… recent polls suggest this could be changing…

‘Germany needs to step up and play its part,’ said [German foreign minister] Steinmeier recently. ‘Many of our international partners demand a more active foreign policy from Germany. And I think they are right’.” (

How Has This Change Come About?

The last few years show how this change has been achieved! Keep in mind that the Germans are past masters when it comes to propaganda. Check the following headlines starting from 2007… German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the EU to have its own army.

24/03/07 “The European Union Needs an Army” (

Followed a year later by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier – note – it’s not yet a German army – it’s still an EU army!

11/05/2008 “Steinmeier calls for European army” (

Unease in the UK Parliament…

24/02/09 “The Express reports that Labour MEPs have been heavily criticised by the Conservatives for backing a European Parliament report calling for an ‘integrated European Armed Force’.” (Open Europe Press Summary)

An army needs weapons, and Germany has been quietly developing a huge armaments industry…

15/03/10 “German arms exports more than doubled during the last five years, according to a new report, placing the country behind just the US and Russia on the list of the world’s largest weaponry exporters.” (

The calls for an EU army continue…

16/05/10 “The EU may dare to take further steps, for example for a European army” (

2013 - The Year It All Changed

Suddenly, it is revealed that the GERMAN ARMY (not the EU) has been involved in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kosovo and off the Horn of Africa. All change from an EU army! 2013 starts the era of real change.

07/01/2013 “When Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted a recent reception for military families, she greeted parents, wives and children whose loved ones were spending their ‘holidays’ in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kosovo and off the Horn of Africa. German deployments overseas, Ms Merkel said, ‘will soon encompass the entire globe’.(

Then the German Bundeswehr [armed forces] intensifies its combat exercises…

16/01/2013 “The German Bundeswehr is intensifying its combat exercises with dictatorships on the Arabian Peninsular. The German Air Force just concluded, at the end of the year, two major training manoeuvres in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), each exercising joint combat operations.” (

As the US cuts back, Germany fills the vacuum…

26/02/13 “For decades after the devastation of World War Two, Germany recoiled from any prospect of military engagement. Now the country is under pressure to get involved in foreign military conflicts as the US cuts back its role as the world’s policeman. Germany has been a pacifist nation ever since the catastrophe of World War II. Any call to deploy German troops would trigger mass protests. Those attitudes are changing.(

The last US tanks leave Germany… “…so we need to protect ourselves”

05/04/2013 “The US Army’s 69-year history of basing main battle tanks on German soil quietly ended last month when 22 Abrams tanks, a main feature of armored combat units throughout the Cold War, embarked for the US. ‘There is no [US] tank on German soil. It’s a historic moment,’ said Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Marotto, 21st TSC spokesman.” (

Make the idea of an EU army more acceptable – so link up with other EU members… German army links with the Netherlands…

05/06/2013 “The German Bundeswehr has announced the formation of a permanent military unit of foreigners under German command. Beginning in January 2014, approximately 2,100 soldiers from the Netherlands will be integrated into the ‘Rapid Reaction Force Division’ as a result of a declaration of intent signed in Berlin last week by the defense ministers of both countries.” (

Grass roots support for the German military… the power of the media propaganda machine gets to work, changing German attitudes…

24/10/2013 “The leadership of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) is promoting the adoption of the German government’s military doctrine by the trade unions. The most recent expression of this development is the DGB’s scheduled ‘Peace and Security Policy Workshop,’ to be held in Berlin next week.” (

America is weakening, Germany must take over… yet again… “we need to protect ourselves”

29/10/13 “About 50 representatives of Berlin’s foreign policy establishment are calling for more German ‘leadership’ in global politics. The document contends that, because the United States is showing signs of weakening, Germany, currently a ‘policy shaping power in waiting,’ should develop stronger global activities to become a leading power.” (

Then the media, part of the German propaganda machine, get even more involved… claiming that the German military is in a dilapidated state…

01/10/14 “For months the German media and leading politicians have been calling for an end to Germany’s postwar policy of military restraint. Last week the campaign for militarism reached a new highpoint. The media campaign has been carefully prepared. Not a day goes past without a new ‘unexpected’ revelation regarding the dilapidated state of the German army.” (

The media pushes more massive increases in defence spending…

03/10/14 “On virtually an hourly basis the German media features new ‘revelations’ about alleged ‘technical glitches’ and the ‘ailing’ state of the German army (Bundeswehr). The reports all have one clear objective: a massive increase in defense spending.” (

The pressure increases with the Ukraine crisis. Now there are calls to replace US missiles with German products… Germany under threat from Russia…

30/10/14 “As a pretext for the rearmament program, government spokesmen are citing the civil war in Ukraine, which was set in motion by the support of the US and Germany for the fascist-led coup that overthrew the elected pro-Russian government and installed a Western puppet regime last February. They insist on the development of a new generation of MEADS [Medium Extended Air Defense System] air defense systems to replace the army’s existing stock of US Patriot missiles.” (

Continue to link up with other EU members… now Poland

03/11/14 “The German government is accelerating the creation of an EU army by means of bilateral military cooperation. The German-Polish ‘declaration of intent’ on military cooperation of the two countries’ armed forces, signed in the middle of the week, is the most recent example.” (

The army called an “attractive employer…”

01/02/15 “The German government announced a long-term plan for the modernization of its armed forces on Friday. Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen, of the ruling centre-right Christian Democrats, said she wanted to make the Germany Army into the most attractive employer in the country.” (

For a more assertive role in global security – Germany calls for a larger military. Note: It’s now confirmed as a German military – not an EU force

03/03/15 “Germany has pledged to raise military spending in coming years, as Berlin seeks to reconcile a commitment to play a more assertive role in global security with a military that is in dire need of overhaul.” (

The propaganda continues… the German goal is to “restore state power and stability in other countries…” - taking over America’s role…

13/11/15 “New military interventions by the German army (Bundeswehr) in Africa, the Middle East and Asia are being discussed and prepared in German defence and foreign policy think tanks, under the pretext of the ‘struggle against the causes of [refugee] flight’. The article quotes Federal Defence Minister Von der Leyen: ‘We need to restore state power and stability in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya’.” (

An army to “take control of a nation’s borders without the consent of the relevant sovereign government”

20/12/15 “So they finally got there. Along with two parliament buildings, an anthem, a flag, an over-bloated, underworked, unaudited staff, an army can now be added to the unchecked expansion of the European Union. It will have the considerable power to take control of a nation’s borders without the consent of the relevant sovereign government.” (

Now the EU is involved. To make the whole concept more palatable to the German people, Germany pushes for an EU military independent of NATO!

18/11/16 “Under German pressure, the EU is pushing toward the establishment of military structures, independent of NATO, as is evidenced by recent decisions taken by its defense ministers.” (

The ANTI-NATO idea continues: “The EU should also be prepared to act autonomously in cases where NATO is not willing to take the lead.”

23/11/16 “The European Union (EU) Army will be up and running in less than a year after MEPs today voted for the creation of a super force which can override NATO. And astonishingly it has been agreed that the EU should also be prepared to act autonomously in cases where NATO is not willing to take the lead.” (

The EU Army used to force more integration on Europe

13/12/2017 “The German government has announced that the EU Military Union will be officially launched this Monday, with the European Council formally adopting 17 projects aimed at creating joint EU military structures. According to the German ministry of defense, the military union is not only aimed at reaching more ‘independence’ from the United States, but also at advancing EU ‘integration,’ which is difficult to achieve with civilian means.” (

Now the EU pushes for an EU army

15/12/2017 “Leaders of 25 European Union states have signed the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) pact that will see them undertake more joint projects and increase their defense budgets with the idea to likely create a permanent EU army.” (

Again, yet more propaganda to prepare the German public for higher defence spending. German armaments are much sought after by many nations because of their quality and effectiveness. Yet the German public, and the rest of the world, are supposed to believe that the German armed forces’ equipment is non-operational, even sub standard? Are they trying to project the idea that Germany is not a threat to other nations?

22/02/18 “Shortfalls in the German army’s personnel and equipment are ‘dramatically’ hindering its readiness for combat, according to a new report. No submarines or large transport planes were available for deployment at the end of last year, the report says. It also points to failures in planning and leadership that have exacerbated existing problems in the military. ‘At the end of the year six out of six submarines were not in use. At times, not one of the 14 Airbus A-400M could fly,’ he said.” (

Germany to lead “NATO’s multinational Very High Readiness Joint Task Force”… with equipment that is substandard and non-functioning? Really?

24/05/18 “While the EU is paving the way for tanks in Europe, preparing infrastructure, Germany is arming itself with the newest A7V modification for the Leopard 2, advertised by the producer as the world’s most powerful main battle tank. The Bundeswehr plans to be fully operational in 2019 when Germany is to take over the leadership of the NATO’s multinational Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) team in Eastern Europe.” (

Still the media continue to support the idea that the German military is not a real threat to anyone…

30/05/18 “The German army has more problems than previously reported, as the country’s defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, had allegedly tried to hide the malfunctions of the military equipment, according to reports. Over recent months, reports have repeatedly come up that the German army has been suffering from equipment and staff shortages.” (

Meanwhile many in Germany want all US forces to go home. Anti-American sentiment continues to rise…

12/07/18 “Almost every second German favors the withdrawal of US forces based there, according to a poll taken prior to the NATO summit, at which Donald Trump accused Berlin of relying on Washington’s protection and not contributing enough.” (

A real slap in the face for the US – the Germans don’t want to buy the US F35 fighter jet – they want to produce their own.

01/02/19 “Politicians in Berlin said they needed more time to decide how to replace an ageing fleet that must be nuclear capable. The Bundeswehr faces pressure to purchase European-made planes, though it favors American models.” (

Now, Germany on the UN security council for the next 2 years… Germany “even closer to the crises and conflicts”

07/01/19 “The German government has entered the new year with the announcement of new global policy ventures and a plea not to shy away from ‘difficult decisions’ in international conflicts. Berlin must assume ‘responsibility’ and seek ‘global solutions,’ German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, sees Germany having been moved ‘even closer to the crises and conflicts’ of the present day, by its two-year membership on the UN Security Council, which began January 1.” (

Yet again, the same old story about equipment that doesn’t work. With all of this negativity, it’s amazing that Germany sells so much “defence” equipment!

29/01/19 “The bulk of the new military equipment delivered to the German Armed Forces last year is not ready for service, the German Defense Ministry has admitted, as the force struggles to free itself from a torrent of failures. Out of 97 pieces of military equipment delivered to the Armed Forces in 2017, only 38 are fully operational, the German Defense Ministry acknowledged, in response to a parliamentary inquiry.” (

A few days later, the same old story hits the press.

02/02/19 “The parliamentary Defence Commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels (Social Democratic Party, SPD), lists his complaints over more than 120 pages. ‘There is a lack of materiel in all areas.’ There are ‘barely any operational Leopard 2 [battle tanks],’ ‘no tankers in the Navy’ and ‘a large part of the submarine fleet was ‘broken.’ In addition, ‘less than half of the Eurofighters and Tornados are airworthy’ and ammunition stocks have been ‘reduced to a minimum.’ Terms such as ‘fully equipped’ and ‘national and alliance defence’ are euphemisms for a new German war policy.(

In a world of “growing global instability caused by sabre-rattling leaders in Russia, China and the US,” the new “German leader in waiting” repeats the call for an EU army

08/02/19 “Germany’s new Christian Democrat leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has called for the creation of a European army amid growing global instability caused by sabre-rattling leaders in Russia, China and the US. Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer’s speech focused on the idea of a ‘Europe of security’ and she insisted an EU army was a ‘logical step’ in pursuit of that goal.(

Accord With Russia Soon?

“Before World War II, a mutual [Non-aggression] Treaty was signed by Germany and Russia. History often repeats itself.” (The Plain Truth, October 1985)

Are we about to see history repeat?

Back in 1955, we were warned that the USA was creating the “Frankenstein Monster” that would eventually destroy both Britain and the USA!

“In its final phase, to appear in our day, will merely be a restoration of that ancient Roman Empire – a United States of Europe which we are beginning to foster within the confines of the ancient Roman Empire! We are building the Frankenstein Monster that is destined to destroy us!(The Plain Truth, June 1955)

The USA is forcing Germany to rearm

10/02/19 “Ambassador Richard Grenell has accused Berlin of failing to meet its defense spending commitments under the alliance. While the German government has backed plans to gradually increase spending, some see it as a waste. US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell on Sunday criticized Germany’s pledge to incrementally raise its defense spending to 1.5 percent until 2024 in an interview with German Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag.” (

What They Say Vs What They Do

What They Are Saying?

We must not be confused by the propaganda… the message coming across strongly in the German media is that the German military is a total disaster. Nothing works! Ships, submarines, aircraft – mostly non-operational. Troops under-trained and under-armed. If German defence equipment is so unreliable, how come Germany is the third largest arms supplier in today’s world?

What They Are Doing?

Germany will not pay its full contribution to NATO – but it can afford to build up its own military

Germany has the worlds third largest arms industry

Germany seeks an army independent of NATO

Germany is already militarily involved in several overseas countries…

Germany is to take over the leadership of NATO’s multinational Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) team in Eastern Europe in 2019.”

Germany starts its two-year membership on the UN Security Council… January, 2019!

The Warning Went Out… Unchanged Since 1934…

As you read the following item, keep in mind that East and West Germany were only finally reunited in 1990 and today, Germany IS the leading nation in Europe!

1964 “Germany — a UNITED GERMANY with her former territories restored — is ready to emerge as the strongest nation on earth at the head of a revitalized and resurgent Europe! This power colossus is then going to deal a death blow to the United States and Britain…” (The Plain Truth, October 1964)

Coming Next!

14/08/82 “Events I have foreseen, proclaimed over the air and published in The PLAIN TRUTH for 48 years, [since 1934] are at last suddenly falling into place. The gigantic new world power – the United States of Europe – the resurrection of the medieval ‘Holy Roman Empire’ – is about to blossom into almost unbelievable REALITY!” (Co-worker Letter, 22 November 1982)

We are already seeing links to the Holy Roman Empire… in the media

28/01/19 “German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron …met in the city of Aachen earlier this week… Aachen was chosen to make a statement. It was there during the 9th century that Charlemagne, the king who united much of western Europe into his HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE, made his home. Britain was never part of that empire.” (

The fulfilment of the following warning is not far off now…

14/08/78 “Undoubtedly GERMANY will head the new resurrected ‘Holy Roman Empire.’ Who conquered the German armed fist twice – in the two great world wars? It was Britain with the United States pouring in the real knockout power! Who will they go forth to DESTROY? Britain and the United States!” (Co-worker Letter, 14 August 1978)

We Were Warned

The message that Jesus Christ revealed to His end time Apostle is coming to pass before our eyes!

Germany HAS risen from the ashes of WW2 – to become one of the world’s leading trading nations.

Germany IS the leading nation in Europe.

Germany IS rearming.

Remember The Lesson Of The Fig Tree

“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 is near, even at the doors.

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.(Matthew 24:32-34)

Pastors Report - 8 Feb 2019

Deceiving Ourselves:

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22)

Who he is Talking to:

The above passage in the book of James is sometimes taken as talking exclusively to those in the churches of the world – those who preach against obedience to God's Law in a blatant, brazen manner. But that limited focus is not supported by the context. Yes, the book is addressed to "the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" (James 1:1) but this is further refined by chapter 2 and verse one when he goes on to say, "My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons."(James 2:1) With that simple phrase, James shows clearly that he is actually addressing members of the church – brethren who need to better understand the spirit of the law: involving the faith OF Christ and respect of persons. It's talking to us.

In just over nine weeks is the Passover – and once again, before taking the ordinance, God's people will use the opportunity to examine themselves – as instructed by Jesus Christ through the apostle Paul:

  • But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
  • For he that eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
  • For this reason many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (I Corinthians 11:28-30 NKJV)

From these verses, the key aspect God wants us to deeply understand and therefore to examine, is whether we are indeed prepared to take the ordinance in a worthy manner, i.e. a manner in which we remain truly repentant from sin, making us ready to partake of the emblems with true meaning and purpose. But the question – and danger – is, what if the repentance made is merely superficial – and we are not aware of it? What if we are, in fact, only deceiving ourselves? How would we recognise such self-deception in ourselves personally and what must we do about it?


Yes, when first coming into the church, we made some dramatic changes in our life – in that we now keep the Sabbath and Holy Days rather than Christmas or Easter, no longer eat unclean food, abstain from voting in elections, no longer use God's name in vain. But is that all there is to repentance? This "turning around and going the other way"? Possibly changing a few more noticeable physical areas in our life – are these the only areas in which we need to put under the microscope at this time of year?

If we are not careful we can easily kid ourselves into thinking that our ticket to the Place of Safety is assured, simply because we happen to know the prophecies, but the knowledge of these things that are going to come to pass, is in no way our passport to safety and freedom! This approach could be compared to someone who lives in a high-risk avalanche area, and sees the signs all around him with the build-up of snow, the kind of weather that is coming in and diligently goes out of his way to warn the locals of the imminent danger, but he himself continues to sit by a roaring fire in his chalet and takes no action to escape the inevitable disaster. The knowledge of the coming calamity and the act of warning others isn't enough! As Paul brings out; "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified" (I Corinthians 9:27 NKJV) Yes, in so many areas it is much easier to go through life deceiving ourselves that we are doing OK, rather than take effective action.

In fact, escaping the coming Great Tribulation should not be our main focus at all, but rather sonship as part of the God family. And for this, God expects us to be personally changing our lives – our daily living. Doing otherwise runs the risk of thinking we are doing alright – being rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing. A truly deceived and hazardous Laodicean approach.

  • Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.(Luke 17:33)
  • But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.(Matthew 6:33)
The Book of Job

What we are really talking about here, re. deceiving ourselves is the subject of self-righteousness. i.e. being able to see everyone else's faults but our own, and/or being righteous for a purely self-centred reason. So great a problem is this with human beings that God has inspired an entire book of the Bible which deals with the subject – the book of Job. Job's approach was to compare himself to those around him – with even God commenting to Satan that Job appeared to be righteous. And Satan couldn't seem to fault that assessment. But what Job had to realise was, that compared to God Himself – morally, spiritually and certainly physically – he was absolutely nothing ... in fact, less than nothing. Dust and ashes. Until he grasped this vital point Job foolishly maintained his own righteousness, to the point of condemning God Himself, even accusing God of unrighteous judgment in allowing the trials to come upon him in the first place! Notice how God brings this out;

  • Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
  • Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
  • Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? (Job 40:6-8)

What God is referring to is Job's "take" on the fact that God can do whatever He wishes and "no thought of His can be frustrated" (Job 42:2) This is brought out in chapter 23 where Job actually accuses God of an uncaring approach, simply because He can do anything He chooses, while Job is adamant that he's been living a righteous, obedient life and therefore undeserving of this trial.

  • I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
  • But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases.
  • He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store.(Job 23:12-14 NIV)

In fact, this 'lump of clay', this 'potsherd', was attempting to argue with the Master Potter ... "Why have you done this to me? Why have you allowed this to happen to my family? Surely you can see how righteous I am ... constantly striving to keep all Your laws?" But compared to this Eternal Being, the One that 'runs the universe' (Isaiah 48:12,13) ... "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away." (Isaiah 64:6) >

Self-Righteousness Today

Laodicea is encouraged by Jesus Christ to anoint their eyes with eyesalve so they may see. See what? That they are not as good as they think they are! That they don't 'have it made'. It's all too easy to get ourselves into a comfortable "we've found our niche" attitude, when good physical habits of prayer, Bible study and Sabbath keeping, coupled together with faithful tithing have been established. But is that enough?

  • Thou believest that there is one God [ and that the Tribulation is coming; Mr Armstrong is the end-time apostle; the Holy Roman Empire is about to rise again in Europe etc etc]; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.(James 2:19)

Knowledge of itself, even when coupled with letter-of-the-law obedience, is merely the starting point. Repentance must grow into something much more profound as we are worked with by God throughout our Christian life, as the aim is to develop His mind, being sons with the same spiritual DNA. Should that growth stagnate in self-righteousness, our progress immediately becomes stunted as we then begin deceiving ourselves. Unless there is deliberate action on our part to get back to and stay back in close contact with God – having a repentant frame of mind – we are stagnating at best and losing ground at worst. Treading water to stay afloat ... or even sinking! The major problem that is brought out in the book of Job is the blindness of the self-righteous ... they/we don't see the need! Note the difference that Christ pointed out in the example below in Luke. The Pharisee was deceiving himself – stagnating on self-righteous physical obedience, whereas the publican was far more aware of his shortcomings.

  • Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
  • The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
  • I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
  • And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
  • I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.(Luke 18:10-14)
The Enormity of Sin

As we approach the Passover our minds should be focusing on the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on our behalf. That does not just mean the crucifixion, as wretched as that was, but includes the fact of giving up His previous spirit life to come down to earth in the first place. Only when we too are spirit, will we really appreciate how great that sacrifice must have been. But in Old Testament Israel there is a quite profound lesson for us today, embodied within the symbolism found within the sacrificial system. In Leviticus 4, in describing the sin offering, note who was the one who was to slay the animal – which pictured Jesus Christ. It was the individual who had committed the sin, from the ruler and the priest, right down to the common people:

  • And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty;
  • Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned.
  • And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering.(Leviticus 4:27-29)

The parallel is obvious. When we sin and ask forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ, we – through that sin – have effectively rammed the spear into His side, to end His life. This fact of being personally responsible can be also seen on the Day of Pentecost 31AD when the apostle Peter told the assembled crowd "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ"(Acts 2:36) Here Peter was addressing more than 3,000 individuals – the majority of who may well have been around a few weeks earlier as part of the rabble demanding that Christ should be crucified. But only a handful of men had a hands-on responsibility in His death ... from those that stripped His back bare with lashing, to those that nailed Him to the stake and the soldier that gave the "coup de grace" and tore His side open with a spear. Yet Peter tells them all – and all of US – "who you have crucified"!

Comparing Ourselves

If no other individual had ever lived but you, then the sacrifice of Jesus Christ would still have been necessary to give you the opportunity of eternal life. The penalty of sin is death, sin is the transgression of the law, and notice – the same law that says you shall not murder, also says remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. The same law that says you shall not commit adultery, also says honour your father and mother. One sin requires the same penalty as another. And – as in days gone by – it's the sinner who slays the sacrifice. With that in mind we should not be deceived by a far too familiar self-righteous pastime; noticing the splinter in our brother's eye while we have a plank of wood in ours! As Paul brought out to the Corinthian church, it's an exercise in futility – and possibly sin – to compare ourselves among ourselves.(2 Corinthians 10:12). And again to the church in Rome:

  • Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things ...
  • ...And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
  • An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
  • Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
  • Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
  • Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?(Romans 2:1,19-23)

Pointing out someone else's sins often makes us feel more righteous, ("I'd never do that!") as we are able to stand back from someone else's life and pick out his faults and mistakes. We sadly often describe these to ourselves and/or others around us and, the fact that we do not indulge in the identical sins, can make us feel superior. Here's how it works:

  • In our conversation we "just happen" to explain what is the right way to do a certain thing.
  • We also add, "incidentally" that we always practice that right way.
  • We then show how that someone else has done it a different way, proving him or her wrong – and at the same time proving ourselves right – and therefore "more righteous" than the other individual.
  • We are then able to say with shocked, open-faced indignant innocence, we do not understand how the other person could have done the thing they did.

Notice carefully that to work, this technique has got to have a stooge, someone with a listening ear to tell the story to. Therefore it is important that if this kind of downgrading another person is being practised in our ears, that we have the spiritual fortitude to suggest another topic of conversation. Rightly did Solomon point out: " Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth."(Proverbs 26:20). The best thing is to stop the thought from taking root in the first place ... bringing every thought into subjection - long before we are tempted to pass it on.

Carnal Obedience

Deceiving ourselves in self-righteousness should bring to mind another group of individuals who Christ regularly put in their place – the Pharisees, along with the associated Scribes and Lawyers. The Pharisees of Christ's day, for example, added 65 do's and don'ts to the Sabbath command alone. They reduced the spirit of keeping the Sabbath holy into carnally-understood and physically-defined laws of their own. They even went to the extreme that it was unlawful to catch a flea on the Sabbath day, but if the flea bit you, then you were free to catch it and exterminate it. Clearly they were deceiving themselves and this was undoubtedly why Christ made the statement ... "They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."(Luke 5:31,32) That is, those that recognise that they are in need of 'healing' and repentance. Whereas of the Pharisees He declared; "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch."(Matthew 5:14)

Jesus Christ elaborated on this carnal approach to God's law even further when He declares to us "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven."(Matthew 5:20) The problem clearly was the kind of selfish, self-elevating spirit to which they were attuned.

That spirit was the spirit of Satan himself (John 8:44). And we can see the spiritual blindness inherent within that spirit when we read Satan's reaction to God's question concerning Job:

  • And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and [shuns] evil?
  • Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
  • Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. (Job 1:8-10)

Satan could only comprehend the "getting" aspect of things. Undoubtedly obedience to God does bring blessings – including physical blessings – that is something that is promised – but that should not be the reason for our obedience at all. (Luke 17:10)

This same selfish satanic spirit could be seen within the Pharisees and Jews of Christ's day. It could be seen within Simon Magus when the words of Peter about repentance failed to penetrate his carnal mind and instead ran off like water off a duck's back. And the problem is, all too frequently we too become blinded by the same spirit. Our human clay gets in the way – covering our eyes so that we too cannot see. Or as the apostle Paul – once a full-blown Pharisee – puts it: "for I was alive without the law once but when the commandment came [with its true spiritual understanding] sin revived and I died" (Romans 7:9)

True repentance involves a total about-face. The old self has to die ... as a lifestyle, – having instead, totally surrendered to now agree with God. And such a complete surrender results in a changed life, a changed attitude, a changed goal in life, a changed purpose altogether.

I asked originally how do we recognise the fact if we are actually deceiving ourselves ... and the answer clearly has to be, to look for the same carnal spirit of pride, self-elevation and self-justification ... or conversely, the fruit of God's Holy Spirit: outgoing love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. These are the tell-tale signs. The goal is to be able to say, as Christ did; ... the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me." (John 14:30)

Pure Religion

Which brings us back to the original Scripture – quoted at the beginning – "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22) This passage is further elaborated on regarding deceiving ourselves:

  • Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
  • Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.(James 1:26,27 NIV)

Here, in the last portion of James 1, is an overall summary of both the problems that face us and the solution that comes by APPLYING this scripture directly to ourselves as individuals. You will notice that neither hearing the truth nor talking about the truth, as verses 22 and 26 explain, is what God considers to be pure religion. Only the actual fruit of selflessness, of giving of ourself to others in outgoing LOVE, a witness of our actions, not of our lips, a changing of the complete man from the very inner-being — this is what God considers to be pure religion!

So, in the lead up to Passover, as we take the time to once more examine ourselves, the very start of the process must be to verify that we are not merely deceiving ourselves in futile self-righteousness – but truly repentant, to the core of our being. We can go to God and ask Him, as David did, a man after God's own heart;

  • Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.
  • Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
  • Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer (Psalm 19:12-14)

And having done our part, we may indeed partake of those profound emblems in a worthy manner, and remind ourselves, once again, of His sacrifice – so willing given:

  • Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
  • Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
  • Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:16-18)

Transcript - 28 Jan 2019
Mr Armstrong

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