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IS THERE A HELL?

IS THERE A HELL? If hell does exist, where is it – and can those who are there ever get out? by Herbert W. Armstrong   (Originally published in the Plain Truth Magazine, August 1982)   If hell does exist, where is it – and can those who are there ever get out? WILL THOSE in hell leave hell at the time of the resurrection – or are they confined eternally to hell, so that they shall be UNABLE to take part in the resurrection? What did Jesus mean when he said in John 5:28-29: “… the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth… those who have done evil, to the RESURRECTION OF JUDGMENT” (RSV). If “those who have done EVIL” – the UNsaved – shall come forth in the RESURRECTION of JUDGMENT, what is the connection between that resurrection of the UNsaved, and their being in an eternal hellfire? It’s about time we took this question out of hiding, and took a good look at it! What is the TRUTH? Common Idea of Hell First, what is the generally accepted common belief in our Western world about hell? Here’s the terse and brief summation of this popular belief, which I quote from the Encyclopedia Americana: “… As generally understood, hell is the abode of evil spirits; the infernal regions… whither lost and condemned souls go after death to suffer indescribable torments and eternal punishment… Some have thought of it as the place created by the Deity, where He punishes with inconceivable severity, and through all eternity, the souls of those who through unbelief or through the worship of false gods have angered Him. It is the place of divine revenge, untempered, never ending.” Now where, and how, did this popular belief about hell originate? The Encyclopedia Americana states further: “The main features of hell as conceived by Hindu, Persian, Egyptian, Grecian and Christian theologians are essentially the same.” The Western religious leaders from Roman times through the Middle Ages borrowed the doctrine of eternal torture from the pagan philosophers. Certain writers of the Middle Ages had such tremendous influence on the Christian-professing world, that their writings and teachings came to be generally accepted and believed, until it became the doctrine of the Christian-professing world. Among these influential writers were Augustine and Dante Alighieri. Some years ago, I ran across a book in a large library, titled Dante, and His Inferno. It summed up the history of the Christian-professing doctrine of hell. This factual history is rather amazing! Dante lived A.D. 1265 to 1321. Dante, remember, wrote a tremendously popular book, titled Divine Comedy, in three parts – “Hell,” “Purgatory” and “Paradise.” From the Pagans Now I quote from the aforementioned book of history: “Of all poets of modern times, Dante Alighieri was, perhaps, the greatest educator. He possibly had a greater influence on the course of civilization than any other man since his day… He wrote, in incomprehensible verse, an imaginative and lurid account of a dismal hell – a long poem containing certain phrases which have caught the attention of the world, such as, ‘all hope abandon… ye, who enter here!’ This had a tremendous impression and influence on the popular Christian thought and teaching. His Inferno was based on Virgil and Plato.” Dante is reported to have been so fascinated and enraptured by the ideas and philosophies of Plato and Virgil, pagan philosophers, that he believed they were divinely inspired. Here is an article on Virgil, from the Americana: “VIRGIL, pagan Roman poet, 70-19 B.C. Belonged to the national school of pagan Roman thought, influenced by the Greek writers. Christians of the Middle Ages, including Dante, believed he had received some measure of divine inspiration.” Plato was a pagan Greek philosopher, born in Athens, 427 B.C., a student of Socrates. He wrote the famous book Phaedo, on the immortality of the soul, and this book is the real origin of the modern belief in the immortality of the soul. I have before me, a copy of the Phaedo, and in the introductory pages, I read this about Plato: “In fact, he acknowledges . .. three kinds of gods: superior, inferior, and intermediate.” There is the general statement of the popular belief about hell, and where that belief came from – actually from the imaginations of pagans who knew not God! What About the Millions of Heathen? Now, before we examine the common idea about hell to see whether it is TRUE, I want you to consider one or two FACTS: See where this concept of hell, if true, leads us! On this earth are some 4,500 million people. The most POPULOUS lands are China, India and other parts of Asia. In spite of missionaries from the West, actually more than half of air the people on this earth have never so much as HEARD the ONLY name by which men may be SAVED – the name of Jesus CHRIST! Now is there some other way by which men may be saved? The Bible says there is NOT! That means that thousands of millions of people on this earth have lived, and DIED, without ever having known anything about Christian salvation – without SAVING KNOWLEDGE – never having heard the ONLY name by which men may be saved! Now think what that means! IF all unsaved go immediately to hell at death – the hell commonly believed in – then more than HALF of the people who have lived on this earth have been consigned there – and they are there, now, without ever having been given so much as a CHANCE to escape it! Ask yourselves candidly, do you believe THAT is the plan by which an all-wise, all-merciful, loving GOD is working out his purpose here below? Now what is the TRUTH? We face this alternative: Either the Holy Bible is the inspired WORD OF GOD, BY WHICH THE CREATOR reveals the TRUTH on the subject, or else we must fling up our hands and confess WE JUST DON’T KNOW – we are ignorant on the question – because no one has ever COME BACK from such an ever-burning hell to tell us about it, and SCIENCE knows nothing about it. We must believe what the BIBLE says, or we can believe nothing, if we are rational and honest! Does the BIBLE say anything about “hell fire”? Did Jesus say something about hell fire? Yes, he did! Hell Fire in the Bible He said, in the passage most often quoted: “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt” (Mark 9:47-49). Now exactly what is this hell fire? This word hell is an English word. Mark wrote, originally, in the Greek language. The word originally inspired, which Mark actually wrote, was the Greek word gehenna, which certainly does refer to FIRE. But in most passages in the New Testament where the English word hell is found in our English translations, the original Greek word was a different word, hades – which does NOT refer to FIRE at all, but has an altogether different meaning. Incorrectly Translated “Hell” Remember we merely read a translation of the Bible from its original languages. A leading Bible dictionary, called A Dictionary of the Bible, edited by James Hastings, says this: “In our Authorized Version the word ‘hell’ is unfortunately used as the rendering of three distinct words, with different meanings. It represents, (1) the ‘sheol’ of the Hebrew Old Testament, and the ‘hades’ of … the New Testament. … It is now an entirely misleading rendering, especially in the New Testament passages. The English revisers, therefore, have substituted the original Greek word ‘hades’ for ‘hell’ in the New Testament. In the American revision the word ‘hell’ is entirely discarded in this connection… The word ‘hell’ is translated (2) as the equivalent of the Greek word tartaros, (II Peter 2:4; compare with Jude 6), and, (3) as the equivalent of the Greek word ‘gehenna.’ ” The original Hebrew word sheol and the Greek hades mean the same – the GRAVE, and these original words are so translated in many places. Hell is an old English word, and 370 years ago, when the Authorized Version was translated, the people of England commonly talked about putting their potatoes in HELL for the winter – a good way of preserving potatoes – for the word then meant merely a hole in the ground that was covered up – a dark and silent place – a GRAVE. But PAGAN teachings that gained popular acceptance have caused people to apply to the English word the meaning of “hell” which came out of the imaginations of Dante. The Greek word tartaros occurs only once in the New Testament and does not refer to humans, but the place of fallen angels. Its meaning, translated into English, is “darkness of the material universe,” or “dark abyss” or “prison.” And now the Greek word gehenna. Here is the official DEFINITION of that very Greek word which was inspired by God, and written originally by Mark. I quote from Hastings: “Gehenna: the word occurs twelve times in the New Testament. This term ‘gehenna’ represents ‘the Valley of Hinnom’ (Nehemiah 11:30, II Kings 23:10, etc.). The place was … a deep narrow gorge in the vicinity of Jerusalem, understood to be on the south side. It is repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 19:6, etc.). It became an object of horror to the Jews, and is said to have been made the receptacle for bones, the bodies of beasts and criminals, refuse and all unclean things. The terrible associations of the place . . . the fires said to have been kept burning in it in order to consume the foul and corrupt objects that were thrown into it, made it a natural and unmistakable symbol of dire evil,… ABSOLUTE RUIN. So it came to designate the place of future punishment.” Hell – a Place of Destruction Gehenna was a place of DESTRUCTION and DEATH – not a place of living torture! Jesus was talking to Jews who understood all about this Gehenna or Valley of Hinnom. Utter DESTRUCTION by fire was complete. NOTHING was left, but ashes! Every text in the Bible translated from this Greek word gehenna means complete destruction – not living torture – NOT eternal LIFE in torment! THE Bible says, in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is DEATH” – not ETERNAL LIFE in torture. The PUNISHMENT revealed in the BIBLE is DEATH – the cessation of life. Eternal life is the GIFT OF GOD! Then WHY have we been believing that PUNISHMENT is ETERNAL LIFE in fire? And WHY have we been believing we already have eternal life and don’t NEED to come to God through Christ to receive it as HIS GIFT? The PUNISHMENT is DEATH. It is the second death, from which there shall be no resurrection! The PUNISHMENT is for ETERNITY – DEATH for eternity – ETERNAL punishment – but nowhere does THE BIBLE say anything about the PAGAN teaching of eternal punish-ING. It’s eternal punishMENT, not eternal punishING! When Jesus spoke of being cast into “gehenna FIRE,” he was using this expression as an illustration of the LAKE OF FIRE, which THE BlBLE reveals is to be THE PLACE of this final punishment – this second DEATH. He referred to Revelation 20:14: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” THAT fire will be much hotter than Dante’s imaginary HELL! What Happens to “Hell”? Do people go at DEATH to the fictitious hell of Dante’s imagination to be TORTURED by flames of fire forever – and then are they to be brought OUT, to go into a JUDGMENT, to see if God had made a mistake in having punished them so long in this “hell”? Notice Revelation 20:13-15: “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” The LAKE OF FIRE which JESUS referred to is a place of DEATH, not of eternal life – the SECOND DEATH – ETERNAL punishment! Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 10:28: “… fear him which is able to DESTROY both soul and body in [GEHENNA].” Here in plain language JESUS said the SOUL could be destroyed – and that it would be DESTROYED in this GEHENNA that has been falsely translated by the English word hell! Gehenna is a place of DESTRUCTION! Again Jesus used this word gehenna as quoted in Matthew 23:33: “Ye serpents,” he said to the Pharisees, “… how can ye escape the damnation of [GEHENNA]?” – the second DEATH – eternal PUNISHMENT! The ancient rebellious cities Sodom and Gomorrah suffered, as we read in Jude 7, the vengeance of ETERNAL FIRE. But they are not still burning. They were burned up FOREVER – eternal DESTRUCTION! Now what happens in this “hell” – derived from the Greek word gehenna? Let the Holy Word of GOD answer: “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 4:1-3). God Is Love – and Justice! God is a God of LOVE – or MERCY, as well as a God of ABSOLUTE JUSTICE! If he were the vain, angry, unjust god pictured by the pagans who invented this popular conception of heaven and hell, then, according to the common belief of the illustration of Lazarus and the Rich Man, saved mothers up in heaven are hearing the shrieks, seeing the indescribable AGONY, writhing, of their own lost children down in hell – actually able to carry on a conversation with them – yet UNABLE to help them. Would THAT be the heavenly BLISS it is generally represented? Psalm 37 OUGHT to make plain to us this matter of heaven and hell. Notice! “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever” (Ps. 37:9-12, 20, 22, 29). And now, Psalm 104:35: “Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more.” And now, Isaiah 66:24: “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” Never to Be Quenched? “Neither shall their fire be QUENCHED.” Does that mean burning forever and never burning up? Try this test: Put a piece of paper in a pan. Light it with a match. Now, don’t QUENCH that fire! Don’t put it out – for that’s what “quench” means. Very soon the paper will burn up. Then put it down on the floor and step on it! Now it’s merely ashes under the sole of your feet – precisely as THE BIBLE plainly says the wicked shall be! In Jeremiah 17:27, God warned the Jews that Jerusalem would be burned, and the fire would not be quenched – unless they repented. In Jeremiah 52:13, you read the account pf the burning of Jerusalem. That fire was NOT QUENCHED! It is NOT still burning! Do you know that THE BIBLE teaches the resurrection of all who die? The apostle Paul said his HOPE was the hope of the RESURRECTION! As the resurrection is true doctrine, then the pagan myth of an eternal TORTURE, beginning at death, is as deceptive as Satan himself! If all UNsaved – even all who never heard the ONLY name Jesus Christ – are roasting, screaming, in such a hell, and can never get out, HOW can there be a RESURRECTION! Thank GOD! – there is to be a resurrection to JUDGMENT, as well as a resurrection to eternal life of the dead IN Christ! Yes, thank GOD, he so LOVED the world – we NEED not perish, but through Christ we may have EVERLASTING LIFE!]]>

Above, Below and On The Surface

From Above: Acid Rain     It was once thought that at least the water from rain or snow could be depended upon to be pure and clean. But not anymore! The many tons of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides daily spewed into the air by emissions from automobiles, oil production facilities, coal-burning power plants and other industrial sources do not stay there. They come back down. They come down as dry acidic powder. Or they mix with moisture in the atmosphere to come down in rain, snow and fog as nitric or sulfuric acid. These acidic deposits are the subject of a scientific and political storm that has state pitted against state, province against province, nation against nation, ideology against ideology. Airborne pollutants do not respect politically designated borders. What falls in one area may have had its origin in smokestacks or auto exhausts hundreds of miles away. Thus, the Canadian government and parts of the northeastern United States point an accusing finger at the industrial midwestern states. Likewise, Scandinavian countries blame European industrial centers to the south for certain ecological damage they have been suffering. Acid rain — or acid fog, which can be 10 times more acidic than rain — is said to be responsible for a wide variety of harmful effects: dead lakes, sterile fish, decimated forests, lifeless soil, deteriorating statuary, eroding architecture, marred finishes on motor vehicles and lawn furniture, aggravated respiratory conditions and other health problems. Much controversy rages concerning to what degree acid rain and related phenomena are actually caused by the effects of human activity on rain, snow and fog. Industrial interests contend that even if the evidence were (to them) conclusive, it would be extremely difficult or impossible to pinpoint which kind of tree died because of which pollutants — and from which smokestack. Cutting back on pollutants, it is pointed out, would affect jobs and enormously inflate the cost of electrical power and consumer goods. Numerous voices outside industry maintain that the situation is intolerable and that something must be done quickly to protect the environment. Some, however, in the scientific field are now pointing out that certain nonindustrial activities of man also have an effect. The suppression of forest fires, for example, increases acidity in nearby lakes by preventing the neutralization on forest floors of excessive acidic humus — that is, turning humus to ash. One thing is abundantly clear: Though nature itself produces acidic compounds that fit into the natural scheme of things, industrial societies and ecologists, who insisted on high chimneys to carry pollutants away, must accept responsibility for humanly produced harmful effects that upset the delicate balance of the ecological system.   [Photo Caption — Experts disagree on specifics, but few fail to recognize a link between man’s activities and dying forests.]


Below: Poisoned Wells  

  The public is becoming more skeptical whenever experts offer their opinions. Take the case of TCE for example. TCE is the abbreviation for trichloroethylene, an industrial chemical widely used in the United States for the last 60 years. It is now suspected of causing cancer. Cheap and plentiful, the chemical has been the most popular solvent, its uses ranging from degreasing metal parts and engines to dry cleaning clothing to decaffeinating coffee. Since it was so easily available, it was merely dumped after being used. Apparently no one wanted to believe TCE could taint water supplies. And so it is with a certain degree of astonishment that it has been discovered in wells all over the country. “With an ease that has surprised geologists, TCE has defeated nature’s soil, sand and clay filters to reach deep aquifers, the underground geological formations that supply half the nation’s water” (The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 1980). In one area where TCE-contaminated drinking water was discovered, a newspaper explained: “State health experts admitted Thursday they were wrong in assuming trichloroethylene never would contaminate groundwater wells. . . ‘We [scientists] thought TCE would evaporate. We were wrong. We didn’t think it would get into the groundwater,’ ” a scientist confided (emphasis ours). Somebody has been wrong about a lot of things — not only about TCE. For while examining tap water throughout the United States in one study, officials identified 22 known or suspected cancer-causing substances plus some 1,000 other organic chemicals. Consider, too, that each year more than 500 new chemical pollutants are developed, too many of which find their way into the water system. The knowledge that some experts admit “We didn’t think…” must be of small consolation to any who may be suffering physically from foreign substances they have ingested from their drinking water.

On the Surface: Tainted Waters  

  In various Western countries, undeniable progress has been made in cleaning up some of the dramatically visible surface water pollution widely publicized in the ’60s and ’70s. Some of it. Still it is not hard to find instances where the visible effluent of man and his industries continues to be dumped into rivers, lakes and seas as though the day of reckoning will never come. In addition to what can be seen, alarming evidence has been turning up of pollution that is not readily visible to the eye: concentrations of metals such as copper, cadmium, zinc, lead, mercury, as well as hundreds of other contaminants associated with industrial and municipal waste. If the elements themselves cannot be seen, the immediate effects often can. One of them coming under increased scrutiny is the high rate of diseases — especially cancer — in fishes taken from many rivers, lakes and estuaries. There is increasing evidence there of such “invisible pollution.” Said Donald C. Malins, a biologist with the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Services, “What the fish are telling us is that something very dangerous is being put into the environment” (Los Angeles Times, January 11, 1984). Not only are the water and the fish thought hazardous for human consumption, but anyone living or working in the area of the water can be exposed to toxic elements. What will it take before mankind learns that rivers, lakes and streams are not to be regarded as limitless cesspools? Even when waste is not purposely dumped into water, problems can arise as inadvertent consequences of human activity. Thus a potential time bomb involving millions of people has been discovered in much of the drinking water of Southern California. The water comes from the north by way of a huge aqueduct. On the way it passes by some abandoned asbestos mines. Because of erosion, mining wastes have contaminated the water in the aqueduct in what has been described as the most perplexing water contamination problem in the United States. Measurement of more than two million asbestos fibers a liter (slightly more than a U.S. quart) of water are not unusual. But Southern California clearly must have that water for its economic survival. The link between breathing asbestos fibers, especially by smokers, and lung disease is well documented. But nothing conclusive has been put together concerning oral ingestion. In the words of one scientific report, “the delayed effects of asbestos in drinking water are unknown.” Few are prepared to say, however, that no danger from high levels of asbestos contamination exists. It has been noted that workers (many of whom are smokers) exposed to air-borne asbestos have had high rates of gastrointestinal cancer as well as lung diseases, presumably because they have swallowed the fibers. To some officials this is a very real and worrisome indication that a major disaster involving several million individuals could now be in the making. [Photo Caption — What you see is bad enough. But what about the pollution that cannot be seen?] [Source:The Plain Truth, April 1986]]]>

FRESH WATER – What we are doing to it!

FRESH WATER – What we are doing to it!   Clean, fresh water — appreciated when it is scarce — is the most versatile and necessary liquid on earth.   by Clayton Steep The Plain Truth, April 1986   FRESH water — we need it to function, to drink, to grow food, to bathe in. Life depends on it. There is no artificial water, no “synwater.” It has to be the real thing. Seventy-five percent of the surface of our planet is covered with water. Vast amounts are to be found underground. So what’s the problem? The problem is that not all water is fresh. And what clean, usable fresh water there is is becoming scarce for larger and larger segments of humanity. Actually, the earth’s water has been transferred time and time again from the oceans into the atmosphere, onto the land from where it has flowed back to sea, there to start the cycle over. It is as King Solomon perceived long ago: “All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again” (Eccl. 1:7, Revised Authorized Version). This process — the hydrological cycle — means that the oceans, the atmosphere and the sun all work together like a gigantic distillery. The heat of the sun on the oceans and other bodies of water causes water to evaporate into the air. The vapor-laden air eventually dumps its moisture in the form of dew, rain, snow or hail. Some falls directly back into the oceans, some falls on land. That which falls on land becomes springs, lakes, rivers and streams — fresh water suitable for man’s use.   [Photo Caption — Fresh water is abundant in the Amazon Basin (circular photo). Not so, however, in many other areas of the world, as depicted in the smaller photos. Left to right: Debris from civilization renders ugly a peaceful pond. An official runs tests on polluted water. To victims of drought in Africa, all water is precious. Effluent snakes its way down a river.]   Under the crust of all of earth’s continents are additional vast networks and bodies of water called aquifers — slowly flowing like underground rivers. This too is fresh water. It comes from surface water that soaks down through the soil and rock formations, finally emptying into the seas. Only fairly recently has it been realized how extensive this system is. Some of the underground water extends as much as three miles below the surface. In the top half-mile of the earth’s crust alone there is estimated that there is more than 30 times the amount of fresh water than what is contained in all the lakes, rivers, streams and inland seas on the surface put together. All this fresh water may sound like a lot of water. But what may not be realized is that about 97 percent of all water on earth is salty, ocean water. Of the three percent that is left, slightly more than two percent is locked up as ice in polar regions. That leaves less than one percent fresh water on land and under it. Still, the amount of fresh water constantly available could support several times this world’s population. It could. But it is not even supplying the present-day needs of the human race as a whole. Why?   Population Distribution     Since the beginning, human societies have tended to locate and develop near river basins, lakes and other fresh water sources. During the course of time populations have increased out of proportion to available water. Political borders have sectioned off water supplies. Even weather patterns change. Population as a whole today is not distributed in the same way that fresh water is. For example, 11 million people massed in more than 130 cities in the desert and semidesert regions of Southern California depend heavily on water brought in from hundreds of miles distance by pipelines and aqueducts. The population has grown far too large for the local water supply. In crowded Hong Kong the situation is more complicated because international borders are involved. Here are not only too many people for available water, but the main supply originates in and is controlled by a neighboring nation, the People’s Republic of China. Worldwide, three fourths of the rural population and one fifth of the city dwellers do not have access to an adequate supply of water. Millions of women spend a good share of each day walking 10 miles or more from their homes just to obtain enough water for drinking and cooking. The World Health Organization designated the 1980s as International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade. It hopes to bring about “safe drinking water and adequate sanitation by 1990… for two billion people in the developing countries.” This at the estimated cost of some $30 billion a year. By contrast to these areas, the mighty Amazon, largest river in the world, winds its way through sparsely inhabited tropical rain forests, dumping its incredible volume of virtually untapped water into the ocean. The great Congo (Zaire) River, second largest on earth, flows through jungles and empties over cataracts into the Atlantic. Other major rivers such as the Mackenzie (Canada), the Yukon (Alaska) and the Ob and Yenisei (Soviet Union) run off into the frigid Arctic Ocean virtually unused. Lake Baikal, the largest and deepest single body of fresh water on earth, sits in relatively sparsely populated Asiatic Russia. In those societies that have had an adequate supply of fresh water, the tendency has been not to appreciate it. Turn the tap on. Out comes the water. There has been water for bathing, washing the car, watering the lawn, operating industry, supporting agriculture and fulfilling thousands of other functions from filling water beds to carrying away sewage. Outside of air for breathing, probably nothing has been more taken for granted by those who have it than water.   Not so “Fresh” After All     Today enormous quantities of industrial wastes are poured into lakes, rivers and streams, creating chemical soups. Thousands of injection wells have been dug where toxic wastes have been pumped directly into the ground, thereupon polluting aquifers. It has been estimated in scientific studies that up to half of the water in the ground is already contaminated either with disease-producing bacteria or industrial waste. Others say the problem is not yet catastrophic. But if yours is the water that is contaminated, it is a catastrophe for you! In too many areas a person simply cannot obtain drinking water that can be guaranteed to be pure. It certainly isn’t available from his tap. Nor can water from rain and snow be relied upon as pure. And who can sort through the advertising claims for all the brands of bottled water, water filters and distillers now on the market? For dirty water, industry (and agriculture) should not get all the blame, as is too often the case in problems of acid rain. Pollution is also caused by such varied non-“industrial” sources as the excessive use of household detergents and drain cleaners, the accumulation of filth from city streets, leaks from underground petroleum tanks, lead and cadmium dissolved from water pipes. Just think for a moment of all the things water is used daily to clean and dilute. One factor responsible for the significant disappearance of pure water is the dumping of sewage into fresh water supplies. This totally illogical practice is commented on in the “Bulletin of Atomic Scientists” for November, 1975: “To a visitor from another planet it would seem incredible that human beings who are intelligent enough for space travel solve their problems of personal hygiene by putting their body wastes into the public drinking water and then spend billions in futile efforts to restore the water to its original condition.” Many are coming to the conclusion that the flush toilet, long considered one of the prime symbols of civilized progress, may turn out to be one of the more harmful devices inflicted on modern society. About 40 percent of all water piped into a home is used — or rather, wasted — by the flush toilet. The average person using one contaminates 13,000 gallons of fresh water a year to wash away 165 gallons of sewage. But this wastage isn’t the worst problem! Nor are the huge expenses involved in constructing and maintaining complex sewer lines and treatment plants. The most negative aspect is that some of the effluent becomes part of the water supply to those who live downstream. At times plain raw sewage is just dumped into lakes and rivers. Or raw sewage can leak out of aging sewer lines and thus befoul surface and underground water. Even when the sewage reaches treatment plants and is processed, unwanted by-products still pollute water supplies. A financial headache for cities using treatment plants is what to do with all the sludge taken from sewer water. Some cities just flush it out to sea. Some offer it as fertilizer. However it is disposed of, its accumulation is a constant problem. While an increasing number of researchers believe Western society took a wrong turn a century ago when it adopted the running water-flush toilet system, many assert there is nothing economically feasible that can be done to change it now. And so, industrial nations are headed toward a real dilemma: They can’t afford to give up the flush toilet now, yet the time is coming when water won’t be available at an affordable price to flush it. Then what? It’s not that there aren’t alternatives. There are increasing numbers of them on the market. The best systems are based on the sensible principle laid down in the Bible long ago, but ignored by society: Human waste ought to be carefully reintegrated, through microbial activity, with the ground (Deut. 23:12-14), not dumped into the drinking water supply!   Add Floods and Drought     To all these factors making fresh water scarce, add two more: floods and drought! Floods occur when rain falls in excessive quantities or in improperly drained regions. Such occurrences can interfere with supplies of clean water. Drought is caused by rain either not falling, or falling in the wrong places — over the oceans, for example, instead of over the land. Dry conditions are producing a whole new set of complications. As groundwater is being depleted in some areas, seawater is seeping in and mixing with the fresh water. Or the land is simply collapsing and sinking in. Worldwide, three fourths of the available fresh water supply is used for irrigation. Much of this water comes from underground reserves. The vast Ogallala aquifer, the main water source for the North American Great Plains (called the breadbasket of the world) is being severely depleted. Likewise the water table under the agriculturally critical San Joaquin Valley in California has been so lowered that the land has settled 30 feet in some places. As the water level drops it is becoming very expensive to run electric pumps to draw water out. Yet if agricultural output declines substantially in these areas, significant effects, nationally and internationally, occur. What is needed is clean rain in the right places, in the right quantity. But that is becoming increasingly rare, and most people do not know why!   Healing Waters!     The period of time God has allowed for human beings to go their own selfish, competitive ways and to struggle with their problems in their own ways is about to come to a sudden close. Human history is a record of how nations have rejected God’s government and his spiritual law that would bring peace and joy. The God who created nature and all the water there is, is beginning to punish humanity, as a parent punishes a disobedient, self-centered child, till we learn our lessons. One of the ways he punishes nations is to allow the altering of water supplies. He may accomplish this either by letting humans reap the results of their own folly (Jer. 2:19; 4:18), or by intervening in human affairs himself (Deut. 28:20, 23-24). In either case, severe shortage of vital water supplies is one of the conditions God will use to bring us to our senses and cause us to at last submit to his ways that bring satisfaction, peace and prosperity. When God sends the Messiah to set up his kingdom over all nations, the powers of this world will have brought this earth to chaos and near-total ruin. The policy of God’s government will be to heal, rebuild and restore until the whole world is a paradise. Think of it — no more shortages of water as nations learn to obey God. Rain will come when it should (Ezek. 34:26) and in just the right amounts (Ps. 65:9-13). Where will be the need of complicated irrigation systems and huge dams with all of their known drawbacks? Vast deserts and desolate expanses will be inhabited: “I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water,” God promises (Isa. 41:18, Revised Standard Version). Pollution of the environment will not be tolerated (Rev. 11:18; Isa. 11:9). Only then will the world’s supply of fresh water be abundantly adequate for all earth’s inhabitants.]]>

"…Watch and Pray ALWAYS"

News Article Submission [su_button url="http://wwcg-archives.com/topics-2/" target="blank" style="bubbles" size="7"]Click here to start[/su_button] If you find any news articles you feel relevant to The Church’s commission to WATCH world events, this is the place to submit it. Please include a paragraph or two to explain how it may be relevant. Perhaps you want to know if this certain event or subject was taught in the Church or not. Or you want to know what else was published on it. Go ahead and submit it along with your questions and comments. We do appreciate them. And we will reply as soon as possible. Since Google and other entities have been using “profiling” and “Personalization” for each individual, not every one receives the same “news” and results, even though they may be sitting next to each other. If you come across any breaking news, or articles that you may feel more people need to know about, please submit it here. Please note, not every submission will be used. We might have duplicates being submitted(which is good, it will help us in what news is available). Or it may contain something not appropriate for this website. We also must consider the source. There are many pseudo news sites creating false news.  In any case, we here at wwcg-archives will do our due diligence to research every submission. Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. http://wwcg-archives.com/topics-2/ [su_button url="http://wwcg-archives.com/topics-2/" target="blank" style="bubbles" size="7"]Click here to start[/su_button]]]>