Dear Brethren and Friends,
Since the last letter written by Mr Dave Harris on December 10, 2012, many things have happened that show how fast-paced this world has become. We may think of the terrible shootings on December 14 in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, USA, where twenty children and six adults were shot and killed; the “fiscal cliff” that the USA flirted with; and the latest in a very long list of failures that predicted the end of the world on December 21, 2012, simply because it was the “end” of a cycle of the Mayan calendar.
As we enter 2013, what can we expect to happen this year? Unfortunately, it is certain that things won’t improve with the parlous state of the world’s economy and so many other problems, wherever we look.
These problems have been forecast for millennia within the pages of the world’s best-selling book, the Bible, with many people either unaware or unconcerned except for their own or family predicament. Others scoff when Christ’s return is mentioned. But that was prophesied, and so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us. Of course, with a number of recently failed predictions, such scoffing is encouraged and date-setters never learn the lessons of the past, that every such prediction to date has been wrong!
We are told to discern the sign of the times, but not to engage in endless speculation about the precise date of Christ’s return. Those who don’t accept the need for Christ to come to clear up the terrible state of this world, must surely accept that society is self-destructing in so many ways. Reviewing the situation from a secular standpoint might help to get across this serious problem that must be self-evident for those with eyes to see.
Some years ago in one of the Church of God publications, the following question was asked: “I have often heard you compare the United States and Britain with ancient Rome. Are we really going the way of Rome?” The reply said: “Indeed we are” – and then went on to state the following: “The five cardinal sins of Rome – and of all past great nations – are described in Edward Gibbon’s work (in 1788) ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’. These five reasons are as follows:
The increase of divorce and breakdown of the family
The spiraling rise of taxes and extravagant spending
The mounting craze for pleasure and brutality in sports
The building of gigantic armaments while failing to realise that the real enemy was the moral decay from within
The decay of religion into a mere form, leaving the people without any guide.”
If we, very briefly, review just these five areas (there are certainly many more), we will see that this is so true of the United States, the UK and so many other countries, especially in our Western world today.
The increase of divorce and the breakdown of the family are now at a frightening level. One author wrote: “Historically, family was defined as ‘married partners and children residing in a household.’ Over time there is no doubt that there has been a shift in the societal definition of families to include single parents, biracial couples, blended families, biologically unrelated individuals living cooperatively, and gay and lesbian couples, among others.” With feckless men fathering children with different women in a promiscuous and liberal environment, is it any wonder that we are experiencing the breakdown of the family?
In a note entitled, “The Home in the Heart of Scripture,” the author wrote: “At the dawn of creation, God’s first institution was not the church but the home. The garden paradise was prepared, and the entirety of God’s creative handiwork was accomplished in the preparation for man. Throughout Scripture is found concern and careful direction in timeless principles governing this primary institution which binds a man and a woman together as one to engage in spiritual ministry, including companionship, dominion, procreation, and worship. This institution we call the home.” This truth seems lost on mankind today.
In October of last year, the UK’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith, threatened a new Coalition row by demanding the immediate introduction of a tax break for married couples. He wanted (Chancellor) George Osborne to make the change in next year’s Budget to show that the Government was serious about promoting marriage. But Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, himself an atheist, had accused the Conservative party of trying to “preserve in aspic a 1950s model of suit-wearing, bread-winning dad and aproned, home-making mother”. That was his way of trying to demean the different roles in marriage and the importance of the family.
A month later, in November of last year, The Daily Telegraph reported that the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, launched an emphatic defence of gay marriage, saying that the Tories will not win the next election unless they drop their opposition to it. The report continued: “He urged the party to emulate US President Barack Obama by appealing to young voters and women with a socially liberal message.” Mr Osborne said most voters support gay marriage and politicians should reflect the modern societies they aspire to lead. He said the party should heed the lessons of Mr Obama’s election success despite poor economic conditions. He continued: “I wouldn’t change the current abortion laws and I strongly support gay marriage on principle. I am proud to be part of a government that will introduce a Bill to allow gay marriage.” He said he was “proud” to be part of a Government that planned to introduce a law to redefine marriage and claimed that a “clear majority” of the public backed a change. Personal convictions and integrity matter little, it seems—just give the people what they want and wait for the votes to roll in!
And we wonder why we have problems when such people are appointed to high offices!
Considering the second area mentioned above, the spiraling rise of taxes and extravagant spending is plain for all to see, with the debt crisis in United States, Britain and around the world no being closer to any real solution. The latest debt figure for the United States is around $16 trillion or more, and the UK more than £1 trillion, although the figures vary depending on the source, and with interest accruing, the amounts will vary from day to day. Our governments have been very able at spending money with never a thought for the “rainy day”, and the results are now clearly evident. Our debts are at the highest they have ever been, and interest has to be paid on them.
The third area addresses the mounting craze for pleasure and brutality in sports. With all of the latest technology, users can play games on smart TV’s, computers, consoles, Wii, mobile phones, Ipods and other technical marvels. Most television sets in the United States, Britain and many other countries around the world have access, 24 hours a day, to hundreds of different channels, which broadcast some of the most brutal, violent and horribly destructive programs of demonic inspiration. The craze for pleasure is relentless and sports and entertainment stars are paid huge amounts of money and are seen as “role models” in spite of the appalling behaviour of many of them. Cage fighting and other brutal sports become ever more popular, as boundaries are continually pushed out further and further.
The fourth reason given by Edward Gibbon was the building of gigantic armaments, while failing to realise that the real enemy was the moral decay from within. Of course, these two aspects of moral depravity and lust for violence go hand in hand. The Guardian newspaper revealed that the US remains by far the biggest military spender, with a defence budget of $711bn last year. The UK’s defense budget was over £62bn. Neither of which would be necessary if they put their trust in God! But no nation does, and all nations spent a total of $1.7 trillion annually on defence.
It is very true that the moral decay within our countries is destroying us. Immorality is rampant, perversion is approved as is the murder of the unborn. We have towns and cities with no-go areas; drug gangs proliferate, and many are too frightened to go out at night. Callousness and cruelty to human beings and animals is a continual source of evil, and all of God’s Commandments are broken with impunity. We have the worship of “celebrities” instead of the great God; blasphemy is everywhere; murder, adultery and rape are commonplace; and stealing in all of its many forms continues unabated. People lie and covet, and the character of once great nations suffers as a consequence. There is much more that is wrong, and we should be “crying and sighing over the abominations” that are in our lands (see Ezekiel 9:4). In Isaiah 5:20 we read a very telling and accurate description of today: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” The moral decay of our societies today is either not appreciated or ignored by our ruling elite, but God will only let this go on for so long.
According to Edward Gibbon, the fifth reason that we cannot survive based on historical data is the decay of religion into a mere form, leaving the people without any guide. Today we see many “Christian” churches accepting those things that the Bible condemns as part of their “teaching” as they reflect society around them. Even many of the leaders in mainstream Christianity seem loathe to preach and teach the Bible when there is conflict with the now accepted norms of society. Generally, they have become part of society and have accommodated change within their church, which allows them to function without criticism and maintain their position and congregations. However, the true Church of God must teach the whole truth of God without fear or favour. God has commissioned it to do so right through to the end of this age, but He also warns us that many within the different Church of God organizations will fail in this task and become victims of a climate of compromise.
Members of the Church of God have long understood the need for Christ to return to set up a society where all of the evils mentioned in this letter will be a thing of the past. But even those with no interest in the Bible at all must surely see, even from a secular viewpoint, that America, the UK and its former Commonwealth, as well as many other nations, are going the way of Rome in the five points mentioned today as highlighted by Edward Gibbon. And there are many more parallels signalizing the demise and downfall of the nations of this present age. To deny these arguments would be to argue with reality, and that will surely apply to many in spite of the overwhelming evidence, who are and want to remain to be “willingly ignorant.” It is not that we don’t love the people who have become victims of our ill-ruled societies—just the opposite is true—but we must hate the evil deeds and opinions of God-defying men and women. Our position is based on prophecy and reality, which we can see and observe on a daily basis.
This world is following the lead of Satan. And that is why we should pray to God, for everyone’s sake, “Thy Kingdom Come!”
With Christian love,
PS “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever,” is the title of our newest booklet. Written by Norbert Link, this publication gives a specific time line of prophecy and addresses, among many other things, the end of this age, Christ’s second coming, the establishment of the Kingdom of God here on earth, and God’s rule over His creation for all eternity. The booklet will soon be ready for distribution. Please contact us for your own free copy, if you are not already on our mailing list.