Richard Ritenbaugh, reporting on a motion passed by the South African Parliament calling for the expropriation-without-compensation of white-owned land, points out that this dramatic move was instigated by the far-left Marxist rabble-rouser Julius Malema, who at one point has threatened, 'We are not calling for the slaughter of white people—at least for now.' South Africa's Constitution would need to be amended before such property confiscation could take place. The Marxist-leaning South African Parliament does not plan to award any of this land to black farmers for the simple reason that Marxists do not believe in the private ownership of property. Another Marxist tyrant, Robert Mugabe, blazed the trail for his young disciple, Julius Malema, having confiscated the lands of white farmers in Zimbabwe two decades earlier, transferring the ownership of farms to incompetent Marxist elites, who quickly turned Zimbabwe from a thriving economy into the fastest shrinking economy in Africa, bringing widespread distress onto its populace. Sadly, the sinister handwriting is on the wall for South Africa, hell-bent to follow the same Marxist principles which destroyed Zimbabwe.
John Ritenbaugh, in his keynote address of the 2017 Feast of Tabernacles, explains why President Trump dismissed on of his closest adviser, Stephen Bannon. Bannon embraced a "theo-political" vision of Christian fundamentalism, influenced by The Fourth Turning , a book which explains why many Americans no longer recognize the country they once knew and respected. Howe and Strauss, the authors of the book, posit a view of history based on a cycle of four generational characteristics which follow an 80 to 100-year period. The four turnings consist of: (1) a High, which is a generation characterized by great accomplishment, cooperation, and sharing of community workloads, as during the time following the Great Depression (2) an Awakening, a wealth-building generation, but one possessing less certitude about cultural values, as exampled in the generation called the Baby Boomers, (3) the Unravelling, illustrated by the social rebellion of the 1960's with its self-centered, anti-God mind-set, and (4) the Crisis, a frightening time of economic distress and war emerging because of the fiscal and moral irresponsibility of the prior generation(s). The deep state and the Globalist elitists, including the current pope, are attempting to mold President Trump into their evil plans. God's called-out ones must show caution in these dangerous times.
John Ritenbaugh, in his keynote "Handwriting on the Wall" message, based on Daniel 5:1-5, issues a stark warning of dire events to befall the Israelitish nations, predicting a truly menacing time when the leftist, 'progressive' powers that currently control the judiciary and the executive branches of government will inflict horrendous, grievous persecution on both nominal and true Christians alike. On October 1, 2016, the State of Massachusetts (which, ironically , occupies the same location where the first settlers seeking religious freedom landed) militated against religious freedom by criminalizing acts of conscience on the part of churches and businesses that do not cow-tow to LBGT demands. This action does not represent a shot across the bow, but a devastating hit to true religious liberty, demanding that sodomy come out of the closet and Christianity move into the closet. Diann Rice, Civil Rights Commissioner of Colorado, claiming that Christianity had justified slavery and other civil rights abuses, asked for stiff fines to be imposed upon bakers who refused to bake wedding cakes for homosexuals because of conscience. The evil 'progressive' leftist judicial powers, under Satan's influence, having pulled a bait and switch by emphasizing "freedom of worship" rather than "freedom of religion," have succeeded in taking away the civil rights of true Christians, who can no longer practice their beliefs in the public square. 'Progressive' 'liberal' 'humanism' is a greater threat to true Christianity than the dreaded Inquisition and the Stalinist purges. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has openly declared at the Women's World Summit, that "deep-seated cultural modes and deep-seated religious beliefs have to be changed, and that Federal laws have to be backed up with Federal will." Truly the Beast power is beginning to flex its muscles and is actively wearing down the saints.
John Ritenbaugh reminds us that we are approaching the end of a seven year cycle, the seventh year on the Hebrew calendar, a time of the year of release, when the Law was publicly and solemnly read. This event has always proved more solemn with a sense of urgency than the services of a regular Feast of Tabernacles. In the current grim background of the accelerating decadence of the western democratic democracies, we must remember that for God's called-out ones the responsibility for a life of faith is not the church, but rather on the individual. Because none of us are privy to the time of Christ's return, we must continually seek God's counsel rather than being distracted and mesmerized by the Zeitgeist around us. During the time of Noah, there was a lengthy witness from a preacher of righteousness before God's hammer of judgment (in the form of the flood) fell upon the world's populace. We must be continually aware and alert to our own spiritual condition, remembering that the times would be identical to Noah's, when people were absorbed into the spirit of the time, failing to heed God's warning. God's called-out ones must remain single-minded, fortifying their spiritual reserves with Bible study, prayer, and meditation, maintaining a vigilant, watchful eye out for the surreptitious lures of Satan's decadent socio-cultural milieu.
John Ritenbaugh observes that, even though Western (Israelitish) governments are comparatively less tyrannical than their Gentile counterparts, they too have their ways of establishing influence over the populace. Gentile governments have historically exterminated more human beings than have disease or natural causes combined. Sadly, the American government is moving toward a Gentile-type tyranny at the helm of a President who does not share Western values. Aside from the mystery and confusion of his birth origin, President Obama spent a large portion of his formative life outside of the United States, absorbing Muslim and collectivist values and loyalties. He has never been a product of the ghetto (even though he has appealed to that segment of American society); he has been a product of an upper middle class family with loyalties to Marxist socialism, intending to 'transform' this country into a collectivist state with decidedly Gentile ways of dealing with its clientele, including destroying the opposition by vilification, criminalization, and ultimate extermination. The current far left Democrat Party plan of 'exporting' millions of children from South America into the United States is to create a population of dependents beholden to the 'benevolent' ruling party. The leaders of this same party, having adopted the political correctness poison from the secular progressives, establishing homosexual unions, radical feminism, and a tolerance for mass murder of infants (abortion), now are playing the Republican Party like a violin. For the past half century, the progressives have had almost complete control of public education, softening the culture for the acceptance of socialism and collectivism though political correct Orwellian doublespeak. The handwriting is on the wall, forecasting dangerous times ahead for Christians.
Martin Collins, reiterating that God's sovereignty is a major theme in the book of Daniel, reminds us that if we submit unconditionally to His sovereignty, we have a win-win situation- even when initially, it looks bleak and hopeless. After Nebuchadnezzar's death, the successive tenures of each of his descendants became increasingly attenuated and truncated, mortally weakening Babylon's here-to-fore impregnable position. Belshazzar's blasphemous banquet was the last straw, bringing about the cryptic 'handwriting on the wall' - a somber judgment from Almighty God against the haughty, presumptuous grandchild of Nebuchadnezzar. The words "Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin" signified that Belshazzar's kingdom had been weighed in the balances and was seriously wanting, forcing a calamitous division and destruction at the hands of Darius the Mede. Belshazzar had to learn the painful lesson that sin is not static, but its path leads precipitously downhill to perdition. Sin, the real opiate of the people, makes us oblivious to danger, giving us a debased and reprobate mind. God is not static; His deferred justice will not be deferred in perpetuity, but evil will be totally recompensed. As Daniel experienced, devotion to God and His laws will stir up jealousy in high places. Daniel maintained his devotion to God in spite of dangerous political circumstances, seemingly standing alone amidst a totally pagan culture. Yet, Daniel was the only one who had it together in the whole empire, totally convicted about what God would soon bring to pass. God wants a voluntary relationship, but leaves it up to us as to how to show our devotion. We could emulate Daniel, seeking contact with God multiple times in the day through prayer, praying in all kinds of situations (in the morning when we are beginning; evening to offer Thanksgiving for the mercies of the day, Before sleep to commend ourselves to Him, in times of embarrassment, and when tormented with strong temptations.) In life and death, God is in control.
John Ritenbaugh, in this annual "Handwriting on the Wall" message, reflecting on the upcoming election, focuses upon the critical condition of a badly mishandled economy, having produced a future looking far worse than the immediate past. The current administration has been lying to this country for the past four years about the badly eroding economy. Both presidential candidates ought to the putting this country on a war- footing, as well as deploring the out of control immorality, especially the trouncing of the Ninth Commandment. Lying and flattering seem to be the modus operandi of many of the officials holding public office, from the President to the constable. Consumer Reports warn us that fraud and scams are bourgeoning growth industries in America, netting in 40-50 billions of dollars in profits annually. The Lying tongue truly has targeted the gullible, vulnerable victim, especially the elderly. Scams exploit greed, gullibility, and the ignorant. Actor Clint Eastwood has claimed that President Obama is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the America, with his birth, his elusive college records, his academic rank, and his connections to Communism all eluding scrutiny. His election illustrated the extreme gullibility of the American electorate. God has given this nation what it has deserved, stripping this country of its former greatness. Lying is the core of this nation's demise. Satan's lie to Adam and Eve started the whole thing; Satan scammed them with a deadly lie, promising them immortality, but giving them death. The con man (Satan) fully intended to kill Adam and Eve as well as all of mankind. Sin, often appealed to by a lie, is initially attractive. Americans have reached the point in the downward slide of immorality that people don't care about the country, but only themselves. The man of sin will be launched by Satan on a foundation of deception, delusion, disinformation, and deliberate lies.
John Ritenbaugh, continuing the traditional opening night Feast of Tabernacles "Handwriting on the Wall" message, focuses on the plaintive Psalm 94 in which the psalmist despairs of the crescendo of wicked men and institutions causing the righteous to move "underground" for safety purposes. The church is presently being measured and evaluated. God is correcting, and continually proving the loyalty of His called-out ones. Today in the world, nominal Christianity has undergone horrific persecution, while aberrant behavior such as lesbianism, homosexuality, and abortion are viewed as the "norm" of culture. In the 20th Century, more Christians were martyred than in all the epochs up to that time; this past year, the UN reported that 131 nations reported a dramatic increase in the persecution of all forms and practices of Christianity. Persecution and discrimination against nominal Christians has increased exponentially, while the secular progressives remain silent. Around the globe, hostility has increased against all forms of Christians, led by a cabal of Communists, militant Islamofascists, and other forces motivated by Satan. The invasion of America, having begun in 1913 when a Babylonian style banking system (known as the Federal Reserve) commenced draining the wealth of this nation, placing it in the hands of despicable international thieves, has nearly reached its cusp. We have a 13 trillion dollar debt; illegal aliens are rushing in to gobble up the remnant of father Abraham's wealth. While love grows cold because lawlessness abounds, the church may well have to go underground in order to survive. We need to be sure to take steps immediately to prepare for horrific times which are soon to shake the entire earth.
John Ritenbaugh, continuing the perennial "Handwriting on the Wall" theme from prior Feasts, suggests that as we mature, our ability to judge should exponentially increase even though perceiving reality is difficult. As we search for the truth, we cannot be "all over the place" but must abide in the truths of morality that come from God. The search for truth is often complicated by obstacles and distractions, including entertainment. A godly life is busy; we must discipline ourselves to stay on track as we find time is running out. We are admonished to seek the Lord while He may be found. Although a camera technically does not lie, when a picture is taken from different angles or perspectives the camera could distort the image, deceiving the viewer. A perception or intuitive judgment (a person's point of view) is how we affix significance to what we look at. Sadly, with a distorted perception, we will not accept reality; our perception becomes our reality. We have to be able to change our perceptions in order to accommodate or accept reality. Satan, by manipulating our perceptions, has deceived the whole world, religiously, politically, and socially. In John 2-4, many individuals stumbled at Jesus' words because they could not break out of their stultifying perceptions of scripture which they had filtered through their traditions. Islamic terrorists, hopelessly in darkness, feel a commission from God to slay the infidels. We are admonished to put on the armor of light (the truth of God) bringing our perceptions into alignment with God's will.
In this keynote address of the 2009 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh, commenting upon the Steven Spielberg movie Munich (a movie depicting an event in which the Palestinians murdered Jewish athletes in 1972 at the Munich Olympic games), describes how Israeli death squads were formed to retaliate against the Palestinians. Although this mission started on a relatively high, noble, and singular purpose, they eventually degenerated into cynicism, demoralization, and paranoia. Alliances with the stated purpose of revenge and retaliation, when coupled with exponential technological advances have made this world dangerously smaller and more vulnerable. Conspiracy theories are entirely believable when we realize that the whole world lies under the sway of the prince and power of the air, a desperate diabolical being who has absolutely no fear of Almighty God, literally living exclusively for the sake of destroying. This being, filled with pride and blind hatred, still believes he can displace God. He is a master of deceit and cunning, twisting people's thinking, magnifying resentment and victimhood, as exemplified by his possessing Judas Iscariot. Satan is fully behind the global effort to join nations together, dissolving sovereignty for the purpose of an international objective, a pattern which can be seen in the construction of the multicultural Tower of Babel, Nimrod's despotism, and other examples throughout scripture. Conspiracies, rampant in the world today, are driven by corporate greed and self interest. Conspiracies on the part of political parties have led to corrupt grasping at power. At Christ's return, all these satanically inspired conspiracies end as He uses a rod of iron against all conspirators. We must not worry about world conspiracies, but instead align ourselves with the Kingdom of God.
In this keynote address of the 2008 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh, describing the scene in the parking lot following a university football game, in which garbage, litter, and abandoned automobiles covered the grounds, suggested that this scene provided a snapshot of the moral state of America, displaying the despicable character traits of irresponsibility and self-indulgence exhibited by too many Americans. This display of irresponsibility carries over into the larger moral realm, making it easy to break every one of God's Commandments. For America and modern Israel, the handwriting is on the wall. The recent greed driven Wall Street debacle, creating billions and billions of dollars of debt has made America the economic slaves of China and other creditors holding the worthless paper IOU's. Americans are oblivious to the presence and work of God. Absolutely nothing can be hidden from Almighty God. As God's called out ones, we owe God a debt of love which can never be paid. We are obligated to ardently love God more than ourselves and our neighbor as ourselves, realizing that Christ sacrificed His life for us. We need to allow God to change our lives, realizing that the blessings and cursing principle of Deuteronomy 28 remains unchanged from its inception, applying to all who have made the covenant with Him. What God is doing to and through us requires our cooperation. As God dealt firmly but mercifully with our father Abraham, we must not begrudge the necessary tests and trials designed to improve and sanctify us. We need to remain humble and submissive to God, living by every word which comes from God's word. Our life depends on how we respond to His life sustaining Word.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that we are to follow Abraham and Sarah's example of relying on God's guidance, learning to trust in the wisdom of Almighty God rather than the world. In order to avoid strife, Abraham allowed his forward nephew Lot first choice. Likewise, the apostle Paul admonished the New Testament church to refrain bringing law suits before the public. Abraham and Sarah were willing to suffer loss in order to achieve peace. Regarding the current scattered flocks, any spirit of competition is the way of enmity and strife. The sheep do not belong to any man or any one group, but they belong to Christ, given to Him by the Father. It is Christ's, not the minister's responsibility to get the sheep into the Kingdom of God. The Church of the Great God sees the other splinter groups as brethren in the greater church of God rather than competitors. Unlike certain understandings in our previous fellowship, each person is directly and individually responsible for his own submission to God's government. No external coercion will develop character or submission to God. Throughout history, the large congregation has been the anomaly rather than the norm. The scattering of the flock has been a blessing, forcing people to take individual responsibility to develop godly character, responding to a still small voice rather than to brazenly get out in front of God. The Bible is replete with examples of great leaders, with hubris, presumptuousness, or pride who got out in front of God (Satan, Abraham, Sarah, Korah, and Josiah) causing irreparable consequences for their descendents. The antidote to presumptuousness involves patiently waiting on the Lord, following God's lead, resisting any impulse to get out in front of God.
In this keynote address of the 2007 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh, focusing on Abraham's pattern of life, answers the question, 'Why is the Church of the Great God doing what it is doing at this time?' Abraham and Sarah's life of faith is the pattern that God's called-out ones are obligated to follow. Interestingly, though Abram, a highly educated man and a scientist, was exceedingly rich, he never owned a home or put down roots, living as an alien or a sojourner in his own land, having considered something else (a better country, a city whose Builder and Maker is God) more important. Like Abraham and Sarah, we are also sojourners, seeking a transcendent goal of a future kingdom. We keep the Feast of Tabernacles to learn to fear God in the same way Abraham feared God, trusting God to take care of all our needs. As He had with Abraham, God is closely analyzing scrutinizing the motives and intents of our minds, judging and evaluating our behaviors, thoughts, and affairs. God is always watching us, often painfully tweaking our behaviors, with the ultimate objective of saving us. Like Abraham, we must realize that our sovereign God rules, having a predetermined purpose and plan for everybody. The scattering of the greater church of God was God-ordained, providing a test for godliness and love. The myopic isolating demonstrated by some splinter groups is an abomination and an affront to God's sovereignty. We must see God in the midst of these events.
In this keynote message of the 2006 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh again alludes to the handwriting is on the wall episode in Daniel 5:5, reminding us that power belongs to God. David also states this in Psalm 62:11. Paul realized that only through using his reciprocity to strengthen his relationship with God was he able to both abound and be abased (Philippians 4:4). When we are in trouble, we, like David, need to contact God first. God is the only sure place of protection. When we are in deep distress, why not go directly to the top? To those who now believe, there is no being more trustworthy than God.
In this keynote address of the 2005 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh focuses upon the dire warnings in Isaiah 1:2-6, suggesting that we have not yet received the disastrous calamities that have beset surrounding Gentile countries. God has always worked through the family to fulfill His purposes, starting with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their physical and spiritual offspring. God has bound Israel together as His Family by means of His written word. Families, having shared characteristics, typify God's pattern of government. The nuclear family is under savage attack, with more and more offspring born out of wedlock. With the destruction of the family, we are witnessing the agonizing death of the U.S. According to Strauss and Howe's The Fourth Turning, we are entering the horrible winter turning - yet paradoxically producing the seed for a happier world tomorrow. David Kupelian in Whistleblower blames war as the chief cause of the families destruction. Other writers cite the feminist movement and same sex marriage, no-fault divorce, abandonment of the church's spiritual leadership, and the pervasive liberal educational, political and social outlook.
John Ritenbaugh in this keynote address of the 2004 Feast of Tabernacles, continuing on the perennial "handwriting on the wall" theme, warns us to be aware of disturbing coming trends (both in society and in the church of God) especially the very real possibility of persecution, betrayal, incredible tribulation stemming from the fearful unraveling of our culture- described in Strauss and Howe's The Fourth Turning. Because God is sovereign, He will do whatever (in the long run or God's grand scheme) is good for us (even stress, weariness, uncertainty, and hope deferred) to qualify for our role in his Kingdom and His family. We can't ever assume that we are going to be immune from tough times and intense fiery persecution, but we need to ask God for the strength to endure whatever we are asked to endure- including the intense hatred of the world. Satan's wrath is not directed against the world, but instead at the church of God, as we can see trends such as the rise of feminism, homosexuality, the destruction of the family, the enforced teaching of evolution, the marginalizing of Christianity and traditional cultural values by governmental authorities. We are coming to live in a ruthless judicial dictatorship. Having faith in God's sovereignty and His faithfulness will neutralize the sense of fear and hopelessness we are bound to experience in ruminating about the "here and now" or the "around and the about."
John Ritenbaugh, focusing upon Paul's admonition about the night being far spent, warns us to make careful and judicious use of our time in anticipating the return of Jesus Christ. The death and destruction forecast by Christ would come from the hands of man, rather than from God. More pieces of this prophetic puzzle are available to us today than were given to our predecessors. Weapons of mass destruction and immediate worldwide communications have made the events of Matthew 24 and Luke 21 increasingly more believable, logical, and plausible. William Strauss and Neil Howe, in their book The Fourth Turning unwittingly describe four distinct generations of Jacob's offspring and their particular reactions to national crises such as war and other forms of disasters. The reactions stem from reactions against child rearing styles of the previous generations. Corresponding to the four seasons, four distinct types of generations emerge (designated as artist (fall) prophet (summer) nomad (fall) and hero (winter). Strauss and Howe predict a coming winter season, a crisis involving an acceleration toward unprecedented war and destruction. Only Christ's return will terminate this dead end destructive cycle
In this keynote address of the 2002 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh focuses upon the prophecy of Deuteronomy 28:42-49 concerning the curse of the stranger rising higher and higher above us, displacing our Israelitish culture with an alien Gentile culture. Like leaven in bread dough, the minority alien cultures, further corrupting the integrity and fabric of the majority or indigenous culture, putting a tremendous strain on the economic resources, our educational, social, and religious institutions, displacing the Israelite population, rapidly rendering it a dependent minority culture. Third world immigration into America and Europe is greatly diluting and destroying the white, English- speaking culture, making America, Canada and Britain the world's colony. The bounds of habitation that God has originally established are being destroyed in this curse. We march to the beat of a different drummer, having our citizenship in God's Kingdom.
In this keynote address of the 2000 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh, drawing on descriptions in Amos 2, suggests that those entrusted with leadership (power within the community, power within the nations) are taking advantage of their positions, metaphorically raping those who have no power. Most notably, an American president, who for the sake of his own personal ambition, hoping to remove the stains of his personal sins from the consciousness of people worldwide, attempted to broker an obscene Middle Eastern oil deal, artificially cutting the supply in order to make prices rise, thereby inflicting economic hardship on the backs of the powerless, making them serfs or slaves to the federal government (I Samuel 8:17) The Feast of Tabernacles depicts a time when all this kind of self-indulgent chicanery will come to a permanent halt.
In this lead-off sermon of the 1999 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh draws an instructive though disturbing parallel between the warning given to Belshazzar and the warning given to the greater church of God. A major contributory cause in the splitting of the church has been the wholesale rejection of the doctrines Herbert Armstrong, under God's inspiration, worked to restore. When the shepherd was smitten, false teachers systematically undermined the faith once delivered. We need to realize that if God were not with Herbert Armstrong in those formative years, then indeed the handwriting is on the wall for us. We desperately need to hold fast to those doctrines restored through Herbert Armstrong's ministry.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that even before we acquire the necessary motivational building blocks of faith, hope, and love, we must acquire the fear of God (spanning the emotions of stark terror to reverential awe) providing a key, unlocking the treasures of God. The process of acquiring this fear comes through a perennial sequential pattern of chaos or disorder followed by Divine order, revealing God's glory, followed by judgment in some form. The cycle takes place in our lives just as assuredly as it did in the biblical examples. Judgment is now upon the Church of God. Learning from biblical examples, we dare not treat what is holy as common, but must (with the metaphorical hills and valleys of our character leveled) maintain a steady reverential fear of God.
In this keynote address of the 1997 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh warns that people are not going to understand the significance of prophecies until the prophecies are being fulfilled or have been completely fulfilled. Understanding prophecy is secondary in importance to overcoming, growing, developing character, and being in the image of God. One significant event, the scattering of the greater church of God, reflects a more general trend on the world scene—the disintegration of the major religions into millions of pieces (reflecting a general world wide disdain for hierarchical structure), making possible a post-modern syncretistic reconstruction of millions of personal private religions, incorporating feel-good palliatives and allowing for moral laxity. In the wake of this pernicious self-expression, we must desperately hold fast, contending for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
A Statement of Purpose and Beliefs of the Church of the Great God
In this keynote message of the 1996 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh focuses upon the causes of the atomizing of the greater church of God into very small particles. Almighty God, as a means of mercifully disciplining and chastening His faithless children, initiated the scattering of the church (the Israel of God) for our ultimate good (Deuteronomy 28:25; Romans 8:28; Hebrews 12:5-6). Christianity is a religion of revelation- not human intellect. When the revelation of God was replaced with the wisdom of this world (the leaven of errant intellectualism), God had no choice but to scatter. As Israel did not repent at the preaching of Amos, or Judah at the preaching of Jeremiah, the members of the greater church of God did not take the warnings of Herbert Armstrong personally and individually. Any regrouping of the scattered pieces will be done only on God's terms.
John Ritenbaugh focuses on God's meticulous management of all living creatures, including insects, animals, humans, angelic and demonic beings. All conform to His ultimate spiritual purpose-which overrides all other concerns. A converted person, accepting God's sovereignty, accepting that He takes specific care with His children, realizes that both blessings and curses, prosperity and deprivation, should be considered tools in the Creator's workshop, crafting out a magnificent spiritual purpose. This insight, not available to everyone, should instill a deep profound peace, trust, and faith.
In this keynote address of the 1995 Feast of Tabernacles, John Ritenbaugh asserts that because cultural restraints which once held human nature in check have been removed, vile human nature has waxed increasingly more corrupt and depraved, approaching conditions described in Genesis 6:5-7. Skyrocketing statistics on social spending, abortion, violent crime, illegitimate births, divorce, teenage suicides etc. indicate a worsening cancerous degeneracy (Isaiah 1:6). Paradoxically, increased social spending, by creating dependency, has actually worsened the problems. God has indicted our people (Hosea 4:1-3, Ezekiel 7:23-27) for its bloody violence and disregard for the preciousness of life. The Feast of Tabernacles pictures a refreshing time when these problems will be dealt with from the just and equitable mind of God.
John Ritenbaugh, citing a rather sobering reflective article by Vaclav Havel, observes that although we enjoy the benefits of scientific progress, we understand ourselves less and less; everything is seemingly possible, but nothing is certain. Without the spirit of God, mankind becomes guided by another spirit leading to dreadful destructive sinister consequences- made increasingly more menacing by increased technological capabilities. A person having only the spirit of man is absolutely held in bondage to it. It is impossible for mankind, without God's Spirit (Deuteronomy 5:29) to responsibly use the powers and abilities God has given to him. By yielding to God and using the power of His spirit, we can experience a foretaste of the times of refreshing and restitution which will eventually be made available to the entire creation (Acts 3:19)
John Ritenbaugh, prior to the study of Lamentations, explains the significance of the handwriting on the wall in Daniel 5:25, referring to a systematic calculation of time. The key is to convert the monetary measures into units of time, employing the day-for-a year principle established elsewhere. This calculation provides a clue for the resurrection of Babylon. In Lamentations 3, the narrator looks at the horrible affliction of his people and sees ultimate good coming from this tribulation, realizing that it has been God's tool of correction. Our responsibility in such a context is to submit to the yoke God has prepared for us, and to be willing to follow God's will, realizing that chastening has been for our ultimate good.
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