My Crisis in Faith
Satan Smiting Job with Boils - William Blake
Jewish Lords' Witness
Image provided by www.BiblePictureGallery.com.
I have been undergoing my own personal crisis in faith over the last few months or so but I hope that I am now just beginning to come out of it. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for 40 years to remove the older sinful generations from their ranks:
6 For the sons of Israel had walked forty years in the wilderness, until all the nation, the men of war who had come out of Egypt were consumed, [those] who did not listen to the voice of Jehovah, to whom Jehovah had sworn to them not to show them the land which Jehovah swore to their fathers, to give to us, a land flowing with milk and honey; [these] were consumed. (Joshua 5 GLT)
Hopefully my spiritual wanderings will not last any longer than around 4 months at the most to rid me of my personal demons. I would hate to think that our God would prevent me from reaching the promised land for a few months or so of less than fully faithful behaviour.
This state of mind has been sparked off by my moving house. Frankly this was not something that I had really wanted to do but by downsizing our home this would allow my dear lady wife to retire on the proceeds of the house sale. This was something that she desperately wanted to do. Well at least that objective has now been met; at the point of starting to write this paper she has now been retired for one whole week. It will take some getting used to having her around so much from now on though!!
Now moving house is not, in itself, an ungodly act:
18 And My people shall live in a peaceful home, and in safe dwellings, and in secure resting places. (Isaiah 32 GLT)
However the problem for me has been that we have not moved house for nearly three decades so I had forgotten how much of an upheaval it can be particularly if one moves to a different town. On top of forgetting the difficulties of moving, I am also thirty years more senior compared with our previous house move and seriously less able to cope with all the changes taking place in my life currently as a result. Mind you the Lord says He will bear us in our old age:
4 Even to old age I [am] He; and I will bear to gray hair; I made, and I will carry; and I will bear and deliver. (Isaiah 46 GLT)
And as David requested:
9 Do not cast me off now at the time of my old age. Do not forsake me when my strength fails. (Psalms 71 GLT)
I have to say that it has not felt like I have been carried recently! Even though we now live no more than five miles from our old house, we are now on the opposite bank of the Thames in a town whose geography I was not intimately familiar with. Everything changed for me: from what side of the bed I got out of in the morning to start my day; where the toilet was for my moonlight trips to relieve myself (new permanent night lights have helped in this regard!); to needing to use the satnav to drive to my old familiar places from an unfamiliar start point.
What had been a very relaxed familiar and routine lifestyle was now turned into complete mayhem for me at every turn. What added significantly to that turmoil was the legions of different workmen we had in to do various essential jobs on our new house to enable us to settle in. While I have been very happy with the attitude and high quality of workmanship that I have seen from all of them, the level of disruption, nonetheless, has been necessarily extremely high. Typical of that disruption has been the necessity to get our cars out of the front drive and open up the garage doors and side gate to enable access first thing in the morning for the first three months or so. Not the nice relaxed start to the day that I had previously enjoyed. I should add that the whole experience has taken a heavy toll on my wife’s mental and physical health and this in turn has had a very negative impact on my own state of mind, health and general well-being.
Whilst the above is what sparked off my poor (spiritual) heart condition, there have been other underlying causes that have most certainly contributed to and built it up over a longer time period. Any of you who follow my church’s main website (http://www.truebiblecode.com/) will know that we have been attempting to predict the date of the fire signs that will mark the start of the end of this system of things. This has been going on for several years now with failed prediction after failed prediction.
It had certainly seemed appropriate to me that if I had truly found my destiny in the Fourth and last True Christian Church of the Lords’ Witnesses then we should be blessed with the ability to accurately make such predictions. But this has so far proved to not be the case. We believe that our revised predictions have given us a massive understanding of the numerical data held within the scriptures which, I am certain, no other church has. However, we are now running out of runway if we are to ever make a correct prophecy on this matter with our current overall set of understandings. This is causing us all in the Church to feel very uncertain of where this quest might be taking us. We have lost many of our brothers in the process and there is now just a small hard core of us left waving the flag for TCC4.
I know that I am not the only one in the church whose very faith is being tested to the maximum. I think I share that in common with all my brothers in Christ to varying degrees. This is very disconcerting when one believes that we have been sealed already from the hour of the test:
10 Because you kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep you out of the hour of trial which is going to come on all the habitable world in order to try those dwelling on the earth. (Revelation 3 GLT)
On top of that, we married brethren have an additional pressure to bear. Although our wives generally have faith in the saving grace of our God, there is much dissent from them now mainly stemming from this failure to ascertain the correct date of the two nuclear explosions. I am certainly facing much criticism from my spouse and I know that my married brethren are also facing much emotional stress from that self-same source.
This plus the continuing work on my new house and the continual discovery of more things that need to be done on the house have had a highly damaging effect both on my own and my wife’s state of physical and mental health. If we were younger people we would probably have been able to handle the continual pressure. In the past we have managed a substantial house extension in which we added a further 50% to our previous house’s floor space whilst bringing up three small children, so this must be a heavily age-induced syndrome for both of us right now.
As I indicated earlier there were times when I found myself challenging God and asking Him why He was letting this happen to us, whether He was listening or was He even there? My state of mind thus far during this crisis has effectively prevented my carrying out any serious bible research until this paper. While writing this paper I found myself going over my earlier work on the trials of Job which seemed to be quite pertinent to my current miserable state of mind: (http://www.jewishlordswitness.com/job.html). It would seem that I have now reached a state where I need to consider my forbear rather more steadfastly than at the time of its original writing and I suggest the interested reader should go back over that earlier work. This time my faith has been sorely tested and I certainly challenged God with my lips this time around which Job clearly did not!
All of this has added up to my current unhappy state of mind. This has manifested itself mainly in my current ‘grumpy old man’ syndrome in stark contrast to my normally friendly happy attitude towards my lot in life. It has shown itself particularly in my attitude to my wife who I blamed in my mind for all my current ills since it was ostensibly for her benefit that I begrudgingly agreed to the house move in the first place.
As ever, though, it was her steadfast love that has helped me to more fully understand what has actually been happening to me. This is the gist of a few texts that she sent me when I was lost: ‘The day gets better. So stop being gloom and doom. All is good not bad. It's Satan getting in your head. Let God in and pray more positively rather than letting the devil in that mind of yours. There will be a solution you just don't know what it is. Deep breath and carry on’.
That was a wonderful and very timely message to receive from my dear lady wife in my hour of need. I read it when I had just finished a weight training session in our (now not so) local gym. I was close to tears on reading it; not really what one wants in the company of numerous beefy and athletic fellow trainers. Not only did it show me that she was being strong enough for the two of us in this stressful time but it also helped me to instantly realise the real cause of my current poor spiritual health. This house move was causing me to concentrate almost exclusively on the physical worldly affairs surrounding my own secular well-being. I had no time (or inclination) to focus on spiritual matters. It struck me in an instant of reading these texts that it was this which was the true cause of my poor state of mind and resultant behaviour. As the Job paper indicated I was now no longer in my comfort zone so my spirituality just disappeared from my life: no bible research and no contact with my brothers in Christ.
This, for me, showed the battleground between the physical and the spiritual which is the environment in which we all have to contend today:
45 So also it has been written, "The" first "man", Adam, "became a living soul;" the last Adam a life-giving Spirit. [Gen. 2:7]
46 But not the spiritual first, but the natural; afterward the spiritual.
47 The first man [was] out of earth, earthy. The second Man [was] the Lord out of Heaven. [Gen. 2:7]
48 Such [as is] the earthy [man], such also [are] the earthy ones. And such [as is] the heavenly [Man], such also [are] the heavenly ones.
49 And as we bore the image of the earthy [man], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [Man]. (1 Corinthians 15 GLT)
We are physically based creatures today but must attain to the spiritual man if we are to become true sons of God. One key indicator of this for me was that I had not written a worthwhile word on spiritual matters for at least a month following on from the house move. This paper is my first such attempt at writing on a (highly pertinent) spiritual matter since before our house move.
This behavioural change is in stark contrast to that of Daniel who continued in his daily supplications to Jehovah in the face of the highly non-routine threat of death in the lion’s den as a direct result of his sticking to his normal prayer schedule in direct contravention of King Darius’s decree:
7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects, and the satraps, the officials and the governors, have planned together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, except from you, O king, he shall be thrown into the den of lions.
8 Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the document, so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not pass away.
9 All on account of this, King Darius signed the document and the decree.
10 And when he had learned that the document was signed, Daniel went to his house. And his windows were open in his roof room toward Jerusalem. He knelt on his knees three times in the day, and prayed and praised before his God, as he did before. (Daniel 6 GLT)
This act of Daniel appears to have been a deliberate and explicit challenge to King Darius’ decree. Clearly I do not have the faith and strength of character of Daniel! Mind you I think that Satan works in much more subtle ways when he needs to:
11 Put on all the armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil,
12 because wrestling against flesh and blood is not to us, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world's rulers, of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual [powers] of evil in the heavenlies. (Ephesians 6 GLT)
King Darius’s decree was a clear and direct assault on Daniel’s system of prayer. Satan’s assault on yours truly was a relatively unseen escalation of the day to day matters that inevitably involve our spending time on normally relatively benign but secular activities. The trap that I fell into was that these activities are not explicitly created to prevent our praying and working on behalf of our God under normal circumstances. Or are they? It does seem to me that much of our normal daily routine is taken up with mostly mindless physical activities necessary for maintaining our physical well-being in this Satanically ruled existence that we currently have to suffer.
So what have I learned from all this? Well first and foremost I must try to maintain the spiritual aspects of my normal daily routine especially when I feel worldly affairs are crowding in on my personal time. Well that is all well and good for relatively uncommon stressful events such as a house move, but I must learn to recognise all such occurrences, even under relatively normal circumstances, before they are upon me.
In trying to understand why God had allowed these events to happen to us I found my way to the following website which has shown me that all I really needed to do was to learn to rely on God rather more than I had been used to. That is some lesson for a sixty nine year old member of the Fourth and Last True Christian Church to find out about himself. Particularly from a much younger Christian! God bless him! More loving preparation for me from our God for the millennium to come: http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2009/07/20/everyday-theology-god-wont-give-you-more-than-you-can-handle/
But what of my concerns over the Lords’ Witnesses’ inability at prophesying key dates? To start with, I felt that I needed to review once again whether we should be prophesying dates at all. There are several scriptures which seem to clearly indicate that we should not be doing this since it will end in failure or will it?
36 But as to that day and that hour, no one knows, neither the angels of Heaven, except My Father only.
37 But as the days of Noah, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man.
38 For as they were in the days before the flood: eating, and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until [the] day [when] Noah went into the ark.
39 And they did not know until the flood came and took all away. So also will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24 GLT)
30 Truly, then, God overlooking the times of ignorance, now strictly commands all men everywhere to repent,
31 because He set a day in which "He is going to judge the habitable world in righteousness," by a Man whom He appointed; having given proof to all [by] raising Him from [the] dead. [Psa. 9:8] (Acts 17 GLT)
Matthew 24 above indicates that it is only the Father Jehovah who knows the date. Not even Jesus Himself therefore had that knowledge at the time that He spoke of these things to His disciples. In addition Acts 17 makes it abundantly clear that God has set the day of judgement.
42 Watch, then, for you do not know in what hour your Lord comes.
43 But know this, that if the housemaster had known in what watch the thief comes, he would have watched and not have allowed his house to be dug through.
44 Because of this, you also be ready, for in that hour you think not, the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 24 GLT)
Matthew then goes on further by explicitly stating that Jesus’ faithful servants will not know the date of the end of this system of things. Who are the Lords’ Witnesses if not today’s faithful servants? Or are we? However let us go back to Matthew 24:37 where the end of days is compared to the flood in Noah’s time. As God’s faithful servant did Noah get advanced warning of the specific date of the flood? Well yes he did:
4 For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights and will wipe away every living substance that I have made from off the face of the earth. (Genesis 7 GLT)
So, at the point that God asked Noah to start loading the ark with his animals and food stock, he was given seven days’ notice in which to complete the loading before the flood waters were to commence falling. Wow, that is some revelation! But what might that mean for today’s faithful servant of God? It certainly would mean that at a particular juncture just prior to the start of the final flood that the faithful ones will know the date so that they can prepare for their entry into the new ark. But how long do we need for such preparations? Will it be seven days as in Noah’s time? Or seven minutes, hours, weeks, months, years?
Not knowing what to do next I then went back to the Lords’ Witnesses official website to review once again our justification for seeking out the date of the next fire sign. I am glad that I did since it has reassured me that we are carrying out God’s will as incompetent as our efforts may seem to mere mortal man (including myself!). I direct the reader to the relevant link where you can make that judgement for yourself: http://www.truebiblecode.com/#24.
I would have to say that I am not exactly sure just what is actually involved in loading the new ark! However I think we will be getting a little help from our friends:
31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of [the] heavens to their ends. (Matthew 24 GLT)
So I am not sure we will need to do too much loading beforehand except to keep our faith and to keep on the watch. Time will most definitely tell. Ultimately we now have to be pretty close to our final prediction. So if we are incorrect even a few more times I am advised that we may be close to our final attempt at predicting the sign and, no doubt, we will then have to determine the true status of our church in the eyes of God. Amen.
While the church is still awaiting the sign from God, my wife and I still needed to get our married and secular lives back on an even keel. It was imperative that we removed the cause of our ill health. My psychiatric nurse daughter described part of our joint syndrome as ‘situational depression’, i.e. depression brought about only and specifically as a result of the situation we found ourselves in. In this case it was the managing of a house maintenance project for which we were now too old to have taken on. It might have been easier to have worked this out prior to our consideration of moving house. However, it seems that mankind only seems to learn any really worthwhile lessons after suffering much pain in the process. Our case was no different.
So in simple terms we needed to remove ourselves from this difficult situation as quickly as possible. This we have done by using the services of a company to move to a retirement apartment in a beautiful and rural part of southern England. So we are moving to a situation in which we no longer will need to worry about the upkeep of a house. In addition we will be provided with a managed service which will enable us to live out the final stages of our lives in a relatively comfortable and stress free home environment. This is probably the kind of housing we should have been looking for in our original house move. Anyway I live in expectation that the fire signs will nonetheless cut even those days short in this Satanic system. Amen.