John Ritenbaugh continues his expose on the immorality of the federal government, especially its stealing through confiscatory taxation in order to make it appear that the leaders in government are benefactors. Their normal modus operandi is to steal from Peter to pay Paul in order to grease the skids of government thievery. One of the most egregious thefts conducted by the federal government was to buy up millions of acres of land from our taxes in order to to use this land for grazing, lumber, or mineral rights, something disallowed by the Constitution. The original intent for federal land was for (1) military installations, (2) arsenals, (3) dockyards, and (4) other needful buildings. The Founding Fathers intended that the federal government would be allocated 10 square miles comprising the District of Columbia. Over the years, the elected thieves in Washington have stolen millions of acres of land, especially in the western United States, with over 84% of Nevada, 69% of Alaska, and 45% of California stolen by the federal government, taking away these precious resources from the citizenry. As in the times of the Pharaoh, when the government steals the resources of Israel, the people become slaves, not beneficiaries.
John Ritenbaugh, acknowledging that unscrupulous politicians have transferred trillions of dollars of earnings to 'taking care of the poor,' evidently with the ulterior motive of creating millions of dependents (and potential voters), points out that these programs have succeeded in destroying the family structure of one major ethnic group, rendering the role of husband and father irrelevant. Former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney warned that as of 2012 48% of our populace was receiving part or all of their income from the Federal government. Dr. Walter Williams in a Whistleblower Magazine article, through a series of instructive analogies, demonstrated that socialism is a cancerous evil, robbing from the productive and giving to the unproductive, destroying all incentives for growth or real productivity. Confiscatory taxes allow politicians to legally steal from their hapless constituents, enabling them to pretend that they are benefactors when they are actually thieves. Socialism, Fascism, Communism, and any other form of Collectivism or Statism, does not bring about equality at all, but a cruel form of slavery, presided over by a smug, morally bankrupt elite. The welfare state leads to slavery of the masses.
Richard Ritenbaugh, asking us whether we trust the current Federal government, points out that, according to recent polls, confidence in government has eroded to an all-time historical low, with only 13% of the citizenry believing government does right most of the time, 10% believing government never does anything right, while the vast majority, 75%, feel the government gets it right only part of the time. The Federal government has become a total disaster, with the rogue, criminal executive orders, systematically removing our freedoms, coming from the executive branch, destroying constitutional checks and balances. When we compare the mercurial instability of man's government to God, we witness a stark contrast. God does not change, His benefits are beyond measure, and compared to the confiscatory tribute demanded by government, God commands only a fractional proportion. God forgives our sins, gives us a Savior, gives us a down-payment on eternal life, provides food, and heals our diseases, all without a price tag. Like David running from Saul in the Judean wilderness, we find it far more profitable to trust in God rather than princes, knowing that God will never allow us to endure more than we can handle, and will provide a way of escape. David reminds us in the acrostic Psalm 37 that we should not be concerned about the wicked, whose destiny is to perish, and that the righteous are infinitely better off. We are warned not to nurse burning, vindictive anger, realizing that the temporary 'success' of the wicked will eventually turn into a bitter harvest. Instead of wasting our energy in resentment, we need to put our emotion into positively doing good, cultivating our faith, and committing our ways to the Lord, putting our loyalty to the covenant in sync with God's. In our commitment to God, we must relinquish control, allowing God to take the lead. God delights when we allow Him to guide us, inscribing His laws on our hearts.
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting upon what America is becoming as a nation in comparison with the way America was at the time of the American Revolution, concludes that the Founding Fathers, largely Deists by religious philosophy, had an exponentially larger proportion of intestinal fortitude than our current apathetic populace, intimidated by the imperial regime now holding the White House. The tax that King George levied upon the colonies was about 1%—infinitesimally smaller than the burdensome tribute paid for Obamacare. Even though America, in the main, could hardly be called a "Christian " country, the original pilgrims and separatists did indeed come over to this country seeking religious freedom and thrived in the climate of free enterprise. When King George imposed the trifling tax on the colonies, the Puritans were ready to align with the Deist leaders to throw off the yoke of the most powerful nation on the earth at that time. God apparently used this friction to pragmatically separate Ephraim and Manasseh. The timidity and apathy expressed by our citizenry today is a far cry from the bravery of the Colonists.
Government may very well be the most important subject in all the Bible because it contains the vital knowledge of how Christians are to govern themselves under the sovereignty of God. John Ritenbaugh concludes his series on our full acceptance of God's sovereignty by highlighting how Christ helps us to follow God's will as He did.
Jesus' miracle involving Peter finding a coin in a fish's mouth, enough to pay the Temple tax for both men, is often overlooked. Martin Collins explains the biblical background of the Temple tax, as well as Christ's awesome display of prescience, power, and control in performing this miracle.
The numbers do not lie—birthrates are declining. But what are governments planning to do about this imminent problem? Charles Whitaker examines the two main proposals, concluding that both are wrongheaded. Sidebars address why demography is important and the work of two famous demographers, Thomas Malthus and Paul Ehrlich.
As he aged, Solomon listened to his foreign wives and fell into idolatry. For this, Charles Whitaker shows, God divided his kingdom between Israel and Judah, but promised that a king of Judaic lineage will alway rule Israel—another search criterion in the quest to locate modern Israel.
Martin G. Collins: A news headline this week reads, "7 States Begin Fiscal Year With No Budget. ...
Compromise usually begins small and can grow to encompass once strongly held beliefs. Martin Collins uses the story of Solomon to illustrate how this process works.
A great many Americans feel that they do not have to submit to the government. John Reid brings the Bible's viewpoint into this discusssion.
John Ritenbaugh focuses upon God's management of mankind. God has consistently moved His creation toward its ultimate purpose, setting the bounds of nations, motivating rulers (Proverbs 12:1) to pursue a certain course of action, sometimes against their will. It is God's will that we submit to governmental authority (legal or illegal), obeying God, of course, rather than men (Acts 5:29) to the end that by doing good, we provide a good example, silencing the foolish accusations of men. God has chosen a tiny fragment of weak individuals, rescuing them from Satan's rebellious mindset (Ephesians 2:1-3) to fashion into obedient and submissive vessels of glory.
The world really hasn't the foggiest idea of what love really is. Of all God's spiritual gifts, love is the preserving agent preventing any of the other gifts such as prophecy, knowledge, or tongues to become corrupted. Love, an attribute of God Almighty, needs to be the driving force of everything we do. Without love, some normally positive attributes like drive, courage, and determination become brittle and self-seeking. God is the sole source of love; mankind by nature does not have it. It is only by knowing God that we can have this love. Love can be described as a cycle, which God initiates. As we give it back to Him, He gives more to us because we are growing and our love must be perfected. Love is not feeling but action. As God loves us, He expects us to reciprocate back to Him and out to our fellowman, and by so doing we become credible witnesses for God.
John Ritenbaugh asserts that keeping the Feast of Tabernacles in a central location enables us to realize that we are involved in something larger than our own salvation- part of a universal and eternal mission, giving us unity toward God's purpose. Jeroboam, motivated by political ambition and self-centered fear, incrementally and surreptitiously established a more convenient idolatrous festival, replacing the Levites, and establishing new centers of worship in order to prevent his people from keeping the legitimate Feast of Tabernacles in Judah. The modern parallel seems quite clear.
John Ritenbaugh, focusing upon the seed analogy of Jesus in John 12:24, emphasizes that sacrifice is absolutely necessary (the seed must give up its life) in order for quality fruit to be produced. Using this seed planting analogy, Jesus teaches that, as a seed must be planted, dying to itself in order to bear fruit, we similarly must sacrifice our lives- submitting our wills unconditionally to God's will in order to bear abundant fruit, attaining the abundant life we deeply crave. Conversely, if we try to placate the natural carnal lusts, we will not bear good fruit. After we die to sin in the waters of baptism, we no longer dedicate ourselves to satisfying our carnal drives, but instead to submit to God, who engineers the process of our spiritual growth into a new spiritual creation, children of light, reflecting the characteristics of our spiritual Parent. Keeping God's Commandments leads to spiritual insight and light, but breaking them leads to spiritual blindness and darkness. There is no neutrality in following God's Word. John 13:1-17 provides an unusual insight into the very mind of God, exemplified as a serving "footwashing" attitude, demonstrating servant leadership toward His creation, an attitude and behavior we are obligated to emulate. The essence of love is sacrifice.
John Ritenbaugh reiterates that chapter 21 describes Jesus Christ's public announcement of His Messiah-ship, when the crowds would select Him to be the Paschal sacrificial Lamb of God. After overturning the money changer's tables and cursing the fig tree, Jesus relates a parable about a man (symbolizing God) who planted a vineyard (symbolizing Israel and Judah), turning it over to some husbandmen (symbolizing the religious leaders who were responsible for the education of the nation), who later proved to be unfaithful, beating the owners servants (symbolizing the prophets) and killing the owner's son (symbolizing Jesus Christ). The responsibility for tending the vineyard was removed from those wicked husbandmen (symbolizing the priests and Pharisees) and given to new servants who would tend it faithfully, bringing about quality fruit replacing physical Israel with the Israel of God- or the Church. If the Church fails in its responsibility, God will take it away again and give it to someone who will bring forth fruit. When God gives us a responsibility, He gives us all the tools we need to carry it out as well as the freedom to decide how best to do it. God wants to see how we do with what we have been given. As future kings, we must learn how to solve problems. We are going to be accountable for the outcome. Jesus Christ as the cornerstone of the Kingdom of God will either be a sanctuary or a stumbling block or grinding stone to those leaders, peoples, or nations He encounters. We cannot allow the cares of the world to run interference with our calling. Spiritual goals, including nurturing our spouses and families, have to come first. Prayer and Bible study must be regarded as our lifeblood in establishing a relationship with God. Walking by faith (rather than walking by sight) will help us establish the right priorities. Our betrothal to Christ at this time does not have a specific date for the actual marriage; we must be prepared at all times. [NB: This series of Bible Studies from 1981-82 is incomplete.]
John Ritenbaugh, focusing on Matthew 9:2-9 recounts an event in which an evangelist criticized Herbert W. Armstrong for suggesting that healing constitutes a forgiveness of sin. The effects of sin on successive generations are clearly seen in Exodus 20:5. Sin causes disease, but the person who becomes sick does not necessarily commit the sin. Because God alone can forgive sin, God alone can heal. Matthew, a former publican, was nevertheless made an apostle by Jesus Christ. Matthew's need to overcome stands in stark contrast to the Pharisees smug condemnatory righteousness. Christianity is a joyous experience we share with Christ. The reactionary Pharisees, bogged down with manmade traditions, were extremely resistant to new truth and change. Human nature is passionately attached to the status quo. Consequently, the new teachings of Christ are incompatible with the teachings we learned from our parents or society. Even with our inadequacies, Jesus will nevertheless grant us our requests if they are according to God's will. We should remember that the best teaching is always done through example. [NB: This series of Bible Studies from 1981-82 is incomplete.]
Even with all the political, environmental and military problems hanging over us, Americans are most concerned about their personal finances. Herbert Armstrong shows from Scripture how your financial problems can be solved!
The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment
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