About Our Cover ...
Unidentified shipyard worker was beaten to the ground as strike violence erupted on the streets of Newport News, Virginia. Why does human nature react VIOLENTLY? Why CAN'T man naturally LOVE his neighbor and resolve all his problems PEACEABLY? The answer is revealed in your Bible. This lesson will help you understand your mind, and the reactions of human nature, as never before!
GOD CALLS our world "this present EVIL world" (Gal. 1:4). And with GOOD REASON! But do you BELIEVE it?
Take a good look at the world today and you'll see WHY! The news is rife with war, murder, riots, theft, rape, divorce and remarriage. Newspaper headlines continually blare out national and international unrest and VIOLENCE OF ALL KINDS! And recent statistics show that crime continues to CLIMB AT AN ALARMING RATE!
But WHY do these appalling conditions exist today?
The BASIC CAUSE of this world's problems and sorrows is UNRESTRAINED HUMAN NATURE IN ACTION!
Everyone seeks true happiness. But each wants it HIS OWN WAY. By NATURE we want to follow the ways which SEEM right to us! By nature we don't want to follow GOD'S WAYS which would automatically bring the really good things of life we all desire.
Human nature therefore IMPELS individuals and nations to "get" their desires one way or another! They even try to STEAL happiness -- not realizing that it just cannot be done! They lie, cheat, rob and kill -- all in the vain pursuit of that elusive, intangible thing THEY call "happiness." Consequently UNCONTROLLED human nature is on the rampage everywhere!
Did you ever stop to analyze the NATURE of the mind God placed within us -- and exactly WHY it is the cause of this world's problems?
GOD set in motion a law within the human mind which causes it to be NATURALLY HOSTILE and DISOBEDIENT to God. This law is a living, moving thing -- just like the law of gravity. This law operates to PULL MAN DOWN into DISOBEDIENCE to God as surely as gravity pulls an object to this earth.
It is the LAW OF HUMAN NATURE!
Man's mind, with its natural DOWNWARD PULL toward disobedience, is a "carnal" or fleshly mind. And the Bible says the "carnal mind is ENMITY against God" -- for it is BY NATURE TOTALLY DISOBEDIENT to God's laws (Rom. 8:7).
Paul recognized this law working within his OWN mind. Because he was still being drawn downward into disobedience on occasion, he cried out in exasperation, "I find then a law [of disobedience -- human nature], that, when I would do good, evil is PRESENT with me ..." (Rom. 7:21).
Paul went on to lament, "I see ... [this same] law [of disobedience] in my members [in my body], WARRING against the law of my mind [GOD'S LAW, which Paul had accepted in his heart and mind -- verse 22], and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin [disobedience] which is in my members" (verse 23).
From Paul's example we see there is a war constantly going on within a converted, SPIRIT-BEGOTTEN mind against the evil pulls of human nature. Even the RIGHTEOUS Paul was having difficulty at times in keeping temptations from getting the better of him!
In this light, we can better understand the FALSE REASONING of Adam and Eve when they took of the tree which was a MIXTURE of good (obedience) AND evil (disobedience). Their carnal minds REASONED that this mixture of good AND evil wasn't "too bad" after all. But it was this very MIXTURE which God CONDEMNED! They were COMPLETELY DISOBEDIENT in taking what God had specifically forbidden!
God longs for the time when the entire world will be able to receive His Holy Spirit -- be SPIRITUALLY BEGOTTEN -- so they can begin to OBEY His spiritual laws and ultimately be born as His Spirit Sons. He cried out, in His exasperation at the disobedience of Israel in Old Testament times, "Oh that there were such an HEART [mind] in them, that they would fear Me, and keep My commandments ALWAYS, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!" (Deut. 5:29.)
But you may ask, "Why didn't God create us perfectly obedient to Him FROM THE START?"
Had God made us perfect from the beginning, we would have been mere AUTOMATONS -- as the moon which moves, but has NO MIND OF ITS OWN. We would not have been creatures of CHOICE. Right decisions would not be a matter of FREE VOLITION!
God commanded His people and all mankind: "Make you a NEW heart and a NEW spirit: for why will ye die?" (Ezek. 18:31.) Notice that God said, "Make you ...!" It is "you" whom God holds RESPONSIBLE! God created us and He has given each of us the POWER OF DECISION. The power to CHOOSE WHETHER or not we will repent of going the opposite of His commanded ways!
God shows that our own ways bring only MISERY and DEATH upon us. He reveals that we must GIVE UP OUR FORMER WAYS and SURRENDER to His will and His ways before we can experience true happiness. It is only then that God is able to BEGIN His new spiritual creation within us -- for it is then that He BEGETS US by His Holy Spirit, which begins to nourish our spiritual growth toward the perfection of God's character.
But God's Spirit will not drive us or FORCE US to do anything! We must FOLLOW His Spirit as it GUIDES US into new truth. And we must PUT TO USE THE SPIRITUAL STRENGTH it gives us to overcome our human nature.
Yes, we must supply the HUMAN EFFORT to GO the way God's Spirit will lead us -- in OBEDIENCE TO GOD! This is what produces God's CHARACTER in man -- which is His glorious PURPOSE for human existence!
The mind God gave mankind has something which we call "conscience." It leads man to do what HE HIMSELF regards as right. This is the WAY which God refers to when He says, "There is a way which SEEMETH RIGHT unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of DEATH" -- ETERNAL DEATH! (Prov. 14:12.)
The carnal mind, therefore, follows a WAY OF LIFE which satisfies the human EGO. It follows the WAY OF MAN which "seemeth" right and DISOBEYS the spiritual law of God with which it is in TOTAL DISAGREEMENT! (Rom. 8:7.)
What we need is a BETTER GUIDE for making our decisions than our carnal minds can provide -- and MUCH, MUCH MORE POWER TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT!
God has provided this better guide through the BIBLE. Paul said, "I had not known sin [disobedience], but by the LAW" -- the commandments and precepts of God as revealed in the Scriptures (Rom. 7:7).
The SCRIPTURES must be our guide to living!
And the SUPERNATURAL POWER of God's HOLY SPIRIT -- which He promises to place within us upon repentance and baptism -- will ENABLE US to begin obeying His inspired Word!
But now notice what God says regarding HOW MANY are disobeying Him today and the condition of the world in general. God wants us to realize "The WHOLE WORLD LIETH IN WICKEDNESS" (I John 5:19). GOD should KNOW! He SEES all the sin that occurs on this earth!
God also speaks of it as, "This present evil world" (Gal. 1:4). Both history and God's Word show that the world has been evil FROM THE BEGINNING!
Let us examine our world today in its true light. Let's notice the REACTION of man's natural "carnal mind" toward the commandments of God. Let's see human nature in action as it PULLS man down into DISOBEDIENCE to all of God's laws.
And let us notice the UNFAILING SORROW that invariably falls on men when they disobey God's revealed commandments!
God lists the DISOBEDIENT PULLS of human nature He has put within our fleshly "carnal" minds -- the pulls to which "This present EVIL world" has been succumbing. Let's notice what they are.
1. Did Christ, the "Word" of God, create ALL things? John 1:1-3. Then wasn't it He who created man's carnal mind with the DISOBEDIENT PULLS of human nature? Ps. 33:14-15 and Rom. 8:20. But is there HOPE for us? Verses 20-21.
COMMENT: God is RESPONSIBLE for giving us minds that are prone to EVIL and subject to PRIDE AND VANITY. He has done this IN HOPE that we will OVERCOME these evil propensities with the power of His Holy Spirit, and achieve His glorious Kingdom!
2. Does Psalm 58:3 show that the disobedient pulls of human nature are at work in one's mind FROM the time of birth?
3. The Bible often refers to the human heart as FIGURATIVELY REPRESENTING the basic motives and intentions of our carnal minds (Ps. 10:6, 11, 13). Does God say He has created us with an upright, good, and obedient mind? Jer. 17:9. Just HOW WICKED IS the mind we were born with? Same verse. Notice the word "desperately."
COMMENT: "Wicked" means SINFUL! And "sin is the TRANSGRESSION of the law" -- GOD'S LAW (I John 3:4). So man is BORN with an INHERENTLY DISOBEDIENT MIND. AN EXTREMELY DISOBEDIENT MIND! God OUGHT to know. He CREATED our minds with the inherent disobedient pulls of human nature!
4. Speaking in a broad sense, what are the evil characteristics of our desperately wicked carnal minds? -- VARIANCE? EMULATIONS? SEDITIONS? HERESIES? Gal. 5:20.
COMMENT: "Variance" means to be "at odds," or NOT IN AGREEMENT. God here points out that this pull of human nature He has placed within us causes us to NOT agree with Him.
The word "emulations" means "desire of superiority," or "envious rivalry." This, as all other evil pulls, must be OVERCOME!
The word "seditions" refers to the STIRRING UP OF COMMOTIONS just short of treason. Treason is the outright attempt to overthrow government. God has put that disobedient pull within us too!
The word "heresies" means having "sets of principles AT VARIANCE TO [GOD'S] ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLES [laws or commands]." God is allowing man to set up systems of government here on this earth that are NOT in accord with God's laws and the resulting government He will establish. He is letting man see and EXPERIENCE for himself where his unrestrained carnal mind will LEAD him!
5. What are some of the other disobedient pulls God has placed within the mind we were born with? Gal. 5:19-21. Does man's mind tend to worship FALSE GODS rather than the true God? Note the word "idolatry" in verse 20. Does the mind with which we are born also tend to HATE other people, rather than LOVE them? Note the word "hatred." Is it by nature ENVIOUS? Verse 21.
COMMENT: It will be very enlightening for you to look up, in your dictionary, the words used in Galatians 5:19-21 which label these disobedient pulls of man's carnal mind. Then you will see how these evil pulls EXTEND on over into many other fields of disobedience. You may list these in your notes, if you like.
We cannot remove these disobedient pulls of human nature. They are an INTRINSIC PART of our very flesh, and are centered in our most vital organ -- the brain. What God wants us to realize is that only His HOLY SPIRIT can help us CONTROL them so our intentions and efforts can be directed towards obedience to God and love of our fellowman.
6. Does God say there are yet OTHER disobedient pulls of similar nature within our minds? Gal. 5:21. Note the words "and SUCH LIKE."
7. Has God made our minds so they are easily pulled or drawn -- LIKE A MAGNET -- to thoughts of committing adultery and fornication? Mark 7:21. Deceits and foolishness? Verse 22. And do our minds even consider MURDER at times? See verse 21 again.
8. Does God repeat, for emphasis, that all this evil stems from "within" -- from the MIND He has given us? Verse 23. Notice the OTHER evil pulls mentioned in these verses.
COMMENT: In Isaiah 45:7, God says "I CREATE EVIL." Now we are beginning to see what He meant. God made our minds PRONE to thinking evil and with the PROPENSITY to actually COMMIT SIN!
It is interesting to note that NOWHERE in the Bible is there a description of any inherent "good" qualities of the NATURAL, CARNAL MIND of man. Why? Because the carnal mind with which we are born is PREDOMINATELY EVIL! (Jer. 17:9.)
9. What do these disobedient pulls, if UNRESISTED by man's will, do to him? Mark 7:23.
COMMENT: WE are not responsible for the evil propensities of human nature being in us. GOD put them there! And for a great and wonderful purpose. He expects us to learn to OVERCOME them by the POWER of His Holy Spirit!
God wants us to REPENT of having followed the dictates of our "desperately wicked" minds, and call upon Him to place His Spirit of love and power in us so we can PUT DOWN and CONTROL the evil pulls of the flesh.
God wants us to rise up above our natures and DEVELOP His righteous, holy, spiritual character!
1. Will anyone be born into God's Kingdom if he hasn't received the Holy Spirit, and overcome the DEFILING downward pulls of the flesh? Rev. 21:27 and Gal. 5:21.
2. Has God made man just a LITTLE bad, so that his nature can be EASILY overcome? Jer. 17:9.
3. Has the type of mind God placed in man caused only a FEW to be disobedient -- sinful? Rom. 3:10, 23. What does God repeat, for emphasis, in verse 12?
COMMENT: The word "good" used in verse 12 refers to SPIRITUAL RIGHTEOUSNESS -- obedience to God. NO ONE IS, or ever has been, COMPLETELY OBEDIENT to God -- EXCEPT JESUS CHRIST!
4. Does another disobedient pull of man's nature lead him to swiftly shed blood -- to WAR? Rom. 3:15.
5. What does God point out will happen to those who do not REPENT, and RESIST -- through the power of the Holy Spirit -- the way which "seemeth right unto a man" -- the way man has REASONED out as being right by his OWN standards which satisfies the evil pulls of the flesh? Rom. 3:16.
COMMENT: The nature of the mind man is born with is to REASON AROUND and COMPROMISE. But God wants no compromises from us. He wants COMPLETE obedience -- so we can be COMPLETELY happy!
We are to have a complete and permanent DISTRUST of our "DECEITFUL" minds (Jer. 17:9) when there is a clash between "what we think is right" and what GOD commands! The apostle Paul realized he could not depend on his human mind. He realized he needed GOD'S MIND and GOD'S COMMANDMENTS to guide him!
6. Did Adam and Eve give in to their downward pulls, even though God was WITH them in the Garden of Eden? Gen. 2:16-17 and 3:6.
COMMENT: The example of Adam and Eve shows that Christ will have to come with great power and display of might before people really begin to FEAR God! The disobedient pulls within man are so strong that man is "DESPERATELY WICKED" (Jer. 17:9).
7. Adam and Eve were CLOSE to God in the Garden of Eden. They KNEW God. Did people, from the very beginning, even though they KNEW God, become VAIN because of the downward pulls within them? Rom. 1:21. Look up the word "vain" in your dictionary -- it will give a list of other downward pulls in defining this word. Write down a representative number of them in your notebook.
COMMENT: Here we see that PRIDE is another pull of man's nature. God shows the world became futile, or empty in its thinking and PROUD of its trifling accomplishments.
Pride comes to the surface and influences man to ACT proudly. From the very day Adam and Eve were created, these invisible pulls began to EXERT THEIR INFLUENCE on man's VISIBLE ACTIONS! This is the first of many wrong pulls we will see in ACTION in "This present EVIL world."
8. Do our carnal minds have a natural pull to REALLY honor and glorify God as the Creator who made and sustains this earth and gives us the air we breathe, and be THANKFUL to Him for them? Rom. 1:21.
COMMENT: God reveals it is absolutely UN-NATURAL for our carnal minds to glorify and give thanks to Him!
Now you are beginning to understand YOURSELF, and all other human beings, as we REALLY ARE!
1. Do people deceive themselves into believing they're wiser than they really are? Rom. 1:22. What does God call those who trust in their OWN deceitful minds? Prov. 28:26. Also notice Isa. 5:21.
COMMENT: God says that all who place complete reliance on their own minds -- "thinking they know it all," instead of relying on His Word -- are headed for real trouble! God should know -- He MADE our minds!
2. Did the disobedient pull to worship idols (Gal. 5:20) quickly make itself evident in VISIBLE ACTION? Rom. 1:23, 25.
COMMENT: Instead of worshipping the true God whom they actually KNEW, the people began to make literal IDOLS which they worshipped!
An idol can be anything visible or invisible which is PUT AHEAD OF, or in place of, GOD and His COMMANDMENTS. It can be a car, accumulation of wealth, a mate, children -- anything which turns us AWAY from God.
3. Has God really tried to change the vast majority of the people, or is He now letting them see where their own ways LEAD -- is He letting them experience the fruits of the "way which SEEMETH right" unto men? Rom. 1:24, 26, 28.
COMMENT: Note the phrases, "GOD ... gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own HEARTS" -- to the disobedient pulls of their own MINDS. And, "GOD gave them up unto vile affections." And, "GOD gave them over to a reprobate mind" -- to reprobate, disobedient pulls.
God has NOT YET tried to change the people of this world. But when God DOES, HE WILL DO IT! For nearly 6,000 years God has been allowing man to learn, through the "school of hard knocks," exactly where his OWN WAYS -- apart from God's ways -- will lead him.
4. Did the adulterous and fornicating pulls in man (Mark 7:21), and even similar worse disobedient pulls, quickly show up in man's actions? Rom. 1:26-27. Did they suffer PENALTIES for committing these sins? Last part of verse 27.
5. What is another long list of disobedient pulls that God says we are filled with -- pulls which show up in our actions if we are unwilling to repent and receive God's Holy Spirit to help us overcome them? Rom. 1:29-31.
COMMENT: Human nature has not CHANGED -- nor does it WANT to change. That is why God labels our world "This PRESENT EVIL world"! (Gal. 1:4.)
Notice that even children's disobedience to parents results from disobedient pulls in their God-given minds! God wants GOVERNMENT taught and exercised in the home (Eph. 6:1-4). He wants children to be TAUGHT to live in harmony with their parents and surroundings.
6. What are those who give way to disobedient desires worthy of? Rom. 1:32. What do men experience as a RESULT of following the dictates of their carnal minds? Rom. 3:16.
COMMENT: God is allowing man to learn how WRETCHED his own ways of living really are in comparison to God's ways of happiness and abundant living.
7. Are there any people in whom God has NOT put the disobedient pulls of human nature? Rom. 3:9-10, 23.
COMMENT: The Jews were the leading tribe of the twelve tribes of Israel. God uses them here to represent the Israelites. In God's sight everyone in the unconverted world is either an Israelite OR a Gentile. And he makes it plain that ALL -- ALL PEOPLES -- HAVE SINNED!
8. Does God go on to show yet other disobedient pulls in carnal-minded man? Rom. 3:13-17. List by name these additional disobedient pulls which are within EVERY God-given human mind.
9. Has God put a natural pull to FEAR Him within carnal man? Rom. 3:18. Or, on the contrary, does GOD show that it is NATURAL for man to actually HATE God and be AT ENMITY towards Him? Rom. 1:30 and 8:7.
COMMENT: God did not instill GODLY FEAR in man's mind at birth for this reason: He wants man to discover for himself his complete inferiority to his Creator, WITHOUT FEELING he was SUPPRESSED in freely exercising his own mind and talents!
The things you have learned in this lesson so far may have come as a SHOCK to you. THEY SHOULD! Now let's learn more about the nature of our camel minds.
You have often heard that this is "God's world." People thus infer that everything here is "sweetness and light" -- and a "good old place in which to live, with the sun shining ..." etc., etc. And subconsciously you have BELIEVED it.
This is the Devil's talk!
This is the Devil's world -- he is the "prince" of it (John 14:30) and its "GOD" (II Cor. 4:4). And he wants to keep the world's carnal-minded people -- his subjects -- satisfied with it!
You may have also heard the slogan, "TRUST your fellowman." And you have also heard someone say with great DISGUST, when this slogan was not lived up to, "What's the matter, don't YOU TRUST me?" Perhaps you have been inclined to accept this slogan too -- although wondering about it somewhat.
People who are optimistic about this world are considered as "the good guys." Anyone who breathes a word against this world is looked down upon.
God placed this optimistic pull within man so he would butt his head against the hard wall of fact all the OFTENER -- the fact being that this is NOT a good world at all -- and NEVER HAS BEEN!
The butting of optimistic heads on this hard wall of fact has become increasingly harder and harder of late as the cumulative evil effect of man's disobedient pulls has increased by leaps and bounds! Things don't look so "rosy" anymore. The optimists are rapidly becoming CONFUSED!
BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE!
God has now laid before you, out of His Handbook for living, the information with which you can analyze and understand world events as you NEVER were able to before. And all this with the absolute assurance that you are unerringly correct, for God Himself -- the Creator and Ruler over all -- has just given you the BASIC FACTS about what makes people ACT as they do. Because of these facts you have just learned, you'll never again be able to look upon this world in the same way you have in the past. Now you are beginning to see it as it REALLY IS!
Now that you understand how the UNCONVERTED -- the UNCHANGED by the HOLY SPIRIT -- minds of people WORK, YOU are about to see what these minds are DOING TO THIS WORLD. You will see how absolutely wretched and evil this world REALLY IS! And once you fully realize this, you will KNOW WHY Christ must intervene in world affairs and set up God's world government. You will realize, more fully than ever before, exactly WHY Christ must come with power to rule this earth and re-educate the people to REPENTANCE and voluntary acceptance of the HOLY SPIRIT!
You will come to realize why God wants you to REPENT NOW and SEPARATE YOURSELF from many of the customs of "This present EVIL world."
You will realize that it requires the very Spirit of God Himself to help obey His Word -- the BIBLE -- SO YOU may be accounted worthy to escape all the terrible things shortly to fall on "This present EVIL world," and be qualified to assist Christ in aiding others into coming to repentance and qualifying to be born INTO the Kingdom of God! This, then, is WHY we MUST see just how evil today's world really is!
Remember that for this to be a GOOD world in God's sight, everyone would have to be OBEYING GOD'S COMMANDMENTS -- NOT in part, but COMPLETELY. That is what everyone who is born into God's Kingdom will ultimately be doing. That is God's standard. THAT IS GOD'S GOAL FOR MANKIND!
So let's see just what "This PRESENT EVIL world" is really like.
1. If there is a CONFLICT between the laws of God and the laws of man, WHOM does God say we are to obey? Acts 5:29. Did Christ verify this? Mat. 4:10. Note the word ONLY.
2. Has God made man's mind so he CANNOT do this without MIRACULOUS HELP from God? Rom. 8:7. What does verse 8 say?
COMMENT: Note that verse 7 says it is IMPOSSIBLE for the carnal, fleshly mind to obey God. However, if one REPENTS of his sins, believes and is baptized, THEN God will place the changing power of His SPIRIT within him so he can BEGIN to obey God.
Let's see if this world is under GOD'S government -- that is, if it is obeying HIS COMMANDMENTS.
3. What is God's command concerning KILLING? Ex. 20:13. Is this world obeying it? Aren't people WARRING and KILLING around the world? Then this world is NOT obeying this part of God's great Ten Commandments, is it?
4. Haven't we just learned that the disobedient pull to murder, war and kill -- which must be PUT DOWN and CONTROLLED through the POWER of the Holy Spirit -- is a part of man's God-given carnal mind? Mark 7:21.
5. Did God inspire Paul to REPEAT His commandment not to kill, so there would be no doubt that it is a commandment for us TODAY? Rom. 13:9.
6. What disobedient pull in man leads him to BELIEVE that mass war-killings are "justifiable"? Mark 7:21; Gal. 5:21 and Rom. 3:15.
COMMENT: This disobedient TENDENCY makes it much easier for people to especially justify killing in warfare.
7. Do this world's churches, whose leaders are also drawn by this downward pull, SANCTION warfare?
COMMENT: It is worldwide knowledge that the churches of this world, by their very words and ACTIONS, do sanction warfare -- FOR THEIR MEMBERS GO TO WAR! Man's carnal mind reasons that to "EXPEDITE PEACE," it is right to kill.
This world has yet to attain mastery over its downward pulls! For the vast majority, not being taught by this world's churches the divine inspiration and veracity of the Bible and the true commandments of God -- and the ABSOLUTE NECESSITY of obeying them -- has NOT EVEN BEGUN to get ready to START doing so! They are, as yet, still learning the "hard way" -- and their church LEADERS are learning along with them!!
8. Since people do not keep God's commandments, whose commandments do they keep? Mat. 15:9.
COMMENT: Man follows his own heart, or mind which, as we have already seen, has purposely been made FAULTY. He makes his OWN laws in DIRECT VIOLATION of those made by the eternal God and Creator of mankind.
9. Since most ministers of this world do not really represent God, whom do they represent? II Cor. 11:13-15.
10. Is there one GREAT world religious leader through whom people now believe they are receiving the commandments of God, but who, IN REALITY, represents a great ancient pagan system of idolatry? II Thes. 2:3-4. This religious leader's great church has (graven) images within its churches before which its people bow. What is God's COMMAND regarding this? Ex. 20:4-5.
11. What disobedient pull has God put within carnal man to ATTRACT him to this false IDOLATROUS SYSTEM which God commands him to resist? Gal. 5:20, first word.
COMMENT: This great church has been a tremendous influence in making this world "This present EVIL world."
12. Does carnal-natured man LOVE these counterfeit IDOLATROUS ways which lead to death? John 3:19.
13. Will the leader of this great false religious system soon SET HIMSELF up as very GOD and worthy of receiving the WORSHIP of mankind? II Thes. 2:4. What will he soon cause people to do? Rev. 13:15-17. Isn't this great religious system also the "Mother" from which other false church systems NOT bearing her name have sprung? Rev. 17:5. Will it soon (for a short time) be the one single great church of the whole earth? Same verse and verses 1, 15.
COMMENT: Here is a great "Mother" church that has set the PATTERN for all the other large religious denominations of this earth -- who also are branded by God as pagan because they are classified as her "harlot" daughters. This will be covered thoroughly in future lessons. Sufficient it is to say here that the WHOLE EARTH has been, AND IS BEING, DECEIVED by this great false religious system!
14. Will this same great religious leader also order all people to WAR against Christ when He returns? Rev. 16:13-14, 16. Note the words "false prophet" in verse 13. Here is a great church whose basic principle is to believe in and enter actively into war whenever it (NOT God) thinks it is "expedient" to insure its OWN INTERESTS!
1. Isn't it because God has put within each individual the SAME DISOBEDIENT PULL to kill and murder which He has put within the world's leaders, that they FOLLOW their leaders into war and making preparations for war? Notice Gal. 5:21 once again. Isn't this unrestrained pull within man plainly the cause of all MASS-MURDERS and warfare?
COMMENT: Down through all history, man -- led by his UNRESTRAINED downward pulls -- has prepared for war and has sought ways to INCREASE his capacity to kill and destroy in warfare.
God reveals Himself as the Creator, Builder and Preserver of all things. He is the Creator of USEFUL things. We are being fashioned to be creators just like God. For the purpose of our training, God has fashioned us so we may now, in a limited way, create or INVENT.
Man has invented many things down through the ages -- some things good and constructive, but also many things bad and very DESTRUCTIVE! The downward pull which makes man believe it is just and right to KILL to attain "peace" has led him to produce WEAPONS to kill his fellowman -- weapons of WAR.
It has rightly been said that man has PERVERTED everything his hand has touched (because of his UNRESTRAINED CARNAL NATURE). The history of the implements of war bears out this statement. Let's examine this fact.
Centuries ago the Chinese discovered how to make explosives. They were useful to loosen rock for building houses and roads. BUT did the downpull of evil thoughts in man's mind begin to pervert this GOOD use to an EVIL one?
IT MOST CERTAINLY DID!
As soon as the Europeans learned this secret, they put it to work to KILL their fellowmen by making GUNPOWDER!
The same story is true of steel. With it man AT FIRST fashioned only good, strong, USEFUL tools. But then the evil pulls within man led him to PERVERT the use of this marvelous substance. Man COMBINED the use of steel with gunpowder and began making instruments of death -- GUNS with which to KILL his FELLOWMAN!!
Today we have discovered how to use the POWER of the atom -- unlimited power for GOOD -- for heat, light, transportation. BUT what did man immediately do with the harnessed power of the atom? Why, the same thing, of course! The nature God put within man from the beginning is still on the job. Man has devised the most diabolical instruments for mass-annihilation the world has ever known -- the ATOMIC and HYDROGEN BOMBS! Now the whole earth is TERRIFIED at the Frankenstein monster man has produced.
God is letting man learn, by painful experience, exactly where the downward pulls of his evil UNRESTRAINED human nature will lead him!
2. Doesn't God plainly reveal that we bring great anguish UPON OURSELVES if we disobey His commandments against killing? Rev. 13:10.
God shows that there are other ways in which man "wars" against his fellowman. This "present EVIL world" is WORSE than cannibalistic -- it eats upon ITSELF! Man's greed in desiring and taking the POSSESSIONS of his fellowman is now threatening COSMOCIDE -- SUICIDE of the human race!
1. Does God command us not to even let the THOUGHT of taking what is not rightfully ours enter our mind? Ex. 20:17. Isn't this one of God's great Ten COMMANDMENTS?
2. Has God placed within man a disobedient pull which leads him to DESIRE what is NOT rightfully his? Notice Gal. 5:21 once again and the word "envyings"! And after one becomes envious and DESIROUS of the rightful possessions of his fellowman, what DISOBEDIENT ACTION takes place -- unless restrained? See Mark 7:22 again, first word.
3. How does God sum up the way we should treat our fellowman? Jas. 2:8, 10. But isn't this commandment of God extremely distasteful and repulsive to the disobedient nature of carnal-minded man? Rom. 8:7. Note the word "law" -- ONE law! Then isn't it the "Royal Law" of LOVE which the carnal-minded people of this world do not like? Jas. 2:8.
COMMENT: All the laws God has ever given to man for right living are based upon the Ten Commandments. And all the Ten Commandments are summed up in the one word LOVE -- the "Royal Law" of LOVE!
Jesus divided God's law of love into two parts -- LOVE toward God and LOVE toward fellowman (Mat. 22:36-40). Love, therefore, is the SUMMATION of the WHOLE LAW -- "the ROYAL LAW" (Jas. 2:8,10).
You love your fellowman by TREATING HIM JUST AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED! But man, because of the God-given disobedient pulls within his carnal mind, just does not, BY NATURE, even want to give his fellowman the "even break" which he himself desires -- if he can make anything at the expense of his fellowman! What utter selfishness!!
1. Are the CIVIL rulers of this world -- its kings, dictators, presidents and legislative bodies -- with their carnal minds which are ENMITY against God and His laws (Rom. 8:7), able to make LAWS patterned after the intent of God's commandments, and able to RULE according to them? Notice Mark 7:21-23 once again. Note here the "WORKS of the flesh."
COMMENT: We have seen that God has purposely constructed the human mind subject to FAULTY REASONING. God clearly shows that man CANNOT make laws or rule his fellowman according to the way God desires, for the unconverted man is "not all there" -- he does not yet have God's Spiritual mind to GUIDE him!
Now it can be clearly seen WHY we have such an evil world with all its strife and turmoil. Now we can see why so many nations are led by powermad dictators. Even the leaders of democratic nations have the same trouble ruling because of their God-given carnal minds!
Now we can clearly see WHY this world receives such imperfect justice from its courts and magistrates. And WHY this world receives such imperfect counsel from its counsellors! And WHY there is so much CORRUPTION in politics and all levels of this world's governments!
Man, left to himself, is UTTERLY INCAPABLE of ruling his fellowman with justice and love! Only rulership BASED ON GOD'S LAWS leads to lasting peace and harmony.
2. What SENTENCE does God pronounce on the greedy disobedient rulers of modern-day Israel? Read and summarize Ezek. 22:6-15.
COMMENT: "Princes" refers to AUTHORITIES -- kings, presidents, judges. This prophecy, given long after ancient Israel went into captivity, is for their DESCENDANTS TODAY -- Britain, America and the democracies of northwestern Europe.
3. Did the people try to MINGLE themselves about a hundred years after the flood? Gen. 11:1-4. How did God nullify their efforts? Verses 5-9. Did He give each nation -- each family -- a separate place to live and a language of its own in order to keep them APART? Gen. 10:5, 20, 25, 31-32. Are this world's rulers therefore disobeying God by allowing the MINGLING of nations and races today?
COMMENT: When the descendants of Noah tried to unite themselves at the Tower of Babel they all spoke ONE language (Gen. 11:1, 6). Knowing what the CONSEQUENCES of such a union would be if allowed to continue, God therefore gave each nation a SEPARATE area to live in and a DIFFERENT language in order to keep them APART.
Mingling of nations leads to intermarriage among races which God expressly FORBIDS in the Bible!
1. What does God reveal regarding the eating of too many sweets? Prov. 25:27.
COMMENT: Natural honey is the BEST sweetening agent available to man. And white refined sugar, which is produced by man, has definitely been proven to be one of the POOREST.
But what follows when man DISOBEYS God's advice in regard to excessive use of sweets? All dentists know that white sugar, especially in excess, is responsible for an extremely high rate of dental cavities! Yet children and adults LOVE candy. Man even has a PERVERTED sense of taste which must be overcome!
2. What does God command mankind regarding the eating of PORK? Deut. 14:8.
COMMENT: This evil world does not obey God's health laws. So it suffers, and wonders WHY!
God made the human body. He KNOWS what foods will keep it in top operating condition. And He has not altered bodily chemistry since He first gave this commandment. THIS LAW APPLIES TO US TODAY! But modern man disregards it at his own peril!
God is simply trying to PROTECT US when He, who DESIGNED and built our bodies, reveals this KNOWLEDGE to us!
Increasing numbers of people are DYING yearly from heart attacks which are the direct result of FAT ACCUMULATION within the walls of their arteries. Science has finally learned this to be a FACT. HOG meat has more FAT than any other animal commonly eaten. Swine's flesh is also known to contain TRICHINA WORMS which cause many types of ailments and much suffering.
Disobedience to God's laws of health is but one more of the disobedient ways of man which lead to "destruction and misery" (Rom. 3:16).
3. It is common knowledge that God has commanded mankind to keep the SEVENTH day of the week -- a day, which among other things, God intended as a REST for the HUMAN BODY. But did you also know God COMMANDS man to let his farmland rest every SEVENTH YEAR? Lev. 25:4-5.
COMMENT: This is another PHYSICAL commandment God ordained for ALL TIME. God here points out that if people OBEY this command, the soil will serve them well in producing abundantly for 6 out of every 7 years. The land will AUTOMATICALLY REFERTILIZE itself with the very BEST of fertilizers -- its OWN vegetation -- during each land sabbath. God knows this fact because HE PLANNED IT THAT WAY. But people haven't "caught on" yet!
The GREED in man's nature leads him to look with disfavour upon allowing his land to lie idle every seventh year. Man wants to wring the greatest production out of his soil that he possibly can. He may put a "quickie" fertilizer on it that is SUPPOSED TO BE very good or he may even rotate his crops -- but leave the land IDLE for one whole year? Never! That would be too much of a waste, so HE thinks!
Unless the land is rested properly, it will NOT yield its increase. Crops become smaller and smaller. The farmer thus actually LOSES anything he may have gained by farming his land the seventh year.
But notice what else happens. The land, becoming so poor it will not even support a cover crop, begins to LOSE topsoil to the wind and water. Erosion takes place. Eventually the land becomes WORTHLESS! We are witnessing this in vast areas of the United States today, as in other parts of the world. Yes, those who break God's laws SUFFER THE PENALTIES!
But that's not all. This UNWILLINGNESS to obey God's commanded land sabbath STARTS a chain of MISERY AND SORROW THAT AFFECTS MANY PEOPLE! For when the soil becomes worn out by overproduction, its crops are no longer able to supply the necessary amount of nutrients PEOPLE require to live healthy lives. People THINK they are still getting the same food value for their money when they're NOT! The farmer therefore ROBS the people! The people then develop deficiency diseases. And these quite often LEAD TO OTHER DISEASES which are COMMUNICABLE and can lead to DEATH!
Notice still another link in this vicious chain of events. The food processor, having the SAME evil human nature that God placed within the farmer, is also greedy. He finds he can separate the really less nutritious part of cereal grains and sell it as though it were very nutritious. PEOPLE are unable to tell the difference. But their BODIES can! Disease SPREADS much more readily in bodies that are denied these health-sustaining nutrients. Literally THOUSANDS of people die as a result! Those who started and continue this chain of events have thus become MURDERERS!
Now what is the "logical" thing people do when they become SICK? They violate another of God's commandments by seeking physicians and doctors!
4. What does God command us to do when sick -- does He instruct us to call the elders -- the ministers -- of God's TRUE Church? Jas. 5:14-15. Does God state that He is our HEALER if we seek Him through His representatives here on earth? Same verses and Ex. 15:26. What penalty does God warn is apt to fall on one if he goes to the physicians? II Chron. 16:12-13. Does God even warn against the medicines of DRUGGISTS? Rev. 21:8. Notice especially the word "sorcerers."
COMMENT: Revelation 21:8 says SORCERERS will suffer eternal death unless they repent. The Greek word for "sorcerers" is pharmakos and means "druggists" -- pharmacists -- those who deal in MEDICINES! (These topics will be dealt with in greater detail in later lessons.)
The weakening of a nation by the chain of events we've described makes it much easier for an enemy to come in and take over. This IS THE WAY of "This present EVIL world"! And this chain of events is helping to bring about the DOWNFALL of Modern Israel -- Britain and America today!
But there is yet another way man is destroying himself in this vicious chain of events. Newer and more lethal POISONS are being used to PRESERVE foods. Yes, POISONS! Eaten in foods over a long period of time, these poisons can produce sickness and death! Murder again in the name of GREED and PROFIT!
Nothing but misery, WOE and DEATH make up "This present [greedy] EVIL world"! Man desperately needs the power of God's Spirit to help him CHANGE THE DIRECTION of his "desperately wicked," carnally motivated heart!
Thefts? Who wants to be a ROBBERY victim? No one! God's Royal Law of LOVE would absolutely PREVENT this IF everyone were obeying it.
1. Has God given man a specific commandment NOT to steal? Ex. 20:15. Is the desire to steal an intrinsic part of man's evil nature? Mark 7:22, first word. Are large groups of so-called "good" people succumbing to this disobedient pull today?
COMMENT: There are many ways large groups of people are giving in to the stealing pull. LABOR UNIONS are an example. Wages usually are not based on the service that is performed or on the amount of work done, but on what can be FORCED out of the employer -- at the expense of the employer and the helpless public! All too often the results are shoddy workmanship, poor service and high prices. OUTRIGHT ROBBERY!
Today it looks as though the unions are "in the saddle." In the past, management was "get tiny theirs" by OPPRESSING its employees. No matter who is "on top" -- unions or management -- there is NO REAL JUSTICE!
Other forms of robbery include long "coffee breaks" taken by employees, unreasonably high import duties, and the forming of combines which make "the other fellow" pay more than he should for what he receives. So in the end the public PAYS AND PAYS.
All this, in God's sight, is ROBBERY as surely as if the money were taken out of someone's pocket!
Man continues to glory in exercising this disobedient downward pull (Rom. 1:32) God has placed within him to OVERCOME. As long as the misery this theft pull causes doesn't hit these robbers DIRECTLY, they think they're "getting away" with something. But they aren't really getting away with anything at all. For GOD is keeping the score!
How FOOLISHLY people act! Each person realizes that he must die and has but a few short years to live on this earth. But instead of trying to use this time WISELY in building true character, his evil carnal nature impels him to use every scheming, insidious device possible to get the best of his fellowman in order to gain that intangible thing HE calls "happiness" -- at the EXPENSE of sacrificing TRUE happiness for now and perhaps ETERNITY! WHAT SHORTSIGHTEDNESS!!
Yes, it's still the same old world that it was in the time of ancient Babylon -- but on a MUCH LARGER SCALE!
2. Today the little man feels that in order to hold his position in this dog-eat-dog business world, he MUST bear FALSE WITNESS regarding the product he is selling, or lie regarding the service he is performing. And the used car salesman, in order to keep his job, bears false witness that the speedometer was not turned back.
Does God command man NOT to bear false witness -- NOT to LIE? Ex. 20:16. Does thievery and bearing false witness DEFILE those who do it, whether they realize it or not? Mark 7:23. Does God reveal what shall befall those who become INCORRIGIBLE LIARS -- those who will NOT CHANGE and OBEY God? Rev. 21:27.
1. Does God COMMAND US not to commit adultery? Ex. 20:14. Does He plainly point out that this is another of the downward pulls within the nature of mankind? Mark 7:21. Notice the words "adulteries, fornications."
2. Does Christ, our Saviour and future Ruler, likewise verify the fact that man should NOW be keeping God's commandment against adultery -- along with the other commandments -- in order to receive eternal life? Mat. 19:16-19.
COMMENT: This world is FULL of adultery and fornication! Various surveys have shown just how widespread it is in the United States alone. This world is actually being EDUCATED in breaking God's commandments! Insane psychology courses are teaching our young people to commit FORNICATION -- to have premarital sex relations -- in DIRECT VIOLATION of God's COMMAND, "Thou shalt NOT."
Suggestive movies INFLAME the already willing and disobedient adultery pull even more, urging it to take ACTION. Sex and vice are headlined in newspapers everywhere, never letting the sexual urge rest. And now television programs and commercials daily incite lustful experiences. And a deluge of "girlie" magazines display their nude and semi-nude women on magazine stands throughout the country!
Women today dress skimpily, provocatively, and walk SEDUCTIVELY (Isa. 3:16) -- deliberately inciting sexual lust in the male mind. Clean social life is thereby undermined at just about every turn. Even most of our music and dances today are SUGGESTIVE of sex. Finally, all too often one or the other mate succumbs to these pressures of the world and actually COMMITS adultery.
Friction and/or outright divorce are INEVITABLE. Family life is completely disrupted. Consequently parental discipline and training are relaxed or abandoned altogether. The children become unmanageable and DISOBEDIENT -- worthy of death in GOD'S sight (Rom. 1:30, 32). And what do such cast-off children go on to do? They roam the streets, learn to steal and many finally COMMIT MURDER!
Statistics show that the marriage and divorce rate runs FIFTY-FIFTY -- or WORSE -- in some states!! THIS IS plainly the way of THIS evil world -- the way of man's carnal, UNRESTRAINED human nature!
"Public opinion" consists of the opinions and DESIRES of the general public -- the people of this "civilized" world AS A GROUP. It is simply the expression of the carnal mind -- which is at enmity to God (Rom. 8:7) -- on a MASS scale!
1. What does this world's "public opinion" DEMAND of its huge system of churches? Isa. 30:8-10. Why? Rom. 8:7.
COMMENT: The Old Testament Israelites were FLESH BORN like all other people. They had the SAME disobedient pulls as all people have today.
Public opinion DEMANDS that "SMOOTH THINGS" -- things AGREEABLE TO THE DISOBEDIENT NATURE of man's mind -- be preached RATHER than the commands of God!
It is a matter of common knowledge that what the mass mind wants it usually GETS because its PRESSURE AND INFLUENCE IS SO GREAT.
Public opinion exerts itself in many other ways. If the "public" didn't DEMAND lewd movies, there would not be any today. But CARNAL NATURE DOES DEMAND THEM! The box office receipts say so. And they don't lie! The same is true of murder, rape and divorce play ups in newspapers and paperback novels. The public's carnal nature DEMANDS it -- and GETS it! There are other examples too numerous to mention.
2. What is God's fourth great commandment? Ex. 20:8. Is the world keeping it today? What do you think? Here is a tip FROM THE KNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE GAINED SO FAR IN THIS LESSON REGARDING MAN'S DISOBEDIENT NATURE. Do you think the VAST MAJORITY is keeping the day GOD commanded, or the one which APPEALS TO MAN'S DISOBEDIENT NATURE?
COMMENT: SUNDAY and Saturday are the most observed days in the civilized world. But both cannot be the ONE day God commands mankind to keep. We know that Sunday is observed by the VAST MAJORITY. Now which one of these two days do you think GOD commands us to keep?
Prophecy warns that the people of Britain and the United States will soon go into CAPTIVITY unless they REPENT of their many sinful ways and turn to GOD for guidance. And shortly after this event, prophecy also shows that the WHOLE WORLD will be punished for disobedience if it does not do the same!
But many still retort -- in their smug complacency -- "What, ME repent? Repent of WHAT? What do you mean, REPENT? I'm doing all right as I am!"
ALL people have been BORN into this "evil world" with sinful carnal nature (Rom. 8:7).
This world is built upon the SUM TOTAL of the evil pulls which are within all people. Being BORN into this evil world, they accept its evil systems as a matter of course, for they know nothing else. And the evil pulls within all mankind merely COMPOUND the problem.
YOU are a PART of this world's society. The evil pulls that formed IT are a part of you!! And God says, "ALL HAVE SINNED" (Rom. 3:23). That's why you need to REPENT!! -- to TURN from the practices of "This present EVIL world"!
But you can't turn away completely UNTIL you repent of your past disobedient ways, turn to God's Word and commandments, and receive the miraculous POWER of HIS HOLY SPIRIT!
Even though only a FEW short years remain before the smashing close of this desperately wicked age -- when prophesied crime, wars, international unrest, greed, fear and lust are reaching such a crescendo that they cannot be ignored by anyone -- most people still want to delude themselves into thinking that this world is "a good old place."
But you know the TRUTH! You have seen this world for what it really is!
This world has reached such an impasse that even the most avid of "this world's lovers" are pausing to WONDER at the seemingly irreparable "mess" "This present EVIL world" has gotten itself into!
Mankind has CONTINUALLY VIOLATED God's Law of Love in every way imaginable. These violations have worked hardships, heartaches, and misery on our fellowmen -- only to BOOMERANG RIGHT TEACH to inflict the same heartaches and misery ON US! Then everyone wonders why they've been so unhappy!
The people of this earth were BORN into this evil world -- they don't know of a better world with which to COMPARE it. They do not realize there can be a VASTLY BETTER world than this one! People just "don't KNOW what they DON'T know"!
But GOD knows of a BETTER WORLD! He has PLANNED a vastly superior, happy world for mankind. Remember the WONDERFUL UTOPIA "This PRESENT evil world" is to become soon? WHY will the WHOLE WORLD be so wonderful then? GOD knows the reason. And now you notice the reason and mark it well, for it concerns YOUR HAPPINESS from NOW on through eternity!!
It is because at THAT time -- in the MILLENNIUM -- God says, "I will pour out My Spirit [the Holy Spirit of BEGETTAL!] upon ALL flesh [ALL FLESHLY human beings]; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your old men shall dream dreams" (Joel 2:28-29).
Do you grasp the great significance of all this? It means that ALL mankind in the Millennium will be REEDUCATED to a state of BELIEF in Christ as their Savior-Ruler, and to REPENTANCE and BAPTISM -- just as WE are being educated by God's Word today.
They will SEEK the Holy Spirit which God will freely give them. Fleshly mankind will then be in a state of SPIRITUAL BEGETTAL by the HOLY SPIRIT of God! They will have the HOLY Spirit, the principal attribute of which is LOVE -- GOD'S KIND OF LOVE. Then man will begin to have true LOVE for his fellowman, instead of hate.
By this glimpse of God's Millennial world you are seeing the CHANGING POWER of the Holy Spirit in action on VAST MASSES of people. Each individual will have TRUE joy, peace, contentment! For THESE ARE THE "FRUITS" OR CHARACTERISTICS THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL MANIFEST IN AND THROUGH THEM! This is what will really make the whole world a "UTOPIA" at that time!
BUT, remember this! Those people who will have lived from this time on through the GREAT TRIBULATION and into that Millennial world, will have been brought to a state of repentance through TERRIBLE SORROWS! They will be brought to REPENTANCE of all their evil deeds the HARD WAY! This is how they ultimately receive the Holy Spirit which will create within them their own SPIRITUAL Utopia, and will make of the world around them the physical Millennial "Utopia."
REPENTANCE and SURRENDER of the SELF to God are what will help to make a FUTURE "Utopia" of "This present EVIL world."
But YOU can have your spiritual "Utopia" start NOW and AVOID the torturous tribulation -- if you will REPENT and SURRENDER yourself to God NOW. That is what God is offering you today. You need not go through the tribulation or lose out on the joyous life you can begin to live now, and then later as a spirit-born Son of God. The SAME Holy Spirit which will make possible the Millennial Utopia later on will begin to make possible your Utopia NOW!
YOU NEED NOT WAIT! YOU MUST NOT WAIT -- if you want to ESCAPE what's prophesied to happen before Christ returns.
Now that you know the truth, God commands you to "REPENT ... be baptized ... and receive the ... Holy Spirit" of BEGETTAL -- NOW! (Acts 2:38.) YOUR own "world" can become happy and joyous, from this time forward, with an inward joy and positive assurance you have NEVER experienced before -- IF YOU will at this time REPENT and GROW SPIRITUALLY in God's way of life which He will continue to reveal to you in your Bible.
God told ancient Israel, "I call heaven and earth to record THIS DAY against you, that I have set before you life and death, BLESSING and cursing: therefore CHOOSE LIFE" (Deut 30:19).
God sets this SAME choice before you TODAY. You may begin to have a happy and joyous life now and glorious eternal life later on, by receiving and using the POWER of God's HOLY SPIRIT!
God's great purpose of creating very Sons of God out of mortal mankind marches on! God made you so you can VOLUNTARILY COOPERATE with Him in His great Plan by surrendering your carnal self to Him through REPENTANCE, baptism and obedience to His laws.
The CHOICE is yours -- so "choose"! "Choose [ETERNAL] life," is God's ADVICE to you.