The United States’ economy has rebounded and is firing on all cylinders. The country is at full employment and labor shortages loom in many industries. Retail sales are strong and interest rates remain quite low. Inflation, always a concern, is modest and does not seem threatening at this juncture. The Federal tax cuts introduced in 2018 are beginning to be felt with increased wages, business expansion, and healthy returns for stockholders.
These facts and figures dominate the daily news as people pursue their various livelihoods or enterprises.
This emphasis on the economy is not new. In fact, Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933), the 30th president of the United States, stated in a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Washington, D.C. in 1925 that “the business of America is business.” The system of free enterprise in the United States of America is an engine for such activity in normal times. More recently, a well-known slogan during the campaigns of President Bill Clinton was “It’s the economy stupid!”—meaning that is what voters care most about as they try to improve their financial position and standing.
If the business of America is business, what is the “business” of the Christian church? Often, the religious channels on cable and satellite television feature ministers hawking a gospel of prosperity, using short spiritual messages punctuated with multiple pleas for financial support. Sometimes an item is offered for sale, while at other times there is a tug at one’s heartstrings to support some cause, mission, or pet project. Frequently, it seems that these television personalities have opulent and extravagant personal lifestyles with all the trappings of wealth one would expect of Hollywood millionaires, all courtesy of their religious following.
But what will the true Church that Jesus built be doing? The Bible gives clear instructions. Even as a child at age twelve, Jesus told His parents, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). Later, after His resurrection, as He was wrapping up His earthly ministry, Jesus gave the disciples a wonderful, awe-inspiring commission when He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20). In another conversation, again after His resurrection, Jesus had breakfast with seven of His disciples on the seashore after they had fished all night. He used this learning moment to instruct Peter, commanding him: “Feed My lambs” and “Tend My sheep”—which was clearly a reference to those who would become a part of the Church. You can read the inspiring account in John 21:15–17.
One additional aspect of the Gospel message that was to be preached to all the world involves a time of great trouble or tribulation that will come upon the whole world. The prophet Daniel wrote this about it: “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time” (Daniel 12:1). Knowing such times of great trouble were coming, Jesus prophesied, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness [or warning] to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
So, there you have it. The business of the Church that Jesus Christ built is to spread the Good News of the Kingdom of God to be set up on this earth, to spiritually feed and care for the members of the Church, and to give a warning message about the difficult times to come upon the earth before He returns in power and glory.
How is this message of the Kingdom of God to be disseminated? Jesus made it plain: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). The Apostle Paul echoed this sentiment when he said “What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge” (1 Corinthians 9:18).
Proverbs 23:23 tells us also, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”
In the Tomorrow’s World television programs, there is never an appeal for money. The magazine, booklets, Bible Study Course, DVDs, and the entire multitude of informative items we produce are made available without charge at all. Of course, it takes money to provide these quality study materials and educational programs. The money to do this Work comes from the members of the Living Church of God and from co-workers and donors who voluntarily choose to support the Work of God in these end times.
It is our sincere hope that the materials and compelling message of the coming Kingdom of God will be beneficial to our many subscribers and readers. You can access all our materials online or in print here at Tomorrow’s World.
Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/buying-or-selling
The “America First” slogan and actions of President Trump are taking a toll on America’s allies. Recently, a German weekly stated, “Seldom has an American president exploited the country’s economic power to the degree the Trump administration has. Washington appears to be attacking German companies at every opportunity” (Der Spiegel, June 13, 2018). More than a year ago, a German writer compared President Trump to the maniacal Roman ruler Nero (Der Spiegel, February 5, 2017). German parliamentarian Norbert Röttgen referred to President Trump’s performance at the recent G7 summit as “childish” (Washington Post, June 10, 2018). European Council President Donald Tusk commented that, “with friends like that who needs enemies” (Wall Street Journal, May 16, 2018). Another German commentary noted, “Trump’s latest lies are an open attack on the German government and the European Union. This U.S. president was never a partner. He is an aggressive opponent and should be treated as such” (Der Spiegel, June 20, 2018). In spite of the undeniable domestic accomplishments of the President, his leadership style is creating a serious breach with America’s allies.
Now, as the United States scuttles long-held alliances, an international power vacuum is forming—and Germany is moving to fill the void. On a recent trip to Japan, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to propose a new alliance (Der Spiegel, July 27, 2018). “In the coming months, a network of globally oriented states is to be created that closely coordinates its foreign, trade and climate policies. ‘We need an alliance of the multilateralists,’ says Maas… an alliance that stands for the global rules and structures of the postwar order that Trump rejects.”
While Maas’ comments may appear routine, Bible prophecy sheds light on the potential implications of such thinking. Scripture foretells a strong, geopolitical force emanating from Europe that will arise at the end of the age. Led by Germany, this “great worldwide trading combine will seem to offer incredible profits to international cartels,” making nations of the world rich for a time (The Beast of Revelation, p. 39; cf. Revelation 18:3)! The future of Germany and its impact on the U.S. and the world is outlined in the pages of your Bible. For more details, be sure to read “A Clash of Eagles: America and Germany in Prophecy.”
In recent days, multiple parts of the globe have experienced searing temperatures and devastating fires. Currently, deadly fires have claimed lives, destroyed homes and scorched thousands of acres in California, western Canada, Greece, Sweden, the Netherlands and Britain, and heat is even searing Finnish Lapland above the Arctic Circle. The Economist recently stated, “Heat is causing problems across the world,” and as fires burn in Siberia, “Japan is in a state of emergency” and “has declared its heatwave to be a natural disaster” (July 28, 2018).
In addition to the expensive destruction of property caused by fires, there is also the loss of lives due to both the fires and the heat itself. As the same article highlighted, “In 2003 more than 70,000 Europeans may have died as a direct result of an infernal summer.” Extreme heat is especially dangerous for the elderly and very young, but it also ravages crops, decimates livestock, causes power outages and increases the risks of lightning strikes (The Telegraph, July 27, 2018). The actual costs of these current heatwaves, in terms of lives and property, will not be known for several months.
What many do not realize today is that the Bible warns that extreme temperatures will also be one of the signs of the end of the age. While the current heatwaves may not be the direct fulfillment of Bible prophecies, they provide insights into what will happen in future years. Jesus warned that famines at the end of the age will be part of the “beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:7–8). Later, in the book of Revelation, God warns that fires will burn up one-third of the trees and all the grass (Revelation 8:7). And at the very end, the sun will burn even hotter and scorch the earth just prior to Jesus Christ’s return to rule the earth (Revelation 16:8–9). Scientists suggest there will be more frequent cycles of extreme heat in the years ahead—which the Bible also confirms, though, perhaps, for reasons far different from those that scientists will accept. To learn more about weather events to watch for in the years ahead, read or listen to Who Controls the Weather?
When I was young, “He who…” jokes were popular. The jokes were attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius. For example: “Confucius says, ‘He who sit on tack get the point!’” Of course, these jokes did not originate with Confucius.
As a child I found these amusing, though not particularly wise. A few more examples:
- “He who run in front of car get tired; he who run behind car get exhausted.”
- “He who get hit by car, get run down feeling.”
- “He who leap over cliff, jump to conclusion!”
- “He who fall in glass grinder, make spectacle of self.”
I later learned that the Bible has many truly wise sayings, and by studying the scriptures about “He who” we can become wiser. Let’s look at a few examples.
Psalm 15 begins with the questions, “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?” The answers are found in verses 1–5:
- “He who walks uprightly and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.”
- “He who does not backbite with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor does he take up a reproach against his friend.”
- “He who swears to his own hurt and does not change.”
- “He who does these things shall never be moved.”
Lots of wisdom there to contemplate.
Psalm 24 asks similar questions: “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?” (v. 3). Answer: “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully” (v. 4). We may conclude that we need to be upright in conduct to be with God.
Psalm 32 advises: “Many sorrows shall beto the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him” (v. 10). Wickedness results in negative consequences, and faith in positive results.
Psalm 41 says, “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble” (v. 1). One of the great commandments is to love our neighbor. God knows who shows love to those in need.
Proverbs has many “He who” statements. “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19). Minding this advice to “bite our tongue” will save us many difficulties.
Sometimes “He who” statements contrast the wise with the unwise. “He who gathers in summer is a wise son; he who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame” (Proverbs 10:5). Diligence versus laziness is demonstrated. And in verse 9: “He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known.” Our ways “find us out” and bring appropriate results, good or bad.
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). Choosing friends who influence us positively is important.
Parents take note: “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24). This age-old wisdom has worked for millennia. When discipline is lacking, children, parents, and society suffer the consequences.
Diligent effort brings success: “He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!” (Proverbs 28:19). Pursuing leisure and pleasure while neglecting responsibility results in poverty.
Pursuing true wisdom brings great reward. “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:8). Yes, we do reap what we sow.
Doing God’s will is the wisest course of all, and proves that we put our faith and loyalty in Jesus Christ: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Study God’s word to know His will. Many helpful resources are available free, here at Tomorrow’s World.
Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/he-who-is-wise
Cupidity is acquisitiveness, avarice, covetousness, or simply greed. We need money to buy necessities, but the question is, “Just how much money is enough?”
We need food, clothing, and shelter to sustain life. There are other “necessities” in this modern age: transportation, communication, education, health care, etc. We also have wants that enhance our well-being. We can enjoy material things in a balanced way.
We want to provide for our family, so it is wise to save for retirement and the proverbial “rainy day” when unexpected things happen. The wise save money for that purpose.
But how much money is enough? The super wealthy amass multi-millions and even billions of dollars, euros, or other currencies. A Bloomberg article titled “How Much Money Do You Need to Be Wealthy in America?” shares the survey results of Americans for the second annual Modern Wealth Index from Charles Schwab. The amount of money thought to be needed to be considered “comfortable” starts at $1.4 million, and “wealthy” starts at $2.4 million.
But the super wealthy have hoarded incredible sums of money. They seem fixated on amassing wealth. Another Bloomberg article titled “France’s Richest Are Making Money Faster Than Everyone Else This Year” demonstrates that the super wealthy continue to amass more and more. See also the Wall Street Journal’s “The Rich Get Richer as Billionaires Increase in Number” and Forbes: “a record 2,208 billionaires from 72 countries and territories including the first ever from Hungary and Zimbabwe.”
There is a significant difference between accumulating enough wealth to take care of basic needs and a fixation on accumulating money. The former, if balanced, is positive, but the latter is unbalanced and may have negative consequences. One may never be satisfied and even neglect family by spending all available time pursuing wealth. They often financially harm others as a direct outcome of their targeted actions. Greed can change a person; it can warp the personality, lead to irrational behavior, rob the individual of satisfaction and happiness, and may lead to antisocial (narcissistic) personality disorder. Cupidity (greed) really is stupidity!
The Creator provides instruction on the right approach to wealth and warns against selfishly seeking to be rich.
- “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eats little or much; but the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep” (Ecclesiastes 5:12).
- “He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty” (Proverbs 22:16).
- “He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage” (Proverbs 11:28).
- “So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners” (Proverbs 1:19).
- “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own” (Luke 12:15, New Living Translation).
- “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).
The stupidity of greed has also long been recognized by philosophers:
- “He who is greedy is always in want.” — Horace
- “Poverty wants much; but avarice, everything.” — Publilius Syrus
- “For greed all nature is too little.” — Seneca
- “There is no calamity greater than lavish desires. There is no greater guilt than discontent. And there is no greater disaster than greed.” — Lau Tzu
- “It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” — Thoreau
Greed will keep a person out of the kingdom of God. “For this you know, that no…covetous man (“greedy” in the Common English Bible and other translations), who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:5).
For more on this subject, read the Tomorrow’s World articles “Greed!” and “Genuine Financial Security.”
The year 1963 is remembered for significant events that occurred in the United States and in Southeast Asia. The world was aroused by the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of a Buddhist monk setting himself ablaze in Saigon to protest the government oppression of Buddhists. The rest of the year would be no less grim.
Quang Duc’s suicidal act of self-immolation, other monks following his lead in the ensuing weeks, and American diplomatic pressure compelled Ngo Ninh Diem’s administration to promise reforms. These promises weren’t kept, and Diem’s own military overthrew his administration on November 1, assassinated him the next day and set up a new regime. U.S. President John Kennedy promptly recognized the new government.
President Kennedy’s own assassination came later in the month, on November 22. Most everyone of that generation now over sixty years of age can remember the details of where they were, who they were with, and the time when they learned of his death. That generation lost an innocence which America never recovered, and perils in the world have steadily increased.
In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower had given a speech that explained the “domino effect,” postulating that if any one nation in Southeast Asia fell, then all the nations there would steadily be engulfed by the communist ideology. The United States established a policy to contain Communist expansion and to support any nation which resisted incursion. Ten years later, a naval destroyer was allegedly attacked, and President Lyndon Johnson, Kennedy’s successor, led Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving him authority to send American forces into South Vietnam. This military expansion led to greater escalation, ultimately resulting in the deaths of over 58,000 American soldiers. The administration’s policy came under attack from within President Johnson’s own political party, weakening his resolve, while the war’s opponents became more effective in arousing nationwide resistance to the war. President Johnson withdrew from the next election because of opposition from within his party.
The next president, Richard Nixon, was tied to his promise to get the military out of Vietnam “with honor.” Finally, on March 29, 1973 all United States troops were extracted and most P.O.W.s returned home to America.
What lasting purpose was served by those who died in the jungles of Vietnam? Many living veterans still suffer from the effects of the chemical defoliate Agent Orange. The war ended 45 years ago, and the question remains: was the price paid in human lives and suffering worth the temporary results?
In 1975, Vietnam was united after the North successfully overran the South and set up a communist government. America had grown weary of its involvement, and President Gerald Ford could not persuade Congress to send the supplies and support that had been promised. The generation of young men and women who “served in ‘Nam’” are now past middle age, and they came of age during the divisive period of war in Southeast Asia. This experience dramatically affected them, culturally and emotionally.
Indeed, the wars of the entire 20thCentury brought many changes to national boundaries, with millions separated from family and dispossessed of homes and property, while others gave their lives for causes that have failed to bring lasting peace. The good news for humanity is that God will intervene, and He will fulfill biblical prophecies—a truth that the Living Church of God strives to preach to the world as a witness. The Day of the Lord will usher in the Kingdom of God on this earth, and Jesus Christ will rule (Revelation 11:15).
There is another generation, of which we may be members, that will experience a climactic change of culture and society untold in history (Matthew 24:34). Bible prophecy certainly foretells that suffering in the end-times will surpass any recorded before (Matthew 24:21). The troubles of the 20th Century have been the beginning of sorrows, but we do not need to sink into despair because the hope that comes with Jesus’ return will immediately follow. Request or read online the booklets Armageddon and Beyond and Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return to prepare for the terrible and exciting times ahead.
Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/a-certain-generation
There is a wry old saying that “if it weren’t for the last minute, I would never get anything done!” Many people live by this premise. Tension certainly builds as a critical deadline nears or a crisis looms, and the potential for a hazardous or devastating outcome can be exciting. Movies, television and adventure stories often use this scenario, where events seem out of control as the hero or heroine, in grave danger, is faced with overwhelming odds and impending disaster. Then, at the last minute, with superhuman effort or sudden brilliant inspiration, the dangerous situation is averted and all ends well for those who, moments before, were on the brink of annihilation.
Exciting stuff, which gets the adrenaline flowing! But, is it truly realistic? Is it wise to live one’s life on the brink, expecting deliverance at the last minute? A better way is to anticipate the sudden turns and difficulties that can occur and to prepare for them.
For this reason, it is prudent to carry insurance for those unexpected disasters that can cause devastating financial hardship. Solomon in his wisdom commented on this human plight: “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. For man also does not know his time: like fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them” (Ecclesiastes 9:11–12).
An important but often-overlooked area of our lives is the spiritual dimension. It is frequently neglected until some crisis is thrust upon us. It could be a terrible injury or life-threatening disease, a financial collapse, a broken relationship or some other experience that makes one cry out, “Why me, Lord?”
Sometimes we may think, “Oh, I don’t have time to deal with spiritual matters, I’ll get to that later. It is just not convenient now.” That approach is not new. The Apostle Paul encountered this attitude in dealing with Felix, a governor, before whom Paul made his defense on false charges. “Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, ‘Go away for now; when I have a convenient time, I will call for you’” (Acts 24:25). As far as we know, that convenient time never came for Felix.
Deathbed repentance or “getting religion” is legendary. Hopefully, such repentance is sincere, but why risk something so important as deliverance, salvation and the opportunity for eternal life to a last-minute decision? Jesus referred to a sudden, catastrophic incident that cost the lives of several people in His time in Luke 13:2–5: “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.’ Jesus also looked back at a significant time in history and predicted that those conditions would be repeated in the last days. “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26–27).
Paul focused on this subject as well, and his words were preserved for us today. “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:11–12).
The Bible clearly states that a life of ignoring God and His Way of life can result in a fiery death in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 212:7–8). Considering this, is waiting until the last moment to seek God and His will for your life really something you want to chance?
We recommend our booklets The Ten Commandments and Restoring Original Christianity. They are valuable resources provided without charge or obligation.
Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/the-last-minute