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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Where is America in Bible Prophecy? - Chapters 1-9

By Dennis M. Edwards

Section One: Introduction and Personal History.

All Bible verses are from the King James Bible, although I have changed some of the old English. Any similarity to any modern version is only by coincidence. Bible verses other than the King James have been foot-noted properly.

Copyright @ Dennis M. Edwards (photos used from Google images for educational purposes only)



Chapter 1 

The Introduction:You Can Know the Future by Understanding Bible Prophecy!


Many people are worried about the future. They look around them and see a world full of confusion, strife, economic failure and corruption, constant threat of war, terrorism, domestic violence, and sexual abuse. There are problems at home, problems at school, problems at work, problems with the neighbors, problems in the family, problems at church, financial problems, and health problems. But the biggest fear and worry is the constant fear that tomorrow will be worse, that there is no help in sight.

Man has seemed to have forgotten that there is a God who helps and who has told us that He is an ever-present help in time of trouble.[1] Because we do not know the future and how things will work out, we become anxious. We worry for ourselves, for our children and for their children. With the world in such a mess, as we see it today, is there any hope for the future? If we knew the future, would it help us to have faith that God is in control, even if it looks as if He has abandoned us to our own devices? Would it give us the confidence we need to struggle on and keep fighting in spite of all the obstacles that besiege us daily?

Would knowing the big picture of the future comfort us and help us to understand where the world is heading and why? I believe it would. Although some of what I am going to share with you may be shocking, in the end, I believe, it will comfort you and will help you to face the future bravely and unafraid knowing that God is in control. He is in control and He will not let anything happen to us that is not for our good and for drawing us closer to Him. He is the great Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.[2] In Him is fullness of life.[3] He has told us not to take any anxious thought for tomorrow.[4] But He has also told us to prepare and not be foolish.[5] The Proverbs tell us 

A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.[6]


I propose that an understanding of Bible prophecy will help us to be ready for the future. It will help us have the right attitude towards others and towards life itself. It will prepare us to face the difficult days ahead with faith and confidence that God is ultimately in control. With God’s love in our hearts and knowledge of His Word in our minds, we will be able to confront the difficulties that lay ahead, unafraid and confident that all things will work together for good because we love Him.[7]

It is my earnest prayer and hope that the information I am about to share with you will be an impetus for you to dig deep into God’s Word. I pray this information will draw you closer to Him. I pray that it will help and encourage you so that you will be able to help and encourage others in the difficult days that lie ahead. One day we will meet together at Jesus’ feet, where He will wipe every tear from our eyes and there shall be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more.[8] Are you preparing for God’s tomorrow? May the words the Lord has given me in this book, be a blessing to you and your family and open your eyes to the events that shall soon suddenly befall us.


Notes:

[1] Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
[2] Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
[3] John 10:10 The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 
[4] Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
[5] Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
[7] Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
[8] Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Chapter 2

The Bible: a book of Prophecy


I was listening to a lecture by Bill Salus entitled “The Future of America in Bible Prophecy.”[1] Bill is a famous American author, radio host and lecturer on Bible Prophecy. He starts off his lecture by quoting Isaiah,

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.[2]


Can we know the future? God’s Word says that we can, because God can reveal it. The prophet Amos said,

Surely the Lord God will do nothing but he reveals his secret to his servants the prophets.[3]


Here, Amos is making a conditional statement. God is going to reveal His secrets, not unto everyone, but unto His servants the prophets. The prophets were chosen of God, because of their love and obedience to Him. They were tested by God and had proved their faithfulness to Him. They desired to serve God, rather than man. They chose God over material things, over comfort and conformity. They preferred to live and die for the truth, than to live a life of compromise. Therefore, because of their dedication to God, to truth, to righteousness, God revealed His secrets unto them.

The prophet’s job was to give the Word of God to the people, to follow God’s instructions in spite of opposition by family, friends or community. Many of them bemoaned their fate as God’s mouth-pieces, because they were ill received. In Chronicles we read,

And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, until there was no remedy.[4]


In this book, I am going to reveal to you what God has revealed to me, one of his servants. I am going to talk about where I believe America fits in Bible prophecy. It will be an interesting study. I hope you will enjoy it. But first I must share a little about who I am and what qualifies me as one of God’s servants. In these first chapters of the book I will share my story and I will let you judge from there. May God bless us as we study His Word together.

Notes:



Chapter 3

My Testimony – The Early Years


Recently I have been reading through the documents I presented to my local draft board back in the year or so before receiving my notice for induction into military service in November 1971. I had applied to the board for a deferment as a conscientious objector. I was asked by them to explain my beliefs and from where, from whom and how I arrived at them. I will quote from the documents I presented to the board in this first part of My Testimony. Remember, I was twenty-one years old when writing this.

"I am the second son of Roman Catholic middle-class parents. My parents are good people. My father is a good-natured man who reads only the comics and the sports page. My mother passes the time away with television soap operas.” 

I need to interrupt here and confess that the above statement was how I was viewing my parents at that time. The truth actually was that my parents were a lot deeper and intellectually and politically aware than I thought. Now that I have made that point, let’s go back to my letter to the military draft board.

“I have never talked seriously with my parents, but I remember in high school my mother’s words in regard to my sister's dating.... ‘Do what comes naturally,’ which I interpreted as, ‘Do what you think is right, or what your conscience dictates.’ It is from my parents that the philosophy of love has been so deeply ingrained in me, though I suspect they are not aware of it."

My article to the military continued.

"I attended public school and with childhood resistance the Tuesday afternoon Catechism classes. As a young Catholic, I learned to fear the ‘Almighty Lord’ from nuns who seemed out of the tradition of Jonathan Edwards. In my childhood years, I would every night before sleep say prayers for all the people I liked and especially for those I disliked. My fear of God made me overly conscious of my thoughts and actions. I constantly watched and scrutinized my behavior to be aware of sins."

"In the sixth grade, I was appointed captain of the safety patrol, though I hated the leadership position because of my shyness and my inability to tell others what they should do. With the advent of Junior High School came puberty and peer group relations. At 15, I had a complete falling out with my father and our relationship remained distant until just recently. In High School, I was very religious and obsessively conscious of the churches commandments. I tried to imitate the life of Christ. I was an average student, with friends that were ‘jocks,’ and friends that were ‘nerds.’ The most intriguing reading I did in High School was Thoreau's Walden Pond. I also enjoyed Ralph Waldo Emerson. One quote of his still remains with me,

Every Stoic was a Stoic, but where in Christendom is the Christian? [1]



"In my senior year I gained a deep relationship with a girl, my first intimate girlfriend. I seldom read a book or the daily newspaper. I graduated High School as president of my senior class, with the American Legion School Award for courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service. I had a vague hope of becoming a social worker or ‘something like that.’ I toyed with the idea of joining the military ‘to do my duty.’ But I was accepted to a college in Ohio and decided to go there instead."

Notes:

[1] Emerson, Ralph Waldo, Self Reliance, essay. http://www.quotery.com/quotes/for-every-stoic-was-a-stoic-but-in-christendom-where/ (accessed 03/2016)

Chapter 4

The Tough College Years


Before getting started with the following chapter, I need to write a disclaimer. The title here is The Tough College Years. But by no means were they as tough as my fellow American colleagues were experiencing, who were fighting and dying by the tune of 5,000 a year in Vietnam. My friend Ronnie Santoro [1] was one of them. He joined the US Marines after high school and didn’t make it through a year in combat. Real war is not like a video game where you just “start over.”

Neither were those supposedly tough college years as tough as those that the poor Vietnamese civilians faced during that same period, or many other poor, undernourished oppressed populations faced elsewhere around the world. But they were tough for me as I looked death in the eyes in the form of suicide. It was during those years that my world view became atheistic and existential. One of the logical conclusions from that belief system was, why live? But before we get further into that question, we’ll start the chapter as I had originally written it. Here we go.

Moving to Marietta College in Marietta, Ohio in September of 1967 was the beginning of a new life. I was thrown into a society in which I was a “nobody.” No one knew I was president of my senior class. No one knew I was on the Central Jersey Group III State Champion football team. No one knew my girlfriend was secretary of the student body and a cheerleader. No one knew my best friend was president of the student body. No one knew what or who I was. An identity crisis was in full gear.

It was some time in that first year, that my former girlfriend came and told me she had another boyfriend. I was destroyed. Here I had been trying to keep all the church rules against premarital sex and the thing that I loved the most, my girlfriend, “God” took from me and gave to another. I fell into a deep depression. I was mad at “God.” I stopped believing in Him and threw away my "religious" faith and threw myself into atheism, evolution and political anarchy. I had been taking a geology course that first year that fed me evolution and “billions of years.” I swallowed it all in as a rational justification for our existence without the need of a “God.” I began attacking the faith of Christian girls I would date. I tried to convert others to my new-found beliefs proving through science that the Bible was wrong.

It was during my sophomore year that my close call with death came. My required geology course in my freshman year had given me justification for my rejection of God. I was, as Richard Dawkins explained, an intellectually satisfied atheist. Darwinian evolution and millions of years had given me an alternative to the Biblical creation story. 

In my psychology course we were studying, among others, Freud with his psychoanalysis, and Skinner with his psychological behaviorism, which was sort of the equivalent to psychological dialectic materialism. In Comparative Religion the head of the Religion department showed he was more emotionally excited about the “truths” of Buddhism than in the words of Jesus Christ. In my course on Modern European Novels, we were reading Kafka, Sartre and Camus with their atheistic existential meaningless-life world view. 

With all the negative input I was having, it was no wonder, one bleak winter afternoon that I decided to drive my car off the bridge between Marietta, Ohio and Parkersburg, West Virginia and into the Ohio River. Like George Bailey in the film It’s a Wonderful Life,[2] I had gotten to end of myself and just wanted to end it all. But as the car began its course across the ice-covered bridge, at the moment when I was to jerk the wheel to the right and break through the protective fence into the water, I saw, in my mind’s eye, the face of my dear Aunt Ida. 

It had been just a few months earlier when Ida had taken me in her arms and asked me, “What’s the matter, Dennis?” I couldn’t answer, as I couldn’t open up to her and share what was going on inside me. I had been a quiet and shy person throughout my life. In fact, I was plagued with timidity. But Ida took it all in stride, and tenderly sang I Love You a Bushel and a Peck and a Hug around the Neck.[3] As she rocked me in her arms, to that old familiar song she had used to sing to put me to sleep when I was just a wee little tot, I felt loved.

Because of the love my Aunt Ida had manifested to me, at that moment on the bridge, I knew I couldn’t kill myself. Even though my atheism and my existentialism seemed to cry “Just Do It,” I couldn’t. Somebody loved me. Ida loved me, and because Ida loved me, that meant love existed. I had felt it in Ida’s arms. If love existed, life wasn’t meaningless. Life was worth living. I just needed to keep on searching for the answers. 

If life doesn’t seem worth living for you at the moment, maybe Nick Vujicic’s inspirational YouTube video will encourage you. Whatever you do, don’t give up![4]

I need to reiterate here that my parents were loving people. My mother often received into our home the individual woman neighbors who would confide in her their problems. My father was a happy, helpful person who was always making conversation with strangers in the supermarket or doing some shopping for one of the neighbors. But coming from a Polish family, we weren’t a very affectionate family. My parents didn’t give me hugs, or my grandparents. However, Ida did, as well as my Godmother Aunt Dolores. 

In the 1980s, psychologist Dr. Virginia Satir shared with the 4,000 delegates of the American Orthopsychiatric Association the results of tests concerning the affects of hugging.[5] Research had shown that as the amount of hugs a person received increased, so their psychological health and happiness also increased.

The study concluded that 4 hugs a day were needed for survival, while 8 hugs were required for psychological, mental and emotional maintenance. For growth and happiness, 12 hugs a day were necessary. I think the “Free Hug” movement evolved from the above research. In Portugal we have a national association called “Abraços,” or “Hugs,”[6] based on the same idea with the goal of helping people infected by the AIDS virus.

Parents, please hug your children. I recently read a regret list where one of the regrets was “I wish I had hugged my wife, my children, my friends and my loved ones more often. I wish I had shown more physical affection for my loved ones.” I think we could all be more loving and do more to show our love through hugs and other forms of physical affection. 

Three and a half years ago, as I was about to go to sleep, at around 12 midnight, I received a telephone call. It was one of those calls you don’t want anyone to receive. My twenty-seven year old son had gone missing. He hadn’t showed up for work. His friends found his clothing on the beach not far from their rented bungalow. He was a good worker, conscientious, a good son and I was proud of him. Yet, I couldn’t remember when was the last time I had told him, “Martin, I love you,” or “Martin, I’m proud of you.” I couldn’t remember the last time I had hugged him and showed him in a tangible way that I loved him.

Of course, the Lord is always a very present help in time of trouble. I was surprised how He helped me get through the perhaps most difficult event of my life, my son’s death. I prayed. I read the Bible. I spent time praising. But His most present help came in the form of the hugs I received, the physical affection that I received, the love I received sometimes from total strangers.

After I arrived in the Bermudas, where my son had been working, I made my way to the place where he had been employed. While asking directions, I told the young heavy-set black Bermudian cashier that I was the father of the young man who had recently drowned. Without hesitating she said, “Do you mind if I come around from the cashier counter and give you a hug?” And so it happened various times in the days that followed. The physical affection I received in the form of hugs from people I did not even know, the love that I received, was the single most identifiable factor to me being able to overcome the utter sadness and lost I felt. Friends, please hug your loved ones. They need it and you need it. We all need it and we will be better persons for it.

Now let’s get back to the story.

It was a few months after my aborted suicide attempt, while smoking hashish with a close friend, when I had my "God" experience. I want to make it clear here I am not advocating taking drugs to find God, but God used that experience on my path to Him. I recently asked a friend of mine if he had a similar experience while doing drugs. His answer was, yes, he did. But he had also had some very bad experiences - bad, demonic trips. It was the bad trips that assured him the Devil was real and caused him to search more desperately for God.

Here’s what happened to me. In a vision, I saw a small ball of light in the upper corner of the room. I was talking to my close friend Chris Smith at the moment. He was using some kind of encounter psychology to help me to open up. Finally, I reached out and touched his arm and said, “Yes, Chris, I need help!” At that very moment, with my confession of desperate need, the ball of light descended from the corner of the room and embraced me. Instantly, I was enveloped in an energy-field of unexplainable love. It was like a spiritual orgasm, a spiritual epiphany. My whole being had been transformed in an instance. It was kind of like what was visualized in the movie Cocoon[7] when the main male actor has “alien sex” with the beautiful female alien. 

My first thought was "Is this what Jesus is all about?" From that moment on I knew love was the power and the force of the universe. On that day, I went home and apologized to my parents for the way I had acted as a rebellious teen, even having fought with my father twice during my teen years. All I wanted to do was to love others. But now I had to consolidate my experience and find out where this power of love came from.

I started searching through different religious philosophies for truth. Buddhism was one of the first to catch my interest. I studied the eight-fold path of Siddhartha. I read Herman Hesse´s books which contained Buddhist philosophy. I became an organic vegetarian. I also dabbled in Judaism as I had a Jewish girlfriend for a time. I read heavily on transcendental meditation and used as my spiritual guides, the books Be Here Now by Ram Dass, Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, and Erich Fromm´s The Art of Loving, among others. I steered clear of Christian Evangelicals and Christianity and Catholicism which I assumed to be false because of the hypocritical actions of their followers and my previous experiences in childhood.

However, the question of war and my involvement in it, as I was due to be drafted after my four-year college deferment ended, led me to start reading heavily on the subject of conscientious objection to war and draft resistance. In my reading, I came across Leo Tolstoy’s Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer,[8] and The Kingdom of God is Within You.[9] As Tolstoy mentions the teaching of Christ from the Sermon on the Mount in these writings, I started to read and study Jesus´ own words found in chapters 5-7 of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament.

In June of 1971, I graduated from Marietta College with a Bachelors of Arts degree in History and was on the Dean’s List with a straight B average. But by the month of October I had been denied conscientious objector status by the military, and after refusing to take the various pre-entrance examinations, I had been ordered to appear for induction into the US military or face the consequences. My mother, God bless her soul, telephoned me at the end of October telling me the FBI had been around to arrest me as I had not appeared for induction on the date specified.

I was working as a low-salaried teacher of special needs children in Marietta, Ohio at the time. However, when I put down the phone from speaking to my mom, I dropped to my knees and with tears falling from my eyes called out with all my heart to "God," if He indeed existed, to save me. I was not asking Him to save my soul, but to save me from the problem of having to go into the military, to save me from having to kill and/or be killed in Vietnam. But after having prayed, I rose from my knees and spit on the floor and said, "There’s no God, so why am I praying?"

But I was soon to find out that God does answer prayer when we call upon Him with all our heart, even if our mind sometimes gets in the way.

Notes:

[5] http://eqi.org/ht.htm (accessed 03/2016)
[6] http://www.abraco.org.pt/ (accessed 03/2016)
[9] http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/4602 (accessed 03/2016)


Chapter 5

The Miracle and Answered Prayer!


A few days passed and I still did not know what I would do about the draft. I knew my time was short and the FBI would soon find me in Marietta, as I was making no efforts to hide. In the end, I had decided to resist the draft and go to prison if need be. Resistance was a stance which every young American youth could take; white, black, educated, uneducated, rich or poor. Cassius Clay, the famous boxer, who later changed his name to Mohammed Ali, had refused induction into the US military and had been jailed for it. I thought refusing induction was the most honest position to take, as it was open to every man and not just to the middle or upper-class white boys who could find a deferment or escape to Canada or Sweden. 

Two weeks after my mother’s phone call, I went for two days to Columbus, Ohio to attend a teachers’ convention. It was on the return to Marietta that I picked up a hitch-hiking young couple on their way to Ellenville, New York. He was an American and she was from Mexican descent. They asked me what I believed. We soon got into a conversation with me sharing my philosophy of life developed from my four years at college and my search for the truth. Slowly, they began to talk to me about Jesus. At first, I remember thinking, “Oh, no, they’re two Jehovah Witnesses.” But, no, they were different.

After a time talking, we stopped at a restaurant where I bowed my head and asked Jesus, if He really was the Son of God, to come into my heart and life and show me. Later as we drove further, Chris talked with me about the importance of the Holy Spirit. So, while driving my brother’s Volkswagen Beetle down the motor way, I prayed to receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Only a few more miles up the road was where I needed to drop them off to start on my way back to Marietta, about one hundred miles south of Columbus. 

Chris talked with me further. He encouraged me that it was no coincidence that I had met them. Now, he questioned, was God calling me to discipleship? I was already used to doing things on the spur of the moment, so I decided to take them to Ellenville and see this training center for myself. Could there really be a place to teach young Christian disciples to live for God? What impressed me the most about Chris and his partner was that they were just as much against the war as I was. It was the first time I had met “Christians” against the war. I had read about a famous Catholic Jesuit priest in Chicago who was, but I had never met personally a Christian against the war. Most of the people I knew against the war were non-believers, or at least, they weren’t church-goers.

I had spoken with Christian youth on the college campus. Those dedicated to Christ were usually always very pro-American, anti-communist and therefore willing to support the war effort in some way. I even had a very close friend who had been a conscientious objector and had served as an army medic in Vietnam. But as much as he had tried, he could not convince me that the conscientious objector was the most righteous or moral stand.

During my search for conscientious objector status, I had also gone and spoken to both Catholic Priests and Protestant Ministers. They had told me it was my Christian duty to obey the government and don the army uniform and perform my duty for God and country. I had already come to the decision from reading Tolstoy and others, including Mark Twain's famous War Prayer[1] and the New Testament, that this pro-war stance was a compromise and not in accordance with the words of Jesus. I had finally met some Christians who believed as I did about the war, and I now was going to see what made them tick.

If you are interested in praying the prayer I prayed please watch Billy Graham’s Defining Moments.[2]

Notes:


Chapter 6

Ellenville Christian Training Center


We rolled into Ellenville, New York after an all-night journey through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Ellenville was a beautiful little town in the Catskill Mountains, some one hundred miles north of New York City! It was already November and the trees were beginning to change their colors.

That first morning I remember meeting Don Slovenski from a Catholic-Polish family like my own. He had been President of the Catholic Young People's Association and had represented the Association in the Washington, DC’s Christian Young People’s Convention. He picked up a conversation with me and we were soon immersed in an interesting Bible study of Daniel 2 and end-time prophecy.

He then showed me Matthew 24 about the signs Jesus gave concerning His return to Earth and the end of the world. I had tried to read the Bible before, starting at Genesis, but had gotten bogged down soon afterwards in Leviticus or Deuteronomy. But reading with Don, the Bible made so much sense. In the Bible, I was finding confirmations of the experiences I was going through and the conclusions I had been making as a person. The Bible was confirming my own thought-out conclusions and showing me they were right. Jesus was indeed the truth I had been looking for. My search of many years into different religions and world views ended. I had found the answer: the way, the truth and the life[1], the Word of God, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.[2]

I was in no hurry to go back to Marietta, with the FBI on my trail, so I decided to stay at the Ellenville Christian Training Center and enter its three-month course called Biblical Evangelism & Ministry Training. The course was comprised of Bible studies, lectures, Scripture memorization and afterwards personal witnessing in Greenwich Village in New York City. I was also required to be part of the work crew, as there was no tuition, but an obligatory work load. I was assigned the job of breakfast cook and also dish-washing overseer. That sounds simple enough. The only problem was there were around two hundred people living on the campus.

The center’s campus was actually a group of summer cottages, and one main house which was used for meals and united meetings. The breakfast was not too complicated, as I had worked as an assistant breakfast cook during my years at Marietta College. However, the dish-washing overseer was a greater challenge, as I was still quite shy and found it difficult to correct others and enforce discipline.

I was one of the older people at the camp and one of the few with a college education. My work crew was mainly rebellious 18 and 19 year-olds coming from the hippy scene, who did not take kindly to schedules and overseers. As a result, many times I stayed up late until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning finishing up the dishes. The problem was I had to be up at 5:30 am to start breakfast. After a few weeks of this grueling schedule, I was suffering from physical exhaustion from lack of sleep.

Also, I was still holding unto my old vegetarian eating habits. But here, very little vegetarian proteins were available to eat, as most of the food was donated by local businesses or fast-food joints, and consisted of sandwiches, donuts, pastas, and some local in-season fruits. I remember on various occasions fainting from exhaustion. I finally saw the necessity of eating what was set before me, as Paul so wisely admonished.[3]

Notes:

[1] John 14:6 Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
[2] John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
[3] 1Corinthians 10:27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.

Chapter 7


Sought by the FBI: God's Plan and Way of Escape!


After graduating from Marietta College, I began working as a teacher at Friendship School in Marietta, Ohio. I had a class of twelve slightly physically and or mentally handicapped children from ages seven to thirteen plus one autistic boy. I had requested that this job be counted as my alternative service, if I had been granted conscientious objector status. But my request was denied. However, even knowing of my problem with the military, the director of the school had hired me as I had worked as a volunteer for two years doing fifteen hours a week as teacher assistant. I had even cut down on some of my studies to make volunteering possible. But on Monday, November 9th, I had not showed up for work. Neither had I phoned in which was unusual for me, as I was generally conscientious. What had happened?

Back at Ellenville, I had no access to a land phone and was unable to go into town because of my classes and work responsibilities. There were no mobile phones at that time. I was actually learning so much in the lectures and Bible studies that was satisfying my soul that I was overjoyed spiritually. Finally, I got a letter off to my parents which they received eleven days after I had gone “missing.” In the meantime, when my parents learned I had not showed up for work nor had phoned, they filed a missing person’s report with the police in Ohio. Little did I know the heartache I was causing to my whole family: parents, grand-parents, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, friends . . . everyone! 

The college paper published an article saying I had gone missing. Another article came out in the local paper about the young graduate, now teacher, gone missing. My parents even traveled from New Jersey out to Ohio to search for me. They feared I had had a serious car accident and may have been injured and in need of help. They traveled the same route I had taken, stopping at every roadside ditch in search for a sign of me or my brother’s car which I had been driving. My sister and brother-in-law called every police department and hospital along the route from Marietta to Columbus, Ohio, desperately seeking for me.

While I was getting “turned on” to Jesus, they were sleep-deprived with worry, asking God for my safe return. It was a horrible time for them. I need to acknowledge here the pain my actions caused them. I am sorry I caused them so much pain. It was an intensely emotional time for me. I was in dire straits and was thinking more about myself than anyone else! It was a time of tough decisions. I had decided to stand up to the American military and say ‘no’ to war. The FBI was after me! Would I serve time in jail, or be forced to join the military?

I felt like a drowning man going down for the third time. I needed to save myself first before I could be of any use or help to others. But God had answered my prayer, and as I began to study His Word the emotional turmoil I had been encountering began to subside. I was lost in His love and it was wonderful! But it had not been wonderful for my friends and family.

Maybe that is why we will need eternity in Heaven to work out all these heart-aches we have caused one another through our lack of love. They do take time to mend and heal. We will be doing a lot of apologizing and forgiving and being forgiven. God says, 

I will wipe away all your tears,[1]


so obviously there will be tears in Heaven as we acknowledge our wrong-doing, and try to make things right! I am sorry, family, for how I hurt you. Please find a way to forgive me.

Looking back on these circumstances and all that happened, I can see it was God's plan to save me from the FBI, who may have been totally confused by these events. I could not have invented a better plan had I tried. But God manufactured His own way of escape for me, to enable me to spend time in His Word learning of Him and His will for my life. As He says in His Word,

God is faithful who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able, but will with the temptation make a way to escape that you may be able to bear it![2]


Notes:

[1] Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Chapter 8

The Test and the Reward


When my family finally received word from me by post, my parents came to see me at the training center. The conditions at the center were very basic. It was not an officially recognized institution, but rather more of a Christian community and run as a training center for disciples. Some of the Jesus People movement from California had started it. I remember sleeping on the floor at night in a thinly-walled cabin. But I was learning to be a disciple for Jesus. Whatever physical sacrifice I had to make was hardly important.

My parents wanted to be sure I knew what I was doing. They were quite reluctant to let me stay at the center. If I wanted to serve God, why could I not become a Priest or find some other way? But seeing I was twenty-two years of age at the time, and they could not convince me otherwise, they left, hoping it was a passing phase.

My father later told me something when he was near to the end of his life. He had found Jesus through some woman he had met at the day center he frequented. He said, “Dennis, you found Jesus when you were young and dedicated your whole life to Him, which I could never understand. I lived almost my whole life without that personal relationship with Jesus. I do not know how I did it, but now that I have found Jesus, I understand your decision and life choices.” 

A few days after my parent’s visit, a close friend from childhood named Chris came for an afternoon. He was going to bring me home “one way or the other.” That’s what he told me when we went for a ride in his car. But seeing the conviction and happiness I had and that I was staying at the training center under my free will, he also left, though somewhat disappointed.

Finally, some of my college friends and my brother came from Ohio to convince me I was making a bad decision and bring me to my senses. But again, it was fruitless. My will was sure and I could not be moved. I must apologize here to my brother for the way he found his car. All his music tapes were missing. The tires of his car were flat and no compensation was given, though he did recover some money from my bank account back in Marietta. With close to 200 young people, many coming off drugs and out of hippy lifestyles, not everyone was as “Christian” as they should have been.

I remember thinking during my first days at the training center that maybe it was all a communist plot to subvert American young people against the war using the Bible. But the Word of God I was learning in the classes could not be refuted. The Word had become a light unto my path and a lamp upon my feet.[1] I was building my foundation of faith based on God’s Word, and it was refreshing. It was like taking a bath and getting cleansed from all the filth of my life! I was being born again. But, like in the movie The Matrix,[2] it was not easy. I had to let go of old, false mindsets, and accept new ones. As Jesus said,



If you continue in My Word, then are you My disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth & the truth shall set you free.[3]


Apostle Paul also said,


If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.[4]


I was becoming that new man in Christ. In December, there was a heavy downfall of snow. I was responsible for bringing the food to the director’s office in the evenings. One evening I overheard the directors talking about testing some of the new students to see if they were really there for the right motives. The following morning a group of us were taken on a job to move a broken-down vehicle to a more accessible location on the campus. Besides the snow, it started sleeting, and I remember I did not have adequate winter clothing, as I had never gone back to Marietta to pick up my things, seeing it was so far away.

It was freezing cold and I ended up fainting as we tried to push the vehicle. I, also, had not been eating properly. The group of students carried me back to one of the unused cabins. Someone tried to light a fire in the wood stove to warm us up. However, the chimney was blocked and all the smoke filled the room. Here we were freezing cold, wet, choking from the smoke. But I was happy. My heart was with God and I had found His peace and truth. Love was indeed the answer.



Peace I leave with you,


Jesus said, 


My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.[5]


I was not worried or afraid anymore. God was real and He was going to take care of me somehow. The time at the Ellenville was like being at a boot camp or in the war together. Instead of having my military boot camp at Fort Dix, I had my spiritual boot camp at the training center in Ellenville. I learned that we are in a spiritual battle and we must use spiritual weapons to defeat the enemy. Like Apostle Paul has said,


For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty thorough God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into capacity every thought to the obedience of Christ.[6] For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.[7]


Great bonds of friendship were formed, some of which, I have until this day. Upon graduating from the three-month course, I sent my certification of ministry training into my draft board. A few months later I was notified that my draft status had been changed and I was no longer 1-A, or immediately available for induction into military service. For some reason, not explained by the draft board, I had been reclassified. God had done the miracle and rewarded my decision to serve Him no matter what. From that moment on, I dedicated my life to the service of bringing souls to the Kingdom of God.

Jesus said, 

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.[8]


God had answered His promise and delivered me from the hand of man. I in turn had promised Him I would love and serve Him to my dying breath.

Notes:

[1] Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
[3] John 8:31-32


Chapter 9


Filthy City Babylon – Witnessing in Greenwich Village


Another part of the training program was the witnessing adventures into New York City, especially Greenwich Village, a gathering place for hippies and beatniks. After a few weeks of intense classes, inspiration and Scripture memorization, it was time to share my new-found faith with others. I was roaring to go in spite of my natural shyness. Friday afternoon rolled in the “Prophet Bus,” an old converted school bus with red sack cloth as curtains on the windows and red carpeted floor. “Maybe they are communists after all,” I thought again. Nevertheless, I piled into the bus with the other students and got ready for my next adventure: witnessing for Jesus. 

We traveled down the one hundred miles to the George Washington Bridge. One of the teachers pulled out his guitar and started singing a song called “Filthy City Babylon,” with illusions to chapters seventeen and eighteen in the book of Revelation. The bridge and the city were decked out with all manner of lights. After the song, another teacher read verses right from the book of Revelation:

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY; BABYLON THE GREAT MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her I wondered with great admiration. And the angel said unto me, wherefore did thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and the beast that carries her, and has the seven heads and ten horns.[1] 

And the woman which thou saw is that great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.[2]


Here we were entering that “great city,” New York City, which truly reigned economically over the kings of the earth through her banking system and commerce. The teacher kept on reading.

And the angel cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird; For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues; For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.[3]


For thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.[4]


Surely this was a picture of the American Empire with its financial capital in New York City, which uses its great financial power to suck the natural resources and wealth from the nations of the earth. And yet all the nations wanted to sell their merchandise here in America where they could make good money. They would close their eyes to America's sins of war and oppression of the poor nations, as long as they were making money and filling their own pockets. 

We entered into New York City and over to Greenwich Village. It was great to be able to share my new faith with others. But not many were really interested. Most people were into their own trip and could not be bothered. Nevertheless, there always was someone searching and looking for they knew-not-what, and they were ready to hear my story and meet my Lord. Are you?

For more than forty years, I have been sharing my faith with others in such places as: Canada, England, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Taiwan, Portugal, Mozambique, Bosnia, Algeria, and South Africa. I have found the heart of man is the same the world over. His search and desire for love, happiness, peace and freedom are not unique to one group or nation of people, but are common to all men everywhere.

But how can I so rapidly come to the above conclusion that America is the modern day fulfillment of Babylon the Whore of the book of Revelation? Let’s get back into our study of the Bible as a book of prophecy to see how. Let us “rightly divide the word of truth”[5] to see if these things are so. First we will go into a little Bible history to see if we can actually trust the Bible as an accurate book of prophecy. Here we go. [To go to the next chapters click on link]

Notes:

[5] 2Timothy 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a work man that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 comments:

  1. good to to hear your testimony.I was witnessed to when travelling in the states september 1971 in greenwich village,washington square park and prayed with 3 young people from the children of God,they told me about how they lived upstate in ellenville. They distributed apples.I received Jesus that day in the park.I also received the endtime and baby tract,which i kept when i returned to austria about a year later.From then on my life slowly but surely turned towards the Lord until i joined the family in january 1975 in certaldo ,Italy.GBY,thank you for writing this book,I hope to read it also with my 17 year old,to give him a good idea about our new found faith in Jesus,which has kept us ever since following Him whereever He lead.We live in northern Brazil.LOVE,John.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liman, Thank you for your comment. Make sure to click on the link at the end of each section/chapter to go to the next section of the book. A total of 50 some chapters. God bless you. Dennis

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