Audio - 16 Jul 2017

Latest Audio - 2017-07-15

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Sermonette
by Andrew Munro
Turning the Channels of World Events
given Bristol UK 15 Jul 2017
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Sermon
by Jon Bowles
Being a Witness of Gods Way of Life
given Bristol UK 15 Jul 2017
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News Review - 14 Jul 2017
popeCallingFromRome

European leaders go to the Pope for advice… and that advice is now given…

“Form a Federal State!”

The following was written over 50 years ago – and still holds true! When you go through the following articles, it seems very obvious that the Roman Catholic Church is seeking to gain total control over Europe.

No understanding of world events!

“I know this may sound incredible, but it’s true. And it’s time the facts were understood! Editors, news-casters, foreign correspondents and reporters do not understand the real meaning of the world news they report, analyse and discuss.

Equally incredible – heads of governments are utterly unaware of the true significance of the world shaking events with which they deal. They have no conception of where these events are leading. Incredible? Perhaps – but true!(US and GB in Prophecy - Chapter 1)

The Roman Catholic Dream…

The resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire

Just after the Second World War, Mr Armstrong attended a Catholic Church service where the speaker made a bold attempt to get the squabbling nations to put themselves under the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The offer was totally ignored, but that hasn’t stopped the Catholic Church from pursuing its goal!

“The Catholic hierarchy was well aware that the United Nations conference was producing nothing but strife and bickering, and was destined from its inception to end in total failure. Yet world leaders were pronouncing it the world’s last hope – with the only alternative annihilation of humanity!

And in this solemn hour, amid the psychological build-up of this impressive service, this dynamic Catholic speaker with ringing voice offered these world politicians the last straw for their drowning nations to grab, when they should later see their world Organization sinking into oblivion.

Without divine help, he assured them, the United Nations structure is doomed to collapse. That divine aid was offered through the Roman Catholic Church.

The Catholic position is that the pope is, therefore, supposed to be the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, by divine authority. He is supposed to be in authority over all kings and civil governments.

Bear carefully in mind this interpretation whenever God is placed over nations. The Catholic meaning is that their church must be placed, as God, and in place of God, over the nations. It has been enunciated by encyclicals of many popes. It was practised in fact for 1260 years through the dark ages! They openly admit they seek to put it in practice again!(The Plain Truth - December 1948)

1957 – The Treaty of Rome

The foundation of the present European Union was laid in 1957. The vast majority of the founding fathers were Roman Catholics, and the treaty was signed in their capital city, Rome!

1957 - …prominent Catholics such as the former French Prime Minister Robert Schuman were central players in the processes set in motion by the 1957 Treaty of Rome.” (foreignaffairs.com)

1982 – Pope John Paul II in 1982 at Santiago de Compostela, performed a solemn ‘European act’ during which he pronounced these memorable words:

‘I, bishop of Rome and pastor of the Universal Church, from Santiago, address to you, old Europe, a cry full of love:

Return to yourself! Be yourself! Discover your origins. Revive your roots.

Experience again those authentic values that made your history glorious and your presence in other continents beneficial.’

Pope John Paul II launched ‘the project of a Europe aware of its own spiritual unity, based on the foundation of Christian [Catholic] values’.” (catholicnewsagency.com)

Pope Benedict Continues The Idea

2005 - Speaking before yesterday’s Angelus prayer to a group of some 8,000 pilgrims in Les Combes, in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta, where he is vacationing, the Pope [Benedict] recalled Europe’s deeply Christian roots and challenged the continent to return to them. ‘Contemplating these saints,’ he said, ‘it is natural to pause and reflect on the contribution that Christianity has made, and continues to make, to the building of Europe’.” (catholicnewsagency.com)

The Pope Speaks: Politicians Listen – And Act

The Pope intervenes in a financial crisis:

3rd December 2012 - The Pope gives a speech calling for a reform of the European financial system, and for countries to give up part of their sovereignty to a central power in the common good. (source: reuters.com)

7th December 2012 - German President Gauck Meets With Pope Benedict. In talks behind closed doors, the topic of conversation switched between politics and religion. The discussion centered on the impact of the economic crisis, and the role of the church and Germany within Europe. It would seem that the Pope’s advice is being taken seriously! Keep in mind that it is Germany that controls the ‘purse strings’… (source: dw.de)

13th December 2012 - European finance ministers reach a deal on rules for supervising eurozone banks - a key step towards banking union. (source: bbc.co.uk)

Note: This would involve participating nations giving up a part of their sovereignty.

14th December 2012 - EU leaders promise further steps to quell crisis… (source: reuters.com)

The big question is who is in really control: Europe, Germany, or the Roman Catholic Church? It looks like the Pope sets the direction – and Europe changes!

In 2013 – Yet Another German/Vatican Get-Together!

16th May 2013 - Pope Francis has called on world leaders to end the "cult of money" and to do more for the poor, in his first major speech on the financial crisis. (source: telegraph.co.uk)

18th May 2013 - Just 2 days later - see the result!

German Chancellor Angela Merkel flew to Rome to meet Pope Francis just days after he made a speech calling for financial reform. Responding to the criticism, Merkel told reporters that the financial scandals demonstrated that crucial checks and balances had not been observed. Her Christian Democrat party relies heavily on the Catholic vote.(News Review - 2013-07-20)

Mrs Merkel gets an audience with the Pope, with just 48 hours notice? This would be impossible under normal circumstances. One is left to conclude that the two are working together.

Then the Pope speaks to the European Parliament …and he is far from complimentary!

2014 - Addressing the European Parliament for the first time, Pope Francis has alluded to a general impression of ‘ageing and weariness’ in Europe and said a new spirit should be built, where humans are treated not as programmable objects.

‘In many quarters, we encounter a general impression of weariness and aging, of a Europe which is now a “grandmother”, no longer fertile and vibrant. As a result, the great ideas which once inspired Europe seem to have lost their attraction, only to be replaced by the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions,’ the Pope said.” (rt.com)

The Charlemagne Prize

May 2016 - An audience with the Pope is valuable for any political leader. So when the presidents of the three main European Union institutions travel to Rome this week, their hope is that Pope Francis will lend the EU a bit of his moral authority. Martin Schulz, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk — in order of appearance in the official program — won’t miss the opportunity to praise the Pope during the Charlemagne Prize ceremony Friday.

‘It’s a symbol,’ a senior Schulz aide said. ‘Three presidents, all three Charlemagne laureates, and three Catholics.’ The Charlemagne Prize is a prestigious German award that honors ‘work done in the service of European unification.’ And unity is urgently needed, according to Schulz, who wasn’t afraid to warn of the EU potentially falling apart in a recent interview with POLITICO.(politico.eu)

The Pope Keeps Up The Pressure

2017 - Pope Francis has warned the European Union (EU) ‘risks dying’ without a new vision, during an address at an EU summit in Rome. The Pontiff addressed EU leaders at the event which highlighted the 60th anniversary of the bloc’s foundation. In his address, he warned Brussels faced a ‘vacuum of values’ and was losing its ‘sense of direction’.

Prime ministers and presidents from 27 EU members states have gathered in Italy to mark the 1957 founding of the Treaty of Rome, receiving a Papal blessing on the eve of the anniversary.

The Argentinian-born pontiff told the leaders they needed to promote Europe’s ‘patrimony of ideals and spiritual values’ with greater passion and vigour. The pope has repeatedly criticised Europe over the past five years for its perceived lack of vision…(express.co.uk)

The Politicians Act

May, 2017 - The new French president, Emmanuel Macron, and German chancellor, Angela Merkel, have broken with previous statements by saying they would be prepared to look at changing EU treaties in order to allow a further integration of the eurozone.(theguardian.com)

Merkel Seeks The Pope’s Approval

Before the recent G20 meeting held in Hamburg, Germany, Mrs Merkel goes to see the Pope at the Vatican for guidance.

June 2017 - Pope Francis was all smiles when German Chancellor Angela Merkel popped to the Vatican to discuss climate change ahead of a G20 summit. Merkel said the pope encouraged her to work to preserve the Paris climate accord despite US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement at the beginning of the month.

She added that Francis shared her aim to ‘bring down walls’ rather than building them. The pair met for around 40 minutes today. Their talks come ahead of the G20 summit Germany is hosting in Hamburg on 7 and 8 July. Merkel told reporters that she also briefed the pope on Germany’s G20 agenda.” (dailymail.co.uk)

The Media Mostly Missed This Statement

While the eyes of the world were focused on the G20 meeting, the Pope made a statement that went almost totally unreported in the mainstream media. The Pope is forcing the pace. “Go Federal or Europe will be a non-player in world events”:

July 2017 - Francis, the first non-European pope in 1,300 years, said he was afraid of ‘very dangerous alliances among (foreign) powers that have a distorted vision of the world: America and Russia, China and North Korea, (Vladimir) Putin and (Bashar al-)Assad in the war in Syria.’

Pope Francis was also quoted as saying Europe should adopt a federal structure as soon as possible or ‘it won’t count for anything in the world’.” (reuters.com)

After The meeting With Pope Francis…

“In the Rome Declaration they signed, the 27 EU heads of state and government affirmed their commitment to a common future. ‘The European Union is facing unprecedented challenges, both global and domestic: regional conflicts, terrorism, growing migratory pressures, protectionism and social and economic inequalities. Together, we are determined to address the challenges of a rapidly changing world and to offer to our citizens both security and new opportunities. Our Union is undivided and indivisible’.” (bundesregierung.de)

The 27 leaders of the EU went to Rome to seek guidance from the Pope because their European dream is turning into a nightmare. They are looking to the Pope to “provide leadership that politicians miss” as he is the only leader that “has the skills and the vision to say things that transcend the obvious…(euractiv.com)

It looks like we are witnessing the beginning of the prophecy in Revelation chapter 17. The “woman” - the great false church - is beginning to “ride” - to control – the “Beast”!

“Horrible Hidden History”

As the following article points out, “The Third Reich, like the EU, was an attempt to revive the Roman Empire”.

The Third Reich, like the EU, was an attempt to revive the Roman Empire. The higher strategy of the Vatican and the acquiescence of the Catholic Central Party had brought Hitler to power. Instrumental in this strategy were Reich Chancellor Franz von Papen [a Catholic] and Papal Nuncio, Monsignor Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII. Von Papen goes down in history as the man who obtained Hitler his two-thirds majority, signed the law which made him Head of State and was also responsible for the enormously important Concordat with the Church of Rome in 1933.

He declared, ‘the Third Reich is the first power in the world to put into practice the lofty principles of the Papacy.’ Incredibly, given his responsibility for Nazi atrocities, he was acquitted at Nuremberg and later became Papal Chamberlain to Pope John XXIII. Pacelli, as Pope Pius XII, became notorious for his silence with regard to the Holocaust and the other appalling crimes committed by the Fascists in Europe. The Vatican’s attempts to canonise him have proved highly controversial.

The Nazi leadership was mainly Roman Catholic.

Hitler and Himmler were greatly influenced by the Jesuits, as was Mussolini whose Father Confessor was a Jesuit. Hitler said of Himmler, ‘in Himmler I see our Ignatius de Loyola.’ Joseph Goebbels was also Jesuit-educated, as was Walter Schellenberg who led the SD or Sicherheitsdienst, the Security Service of the SS, and before being sentenced to death at Nuremberg for crimes against humanity, stated that, ‘the SS organisation has been constituted by Himmler according to the principles of the Jesuit Order. Their regulations and the spiritual exercises prescribed by Ignatius of Loyola were the model Himmler tried to copy exactly’.

The lesson and warning of history is that undemocratic regimes whose leaders owe allegiance to the Pope or practise ‘the lofty principles of the Papacy’ pose a threat to individual liberty, and carry out religious persecution.(the-highway.com)

The Roman Catholic European Union

The European Union of today was founded by a group of Catholic politicians. It looks like a democracy, but this is a deception. Those who actually run the EU are unelected politicians. The EU is a dictatorship!

“The European Coal and Steel Community was formed after the Second World War by Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet, Konrad Adenauer and Alcide De Gasperi. Of these, only Monnet – the French political economist who became the community’s first president – was not a conspicuously devout Catholic. (His private life was complicated: he was married to a woman who left her husband for him and had to travel to Moscow to obtain a divorce; the Monnets could not have a Catholic wedding until the first husband was dead, by which time Jean was 85. The ceremony took place in the basilica at Lourdes.)

It is surely quite significant that many of the EU’s founding fathers, including Alcide de Gasperi, Robert Schuman, and Konrad Adenauer, were devout Catholics. Adenauer, for example, was responsible for founding the Christian Democratic Union, today Germany’s largest political party, incorporating a mix of Protestant-Catholic dialogue, Catholic political thought, and conservative social policy. Adenauer has even been championed by some European bishops as a potential cause for canonization.” (firstthings.com)

Whatever the EU is today, its beginnings are inseparable from Catholic thought. What’s needed, is for Catholics to involve themselves in European institutions, and reconnect the EU with its Christian roots. Those roots run impressively deep.” (catholicherald.co.uk)

The Catholic Goal – A United Europe!

“Considering the Church’s history and its social doctrine, its call for a supranational authority is hardly a surprise. The Church has long viewed nation-state sovereignty as a challenge to its autonomy. Historically, it was far more comfortable operating in more fluid internationalized settings, such as during the Holy Roman Empire or Medieval Christendom.

The devastation of World War II convinced senior European Catholics that the power of nation-states had to be tamed. This helps to explain why the Church was such an advocate of European unification. Indeed, prominent Catholics such as the former French Prime Minister Robert Schuman were central players in the processes set in motion by the 1957 Treaty of Rome.(foreignaffairs.com)

Understanding The News

With a close look at the history of Europe, we see that both the Second World War and the European Union involved Roman Catholic leadership. With this understanding, we can evaluate the statement by Pope Francis: “…Europe should adopt a federal structure as soon as possible or it won’t count for anything in the world”.

This is a clear challenge to the EU leadership!

The Roman Catholic Church has a plan, and no matter what the peoples of Europe want, it is pressing ahead towards its goal. And it will succeed!

The Pope is encouraging Europeans to “ …go back to your roots ”!

Those roots go all the way back to the Holy Roman Empire. Tens of millions of people were brutally tortured and murdered during this period of time… for not falling into line with Rome.

Could This Really Happen Again, In The 21st Century?

“The lesson and warning of history is that undemocratic regimes whose leaders owe allegiance to the Pope or practise ‘the lofty principles of the Papacy’ pose a threat to individual liberty, and carry out religious persecution.” (the-highway.com)

A “Great Tribulation” IS Coming

“It is a persecution – a torturing – a martyring of the saints of God – the very elect who cannot be deceived (Matthew 24:24). Except those days of Great Tribulation be shortened, no flesh could be saved alive. But, for the sake of God’s persecuted saints those days shall be shortened (Matthew 24:22). God shall intervene. Christ shall ‘come quickly’.” (Who or What Is the PROPHETIC BEAST? - Part Two)

Look At The Facts!
  • WW2 was a bid to restore the Holy Roman Empire…
  • At the end of WW2, when the United Nations was being formed, the Catholic Church made a bid to control the nations…
  • The EU was created by a group of Catholic politicians…
  • The present leaders of the EU are unelected Catholics…
  • The Pope is pushing for a return to “Christian” Catholic roots…
  • The Pope is continually urging for change in Europe…
  • There is a steady stream of politicians to the Vatican for advice…
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a regular visitor…
  • All 27 heads of state go to the Pope for help…
  • The Pope is honoured for his work in uniting Europe…
  • The Pope’s latest warning to the EU: that it “…should adopt a federal structure as soon as possible or it won’t count for anything in the world"
  • The politicians respond: “our Union is undivided and indivisible.”
The Warning Went Out

“United within the ancient boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire; united by the common spiritual bond of universal Catholicism; united in a burgeoning and booming industrial economy that dominates today’s world; united geographically in the most productive and industrial complex of all the earth — at least ten nations of modern Europe will march onto the scene of world history as the greatest single human force ever seen by man!” (The Plain Truth, March 1962)

That Roman Catholic led Europe is emerging right now – WATCH!

Pastors Report - 7 Jul 2017
bibleWithCobwebs

Familiarity Breeds Contempt:

"Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?" (Malachi 3:14)

Staines Air Disaster:

On Sunday afternoon 18th June 1972 two of my old school friends were having a telephone conversation. They were both in their early twenties and just starting out in life. One was working in a hospital as an intern in his progression towards becoming a medical doctor. The other was a recently qualified airline pilot and it was him who closed the conversation with a casual "got to dash .... got yet another bum (routine boring) flight to Brussels in a few minutes"..... Yet the flight proved anything but routine, for as one of the second officers of BEA flight 548, just a few minutes later, he was dead. The accident he was involved in became known as the Staines air disaster killing all 118 people on board – the worst air accident in Britain until the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing over Lockerbie, in 1988.

When my school friend told me of what had been said to him a few minutes before our other friend died, I couldn't help but wonder just how much of a part "familiarity breeds contempt" had to play in the sequence of events that followed the senior pilot's heart attack and the failure of all 3 of the other pilots on the flight deck to act. I doubt if we will know this side of the resurrection – but a far more meaningful question for all of us is: just how much will similar "familiarity" have to play in the sequence of events that will lead to our position – or lack of it – within the very Kingdom of God?

Hold That Fast:

I'm sure all the pilots in that fateful cockpit had a very different approach - a genuine excitement - when each found himself at the controls of a commercial jet for the first time. Guaranteed it would not have been just "another bum flight to Brussels"! But familiarity can radically change our perspective. Within marriage, the honeymoon period inevitably comes to an end, and we have to get down to the "brass tacks" of making the relationship work. Has the honeymoon period with God's Truth come and gone, to have become the "same-old, same-old" for us? Are we – at this fateful time at the end of the 6,000 years – in danger of failing to grasp the true enormity of what we are all involved in? How is it that the nearer we get to the close of the age, that certain end time passages of Scripture seem to indicate that incredibly, such a position will indeed be the case? Jesus Christ specifically warns Philadelphia against men snatching their crowns from them at the last minute before He returns!

And yet this proclivity to have our attention diverted from the foundational aspects of God's word onto mere fripperies – the itching ears syndrome – began to be evident even before Mr Armstrong died. Both I and others that heard him at that time remember well the low but audible groan that came from the audience when he invariably began his explanation of anything from the basis of the two trees ... working from the Garden of Eden forwards. "Brethren, we need to go back to the beginning ...". It was very much a case of familiarity breeding contempt. Many of us back then would rather have listened to one of the other ministers ... they had a good line in personal stories and jokes. Or maybe something a bit more on the prophetic side. We simply did not "get" the profound depth of what Mr Armstrong was attempting to explain to us. Only now – when we have been forced to grow up a good deal more spiritually – are we able to finally begin to understand the vital foundational nature of the subjects we were so keen to dismiss previously:

Now once again, there are the Two Trees. If I mention it, someone’s going to get up and walk out and say “There’s Mr. Armstrong getting back to those Two Trees.” You betcha! And I’m going to do it again, and again, and again – because you can’t understand salvation, you can’t understand what Christ is doing, you can’t understand the Church, you can’t understand the world or what’s wrong with it, you can’t understand ANYTHING unless you understand the lesson of those Two Trees and the incident of the forbidden fruit. (Sermon - April 4, 1983 – Sin)

Astounding Revelation:

In so many cases we don't truly appreciate something until it is gone. "You don't miss the water until the well runs dry" as the saying goes and that was certainly the case until the apostasy in WCG began to bite. But we need to have learnt from that. Although today we have a plethora of biblical Truth at our fingertips, and can also meet in peace and safety, this calm is prophesied to come to an abrupt end – and that before too long:

  • And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:
  • And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.
  • Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
  • And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.(Amos 8:9-12)

This makes it vitally important that we fully appreciate just what we do have at this time, and make the most of it – before it is taken away from this world. Take for example, the profound meaning within the account of the two trees:

There were two trees in the garden. They were symbolic trees. They represented something very, very important. One was the Tree of Life. That represented the Holy Spirit of God, which imparts divine immortal life. Adam did not have immortal life. He was made of the dust of the ground. The other tree was the Knowledge of Good and Evil. To take of that was to take to themselves the creation of the knowledge, the manufacture of the knowledge, the producing of the knowledge of what is right and what is wrong – what is good and what is evil. They had to decide. (Sermon – February 14, 1981 – Building the Temple)

The world remains totally oblivious to such basic revelation. One of our daughters recounted an incident that illustrates this a few weeks ago when she was doing some housework for an elderly neighbour. Although in another room, she clearly heard the conversation between this lady and her 'christian' sons, which went along the lines of: "I just can't understand the first few verses of John 1. How you can have the Word being with God and also being God?". And our daughter is thinking..."I know...it's a family relationship, it's like the father being Smith and the son being Smith.....God is the family name". And a little later..."I don't think anyone understands who the elect are in Matthew 24", and again, she is saying to herself.."I do, I do, and I'm one!".

It certainly rammed home to her – and us – that the world in general is blinded – unable to see, and the amazing privilege of our position. Therefore the question, "How did you first hear of the Church?" carries with it much more than asking about the mere sequence of events that brought someone in contact with the Church. It also implies: "What was it that first sparked your interest?" "What was it that God used in your case to 'draw you'?" (John 6:44) And whatever it was, it should have then matured into a love of The Truth, God's Way of Life – as we learnt more about His lifestyle – sparking great excitement over His Plan for mankind and wanting to be part of the solution. Eventually bringing us to the point of repentance and baptism, starting out on the road to a mind that thinks as God thinks!

God's Plan:

Just stop think for a moment on the Plan of God – including the return of Jesus Christ to this earth – and how what God has planned will affect mankind....his source of food and water, his housing, his family relationships, the impact on the environment etc etc. Do we remember how stunning the entire concept once was to us, right after we first heard The Truth? How the scriptures seemed to come alive and jump off the page in a way they simply had never done before? Do we still take the time to go back and read those scriptures again? To just sit and think of what it really is going to mean to those we come in contact with each day and our loved ones that might have already died? Or have the Holy Days and the Meaning of the Day sermon within each stage now become just a "here we go again" and fall into that "familiar/contempt" context?

Many passages of scripture contain dire warnings of this problem of familiarity at the end-time. A key passage in Matthew 24 is no exception when it warns: "if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming ... The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of" (Matthew 24:48,50). And the apostle Peter's comments when he says: "that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." (2Peter 3:3-4)

What we have been given is truly without price – a Plan so great that there are scarcely adequate words to express it. As the apostle Paul says, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1Corinthians 2:9) The Plan – hidden so carefully within God's Holy Days – has to be spiritually revealed (verse 10). There is absolutely no other way of humanly discerning such things. The passage in 1Corinthians 2 shows how all the leaders of the world – whether USA, Russia, UK, or any of the G20 group – the princes, kings, queens, emperors, presidents – simply have NO concept whatsoever of what has been freely given to us by God, and therefore no answer to the world's ills. "Hidden from the wise and prudent and revealed to babes" (Matthew 11:25). How can "same-old, same-old" familiarity possibly creep into such transcendental revelation? But the problem is, with trying to function on a day to day basis, fighting the "cares of the world" ... it does!

World deceived...we are not:

Consider for a moment the question that drives so many to atheism. "How can a loving God allow war ... disease ... suffering ... disasters, etc, etc?" The priceless answer to this most perplexing paradox in the world today you and I know! We not only read the following passages – but we are able to understand them, and how they fit together to answer this mystery that perplexes the great, the wise, the noble who remain in darkness:

  • And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand (Luke 8:10)
  • In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2Corinthians 4:4)
  • And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world:(Revelation 12:9)

We have tremendous, sure hope for those that have suffered and died, and that the horrendous time ahead is but a short, sharp shock, to get our attention, and will be followed by Utopia. But do we still grasp how incredibly precious such knowledge is? Just 5 weeks ago was the Day of Firstfruits – picturing the start of the New Testament Church and the gift of God's Holy Spirit to a select few who are training to replace Satan and his demons as the rulers of this world. To start a new governmental system. No more politics! But those future rulers are not angelic beings – But us!

  • "For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak." (Hebrews 2:5)
  • But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
  • Which were [begotten], not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
  • For He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.(Revelation 21:7)

Such verses should still be able to excite even the long-term members in God's Church. This year will be my 55th Feast of Tabernacles. Yet I can still remember listening in awe to those initial Last Great Day sermons, as a young teen in the Church. I had never before heard anything even remotely like them. And yet they made sense – and answered so many of the big questions of life. Certainly we all have to guard against familiarity, but if we go back to the scriptures and re-read them carefullypraying beforehand, and meditating on the passages as we do so – it really should not be that difficult for any of us to once again be excited by the enormity of what God has called us into at this crucial - and axial - time in history.

Immensity of our Calling:

One of the best descriptions of this initial awe experienced at the enormity of what God has planned for us was part of an email I received a number of years ago:......

.... when those two ministers sat in our living room years ago and answered with casual ease, questions the whole world ponders... (I mean, the Beatles and countless others made several trips out to India in hopes to find these answers) and as you say, laid out the whole meaning of life and then they showed clearly where to find the answers right there in the Bible, I knew that this was the real deal... because, really, I didn't expect that at all... ... and I always remember sitting there awestruck and thinking, NO ONE KNOWS THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS. But they did and the answers were so clear and simple and right there, appearing as if by magic in a book I had read all my life.

This is one person's experience of "coming into the Truth". And as she points out, she was awestruck as the veil was lifted, "as if by magic in a book I had read all my life". To combat familiarity we all need to do the same and once again take our minds back to that time. To re-read the scriptures that caused our own initial awe. If you worked through the Correspondence Course back then...why not 're-enrol'? Yes, there will be familiar scriptures – but they can be read without familiarity. With God's help, we can remember the way in which they struck us so forcibly in the past, and be moved by them.

Remembering our First Love:

This need to "get a grip" and cast our minds back to overcome familiarity is certainly not something new in God's Church. Jesus Christ in the final chapter of the Bible warns us five times that time is short: "... the things which must shortly be done" – "Behold I come quickly" – "Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand" – "Behold, I come quickly" – "Surely I come quickly" (Revelation 22:6,7,10,12,20). This warning – being part of the book of Revelation – is therefore addressed to all seven of the 7 church eras of chapters 2 and 3. This includes not only those in Philadelphia – who are specifically admonished, "behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (Revelation 3:11) – but also those of the Ephesian era who, like us, also believed Christ would certainly have returned by now, and were in danger of letting down.

Even before that Ephesian era began – on the very day Christ left this earth – the disciples wanted to know what, in essence, we'd all like to know: "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6) On Pentecost a few days later Peter thought Christ's coming was imminent. He honestly thought the prophecy of Joel 2 applied to the day and age in which he lived (Acts 2:17). It did, but its fulfilment only began in Peter's time to end in our time! About A.D. 55 the Apostle Paul wrote an urgent letter to the Church at Corinth and warned them that the examples in the Old Testament were written for their warning because the END of the age was imminent! (1Corinthians 10:11.) About five years later James warned the people, "Be patient . .. for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh" (James 5:7-8). Around the same time Peter warned his people, not long before 70 A.D., "The end of all things is at hand" (1Peter 4:7). This was the same apostle Peter who made his first statement almost forty years before quoting the end-time prophecy in Joel 2 that time was close to completion. (Acts 2: 17) By the time John finished the Book of Revelation, about sixty-five years after Peter pointed everyone to Joel, there were probably not many people around who took the message seriously.

Familiarity Today:

How similar such familiarity and lack of appreciation was at the close of the first century with what we see in God's Church today. This constant "putting off" Christ's return can be terribly wearing for us all, but especially for young people, who have to decide what careers or course of action to take for their future – not knowing how much future they will have in this society. God understands that "Hope deferred makes the heart sick" .....but He assures us with the sure hope that "when [ not IF ] the desire comes, it is a tree of life". (Proverbs 13:12) But what is the antidote? The answer is found in the book of Revelation – given by Jesus Christ to the Ephesian era – and that is to recapture our first love of God's Truth, by remembering that awestruck position when the veil was first lifted - when we couldn't get enough of the Truth of God, holding it truly as the pearl of great price.

  • To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.
  • I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
  • You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary
  • Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
  • Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Revelation 2:1-5 NIV)

As we approach this Feast of Trumpets in a mere 10 weeks' time, even though we may be bogged down by the day to day stresses of life – making ends meet, struggling with ill health and/or family problems – we probably all need to recapture that first love, so let us ask God for the help we need. He knows the battles we face and the struggles we have, Christ offering to take those burdens on His shoulders. (Matthew 11:28) And most importantly, our God who cannot lie, holds out the most tremendous promises to us – in one of those many "oh so familiar" scriptures ... but a scripture that we need to read again ... in all its true glory and without the 'familiarity' and with incredible appreciation, and never contempt.

  • For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  • Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
  • That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
  • That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
  • May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
  • And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
  • Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
  • Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
Transcript - 2 Apr 2017
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Today we find the Church of God in a “wilderness of religious confusion!”

The confusion is not merely around the Church – within the religions of the world outside – but WITHIN the very heart of The True Church itself!

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Listen to Me, You who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My Law: …I have put My words in your mouth, I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, “you are My people” (Isaiah 51:7,16)