Monday, August 31, 2020

THE TEMPORARY WINNER: GLOBALISM


The current political battle, between those who want a global world order versus those with a commitment to nationalism, is also a biblical battle. Whether it is European nations attempting to get out of the European Union, as Britain did, or whether it is the current American nationalism in “making America great again”; the fact is that both biblical history and biblical prophecy come to bear on this subject. And while we are rightly quite interested in the political matters, it is important to make sure that we have an understanding of the biblical matters.

(1) Nations are God’s idea. God brought nations into existence at the Tower of Babel. The main reason for God’s “coming down” to scatter mankind as they were laboring on their tower building project at Babel, was to keep evil from deepening and spreading further. God declared that “nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them” (Gen. 11:6). He was not talking about their architectural pursuits but about their sinning. Because of man’s fixed depravity, he will always involve himself in evil. But it gets worse when he unites with other equally sinful people. The masses tend to take sinful behavior to a deeper level. What an individual might not do alone, when they join a mob or a gang, they will do some pretty wicked things. So, by means of instantly creating new languages, God forced mankind to divide and begin national groups as found in Genesis 10 (Note that Genesis 10 takes place chronologically after the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11). So, while sin would not cease because of this dividing, the extreme demonstrations of sin would be muted. Conversely, a unified, one-world approach would drag mankind down as far as it could go.

The Apostles were certainly not na├»ve when it came to understanding that governments can be evil. Rome was hardly the example of righteous rulership. However, the Apostles also understood that government is an important means, ordained by God, for the restraining of evil (Rom. 13:1-4). Paul observed that they do “bear the sword” and they know how to use it. Even bad governments do some restraining of evil. If they didn’t, their own national experience would be continual chaos.

It should not come as a surprise then that Satan, the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4; John 12:31) would be against God’s purpose in this matter of nations. We learn from Jesus’ temptation account that the nations of this world system have been “handed over” to Satan (Luke 4:5-6). But while the Evil One does manipulate and influence nations, using evil leaders and demonic forces (note also Dan. 10:20), his ultimate goal is something far more sinister. It is not simply making nations evil, but it is making the world evil. And biblical prophecy sheds abundant light on the matter.

(2) One world government is Satan’s clear goal.  God is the sovereign over all of creation, which is something that the Devil has always aspired to (cf. Isa. 11:12-14). The book of Revelation is quite clear that Satan is going to come close to fulfilling his wicked desires when he rules and is worshipped through the Beast (a.k.a. the Antichrist---Rev. 13:2-17)). This one world government will flourish for a very short period of time, namely for 42 months (Rev. 13:5-7). Though brief, this time will be the wickedest and most rebellious time ever. Unrestrained evil will dominate the planet. The control of the human population will be the greatest ever, as the Evil One institutes an absolute authority using the infamous mark of “666”. His purpose in this is to be worshipped by mankind. This is where the world is headed, and the world will indeed arrive at this destination. This kind of evil is why God shook things up at the Tower of Babel. Even though Satan knows all of this, in the book of Revelation, he works tirelessly to bring about the fulfillment of his global rule, as found in Revelation 13.

All through history, the Devil has employed godless people to further his schemes. And the world that we live in today experiences the same thing. Today, incredibly wealthy globalists are working at bringing about a one-world government. Names familiar to us have this as their stated goal. This is not a conspiracy theory but really a conspiracy fact, and something which will, in God’s timing, take place. As countries, including our own, move away from God’s righteous standards in ordering national life, the move towards a one-world system becomes easier to achieve. One purpose of this short article is to make it clear that the conflict is not so much about Republican vs. Democrat, but rather it is part of the ongoing conflict between God and Satan. Globalism is one of the “doctrines of demons”. The globalists will eventually win, though the victory will be short lived and will not produce what they suppose it will produce. Satan’s apples have always had worms in them and this globalism apple is one of the wormiest and the rottenest of all.

The fundamental, fatal flaw in globalist thinking is their view of the nature of man. Globalists see man as inherently good (which makes them inherently good also). In their view, the ills and evils found in the world have come about because of greedy big business, corrupt politicians and bloodthirsty warmongers. All these realities flourish in the nationalist incubators, and so, the world finds itself in its present condition. Likely these greedy, corrupt, bloodthirsty folks will need to be eliminated. Arriving at a one world order will get rid of the above and allow mankind to flourish. Biblically, such a view is totally out of touch with reality, and incidentally, in opposition to man’s history as well.

(3) One world government is God’s stated goal. Satan has always been a counterfeiter, taking what God has created and revealed, making his own version of those things. Ruling the world was not really the Devil’s idea. God is to be King. So, when the Evil One wants to be like God, it is no surprise that this includes ruling the world.

We as believers in the Lord Jesus understand that Jesus Christ will establish His righteous kingdom on this planet. So, after the counterfeit kingdom of Satan, the authentic kingdom of King Jesus will come. The prophets and apostles spoke often, and in great detail, about the peace, joy and abundant blessings that will be characteristic of Jesus Messiah’s kingdom. His will be a glorious, benevolent dictatorship. It will be utopia. Mankind will experience what God intended from the very beginning in Eden because man’s core problem of sinfulness has been fully taken care of by the Cross. First will come the one-thousand-year rule of Christ on this present, curse free earth; and then, the eternal kingdom of God on a new earth. Godly globalists will prevail! God, on oath, has said it will take place.

It is worth noting that there will be nations in the future, forever kingdom of God, and these nations will have a prominent role (see Rev. 21:24-26). Nations in the perfect future kingdom will obviously not have the function of restraining evil. There is no evil. We, therefore, conclude that nations will have new purposes in eternity. Perhaps, since God and His creation and His future kingdom are highly organized, nations will enable us to better serve and worship God. Clearly, Revelation 21 is letting us know that redeemed mankind will not be some huge mass of humanity, but will be divided up. Stay tuned on this one.

In the meantime, before the Devil’s globalism becomes a reality, we believers need to be alert to opportunities to inform those around us that they can have a part in the coming reign of Messiah Jesus, and His wonderful and glorious global rule. Our participation in this marvelous future kingdom comes when we place our faith in the Savior-King who will return to this earth as He promised His followers He would do. That will be amazing for us, but we need to remind ourselves that globalists are in great need of the Savior also. 

The best days are yet ahead. Even so come Lord Jesus! 


Monday, August 3, 2020

STANDING STRONG FOR CHRIST IN A HOSTILE CULTURE


          How are we, as followers of Jesus, to live in a cultural setting that is swiftly becoming quite hostile to Jesus. When times become ominous, people often respond by hiding and thinking only about self-preservation. This is part of the great attractiveness of the “prepper” mentality, as they stockpile food, weapons, water and whatever they believe will give them a measure of safety and security.  And while we understand that the wise man sees danger and is careful to avoid it if possible (Prov. 27:12) and that there is wisdom in preparing for the “winter season” (Prov. 6:6-11), the Lord Jesus has put us in this culture for such a time as this. We are here to represent Him and not hide in a bunker, physical or mental.

What we know.  First, all that we need for living a God-pleasing life, in any cultural setting, has been given to us in the Scriptures (2 Pet. 1:3). Nothing we face or experience is not, in some way, dealt with in the Scriptures. So, we have all the truth we need. It is true, of course, that the Holy Spirit has been given to each of us and He enlightens, directs and empowers us to live well for the Lord Jesus. The Apostles of the Lord lived all of their ministry lives in hostile environments; first among the Jews and then among the Romans. And so, they write the scriptures guided by the Spirit, but also from personal experience with a hostile cultural setting.

          Second, we know how all of this will eventually end. Biblical prophecy is designed to aid us in living better right now. Prophecy does not stutter or stammer when it tells us that the Lord God is sovereign over the men and nations of this world, and that He is neither impressed nor intimidated by their rantings and threats. (We discussed this in last month’s study of Psalm 2, “And God Laughs”). His plans for the future will bring great salvation (Rev. 7) to mankind along with great judgment (Rev. 6, 8, 9, 16). The chances of all these prophecies being fulfilled are 100%. Satan, the Antichrist, the False Prophet and all their minions will not thwart or delay by one minute, God’s executing perfectly His divine will. The appearing of our Lord Jesus remains our “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) and the Father’s plan of installing King Jesus over the coming, glorious kingdom remains a certainty. These truths are designed to strengthen our inner person by reminding us of the ultimate outcome of world events. They strengthen us in order that we might live confidently, and even boldly, in a cultural setting where God’s standards are viewed with utmost contempt and the idea that God (if there is one) has any relevance. 

          Third, we are to actively represent our great God in this world. Jesus reminds His followers, (in Matt. 5:16) that we are to shine as lights in the world, and by so doing, bring honor to Him. We are not to hide the light by putting it under a basket (or in a bunker). Most of us don’t think we are that great or important, so that it will not make much of a difference what we do. But, throughout the Bible we have accounts of how God made significant impact in situations by using just one individual (and often one that was not in a position of power or authority). We are here at this time to be used by Him among our family, friends, fellow believers and the acquaintances that we come across. He has people and situations that He wants us to influence and, therefore, to represent the Lord Jesus. Remember, we are never called upon to be famous, only faithful. And it is likely that our being faithful will take place outside the bunker. Paul’s exhortation to believers 1900 years ago is just as vital today. In Ephesians 5:11-17 (ESV).

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light….Look  carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

 

          Fourth, in connection with the above, we need to remember the fact that even those who are vehemently opposed to the Lord and His standards are, nevertheless, in desperate need of His saving grace. The Apostle Paul was motivated this reality of people’s true condition and not by what they try and project (2 Cor. 5:16). They need a Savior. And, as it turns out, we remain the only ones who can tell people that the Lord loves them and has provided eternal life and the forgiveness of sins. So we need to remind ourselves that we are Christians first and Americans second. And as Christians, Jesus has given us the task of sharing the good news (Matt. 28:19-20).

          Fifth, we must be ready to obey God first, and then to obey government. This might prove to be an area where we need to wisely apply biblical truth. There might come situations where we must decide to obey God rather than men. Every now and then the early church had to do so (Acts 4:19-20). And our current climate may bring believers once again to that place mentioned by the Apostles. Christ, not Caesar, gives the Church its marching orders.

Sixth, Jesus was crystal clear that when we identify with Him, the world (Satan’s system) will hate us for it (John 15:18-20; 17:11, 15-16). So hostility from this culture is to be expected. But if this experience does arise in our lives, we will never be abandoned by the Lord and, therefore, we are not to live in fear. (Heb. 13:5b-6). The spirit of fear, which often leads to the “bunker mentality” is not to be true of us. Paul, living in the hostility of his age, said that “God has not given us a spirit of fear” (2 Tim. 1:7).

What we don’t know.  First, we don’t know how the current cultural collapse in America will play out in the coming days. Will it continue or accelerate? Will it be hindered by the Church coming alive? At this point, we don’t know what the November, 2020 election will produce. We are informed, however, by Daniel that God sets up and removes leaders according to His plans and purposes (Dan. 2:21). So no amount of money spent, shady politics, lies or deceptions will change what God is going to do. Pray we may and must. God is sovereign in these matters but He does factor in the prayers of His people. Ultimately, our trust lies in Jesus and not in a person or a party.

Second, obviously we do not know when the Lord Jesus will come and take His Church to be with Himself and thus trigger the events of the Tribulation (Matt. 24:36; 1 Thess. 4:13-17). There are no necessary events or signs which must take place before the end time events unfold. His return truly is an imminent one, and we are to keep one eye on the heavens. And, in spite of those who annually predict the rapture in connection with the fall Jewish feasts, we simply do not know when the Lord Jesus is coming for us. But once He does come, the world will be faced with supernaturalism of an unbelievable nature and extent. 

So, to each of us the Lord has put us in this time to represent Him and to wisely do so in what is clearly an evil age where increasingly good is called evil, and evil is designated as good. In the bunker? Get out. The Lord will direct our paths.