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Fixing Moral Injury

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Fixing Moral Injury

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Fixing Moral Injury

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In this message we look at the Feast of Trumpets against the background concept of Moral Injury and see how this world will be saved and healed from immorality and sin.

Transcript

[Peter Eddington] As this Holy Day pictures, the Feast of Trumpets depicts the great return of Jesus Christ to establish the kingdom of God on the earth. Jesus Christ is going to return to Jerusalem, descend upon the Mount of Olives. And He is going to build a new city from where He will rule. And the Bible reveals a sequence of earth-shaking events announced by angels who sound a series of seven trumpet blasts. And as we know, it culminates in the seventh angel sounding of the last trumpet to signify that “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.” This is the time when Jesus Christ will at last return to bring peace and offer salvation to all.

Of all the prophecies in the Bible, this is perhaps the most exciting news of all for us. As Doug Knuckles mentioned this morning, it's our day, in many ways, because it leads to our own resurrection, the spirit immortal life. But here's an interesting way to think about the meaning of this Holy Day. It's always a challenge, right, to come up with something that you'll remember, that you'll, you know, think back on as a new twist on the Day of Trumpets. You know, there's a seven-trumpet blast, we take up an offering, the usual spiel every year, right? Well, here's an interesting way to have some additional hope and meaning this day. That's something you may not have thought of before and it's something that's relatively new. It's through the concept of moral injury.

Moral injury is a fairly recent term used to describe a crisis of conscience. Psychologists are coming to realize that soldiers have faced this for centuries because of what they've done in wartime. Moral injury is the internal suffering resulting from doing something against your moral code, against your conscience. In essence, it's a wound to your conscience. I think we know what causes moral injury. The soldiers, right? In a combat situation, the damage done to a person's mind may result from following or issuing certain orders or from witnessing something that is deeply offensive to the soldier's moral sense. Killing people.

Some of the symptoms include feelings of guilt, shame, meaningless… meaninglessness, I mean, from knowing that he or she has transgressed their most deeply held personal beliefs and moral values, and therefore, the very core sense of who and what they are. But it's not just something that affects soldiers, psychologists are starting to realize. The average citizen can commit moral injury, too. As we go through the sermon today, we're going to see how that affects us and how it's going to affect the future of this world. So, in the message this afternoon, we're going to look at the Feast of Trumpets from the concept of moral injury.

And we'll be reminded how hope beyond the sins and moral injuries of this world will be found. We will see the ultimate solution is not just for soldiers in battle, but for all of us, for all of humanity affected by moral injury. And I've titled the message "Fixing Moral Injury." "Fixing Moral Injury." I divided this message up into about four sections to help keep it organized.

Let me first tell you about Sergeant 1st Class Marshall Powell. He was serving in Iraq for the US Army. He's now retired. But he tells a story of being diagnosed with moral injury when he returned home. Let me read you some excerpts from a piece written about him. The piece is titled "An Iraq Veteran Comes to Terms with Moral Injury." It was written in Guideposts in April of 2017. And I'll read you some excerpts from the story about him. It begins “Just after midnight on August 12, 2007, we heard a bomb go off." And later in the article, "Trucks pulled up, loaded with casualties— Iraqi civilians, badly burned, blood everywhere. Some already dead. We had only 10 beds. There were at least three times that many casualties. It was on me to decide who would be treated."

Then later on in the article, "We tended to the most urgent cases. Nearly an hour passed before I saw her. A tiny Iraqi girl lying on a blanket in the hallway. She couldn't have been more than six years old. Burned, covered in blood. And she was dying, and I could do nothing. She let out deep moans. And even in agony, she had a sweetness to her face that reminded me of my niece…” And later on in the article, "'I have to ease her suffering,' I told myself. 'This girl's really hurting.' So I got a syringe filled with morphine, several doses. I set up an IV and pressed dose after dose into it, enough to…" And then he doesn't complete the sentence.

"She smiled at me. I smiled back and told her it was going to be okay. Then she took her last breath and was gone. I killed that little girl.” You know, with the morphine overdose, on purpose. “I took her broken body to the morgue. Then I went to my office and sobbed. I tried to tell myself I'd done the right thing, but I was besieged with doubt. This innocent child who should never have been in the midst of a war zone… I'd stolen her last moments. As if I was God. Yes, there was absolutely nothing we could have done to save her. She was suffering horribly. I knew what I was doing with that syringe loaded with morphine. But wasn't 'do no harm' the first principle of medicine? Wasn't my purpose to heal?"

"Three months later, I was home in Hawaii. I struggled to get back to my old routine. But my work no longer had the same meaning… I was angry all the time. I felt so alone. One night, in my sleep, I saw her. The girl. Her face looking up at me, just before she died. I woke up screaming. Night after night, the girl haunted my dreams, until I was afraid to go to sleep. There was no one I could talk to. Others have been there…" Sorry, "Others hadn't been there. And they wouldn't understand." And then going through treatment, Sergeant Powell was then diagnosed with what has come to be termed "moral injury," doing something against your conscience. Now, of course, this type of story can be repeated many times over by soldiers who have had similar feelings of guilt from what they were required to do in times of war.

This is just one example of many. But soldiers are not the only ones affected by moral injury. Numerous psychological studies have now revealed that most people, most people are capable of doing terrible things to one another, especially under the influence of Satan who is the ruler of this world. In fact, some studies have concluded that given the right circumstance, like starvation, or national catastrophe, or your family being threatened, the psychologists say the average person is just six days away from committing murder. That's the average in society, six days before you do something horrible, given the right circumstance.

Have you heard of Stanley Milgram? Some of you probably have heard of Stanley Milgram. He was an American social psychologist who lived from 1933 to 1984. He's best known for his controversial experiment on obedience conducted in the 1960s during his professorship at Yale University. Now Milgram was influenced by the events of the Jewish Holocaust, especially the trial of Adolf Eichmann. So he developed some experiments around that thought. And an article in American Psychologist in 1990 summed up Milgram's obedience experiments like this. "In Milgram's basic paradigm, a subject walks into a laboratory believing that she or he is about to take part in a study of memory and learning. After being assigned the role of a teacher, the subject is asked to teach word associations to a fellow subject.” Of course, the fellow subject is actually part of the experiment but, you know, you don't know this. “The teaching method, however, is unconventional— administering increasingly higher electric shocks to the learner."

"Once the presumed shock level reaches a certain point, the subject is thrown into a conflict. On the one hand, the strapped learner demands to be set free…” it's an actor, right, "demands to be set free, he appears to suffer pain, and going all the way may pose a risk to his health. On the other hand, the experimenter, if asked, insists that the experiment is not as unhealthy as it appears to be, and that the teacher must go on. And in sharp contrast to the expectations of professionals and laymen alike," Milgram says, "some 65% of all subjects continue to administer shocks up to the very highest levels."

So that was from American Psychologist in 1990, a piece called "A Cognitive Reinterpretation of Stanley Milgram's Observations on Obedience to Authority." So, you see, what happens, whenever the student made an error, the teacher was told to press a lever to shock the student. For each mistake, levels of shock would be increased after a final dose of 450 volts, which was really only imaginary, right, for which the teachers were told could be lethal. And at the teacher's side, a researcher in a long white lab coat looking very official stands calmly and confidently with the air of authority commanding the teacher to administer and increase the shocks every time, you know, an error was made.

But it was all a setup. In reality, both the student and the researcher were paid, actors. Nobody was getting shocked. But what about the teachers, the subjects of the experiment? All of the volunteer teachers shocked the students repeatedly. And 65% went all the way to the lethal shock level, despite the screams and pleas from the student actor to stop. Now, this was in the 1960s when this was done. And the experiment horrified the average citizen because it seemed to demonstrate that the average person was not so different from German citizens in World War II who participated in atrocities under the influence of the command of the Nazis. You're thinking, "Would I have done that if I was in Germany?" The experiment shows that most people would.

It became clear that otherwise good and responsible people could be induced to act against their conscience and injure or potentially kill others. And this experiment is being replicated many times over by all kinds of scientists, including the Stanford Prison Experiment. If you want to sometime Google the Stanford Prison Experiment, check that one out. They all demonstrate similar disturbing results. What would you do? Would you follow authority no matter what? Would you allow your mind to rationalize away such conscience-searing events?

In the church of God, we would pray that our reaction will be different, wouldn't we? If we're with God's Spirit, we would pray that we would make a wise decision. But what action would sear your conscience? The Bible talks about a seared conscience and it's not a good thing. Come with me, if you would, to 1 Timothy 4, that's when I get into this subject. 1 Timothy 4:1-2 1 Timothy 4:1-2 [1] Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
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. 1 Timothy 4:1 1 Timothy 4:1Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
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. "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times," so it's saying it's going to get worse in the end time, "in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron." So hypocrisy and conscience seared.

If we go a couple of pages over to Titus 1:15 Titus 1:15To the pure all things are pure: but to them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
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, Titus 1:15 Titus 1:15To the pure all things are pure: but to them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
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, "To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled." And so, citizens are capable of doing horrific things to one another. And in the heart of the battle of war, we see people capable of doing terrible things to other human beings and searing their own conscience when they do it. Sometimes soldiers perform actions that they later find hard to explain and understand after the fact. And many are then consumed with guilt and regret. But as I said, in times of stress, even outside of war, people can act against their moral code. We see that as one of the biggest problems in our society.

For example, a poverty-stricken mother may feed herself and abandon her starving children, and then live to regret it, having seared her moral beliefs, knowing she was the one responsible for her children's well-being. A drug addict may commit a crime to support his habit, knowing that the crime was a moral affront and carry the guilt that then goes with it. Or an office worker may fabricate documents or outright lie for fear of losing his or her job, knowing full well that was morally wrong and then live in the guilt.

Some of these are extreme examples. But we have to ask ourselves, are we continuing actions or activities that are searing our own conscience, defiling our mind? What might they be? Think of your day. Think of your week. Movies you watch, the music you listen to, the games you play, the video games you play. What are you doing in those video games? Is that an affront to your conscience? Of course, I pray not, but we have to be careful and be on guard. A very good… well, I'd say our world has experimented really for the past 6,000 years, right, since Adam and Eve, and taken from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil. It's been a very sad ride. It's been a painful experiment. And this world has become injured, morally injured.

A very good example of moral injury from the Bible is that of King David with Uriah and Bathsheba. King David committed murder against Uriah that would haunt him for the rest of his life. Another would be that of Judas Iscariot who committed suicide after betraying Jesus. I'm sure you can think of more. How about Peter's denial of Jesus during the crucifixion? Peter wept bitterly and needed forgiveness. And so, this has set us up to realize that our world is morally injured, not just in wartime but just in everyday life. People do things against their conscience.

And so, what is the ultimate solution to the pain, suffering, and injury humankind has inflicted upon one another for millennia? Because this is a sick world. It's kind of… You know, cars are going by outside okay right now, but this is a sick world. How will the healing of the mind begin? The excitement of this Holy Day, pictured by monumental end-time events is captured in the symbolism of the trumpet. And ancient Israel celebrated it with a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. I do want to turn to Leviticus 23 for a moment and look at just three verses, Leviticus 23 starting in verse 23.

Leviticus 23:23 Leviticus 23:23And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
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, where we read, "Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel, saying, “In the seventh month on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.”'" This right here is today, the first day of the seventh month. And we even took up an offering like it says. So this is why we're here today. We're following this command. It's actually the start of the civil year on the Hebrew calendar, start of the civil year. I don't know if you noticed, but President Trump tweeted yesterday, "Happy New Year to state of Israel, to all of the Jews in New York." He said "Happy New Year." This is the beginning of the civil new year on the Hebrew calendar.

And God instructed ancient Israel to use trumpets to communicate important messages. You want to talk about an important message, it's coming. A lot of it, if you want to make a note of, it is in Numbers 10. I'll refer to a couple of things. For example, in Numbers 10:3 Numbers 10:3And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to you at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
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, the sounding of one silver trumpet meant a meeting of the leaders of Israel. All leaders came together if the silver trumpet was sounded once. If it was sounded twice, then all the people had to gather for a meeting. Trumpets also give a festival sound, a festive sound, not just the call of meeting.

Numbers 10:10 Numbers 10:10Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
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says, "Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months," like today, "you shall blow the trumpet… and they shall be memorial for you before your God." But trumpets are not just for calling meetings, they're not just for festive sounds, they're also used to sound a warning, an alert of impending danger and impending warfare. Numbers 10:9 Numbers 10:9And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.
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says, "When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you should sound an alarm with the trumpets."

And so with their ability to transmit sound of a great distances, trumpets were, in ancient times, excellent instruments for attracting people's attention. And so that brings us to this Holy Day when a trumpet will sound that will announce Jesus' return and the possibility for all of humanity to be healed from all kinds of injuries, and sin, and moral affronts to God, moral injuries. This day truly does picture the ultimate solution, the seventh trumpet blast, the ultimate solution to the pains of this world. And as we have said for many years in the Church, the solution to humanity's problems is spiritual in nature. It's of the mind, not physical. We'll get back to the idea of the Feast of Trumpets again here in a moment, so hold that thought.

I want to get back to kind of a second section that was kind of the ultimate solution section, which is the meaning of this day. The second section I've titled "The Spiritual Perspective" and I'm talking about the spiritual perspective to moral injury because other faiths have studied this from a spiritual perspective. What's a spiritual perspective to moral injury? Because a lot of studies have been undertaken by psychologists with the goal of finding a cure or a way of healing moral injury, helping soldiers and other people dealing with severe moral injury. And major developments in the spiritual perspective on moral injury have been credited to two people.

I'll mention their names, not anybody we know, Rita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini. They're kind of in the forefront of this study. They emphasize moral injury as "souls in anguish, not a psychological disorder." And they say this happens when veterans struggle with a lost sense of humanity after transgressing deeply held moral beliefs. But you and I know, it's not just a struggle for military veterans either. Research by Dr. Lindsay Carey at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and Tim Hodgson at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia has also shown a spiritual side to getting over moral injury. Remember I said and the Church have always said that the world's problems are spiritual in nature, right, not physical.

And Carey and Hodgson in Australia confirmed that the clergy, and chaplains, in particular, have a key role with regard to moral injury and spiritual care. They're related to spiritual care and moral injury. They wrote an article published in the Journal of Religion and Health in August of 2017. It was titled "Moral Injury and Definitional Clarity: Betrayal, Spirituality and the Role of Chaplains." And this is saying there's a spiritual side to getting over this. Their article argues that betrayal and spirituality should be “core components for understanding, defining, and addressing moral injury.”

And their study supports the role of chaplains being involved in the holistic care and rehabilitation of those affected by moral injury. So you see, even secular scientists acknowledge that it's eventually a spiritual matter that has to be dealt with, which we know. U.S. Army chaplains, particularly in the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, are addressing themselves the spiritual aspects of moral injury when soldiers come home from war, it says U.S. Army Medical Department and the chaplain's role in assisting in the healing process by teaching and engaging in further research about moral injury.

But it's not just the military. It's not just the U.S. Army. Our entire world needs a great moral healing. And it's a spiritual solution. It will finally come about on the day pictured by this Holy Day, the Day of Trumpets. Look at a few verses about the solution, this spiritual perspective. First of all, 1 Thessalonians 4. Turn there for a minute. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
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and 17. Let's address directly right here what will happen. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 1 Thessalonians 4:16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
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, "The Lord Himself will descend from heaven…” God will come back to earth “with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. The dead in Christ will rise first. And those who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. We shall always be with the Lord."

So this is, in particular, our hope. We heard about earlier today. Our resurrection to spirit life. Look at 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul spoke of the day when the firstfruits will be resurrected to immortal life. 1 Corinthians 15:51 1 Corinthians 15:51Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
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. Paul told the Corinthians, "Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."

That's often why there's so much excitement about this day for the Church because it's our own resurrection. We shall be changed. The awakening blast of this last trumpet awakens today, so to speak. Look at Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
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. Just one more verse here, Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
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. The apostle John associated the blowing of a trumpet with Christ's return here in the Book of Revelation. Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
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, "Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven saying," and here's the big quote, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

So these passages, this three that we just read just now, dramatically attest to the significance of the Feast of Trumpets we first read about back in Leviticus 23, and attest to the solution to what's facing our world, to the moral injury facing our world. A new society will be born. Like I said at the beginning, Jesus Christ is going to build a new town in Jerusalem, a new city, where the saints will rule from as leaders and teachers. And this is how moral injury will eventually be overcome.

The third section I have called "Overcoming Moral Injury" because here now we're going to get to kind of a core way, the core reason how moral injury will be overcome. Yes, Jesus Christ is going to return but then what is He going to do? Here's how psychologists treat moral injury. They found that veterans need to meet together in support groups. A chaplain or a clergy person can offer guidance. Some have turned to writing or public speaking, trying to make sense of what happened in their lives. They say prayer and meditation provide spiritual reassurance. So that's kind of how the psychologists and chaplains deal with it.

But the only true way to moral recovery is actually contained in this Holy Day, the Day of Trumpets, and, in particular, the seventh trumpet. It's the restoration of all things. The restoration, in particular, of the law of God on this planet. It's the removal of sin and the installation of a new way of doing things. It's a spiritual solution that has to encompass the whole world. If you would, turn with me please in Nehemiah 8. It has something very significant that happened in Nehemiah 8, starting in verse 1, because this really does show how moral injury and the sins of this world will be overcome.

So the fascinating passage here in Nehemiah 8, so in verse 1, for example, "All the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they had told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel." Now, remember, the nation had forgotten all about the Law of God. They had gone into captivity in Babylon and were punished because they'd forgotten the law of God. And they'd be gone for about 70 years. So, verse 2, “Ezra the priest,” you know, did what he's told, “brought out the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month.” Okay.

Anything significant about the first day of the seventh month? They didn't think so. They just grabbed this book and they started reading it, right? Verse 3, "Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate from morning until midday." So it was a, you know, double Sabbath service or something. It was a long one. "Read from it before the men and women and those who can understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law."

Remember, they hadn't heard this in a long time. It had been forgotten. "So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood," verse 4, "which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood…” lots of important people. So those people here, I won't try and read all those names. Then verse 5, "Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all people stood up. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered ‘Amen!' by lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground." And also verse 7, lots of other important people "helped the people to understand the law and the people stood in their place. So they read distinctly from the Book, in the Law of God, and they gave the sense and helped them to understand the reading."

Remember, this had been lost and forgotten for a long time. "Then Nehemiah," verse 9, "who's the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to other people, 'This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.' For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law." So it seems like they just figured out this was the Feast of Trumpets. This was the Holy Day. "Then he said to them, 'Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.'"

So the law was rediscovered on the Day of Trumpets. Look at verse 13, "On the second day the heads of the fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and Levites, were gathered to Ezra the scribe, in order to understand,” you know, more “words of the Law." Verse 14, "They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel shall dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month." So now they figured out, "Oh, the Feast of Tabernacles was coming up. We've forgot about that one, too." A lot had been forgotten during their captivity period in Babylon where they were for about 70 years. A lot had been forgotten. And God's law and this understanding was re-revealed to them on the Day of Trumpets.

You know, it doesn't even take 70 years to forget. You know, I have friends that used to believe everything I believe, have now gone their own way just within three, four, five years. "What's going on?" "Oh, we're leaving for the Feast of Tabernacles." "Oh yeah, forgot all about that." It doesn't take long when you don't do it to forget the Law, to forget the Commandments, to forget the Sabbath. And it happened in ancient Israel. The solution to ancient Judah's sins, anguish, and moral injury was pointed out to them on the very Day of Trumpets. Like I said, it's a spiritual solution, not a physical one. It's a law of God. It's a return to holiness by this world.

They'd broken God's law, forgotten it, and then endured decades of suffering and persecution at the hands of the Babylonians as punishment. And guess what? The law will be restored throughout the whole world next time on the Day of Trumpets, the seventh trumpet, whether Christ returns actually on the Day of Trumpets or not it's pictured by the seventh trumpet, this festival, when the seventh trumpet sounds and Jesus Christ returns to this earth to establish the Kingdom of God. Look at the New Testament then now. Hebrews 8:8-12 Hebrews 8:8-12 [8] For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: [9] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, said the Lord. [10] For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, said the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: [11] And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. [12] For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
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. Hebrews 8:8 Hebrews 8:8For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
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.

We read in Hebrews 8:8 Hebrews 8:8For finding fault with them, he said, Behold, the days come, said the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
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, "Because finding fault with them, He says, ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord.'" This is a quote, right? "When I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt,” the different covenant's the one from back then, "Because they did not continue in my covenant then, I disregarded them, says the Lord." Verse 10, "But this covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” once again, you know, in the end-time. It's a yet future event. "'This covenant I'll make after those days, says the Lord. 'I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'"

So what is the solution when Jesus Christ returns at the end? Put God's law in everybody's hearts. In verse 11, "None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them." “I won't be forgotten any longer. Everyone will know.” "For I'll be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." The global solution to spiritual healing, to overcoming moral injury in this world and sin is the instilling of the law of God into people's hearts. Not just reading it from the Temple in Jerusalem, putting it in people's hearts. Then we'll begin to fully take shape on the day pictured by this Feast of Trumpets. And a new society will be born. A new society will be born.

Moral injury affects all of us. We've all had our conscience injured through sin and committing acts that we know were against the law of God, from which we have then repented. I'd like to read 1 John 1:7-9 1 John 1:7-9 [7] But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin. [8] If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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to you. 1 John 1:7-9 1 John 1:7-9 [7] But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin. [8] If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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, because these kind of moral affronts are things we've all done. “If we walk in the light," we read in 1 John 1:7 1 John 1:7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.
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, "we have fellowship with one another and, the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. But if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves. Truth is not in us." You know, we've all done it and moved on through the power of God's Spirit and repented. Verse 9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." To cleanse us, to wipe our mind clean.

The last section I've titled "Is the End Time Close?" Is the end-time close? How close are we? When will the seventh trumpet blast sound? What are the signals to watch for that lead to this day of trumpets being fulfilled and the law of God being restored, allowing moral injury to inflict our world no more? Near the end of Christ's earthly ministry, the apostles asked Him that very question. "Was it going to be soon?" Matthew 24:3 Matthew 24:3And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world?
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, we read, "The disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be?'" Where's the newsletter? I need the newsletter. “Tell us, when it's going to be?” And they said, "What will be the sign of Your coming, in the end of the age?" It's in Matthew 24, right?

In response, what did Jesus say? He laid out for them then a series of events that would lead up to His return, included religious deception, wars, famine, disease, earthquakes, and all kinds of other calamities. And we do see all those things now to one degree or another. You understand it's going to get a lot worse. And He added that the time of His return would be an era of hatred and lawlessness. We could say the end time will be a time of great moral injury and sin. People are doing all kinds of unimaginable things to one another. And then Jesus said, after all these bad things, He says, "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." That's Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
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. "This gospel will be preached."

And so that is, of course, one of our big goals. It's part of our mission in the Church of God today to preach the gospel of the kingdom, to preach the good news of God's Kingdom. That's why we commission that job so seriously. And after this, a time of great tribulation upon humanity. Seven plagues will be poured out on the sinning world with a trumpet blast announcing each. And, of course, that's another whole sermon on the Day of Trumpets, the Feast of Trumpets, is Revelation 8 and 9, all the different trumpet blasts.

And finally, God will send two witnesses. They're going to tell it like it is, to proclaim His truth, to tell people to repent, to change. So what happens to them? They get murdered. And these dramatic events all set the stage for the seventh angel's trumpet sounding, and Jesus Christ's return to assume rule over the governments of the earth. Moral injury will then become no more. And along with Jesus' return, as we noted a moment ago, the Feast of Trumpets signals a resurrection of the dead, in particular the saints. And that is the hope of early Christians and the hope of us today, to understand God's plan, called the first resurrection. It's all in Revelation 20.

Now, look at Romans 8 though. In the book of Romans, Paul depicts this resurrection that happens at the seventh trumpet blast when Christ returns as the glorious deliverance from bondage, from all kinds of sin and moral injury. Even the earth is crying out for something to change. Romans 8:19 Romans 8:19For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.
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, "For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God." Now we want this resurrection to happen. "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for the adoption, the redemption of our body."

Is this scenario close to being fulfilled? Is the end-time close? For each of us, it is close as we live each day one at a time. We have to live each day in holiness and readiness for our call to eternal life. We have to live with a pure conscience, not a seared conscience. We have to live with a pure conscience before God, filled with the Holy Spirit. I'd like to turn to Hebrews 9 for a moment if you would. Please turn with me to Hebrews 9. I've got a couple more passages to read here. Hebrews 9:13 Hebrews 9:13For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh:
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. "For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, how much more shall that blood cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?"

The blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior, it's what cleanses our conscience, fixes any moral failings that we have. It's what cleanses us from our sins. It's what cleanses us from immorality and moral injury. Incredibly, when Jesus Christ returns to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the nations of the earth actually will try and kill Him. Zechariah 14 talks about that great battle. So does Revelation 19. They try to destroy Christ when He returns. Let's just read Revelation 19:19 Revelation 19:19And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
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for a second then. Revelation 19:19 Revelation 19:19And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
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. Of course, we know that this is a time of the great beast power at the end.

And John says, "I saw the beast," Revelation 19:19 Revelation 19:19And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
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, "and the kings of the earth." You know, all the world's leaders and nations. "And their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse as Jesus Christ and to make war against His army." And then verse 20, thankfully, “The beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence," you know, the great false religious leader, "by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image.” And these two were finally cast into the lake of fire.

Why would anyone want to fight the Messiah when that seventh trumpet sounds? After all, doesn't this day of trumpet's picture the liberation of humanity? Like, we read about in Romans 8, the whole creation waiting for this event? No. The devil's influence will inspire the nations to fight against Christ when He returns. Satan will encourage humanity to commit the worst of moral crimes, moral injury against their conscience, and battle Jesus Christ Himself, the unthinkable. Try and kill God? That's why we needed today and return for next week, right, to fix that part of the plan. When mankind finally realizes that he's been part of… of what he's been a part of, a sense of guilt and moral failing will eventually follow and repentance will be necessary after all of this. And it will take a lot of healing and forgiveness as humanity then starts to learn the truth.

As the firstfruits fully understand this plan God has for the world, we then must take our calling seriously. We must take the knowledge we have and the understanding of the meaning of the Day of Trumpets and act upon it. We must have a clean conscience, a clear conscience, remove sin, and all types of moral impurity that can injure our mind. We do not want any moral injury affecting our mind.

We do have a final passage here I wanted to read in Hebrews 10. I wanted to go over to the page of Hebrews 10. Although we're in Hebrews 9, over in Hebrews 10:19 Hebrews 10:19Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
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. Hebrews 10:19 Hebrews 10:19Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
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. "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near," verse 22, "let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." You see, we are to live a life of holiness and not have any activity in our life that is searing our conscience or providing any kind of moral failing.

As we conclude, let me share with you just one more story of moral injury. This is another true story. It was written in the Washington Post on March 6th, 2015, by Thomas Gibbons-Neff. The article in the paper was titled "Haunted by the Decisions in War.” "Haunted by the Decisions in War." So we read, "Even on the short overnight ops, sometimes we talked about things we knew we'd carry home. On a cold night in March 2010, Jeff brought up the kid he'd shot a month earlier when the battle for the Afghan city of Marja was hot and there was no shortage of 15-year-olds picking up Kalashnikovs off the ground. Jeff had killed one of them with four shots from a heavy-caliber semi-auto that made a soft thud when the bolt released. The kid had a rifle, and even kids with rifles can kill marines, Jeff had figured." And later on, "A few weeks later we're on the side of the road watching for Taliban, Taliban fighters, digging bombs into the ground, and Jeff was telling me about it. He described the way the kid fell, and now he wasn't sure he'd done the right thing."

"That was five years ago. Jeff doesn't bring up that story anymore. I know he thinks about it though, because a couple of years back, he put a Remington 700 short action in his mouth but didn't pull the trigger. Rather remaining in the flooded poppy fields of Afghanistan, the story of the kid Jeff shot stuck with him. It grew and matured just as Jeff had, until one day Jeff sat on his bed with a loaded rifle across his lap, staring at a part of his life he could no longer understand. ‘I'm not crazy,’ he told me, and I knew he wasn't. Ten years ago, we would have just called it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sixty years ago, it would have been combat fatigue. And in the shell-raked trenches of the Western Front, it would have been called shell shock. But Jeff's dead kid was none of those things. Jeff's weight was something else - a moral injury."

Like I said, this is something that's now becoming more recognized now as a real problem, moral injury. We see that even though tragic end-time events lay ahead, the good news is that God will intervene to save humanity and guide mankind into his abundant way of life. Jesus Christ will return to raise us, His followers, from death to spirit life and establish God's perfect rule over the earth at the sound of the seventh trumpet. This is the wonderful inspiring meaning of the Feast of Trumpets. Christ taught us to pray to the Father, “Thy Kingdom come.” When you hear stories like this, you say, "Yes, thy Kingdom come." And so we pray it all the time, every day. How urgently we need the answer to that prayer and the healing of this world from sin and from moral injury.