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In one day in the newspaper, The Australian, one reads that the Chinese murderers of Tiananmen Square are electing to remain in Communist Control of the land... rather their Party plans such, for ever. It sounds rather like Macbeth! No yielding to the forces of compassion appears in sight. Young Chinese, hearing of this in my presence, bemoan the horror, or ridicule the folly of this vain boast.
Meanwhile in China, one reads in that edition of a slave traffic in the land - one of vast proportions, arousing concern because thugs come into homes and abduct women and children, so that they can sell them somewhere that seems commercially advantageous. Large numbers are clubbed, we read, are culled or assaulted into injury or death as they try to escape or do not co-operate. Others are sold to the bidder who, it declares, finds this way of cheap, on-the-side purchase preferable for economic reasons ... to having to pay a larger dowry. And it is in that context, that the 'love' of marriage occurs for the 'delivered' nation, which has sold all for the pleasure, privilege and panodyne of liberation by Communist control which, knowing so much better than men, grants the favour of removing morals from man, by playing God.
Is it so surprising such debased practices flourish where man is divorced from God, and with Him, from His design requirements and the panoply of love! It is not that Western society is faultless or remotely like it; but at least, still in large measure, sin is more readily a purely voluntary matter, rather than a national imposition, in which moralless inferences may readily be drawn from first principles, if indeed, they could consistently be called that at all.
This moralless disaster comes from a political system which from its founders has systematically denied morals (making a moral of their denial in one more grand inconsistency and self-contradiction). Dead on arrival, this debased and arrogant human system exhibits a strong contribution to world-wide moral decline, in which it is a leader. It is then not merely the system which we should observe in the unnatural and profound moral decline, but the fact that whole nations, with more or less connivance, accept this folly, and many in other nations have been mad enough to succour it, teach it and deal commercially with such abuse of truth and man. The technological advances such State-run slavery may allow in some field (say 'progress' in armaments) help defer the deliverance of the oppressed, while importers attest the national gain.
Such sub-human squalor is indeed, moreover, a predictive qualifier under plagues as well as in terms of Paul's moral syndrome prediction. It also exhibits in no small measure, as an international plague, the reality with which, as Christ put it (Matthew 24:12), "Iniquityshall abound", and "Many shall betray one another and hate one another," (24:10), and of Paul's predictive dictum: "Evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." Indeed, Lester DeKoster's book on Communism and the Christian Faith does well, in showing the more than casual parallels between Communism and the Christian faith, of which it is a materialistic perversion in a number of secular substitutions.
Seizing the kingdom of heaven and making it a kingdom on earth, seeking eternal blessedness in dehumanised invasions of human life, as if to be God without His power, His knowledge or His graces: it would make of the proletariat the redeemer. Yet it needs, with the founders of this ultimate in 'class systems', their redemption by a power which transcends word-building, as love transcends a love letter. The Communist 'new man', shamelessly borrowed from Christianity, has everything except heart, power, historical reality, observability and logical source to commend it, as doubtless many of its victims could attest. Obviously, not only Hitler but Stalin, a trainee priest, learned much from the Jesuits and the whole this-worldly persecutions and inquisitions of Rome (and other shameless perversions of Christianity which preceded the Communists) - in not dissimilar ways, using force and fabricating a religion in which man rules rather visibly!
Longing for God, but subverting into seeking Him through the limits of man, such political (but in fact religious) movements, have all the passion of the misdirected, the cruelty of the misled and the presumption of the godless, allied with the power of their deception, by which with a little, a few can control the many whose downfall was often their indifference, as if God could be put in a corner, for occasional use only. The devil has his occasions for the occasional 'user' of God, and the cost of playing with fire is by no means reduced when that 'fire' is God. This scourge of superficiality, Communism, is one vast international expression of the word of God at work in fulfilling these prophecies, right down to the reason for them!
But we have not yet exhausted the Chinese case of human manipulation, for which the whole system is such a good exemplar, stimulating exploits privately which it publicly performs in its own way, as at Tiananmen. There, youth was slaughtered! In this same paper of one day, to which earlier reference was made, we also read of private use of children, so that not only are women thus stolen and sold, but the young are also seized, stolen by the same immoral violence and given to peasants to help them as they will or must, all this without natural feeling, heady, highminded, caring for no man, slashing through the life of the young to propel the purchasing power of devils, or perhaps those at whom some devils would quake in horror.
The wickedness of slavery of earlier centuries, stealing Africans, now flourishes while men steal even those of their own nationality, and this in a system of 'liberation' which supplants the fallen ways of the old world, where Christianity in Abraham Lincoln and in William Wilberforce, the Earl of Shaftesbury, played such a part in removing such inhumanity.
This development in China is one where ideology is the soulless paragon for private wickedness, and it is a system of vast international ramification: China alone having about a quarter of the population of the earth. Meanwhile conscientious dissidents 'serve', imprisoned in ignominy, forced to enrich the nation. So is this prophecy of deterioration of morals and spreading plagues of wickedness, physical and spiritual, abundantly fulfilled.
Now it is in the same edition of this same newspaper that one finds that, meanwhile, in the U.S., there are some 20,000,000 drug or alcohol abusers, some 3.5 million sufferers from degenerative brain diseases and 60 million with some form of mental illness. That is, in this nervous system area, there is evidence of a sick America, nearly one third sick from this alone.
Not all of this is a moral matter of course; but as our excursion in Chapter 4 (supra) has shown, there is a strong tie of correlation between much mental illness and moral issues. The depression is frequently a spiritual failing in the first place, one prevented - through lack of salvation - from being corrected at an early stage. In this, remorse may figure: often signalling the unforgiving and unforgiven spirit - when it is allowed to rot, or the reeking horrors of a totured soul, de rigueur 'brilliantly' counselled
when it is allowed to rot, or the reeking horrors of a tortured soul, de rigueur 'brilliantly' counselled without Christ (almost as a fetichistic omission), as He put it,
Lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them - Matthew 13:15 ... Lest at any time!Substitutes therefore abound, as well as failure to be healed in a formerly alerted nation, which in no small measure (though there are many professing Christians among them), has turned its back on the Biblical Christ and the unadulterated expression of divine power through Him, as He is; instead turning to various variants which have one thing frequently in common, that whatever it may be called (frequently some church name indeed), it is not bound to the written word of God. Rather, this tends to be used as a mere stimulus, thereby fulfilling yet another prediction for the last times syndrome, that of "always learning, but never coming to a knowledge of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7), and yet again, that other criterion of the end of the Age, having "itching ears" and being unwilling to "endure sound doctrine" (II Timothy 4:3-4) - by command to be avoided (v.5).
Rather, said the prophet Paul, they will, "according to their own desires" turn aside, "heaping up" teachers for the purpose. As we see elsewhere, in considering the doctrinal plague of evolutionism, moreover, in this same prediction we find they will "turn aside to fables". It is like a shopping list, with every item 'bought' by our Age as if in a fever of conscientiousness to fulfil simply every prediction, not merely the items, but the texture and tenor of things, the atmosphere, the pollutants and their products, their causes and their consequences, to the letter.
Amongst the substitutes for the truth which we mentioned, there are of course also simple physical thrills in which many engage in this time of pestilence and plague. Dr Timothy Leary in the 1960's in the U.S.A. was one of the avant-garde 'liberators' of the young, from the 'staid' physical environments of their predecessors and of their more virtuous ancestors in the land. Like Communists, he misled; unlike them, however, he did not force the failure - an amiable variant!
With this psychic drug movement, the young in particular were to become the proud possessors of a new look, updated, new-rated. Man would ride the crest of the wave of fortune, enjoying his proclivities, potentials and powers, psychedelically, psychologically, chemically, physiologically, mutually, deliriously or differently. Chemistry to the rescue would liberate man; much as the communists pretended for their politics. Psychologies of power, of liberation from repression (see Chapter 4, supra), of self-expression, of creativity and innovation, of man the uncreated creator, of man, in short as god - these proliferated along with the symptomatic drug-abuse, the chemical alchemy of climbing spirits and unrestrictable realisers of their inner greatness.
Forgetting God, manufacturing themselves as gods, they soon became subject (rather like nose-growing Pinnochios) to the rationale of their conduct. As God has said of such evasions, pseudo-soarings and rock climbing on rocks that are not there, before:
Will you yet say before him who slays you, I am god ? but you are man, and not God, in the hand of Him who slays you. (Ezekiel 28:9.)Such words, addressed to spiritually unbounded illusions which before have led to apt and appropriate downfalls, to delusions which assault the name of the ONLY Deliverer, instead of calling on it, are not unlike those addressed to the heady 'mighty ones' in Psalm 82:
God stands in the congregation of God: He judges among the gods...He then addresses their failure to be rational, moral, ethical and just, acting as seems best to their lusts:
They walk to and fro in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
Then comes, in verse 6, the satirical dénouement of this devilry:
I said,'You are gods' (mighty ones) and all of you sons of the most high. Nevertheless you will die like men.You had the craze on LSD with its mind-unbalancing deliriums of joy and experiences of exotic and exuberant pleasures. It sometimes held the illusions of a certain 'oneness' as the stricken mind had its natural instinct (as in fact derived from one God), and rational proclivities (as in fact propelled by reason), towards the unity with the Creator that a child should share, and with fellow man that image bearers of one God should show. These however were traded in for irrational feelings as the mind was being broken, its resources savaged and human folly 'satisfied' in illusory ramblings. These resemble those of a fine racing car, slewing in the thick mud, whilst still making some sort of recognisable 'progress'... for a time. Or they resemble a speed-breaking aeroplane, pirouetting and yawing its way to destruction, out of control.
For a time the speed, the flight is based on reality, and to some extent expresses both this and its own follies; then comes destruction, sudden or merely sharp; perhaps augmented by the 'glory' of observing the car, stressed, strained, distorted and destroyed in many cases as a useable instrument. The speed that thrills is the speed that kills, goes the motto; and so the psychological speed may do something similar.
The indulgence of desire to be quickened, or perhaps made slower, to be granted colourful illusions of peace in the midst of destruction, to outwit, avoid or sidestep God in the muddled misuse of His creation, oneself, is one of the more horrible idiocies, spiritual blindnesses, pieces of pathos - it is all of this very often - that shows us a mental plague and a psychological sickness, a destructive anodyne for fear, while men's hearts 'fail for fear' - and for the other results of failing morals and flight from God. Self-induced it may be, but plague it is nonetheless, with this added feature, that there is a plague in the mind and heart, before it forms itself in the body and brain.
Long ago,the prophet Hosea declared (8:7):
For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The Japanese did it at Pearl Harbour (reaping with Hiroshima); and man more broadly does it with drugs, alcohol, misused sex, rather similarly seeking from the play of emotions and 'release', to escape the realities which are so wonderfully provided for, in the mercies of the Creator; as if equipment would become a resource, making recourse to the Creator... unnecessary... instead of what it is - a natural, necessary and a gracious, responsible interchange.
In terms of verification of prophecy, all this also, vastly and sadly - the more in a nation of once striking religious and moral expression - fulfils that of the great 'falling away,' predicted by Paul for the end of the Age. (II Thessalonians 2:3: see Extension C infra, on The Predicted Falling Away... cf. II Timothy 3:1 ff., 4:1 ff.; I Peter 2; Matthew 24:11-12; I Timothy 6; II Thessalonians 2:1, 10-11.)
LSD however was a phase; it has its successors in crack and other derivatives, indeed in various fashions and crazes for ever new chemistry, while the industry, if this it may be called, has become so vast that specialist criminals seek ways of dispersion, manufacture and profiteering so vast as in Columbia alone, to constitute a force able to threaten the very existence of the government. They menace judges, confronting the nation, seeking plea-bargaining when in trouble, continuing with zeal and many devices, this plague, as if their industry would be the salvation of the earth... this, rather than the destruction of its victims.
Donating quenched lives to the young, it tears the pockets of those older, but often, we read, its practitioners, the busy professionals who supervise this vast industry, avoid taking the drugs, for they realise too well this could cost them their lives. They need to be business-like, while helping others to destroy their power to do business. Thus inhumane, inhuman, callous and unnatural conduct spreads like plague on the earth, just as predicted.
Human ghouls, they feed on man.
All these things, then, are exhibited, touched on or in some way addressed in the newspaper of one day. True, from other sources the exposure of the entrails of these forms may be found, but the forms themselves are blazoned about the earth.
This sickness is found in America, but in many lands, it surges across the globe. It was however in the U.S. that the plague was being noted: a land with so much money for the purchase of destruction, or, on the other hand, for some deliverance of others, such as Kuwait, from it... supplemented by a growingly confident Europe, a topic in prophecy to which we will look in Chapter 9 infra.
The disease, world-wide, in the U.S. is given something of an amplified presentation in view of the wonderful opportunity its former history has given for corruption. It implies something there to corrupt: the more, the ampler the field. It thus very clearly demonstrates Paul's falling away prediction of II Thessalonians 2:3, as well as the feature of moral plagues in general, with the failure of normal or 'natural affection' as a specific. There is, at the least then, a vast hinterland back of this sickness, to which the article on U.S. statistics referred. Though not all of it is occasioned by moral decline specifically in individuals (and much is), it is such a moral plague (with all of its appurtenances and fields of application) which tends to incite the background deterioration of mind, body and nervous system which creates so striking a syndrome of a sick America, as the percentage noted earlier would suggest.
Often, too, judgment settles on a nation in ways it did not specifically ask, in response to those for which.. it did. It is not always that an individual is stricken for a specific sin: it may be that a culture is damaged and many are drawn into its general judgments, following its ways: though of course, there is none without sin. Thus plagues interweave with pollutions, judgments and failures, as nations reel and fall, totter or stumble: suffering as they fall, falling as they suffer.
In China and Russia, vast moral falls preceded their man-sacrificing systems1. In these latter, however, the cyclotron effect of mass-manipulating evil philosophies, provoking the downfall of many, is found. Induced destruction is a government business, though blindness may prevent a vision of the evil. In this, too, tens of millions have been murdered in both countries, a plague of death, as Revelation predictively depicts - at the advanced stages; nor is amelioration predicted or being found. Merely a time of apparent peace is scheduled for a preliminary, a lull before the Age seizes more folly and wallows in more results; and judgment supervenes in a persona] manner (1 Thessalonians 5: 2-11, II Thessalonians 1:6 ff., Revelation 6:9 ff., 9:13 ff., Matthew 25:32 ff., 7:24 ff., 25:1 ff.).
Just as God is not mocked, though constantly inviting to mercy (II Peter 1; 3:3-8, 1 Corinthians 6:1-3): without the road, there is only a gulf!
In the U.S. (for example), the decline is more personal, individual, though not without much help from the organic evolution fiasco, substituted for learning and even applied at times with sanctions worthy of another political system...; and this decline is accelerating, the very name of Christ being abused by many falling churches. Nor is this in doctrine alone, but in morals to the point that some denominations may even gravely consider whether, after all, they might not allow the ordination of perverts to the pulpit!
Indeed, natural sin is often (cf. Chapter 4, pp. 386-396 supra) allowed to pass through the stop station which churches once so vigorously and numerously constituted, though now less often; it is sometimes even given more vigour from philosophically polluted pundits in the pulpit; only to be subjected to a veritable cyclotron treatment by the most wise authorities of the increasingly squalid State, officiating with sagacious splendour, effectually blind. So are augmented and accelerated the indoctrinations designed for downfall.
At an impressionable age, it is often children in schools, State-run but not those alone, who are given the inestimable privileges of this instruction, as if seeking to ensure that from this fall, at this period of history, there should be no recovery (cf. 109 ff.; 308; Chapter 4, pp. 374-396 supra).
Dr Koop has been criticised, in a forthright pamphlet, for being too insensitive to or unaware of certain grave-sounding elements of the AIDS epidemic. He has however shown himself in Whatever Happened to the Human Race? co-authored with Dr Francis Schaeffer, to be a deeply concerned man, stirred at serious aspects of U.S. health. Certainly, he shows no sign of being sensational, but rather realistic, factual and alert.
In October 1988, the noted Washington Press release advised that Dr Koop held it was "a little fantastical" to expect a vaccine would be developed against AIDS this century. He questioned whether governments would be indefinitely willing to carry the financial burden of the disease. American teenagers, the report on Koop continues, are ignoring warnings about unsafe sex, threatening a boom in AIDS in five to eight years.
The Surgeon-General emphasised that a relatively simple virus like that of Hepatitis B took 19 years for a vaccine development to mature, and notes some virologist friends see no current prospect for an AIDS vaccine, ever - feeling, "It's just too complicated." Whether or not this be so, Koop cited statistics showing that infectious syphilis and gonorrhoea, among 14-24 year olds, rose in 1987 in the steepest rate for 16 years, an interesting ground for reflection in view of all the publicity about current sex dangers.
1 in 1000 Americans, Dr Koop advised, are expected to have AIDS by 1993 - by then, he said, "everyone will know someone with AIDS or know someone who knows someone." Cost of even retarding the disease poses a major public health menace.
The point of all this is not merely the relation it bears to the Biblically predicted plagues (cf. Revelation 9:18, 14:14-19, 15:8, Matthew 24:7), but to the Biblically predicted (but highly unBiblical) morals which underlie this development! This issue, Koop and Schaeffer stress strongly in the cited volume; and the statistics given above also give some indication. All these things are also a comment physically, on the value of the 'life style' teaching of the inanely autonomous man, so precious to the many heady academics, who express or imply it. Autonomy is in fact God's alone; and imaginations to the contrary are extremely costly - in this case for youth afflicted with such misdirection and resultant malignancies, moral and physical, indeed.
The day is coming when the relation of this radical teaching to manslaughter may need to be examined. Koop and Schaeffer (op. cit.) earlier exposed the morals of the abortion boom... and its anti-babe devices! This time Koop is speaking of anti-youth, self-inflicted wounds, and it applies of course, to those who wittingly or otherwise, aid them. Of these, there are many!
As to the Biblically predicted morals, consult II Timothy 3:1-9, 4:1, Jude 18, II Peter 3:2-3 and Matthew 24:12: we have lawlessness, iniquity abounding, blasphemy, wild lack of self-control, and a situation where those who are good will be openly despised. In this current setting of AIDS, and the proclivities shown by so many of those affected, Romans 1:22-27 sounds almost like a commentary on the alternatives that are no alternatives, being contrary both to physiological protection, as provided for natural reproductive relations, and to the fruit of the design implanted in men and women, and its functions. What then? Add ... disease; subtract ... children; abort design..
Because men "changed the glory of the incorruptible God", therefore "God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their heart" - spiritual fornication promotes physical fornication - "to dishonour their bodies." This in Romans 1, is in the setting of worshipping and serving the creature rather than the Creator.
As we see, modern man tends to be dismissive of the Creator, a process which in the end can work more fatefully in the reciprocal direction ... once outside the mercy of the Lord! ... "Man did not glorify God as God", is the thrust, and therefore God gave them up to "vile passions", contrary to sexual specifications (Romans 1:23-25).
"Even," says the apostle, as "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind..."
This was both morally debased, physically debased and physically unnatural. Knowing that these things deserve death, says Paul, they not only have done them, but approved them. Here Paul is writing of episodes of a former time which also, in their day, led to judgment. He does indeed cover at this point, principles of conduct that continue remorselessly to apply. He could moreover have been writing of today; but today we see in advanced syndrome, the follies of faithlessness nestling in the gloomy jaws of 'gay' death.
These then are the correlations, the co-ordinations morally, spiritually and physically. In Romans we find this; in Timothy, Peter, Matthew and Thessalonians, for example, we learn of the escalation of such things at the end of the advancing Age, which will find its arrest in the return of Jesus Christ to secure and safeguard His people; and in due time, to institute judgment. Indeed, His delay, said Peter in II Peter 3:9, is because of a longsuffering relative to judgment, not laxity. Judgment, however, says Peter, as does Paul and as does Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:44-51, 25:1-10, 5:29, 7:21-29) will surely come. It will be categorical and complete. We are for the moment examining the foothills before that mountain, without exactly admiring the scenery, but observing the developments in terms of fulfilled prophecy. So vast are these fulfilments that the topic of judgment is almost impossible to avoid. When war is on, and you hear the air-raid siren, it is only natural to consider the bombers.
Scoffers, Peter indicates of the advancing phenomenon near the end, are not the antidote to judgment, but its prelude (II Peter 3:1-3, 10, 14). Prophecy proceeds ahead of the most devastating human conduct. The remorseless and the anti-God immoral morass, in crisis proportions, repeats in history what the prophets Paul and Peter and Jesus Christ Himself all predicted.
It is like seeing it all twice; once written, and once done.
Let us now summarise the results, in categories. The degenerative process is predicted in the Bible, and explained in terms of its basis, stimulus and dynamic; its advancement is predicted, and this in turn has actually happened. It has done so in a way that is a dramatically ironic joust at the intemperate audacity, which ignored the designs in the bodies of human beings. These designs are clear in conception, practice and fruit. Part of that fruit was the human race itself! It is no small issue; nor is its misuse small, but fraught with daring and death, a fitting recompense. Being resistless to misuse of life, they become unresisting to the instruments, the pathological instruments of death, having forsaken Him whose aid is deliverance: not 'Aids'.
One of the reasons for the rapid failure of morals in this area is the slanted teaching which, pretending to be 'objective' in fact pre-supposes the irrelevance of design and ignores the direction this gives, while the concept of the spiritual will of God is left like a toadstool on the edge of a volcano, the volcano of desire. So has much teaching in schools and universities damaged the life of the race.
Discriminating viciously against God and the Christian faith, such teachers - and their name is legion - pretend that it is neutral to be guilty of such oversights of the practically obvious, and, very often, to use all equipment for the sake of self-esteem, pleasure and satisfaction, however this may from time to time occur, provided it is 'safe'. (Safe? While plagues mount, Time, Sept. 12, 1994 summarises "The age of antibiotics is giving way to an age of anxiety about disease" - p. 62, it . added.)
That of course is the final irony: man mad enough to talk of safe ways of playing the fool with delicately designed equipment. Does a father speak that way, even of his expensive audio-equipment ? yet it is far less sophisticated in discernible design components than are the elements of reproductive life for man. Elements ? that extraordinarily integrated series of molecules, cells, cell divisions, cell separations, combinations, syntheses and developments through genetic copying leading to fruits associated with parental care, often verbally synthesised as 'sex'. In fact, it is reproduction, possibly the most amazing phenomenon, when you consider it is linked to growth, that exists on the earth outside more direct spiritual and mental creation itself. Beyond this ? the loving wonders of personality co-ordination . . .
The teaching of 'sex-instruction' in the devil's manner (that is, in vainglorious and promiscuous disregard of God... the 'very thing', as they may conceive it), as a physiological extra for consideration, stirring without inspiring, while children play with condoms and exhibit ways to use them... this is likely to lead to experimentation with 'new' knowledge, and with materials so publicly associated with campaigns about safety. Perhaps, 'enlightened' Education Department personnel will come to make 'condoms' a new sign of maturity to replace, but not displace, the cigarette. Having spoiled their own lungs, trainers of young humans may now help them ruin their lives.
In fact, talking of ways to thieve is not likely to reduce theft. Breaking down restraint is not likely to lead to its exercise. Anti-spiritual, relativistic teaching is not merely leading to loss of zeal and zest, as Bloom indicates. With its glibly soulless omission, it is also a great help in promoting loss of life!
In view of the fact that it is also logically impossible, this relativism, (Chapter 3, supra) and no basis for doctrine, this also shows that this and its fruits constitute one of the greatest of all plagues. Since this doctrine of devils is so actively being promoted in teaching institutions, secondary and tertiary, it is rather like the case where doctors start injecting people with carefully withdrawn infectious blood. As to such teaching and procedures, and their clammy hold, this writer has both seen and personally confronted such things, successfully but at substantial cost in both secondary and tertiary teaching; but the testimony is legion and almost universal.
The threefold fulfilment of prophecy: plagues physically, mentally and spiritually, then, is impressive and commanding to the attention. As to evil morals, spirits, leaders, concepts and culture, and 'hate' ? this picture circulates the earth, just as the prediction described it in advance, while there proceed collision of ambitions, races, ideologies, personalities (Matthew 24:10).
Hate and not love has become a price tag (*4) on this assertively autonomous and partially automated Age, fuelled by the evil spirits of Darwinism, Freudianism, Marxism and derivatives, as by neologies and vacant, vacuous nihilisms; yes by vaunting racial ambition, amidst dismal dealings. Hate seems the searing message of almost endless revolutionaries, evolutionists, eugenists and other ambassadors of strife, violence and very often, vileness with few if any perceptible limits.
Therefore, as men continue to abuse their souls, and those of others, fear and destruction, earthquake and plague, famine and disorder are all to be expected; for greed and ruthlessness with power and curiosity make a calamitous assemblage, even before the express judgments of the Lord. This assemblage is increasingly encouraged in its violence and force by soulless religion and soulless political forces (cf. II Timothy 3 in the precisely relevant prediction, about powerless religious formalism, already noted).
Not that the soul has ceased, but its vital exercise is profoundly and broadly paralysed in vast segments of the race. Always lost in sin without Christ, it is now increasingly agitated in the heartless systems of spiritual spoliation, Darwin's, Freud's and Marx's and derivatives being particularly mindless elements of the wild, annihilative fervour in the deadened soul, like virus cultures wildly dominant, in a body increasingly defective in resistance.
Beasts become blessed by comparison with much of this arrogantly unspiritual loftiness that is so base, as devilries rise in fury in the spirit of the creation first made in God's image... of man. The glory gives the capacity; and shames measure its misuse. Most scales of measurement would by now be off the end of the gradations!
Despite the fury, the complacency is not gone. Humans continue to cluster on weak points on the earth's surface almost as readily geologically, as philosophically. Nor is the former limited to the poor - despite the atomic dangers and the facts of history: they grow and the fearful impact of plague (Matthew 24:7), famine and earthquake continues to grow with them. The list of earthquakes alone is staggering. The fearful sights (Luke 21:11) are in epidemic proportions, pandemic aggravated by the plague carrier of TV, a mechanism for the ever more impressive fulfilment of the prophecy.
The impact of nuclear blasting, the fearful dynamics unleashed in vying military displays of violence, the potential of such techniques as continental shelf assault on nations' seaboards through the use of such oceanic masses to magnify the effects of a nuclear blast, perhaps enabling the swamping of coastal cities- of which both Australia and the U.S. have not a few: such things aided by ever new expressions of human inventiveness amid the wildness of the times, may provide a further element soon of the scenario for the return of the Saviour.
Luke 21:25 cites as a pointer:
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring. (For the last point see, e.g. p. 680, and Extension G, infra.)Tidal wave disasters, such as we now see, have vast new reasons for increase in power and frequency; while the means for celestial disturbance abound. Already we progress to the point that close interaction with Mars is in view, while space vessels are sent on voyages ever more ambitious into the astral plantations around our earthly home, though the Bible makes it clear that the earth is for man, and the heavens... are for the Lord to use as He will (Psalm 115:16). Men sally forth into these, partly perhaps from mutual fear if they do not, while on earth their citizens may suffer want. Vulnerability and culpability pirouette like dancers.
Certainly the signs in the heavens are being given a dramatic fulfilment from this side alone. Nor are we to imagine that our own direct follies will be the limit of God's actions; or that foreseen evils which man risks, will be the ceiling for actual consequences.
A child is loose with power tools in the factory - and indeed, in much of the home; and he refuses to believe he is a child. Indeed, our generation increasingly has been guilty of the witless folly of extrapolating the rebellion, by teaching and in some ways treating the children, the youth as if they were gods to themselves, morally... behaviourally. While the earth seems determined to make a blasphemously impotent parody of God, the heavens, according to the divine prediction, bear witness of our advanced state, our nearness to terrestial judgment. This brings us to our next focus...
(A useful comparison may be made with
these 'pestilences' and Extension C, On the predicted falling away,
infra. To some extent, the issues blend.)
Considerations celestial ... signs in the heavens. First, for some years now, there has been a lively presentation in Creation, Ex Nihilo on the topic of the diminishing diameter of the sun. While there has been vigorous discussion exhibited, Dr Andrew Snelling draws attention to the findings of Eddy and Boomazian, in conjunction with records of the US Naval Observatory in Washington (*5). This was to the effect that these observational records showed the sun was shrinking. Further attention to records of Claudius, contemporary of Galileo, showed grounds for the same conclusion (Creation Vol.ll, No.l). Argumentation proceeded and a scientist, Ronald Gilliland, reviewed the evidence and positions put, in order to resolve the matter.
He concluded that whilst the data need care, the probability is that, in addition to the undoubted decrease in the sun's diameter in the first part of this century, there is also a decrease in the long term. "The preponderance of current evidence indicates that such is likely to be the case," he is cited as saying (Creation, Vol. ll, No. 2).
Here our concern is not that this is quite the opposite of evolutionary expectations as noted by Snelling: it is rather that there is a significant decrease currently noticeable in the sun which is allied with an apparent long-term trend. This is directing rather astonished attention to the sun, as was the case with numbers of the astronomers whose data indicated long term loss of size.
The prophecies are that there will be in particular 'signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth, distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and waves roaring'; and in general, that there will be 'signs from heaven' or as Godspeed has it, 'in the sky'. The astronomical and celestial arena is definitely stated to be a subject of surprise, interest and concern.
"The moon shall be turned to blood" is one forecast of Joel and Peter (Acts 2:20 and Joel 2:31).
A fascinating rendering of this from a schoolchild in the sixties, was this: The Americans and Russians will fight there a bloody war. That was the view expressed! Bears of course can be durable* beasts... and can have cubs.
However, while the U.S. intention or
possible plan of manning a station on the moon in order, through an orbiting
rocket, to have earth surveillance, with all the possibilities that would
open... has yet to reach fruition, it is apparent the system's
largest satellite has a differential advantage to confer on him who owns and operates it. Much hinges on some one act of power in the technological race. Whether therefore
* Time Magazine, October 18, 1993 - ''In Europe, Could the Bear be Back?'', also notes the new higher Army profile, and Russia's post-August lower NATO tolerance.
there will be skirmishes on the moon, civilisation on the moon, military personnel lodged there and devastation arises in earth-moon and moon-earth strivings for position, to settle there or unsettle him who is there; or whether there be in view an astronomical disturbance, chiefly atmospheric, the scenario is most apt for its fulfilment. The moon is now ... multiply and technically involved.
Power is increased, and wisdom is not, in the human race; and bare, bold and foolish use of force continues for this or that thrust of thought or desire, as if the race were determined to construct ... on Earth, if not of Earth, a mausoleum to folly of truly astronomical proportions.
Already of course the U.S. landing on the moon constitutes a sign after hundreds and thousands of years of romance about lunar loveliness. Being there is itself a magnificent sign, distinctive in the extreme of this Age and this period of it, and hence a sure part of the return syndrome-of-signs and signals, as Biblically predicted.
Whether astral bodies, stars or asteroids will soon execute difficult and undesired operations of their own (asteroids readily possible, as we shall shortly see: operations of impact, from various astronomical oddments, perhaps of threatening size, luminous insurgents); or whether first this will be more a matter of earthly involvements through yet further increased technological operation, such as space vehicle and nuclear fragments striking the earth: this remains to be seen.
The epochal 1969 sign on the moon may well be followed by other 'signs' in the heavens, whether with stars strictly so called in our terminology, or with other astronomical bodies fitting the term. The usage includes bodies like Venus, inspected by recent space passage; and clearly this is the Age of celestial signs in terms of discovery. It is plain from the last book of the Bible, Revelation, that more will be involved; but the signal is in action already.
The signs in the sky include the age of the aeroplane, with stratospheric travel, of the space platform, of the laser operation in space combat, of large-eyed satellites watching the earth with quite remarkable powers of monitoring even the minute, so making this a sign indeed, the celestial policeman of twentieth century technology. There is a master sign of the twentieth century, a 'sign out of the heavens'.
An American satellite will be flying overhead at 9.57 p.m. tonight, says the radio, directing our eyes aloft as a specific to this phase of our civilisation on earth...
Thus while even stars are not now beyond human action to investigate, either by complex procedures or actual mission, the moon is a central theme of amazement; and the sun has shrunk, and would appear now to have been doing so, in a startling revelation to contrary theorists; and the air and space itself is a major area of combat, destructive and observational, with rockets sailing through the heavens as signs of information or devastation almost unthinkable.
They are important not merely as a spectacle, but as an aerial conveyor belt of information or destruction: thus intensifying their prophetic significance. In all these ways, the celestial has come into its own as did the oceans a century ago, when technology laid waste the protective covering of marine mystery, to a notable extent. Now it is rather the ozone layer which is being laid bare, as the heavens focus in the minds of men in the startling twentieth century way, which fully accords with the emphasis and indications of predictive prophecy.
For generations the desire to fly and the desire for the moon, the absorption in and fascination with space has led to almost no practical use of it in transport; but now this dream (*6) of celestial conveyance and indeed even commuting, so long beckoning, has become a reality. That is the sign paramount.
With discussions of economy and maximum re-usability of space shuttles, we are indeed bringing the area of the heavens into sharp focus, in a way which specifies this as a generation above all, in which such is the case. This sign in the total syndrome is of course distinctive, unique and sufficient to fulfil the tenor of predictive prophecy for the 'end of the Age' (Matthew 24:3, 14,, 28:20, Luke 21:28).
Christ, then, with Paul, pointed to this area as one index to His coming again. (See Acts 1:7-11, 3:19-21, I Thessalonians 4, II Thessalonians 2, Matthew 24 et al.)
Now is there added stimulus to the enduringly demanding question - are you ready for that ? for the managing director and producer of the 'show' to have a look at His cast ? Can you stand before Him ? If aircraft, airships, buzz bombs, rockets to the stratosphere... to the moon... to the planets... outside the solar system into the astral regions... if these are part of the flow for 'signs in the sky', has your part in the play been provided in the way which, on reflection, you would wish ?
If space platforms and the prospect of the moon as one vast space platform appear to be bringing the action nearer; and if blood may indeed be spilled on the moon (Acts 2:20) - once an apparently ludicrous proposition, perhaps intensifying atmospheric effects of martial turbulence and human will in the area, but now attainable: is it not time for you to consider the place of peace ?
While the ultimate signal may not be humanly directed, what Peter calls "the day of the Lord", a sudden and unwelcome happening for many, "in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat," when "the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up": yet the powers already unleashed make such a judgment readily conceivable (II Peter 3).
Not merely does it not daunt the imagination: human forces towards such results are already in existence. This is far from saying the last word in destruction will be man's; however, as so often, he may be allowed... an expression and a participation. In such matters, his advance has been, shall we say, meteoric in this century.
This however, while relevant to the signals as a trend, is merely background. Our present topic is the return of Christ in terms of signals; and this precedes the passing away of heaven and earth, for Christ is to return to the earth (Zechariah 14, Acts 1:7-10 3:19-22, II Thessalonians 2, Revelation 19, 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, 2:19, 3:12-13, 4:13-18), first for His people and then in their company, before any such finale. God is personal; and He acts so. He will invest the situation, as before at Bethlehem, then at Calvary, personally, before the winds of circumstance blow so fiercely. It is all personally controlled, though of course the impact of judgment may make this seem remote to the rebellious (cf. Psalms 1:4-6; and 2).
Meanwhile the military aspectof these signs in the skies is brought right down to earth, in such episodes as the US charge, some years ago, that the USSR was placing inter-continental missile systems in Siberia in contravention of agreement. The questions of arms, of anti-ballistic missile systems about Moscow or other centres, and the scenarios of attack and response, star-like objects shooting at each other, removal of them from earth by electrical surges (USSR report) or other means... all these things concentrate this current generation on the subject of signs in the skies. Whether Russia regroups, consolidates, or even makes new alliances, it remains powerful for all its wounds; and this power is not made more palatable by internal desperations or snatches for power.
The atomic and hydrogen bombs themselves invade space (*7) with their clouds and particles - which sometimes take a very long period to settle. Here we see the fulfilment also of that prophecy of Peter at Pentecost, quoting Joel:
I will show wonders in the heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath: blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke ... Before that great and notable day of the Lord come; and it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Cf. pp. 796-800 infra.)While one of the most conspicuous badges of our Age is the mushroom cloud, (Joel attested pillars of smoke, or vapour in the passage to which Peter referred), and this fulfils both the indication (Luke 21:11) of "fearful sights" - such as Hiroshima - and that of the the vaporous column: yet the simplicity of the divine solution in Jesus Christ continues unchanged.
As with an antibiotic, while the complex symptoms of the syndrome may mount, the remedy is at hand. It remains in the gracious and persistent offer of that God without whom life is exposed, and eternity is hell; for we are made for Him. More, such things on earth are gracious in the long view, since they may alert the comatose to the final bane of blindness that will become irremediable. (Cf. John 9:39.)
Thus does God graciously keep the way home simple, while woes worsen; whosoever shall call! (Acts 2:21, John 6:37, 10:9). This indeed, in Biblical context, is precisely the topic and theme where the point is made.
But from heaven, let us return to earth and its symptoms.
We mentioned ozone: the ozone layer at high altitude is threatened, and the subject is a hot one. This layer screens the earth from cosmic rays, destructive space radiation; and its apparent or threatened major reduction may significantly increase skin cancer of this origin. Large holes in the North Pole and South Pole vicinities or aeas, where they cover for the earth, have opened to clear ominously, creating foreboding in many. This 'blind', it seems, is being drawn up to expose the dangerous dynamics of the heavens more fully to an Age too wise, too knowledgeable, that makes God an accessory, an option, a spectator, an object for dismissal or other indignity, as if 'going away' could be executed by mere popular wish, on the Author of the minds that say so.
Time magazine, July 30, 1990, speaks of 'the dark side of worshipping the sun'; but it does not require sun-bathing, to be blighted. "Millions of people, still unaware of the odds against them continued to play a game of solar roulette. Those odds are worsening at an alarming rate. The American Cancer Society predicts that in the U.S. this year, more than 600,000 new cases of skin malignancy will be diagnosed, most of them caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. Some 27,600 of those cases will be malignant melanoma, the deadliest type, which has been increasing 7% annually over the past decade and will kill 6,300 people this year."
While the causes may be cumulative, movement to tropical areas, love of sun, of pleasure, lack of caution, diminishing radiation protection, the results constitute 'the plague' in its place, one more of the series which afflict the earth, and will afflict it, as Revelation itemises in its severe challenges to a wayward race, and Christ declares. It seems set to increase its deadly gravity. Coupled with the 'greenhouse effect' of rising waste gases, notably carbon dioxide as the world 'burns' its fuels in war and peace, the disorder is accentuated. (Cf. Time, July 8, 1996, 'Global Fever'.)
In this, it is so notably 'helped' by the Kuwait fires of the publicly Moslem (starring on TV, at prayer) Hussein of Iraq, that there appears a resultant increment of fear from this alone, in turn fulfilling the "men's hearts failing them for fear" prediction of Jesus Christ, in yet more dimensions (Luke 21:26).
This greenhouse effect is indeed one of the numerous signs in the heavens, predicted. It has correlation - via results of acid rain, defoliation, spoiled water resources, Arctic melts and threats of vastly increased storm likelihood, flood and coastal action with rising oceanic levels that may force the abandonment of beaches long treasured (Greenhouse '88, pp. 17 ff. 2 cf. CSIRO's Dr Graeme Pearman at Greenhouse 1995 - Adelaide Advertiser, March 16) - with other scourges. These are those of an indulgent and disordered Age, reaping social as well as meteorological results of its waywardness. This is well expressed in the report Greenhouse'88: Planning for Climate Change. This cites (pp. 213-214) increased suicide rates and allied disturbances : "According to the people who are running this conference, the Commission for the Future, in their report called 'Casualties of Change: The Predicament of Youth in Australia' the reason for these figures is that young people now live in a nightmare vision of the future, of which the greenhouse effect is merely a symptom..."
"It is a symptom of that inter-related mix of problems including not just acid rain, the dying oceans, depletion of soil and destruction of forests, but the social tragedies of unemployment, alienation, drug abuse and despair." While this generalisation might be better framed, since many Christian youth are far from troubled, knowing the wisdom and basis for the words of Christ, "Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me" (John 14:1), and many are more sensitive and sensitised to these issues, yet the direction of flow is sure.
Thus alienation from God quickly leads to alienation elsewhere. This includes that from one's fellow man, or from segments of them (Marx), from races (Hitler with his Jews), or from partners (marriage breakdown, while administratively aided in easy divorce, is a dynamic also seeking such outlets), from beauty, suggested by much modern art and music, as by disregard of environment (Hussein is merely a flaming example); and it reaches flight from oneself, with rising symbolic settings in suicide. Drugs lengthen the process, being in essence perhaps a slow sub-category of suicide.
Such alienation is also evidenced in mass-madness wars of which the killing fields of Cambodia are merely a much exhibited and appallingly grisly example, with its fearful sights on massive scale making the pen of history attest that word of prophecy (Luke 21:11), "fearful sights". The invention of TV, in this setting, simply ensures the sights are seen... while chronic slaughter in Angola finds print, Georgia, Somalia and Yugoslavia poignantly seige the screen from South Africa.
There is a wide scope for the aversions, alienations and disavowals, the anguishes of distress and revulsion, fearing God and fearing to fear God, in an alienated culture, an alien philosophy, set in a world of aversion from righteousness and its source, as a sort of ornament on its mantelpiece. This scope augments with increasing power.
Thus, added to these high-level meteorological and space problems, there is that of nuclear power in space, the star wars scenario, not to mention an earlier American President's fascination (Reagan) with and preparation for it; and all of this constitutes part of the predicted 'signs in the heaven above'. With CFC's assaulting the ozone shield, carbon dioxide extremes aiding the grave greenhouse effect, and nakedness that is not only directed to the sun, augmenting it: the terrestial in its 'marriage' with the celestial, earth and space work together to invoke the 'illegitimate' children, who are plagues to those who beget them. Moral, industrial, ethical, behavioural and spiritual syndromes mingle with their effects.
In fact, if this be not signs in the heavens at this time and for this generation (mine and yours)... what could or would be ? Never before has this been fulfilled. Now it is so fulfilled that the legally blind could read it without a magnifying glass. With increasing space debris, some nuclear, even sight may not be needed!
Further, there is not only the future of what has happened: there is that of what is now known, relative to prophecy yet future: Revelation 8:10-11 referring to a penultimate astral drama - a drama very near the end, as the earth's surface becomes more and more troubled. An astral body (presumably astroid because of its massive but not obliterative effect on the earth, at this time), is to "fall from heaven, burning like a torch", making quantities of the earth's water bitter.
The Channel 7 television Program, Beyond 2000, screened in Adelaide in 1991, provided an offering entitled "Asteroids and Survival". It mentioned some 20,000 meteorites impacting on the earth's atmosphere yearly, and spoke of the larger variety, asteroids, with diameters that can be 700 km. across.
The book of Revelation pictures closely resemble in magnitude the sort of thing that this could cause. Beyond 2000 noted (reference Dr Alex Bevan, W.A. Museum, Astronomy) that two asteroids had narrowly missed the earth in the last 4 years, one in space terms, apparently by a matter of hours. Indeed, that which came in 1987 had its distance from the earth set at less than half that to the moon. In astronomical terms, that is virtually next door. Dramatic recent woes (1994) for Jupiter, with dynamic comet/asteroid multiple impacts, have justly focussed space scenarios with Earth as target - like a trailer on events to come. Thus are we reminded that events of numerous kinds are capable of fulfilling without any difficulty, what has already been commenced, and in some cases, further fulfilling what has been done. We are incidentally given a realistic reminder of the prediction of Revelation 8, in terms of current events.
If the heavens in this way are telling the glory of God, fulfilling predictions, adumbrating fulfilments, vindicating Christ, the earth does so no less. Luke speaks the word of Christ (Luke 21:25-26) about the "distress of nations, with perplexity" upon the earth. Distress indeed has become endemic, epidemic and pandemic in the world. Subtlety, deceit, striving, vying, fear, ideological hatred, spying; murder, chaos to bring down governments, secrecy, martial display, stealing of industrial and military secrets, disguise of intention, announcement of intentions... these things are in the centre of the world's highway to destruction. Men who otherwise might have been thought to be of high principle, will now speak of 'power broking' as if this were 'realism,' when it is a mere denial of principle and of the power of God; for whom morals and righteousness are rails of iron (*8) given to His people.
In such a setting, especially since the power of the atom has been touched, "wars and rumours of wars" (Matthew 24:6) become a way of life... or death. "Men's hearts failing them for fear" (*9) Luke 21:26... "and for looking after those things" is attested in endless seeming articles, booklets, meetings and reports... conversations. Laughter at II Peter 3:10-11 is no longer de rigueur: it stings! 3:3-9 challenges!
What more did Christ predict in this phase of history, before His return ? The times, He indicated, would become so severe and dangerous to life itself that: "Unless those days were shortened no flesh could be spared..." (Matthew 24:22). That is being fulfilled. Since Einstein, the scenario for atomic warfare has threatened; the possibility of ripping off the atmosphere was only one first vast danger considered. Biological warfare and nerve gases merely add to radioactivity and its difficulty of any containment... This subject has been at white heat for a generation now! Continually (*10), and not merely from the famous and gloomy scientific Club ofRome with its computer read-outs, have come forecasts; indications of dangerous changes surface and cause near panic (Luke 21:26). Keep cool? By all means, but that will not in itself cool the bombs. Gloom and doom are increasingly to the fore. That is not the point for its own sake: a Christian has no doom. For my part, it does not materially concern me if space is demolished. Not personally. What does Isaiah say?...
Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they who dwell therein in like manner: But my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished... Isaiah 55:6
What matters, stays. God Himself tells in Hebrews 12:25-28 of His intention to shake the earth again (and matter is even now being shaken before our very eyes): and what is the challenge ?
See that you refuse not Him who speaks . . . now He has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.The point is this - those events are now moving up in accord with the written plan in the Bible. (It is to reach its final climax after the King, Christ returns. II Peter 3:12 tells that "the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat" - a fisherman anticipating scientists by thousands of years: because of God.) All this, then, God has covered in advance. God is not dumb; it is speaking man who frequently is so - to think that God ever would be... in such a world as this, a mute! God has spoken to you; have you spoken to Him! This is the question... Is it not time ?
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1. Physically so also! Jung Chang, in her Wild Swans p. 309, notes ''an accepted estimate for the death toll'' for China from the famine of the Great Leap Forward fiasco, as 30,000,000 - pitilessly exacted of a tortured populace.
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2. Cf. CSIRO's Dr Graeme Pearman, at Greenhouse 1995: Adelaide Advertiser, March 16. Japan's Environment Agency (A.A., June 5) grimly parallels "extinct civilisations".
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