commentary: Conspiracy Theory (Part Twelve)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 28-Feb-15; Sermon #1255c; 12 minutes
God has planned the end time for thousands of years, giving us a tiny preview of what the world would be like in Matthew 24. Satan, while limited by God, has done the same thing, orchestrating his plans for hundreds of years, employing not only his demonic forces, but gullible human beings who may not know that they are being used in his service. Technology exploded from the time of Gutenberg's press, unleashing the forces of the Protestant Reformation (which served eventually as a catalyst for the dispersal of multitudes of folk around the world) as well as the current advances in the Internet which enables, paradoxically, both God's work and Satan's education (misinformation and lies) to increase at meteoric proportions. Even though Satan has within his power the ability (and the desire) to destroy the entirety of mankind, God is sovereign over all and He has limited what Satan can do and has placed a protective hedge around His people. He has given them a priceless education through translations of the Bible—a priceless education that billions of people have been denied. It behooves us to resist the insidious mis-education and dis-information promulgated by Satan, and make use of the priceless knowledge God has given us through His Scriptures.
I believe that I'm gradually teaching you a truth. I am hoping that you come to appreciate what has been done for us in opening our minds to experiencing what we live in—and that's not always easy. I believe that I'm gradually teaching you a truth. Perhaps you never thought of it before, but these principles impact upon us in a very definite way.
I believe that you know full well, because of your understanding of and belief in God's prophecies, that God has planned the end time for thousands of years. This wretched world that we live in was planned.
Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, and the entire book of Revelation provide us with a clear and fairly deep, detailed overview of what the world that we are living in would be like. In addition, there exist numerous details, some of them almost minute in describing what would occur, scattered throughout other scriptures.
But did you ever think of Satan doing the same thing in preparation for yet another showdown with God? This time the showdown involves other beings than those spirit beings who were with him then. This time, it also involves men, who live for approximately only 70 years. In addition to other limitations existing in mankind as compared to angelic spirit beings, it also places limitations on Satan, especially in the areas of educating mankind in order to get their cooperation with him and against the Creator.
This educational aspect is the reason why I have been saying that he has been actively organizing his plan for hundreds of years. All that one needs to be well aware of is that what I am saying is true is understanding what living conditions are like now as compared to only a few generations ago.
To help illustrate this, consider the technological difference between now and 1940. It is vast. I know that many of you have not experienced this because you're too young. But the difference is vast. In fact, it is mind-numbing if given serious thought.
I want you to think for a moment on the impact of one instrument: the telephone. That's something we are all pretty familiar with. But the telephone was invented, and the first message over it occurred, in 1875. That's 140 years ago—the blink of an eye to a spirit being, but it seems long for you and me.
When the Church of the Great God began organizing 1992, telephones had been in use already for 117 years, and still it was a fairly clunky instrument of communication compared to what we have today in the way of phones. Today's iPhones are literally mobile libraries and one can still communicate through them with others over a vast distance, and do far more besides just talk over them. In January, 1992, within three weeks of our official first sermon, we had three telephones online for a conference call over which we gave a sermon. One of those phones was just north of Washington, D. C., in Maryland. Another one was in Laguna Nigel in California, and the third was in the Ritenbaugh home in Charlotte from which the service originated. But after a few weeks, very quickly others began hearing of what we were offering those who were leaving the Worldwide Church of God, and asked to be on the hook-up. The first thing we knew, we had 35-40 phones on a conference call hook-up each week. It was very expensive, but God kept sending the money. A few years later, He also supplied a better means through the computer and the Internet. And so today, just 22 years from when we began, we can educate people through hundreds of computers if need be, each and every week, by comparison to those original three phone hookups. Twenty-two years went by in the blink of an eye (to this man).
I'm using this means to illustrate that framing the world as we see it and live in it just did not happen overnight, and I want us to appreciate that. I want us to appreciate that this is Satan's world. But when dealing with humans and our technology, these conditions happen very slowly on the surface because they must be formed to the speed of mankind. I want us to appreciate what has been accomplished by God to make this world what it is so that we can benefit the greatest from experiencing it. You call this an experience? You'd rather be somewhere else on many occasions. But I want you to understand that God is sovereign over all these things, and as His prophecies show, He desires that it be this way or it wouldn't be this way.
I believe that Satan possesses the powers to wipe out mankind from earth almost in the blink of an eye. But the hedge is still around mankind to some degree, thus forcing Satan to work within the constraints God places on him so that we can experience having to go through this. Experiencing the way it is now is not pleasant, but it is a part of our education, as God sees it, preparing us for the Kingdom of God.
His church is receiving an education that the overwhelming majority of people—and I mean in the billions—have been denied simply because the educational tools were not available to mankind then. The greatest educational tool ever given to mankind—the Bible—simply was not available to them. And this is one of the reasons I have suggested that the invention of the Gutenberg press was the instrument that was the major step to begin serious preparations for the education of those living in the end times. And then add to that, that God opened the doors to the New World through Christopher Columbus's voyage, and by doing that, opened immigration as a possibility to a flood of Israelites living throughout Europe and beyond, so that they might come to the United States of America. This opened the door for the expansion of multiple millions of Israelitish people to be here when the end time arrived.
Concurrently, within 100 years or so of the Gutenberg press' invention, the Protestant Reformation took place, revealing the value to education of the Gutenberg press. It helped to break those people away from the corrupt spiritual enslavement of the Catholic Church and the national governments that church dominated. In other words, those people had a place to go—that is, to America—to enable the liberties they yearned for, but had no other way to achieve.
During that same period of time—and I'm thinking of 1600 through 1800—the secular renaissance was also under way in Europe. Within it, Satan was infiltrating the universities and he was laying the groundwork to undermine many of the biblical truths the Protestant reformation was opening to people. Reading, writing and arithmetic are the three most important school subjects. All three are necessities for a good culture and for superior levels of communication. I believe that of those three, the most important is reading.
I recently heard in a news report that children who have problems with mathematics are actually children who cannot read well, and thus, they do not see mathematic problems in a logical sequence that enables solutions to be made.
But way beyond that in importance, the greatest book ever written for the purpose of benefiting mankind is the Bible, and it is primarily a history book and it must be read in order to be of value to anybody. In the universities, though, Satan was laying the groundwork to destroy a right and true understanding of history, beginning with creation.
We are now living in the effects of what Satan is doing in his attempt to counteract God. But never forget that God rules, and if He did not want it this way, it wouldn't be this way. He would have stopped it long ago. So have faith and make good use of what God has provided for our preparation for His Kingdom—and that preparation includes having to live in this world.