Christianity Oasis Ministry
Polarization of America
Chapter 16 - The Perfect Storm
On rare occasions, major storm cells merge to form an enormous storm – the perfect storm. The perfect storm is not just big, it is a natural disaster. Unlike most storms that are composed of just one storm cell, the perfect storm is composed of many storms cells. The result is destruction and death in the wake of its path. The perfect storm serves as the perfect metaphor for the events that define the conflict between Humanism and Christianity, and the polarization in America.
Never before, in the history of mankind have conditions combined to oppose Christianity as they exist today, except perhaps, the time of the Early Church during the first three centuries AD. As in the case of converging weather systems, all the elements that oppose Christianity are developing strength and, as in the case of the perfect storm, merging in a coordinated effort. The elements that signal an all out attack on Christianity are Progressive politics, Humanist education in the public schools, judicial activism, the rise of heretical religions in the public sector, and the emerging conditions predicted throughout the Bible that foretell the end times and the final conflict. These conditions predict the coming of the "perfect anti-Christian storm" (Figure 15) and this will define conditions in America, and the world, for the foreseeable future.
Figure 15. The "perfect storm" of anti-Christianity
STORM CELL 1. Progressive Politics
I lived in Nebraska for several years and was always amazed at how fast a summer storm could form. Within an hour, dark clouds on the horizon would suddenly become thunder and lightning all around you. Progressivism and Nebraska weather have a lot in common. Consider this; in one hundred years, American has been transformed to the extent that most of the positions espoused by Humanists are imbedded in our society. However, it is not just America; in fact, America lags much of the world in this respect. Almost all of Europe is Fabian Socialist. At least one-third of the world is strictly socialist or Communist. This means that Humanism is imbedded in almost one hundred percent of the nations that wield global power. This is reflected in the policies of the United Nations. Both Marxism and Progressivism emerged from the Humanist philosophers of the 18th and 19th centuries and both of these philosophies have the common goal of establishing a world government, an atheistic world government. Eventually, the number of nations committed to the Humanist Manifesto will reach a critical mass and a central world government will suddenly, like a Nebraska summer storm, govern the world.
Perhaps the only thing in the way is that such a world government cannot be formed as long as there is even one super power. As long as the United States remains strong enough and is committed to Christian values, the winds of Humanism will not prevail. However, there has never been a time in human history when the political climate has been so favorable to a world government. If the Christian community cannot hold back the winds of Humanism in America, it is inevitable that Progressive politics will transform our nation into the "Humanist's dream" and the "Christian's nightmare."
Recall the quote by George Soros cited above in which he said that the only thing standing in the way of a world government was the United States. There are two factors that make America an impediment to the Humanistic dream of a world government. America is committed to being a sovereign superpower and Christian values. This is why Progressive are committed to the marginalizing of Christianity, and preferably its destruction.
STORM CELL 2. Humanism in the Public Schools
Several years ago, I taught at a university in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. When I arrived, the new faculty quarters were not yet finished so I stayed in a nearby construction camp for a few weeks. During the first week, I was sitting in the dinning room eating dinner when someone shouted, "habub!" Suddenly everyone stood up leaving their meals and ran out of the building. No one told me about the Arabian sandstorm. I found out the hard way. By the time I finished my meal and left the building, the camp was in the midst of a sandstorm pushed by a strong wing. At first, I was merely curious. It looked like a cloud covering the ground to about two feet. However, as I began to walk back to my room, the curiosity turned to pain. The "cloud" was sand moving at about 50 miles per hour. As I ran back to my room, the course sand cut my legs. I learned the hard way why you never see an Arab in shorts. The next day the environment had changed beyond recognition. Sand covered everything. Small dunes rippled over the roads and even my desktop, inside an enclosed building, had a layer of sand. One of my students said that the sandstorms were the reason the desert was the cleanest place on earth; everything was regularly buried and we always saw a new layer of sand.
Unfortunately, as in the case of the Arabian sandstorm, our education system is being buried by Humanist indoctrination and policies that result in the "Dumbing of America". Six decades ago, the United States was at the top of industrial nations in educational achievement. Now we are near the bottom; passed by several developing nations. Yielding to the demands of the teacher unions and throwing billions of dollars at the problem has just made the system worse. In addition to the poor education our children are receiving, they are being indoctrinated in the Humanist philosophy at an increasing rate. This is not a coincidence.
This is the first time in the history of the United States that our children are receiving a worse education than their parents. The poor quality is not just in the fact that the students are not doing well in math, science, and other subjects; they are not learning the truth. Textbooks rewrite history to fit the Progressive propaganda. Evolution is taught as fact and students are reprimanded for asking how the gaps in the hypothesis are explained. Sex education classes promote oral sex rather than copulation in order to avoid pregnancy. Homosexuality is taught as "alternative" rather than deviant. Capitalism is taught as the source of all the nation's economic and social problems while Socialism is presented in a favorable light. A kindergarten student is punished for drawing a picture of Jesus in class during the Christmas season.
Our children are being prepared to live in the world transformed by the Humanists and governed by the precepts of the Humanist Manifesto. The Progressive wind is blowing the sands of Humanism over our education system. The truth is being buried. Our children are being indoctrinated. Our children are being prepared to live the Humanist lifestyle and to ignore the values of their parents. The Humanists are preparing the next generation.
STORM CELL 3. Judicial Activism
I worked in Pakistan for the U.S. Agency for International Development as a consultant to determine infrastructure need in the southeast par of the country. I was stationed in the town of Turbot, a dusty and primitive collection of mud brick buildings in the Baluchistan desert. During my first week there, a few of the government officials and citizens came to my office with a formal request. They wanted a bridge over the Dast River. The Dast river separated Turbot from the gravel tract they called a road that connected the town to civilization. A visit to the Dast River would treat you to a mouthful of dust. The "river" was merely a lower elevation crossed by vehicles. You could dig down about two feet and find water, but at the surface, all you would find is blowing dust. The group claimed that when it rained, the town was cut of from all communication for up to a week. As I investigated the weather in the area, I discovered that Turbot received an average of three inches of rain each year, usually in two storms of an inch and a half each; hardly a significant storm.
I filed their request and proceeded to investigate other, more worthy, projects like roads and schools. However, one day I was summoned to the river to inspect the flood. It had not rain the entire time I was in Turbot, how could their be a flood? When I arrived, I found the Dast River a raging torrent. I quickly returned to my office to pick up the survey equipment and returned to measure the flood elevation. However, the water was rising so fast I could not get a measurement and had to wait until it crested. I did not have to wait long; the river went from a dust bowl to a crested water elevation of 22 feet in just six hours. It was four days before the river could be crossed. I was a believer. The phenomenon is not unusual in desert environments. The Baluchistan desert in this area is barren hard-backed clay. When it rains, virtually all the water runs off and collects in the usually dry depressions, creeks, and eventually rivers. I learned that the watershed was several hundred square miles and rain anywhere in the water shed, even 50 miles away, would collect and eventually find its way to Turbot via the Dast River. These stealth storms routinely happened but the citizens of Turbot had no idea the flood was coming until it was upon them. Judicial activism has flooded America in the same way as the Baluchistan storms.
For decades, the Progressive politicians gradually established the foundation for the flood. They were not obvious because in the initial stages of the implementation, the public would have opposed the effort. Franklin Roosevelt tried the direct approach and failed big time. The preparation had to be indirect. The "rain" fell in the form of a few Progressive politicians at first, then a few more. Everyone was focused on the politics and missed the judicial flood. Gradually, over a few decades, the number of judicial activists grew in numbers. Since federal judicial appointments are for life, activist judges accumulate over time, just as the rain in the Baluchistan watershed accumulated.
Suddenly, like the floods at Turbot, America is faced with judicial decisions that conflict with legislative intent and the will of the people. A significant part of the judiciary, directly or indirectly, is nudging the law towards a Humanistic lifestyle. While we were arguing about the liberal politicians and laws that favored the Progressive agenda, the judges were gradually, and stealthily, implementing the agenda. Never before in the history of the United States has there been so much of our personal life regulated by judicial activism; an activism that has usurped the role of the legislatures – both federal and state.
This judicial activism removes the power of the people and there is little that can be done to correct it in the short term. Abortion, evolution, prohibition of prayer or religious symbols in schools and public venues, and pornography are examples of the rain of the Humanist lifestyle flooding into our society through judicial activism. As long as the Progressive politicians continue to "reign," the flood will increase. Eventually the dike will break.
STORM CELL 4. The Rise of Heretical Religious Systems
While I was working in Indonesia, I experienced a few impressive monsoon storms. Tropical storms can dump several inches of rain in just a few minutes. This results in flooding and landslides with loss of life. Almost all those who die, however, are not drowned in floods or buried in landslides. Within a few days, people become sick with cholera, typhoid and similar water-borne diseases. Water supplies become contaminated from the flooding and by the time aide agencies arrive with clean drinking water, it is too late; the people have already drunk water from contaminated sources and are infected.
The American society, similar to the Indonesian floods, is being contaminated by heretical religious beliefs and philosophies. I know, that statement is not politically correct, however, the fact that it is not politically correct gives some indication of how far the contamination has progressed. As in the case of the Indonesian monsoon, the public has been focusing on the "rain" of the Progressive efforts to "separate church and state" and the prohibition of Christian expression but while the contamination of heresies went unnoticed. Gradually, however, the contamination has infected our society and even our churches.
I have observed the growth of anti-Christian heresies and religions in the United States for several decades; however, I did not make the connection to Humanism until recently. After all, Humanism expressly denounces all religion and anything spiritual. So why would Progressives promote anything religious? The short answer is – to oppose Christianity. Just as environmental scientists are used to promote the atheistic premise of Humanism, the heretical religions and philosophies are tools for opposing Christianity. The ultimate target if Christianity and the Humanists will suffer a brief period with some very strange bedfellows to achieve that goal.
It is unfortunate, but the Progressives have co-opted the media has been co-opted. The Humanist bias is expressed in the entertainment programs and the Progressive agenda is favored in the news programs. In the area of religion, however, the bias is most evident. Gnosticism is a significant danger to Christianity because of its tendency to contaminate orthodox faith. As discussed in Chapter 4, the apostles continuously warned the early Church about the Gnostic heresies. When reading the Bible, one might consider these warning for a time 2000 years ago and not pertinent today. That would be a mistake; Gnosticism, as discussed in Chapter 12, is alive and well.
Television channels, such as Discovery, History, and National Geographic, are examples of media bias toward anti-Christian heresies. As the Christmas or Easter holidays approach, one can count on these channels to follow the Progressive agenda regarding religion. The only programs relating to Christianity are the "historical Jesus" or the "Gnostic Jesus". One can also count on several programs about Muslims, Mecca, and the Hajj (we discuss Islam below). The Historical Jesus emphasizes what archaeologist can determine about Jesus the man and as a historical figure and hints to a very different person than that described in the New Testament. The conclusion, since the Bible is treated as myth, is that there is little scientific evidence to support his existence and sketchy historical records would indicate he was merely the leader of a fanatical Jewish cult. The Gnostic Jesus is based on the Gnostic gospels, discussed in Chapter 12, that use Jesus and Christianity to promote Gnostic philosophies that had developed over the previous centuries. In both cases, the fundamental beliefs of Christianity are ignored and even challenged. It is bad enough to ignore the truth of Christianity, but to present the heresies as the probable reality goes beyond bias; it is indoctrination. The difficulty is that this type of programming is increasing and spreading throughout the liberal media.
Perhaps the best example of Progressive intentions to marginalize Christianity is the efforts of the judicial activists and teachers unions. This example not only exposes their intentions, but their hypocrisy as well. The issue is religion in public schools and the Progressive mantra, "separation of church and state." As we discussed in the previous chapter, judicial activists, supported by the ACLU, and Progressive teachers, supported by their unions, have succeeded in preventing any hint of Christianity in public schools. Prayer, the mention of Jesus, wearing a crucifix or a T-shirt with a Christian message can get a student reprimanded or even suspended. School Christmas programs cannot include reference to Jesus or religious hymns such as Silent Night. Christianity is taboo because there must be a separation of church and state; and Progressives in the school system and the ACLU are vigilant in upholding this important constitutional protection. However, when it comes to Islam, it is a different story.
Before exposing the religious double standard in the schools, it will be helpful to briefly discuss the conflict between Islam and Christianity and why Islam can be offensive to Christians and visa versa. Below is a list of some of the tenants of Islam and how they conflict with Christianity. The numbers in parenthesis refer to citations in the Koran; (book: surya). Supporting information was taken from History of Islam.
There are many more example of how Islam and Christianity are fundamentally at odds, but these will suffice for this discussion. Numerous books have been written about Islam and it is worthwhile reading a few to become acquainted with this significant force in the world. However, if one reads the Koran, it becomes clear that the religion is mostly a statement against Judaism and Christianity. If actions speak louder than words, the Muslim anti-Christian, anti-Israel attacks, both historical and modern, are sufficient evidence of their agenda.
With this background, one would think that the Humanist movement would be vehemently opposed to Islam; perhaps even more than their opposition to Christianity. The Humanist Manifesto rejects religion in all forms, especially dogmatic religion. However, Progressives make an exception in the case of Islam. Consider the following examples.
Where are the activist judges and the ACLU when you need them? Where are those Progressive politicians who champion separation of church and state? No need to wait for them to act; this is part of their agenda. In less than a generation, America has gone from a nation where Christians could express their faith in public to a nation that restricts Christian's public expression of faith. At the same time, the laws that Progressives passed to restrict Christianity are ignored as Islam is actively imposed upon students. In my youth, even those who did not have a faith respected Christians for their faith. Today, many talk show hosts (and their guests) and not a few politicians ridicule Christians openly, particularly the Evangelicals.
At the same time, Islam is being pressed on the public, either directly as in the case of the public schools, or indirectly through "politically correct" rhetoric. The result is that Christianity is being marginalized and this marginalization is progressing rapidly. Of course, the Gnostics and Muslims are being used as tools for the Humanist agenda, as are environmental and climate scientists; but when the Humanists reach their critical mass in society and no longer need them, the proverbial shoe will be on the other foot. In the meantime, the American society is infected with the heretical philosophies. Recall Figure 11 that presented the various concepts of salvation among the world religions. Humanists have no problem with any of these religions except Christianity. That is because only Christianity constitutes a threat the implementation of the Humanist Manifesto.
STORM CELL 5. The Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecies
I spent my childhood in a semi-rural area of Utah about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City. Every summer we would be treated to magnificent lightning storms. Dark clouds would form on the horizon and the roar of thunder would signal that it was time to take cover. The lightning was not some far off spectacle that illuminated the dark clouds. It struck. A tree in our front yard was split in two as a testimony to the danger of the lightning. One afternoon when I was about 10, I was riding by bike when I saw the clouds off to the West. The sky above me was still blue, but I knew enough to get home as fast as I could. When I was about 100 feet from the house, I was suddenly engulfed in light and then a deafening roar. My hair stood straight up and for a few seconds I was blinded by the bright light. From the safety of my front porch, I could see that the clouds had not yet arrived. The lightning had come "out of the blue" as they say." According the Bible, that is how the events that signal the last days will come, suddenly and without warning.
Although the last-day events will suddenly break upon mankind, the Bible tells us what those events are and, if we are wise, we can know they are near. Just as the summer clouds in Utah hint to the danger of lightning, there are events that tell us the preparation of the last days are under way.
The biblical prophecies concerned with the last days are often difficult to understand. The Bible is full of metaphor, allegory, and symbolism and end-time prophecies are no exception. In fact they are the most difficult to interpret. As a result, there is no consensus on all the details of the events of the last days as described in the Bible. However, there are several scriptures that are clear and generally not in dispute. These scriptures are particularly pertinent to the conflict between Humanism and Christianity, because the Bible predicts that, prior to the final chapter in this wonderful journey, Humanism will prepare the infrastructure for the final events.
Ask the average person what they know about the last days and they will likely say that the Apocalypse will come and that it will be a time of natural disasters, Armageddon. Actually, "Apocalypse" is Greek for revelation and is the title of the last book of the Bible. "Armageddon" refers to the final battle between the forces of evil and good on the plain of Megiddo, northwest of Jerusalem. The reason for this association is that the Book of Revelation is entirely devoted to the events of the last days. However, the entire Bible is full of prophecies about the last days. Both the Old and New Testaments have hundreds of references to "The End." There is so much information about the last days that an entire branch of theology, eschatology, is devoted to these prophecies.
Biblical prophecies concerning the last days fall into two categories, those that refer to humanity and the world in general, and those that refer to Israel and the Jews specifically. Those that refer to Israel far outnumber the more general references. This is because, in spite of superpowers, technology, global economies, and Progressive politics, the focus of the events in the last days will be Israel. We are beginning to see this happen.
We will discuss a few of these prophecies in the light of the Humanism-Christianity conflict. It may surprise a few to lean that these end-time prophecies predict that, in the short-term, Humanism succeeds. These are the prophecies we will look at here. However, ultimately the Holy Spirit wins decisively.
The Bible defines the deeds of the flesh as: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissentions, factions and envy, drunkenness, and orgies (Gal 5:19-21). Throughout history, these activities and characteristics have been an integral part of humanity. Humanism professes a philosophy that should raise the moral level of human actions, but the record of the Progressives reveals just the opposite. In fact, Progressivism has taken our moral standard to a lower level. In Chapter 11 we discussed how the Humanist Manifesto was a recipe for a return to the moral degradation of ancient Rome. In the previous chapter, we discussed how this moral degradation is supported politically and judicially to an extent never seen before. All indications are that America is reaching the tipping point where sufficient groundwork has been laid for a sudden surge of Progressivism to complete the Humanist agenda.
Peter warns that in the last days many will become scoffers and follow their evil desires (2 Pet 3:3). Paul's letter to timothy is explicit:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having the form of godliness but denying the power. 2 Tim 3:1-5
Does this remind you of anyone? I mean except Progressive politicians. However, the fact that this describes the political climate of our nation tells us much about the direction of our nation. People with these characteristics make the laws and implement them. They appoint judicial activists. They are guiding our nation to the Humanist lifestyle predicted by Peter and Paul.
Wars and Rumors of Wars
As long as there have been humans on the earth, there has been war. In the last century, the number and consequence of the wars has increased considerably. Never in the history of humanity have there been wars of global magnitude or such a cost of life. However, the last days prophecies are more concerned with the wars in the Middle East. As mentioned above, the focus of biblical prophecies is largely on Israel. Jesus tells us that conflict between nations is a sign of the last days.
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Matt 24:6, 7
In the Book of Revelation, John describes the four seals that indicate the events that are preparatory to the devastation of the last days.
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given the power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sward. Rev 6:3, 4
Consider the fact that Israel is the focus of biblical prophecies. Now consider the events in the Middle East. While it is true the last century was riddled with war and genocide, over the past 50 years there has been a gradual focusing of war or threat of war in the Middle East. Today Israel is surrounded by Islamic nations who disagree on about everything but are in strong agreement on one thing: the destruction of Israel and the Jews. And not a few European and Asian nations (with Progressive or Marxist governments) are sympathetic to that goal.
When I was working in Pakistan in the mid-eighties, I had occasion to attend a party and meet several government officials. During the get acquainted time prior to dinner, I joined a group of engineers who were talking about Pakistan's new nuclear reactor. Jokingly, I asked, "Now that you will soon have the capability to build a nuclear bomb, should India be concerned?" The unanimous response was, "Not India. Israel!" The group then shouted and laughed.
We are just seeing the initial stages of this conflict and when the preparations are complete, a Middle East disaster will strike as suddenly as a Utah lightning bolt. It will seem to many to come "out of the blue" but the black clouds are already forming and some of those clouds hang over Washington, D.C.
Famine Pestilence and Earthquakes
As in the case of war, famine, pestilence (disease), and earthquakes are nothing new to humans. However, the Bible predicts that these disasters will increase in intensity and scope to include the entire world (Matt 24:7; Rev 6:5, 6). Beginning in 2007, the world economy began its slide. At the same time, liberal Progressives saw their opportunity to use the crisis to strengthen their position. However, in the process of their social and economic engineering, the world economic conditions are becoming worse. Assistance to developing countries is decreasing. This, in turn, results in more frequent episodes of famine and disease. Pollution and global warming continue unabated, just as Isaiah prophesied:
The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered. The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted on the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people and they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken every covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth its people must bear their guilt. Therefore, earth's inhabitants are burned up and very few are left. Isaiah 24: 4-6
This environmental degradation will result in famine. Where there is famine, epidemics abound. As the world shrinks, disease can spread more easily. We have already seen how one person on an airplane infected with the H1N1 virus can be the source of thousands of subsequent infections. Already we are experiencing millions of deaths each year due to famine in Africa. Diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria are becoming resistant to antibiotics and fatalities from these diseases are increasing. Never before in the history of man has the potential for worldwide pandemics been so great.
Contamination of the Church
In Chapter 4, we discussed how the Church has been plagued with Gnosticism, philosophies, social agendas, and human ambition. This can be expected in any institution habited by humans. However, the Bible tells us that, in preparation of the last days, Satan will launch a major attack on the Church and try to destroy it from within. Using seven churches in what is today Turkey as a type, in Revelation John describes what we can look for in the contamination on the Church today.
Ephesus (Rev 2:1): Although rejecting attempts by some at false teaching this is a backsliding church that has lost the enthusiasm it once had and become lethargic. Today we can recognize the modern "Ephesus" as the "go through the Sunday motions" pew sitters. For them, religion is routine and rote. The promise from Christ to this congregation is that they will be removed from the Christian community. The 2007 Pew survey on religion found that, even among the most Evangelical Christians, only 58 percent attended church service weekly and the average for mainline denominations is only 34 percent.
Smyrna (Rev 2:8): A poor church that is publicly ridiculed and persecuted. In some cases, there is physical suffering, but the congregation remains true to Christ. Some might consider the modern day "Smyrna" as the small Evangelical, probably Pentecostal, congregation that is looked down on by elites, secular and religious alike. The message from Christ is, "Hang in there and I will give you the crown of life."
Pergamum (Rev 2:12): This congregation is in an area surrounded by evil. Most of the congregation holds to the faith, but a few have compromised by incorporating some of the popular practices of idol worship common in that society. The modern equivalent of "Pergamum" is the "modern" congregation that incorporates the popular fads in order to appease the nominal "Christian". In this congregation one hears the social gospel, Gnostic "ear ticklers," and anything that is the spiritual fad of the day. One might ever hear that there are many ways to salvation–take your pick. Jesus has a message for the modern Pergamum, "Shape up or I will come after you with the sward of my mouth." The Pew survey reported that only 79 percent of the members of Evangelical churches believe in a personal God and 13 percent believe that God is an impersonal force. Only 62 percent of the members of mainline denominations believe in a personal God and 26 percent believe God is an impersonal force. This would place a significant number of those claiming to be Christian as philosophical Gnostics. Gnostic Christianity is increasing and is an even greater problem than faced the Early Church.
Thyatria (Rev 2:15): This is a congregation growing in faith and good deeds. Each day it becomes stronger. However, there are some within the congregation that teach heresy and sexual immorality and they are tolerated. The modern day "Thyatria" may be exemplified by those congregations that are mixed with strong Christian principles that and a liberal component that tolerates heretical concepts and unrepentant sexual activity, such as homosexuality. Jesus objects both to the contamination by the nominal Christian and the tolerance of the contamination by the orthodox members of the congregation. Jesus' message: I will bring great suffering on the heretics until they repent. The Pew survey reported that homosexuality has been accepted in some local American Baptist congregations, the Episcopalian, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian (qualified), and United Church of Christ. Sixty-one percent of the members of Evangelical churches consider abortion as immoral in most or all cases while 32 percent of the members of mainline protestant churches consider abortion immoral in most or all cases. Forty-five percent of the Catholics consider abortion immoral. The fact is that 40 percent of the U.S. population in general considers abortion immoral. It would seem that the population in general is less tolerant of sin than many "Christian" congregations are. According to the Pew survey, Christian denominations that do not condemn abortion are: American Baptist, Episcopalian (rape, incest, mother's physical/mental health, fetal abnormalities), Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, National Association of Evangelists (rape, incest), Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist.
Sardis (Rev 3:1): Sardis had a reputation for being spiritually alive, but Jesus declares them spiritually dead. Perhaps at one time their faith was manifested by their deeds, but no longer. They have become spiritually lethargic, Christians in name only, just going though the motions. Jesus tells them to repent and "wake up" or he will come like a thief in the night. This warning echoes the warning gave many times during his ministry when discussing the last days, particularly the rapture. The modern Sardis is a congregation that attends Sunday service (when convenient), puts a few dollars in the collection plate (when convenient), and has the outward appearance of a practicing Christian. These are the Christian Humanists whose focus is on the physical and ignore the spiritual. Jesus' message to the modern Sardis congregation is to get back to the basics that enlivened your spirit when you first believed, otherwise you may have a real surprise when it come time to enter heaven. As Jesus told his disciples in Matt 7:23, "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
Philadelphia (Rev 3:7): The congregation at Philadelphia is weak by material standards, and surrounded by heretics. However, they hold true to the Gospel and obey the will of the Father. Jesus tells them to hold fast to their faith and continue their good deeds and he will spare them from the final tribulation. There are thousands of modern Philadelphia congregations in America; usually small churches with leaking roofs. However, when you step foot inside, you know the Spirit is in full operating mode. They treat the Bible as the word of God and every idea is checked against it –no Political or Philosophical Church thinking allowed. They not only believe the Bible, they act on it. They pray daily and expect miracles. The continuously evangelize. They treat sin as sin but welcome the sinner. They are not ashamed of Jesus and it shows. Jesus is an integral and living part of their lives–their God and their friend.
Laodicea (Rev 3:14): The congregation at Laodicea is neither cold nor hot and Jesus says he is about to spit them out. This is a wealthy congregation; wealth in material things, but poor spiritually. Jesus invites the Laodiceans to repent and buy spiritual wealth from him; he is waiting. You may know a modern Laodicean; the large and beautiful church with expensive stained glass window and expensive organ. It is the place to go for weddings, funerals, and photo ops if you are a politician. Services are elegant and the sermons include the latest platitudes plagiarized from the local radio psychologist, but the name "Jesus" is seldom spoken. The congregation is dressed in the finest cloths; necessary if one is to be seen in this company. Attendance is spotty, but the church is full on Christmas and Easter–it's a family tradition. A modern Laodicean considers doing good works as the means to heaven; if the good outweighs the bad, you're in. On Sunday, the collection plate is full. The congregation is politically correct and open to alternative lifestyles and approaches to religion. This is Christian Humanism, the social gospel, and the "modern Christianity". It is growing and many who claim to be Christian are really Laodiceans. This is the Christianity of the Unitarians and the authors of the Humanist manifesto. The Pew religion survey provides an interesting statistic about the growing number of Laodiceans. Today those who identify themselves as "Christian" but do not believe the Bible is the word of God (merely written by men without inspiration) is significant: Mainline Protestant – 28 percent, Catholic – 27 percent, Orthodox – 29 percent, Other Christian – 44 percent.
It is clear that the Church today is contaminated just as it was in the early days of Christianity. This is not surprising because Satan sees the Church as his greatest threat. It is also clear that not everyone who claims to be a Christian truly is a disciple of Christ. Nominal Christianity is possibly the majority of Christians, if the Pew survey is accurate. However, as Jesus said, "Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven.
The seven churches of Revelation include just two that holds to the true faith and can be called Disciples of Christ, Smyrna and Philadelphia. That is only 28 percent of the Christians. The others need to repent, purge the congregation of Humanism and Gnosticism, and pray for a spiritual awakening. The Church is polarized. The polarization is not whether to baptize infants or adults or whether the Eucharist is transubstantiation or remembrance, or whether young earth creation or intelligent design is the correct theology. The polarization is much deeper than man-made philosophical differences. The polarization includes the belief in the Bible as the word of God. Is God a personal God? Is Jesus the only means of salvation? Is there an absolute moral standard? Is Jesus truly the son of God? Paul tells us that this polarization will increase in the last days and identifies the contamination as those:
...having the form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Tim 3:5
Those Christians who have adapted the form of Christianity but do not embrace the Spirit of Christianity may have a problem.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men. Matt 5:13
Return of Israel
In the last few years, a popular theme for movies is Armageddon. However, as usual, Hollywood takes considerable liberty with the truth. Armageddon is portrayed as the final conflict between good and evil, or the devastation of the world as described in Revelation. However, Armageddon refers to the final conflict between the antichrist and Israel at the plan of Megiddo northwest of Jerusalem. When John wrote the book of Revelation, Israel had been overcome by the Roman army. The temple was destroyed in 70 AD and the Diaspora had begun. For almost 2000 years, the Jews were scattered across the world. In order for the battle at Megiddo to take place, the nation of Israel must be restored. Israel was restored in 1947.
Chapters 36 and 37 of Ezekiel are prophesies regarding the restoration of Israel. First God gathers the Jews from their dispersal throughout the world.
For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from al the countries and bring you back into your own land. Ez 36:24
Then, in Chapter 37 God give Ezekiel the metaphor of the dry bones. Ezekiel is given a vision of a valley filled with old bones. Ezekiel was told to say over the bones that God would bring them back to life and, as he was speaking, the bones rose up and came to life. As the restored people stood before Ezekiel, God instructed him to inform them:
Then he said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.' Therefore, prophesy and say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken and I have done it, declares the Lord'" Ez 37:11-14
A few additional scriptures that predict the return of Israel are: Jer 23:3; Jer 31:8; Jer 32:37; Ez 11: 17; Ez 20:41; Ez 36:24; Ez 39:27; Mic 2:12; Mic 4:6, 7; Zeph 3:19; and Zec 8:3. There are many more scriptures that predict the scattering of the Jews among the nations and "in the day of the Lord," i.e. the last days, God will restore the nation of Israel but perhaps the most direct prophecy is from Isaiah:
In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from lower Egypt, from upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. He will be a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Israel from the four quarters of the earth. Isa 11:11-12
Opposition to Christianity
In the last part of Chapter 11, we discussed the scriptures that predict a rising opposition to Christianity in the last days. There is no question that Humanism is opposed to religion and particularly Christianity. As Humanists, through the implementation of the Progressive movement, gain influence and power, they become bolder and opposition to Christianity is increasing. Conservative Christians are fair game for late night comedians. Progressive politicians portray them as a regressive and harmful influence on America. The ACLU is on record to oppose everything Christian. The opposition is not merely a difference of opinion. This opposition is filled with venomous emotion. Just enter a blog site that is discussing one of the hot button issues (evolution, abortion, homosexuals, etc.) and present the Christian position on the subject. The reaction will be an eye opener.
However, the opposition to Christianity is not just from the Humanists. The opposition from Islam goes much farther. I lived in Indonesia for several years and became aware of things one does not read in the newspapers. In many Muslim countries, Christians are treated as second-class citizens and severely persecuted. In Indonesia, where Islam is the least extreme, Christians are required to close their churches and denied permits to build new ones. Crowds block the streets to Christians' houses when Bible study or prayer meetings are scheduled. All this happens with, not just the permission of the government, but with active government participation. There, a Christian will be thrown in jail for witnessing about Jesus and pastors must be careful not to give an "alter call" inviting people to receive Jesus–there are undercover police in the audience to assure the sermons are correct and no non-Christian is persuaded to become a Christian.
Frequently, Christians are killed by Muslims and the police turn a blind eye. In one case, a Muslim killed and beheaded two Christian girls who were on their way to school. He was interviewed by the local paper and said he did it as a Ramadan gift to Allah. Everyone knew who did it because he was proud of the deed and open about it. However, the police, "try as they might" just could not find the culprit. All of this is occurring in a country where Muslims are the least extreme.
Today, we see that Christianity is not politically correct and socially unacceptable. The Progressives and judicial activist are doing their best to restrict and marginalize Christianity. However, that will not be enough, eventually they will have to get serious and the scriptures cited at the end of Chapter 11 will be headlines in the American press.
Establishment of a World Government Opposed to Israel
For many Christians, particularly Evangelicals, the concept of a world government or new world order is a signal for the rise to power of the antichrist and the final chapter in the current human narrative. Numerous scriptural references support this eschatology. Some of the more interesting verses are from the books of Revelation and Daniel.
There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and ad seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones, and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with the abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. This title was written on her forehead:MYSTERY
I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. Rev 17:3-6
This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.
The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. Rev 17:9-12
The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another kings will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. Dan 7:23, 24
As mentioned earlier, the focus of prophesy is the land and people of Israel. The kingdoms referred to in the passages above are kingdoms that had a direct influence on Israel and its people, the Jews. In Rev 17:9-12, John refers to seven kings, five have fallen, one is and one is yet to come. At the time John wrote Revelation there had been six kingdoms that had ruled Israel.
Of these, the first five (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece) had fallen at the time John wrote Revelation, and Rome was ruling Israel. Therefore, Rome was not the beast, as some theologians believe, only one of the heads, the sixth kingdom. That leaves us with the question: What is the beast? It seems logical to infer that if the heads are specific powers that ruled and had influence over Israel; the body must represent the world system of spiritual, political and economic powers. There is considerable biblical support for this.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph 6:12
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Matt 4:8, 9
That leaves us with the question, what are the seventh kingdom and the eighth kingdom that emerges from it? The Roman Empire was divided in the 4th century and the Eastern, Byzantium, component rule Israel until conquered by the Muslims in 638. Islam was the seventh "kingdom" to rule over Israel until Israel was restored as a nation in 1947. However, Islam still controls much of the area traditionally considered Israel and the temple mount. Islam fits the description of the seventh kingdom in some interesting ways. The seventh kingdom "will be different from the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling and crushing it."
For many theologians, Islam is the seventh kingdom and the conflict in the Middle East is an indication that this component of the "Perfect Storm" is gaining momentum. John's vision includes an eighth kingdom that arises from the seventh. Of course, this is speculation, but there is much to support this eighth kingdom to be Iran. The "beast who once was, but now is not" has to be either, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, or Greece since, at the time of John's vision, Rome was "but now is not." Since Greece does not qualify because it is not part of the modern Islamic empire, only Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia remain as candidates. Considering that the Persian Empire encompasses the other three and that Iran is today the most powerful county of the group, it is a likely candidate. Iran's expressed goal of eliminating Israel as a nation and a people would also be consistent with the Last day prophesies.
However, there is more to the establishment of the world government than the seventh kingdom itself. Humanists that are expressly opposed to religion are surprisingly tolerant, even supportive, of Islam. We discussed earlier the growing bias favoring Islam in some public schools. The United Nations consistently expressed its bias against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians. In fact, every country with a growing Progressive influence is turning away from Israel. At the same time, the Progressive countries, and the United Nations in particular, are increasingly pressing for a world government to solve the global economic, environmental, and human rights problems.
Like the Utah lightning storm that suddenly strikes when you do not expect it, the clouds of the last days Biblical prophecies are poised on the horizon. We know the storm is coming, but the bolt can strike out of the blue, when we least expect it.
The barometer is dropping the wind is picking up. The storms are converging. Progressive politics have been with us for a century, but never so open or so powerful. In less than 50 years, the very nature of what is taught in public schools has changed, and continues to change rapidly, as our children are indoctrinated in Humanism and the Progressive agenda–-at the expense of good education. What the Politicians cannot impose, in the last 40 years judicial activist sneak through the backdoor. In the last five decades, acceptance of Gnosticism, Islam and other heresies that challenge the authenticity of Christianity have become engrained in society, the schools, and politics. The trend is continuing. And, while many of the prophecies concerning the last days have been observable throughout history, there has never been a period when all of the prophesies are so apparent as today.
These five storm cells are growing in strength. They are converging. All the storms have one thing in common–opposition to Christianity and the promotion of Humanism. Christians are standing in the eye of the storm. Soon the wind will strike in full force and the Christian community needs to be prepared.
 Al-Qur'an, translated by Ahmed Ali, Princeton University press, 1988.
 The Rough Guide History of Islam, Justin Wintle, 2003.
 Houghton Mifflin's Islamic Connection, article in the Textbook League's the Textbook Letter, July-August, 2000.
 Some say schools giving Muslims special treatment, USA Today, July 26, 2007.
Copyright © 2011 by Patrick Vosse
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