by Mr Armstrong
Salvation - Part 2
broadcast in the 1980s - played UK 29 Aug 2015
|".... my friends, why do you read over here in first Peter the second chapter, 'like newborn babes long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow UP to salvation' - That by it you may grow UP to salvation - now why would that be in the bible if anyone already HAS salvation ...." (4.3 Mb)|
by Jon Bowles
given Wales UK 29 Aug 2015
|We all know what a jigsaw puzzle is - but our present life within God's Church can sometimes seem like being a piece within God's jigsaw. But where do we fit? This sermon examines: the jigsaw of God's Word; the jigsaw of negatives; the jigsaw of positives; fitting trials into God's jigsaw. (11.8 Mb)|
Little snow on the mountains to feed the rivers… reservoirs near empty… rivers over exploited… dams at danger level… deep aquifers rapidly disappearing…
With little snow pack to feed the rivers this year, with many dams and reservoirs at critical levels, with underground aquifers being rapidly emptied - what are they all going to do when the water is gone?
According to the following article, there are no contingency plans…
“Once upon a time, much of the state of California was a barren desert. And now, thanks to the worst drought in modern American history, much of the state is turning back into one.
Scientists tell us that the 20th century was the wettest century that the state of California had seen in 1,000 years. But now weather patterns are reverting back to historical norms, and California is rapidly running out of water. It is being reported that the state only has approximately a one year supply of water left in the reservoirs, and when the water is all gone there are no contingency plans.
Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable. Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year. Nearly 40 million people live in the state of California at the moment.
What are they all going to do when the water is gone?
The following numbers represent California’s contribution to our overall production…
Without the agricultural production of the state of California, we are in a massive amount of trouble.” (theeconomiccollapseblog.com)
With the drought increasing in intensity, desperate farmers are drilling deep – up to 2,000 feet deep – to make use of ground water. But this is only a temporary measure because when the aquifer runs dry, it stays dry. And this causes even more problems, as the following article points out:
“Men like Edward Mooradian are saving California. Indeed, there would hardly be any water left without them. And without water California, now in the fourth year of an epic drought, would be nothing but desert. That’s why it’s such a cynical joke and, most of all, a tragic reality, that men like Mooradian are also destroying California. In fact, they are actually aggravating the emergency that they are trying to mitigate. The Americans call this a catch-22, a situation in which there are no good alternatives. Either way, the game is lost.
“They’re digging deeper and deeper to reach groundwater. It used to be they only had to dig a few feet. Now, they’re boring holes more than 2,000ft down. Each year since 2011 four trillion gallons of groundwater has been used trying to sustain farms and it’s not being replenished.” (telegraph.co.uk)
California’s rivers and lakes are running dry, but its deep aquifers are also rapidly disappearing. The majority of the 40 million Californians are already drawing on this last reserve of water, and they are doing so with such intensity and without restriction that sometimes the ground sinks beneath their feet. The underground reservoir collapses. This in turn destabilizes bridges and damages irrigation canals and roads.
This groundwater is thousands of years old, and it is not replenishing itself. Those who hope to win the race for the last water reserves are forced to drill deeper and deeper into the ground. Men like Mooradian help the thirsty and despairing obtain water. At the same time, however, their actions contribute to the impending collapse here.
Droughts facilitate the massive wildfires in California, and they adversely affect farms in Spain. Water has become the business of global corporations and it is being wasted on a gigantic scale to turn a profit and operate farms in areas where they don’t belong.” (spiegel.de)
“The 1996 Freedom to Farm Act abolished our national system of holding grain in reserve. As for all that wheat held in storage, it became part of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, a food bank and global charity under the authority of the secretary of Agriculture. The stores were gradually depleted until 2008, when the USDA decided to convert all of what was left into its dollar equivalent. And so the grain that once stabilized prices for farmers, bakers and American consumers ended up as a number on a spreadsheet in the Department of Agriculture.
Now, as the United States must confront climate change, commodity markets riddled by speculation, increased import costs, hosts of regional conflicts and the return of international grain tariffs and export bans, we have put our faith entirely in transnational agribusiness and the global grain market.
History is not on our side. Since the days Joseph ruled the granaries of Egypt, nations have relied on vast storage systems to safeguard against bad weather, bad luck and the occasional revolution.
The Chinese founded their national grain reserve in 54 BC when Keng Shou-ch’ang, the assistant grand minister of agriculture, proposed that all of the provinces along the boundary of the empire create stores of rice for an inevitable day of catastrophe. The Chinese grain reserve has been in place ever since, its current volume and dimension a state secret, for the grain reserve is considered one of the keys to Chinese national security. Over the past decade, India too has been bolstering its reserves, and French President Francois Hollande recently proposed European-wide strategic grain reserves.
Much like our international competitors in the market for global food, corporate agribusiness has learned to leverage the advantages of storing as much grain as possible. Cargill, the largest private company in the world, began its business in 1865 — with a grain silo. Today it is believed that Cargill’s global network of silos stores more grain than any other private company. But no one knows for sure because, like the Chinese, Cargill executives keep the amount of grain they buy, sell and store a secret.
In 2008, Cargill parlayed its immense wheat holdings into an 86% jump in profits on global commodities exchanges. Such windfalls during times of panic, price hike and scarcity are not surprising: Since the days of food shortages in ancient Greece and Rome, spikes in the price of bread encourage grain bankers to hoard, not bring more grain to market.” (latimes.com)
“Years of drought are reshaping the U.S. beef industry with feedlots and a major meatpacking plant closing because there are too few cattle left in the United States to support them.
Some feedlots in the nation’s major cattle-producing states have already been dismantled, and others are sitting empty. Operators say they don’t expect a recovery anytime soon, with high feed prices, much of the country still in drought and a long time needed to rebuild herds.
The closures are the latest ripple in the shockwave the drought sent through rural communities. Most cattle in the U.S. are sent to feedlots for final fattening before slaughter. The dwindling number of animals also is hurting meatpackers, with their much larger workforces. For consumers, the impact will be felt in grocery and restaurant bills as a smaller meat supply means higher prices.” (foxnews.com)
“More than 48 million birds have been affected since avian flu first was spotted in the U.S. in December. While the last detection occurred in June, there is concern it could crop up again as soon as this fall once temperatures drop and wild birds continue their migration to the Southern states, which have mostly avoided the outbreak to date.
If this does happens, consumers can expect egg prices to be further squeezed with one analyst forecasting $6 per dozen eggs could become a reality.” (cnbc.com)
America is now importing food from other nations. But the problem is – some of these nations are having serious drought problems of their own!
“By the end of July 2015, the earth had experienced little drought relief. El Nino is present and each passing month there is stronger support for it to endure through the Northern Hemisphere summer and then at least until the end of the calendar year. Some are anticipating it might be one of the strongest El Nino events on record.
In Europe, drought conditions intensified over the majority of the continent including all around the Mediterranean. Switzerland began transporting water to cattle in the south via helicopter due to the lack of rain in the past month or more. In Asia, drought continues to be focused in the Southeast as well as around the Caspian Sea. Indonesia is warning about the potential for failed crop harvests largely due to El Nino.
In Africa, drought intensified and expanded in the equatorial region and in the North. Due to the drought, South African maize production is down an estimated 32%. In North America, the monsoon brought some relief to the south-western US while conditions in the northwest part of the continent intensified.
In the United States, wildfire has burned nearly 5.5 million acres this season, nearly twice the 3.5 million acre average. In South America, drought remains entrenched in Brazil and the Southern Andes and while not expanding much in area, has intensified in many locations. Sao Paulo, Brazil is currently relying on emergency reserves of water and began rationing to extend the water supply.
In Australia, drought indicators point to a slight easing of conditions in the North while the Southwest is experiencing drought expansion. The ongoing dry conditions have led to a large liquidation of the beef herd.” (drought.gov)
Because food in the Western nations is still both plentiful and relatively inexpensive at the moment, people tend to buy too much, and as a result, wastage is high.
How high? Well, the following article should give us “food for thought”!
“Each year 1.3 billion tonnes of food, about a third of all that is produced, is wasted, including about 45% of all fruit and vegetables, 35% of fish and seafood, 30% of cereals, 20% of dairy products and 20% of meat. About 1.4 billion hectares, or close to 30% of available agricultural land, is used to grow or farm food that is subsequently wasted.
This is particularly alarming given estimates that by 2050 food production will need to have increased by 60% on 2005 levels to feed a growing global population.
1.3 billion tonnes
The amount of food that is lost or wasted each year globally…
Enough to build a mountain two miles across and almost 8,000 feet high! ” (theguardian.com)
Reducing food wastage would ease the burden on resources as the world attempts to meet future demand. In developing countries there are high levels of what is known as ‘food loss’, which is unintentional wastage, often due to poor equipment, transportation and infrastructure.
In wealthy countries, there are low levels of unintentional losses but high levels of ‘food waste’, which involves food being thrown away by consumers because they have purchased too much, or by retailers who reject food because of exacting aesthetic standards.
In the UK, 15 million tonnes of food is lost or wasted each year and consumers throw away 4.2 million tonnes of edible food each year. The foods most commonly found in British bins are bread, vegetables, fruit and milk. The average family throws away £700 worth of perfectly good food a year, or almost or almost £60 worth of food a month.
25.5% of every melon is thrown away… 22.4% of all bread is thrown away… 38.7% of all lettuce is thrown away.
The average weekly expenditure on food and non-alcoholic drinks in 2013 was £58.80 according to the ONS, which means a typical family throws away a week’s worth of groceries each month.” (theguardian.com)
“With the global population rising, wastage of products including 45% of all fruit and vegetables and 20% of meat is one of the greatest challenges to achieving food security. If the amount of food wasted around the world were reduced by just 25% there would be enough food to feed all the people who are malnourished, according to the UN.
Each year 1.3 billionn tonnes of food, about a third of all that is produced, is wasted, including about 45% of all fruit and vegetables, 35% of fish and seafood, 30% of cereals, 20% of dairy products and 20% of meat.
Meanwhile, 795 million people suffer from severe hunger and malnutrition.” (theguardian.com)
“…bees just continue to die in unprecedented numbers all over the globe. During the most recent year, U.S. beekeepers lost approximately 40 percent of their colonies…”
“Just off the west coast of the United States, a wide variety of sea creatures are dying in unprecedented numbers. For example, the sardine population along the west coast has dropped by a staggering 91 percent just since 2007”
“Over the past few years, something called ‘porcine epidemic diarrhea’ has wiped out approximately 10 percent of the entire pig population in the United States.”
“Down in Florida, citrus greening disease is absolutely crushing the citrus industry. Crops just keep on getting smaller year after year.”
“Another cataclysm is happening with bananas. In fact, it is being reported that the specific type of banana that we eat right now is in danger of being wiped off the face of the globe…”
“I am convinced that we are moving into a time when increasing volcanic activity, shifting weather patterns, geopolitical instability and severe economic problems are going to create critical shortages of food all over the planet.” (theeconomiccollapseblog.com)
It is not popular to talk about God these days. However, He has not gone away. His word is sure. He pronounces blessings on those who obey His Law – and curses on those who don’t! Our nations have disobeyed! As the articles above point out – the curses are upon us!
“But if you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and do not obey all the commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you:
Your towns and your fields will be cursed.
Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be cursed.
Your children and your crops will be cursed.
The offspring of your herds and flocks will be cursed.
Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be cursed.
The Lord himself will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in everything you do, until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and abandoning me.” (Deuteronomy 28:15-21 New Living Translation)
“Our fields are cursed; cursed with upset weather, drought, flood, insect damage and disease – cursed with chemicals and man-made blight.
Our basket and our store is cursed – depleted national reserves – gone overseas to feed starving peoples (to nations which rarely, if ever, back U.S. policies) in an admittedly temporary effort – only delaying the starvation facing millions.
Whether we like to admit it or not – our peoples are under a curse today.” (Tomorrow… What It Will Be Like - Chapter 6)
“Drought is prophesied to come before the Great Tribulation. As a matter of fact, that is part of it and leads into the Great Tribulation. This MAY be the beginning of it. We’re watching. Jesus Christ told us to watch and be sober.” (Sermon -June 20, 1981)
"For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14)
Yes, that's right – just three weeks to go to the Day of Trumpets, and the beginning of yet another fall/autumn holy day season once again. Each year that passes time seems to speed up, and I don't know about you but my wife and I are finding that not only does it seem each day is over just as it has begun, but a year barely starts and suddenly we're faced with de-leavening, Passover and Unleavened Bread, followed almost immediately by Pentecost and what seems like a mere handful of weeks later by Tabernacles! And then the year is once more virtually gone. As the song in Fiddler on the Roof brings out; "Sunrise, sunset, swiftly fly the years, one season following another, laden with happiness and tears". And as Job put it, millennia before: "My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle ... my life is wind ... as the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away ... "(Job 7:6-9)
Yet it was not always this way. I remember as a pre-teen child breaking up from school, joyfully anticipating the summer holidays – seven wonderful weeks that stretched ahead like an eternity. Conversely, I also remember how eventually they would come to an end and there would be just as many weeks to face as an eternity of scholastic servitude! I suppose we must measure time in our minds as a percentage of life lived so far. A child of just a day-old doubles his life on day two, then again on day four, eight, sixteen ... and so on. So to me now in my mid-60s, one year is the same fraction as a mere six weeks is to an eight-year-old boy. No wonder the summer holidays seemed so long!
But this life of ours that rushes by with ever-increasing speed has been designed for a glorious God-ordained purpose, which is laid out for us year after year within the seven annual festivals. Beginning with the Passover we must first be reconciled to the Father on repentance by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – forgiving our past sins. This reconciliation and contact with the Father then enables us to understand the Word of God and come OUT of those sins – pictured by the days of Unleavened Bread. But without the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit we could never succeed to the degree required to form the Firstfruits – pictured for us by the day of Pentecost.
Then we come to the autumn/fall festivals and the fulcrum around which all the other festivals and holy days revolve on the calendar of God – the Day of Trumpets. But that day is a fulcrum in an even greater way as well as it pictures the transition from this present evil world into what is the glorious liberty of the children and Kingdom of God (Romans 8:21). That transition begins with the return of Jesus Christ to this earth at the last Trump in supreme power and glory to rule over all nations (Revelation 11:15). Then we come to the Day of Atonement, picturing the removal of Satan and making possible a state of true at-one-ment for all mankind. And that brings us to the Feast of Tabernacles.
The Feast of Tabernacles – or booths – pictures the millennial rule of Jesus Christ and His resurrected saints as the ruling family, or Kingdom of God, over this entire earth transforming it over the course of 1000 years into a literal utopia. And the purpose of this utopia is to prepare for the fulfilment of the final festival – the Last Great Day – when all who've ever lived and died without the knowledge of the Truth will be given their first chance of salvation through a resurrection to physical life into this prepared earthly paradise. At that time the earth will be filled with unsurpassed physical abundance:
But during the millennium and the great White Throne judgement period, there will also be spiritual abundance – a world filled with the spirit of God – generating a society brimful with love, joy, peace, patience, courteousness, goodness, faith, teachableness and holy righteous godly character. And this is where the booths come in. During the Feast of Tabernacles we gather together, living in temporary dwellings – hotel rooms, cottages and condominiums – to drive home the lesson that everything that is physical on this earth, including ourselves, is only temporary, "even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." (James 4:14) Whereas what is of lasting value – the true riches of the world tomorrow – is the character and love of God that will go on for eternity:
This time of unparalleled prosperity and peace during the millennium will largely flow from the knowledge of God covering the earth as the waters cover the seabed (Habbukuk 2:14). That said, the kingdom of Israel did have a pale foretaste of something approaching this time 3000 years previously during the rule of King Solomon. His reign was a unique time in Israel's history. From a humble beginning as a slave people 500 years before, God granted Israel under King David – the father of Solomon – "rest round about from all his enemies" (II Samuel 7:1) . Under Solomon this then extended – allowing Israel to become dominant in the area under the wisest, richest and most honoured monarch ever – with "every man under his vine and under his fig tree":
But the time of Solomon was a mere shadow of what is to come. The millennial rule of Jesus Christ – without the satanic influence – is going to be very different. At that time, the emphasis on the spiritual will be very clear from the onset – preparing all mankind to become part of the very family and Kingdom of God. But that was not the case for King Solomon. Although he was wise – the wisest of all the kings of the earth – there is no evidence that he was converted as was his father David. And for this reason, although he appeared to have it all physically – riches wisdom power and fame – he ended his days hating life, filled with depression and despair at the apparent injustice of it all.
Without the plan of God to illuminate us would not we – as did Solomon – also regard this physical, chemical existence as utterly pointless? Little better than the mayfly that exists for no more than a mere day? Certainly the apostle Paul recognised this – but then immediately proclaimed his firm understanding and faith in the glorious plan that God has for all mankind:
Mr Armstrong too – particularly towards the end of his life – would comment on the fragile nature of our human frame. This extract from a sermon in May 1982 is typical:
" ... all we have is a chemical existence and life isn’t very long anyway. I think I realize that more than when I used to speak to you 30 or 40 years ago. Somehow, I don’t know how, I sneaked past middle age. I never hit middle age. But now I look back and see I’m past it. I don’t know how I got past it. But in less than three months now, I will be in my ninetieth year. So that’s a little older than most of you and I’ve come to realize that life, this life, this temporary existence, is just a will-o-the-wisp, it’s just here today and gone tomorrow. Almost no time at all..." (Interracial Marriage May 1982)
If towards the end of our lives we begin to recognise this will-o-the-wisp nature of our current physical lives – then how much more must God Himself – who not only has formed it this way, but has witnessed men grow old and die over and over again down through the millennia? How incomprehensible therefore must be human arrogance and posturing to the Eternal? As He says through the prophet Isaiah:
Conversely as David brings out in the one hundred and third Psalm for those whose desire is to be obedient, God also recognises our frailty and human weakness with mercy and pity – being the loving Being that he is:
And this is the reason that the feast of Tabernacles – picturing the physically abundant and glorious utopia of the millennial rule – is also the feast of temporary dwellings. It is there to remind us that no matter how rich and abundant life may be it always remains merely a physical chemical existence – "You are but a mist, which appears for a little and then vanishes" (James 4:14 Moffatt) Indeed, dust we are and to dust we will return! (Genesis 3:19)
But the true life – the kind of life Jesus Christ meant when He said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) – is a life based firmly on the spiritual qualities that will lead inexorably into eternity. So far above what we have today is THIS kind of life, that God promises us that when we are there, within it, within the new heavens and new earth, that all this physical existence, every human experience, "shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." (Isaiah 65:17). It appears we will think as much then about this present physical chemical existence as we do today of our time within the womb. All the highs and lows, the trials and joys of our lives today – and those of the world around us – are merely working towards that time for which we yearn:
So as we approach the feast of Tabernacles this year it is an appropriate time to consider the frailty of this existence we call life – just before we travel to our temporary dwellings – looking forward not just to the millennium, but out into an eternity of REAL Life, and the godly character, the way of life, that will make it an ETERNAL utopia!