From Tennessee: Dear Brooks, Maybe you can give me your thoughts on this. My friends and I are always involved in things I know the Bible frowns upon and while I am feeling guilty even as I do them, my friends would raze me if I didn’t go along. I’m still fairly young, any suggestions?
Dear Tennessee, Big problem! One that all of us find ourselves struggling with far too often! And in an era when Christian values are being shunted aside, it seems very easy, almost natural, to drift into sin. Still, our journey with Jesus Christ, together with His counsel in our hearts, although rocky at times, is the key to overcoming obstacles. There are loads of passages in the scriptures that we should mediate upon during tempting times but I think Psalm 1 offers advice that should be prominent in our thoughts when faced with temptation. Of course, prayer is the great answer and the passages in the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” are particularly helpful because we are asking God Almighty to direct our steps in tempting times.
Psalm 1 consists of only six verses, but its beautiful message introduces the two ways of life. The first is the righteous way where we are urged to avoid the ungodly and to seek happiness by following God’s Law and to meditate on God’s teaching.
If we do follow this way, ultimate success in and for our lives is certain.
The other choice the Psalmist writes of is the wicked way, where we can be swept away like wind, or merely drift to ultimate destruction.
We have only these two choices before us and at first glance, it seems to be a no-brainer. Yet, many choose the second path believing it is a way to squeeze the most out of life. But, as the Scriptures say, if we live in the flesh, then that is the fruit of our labour.
You know, Tennessee, when we opt for the righteous way, it takes tremendous strength and resolve but we must know full well that living with Christ means that when it is time to die, it is really to gain.
So I guess the answer to your question, and mine and countless others’, is to follow the righteous path, even when it means changing the circle of friends, and giving more emphasis to our walk with the Lord. I think that to a great extent, the measurement of a person’s life is not what is taken out of life but what is given. True Christians, who manage to live close to the righteous way of life, are truly blessed and are among those unique individuals to whom Christ was referring when He said, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”
I hope these few comments help direct your steps. Just reviewing Psalm 1 again has given me new inspiration. So, Tennessee, I sincerely thank you for reminding me of this.
From Vancouver: Dear Brooks, I’ve read your booklet “The Hidden Message of John 21” three times and am intrigued with your calling the Apostle John the greatest mystery writer of all time. Ever since that time, I am reading John’s Gospel trying to understand whether a hidden meaning exists. One area that looks intriguing is the first six verses of John chapter 9. Am I right in assuming that the man is blind Israel and Jesus us referring to the restoration of sight?
Hi Vancouver: It works for me, but let’s not dote on the hidden messages John presents to the exclusion of the beautiful stories. Nevertheless, I too think the man in verse one represents True Israel and if the hidden message is about a time just before His return, we would have to say that with the exception of a very few, our brethren are totally blind to their identity and have been all their lives. You know, this explains to me why the successful crusade of opening of the eyes of brethren during the early part of the twentieth century was stopped in its tracks when the modern Israeli State adopted the name of Israel. Since then, most of the adherents to this truth have passed on and comparatively very few are those who are carrying on. Let’s face it, where once meetings would be attending by thousands now we now seemed almost overwhelmed when 40/50 turn up at a conference. And no matter how effective we might seem, with rare exceptions, we just haven’t been able to make the blind see.
I suppose this is why in verse two, the disciples make the assumption that there is sin involved. But Jesus replies that the works of God should be made manifest in the man. In other words, the blindness will be lifted from True Israel. The prophet Isaiah foretold this centuries earlier when he wrote, “The the eyes of the blind shall be opened …” ((35:5) At the time Isaiah wrote these words, the ten northern tribes and most of the southern nation had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians.
I wish space could permit a fuller discussion but verses 4 & 5 are extremely important. Remember from verse 2, He is talking to His disciples. Perhaps in the hidden message, He is referring to the thousands in the Israel countries who are aware. Verse 4 begins with “I” but many translations show “We” and this makes sense to the degree that we too must do His Work while we can, so to speak. That night or darkness will surely come when we can’t do His work. Sadly, day by day, we hear stories where Christianity is being blotted out and the name of Jesus cannot even be mentioned in public and governmental places and ceremonies. Isn’t it interesting that in the Philadelphian Church period, immediately preceding the present Laodicean period, that Jesus Christ was the focal point of our western nations and that the Glory that was then was so treasured. Yet, Jesus warned them to hold fast to prevent a return to the spiritual darkness, darkness that we in this period have allowed to be brought upon us.
The blind man washes in the Pool at Siloam
In the story, in verse 6, Jesus spit on the ground, made clay and anointed the eyes of the blind. Then in verse 7 he sent the man to go to the pool of Siloam to wash and then he would see. Interesting that in Revelation 7:14 that there are those who come out of great tribulation and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the lamb. In other words, “Salvation.” And Revelation 3: 18 counsels us to anoint our eyes with eye salve that we may see. Perhaps this is yet to take place and that Paul’s reference to “blindness in part” (Romans 11:25) may relate to Israelites who God has directed to Jesus Christ for Salvation but they have not yet had their sight restored.
Yet, when will this occur. It will because the man in our story had his sight restored. I am reminded of 2 Esdras 4: 37, “By measure hath he measured the times, & by number hath he numbered the times, and he will not move or stir them, until such measures have been fulfilled.” He has set the time for the lifting of the blindness, and all we know is that from John 9:14 is that it was the Sabbath, so we can safely assume it was in the seventh day of God’s Plan, in other words, any time now. Famed Bible scholar, the late Howard Rand who claims “Laodicea” means Justice or Judgment, because upon the Israelites during this era comes the end of the age and judgment. No judge renders a verdict until all the evidence is in and God has His timetable as to when all will be fulfilled. It can’t be long because all the natural disasters of which Jesus warned are affecting people in the Israel lands as never before. Still, these disasters are spread throughout the lands and are not affecting most. No, I believe that God has to bring about circumstances that are so dreadful that all of us will be affected at the same time and begin to question why and look for answers. Maybe the dreadful event will be an economic collapse. In any event, perhaps such a situation is why our organizations have been kept going as we and the thousands that read our messages will be available to be called upon by God. You know, knowing our identity is a great blessing and seems to fit Jesus’ words, “For whomsoever much is given, is much expected.” So, keep vigilant!
Time will tell these hidden messages throughout the scriptures are being revealed today, as never before, and this most certainly is a sign that the end is not far away. (Thanks to Bible Study Group)
From Washington State: Brooks, you often talk about a possible economic collapse. Do you sense it is very far away?
Hi Washington: Who really knows! I believe it is on the doorstep and all it will take is one great push and it will come tumbling down. The derivative mess might be the instrument or the huge debt of the United States. But let me tell you something very interesting.
The number “40” is universally recognized as an important number, both on the account of the frequency of its occurrence, and the uniformity of its association with a period of trial, probation and testing. It is mentioned 146 times in the Bible and there are eight great periods of testing revealed in the Word of God. For example, from the Old Testament, Jonah 3:4 shows that for forty days he preached that judgment would come to the city of Ninevah. In the New testament, Luke 4:1-2 reveals that Jesus was tempted forty days and nights by the Devil. When you study the incidences surrounding the number 40, you will soon appreciate its significance.
Anyway, forty years ago, “on August 15th, 1971, President Nixon announced that the US would no longer convert US dollars to gold. For the first time in history, money was no longer gold or silver or convertible to either. On that day, because of Nixon’s actions all money everywhere became but government issued coupons with unknown expiration dates.
President Nixon Was he bamboozled into signing the bill by the unscrupulous rich?
The reason behind Nixon’s extraordinary action was that US gold reserves had been virtually emptied by US overseas military spending. The massive outflow of US dollars needed to maintain America’s global military presence had far outweighed any corresponding inflow from America’s significant positive balance of trade.
By 1971, it was clear the US owed far more gold than it possessed. The closing of the gold window by Nixon constituted the largest monetary default in history. Now forty years later, the final consequences of that default are unfolding. Because after 1971, governments everywhere borrowed, printed and spent even more money as gold no longer was a constraint on the global money supply. Additionally, gold was no longer exchanged in order to rectify global trade imbalances.
It was Milton Friedman-the monetary poster boy of the right-who advised Nixon to cut all ties between the dollar and gold. Friedman, like Keynes-the monetary poster boy of the left-was a strong believer in fiat money and Friedman advised Nixon that floating exchange rates would balance global trade flows. Friedman was wrong.” (Courtesy Wikipedia)
So, your question comes at a most interesting time. Our August magazine will be in the hands of readers by the end of July or early August so it will be interesting to see if August 15th, 2011 will come and go without incident or if the trillions of debt, brought about by the trillions of fiat money that has been issued will begin the slide into disaster. For those unaware, fiat money is any money declared by a government to be legal tender, or state-issued money which is neither legally convertible to any other thing, nor fixed in value in terms of any objective standard or money without intrinsic value.
Is it a coincidence that August also signals the time when the American Congress decides whether or not to increase the borrowing ceiling?