Thursday, July 7, 2016

Reading Meredith's Booklet, God's Intervention in World Affairs

Back in 1996 Roderick C. Meredith wrote a booklet entitled God's Intervention in World Affairs. In this booklet Meredith proclaims that the world will soon collapse into a horrifying catastrophe but Christ will return to save the world from physical annihilation and usher in a glorious thousand years of peace ruling the world with glorified GCG/LCG members. He insists he can get you there.

For this post we shall be looking at the 1996 version of this booklet.

Meredith begins with this introduction warning of dire happenings soon to occur.
Staggering crises face a bewildered humanity over the next decade or two. The world’s supply of good food and clean water is dwindling. Millions are destined for starvation. Pollution is now a massive global problem. And the United States is saddled with swiftly growing national debt of truly gargantuan proportion! Where will it all lead? And what does the Creator God have in mind?
It is now two decades after this booklet's publication and Meredith's followers are still waiting for Christ to return. While of course there are many problems Meredith's prophecy of a crippling collapse of the United States has not occurred. Just recently the United States killed the leader of the Taliban in a drone strike. Also Meredith is completely wrong to make people worried about the federal debt. In fact US bonds are the "least risky asset in international finance."

Meredith starts by saying many expect Christ to soon return but Meredith insists that Christ cannot return until certain things happen first and he claims to know what these things are.
God the Father will send Jesus Christ back to this earth at a time when His Second Coming will make the difference between life and death for the human race. Preachers who fatuously intone “tonight is the night” are doing a grave disservice to those who listen to them. The return of Jesus Christ is deadly serious business. It is a question, possibly, of YOUR survival! (p. 1.)
Meredith has been making similar dire predictions continuously since the 1950s. It has never happened.

The purpose of this booklet is to get recruits to join his organization so he has to discredit the competition, namely the other churches that hope for Christ's return.
Only from one place, the Holy Bible, can you find the revealed knowledge about this crucial question. Most of the ideas and speculation of men about Christ’s return are sheer non- sense—based on nothing but guesses and vanity! (pp. 1-2.)
Meredith then cites various verses of the Bible to insist that when Christ return the Earth will be on the verge of annihilation. Only with Christ's return will this annihilation be prevented. The technological advances of our present time is asserted as evidence that Christ's return will soon return. Wars are mentioned.

He then presents a dire portrayal of what he claims will soon occur.
Consider this vision of the future: An alarming series of crises face a bewildered humanity.
How wonderfully vague. That sentence could be applied to anything.
The world’s supply of good food and clean water dwindles due to pollution that degrades the environment and global warming that alters weather patterns. Millions face hunger and, eventually, starvation. Some areas struggle with horrendous winter storms and massive flooding while other areas wither in drought under a blazing sun!
Environmentalist activists have often warned about environmental problems. Paying three tithes and extra offerings to Meredith's organization will do nothing to address these problems.  
These weather upsets exact staggering financial tolls, bankrupting many insurance companies. Massive earthquakes, occasional volcanoes and insect plagues further drain international and local disaster relief resources.
Such a mass bankruptcy of insurance companies simply has not happened even after the various natural disasters that have occurred since this booklet's publication in 1996.
Ethnic tensions, unemployment and pervasive urban crime cast a pall of insecurity over your community. Life becomes increasingly cheap. After all, what is the cost of a couple of bullets or a knife? 
Little did Meredith know that crime rates would actually go down in the United States throughout the 1990s. 
Devastating disease epidemics afflict tens of millions! As the climate warms, exotic diseases once confined to Third World tropical countries move north with certain species of disease-carrying mosquitoes and other insects. Drug-resistant infectious bacterial strains breed rapidly in hospitals, wiping out the effectiveness of antibiotics and other “miracle” drugs.
Many have long warned about the problem of antibiotic resistant strains of various diseases becoming more widespread. We didn't need this booklet to know that.
Bioengineering practices to provide humans with transplant organs from baboons, pigs and other animals facilitate the dangerous mutation of deadly bacteria and viruses that consequently leap the previous barrier between animal and human susceptibility to one another’s diseases.
This change of diseases acquiring the means to infect human beings is a part of nature. Transplants of this kind which were merely hypothetical back in 1996 were completely unnecessary for such things to occur.
The young, the poor, the elderly and the unfortunate sometimes die in staggering numbers. Mass burials of the dead become commonplace. (p. 3.)
Twenty years later the Europeans still are not ready to conquer the United States.

But Meredith knows many will object perceiving that this is just baseless fear mongering.
“Nonsense,” you say? “Never will happen where I live,” you argue. “Unwarranted doom and gloom,” you assume. “Besides, my government and modern technology will save me from such problems,” you hope.

Oh really? Will your armies, police, social security and health care systems indefinitely insulate you from such looming foreign and domestic terrors? Don’t bet on it! (p. 3.)
So what evidence will Meredith presents to insist that these fears are legitimate?
Most Western governments, including the United States, are saddled with swiftly rising public debts that have grown to truly gargantuan proportions! Painful budget cuts are the fodder of many nations’ political debate. In many Third World countries, the priority is to spend money these days on guns—not health care or pensions—due to social insecurity. (pp. 3-4.)
The US national debt will not cause the United States to soon collapse. Such talk is utter nonsense. It is not going to happen. The US federal debt is in US dollars and the US government is the source of this currency therefore no one can force the US government to default on the federal debt. Furthermore the federal debt is trusted by the financial markets which is why it has very low interest rates.
If you are an American, a Canadian, a Briton, an Aussie or a resident of one of the comfortably wealthy Western powers, take note. Fiscal irresponsibility on a national scale presages a clear decline in future prestige and power. And if your country is going to have to cut back due to lack of income, what will be the effect on you as an individual? Is it really all blue sky up ahead? Or are there storm clouds on the horizon? (p. 4.)
He tries to make the reader fearful that something bad will happen. Sending three tithes and extra offerings to Meredith's organization for the rest of one's life will not help in such a crisis.

He then cites some articles from the Los Angeles Times about problems regarding medical care, food supply, diseases and violence.
Criminologists are warning that the coming generation may become “superpredators” without a consciousness of right and wrong—having never been loved, nourished and positively disciplined. (p. 7.)
It is worth noting that the term "superpredators" was mainly used on African Americans.

He also complains about the media and popular culture. He insinuates that this is causing the nations of the world to loath the United States.
At the same time, to the disgust of many in conservative, traditional communities in other parts of the world, Hollywood and its imitators grow fantastically wealthy by merchandising moral degeneration through violent, sex-filled videos and CDs. Such a corrupt influence is increasingly seen as a social evil that ought to be kept out! (p. 7.)
He also plays on the fear of nuclear weapons. Even though the Soviet Union dissolved and the Cold War had ended he continued to stir up fears that some sort of nuclear attack may occur.
But all of these previously mentioned problems are just the beginning of the story. The world continues to face nuclear proliferation on a truly massive scale. While you might rejoice at the breakup of the Soviet Union, the immense amount of weaponry that nation possessed—including nuclear weapons—is now in danger of being sold to the highest bidder! Will a resilient Saddam Hussein buy the bomb? How about the militant ayatollahs of Iran who still hold mass rallies and scream that Britain and America “must be destroyed”! They also are suspected of being close to making nuclear bombs on their own! And these aren’t the only countries who want nuclear “respect.” (p. 7.)
He also brings up the euro currency then being prepared. He had no idea that it would flounder quite badly later on partly because eurozone members are unable to print more money should the situation require it.

After mentioning all these problems he then proposes to the readers that he knows what is really happening and that he can help the reader.
Despite secular skepticism, the ultimate understanding and resolution of these future “perilous times” are contained in a book many people may feel sentimental toward, but really don’t know much about. This book is the Holy Bible. It speaks with authority about the future of our nations. It reveals prophecies about awesome events to overtake all humanity. (p. 8.)
He then introduces some of the tapestry of speculations that HWA created and which Meredith imitates. It is presented as being from the Bible but many of HWA's ideas were acquired from other sources such as the Millerite Adventists, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, British Israelism, G. G. Rupert and others. Armstrongism is an offshoot of the Millerite Adventists of the 1830s and the 1840s. Some of the ideas taught in among the Armstrongites can be traced back to the Millerites.

But before one can celebrate he insists that terrible times will occur before Christ's return.
However, before God’s merciful intervention, He is going to allow the Western world to experience a time of unparalleled national anguish—called in Bible terminology the Great Tribulation. It will be a time of national punishment affecting the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and most of the nations of northwestern Europe. (pp. 9-10.)
And Meredith offers a way to escape the Great Tribulation he has constantly proclaimed will soon occur since the 1950s, namely join his organization.

On page 11 there is an insert which promotes British Israelism. He insists that certain promises were not fulfilled.
Modern-day Israel is really the ancient kingdom of Judah—the Jews. The ancient kingdom of Israel lost its identity and is now “as the sand which is on the seashore”: the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and much of northwestern Europe. The biblical and historical evidence is there, though many prefer to ignore it. (p. 11.)
The reason "many prefer to ignore" British Israelism is because it is not true. British Israelism is nonsense. It is built on a foundation of sand. In fact DNA evidence refutes British Israelism. It was created to prop up the British imperial rule that the American revolutionaries fought against in the American War of Independence. Consequently any prophetic speculation based on British Israelism is nonsense and is bound to fail.

Meredith brings up the "virgin daughter of Chaldea" mentioned in Isaiah 47 which he asserts is the Roman Catholic Church. Although he refrains from saying this idea directly it is clear he is talking about the Roman Catholic Church and the Papacy in particular. It also alludes to The Two Babylons (1853, 1857) by Alexander Hyslop. This idea then leads to the Holy Roman Empire being the Beast of Revelation. That idea stems from the Millerite Adventists of the 1830s and 1840s.

Meredith claims that Revelation 17 was written from the perspective of the 1930s when, he claims, HWA first began to understand these things.
The most recent revival of the Babylonian-Roman system was pictured as existing when this prophecy was first understood by Herbert W. Armstrong in the late 1930s. It was the Mussolini- Hitler Axis power bloc. Mussolini acknowledged that he was attempting to revive the Roman Empire system. (p. 13.)
This claim is nonsense. The idea that the Holy Roman Empire is the Beast of Revelation is an old idea stemming from the Millerite Adventists of the 1830s and 1840s. And the idea that the Harlot of Revelation 17 is the Roman Catholic Church has been in circulation for centuries. Even Martin Luther made that claim.

Meredith insists that the Holy Roman Empire will soon revive once again in Europe.
It is in continental Europe where the system will rise again! It will have the form of a “United States of Europe,” a European Empire, which will undoubtedly be dominated—not by democracy-loving Britain—but by a governmental system that consolidates power in the hands of a few key players in Europe AND has an official connection with a powerful religious influence! (p. 13.)
HWA and Meredith after have constantly insisted that very soon Europe will soon arise as a mighty military power closely aligned with the Roman Catholic Church. Meredith has preached this same message continuously since the 1950s. It has always failed. But nevertheless he continues preaching the same dire prediction.
Let’s be very plain and clear. In the years just ahead of us, my friends, you are going to read and hear news reports about the decline of the English-speaking peoples of the world! It won’t usually be phrased that way, but you will notice, increasingly, that the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand will all have more and more problems. We will have financial difficulties. We will gradually be pushed aside in the arena of world leadership. When we do try to lead and intervene militarily or otherwise in world affairs, we will make more and more mistakes than ever and be more resented than ever. And the Iranians and others who now call America the “Great Satan” will be joined— at least in spirit—by a large number of important nations. (p. 14.)
That has not happened even after the twenty years Meredith talked of at the beginning of this booklet.

Meredith incites xenophobic fears that the other nations will pretend to sympathize with the United States' supposed future difficulties but will exploit such things for their own advantage.
At first, many nations will profess to feel sorry for our present ineptitude and difficulties. But, gradually, they will turn increasingly hostile and bitter—especially against the United States. Due to envy, they will feel we have been the big man on the block for too long. We have been rich and powerful. And we have been the exporter of decadent entertainment and a selfish lifestyle that causes genuine disgust and revulsion in other societies. (p. 14.)
Talk like this is designed to inspire distrust of the nations. It is especially directed towards Americans. To insist that catastrophe will soon come to the United States he cites the federal debt.
America, Canada and Britain are far along the road to becoming deadbeat debtor nations! U.S. interest-only payments on the federal debt currently eats up 14 cents of every tax dollar collected. The United States owes trillions of dollars that we will never be able to repay! Who will be left holding the bag — and holding it angrily!

Perhaps other nations may convince themselves that they are justified in attacking [repossessing?] a nation whose renowned exports included a lifestyle promoting drugs, sex, rock ’n’ roll and bad debt. Will we be accused by other nations in the future of borrowing their money and continuing to live high on the hog with no real intention of ever repaying them! (pp. 14-15.)
This is complete nonsense. He fails to understand the difference between private debt held by private individuals and public debt which belongs to a sovereign government that produces its own money. It is not possible for anyone to force the United States to default on its debt since it is denominated in its currency. Also it is greatly trusted by economists hence why the federal debt has an extremely low interest rate.

Meredith is completely wrong to insist that the federal debt will somehow lead the United States to catastrophe. In fact the United States is most sound financially.
If we would as a people truly REPENT and turn to God and begin to keep His commandments, He would relent. He would postpone this national punishment for another generation or two. For God says, “Turn, turn from your evil ways!” (p. 15.)
So Meredith's followers have made all these sacrifices on donations for the possibility of postponing the Great Tribulation for a generation or two? It is very unusual for Armstrongites to say that a postponement of the Great Tribulation is possible.
But how many of you really believe that Britain and America will experience a genuine revival of true religion! Do you really think we will start studying the Scriptures and begin living by them! Or will we stop being known as nations filled with the criminally inclined? Can we stop indulging in the illicit sex that produces fatherless children by the millions? Do we have the guts to rid our entertainment media of rotten sexual perversions and violence? Could we return to exercising self-control to stop abusing liquor and drugs? Or stop divorcing our spouses or abusing our children and turn to honor God by keeping His commandments and doing those things that are pleasing to Him ... ?

Unfortunately, most of us know better than that. But unless a real, genuine repentance occurs, the Great Tribulation is just ahead! (p. 15.)
Twenty years later his dire proclamation that Europe will soon conquer the United States still has not come to pass.
People who fervently desire to be genuinely Christian can and should be preparing— right now —to have an active part in Christ’s soon-coming Kingdom. (p. 16.)
What a fabulous reward Meredith offers to those who choose to join his organization. But these words are empty. He has no connection with the God of the Bible.

Meredith then presents his teaching that when Christ returns he will establish a kingdom that will rule all the world and create a wondrous society in which all will be well that will last for a thousand years.
A global society based on the Ten Commandments, with the promised help of the Holy Spirit to empower people to keep them, would have no wars and virtually no crime, adultery, broken marriages, juvenile delinquency or lying. National budgets could eliminate all expenditures for the military and most of what is now spent for the local and national police systems. Many other “necessary” government services could also be eliminated as “no longer necessary.” Such services contribute quite heavily to high taxes. With no lying or stealing, you can imagine the massive amounts of money saved simply because there would be no need to worry about burglary, shoplifting, business rip-offs and cheating on taxes. What a blessed society! (pp. 17-18.)
It should be noted that Meredith teaches that the Holy Spirit is merely an impersonal force contradicting what is taught in most churches that teach the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.

On page 19 Meredith cites a passage from Edward Gibbon which is often cited within the COGs. Part of the quoted passage mentions a belief that Christ would return 6000 years after the creation of Adam. Meredith exploits that tradition which is not mentioned in the Bible to insist that Christ will soon return.
We are now near the end of six thousand years of recorded human history! It will soon be time for Christ’s Kingdom to be set up on this earth. It will be the end of six thousand years of human society under the sway of Satan the devil.... It will be the end of six millennial “days” during which mankind has written the lesson of human suffering—suffering to show the great lesson that man’s ways are wrong —that humanity apart from God does not know how to live in peace and happiness. (pp. 19-20.)
Meredith insists that his readers if they follow him will have the opportunity to rule the world under Christ during the Millennium.
Those who truly heed Jesus’ message will have the awesome opportunity to join the returning Christ in RULING over the nations of this earth during the soon-coming seventh millennial day—the millennial Sabbath of one thousand years during which Christ and the true saints restore PEACE to this troubled planet. (p. 20.)
Meredith ridicules the hope of many Christians of going to heaven after death.
The true saints will not go wafting off to heaven at Jesus Christ’s return. Rather, we will have a challenging and exciting responsibility under Christ who will be King of kings. (p. 20.)
 Meredith insists individual followers of his will be able to rule over ten cities during the Millennium.
Individual Christian “overcomers” will rule over cities. And each of the twelve apostles will rule over an entire tribe of Israel here on earth. To whom will the twelve apostles report? ... So in the “latter days,” all Israel will be regathered and King David will be resurrected from the dead—along with all of God’s true saints—and he will rule again over all Israel. (p. 21.)
After proclaiming that King David will be resurrected to rule over the twelve tribes of Israel Meredith then insists that it is necessary to learn the law.
All of us who want to be part of that Kingdom must think like King David! We need to love and to meditate on God’s spiritual law, the Ten Commandments. We need to study the statutes of God and especially how they are all magnified in the New Testament. This is how we learn God’s righteous and merciful ways of abundant living. Then, we will be far more qualified to teach and administer those laws in the World Ahead— the coming Kingdom of God! (p. 22.)
Meredith insists that his readers have the opportunity to rule not only over all of humanity but even over the angels. 
The true saints of God have before them an AWESOME challenge and opportunity! For we will rule not only humans on this earth but even the angelic hosts of God who are now used to “minister” to us and help us prepare for our coming responsibilities in the World Ahead.... For some who have not really studied the Bible, this may seem startling and quite a departure from the traditional idea that most Christians have of going off to heaven with nothing to do! Yet, the inspired Word of God continually sets before you and me this calling, this hope and this work.

This is the reward of—and the awesome challenge for—the true saints of God. We need to use our talents and abilities now in God’s service. We need to overcome sin and Satan and so be truly prepared to serve under the Living Jesus Christ. (p. 22.)
When Meredith says that "some ... have not really studied the Bible" when he really means is that they do not agree with his dogmas and teachings. Many people have studied the Bible without encountering Meredith and those who imitate HWA. They would never have learned the various teachings of the COGs from the Bible because that tapestry of ideas was devised by HWA.

Meredith offers his readers the opportunity to heroically defeat the European Beast Power he says will soon conquer the United States and take them as slaves.
After describing how the final “evil empire” is taken away and destroyed.... Coming right after the destruction of the final revival of the Roman Empire—the final attempt at humanly devised one-world government—this is obviously speaking of a literal, divine government being set up on this earth. And this government is given to the “saints of the Most High.” How clear! .... we read a plain statement about the opportunities of the true saints of God to deal with the dictators who will exalt themselves just before Christ’s return to earth. (p. 23.)
But there is a price to get these fabulous promises of becoming a God being, defeating the European Beast Power, ruling over all humanity and the angels. To get these fabulous promises one is to obey Meredith.
If you and I will genuinely surrender ourselves to the Living Jesus Christ, if we will OBEY Him and serve Him, then the Father will give us the magnificent opportunity to help bring real PEACE and JOY to this earth at last. For we will have learned the way of peace which the nations of this earth do not now know....(p. 23.)
But Meredith insists that the vast majority of churches are deceived by Satan and have no connection with God but he does. So this talk of obeying God is really calling for the reader to join and obey his organization. Back in 1996 it was the Global Church of God but in late 1998 he split from it after a power struggle arose with the Board and he established his Living Church of God.

And one of the requirements taught to members is to pay three tithes to the organization for the rest of one's life. That is how Meredith gets his income.

Meredith insists a most wondrous future awaits the world after Christ's return, particularly for those who join Meredith's organization and pay tithes to his organization for the rest of their lives.
Don’t kid yourself! This is not religious “fluff.” This is the real GOD who made us in His image intervening to shake this world to its senses and, finally, to save the world and bring it true peace, prosperity and happiness. Even the physical earth itself—suffering these many centuries because of human sin and neglect—will be restored to beauty. (p. 24.)
Meredith hopes his booklet has caught the reader's interest so he advertises other writings and his television program to keep the reader interested and to indoctrinate the reader into accepting Meredith's dogmas.
If you would like to learn more, and be able to really prove these things from the Bible, then keep viewing the World Ahead television program and reading the World Ahead magazine. Write for free literature on this subject. And study your own Bible as never before. (p. 24.)
 In other words study the Bible the way Meredith tells you to study it.

Meredith ends his booklet with the following words.
The God of creation will intervene in human affairs—and soon! Ultimately, it will be a positive and wonderful thing—beyond the ability of most of us to grasp now. But we all need to understand and be prepared for what God has definitely planned for our future.

Get ready! Humbly seek God and His revealed will in the Holy Bible. Be willing to DO what God says. Then, God’s intervention will be an awesome BLESSING to you and your family. As Jesus told His faithful followers, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28). (p. 24.)
It is now twenty years since this booklet was published. Meredith's dire proclamations still have not come to pass.

Meredith is but a false prophet. He has made many false prophecies in his promotion of Armstrongism since the 1950s. God is not with him. There is no need to fear that his dire proclamations may come to pass.  They will not. He also has no power to bestow these fabulous blessings upon any of readers. Let us not fear or give any awe to his words.

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