News Review - 26 Aug 2016
hwaWithHourglass

God’s end time Apostle asks the question…

“Where in Time Sequence of Prophecies?”

Back in 1981, Mr Armstrong wrote the following in a co-worker letter:

Now where are we in the time sequence of prophecies? More and more it becomes apparent that we are right at, or even very shortly past, the event of Revelation 12:7. This is an event in the end time, after the Middle Ages, pictured in verse 6. Verse 7 reveals a fierce battle in heaven. Once again Satan and his demons have swooped up to attack God on His throne - one last satanic try. Michael the archangel - same rank as former Lucifer, now Satan - is pictured with his angels fighting against Satan and his demons. As Lucifer and his angels tried to invade God’s throne in heaven before the creation of man, so Satan has made this one last try to conquer GOD.

But Satan again was to lose this battle, and he and his demons were cast back to earth (verse 9). This was to occur just prior to the coming of Christ, the resurrection of saints to salvation and establishing the Kingdom of God on earth (verse 10). But those of God’s Church are at this time to overcome Satan by the blood of Christ and the Word of God (verse 11); but because Satan knows he now has but a short time to defeat God on earth through God’s Church, even after he failed in the heavenly war with Michael (verse 12), he was immediately to persecute THIS CHURCH (verse 13).

Previously, from the time of my conversion and baptism I have suffered persecution from men, though inspired by Satan - and so have many of you. But never before did Satan strike the CHURCH AS A BODY until the lawsuit launched against the Church January 3, 1979. It surely seems that fulfilled verse 13.

The lawsuit apparently is behind us - not definitely certain until June 30. But I have warned you all, Satan is now FURIOUS. He is mighty. He is powerful, next to the power of GOD. He is subtle, clever and can deceive and outwit the best of us. He is HARD AT WORK AGAINST THE WHOLE CHURCH RIGHT NOW in ways you know not.(Co-Worker Letter – January 20, 1981)

A Final Personal Word”

Just 6 months before he died, Mr Armstrong warned:

A final personal word. In a few days I will be 93 years of age. For some years now, there have been some, like vultures, waiting for me to die. They would like to come back and take over the leadership of the Church in my stead. I have been deeply concerned about this, but in no sense worried. This is the Church of God, not of any man. Jesus Christ is the living Head of this Church. I am not.(The Worldwide News – June 24, 1985)

Descent Into Apostasy

Soon after the death of Mr Armstrong, the apostasy set in. Then the full force of the satanic attack became obvious – at least in hindsight! In 1987, the first major doctrinal change on healing was introduced. Between 1987 and 1997, every doctrine which Jesus Christ revealed to His Church was systematically trashed! In 1997, the church was finally accepted as a member of the National Association of Evangelicals, and the name – Church of God – was changed.

The timeline of the apostasy can be seen in some detail in a previous Update - “Update the Falling away?

Just as the Apostle Peter had warned:

The dog is turned to his own vomit AGAIN; and the sow THAT WAS WASHED to her wallowing in the mire(2 Peter 2:22).

Satan had attacked God’s Church – and as a result the Church was shattered - and then scattered!

The shock was that the attack came from a totally unexpected direction – IT CAME FROM INSIDE – AT THE VERY TOP!

Satan Attacks USA And Britain

Whilst shattering and scattering God’s true Church in the 1980’s, Satan had already set about destroying modern day Israel – the USA and Britain. Reflecting back on the 1960’s, Mr Armstrong wrote:

“In a way the Beatles started this modern trend in a new Satan-influenced lifestyle of a degenerating culture and sense of social values. But John Lennon was their band-leader in this.

It picked up what had been started by Frank Sinatra, when teenage girls ran screaming half out of their minds for his autograph. It was revived and intensified by Elvis Presley. Then the Beatles delivered Satan’s knockout blow to any public sense of social values in the world.(The Worldwide News – December 22, 1980)

Descent Into Lawlessness

In both the UK and the USA, legislation has been passed which totally contravened the Law of God. In the UK, the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised Homosexual acts between males over the age of 21. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which legalised same-sex marriage in England and Wales. In the United States of America, same-sex marriage has been legal nationwide since June 26, 2015.

Now both nations are embroiled in the transgender issue. This carries insanity to a different level! If people cannot work out whether they are male or female then that’s a problem – a major problem. In almost all cases, this is a spiritual problem – not a physical one!

In the beginning, it was so simple.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…” (Genesis 1:27-28).

God’s command was for a man and woman to marry – for life – and produce children. Today, marriage has been totally corrupted. Same sex “unions” cannot produce children, so to “reproduce”, THEY HAVE TO PERVERT OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN – hence all the problems with sexuality and transgender issues in schools today, right from grade one!

Here is the REAL Problem!

My people are foolish and do not know me,” says the Lord.

“They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at doing wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!” (Jeremiah 4:22, New Living Translation)

The Facebook “50”

Watch the spiritual dimension. This is Satan in action! Where do these perverted ideas come from? Is transgenderism a real issue? Not according to some Psychiatry experts:

“Scientifically, there is no such thing as transgender. Dr Joseph Berger has issued a statement saying that from a medical and scientific perspective there is no such thing as a ‘transgendered’ person, and that terms such as ‘gender expression’ and ‘gender identity’ used in the bill are at the very least ambiguous, and are more an emotional appeal than a statement of scientific fact.(lifesitenews.com)

If transgenderism is a myth as some experts in Psychiatry claim, where does the idea come from? It’s not a physical problem – but a mental problem. God tells us that we are either male or female. Satan tells people that they can choose – from a list of 50 different options.

The following article about Facebook is from 2014…

“Until now Facebook users have had to choose ‘male’ or ‘female’ as a gender when signing up for an account, but from today people will be able to select one of 50 options including ‘intersex’ and ‘androgynous.’” (telegraph.co.uk)

USA And Britain – Taken Off-Track

America and Britain have enjoyed a special relationship - as brothers! The blessings of the earth were given to these two brothers, Ephraim and Manasseh - just as God promised. The sun never set on the British Empire and America became the greatest, most powerful nation on earth. But now, the British Empire is consigned to the history books while America is bankrupt - with a national debt rapidly approaching $20 trillion dollars.

God’s Law Broken

God’s instructions on how to select a leader were quite clear.

“…be sure to select as king the man the Lord your God chooses. You must appoint a fellow Israelite; he may not be a foreigner.(Deuteronomy 17:15, New Living Translation)

President Obama is not of the tribe of Manasseh - he is a gentile - and he will think and act like a gentile. Over the last eight years, America has changed – dramatically! Here are few quotes from an article that seems to sum up President Obama’s roots, his goal and his method.

His roots: “…he said he chose Marxist friends and professors in college…

His goal: “…he stood before the Nation and told us that his intentions were to ‘fundamentally transform this Nation’ into something else…”

His method: “…he started spending us into a debt that was so big we could not pay it off…” (beforeitsnews.com)

President Obama’s political background seems to have been rooted in Marxism. He has succeeded in transforming America from a capitalist society to a socialist society - by spending trillions of dollars of other peoples’ money and leaving America with a huge national debt close to $20 trillion – and rising! Almost half of the American people need some form of financial help from the Government to survive.

America is being systematically destroyed – and the attack is coming from the inside – at the very top!

Under normal circumstances, America’s national debt can never be repaid. American foreign policy has brought regime change and chaos to the Middle East. As a result, America is hated by nations all around the world.

Keep in mind the spiritual perspective: Satan is the originator of regime change and war!

Just as Satan attacked and shattered the Church of God, so he is shattering the United States of America! If you want to understand why this is happening, and see the final outcome of the present situation in America, read Mr Armstrong’s book – ‘The United States and Britain in Prophecy’.

“The Prince Of The Power Of The Air.”

When we look at today’s world, we can see leaders making some strange decisions, such as Germany allowing over one million Muslim migrants to enter their country. We see America pushing regime change in North Africa and in the Middle East – causing chaos in many nations. We are living in a world full of competition, strife, resentment, discontent, rebellion, and frustration. And there is a reason! There is a spiritual dimension – and only once we understand this can we make sense of what is happening in this chaotic world today.

“In Ephesians 2:2, Satan is called ‘the prince of the power of the air.’ I have written many times recently how Satan broadcasts. The human spirit in each human person is directly IN TUNE WITH SATAN’S WAVELENGTH. As I’ve said many times, he does not broadcast in sounds or pictures. But through the spirit in every man, he infuses ATTITUDES of depression, discouragement, vanity, lust, greed, competition, strife, resentment, discontent, rebellion, frustration. He is WORKING IN people in this way. He is the SOURCE and CAUSE of all of today’s evils.(The Plain Truth – October/November 1978)

Who Really Rules?

If you think that America is a true democracy – think again. Government of the people, by the people, for the people” is a myth! The media tell the people what to believe, who to elect, what to buy. The real rulers are the wealthy, who control the media, as the following article explains:

“‘In 1917, Representative Oscar Callaway entered some disturbing information into the congressional record:

J.P. Morgan, a banker and a steel tycoon (1929 Time’s man of the year), hired 12 high-ranking newspapermen and asked them to determine America’s most influential newspapers. J.P. Morgan wanted to know how many newspapers it would take to control the policy of the daily press of the United States.

The 12 found that it was only necessary to purchase the control of 25 of the greatest papers. An agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought, and an editor of Morgan’s choice was placed at each paper to ensure that all published information was in keeping with the new policy.

Today, there are:

1,500 newspapers

1,100 magazines

9,000 radio stations

2,400 publishers

All of these are owned and operated by only 6 corporations.

Often, we see people who are put in front of our faces as being just and upright. However, when you pull the curtain back, you find that the opposite is true.’

Here is an extract from the US Congressional Record February 9, 1917, page 2947:

The 25 papers were agreed upon; emissaries were sent to purchase the policy, national and international, of these papers; an agreement was reached; the policy of the papers was bought, to be paid for by the month; and an editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers.

This contract is in existence at the present time, and it accounts for the news columns of the daily press of this country.

Interestingly enough, not even 2 months after Calloway’s words are inserted into the official record, the United States of America declared war on Germany (April 6th, 1917).(abovetopsecret.com)

Here is a little history on another media outlet, Time magazine, which demonstrates exactly how information is dispensed to the people at large.

TIME Magazine labeled the following people ‘Man of the Year’:

Adolf Hitler was declared Time’s Man of the Year in 1938. Hitler was a fascist dictator whose dangerous political power grab cost the lives of over 50 million people during World War II.

Josef Stalin was declared Time’s Man of the Year in 1939 and 1942. Stalin was the cruel tyrant of the Soviet Union who was responsible for killing 20 million of his own citizens. Stalin said, ‘America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality, and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.’ [This is what has happened to the USA!]

Nikita Khrushchev was declared Time’s Man of the Year in 1957. Khrushchev was so dangerous he had to be removed by his subordinates.

Richard Nixon was declared Time’s Man of the Year in 1971. We all know Nixon was on his way to impeachment due to his abuse of power and obstruction of justice in the Watergate scandal.

Henry Kissinger was declared Time’s Man of the Year in 1972. Kissinger is a known globalist in support of a New World Order.

Ayatollah Khomeini was declared Time’s Man of the Year in 1979. The Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini was a Shiite Muslim who became the dictator of Iran in 1979. The Ayatollah came to power as part of Jimmy Carter’s ‘Human Rights’ policy.

Mikhail Gorbachev was declared Time’s Man of the Year in 1987 and 1989. …His globalist ideology is being taught in over 10,000 American schools through his socialized program, GLOBE.

Barack Hussein Obama was declared Person of the Year by Time in 2008 and 2012

Barack Hussein Obama has been the most destructive president in America. He is known as the most biblically hostile president. He has attempted to attack the foundations of America, tear down the Constitution and re-create it in his own image.

He is a shameless supporter of the murder of children in the womb, even attempting to force private institutions to fund it, and has abused his power in an attempt to strip American citizens of their rights to keep and bear arms, which are to be protected under the Second Amendment.

Obama is following in pursuit of the dictators aforementioned by Time magazine.(wnd.com)

The Big Six

The Big Six corporations who control the media are: General Electric, Newscorp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS.

The following article from snopes.com has this to say about the system:

“The Rig Is Up! A list documenting familial ties between news media personnel and the Obama administration is often shared as evidence that the news system is rigged in the President’s favor.

WHAT’S TRUE: Some of the familial links documented in this list exist.

WHAT’S FALSE: Some of the familial links documented in this list no longer exist, and such links don’t in themselves demonstrate bias in news reporting.

‘If you had a hunch the news system was somewhat rigged and you couldn’t put your finger on it, this might help you solve the puzzle.

ABC News executive producer Ian Cameron is married to Susan Rice, National Security Adviser.

CBS President David Rhodes is the brother of Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications.

ABC News correspondent Claire Shipman is married to former Whitehouse Press Secretary Jay Carney

ABC News and Univision reporter Matthew Jaffe is married to Katie Hogan, Obama’s Deputy Press Secretary

ABC President Ben Sherwood is the brother of Obama’s Special Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood

CNN President Virginia Moseley is married to former Hillary Clinton’s Deputy Secretary Tom Nides.

Origin: The list reproduced above purportedly documents several prominent media figures who have familial ties to the Obama administration. Although the list may have been mostly accurate at the time it first appeared, many of the persons identified in it have changed job positions since then’.” (snopes.com)

But note: it was MOSTLY ACCURATE at the time it first appeared in 2013… and the mainstream media still strongly support President Obama… and Mrs Clinton

Satan: the master of regime change… He staged and attempted the original coup!

“‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High [or – I will BE the most high]’. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: ‘Is this the [one] who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities’…(Isaiah 14:14-17, New King James Version).

Satan IS furious because he understands the time sequence of prophecy.

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more…(Revelation 20:1-3 New King James Version).

There Is A Vital End-Time Warning For God’s People

The Apostle Peter warned us:

“…Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour(1 Peter 5:8).

Christ Himself instructed His people to pray – every day – to be “rescued from the evil one”! (Matthew 6:13)

Satan is angry – because he is about to be replaced!

The return of Jesus Christ is not far off!

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.

The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this(Isaiah 9:6-7).

Thy Kingdom Come! (Matthew 6:10)

Pastors Report - 19 Aug 2016
lighthouseInWood

God's Priceless Light ...

" To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."(Luke 1:79)

Meaning of Life:

While out driving last week, my wife and I tuned into a BBC Radio 4 programme, entitled: "Will Self asks some of Britain's key opinion makers to share, in simple terms (emphasis ours!), their conclusion about the nature – and meaning – of our existence." We were left open-mouthed at some of the pseudo-intellectual twaddle that followed and this section is sadly, typical:

"... For the non-philosophically literate, we could characterise phenomenology of these philosophers like Sartre, Lucelle, Ponty, as privileging again the fact of human experience, but still being interested in metaphysics. You know, perhaps what they didn't share with the analytical philosophers was what was called the linguistic term – the idea that simply by examining language we can somehow find answers. In Wittgenstein's case, there are no answers to the big questions. But somehow the phenomenologists do have this metaphysical penumbra to their thinking. They seem to to touch against the ineffable, don't they?" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07ffkj3)

As the programme ended, we sat stunned, both thinking what an incredible blessing it is to know the truth, and have had it so clearly explained to us! None of the "literary excellence or flowery language of scholarship" that Mr Armstrong would criticize – but the plain truth! Contrast the above with the following:

"Now listen: do you for one moment suppose that a God great enough to have planned, have designed, have created, imparted life to all that is living, all that we see; do you suppose that He is unaware of your personal existence? A God with the all-encompassing intelligence – the limitless power to have designed and created all of the millions of different forms of animal and plant life, the myriad stars and heavenly bodies and to have created force and energy and everything that moves, is a God of such infinite capacity that He is very much aware of you – you as a person, you as one individual and of your personal life.

Almighty God planned and designed this earth and all life upon it for a purpose. Yes, there is a purpose being worked out here below and your life and what you do with it during these few years that it is allowed to exist on this planet that we call earth – it's a vital part of God’s overall purpose. God Almighty did not permit you to be born for just no purpose at all; you were not an accident. Then don’t you think that it’s about time that you begin to stop right where you are and to know something about that purpose?" (WT– Why Were You Born?– Part 1)

Sometimes it takes a TV or radio programme like this to open our eyes – to shock us, in fact – to what we take for granted each and every day ... the reason for our very existence, and even the benefit of trials and difficulties, and that there is most definitely life beyond the grave. In fact, LIGHT in a very dark world.

Soon-Coming Holy Days:

It is just six weeks to the beginning of the autumn/fall holy days and found within them is not only the very meaning of life but an exquisite plan through which God intends to offer immortality to mankind. Unlike mere philosophy, God's holy days are practical things – in other words, you have to keep these days in order to understand their meaning! And in this way, He is able to hide this transcendental truth from the wise and prudent of this world and reveal it unto babes (Luke 10:21), those He is working with.

With this in mind, consider for a moment just how priceless such understanding is. So often we can take this for granted when year after year on the Holy days, we hear the same basic "Why are we here?" messages. A familiarity can creep in, which sadly can lead almost to a kind of contempt if we are not careful.

And yet via the Passover we are given the incalculable gift of direct access to the very throne of the universe and the spiritual power that then gives our lives true purpose. I wonder if we would take prayer so much for granted, and sometimes feel it is a burden, if we meditated on what it took to rent that veil from top to bottom, to allow us access to the Holy of Holies, 24/7? (Mark 15:38)

Feeding on the word of God, while coming out of sin, pictured by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we change our "spiritual DNA" to that of our Father, and then Pentecost shows us how we can become part of the firstfruits of God's harvest, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – the self-same power that was used to create this endless universe and all we see around us.

And so we stand today just a few weeks before the third season of the year depicting the fulfilment of what has gone before. The day of Trumpets – "our day" in many ways, when this failing human flesh will be changed into glorious, eternal spirit bodies at the return of Christ, which stands as the fulcrum between two entirely different worlds. Atonement (and the Jubilee) finally proclaim liberty throughout the entire earth at the removal of Satan the devil – and his violent and depraved broadcast – which will allow the age of God – pictured by Tabernacles and the Last Great Day, ushering in a Utopia to last for eternity and bring God's transcendental purpose to fruition. The most joyful of times when:

  • " ... God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."(Revelation 21:4)
A world willingly blinded:

Yet we live in a world – this present evil age – (Galatians 1:4) – that is totally oblivious of such things, and the danger is that we too can fail to truly appreciate what we have been called to. We are so very close to the end of the 6.000 year period given over to man and under the rule of the devil, and it does appear that the satanic deception has reached such a fever pitch that man is now deliberately choosing blindness, darkness and ignorance.

This blindness can be vividly seen in that BBC radio programme. It is almost an intentional blindness – choosing ignorance over understanding – casually dismissing the most basic questions there can be....why are we here? What is this all about? The statement that prompted the unintelligible quote at the beginning of this Pastor's report came from Baroness Mary Warnock, ("a philosopher of morality, education and mind and writer on existentialism" – Wikipedia) and it set the tone of the entire piece thereafter by dismissing the very idea of anything involving the supernatural, with this one comment:

"Post-Darwin, we're all prepared to believe we're all animals and what differentiates human beings from other animals is their brains, the fact that they are language users seems to me to be completely crucial. So I don't believe you can detach the mind from the body because I think brain is culpable for what we think of as mind, and this is very much Wittgenstein, Austen, the 1950's philosophy."

Paul sums up this approach in the first chapter of Romans – so apt it could have been written last week!

  • For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
  • Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
  • Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (Romans 1:20-22)

And the inevitable result of deliberately choosing a godless approach to the mystery of life?:

  • For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:13)

It does seem incredible that none of the "intellectuals" interviewed, or even the man on the street was able to make the small step towards asking why he is surrounded by such a complicated and exquisitely designed creation. Maybe he is not able to understand the whole purpose of life – not having been called – but God does expect a recognition of "the eternal power and Godhead" from what he can see out of his eyes each and every day...."being understood by the things that are made"!

Not Free – but Priceless:

When I was working as the UK media manager for the Work in the early 1980's we hired an advertising agency to improve the appeal of our ads in the local and national newspapers. One of the most successful ads we ran was very simple indeed: "This magazine is FREE". It certainly brought in the numbers – which was their brief – but today I look back on it and have to ask myself if it was entirely accurate.

From a worldly perspective "this magazine is FREE" ticks all the advertising boxes but a truer statement would have been "This magazine is PRICELESS" – which is a much more profound assessment of WHY the magazine could have no price. After all, what price would somebody place on the meaning of life and access to eternity? This differentiation was undoubtedly clear in the mind of Paul when he warned Timothy of those who are physically rich;

  • Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
  • Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share.
  • In this way they will lay treasure up for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (I Timothy 6:17-19 NIV)

This frame of mind – of recognising what is truly priceless (the Truth and Character) – is something God Himself is acutely focused on and desiring to see in each of His begotten sons. We can see this clearly in the language He uses in Malachi:

  • Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
  • And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him .(Malachi 3:16-17)

Godly wisdom, ready available to us for the asking (James 1:5) is incredibly rare – more precious than the most expensive jewels – and Solomon has much to say about its inestimable value:

  • Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
  • For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
  • She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
  • Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
  • Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
  • She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. (Proverbs 3:13-18)
Light to the Blind:

"I think you have to start with a relatively clean slate which is: there is no meaning in a biological, theological or other sense. We are not here for a purpose, we are not “clinging to the rock” for all sorts of biological dynamics. Look, my own philosophy is a background sense of depression which is unarguable and true, mixed with an intense pragmatism about today, and what we might achieve today. So we are erecting matchsticks on the seashore, they will be wiped away. The best we can do is to just arrange those matchsticks in a humane and interesting way as possible." (Alain de Botton, a self-help guru, author and TV presenter in the BBC interview)

Contrast this miserable approach to life with the confidence that David exhibited:

  • And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
  • The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence (II Samuel 22:2,3)

Compared to Mr. Botton's lack of understanding, the way of Life – the Light – we have had shown to us gives us a comprehension vastly beyond the so-called wise of this world:

  • Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
  • I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
  • I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. (Psalm 119:98-100)

Even the physical world, and specifically the sun and the moon, can be seen to have been created to teach us valuable spiritual lessons... granting a spiritual perspective that we all need. When we have broad daylight, or on a bright moonlit night, we can walk confidently, without stumbling. But in darkness, we are oblivious to any dangers that might lurk all around us! Having thrown out any concept of a Higher authority over each of us, you cannot do anything else but walk in sin – darkness – and suffer the inevitable consequences. How the following passage from Isaiah sums up today's society! ...

  • Listen! The LORD’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.
  • It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.
  • Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your lips are full of lies, and your mouth spews corruption.
  • No one cares about being fair and honest. The people’s lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin.
  • They hatch deadly snakes and weave spiders’ webs. Whoever eats their eggs will die; whoever cracks them will hatch a viper.
  • Their webs can’t be made into clothing, and nothing they do is productive. All their activity is filled with sin, and violence is their trademark.
  • Their feet run to do evil, and they rush to commit murder. They think only about sinning. Misery and destruction always follow them.
  • They don’t know where to find peace or what it means to be just and good. They have mapped out crooked roads, and no one who follows them knows a moment’s peace.
  • So there is no justice among us, and we know nothing about right living. We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.
  • We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes. Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead.(Isaiah 59:1-10 NLT)
The Real price of Truth:

For us to have this priceless understanding, an enormous sacrifice had to be paid by Jesus Christ – one of the very Godhead. Without that sacrifice there would be no Holy days, no Plan of God, no understanding, no sons of God and no true hope in the world. And yet not only was that sacrifice willingly paid – reconciling us and ultimately all mankind to the Father, – but we have been left a profound example of how we must live our lives if we want to stay with a clear light to our feet. As Mr Armstrong vividly explained:

"The Holy Spirit of God is given to those who have REPENTED of – TURNED FROM – sin. A begotten son of God is one who IS LED BY the Holy Spirit – the lighted lantern (or lamp) in the dark woods. If we do not FOLLOW where God’s Spirit leads, the “lamp” – or its light (the Holy Spirit) leaves us." (“Satan Deceive and Use Me? Never!!”– PGR 5 Dec 1980)

Apart from the sacrifice given by our Elder Brother, there is another price to pay, and that is what WE have to do in our lives. As the apostle John says:

  • This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
  • If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
  • But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:5)

In the time Christ was here on earth, He constantly castigated the Pharisees and other religious leaders for their hypocrisy. Yes, they claimed to be upstanding and religious, but their lives didn't reflect the Way of God in any way at all. The question is – how are WE doing? Particularly with our personal relationships for example? Do we say we love God, and that we walk His way, and yet hold grudges against others? Have an issue with forgiving their past mistakes?

  • He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.
  • He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
  • But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.(I John 2:9-11 NKJV)

This particularly applies to those closest to us, as so often we can show concern and have courtesy with those outside the home, but have an entirely different approach to our spouse and/or our children ....our closest neighbours. Something to think about!

Famine of the Word
  • 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: (Amos 8:11)

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. Although today we have a plethora of biblical Truth at our fingertips, and can also meet in peace and safety, this is prophesied to come to an abrupt end – and that before too long. 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. Just this morning I received a link to the following article, which illustrates what is a steadily growing issue in modern-day Israel today, i.e. evangelical atheism:

Air Force officer faces investigation over Bible on his desk

"The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is demanding an Air Force major be “aggressively punished” for having an open Bible on his desk at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. ... MRFF founder, Mikey Weinstein ... who earns a paycheck by trying to eradicate Christianity from the Armed Forces, accused Maj. Steve Lewis, a supervisor at the Reserve National Security Space Institute of committing a “repulsive violation of USAF regulations” as well as the U.S. Constitution.

“It’s not his desk,” he told me. “That desk belongs to the American people, to the U.S. military. If that desk was in his home or his car it would not be a problem.” Weinstein fired off a nasty, adjective-laden letter to the base commander after receiving complaints from 33 unnamed Air Force personnel.

“We have 33 very scared Air Force families,” Weinstein told me.

Just a brief aside: If those Air Force personnel are terrified of a Bible – how in the world will they be able to muster the courage to fight the enemy?...(http://www.foxnews.com)

Conclusion:

The opening quote I gave at the beginning from Luke 1, was describing the vital light-bringing role of John the Baptist – the initial "Elijah who was sent":

  • And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
  • To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
  • Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
  • To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:76-79)

At this pivotal time in the history of mankind, we too had an "Elijah" sent to us, who shed light on the reason for our temporary, physio-chemical existence, and gave us a glimpse into eternity – something the self-styled philosophers of today ridicule as utter foolishness (I Corinthians 1:18-29)! As we approach the soon-coming Holy Days, let us make sure we truly appreciate the "out of this world" understanding we have, and determine to use this rare opportunity to the utmost, so that one day we can be used to open the minds of the misguided to the incredible human potential for each and every human being that has ever lived.

"My friends are you putting your life to the purpose for which it was given you? Are you learning God’s way, God’s law – conforming to it, and or are you so busy in this world’s entertainments, amusements, the shows on television and all that sort of thing, that you are neglecting God – that you are not overcoming. Are you throwing away the precious life that can be given immortal life and all eternity in the very Kingdom of God? I tell you it’s time to wake up." (WT– Why Were You Born?– Part 1)

Transcript - 22 Aug 2016

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“Just what is an APOSTLE?”
Just what is an Apostle?

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)