Pastors Report - 6 Nov 2020
DIS-United States

The DIS-United States:

"Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight." (Habakkuk 1:3 NLT)

Well, the day of the presidential election has come and gone, and once again so many polls and confident predictions were proven wrong. Once again the outcome ended on a knife-edge and the vehement post-election altercations revolve around the intricacies of the process and rules that should or should not apply; when should the cut-off points occur – for both votes and counting; accusations of fraud, and with the lawyers of both sides now poised to refute any eventual outcome that is not in their favour.

Within the present chaos you can't help but ask the question: could the escalating animosity between Democrat and Republican, socialist versus capitalist, left versus right, black versus white do what both Hitler and Japan combined could not do in the last war ... and destroy the United States – from within? Whatever the ultimate outcome, the vote is indeed very close and this means half of the people who voted are going to be disappointed and of those, millions will be angry. This clearly shows the lie of democracy, and the danger of using such a process in making such monumental decisions of governance. And you have got to ask why. Why such disunity? And, more importantly, why the increase in the level of disunity that we witness today?

Why Disunity is Increasing:

As is found in nearly all such cases, the answer lies in the spiritual realm. Amos 3:3 tells us that two cannot walk together unless they are agreed. In the past there has been a fundamental agreement involving such basic things as right and wrong, but that no longer exists. At the heart of that agreement lay a profound respect towards scripture – on all sides of the political divide. But that too is no longer true today. Instead we have so many utterly warped perceptions of what is evil and what is good, with even LGBTQ now being labelled as good, and any criticism of such abominable practices labelled as evil. Such a twisting of perceptions can be found in so many other areas as well – being built on shifting moral sands, making the divergence between people progressively more extreme.

And if there is one thing that is lacking – above all others – it has to be that we have forgotten God. Oh yes, now and again we hear lip-service given to the fact that there is a God, but to have true unity all sides have to agree first and foremost WITH God. Only then, will true unity be possible.

  • You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.
  • For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred.
  • They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good.
  • They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.
  • They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! (II Timothy 3:1-5 NLT)
God Rules:

Largely missing in the present chaos is the fact that ultimately God rules and not man. And it is He who can dictate what is needed at any given time — including all the factors surrounding this present election. For we are told in Proverbs: "The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases..." (Proverbs 21:1 NIV) – a lesson that Nebuchadnezzar had to learn by bitter experience after being turned into a virtual animal for a full seven years. Only then was he able to proclaim from the heart:

  • And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
  • And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (Daniel 4:34-35)

God is the one who sets up presidents, kings and countries. He is the one who in fact caused the United States to come into being in the first place — and at a crucial time in history according to His calendar. We must never forget that His perspective is far, far more expansive than ours and the current Republican versus Democrat debate is no exception to this rule:

  • Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
  • And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.
  • All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity ...
  • ... Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
  • It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
  • That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
  • Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. (Isaiah 40:15-17,21-24)
US in Scripture:

So what is God's view of the current election? And what must we keep in mind if we are to bring our own thinking into better alignment with His? It is very clear that God looks on what is currently taking place in the US in a way that men cannot because He's seen all that went before it in a way no human can. To begin to understand the significance of the contention in modern Western politics, we have to go back several thousand years and put it into the context of a number of passages of Scripture.

Right towards the end of the first book of the Bible, we find the origin of the United States and the British Empire. At the end of his life, knowing death was close, Jacob – now named Israel – blessed Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, saying "The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." (Genesis 48:16) ... and gave each of them a unique eventual position within the world, as a great nation and company of nations. (Genesis 35:10,11)

Until the discovery of the New World in the 16th century, Ephraim and Manasseh largely dwelt together, but then separated as God intended, both of them rising to great heights of power in the early 1800s. The astounding blessings of the US were recognised as coming from God by President Lincoln in his proclamation on March 30, 1863, appointing a day " for National prayer and humiliation" during the civil war; "We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown".

But as President Lincoln continued in his address, he largely articulated what most on either side of the conflict humbly understood at that time ... "But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!"

The question we have to ask is can you imagine the above contrite words being genuinely uttered in the present chaotic conflict? And yet, because of turning our backs on God, modern day Israel is prophesied to be in captivity at the return of Christ:

  • Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;
  • But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. (Jeremiah 16:14,15)
God Loves Unity:

In Psalm 133 David was inspired to compose:

  • Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
  • It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;
  • As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (Psalm 133:1-3)

As the Father and Christ have enjoyed from the beginning, unity is God's aim for all mankind throughout eternity – living together in peace and harmony as His sons and daughters in the Kingdom of God. Doing things together brings a certain degree of synergy into the equation. It's the way God seems to have designed our lives and was undoubtedly the reason a United Kingdom and a United States of America were both needed for the destiny of Ephraim and Manasseh, fulfilling His promise to Abraham.

Having witnessed rebellion and discord in the angelic realm – and seen the catastrophic results – it is no wonder how distasteful God finds anyone who attempts to disrupt such unity amongst brethren:

  • These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
  • A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
  • An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
  • A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19)

The fact that it mentions: "six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him" places clear focus on the seventh point in the list – plainly emphasising how abominable to God is, "he that soweth discord among brethren". Placing such passages of Scripture together we can see how desirous God is for unity.

Divisive Spirit:

As we try to understand the spiritual basis of what we see in the material world, what becomes very clear today is that there is a alienating, divisive national Zeitgeist or 'spirit of the age'. We see it in the current drive for Scottish nationalism; in Russian separatists of the Ukraine; in the breakup of Czechoslovakia in the former Eastern Bloc; the aspirations of Catalonia in Spain, the French/Canadian issues – and even secession movements within the USA for a number of areas such as Texas and California. And this national disunity stems from the same human minds that are driven by the same disruptive, inharmonious spirit that can even be seen within the escalating divorce rate and broken homes.

Notice what Paul brings out in his epistle to the Ephesian church:

  • Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
  • For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:11,12 NIV)

This indicates the primary form of battle that we should expect. The word devil means slanderer, which by definition is "the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation". There has been no shortage of words or damaging statements in the current presidential campaign. But totally absent among all the insults, has been a humble frame of mind in seeking God's position on the matter. Indeed, even though the United States identifies itself as a largely Christian nation, it seems all too often it forgets just who its God and Creator is!

  • Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the LORD hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.
  • The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
  • Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. (Isaiah 1:2-4)

And needless to say there has also been no hint of the ruler of the darkness of this world, who is the real instigator of the fracturing, divisive spirit of this present age.

Church Affected:

Israel may have forgotten his God, and the reason for his very existence at this time in history, but what about us? Mr. Armstrong would remind us from time to time that we were his children in the Lord, just as the church in Corinth were the apostle Paul's. It was from Christ, and through His apostle – and those he taught – that one way or the other we learnt the Truth and the marvellous plan of God. Sadly, the unity we used to enjoy when he was alive has been decimated, and many of us have had to separate ourselves and move on more than once over the years, as our aim in doing so was to try to find brethren of like mind, who were genuinely seeking to serve God and with whom we could walk together in peace and harmony.

Such true unity does not just happen in this present satanic age but is something God indicates that we all must strive for. As the apostle Paul reminds us:

  • I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
  • With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
  • Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
  • There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
  • One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
  • One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:1-6)

Jesus Christ — the Head of His Church — is of one mind with the " Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all". There is total unity between them. This is also what they both want for all of us:

  • Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
  • That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
  • And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (John 17:20-22)
The Answer:

A century or more ago, our two great nations did have a respect and appreciation for the blessings God had bestowed on us. President Lincoln was able to remind the American people of this fact, and Queen Victoria famously attributed the success of the British Empire to the wisdom contained in the Bible. But even closer to today ... just less than 70 years ago, neither nation was ashamed to recognise the worth of the word of God and His commandments, as brought out in this short film starring David Niven, entitled ' The Answer', produced in 1954. It is highly unlikely such a film script would see the light of day now!

But it IS the answer, or a great part of it, and the only solution to the disunity and downright aggression we see all around us today. For the survival of mankind, let alone a Utopia to exist, as the apostle Paul points out, there must be on all sides just one body, one spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God. As Christ Himself pointed out ..."there shall be one fold and one shepherd" (John 10: 16) And it is to that one God we all must return, if there is to be true unity within the family, the church, the United States and the world. This is the solution – and the only solution to the present aggressive dissension we are witnessing. As Mr. Armstrong bought out in a sermon given in 1981:

I began to agree with God, and I began to realize we had to agree with God if we’re going to walk with Him. Now brethren, in closing I want to read one passage. We have to agree with God, we have to believe what He says. Adam and Eve didn’t believe what God said. People heard Jesus and didn’t believe what He said. This is what He says – in the Bible! Do you believe it? Are you going to believe it, or are you going to water it down, or are we going to get RIGHT back to the truth once delivered? (The 66th chapter of Isaiah.)

Isaiah 66:1-2 Thus saith the [Eternal], the heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (2) For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the [Eternal]: but to THIS man will I look [Who is God going to look to? Who is He going to accept? “To this man will I look,”], even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. ( Transcript - Sermon (1981-03-02) - Microwave from Tucson )

Millennial Unity:

The gospel of the kingdom – or the family of God will result in a unity of a kind never humanly seen on earth before. This will be brought about by an outpouring of the Spirit of God and the simultaneous removal of Satan and his divisive broadcast – a time of cooperation, love and seeing eye to eye. It will involve a global Spiritual implementation of the loving Law of God — administered from the hearts of those newly-born king-priests within Spiritual Israel — the "United Kingdom" of God:

  • Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.
  • Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
  • And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 31:12-14)

A few verses later in the same chapter we can see how this unity, this togetherness will be possible. It's not something that can be forced on people, it has to come from the heart, and indeed that is the ultimate answer, that the heart of man will be changed, bringing about shalom ... peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquillity. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shalom)

  • Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
  • Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
  • But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  • And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)