Hope, False


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Sermonette; Sep 1, 2018
Misplacing Hope

Joe Baity, analyzing the futility of misplaced hope (defined as abandoning hope in desperation or placing hope in the wrong things) warns us not to place our trust in princes or human institutions, mightily influenced as they are by Satan, the father of lies. Satan's influence has hopelessly corrupted all human institutions—government, religion, education, health care, jurisprudence, industry, finance and the media. For example, governments no longer serve us but seek to control us and churches emasculate morality by teaching only political correctness, while in some cases concealing pedophiles and promoting the rights of sexual perverts. Health care has become so corrupted that hospitals are places people go to get sick. Sadly, forces of greed and corruption have even high-jacked institutions of charity, their executives sometimes receiving high levels of compensation while their recipients receive left-over crumbs. Broadly, the many institutions of hope have done little if anything to resolve the reasons for their existence. In some cases, they are more a part of the problem than its solution. God's called-out ones will find it more profitable to trust in the Lord than in princes or any institutions of hope created by mankind.



Sermon; Sep 21, 2017
The End Is Not Yet

Richard Ritenbaugh reminds us that some prophecy buffs have concluded that the end of the world is on the horizon, citing the media's sniping at President Trump, North Korea's hydrogen bomb threats, and the succession of three destructive hurricanes. When analyzing the overblown coverage of the hurricanes, for example, one must factor in the motives of the Weather Channel , including the insidious political motive of fostering a belief in climate change, and the materialistic motive of boosting ratings by playing on people's fears. God's called-out ones should not look to the media when seeking truthful information. What God reveals in His Word is more reliable than the evening news. God's people do a disservice to the cause of truth when they allow the media-hype to trigger a false hope about Christ's imminent return. We have no absolute guarantee that Christ will come in our lifetime; studying numerology or secret biblical codes will not speed up the event. No one, not even Jesus Christ Himself, knows when He will return; the Father alone has this knowledge. Many of the signs of Jesus coming are perennial, such as deception, wars and rumors of wars, famines and natural disasters. To be sure, Christ averred that the both the density and the intensity of world events would increase before the end, but one cannot build a prophetic marker on a series of natural events, many of which have been over-hyped by irresponsible media outlets. When we are commanded to watch and pray, Christ expects the faithful servant to be watching the progress of his spiritual growth, regardless of whether His return is imminent or far off. The recent disasters should be a wake-up call not as a pin on a chart measuring prophetic fulfillment.



Prophecy Watch; July 2017
The End Is Not Yet

Every Christian longs for the return of Jesus Christ, and we search for fulfillments of the signs signaling that wonderful prophetic event. The seemingly rapid increase in natural disasters and heavenly spectacles can excite us to a fever pitch. Richard Ritenbaugh cautions that we need make sure that our understanding and interpretation of such signs align with what the Bible says about them.



Prophecy Watch; March 2013
Hananiah's Error

Most Bible students are not familiar with the prophet Hananiah—or perhaps he should be called a false prophet. In his interactions with Jeremiah, a true prophet of God, Hananiah made a significant mistake: prophesying good when God had called for destruction. David Grabbe explains that, while God's will is to do good—eventually—the timing of matters makes all the difference.



'Personal' from John W. Ritenbaugh; September 2005
Amos 5 and the Feast of Tabernacles

How can we evaluate whether our Feast is 'good' or not? Using God's criticism of Israel's feasts in Amos 5, John Ritenbaugh shows that the pilgrimage locations of Bethel, Beersheba, and Gilgal provide instruction about what God wants us to learn from His feasts.



Sermon; Oct 5, 2002
Perseverance and Hope

John Ritenbaugh warns us that in the turbulent and uncertain times ahead, we will need extraordinary fortitude and courage. From the confusion and anxiety of our trials, we run, hide, fight, or patiently work through the difficulties. Not much in this world inspires hope or permanent relief. As our Designer and Producer, God has designed us to run or function smoothly and productively on a godly formula of faith, hope, and love. Trials, when rightly handled with this powerful formula, produce a higher level of spiritual maturity, a higher level of perfection, improving perseverance or active endurance, motivating a person to overcome and grow in holiness. Our entire hope and faith (to be conformed and resurrected in Christ's image) must be anchored in God (the Promise Maker) 'with Christ's mind placed within us.