By the Book

The expression “by the book” is an English idiom that means to exactly follow the rules and regulations; to follow given directions explicitly, without deviation, or to act in an officially approved manner.

Some think the expression originally referred to the Bible, the well known book from ancient times. This certainly makes sense, as the God of the Bible required His people to exactly follow His commands.

Obedience is very important to the Almighty, as demonstrated by the promises and blessings He gave to Abraham: “…because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws” (Genesis 26:5).

Law is a body of rules of conduct prescribed by an authority. All nations, regardless of the form of government, have laws. Different nations have various forms of government and ruling authorities. In Western nations, within a “free society,” the general purpose of a law is to govern and protect the life, property and rights of citizens.

Sadly, many see today’s societies becoming increasingly lawless. They call for a return to “the rule of law,” but lawlessness appears to be a hallmark of our time. Some local, state and national political leaders will not obey laws that they themselves created. When leaders break laws, the general populace often feels justified in doing the same unless people are individually are instilled with respect for the law—to “go by the book.”

What about a person who genuinely desires to “follow Jesus Christ”? What does Jesus demand of His followers? This is a very interesting question.

Long time readers of the Tomorrow’s World magazine understand that the God of the Old Testament was the One who became Jesus Christ (See 1 Corinthians 10:1–4). What did God require of Israel? God made a covenant with Israel. Moses “…came and told the people all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, ‘All the words which the LORD has said we will do’” (Exodus 24:3, 7). In other words, they said they would live “by the book.”

But “before the ink had dried on the contract,” so to speak, Israel failed to live up to its promise to obey. The incident of the golden calf occurred. Moses pleaded with God for Israel because of their sin, saying, “Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written” (Exodus 32:32). But the Lord explained that “whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book” (v. 33).

God has given us His Word, the Bible, which tells us how to live. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). His message hasn’t changed! (Hebrews 13:8). God has another book in which He writes the names of those who are obeying Him. It is called “The Book of Life” (Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:15, 21:27). Only the names of the righteous are written in this book. Only those whose names are in this book will be given eternal life. The good news is, God has a plan for all of mankind, including those who never heard Jesus’ name, as shown in our booklet, Is This the Only Day of Salvation?

God goes “by the Book,” His Bible, and fulfills things He wrote long ago. We can read, in many places, “as it is written,” and see the fulfillment of what was written in exact detail (Luke 3:4 is one of many examples). God’s words are sure. He brings to pass what He has written. I say again: God goes “by the Book.”

Those invited to important government functions have their names on the official list of those allowed to attend. God is writing the names of those who obey Him in His Book of Life. To learn more about God’s way of life, read our booklet, What is a True Christian?

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/by-the-book

USA vs. the World!

President Trump drew harsh criticism when he announced the U.S. would move its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the “capital of Israel.” World reaction was clear: “A UN security council resolution calling for the withdrawal of Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has been backed by every council member except the US, which used its veto…. The vote has underlined once again the widespread international opposition to the US move, even among some of its closest allies” (The Guardian, December 19, 2017). Since then, the UN General Assembly also condemned actions of the U.S. and the Trump administration in a non-binding resolution (New York Times, December 21, 2017). A total of 128 nations were in agreement with the condemnation, 35 abstained, and nine voted against the resolution calling for the U.S. to reverse its December 6 declaration.

The U.S. once led the world in generosity, protection, innovation and even opinion. But all of this is changing. As one headline recently declared, “The United States of America is Decadent and Depraved” (Foreign Policy, December 19, 2017). Bible prophecies have long warned that at the end of the age, “the glory of Jacob will wane [fade]” (Isaiah 17:4). Jacob refers to the British-descended people, including the U.S. and several of the nations in Western Europe. World favor is no longer on the side of the U.S., just as the ancient prophets foretold. These same prophecies warn of a time when the U.S. and other Israelite-descended nations (the children of Jacob) would no longer be the “head” but would become the “tail” (compare Deuteronomy 28:13 and 43-44), and we see this happening today!

The Bible reveals that when nations reject God, He removes His blessing from them, and they are left to fend for themselves (Deuteronomy 28:15). While it is sobering to watch the demise of the U.S. and much of the “rest of the West,” Bible prophecies also reveal that, after a period of chastisement, these nations will one day return to God and again be richly blessed! To learn more about that incredible future, read or listen to our informative booklet The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/news-and-prophecy/usa-vs-the-world

What Is Set Before Our Eyes

As I was watching the news this week and seeing yet another male public figure fall to accusations of sexual misconduct, I paused to wonder about where this is all leading. But more importantly, where does it all come from?

There’s a scripture that comes to my mind when I see this trend: “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes…” (Psalm 101:3). For years and years, what have the majority of themes for sitcoms, comedians, movies and pop culture trends placed before people’s eyes? Television stations thrive on shows that are full of sexual innuendo, double entendre or even explicit sexual talk or scenes. Look at sitcoms going back to the 80s, and you will find them promoting these things time and time again. Look at the music industry today. How many songs are about having “fun” tonight and moving on tomorrow?

So, is scandal and disgraceful behavior now really surprising? Is society simply reaping what has been sown? Sex sells, and after decades of people selling (and buying), the results are painfully clear. Sadly, for anyone to appear shocked would seem naïve and even hypocritical, for many of the same people watching the news in shocked fascination will turn right around and pay to listen to music or watch shows that promote these same behaviors.

An outcry is totally justified; these types of behavior are absolutely unacceptable. Yet, many of those who cry out will sit in the comfort of their living room and boost the television ratings of shows that promote these same scandalous behaviors! Is there any real conviction to banish such things from before our eyes?

The culture all around is submerged in this filth. Women are not honored for who they are, but for what they look like. “Sex culture” is available on every media platform. Society absorbs it, marinates in it, and then acts like somehow there is no connection between this entertainment and real instances of lewd or perverted behavior. 

Women, especially, are objectified and held up for their looks, but men are used this way as well. Advertising agencies use sexuality to sell anything—but ask yourself, why? And more importantly, don’t bury your head in the sand, saying “What are you talking about?” Lust is an inherent human weakness, and for centuries it has been used to manipulate people and to weaken their resolve and fidelity, often for the purpose of controlling or selling them something. The Apostle Paul knew this when he said, “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). The Apostle John said, “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). How well that represents society today!

What defense is there? What is the right way to see others? Consider this advice God inspired for husbands and wives: “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Ephesian 5:28–29). By extension, this principle can be applied to relations between men and women in general. Here, the word “love” means to respect, to take care of, and to support; the verse then puts this in the perspective of Jesus Christ giving His life for us. This attitude can come to permeate your behavior, and you’ll see and think about men and women as people, rather than the sexualized objects that are set before people’s eyes in so many insensitive and filthy ways.

If you would like further information about how to better develop that mindset, please request our free booklet, God’s Plan for Happy Marriage.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/what-is-set-before-our-eyes

What is Set Before Our Eyes

As I was watching the news this week and seeing yet another male public figure fall to accusations of sexual misconduct, I paused to wonder about where this is all leading. But more importantly, where does it all come from?

There’s a scripture that comes to my mind when I see this trend: “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes…” (Psalm 101:3). For years and years, what have the majority of themes for sitcoms, comedians, movies and pop culture trends placed before people’s eyes? Television stations thrive on shows that are full of sexual innuendo, double entendre or even explicit sexual talk or scenes. Look at sitcoms going back to the 80s, and you will find them promoting these things time and time again. Look at the music industry today. How many songs are about having “fun” tonight and moving on tomorrow?

So, is scandal and disgraceful behavior now really surprising? Is society simply reaping what has been sown? Sex sells, and after decades of people selling (and buying), the results are painfully clear. Sadly, for anyone to appear shocked would seem naïve and even hypocritical, for many of the same people watching the news in shocked fascination will turn right around and pay to listen to music or watch shows that promote these same behaviors.

An outcry is totally justified; these types of behavior are absolutely unacceptable. Yet, many of those who cry out will sit in the comfort of their living room and boost the television ratings of shows that promote these same scandalous behaviors! Is there any real conviction to banish such things from before our eyes?

The culture all around is submerged in this filth. Women are not honored for who they are, but for what they look like. “Sex culture” is available on every media platform. Society absorbs it, marinates in it, and then acts like somehow there is no connection between this entertainment and real instances of lewd or perverted behavior. 

Women, especially, are objectified and held up for their looks, but men are used this way as well. Advertising agencies use sexuality to sell anything—but ask yourself, why? And more importantly, don’t bury your head in the sand, saying “What are you talking about?” Lust is an inherent human weakness, and for centuries it has been used to manipulate people and to weaken their resolve and fidelity, often for the purpose of controlling or selling them something. The Apostle Paul knew this when he said, “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:2). The Apostle John said, “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). How well that represents society today!

What defense is there? What is the right way to see others? Consider this advice God inspired for husbands and wives: “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it” (Ephesian 5:28–29). By extension, this principle can be applied to relations between men and women in general. Here, the word “love” means to respect, to take care of, and to support; the verse then puts this in the perspective of Jesus Christ giving His life for us. This attitude can come to permeate your behavior, and you’ll see and think about men and women as people, rather than the sexualized objects that are set before people’s eyes in so many insensitive and filthy ways.

If you would like further information about how to better develop that mindset, please request our free booklet, God’s Plan for Happy Marriage.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/what-is-set-before-our-eyes

Why Get Drunk?

In a few hours, the world will celebrate New Year’s Day, and many people will be drunk on these occasions—“just for fun.” But sometimes, the consequences are not so funny. Many people get headaches. Quarrels arise among friends and families. Others will end the night at the hospital—and some will “finish the party” at the mortuary because they died in a car accident caused by driving under the influence of alcohol.

In France, alcohol is involved in 30% of traffic accidents, and is the leading cause of fatalities on the road. Each year, more than 1,000 people die for this reason (securite-routiere.gouv.fr). A few years ago, an awareness campaign for the end-of-year celebrations was entitled “When you care for someone, you hold him (her) back,” with the catchphrase “Do not drive if you are drunk.” But do such efforts really educate people? Or do they only encourage people to avoid the consequences of inebriety, rather than try to deal with drunkenness itself?

God really tries to educate mankind. He gives laws for our good and He explains clearly the consequences of evil and irresponsible behaviours. Moreover, He recorded examples for us in the Bible (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11).

The Bible speaks specifically about alcohol and God does not forbid its consumption (e.g. Deuteronomy 14:26; John 2:1–10; 1 Timothy 5:23), but He prohibits its misuse! In ancient times, the priests were forbidden to drink “wine or intoxicating drink” when they went “into the tabernacle of meeting… that [they] may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean” (Leviticus 10:9–10). Today, there is no more physical tabernacle (or temple), but the Church of God still follows the same principle, with its ministers not drinking alcohol before preaching.

The first example of drunkenness in the Bible is mentioned in Genesis 9. After the flood, Noah “planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent… and Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father” (v. 20–22). What happened exactly? The Bible does not say in details, but it implied some sort of illicit sexual activity. When Noah “knew what his younger son [that is the youngest son of Ham] had done to him… he said: ‘Cursed be Canaan’, a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren” (vv. 24–25). The word “servant” (’ebed) also means “slave,” so the curse is really serious—being “the slave of the slaves” of his brethren! Noah did not initiate this sin, but it would not have happened if he was not drunk.

A few centuries later, after fleeing from Sodom, Lot found refuge in an isolated area with his childless daughters, “so they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father.” The next day “they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him… Thus both the daughters of Lot were with child by their father” (Genesis 19:30–38).

The daughters of Lot were probably still influenced by the lifestyle of Sodom, because they did not seem to worry about incest—which is clearly forbidden by God (Leviticus 18:7). They also had seen their entire world destroyed, and led their father, Lot, to commit incest unwittingly, because they thought their line would end. He was so drunk that “he did not know when [they] lay down or when [they] arose” (Genesis 19:33, 35). However, like Noah, he could have prevented this situation by not drinking too much.

God prohibits the abuse of alcohol because we can lose awareness (Isaiah 28:7; Ephesians 5:18). He explains, “Do not look on the wine… at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things…” (Proverbs 23:31–35).

Paul wrote that “all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12). The abuse of alcohol is one of those things that can subjugate you. Moreover, the abuse of alcohol can eventually prevent you from entering in the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:10)!

Instead of dealing with the consequences of inebriety, which can be fatal (physically and spiritually), be sober and moderate when you drink alcohol. Control your mind and your body at all times (the last attribute of the fruit of the Spirit—Galatians 5:22). Thus, we protect ourselves from tragic consequences. Instead of dealing with consequences, we remove the very cause of the problem.

Please read “A Mocker and a Brawler” for more insight on the spiritual problems behind any addiction, and be sure to order your free booklet, The Ten Commandments.

Article source: https://www.tomorrowsworld.org/commentary/why-get-drunk