Audio - 10 Nov 2018

Latest Audio - 2018-11-10

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World Tomorrow
by Mr. Armstrong
FOT Continued - Part 2
broadcast 25 July 1979 - played Wales 10 Nov 2018
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Sermon
by Jon Bowles
Satans End-time Weapon
given Wales UK 10 Nov 2018
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News Review - 9 Nov 2018
peaceInTheMiddleEast

Many have tried – many have failed. But are we about to finally see…

Peace in the Middle East?

Could it really happen after 70 years of wars and broken agreements? Many US Presidents have tried to bring peace to the Middle East – all have failed!

“Since the founding of Israel on 14 May 1948 and the outbreak of the Arab-Israeli War, US presidents have experienced a complex relationship with the region, balancing their responsibility to promote secure democracy with competing national interests.

Harry Truman was in the Oval Office at the time of Israel’s inception … [and] moved to recognise the new nation 11 minutes after its birth!

John F Kennedy sought to improve matters with friendly overtures and aid to Israel…

Lyndon Johnson was forced to turn his attention to Israel with the Six-Day War breaking out in 1967,

Richard Nixon’s secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, duly negotiated a string of ‘disengagement agreements’ between 1974 and 1975, which brought stability…

In 1978, Jimmy Carter mediated the Camp David Accord.

Under Reagan, the US again intervened…

George W Bush achieved little in relation to Israel and Palestine…

The Bill Clinton administration had a hand in the Oslo Peace Accord…

Barack Obama was criticised for failing to advance the cause…

President Trump has already alienated the Palestinian leadership by relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv in December 2017.” (independent.co.uk)

Trump: Middle East Peace Plan Within Four Months

“President Donald Trump has vowed to deliver a ‘fair’ Middle East peace plan within the next four months, after publicly endorsing a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the first time.

Mr Trump said it was his ‘dream’ to see a peaceful end to the 70-year conflict, and pledged to present a deal within two to four months.

Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Mr Trump appeared unperturbed, and claimed ‘a lot of progress had been made’.” (independent.co.uk)

The ‘Ultimate Deal’? For Israel, Maybe. We Palestinians will never accept it!

“Dr Hanan Ashrawi is a Palestinian politician and leader. She is a member of the PLO executive committee and the Palestine legislative council: A US-backed deal to bring ‘peace’ to the Middle East would just legitimise Israeli aggression – and oppress my people further. President Donald Trump and his administration have been promising to announce what has been called, ironically, the ‘ultimate deal’ for Israel and Palestine. It is a proposition for ‘peace’ that violates the most basic requirements for a just and sustainable solution, flouts international law, contradicts the global consensus on peace (which in itself constitutes a major compromise by the Palestinians), and even departs from the declared policies of several previous US administrations.

The ‘ultimate deal’ suffers from multiple fatal flaws and misconceptions that several successive US administrations have repeatedly failed to recognise. The spirit of the Palestinian people cannot be broken or brought into submission; nor will we ever succumb to external pressure and blackmail. To expect us to surrender our rights and freedom in exchange for a mythical ‘economic peace’ is nothing short of a flight of fancy.

The inability to recognise that Jerusalem is the historical, cultural, geographic and demographic heart of Palestine already sets up the ‘ultimate deal’ for failure. Jerusalem is the linchpin of peace.(theguardian.com)

How Jared Kushner Can Get The Mideast Deal Of The Century

Solving the Jerusalem problem, the key to Israeli-Palestinian peace, is not impossible. The answer is two cities, two new names.

Despite current tensions in Gaza, first son-in-law Jared Kushner insists that the Deal of the Century — an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement — is on the way. A number of thorny disagreements would need to be resolved if that’s to happen; first and foremost, the status of Jerusalem.

This is often portrayed as an insoluble problem. I disagree. I think the city is ripe for some diplomatic disruption.

The oft-repeated slogan, ‘the indivisible nature of Israel’s 3,000 year-old capital,’ is empty rhetoric. Any deal will necessarily divide the city between its Jewish and Arab neighborhoods.

This is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Israelis may venerate the Jerusalem of the Bible and the prayer book, but they are less enamored of the Jerusalem of today. The Israeli capital is the poorest city in the country. Its residents are increasingly members of ultra-orthodox sects (37 percent of the Jewish population and growing fast), whose unwillingness to serve in the army or enter the workforce has made them very unpopular with their less pious countrymen.

Despite this, Israel will never give up ‘west’ Jerusalem or the suburban neighborhoods it has built since the 1967 Six-Day War.

Under a division plan, two separate cities could be created out of Jerusalem. They would have an open border and security arrangements like those that now exist between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Each city would belong to a larger national or autonomous unit: Jewish Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Arab Jerusalem as part of whatever Arab state or entity emerges from the peace deal, whose capital will be Ramallah. This lacks symmetry, but never in the history of Jerusalem has it been an Arab or Muslim capital. Its main significance is religious.

In return, Israel would make a concession of its own. The Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, Western Wall and Christian holy places, would be internationalized. Specific holy sites can be administered by the civil or denominational authorities of each side (as they are now). The current residential quarters of the walled city (Jewish, Armenian, Greek Orthodox, Muslim) would remain frozen in place and population.

The Old City as a whole would be internationalized and governed by a committee of the great powers. This will be hard for Israel to accept, but it is not such a radical idea: Founding father Theodor Herzl advocated it in his Zionist diplomacy. The Arab side would find this international governance easier, if only because it would see it as a painful Israeli concession.

For many Israelis and Arabs, the hardest part of dividing Jerusalem may be losing the battle for its magical name. But that will have to happen. Two ‘Jerusalems,’ side by side, is an invitation to further conflict in the name of unification.

The solution is obvious: A name change. The Jewish city can be called by its Hebrew name ‘Yerushalayim,’ as it has been by Jews for thousands of years (and is called by Israelis today). There is more than ample precedent for the name change. The European names of Israeli cities are routinely Hebraized. One example is the ancient town of ‘Jaffa’ which is now officially known as ‘Yaffo’ in Israel.

The Arabs also do not use the name ‘Jerusalem.’ Since at least the 9th Century they have called the city ‘Al Quds,’ meaning ‘The Holy One’ and that is what they call it today.

It will take pressure from the Trump administration and its main negotiator, Jared Kushner, to get past that. It is a lot to ask, but if you want the deal of the century, you have to break a few icons along the way.” (bloomberg.com)

So this is not a new idea!

Historical Truth

Check the facts. At the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, the idea was that Jerusalem should be an International City – ruled by the United Nations. This was rejected by the Arabs and accepted by the Jews.

Here is part of UN Resolution 303 regarding the status of Jerusalem back in 1947.

“UN General Assembly resolution 303 reiterated the UN commitment to internationalization of Jerusalem, and designated it a ‘corpus separatum’ - separate body. Under the original partition plan of 1947 (GA resolution 181), Jerusalem was to have been administered under UN sovereignty as an international city. The Arabs initially rejected the internationalization of Jerusalem,and the Jewish side accepted it.(mideastweb.org)

Trump To Pressure Netanyahu To Back Peace Plan

“President Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron last month that he’s ready to put pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept his upcoming Middle East peace plan, four Western diplomats briefed on the meeting tell me. Trump specifically mentioned the fact the US gives Israel billions of dollars in aid every year. Why it matters: We haven’t previously heard Trump say anything about his willingness to put pressure on Netanyahu, perhaps his staunchest ally around the world. Three days after the meeting with Macron, which happened on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Trump met with Netanyahu in New York and announced for the first time his support for the two state solution. In the same meeting, Trump said he was planning to present his peace plan in two to four months.” (axios.com)

Trump Is Busting The Myths

From President Trump – a different approach:

“Vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Schanzer observes that Trump is sharply veering away from traditional US peacemakers who ‘brought Israel and the Palestinians to the table as equals, as if the Palestinians have significant power.’ They don’t, and the traditional process is yet to yield peace.

That process took too seriously the Palestinian dream that 5 million ‘refugees’ will one day flood the Jewish state. In the long run, peacemaking will succeed if it addresses 21st-century facts, rather than 1948 hopes.(nypost.com)

In 1948, Palestinians Lost Land. But Not To Israel

“In the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, the Palestinians did in fact lose what was offered to them with the loss of the West Bank; the Palestinians did in fact lose what was offered to them with the loss of Gaza.

But the dark little secret that the manipulative sentence left out was that the Palestinians lost the West Bank not to Israel but to their land-grabbing brethren Jordan. And they lost Gaza not to Israel but to their land-grabbing brethren Egypt.

This set of facts is critical to assess what happened to the Palestinians and who is culpable.

If the Palestinians had accepted the two-state solution of 1947, there would be no conflict today, and the two-state solution would be going on its 71st year.” (washingtonpost.com)

The Truth Should Be Taught About The 1948 War

“Why is this important? In recent debates about the Palestinian ‘Nakba,’ the claim has been made that there are two ‘narratives,’ an Israeli one and a Palestinian one, and we should pay attention to both of them.

But above and beyond these claims is the simple fact - and it is a FACT, not a ‘narrative’ - that in 1947, the Zionist movement accepted the United Nations partition plan, whereas the Arab side rejected it and went to war against it.

A decision to go to war has consequences, just as it did in 1939 or 1941. The Arabs started the Six-Day War in 1967.

Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt as well as Syria’s Golan Heights.

The importance of this distinction becomes clear upon perusing the op-ed that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently published in The New York Times. Abbas mentioned the partition decision in his article, but said not one single word about the facts - who accepted it and who rejected it. He merely wrote that ‘Shortly thereafter, Zionist forces expelled Palestinian Arabs.’

That is like those Germans who talk about the horrors of the expulsion of 12 million ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe after 1945, but fail to mention the Nazi attack on Poland, or the Japanese who talk about Hiroshima, but fail to mention their attack on Pearl Harbor. That is not a ‘narrative,’ it is simply not telling the truth. Effects cannot be divorced from causes.

In the final analysis, there is a historical truth. And without ignoring the suffering of the other, that is how such sensitive issues must be taught.” (haaretz.com)

Myth & Fact - The War Of 1948

MYTH -The Jews started the first war with the Arabs.

FACT - The chairman of the Arab Higher Committee said the Arabs would ‘fight for every inch of their country.’ Two days later, the holy men of Al-Azhar University in Cairo called on the Muslim world to proclaim a jihad (holy war) against the Jews. The Arabs were blunt in taking responsibility for starting the war. Jamal Husseini told the Security Council on April 16, 1948: ‘The representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, that the Arabs had begun the fighting. We did not deny this. We told the whole world that we were going to fight’.” (jewishvirtuallibrary.org)

At The End Of The Age - Jews Still In Jerusalem

Right at the end of this age, it appears that the Jews are performing the morning and evening sacrifices in Jerusalem. It’s hard to imagine this happening in Jerusalem right now, so are we going to see great changes in Israel, so that the sacrifices can start?

Could it be that the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, Western Wall and Christian holy places, will be internationalized… controlled by the United Nations, who would then allow the Jews to start the morning and evening sacrifices – on or near the Temple Mount?

At the 1290 day mark, 30 days before the beginning of the Great Tribulation, these sacrifices are stopped by the invading European army, as prophesied in the book of Daniel:

Daniel 12:11 indicates that there will be Jews in Jerusalem right up until the end of the age!

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Daniel 12:11).

Mr Armstrong explained:

“But, (Daniel 12) verse 11, ‘from the time the daily sacrifice shall be taken away…’ Consider this a moment. This does NOT imply a material temple to be built in our time in Jerusalem. It does seem to imply the Israelis may restore the daily (twice daily) sacrifice – possibly at the wailing wall. The indication is the armies of the ‘beast’ of Revelation 17, entering Jerusalem (Daniel 11:41, Zechariah 14:2), will stop this daily sacrifice.” (Pastor General’s Report – November 20, 1979)

Will We See A Divided Jerusalem?

“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and HALF OF THE CITY shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city(Zechariah 14:2).

Does this indicate that Jerusalem will be a divided city at the end of the age, as per President Trump’s peace plan?

At The Return Of Christ, Jews Flee From Jerusalem…

At the return of Christ, there are still Jews in Jerusalem!

“And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited(Zechariah 14:5,9,11).


Are we about to finally see peace in the Middle East?

Many have tried – and all have failed.

We may see some change – but peace?

The fighting goes on right up to the return of Jesus Christ!

Seventy years ago, in the June issue of the Plain Truth magazine, Mr Armstrong was inspired to warn the nations:

“… the Almighty says, prophetically: ‘All [nations] that burden themselves with it [Jerusalem]’ in the day ‘when they shall be in the siege … against Jerusalem’ – as the Arab nations are now – ‘SHALL BE CUT IN PIECES.’

The British have been burdening themselves with it… The United States has been meddling, interfering, burdening itself with it. So has Soviet Russia… The United Nations has been burdening itself with it. God says ‘they shall be cut in pieces’! [Zechariah 12:1-3]” (The Plain Truth – February 1979)

This warning still stands!

Watch events in Jerusalem - it is the focal point of end time events!

Pastors Report - 2 Nov 2018
caringForThisWorld

Caring for This World ...

"And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." (Luke 19:41-42)

The Example We Follow:

In Hebrews chapter 6 verse 20, Jesus Christ is described as our forerunner – the one going ahead to give both example and direction to those that follow. Many other scriptures back this up – that the example He sets us is one of the vital purposes of His sinless life:

  • For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)
  • Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (I Corinthians 11:1)
  • And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us ... (Ephesians 5:2)
  • Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5)
  • He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (I John 2:6)

But when we examine some of the things He both said and did with regards to the outside world there appears a certain dichotomy, i.e, a contrast between deeply caring for the fate of Jerusalem – but also stating: "let the dead bury their dead" (Matthew 8:22) and "I pray not for the world , but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine." (John 17:9) Yet again, on reading the gospels we can see that at the same time Christ was continually moved by compassion to both help and heal those He came in contact with IN the world. (Acts 10:38) So where does God expect us to draw the line? How can we too be moved with the correct compassion to help those in the world today, while at the same time remain separate from it – no longer part of it? (II Corinthians 6:17, John 15:19)

The Example of AIDS:

Take for example the current plague of AIDS which is devastating most areas of Africa today. Some time ago I received the following heartfelt email from a member in Kenya asking for prayers for what he finds he is having to witness daily regarding AIDS in Africa:

Dear Minister, I would to present prayer request for the people who is facing the greatest killer in the world today.[AIDS]

... this deadly disease makes orphans remain without parents. Since more than 42-million people have so far been infected by this great killer, and mostly, 2/3 of them are in Africa. Surely now, it is the time of men and women to turn to GOD, who can heal our Country-Kenya, along with Africa; even we see young widows infected by their husbands, and they are facing death, even left old grandmothers/grandfathers, struggling with the children to keep their children, but the situation come heavy, because no foods, cloths, blankets, and school fees.

Knowing the area he is writing from, I can certainly understand his frustration and desperation. The world around him is being utterly devastated by this plague, but I had to reply to him that I could not simply put out a prayer request for this world as he asked, because this world is finished. More and more, events across the world appear to be moving towards a crisis point. Certainly one such area has to be the current AIDS epidemic in the Third World. But where do such things really come from? All you have to do is to look at the tribal sexual customs practised in Kenya to begin to understand why:

"Men in the remote Kenyan town of Isiolo have long had sex with young virgins to purge themselves of afflictions or curses ... Today, old purging ceremonies practised by the nomadic peoples of Kenya's north-eastern province are being routinely used as an HIV cure.

"Another custom permits a man to have indiscriminate and unprotected sex with the wife of another man of the same generation. A spear propped by the door of a man's house means that someone else is in bed with his wife. "None of us is jealous ... because we all do it," said Nassir, who said he has slept with many men's wives. He thinks his own wife, who died shortly after his cleansing ceremony, was HIV-infected." (http://www.thebody.com/content/art26974.html)

With such a culture can we see why the problem of HIV AIDS is so great in this region? Until the culture changes, there can be no removal of the plague.

No Half Measures:

God will not work within sexual chaos. A "half-job" is exactly what Satan was offering Christ when he said, "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." (Matthew 4:9) A large part of the temptation to Christ must have been to try and sort out the problems of this world there and then. But Christ knew such a thing cannot possibly work – with Satan still on his throne – so rejected it outright.

God is not into merely "improving" things. God is a Creator who, when He does something, He does it right! Solomon points out, "whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him." (Ecclesiastes 3:14) That "fearing before Him" will ultimately be for an eternity of joy. Every one of us – every single human being that ever lived – is going to have to get to the point that they will never go back to this way of Satan again – for all eternity. That is the purpose of our lives at this time, and is why this present age has not quite arrived at its close. That is why Kenya must remain in the mess it is in today for a little while longer.

Pray Not for World:

This is also why in Christ's prayer on that final Passover – just before He literally died for the world (John 3:16) – He specifically made a point of not praying for the world at large. Instead, He prayed only for those involved in the current stage of the plan, who were to be trained to serve the world in the future.

  • I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. (John 17:6)
  • I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.(John 17:9)

Now is NOT the time to heal Kenya. That can only happen after Christ's return when the correct Government of God is established – bringing the world out of "the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." (Romans 8:21) This is why Christ would not pray for the world. Though He had great compassion for it – to the point of death – He saw the bigger picture, and the eternal value of humanity learning the lessons of aversion therapy.

Spiritual Governance:

So the answer to the "dichotomy" of Christ's approach has everything to do with the kind of overall spiritual governance involved. We cannot tinker with this present evil world – thereby placing ourselves under the spiritual governance of Satan – but must recognise that what is needed is an entirely new civilisation – a New World, a new age – that will completely replace the present from top to bottom. This is why we should not be getting involved with politics, direct action, the military and worldly protests, for example – as they are designed as an attempt to change things now. Conversely, where the spiritual governance involved remains largely under our own control, then the compassion to help, serve, and give should naturally flow – as it did with Jesus Christ when here on earth – "because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit] which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5) .

So the main, overall thing we can – and should – be constantly praying for this world is "thy kingdom come" – when God's Law will finally be lovingly enforced. Keep in mind that when Christ was approached by His disciples who asked Him to teach them to pray, they were probably wanting to know HOW to pray for the mess they could see in the world at their time! In reply, His focus was not on how they could improve society back then ... but the emphasis of the prayer was clearly "thy Kingdom come" – not, "show us how to sort out and improve current conditions". As Mr Armstrong points out in a sermon:

"Now, I want you to get this. In fulfilling God’s purpose, Christ is the second Adam; and He started what the first Adam did not start. This is Satan’s world, and God is starting another world – another civilization.

"You know, people think if civilization ended that would be the greatest tragedy that could happen. Oh, the end of civilization, wouldn’t that be terrible! Well, I think I need to have a telecast on that. Civilization is going to end, and it ought to end. The sooner this civilization ends the better. When we are told to pray “Our Father which is in heaven … Thy kingdom come,” we mean “Thy civilization (another civilization) come;” and this civilization has to go. And the sooner this civilization is gone, the better for everybody." (Hungering For God’s Righteousness - 11 June 1983)

The entire civilization has to be totally replaced! Without that, there is no solution to Kenya's HIV AIDS, disease of all kinds, to mass shootings, hate crime, knife crime, divorce, rampant drug use, broken and heartbroken family situations. The solid, loving family unit must become the standard – and ALL contrary human ideas removed. For this to happen – nationwide – the human heart itself is what must change.

A Changed Human Heart:

And this SHOULD be where you and I come in, – dealing with issues that arise out of genuine concern and compassion. But the world in which we find ourselves has changed and is daly changing even more – to one that lacks natural affection – that no longer even has the common human decency of our forefathers. Just a few minutes of a news broadcast shows we live in a world hooked on gossip, character assassination, and "Me First".

In the countryside of yesteryear and particularly in remote areas such as the desert, people were literally few and far between and therefore tended to be much more appreciated. In our congested western cities people have become merely an inconvenience. But which is nearer to the Way of God? What approach is there going to be in the future? The appreciation of and concern for fellow human beings is clearly and definitively prophesied to return as the norm during the Millennium...... when "a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land" (Isaiah 32:1-2) Yes, at that time any and every stranger will be utterly trustworthy, it is true. But even in days gone by, when this was not entirely the case, there was still not the suspicion and bitter western callousness we find today.

Personal Experiences:

This reminded me of something from my childhood that, in today's society, has unfortunately become quite rare. My father was a haulage contractor – he owned and ran a small fleet of trucks – and one thing I remember quite clearly were the hitch-hikers he would pick up when driving. Normally these were students who were youth-hostelling in the Dales and keen to make their next hostel before dark. But occasionally they would join us for a meal first, and from time to time would even spend the night in their sleeping bags on our lounge carpet – particularly if the weather was stormy. But I wonder how many would dare to have total strangers in their homes like this today!

While in College in the late 60s I travelled overland to North Africa one summer to visit my brother and his wife who at that time were teaching in Libya. When there, they took me 200 miles into the Sahara to a small town built around an oasis called Sokna. We stayed at the home of a man whom they had met a year or so before. At that time they were passing through the town and planned to spend the night in their car, but they were approached by a total stranger who would not hear of such a thing and instead invited them back to his home. That was this gentleman and a friendship developed that eventually allowed me also to join him and his wife for a communal meal – eaten from a single large bowl. He and his wife spoke only Arabic, with my brother translating – and outside the home his wife would never have even let me see her face – but in their home her smiling hospitality was indisputable. This custom toward strangers enables me to carry fond memories to this day, particularly sleeping out on his roof under the stars in the Sahara – with the nearest electric light 200 miles to the north. I can still remember the Milky Way seemingly reaching down to touch me through that desert air overhead when the town's generator was turned off at 11:00 pm.

Pass By on the Other Side:

Contrast that with the harsh, impersonal cities of our "sophisticated" western society today – where people can even die on the street with others rushing by them – yet no one wants to get involved! Note this report from a few years ago:

NEW YORK, USA - A Good Samaritan, who was seriously injured after rescuing a woman from an armed thug, was left to die on the streets of New York. A surveillance camera had captured 25 people walking past the man but none of them lent a helping hand or called the police. One of the passers-by even stopped to snap a photo of the dying man and went off, New York Post reported.

Odd-job worker Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax, a 32-year-old Guatemala immigrant, was out of work and had recently lost his home. According to the video footage, Tale-Yax went to a woman's aid upon seeing that she was threatened by a knife-wielding man, on a sidewalk in Queens County.

When you read the above, what was your reaction? Was it the horror of the man being stabbed because he helped someone else? Or that it "just goes to show the problems with getting involved" - thinking that he would have done well to have remembered the proverb that says, "He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears." (Proverbs 26:17) and that it would have been wiser if he had just phoned the police - passing the problem onto "the authorities"? Or were you sickened by the fact, that, once stabbed, no one was then prepared to help this dying man – but all passed by on the other side? The question is, what was your reaction? And the sobering point is, how much have we – you and me, in God's Church – been adversely affected by this harsh, self-centred world in which we live?

Loving the Stranger:

Hospitality toward strangers was something the apostle Paul highlighted as a requirement for Timothy to apply as he managed the Church's widow program. Such ladies had to be... "Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work." (1Timothy 5:10) Note carefully, "lodging strangers" was one of the requirements. The word "stranger" indicates these were not church members – something clearly seen when the apostle John commends the church for showing love, "to the brethren, and to strangers" (I John 1:5). And, though possibly better than today, you can guarantee that not every stranger would have been totally trustworthy within the Roman empire!

Yes, we do need to be careful – particularly about who we allow into our homes. As moral values tumble, so the entire world is becoming a more and more dangerous place – ending eventually in the Great Tribulation. For this reason wisdom and balance are absolutely vital. But what are we going to say to Jesus Christ about our hardhearted modern end-time attitude, when He says, "I was a stranger and you took me NOT in" (Matthew 25:43)? For if we are going to be one of the "princes ruling in judgement" under the "King who reigns in righteousness" – then we had better at least begin recognising the problem we have, co-existing in a cold, callous, heartless and indifferent society. We need to recognise that there is indeed a progressive lack of natural affection today, and such a frame of mind is a problem – even within each of us. This was NOT always the case – even during my lifetime. And we need to recognise that this self absorbed, protectionist attitude – spawned by our evil age – will NOT be in the World Tomorrow. Such an uncaring, insular mindset can have no place within the Spirit born Kingdom of God. And though we need to remain vigilant, wise and careful, we should also – to a greater degree – also remain compassionate, loving and kind – even toward total strangers. And this becomes ever more important as the world around us slides downward because "iniquity shall abound and the love of many wax cold" (Matthew 24:12)

Thinking back to the example Christ set - keeping in mind that His mission wasn't primarily to make life better for the Jews of His day - He didn't turn a blind eye to opportunities to smooth someone's path through life, either.

  • Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
  • And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
  • And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
  • And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. (Luke 7:12-15)
The Mind of God:

Throughout the law given to Israel, there are so many commands regarding caring for the poor and fatherless and the stranger in our midst, for example;

  • Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard. (Proverbs 21:13)
  • He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse. (Proverbs 28:27)
  • Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.(Exodus 23:9)

It's an interesting Bible study to look up the word "stranger", or "strangers" in a concordance. And note carefully what God commands. Every one of us needs to keep firmly in mind, that "there but for the Grace of God go I", and before He called us, we were indeed no different from anyone else ... mere strangers ourselves in the land of spiritual Egypt. But now we do understand. Now we have access to the very Mind of God as it applies to strangers, the compassionate mind of a God being, and a Mind graphically illustrated in perhaps the best known parable of all that Christ gave. And as we read it, let's note Christ's final words;

  • One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
  • Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
  • The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
  • “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
  • The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
  • Jesus replied with a story: “A man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
  • “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.
  • A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
  • Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.
  • Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.
  • The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
  • “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
  • The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same." (Luke 10:25-37 NLT)
Transcript - 28 May 2018
Mr Armstrong

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