Issue 94 Winter 2010
We offer our warm & loving greetings in the Lord Jesus at this time of ‘distress of nations with perplexity’. However looking back on the last decade we can give thanks to God for His continued mercy and grace towards us and rejoice that the Lord’s return is ten years nearer.Some thoughts on the last decade
The Rise and Fall of the Global Empire
The Attraction of Globalism
The Next Step
It’s arguable that the 2000’s have seen a greater change in the world than ever before. One commentator picked out three major features of life that have altered most dramatically over the last ten years which I should like to look at through spiritual eyes.
The first is the communication explosion; the second is the growing threat of terrorism and the rise of two new super powers, India & China; the third is the spectre of global warming.
The communication explosion
It is a sobering fact that I can hold the whole of my life’s work on a small memory stick. I have a DVD which contains the text of 20 Bibles!! The ability to store and retrieve information is now way beyond anything that could have been imagined a decade ago. The modern laptop computer has as much computing power as that available to the Apollo moon landing expedition.
The internet has revolutionised out lives – now you can have instant access to knowledge on any matter. Samuel Johnson in the 18th century said ‘Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information on it.’ The use of a search engine like Google is giving the world access to unlimited information. Of course not all things edify [1 Cor 10:23] – so some measure of selectivity has to be exercised because, of course, the information is not peer-reviewed. I had a difficult time recently with a lady who thought that ‘because it was on the internet’ some entirely bogus science was correct & kosher.
The internet is currently being used by dissidents all over the world – some have good aims, others are using it to plot their evil schemes.
There are excellent sites available to the Bible student at no cost – concordances, commentaries and dictionaries. On the other hand there are those who use the internet to peddle pornography and crime.
The communications we enjoy are very fast – a few months ago I had an e-mail from a friend in China and she received my reply in 20 minutes!! I recently sent money to friends in Russia and Uganda electronically though my bank: both took only a few days.
What has scripture to say about this and are we living in a better world as a result? The wisest man in the OT says in Eccles 12:12 ‘of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.’ Earlier in the book [Eccles 1:18] he tells us that ‘he that increases knowledge increases sorrow.’
We have four centuries of proof of the truth of that wise observation. Of course life today is vastly more convenient and comfortable than it has ever been for some on this planet, but we have yet to learn how to live in harmony and share the good things that God has provided with the poor and disadvantaged. The third world is still very much with us.
Man’s capacity to misuse knowledge is legendary – atomic energy, which I believe is the Lord’s gift of limitless energy if rightly used, is currently being developed to make weapons of war of a devastating kind. Dan 12:4 has the Lord telling Daniel ‘many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.’
All knowledge is precious [Housman] but not all knowledge, in the government’s eyes, should be pursued. We have come to an age that believes that knowledge should only be investigated if it can benefit the nation economically.
But there are many instances of discoveries which when first reported are put on the shelf as a curiosity while later study reveals their full potential. Life without lasers is unthinkable [e.g eye surgery, supermarket checkouts, CD or DVD drives] yet when first discovered by physicists in the 30s it was deemed to be only of academic interest.
We still have to remember the old distinction between knowledge and wisdom. Job’s ancient observation that ‘the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding’ [Job 28:28] remains a fundamental guiding principal of all human activity.
The growing threat of terrorism and the rise of two new super powers, India & China
The second major change in the decade has been the rise of terrorism – mainly but not entirely due to militant Islam – and the growing economic influence of two very large nations, China and India.
The rise of militant Islam as a threat mainly to the West has been rapid and undeniable. The twin towers in America, the Bali and London bombings, the bombs in Madrid and Madras as well as the almost daily outrages in Afghanistan and Pakistan are all engineered by extremist Muslims. In the East we have two nations India & Pakistan which both have nuclear weapons – the possibility of these weapons getting into the hands of a terrorist is unthinkable.
Yet we allow the construction of mosques built with Middle Eastern oil wealth and seem oblivious to the threat that these can be the focus of terror cells. I note here that no church building is permitted in Saudi Arabia.
As to the staggering population explosion China & India together form about 38% of the world’s population – they are a vast source of cheap labour and many of our industries are relocating to the far East. China is buying up US treasury bonds [issued to produce much needed finance for the American economy] and property at an alarming rate. They are also buying many of the world’s commodities like metals and oil needed for a flourishing economy.
To keep the nations in balance we should remember the words of scripture that ultimately what matters is not how large or economically powerful a nation is – the Bible has many examples of large and prosperous nations and empires – Egypt, Babylon, Rome – which lasted only for a limited time. What matters is that God is ultimately in control of this world – as one great ruler eventually found out – ‘the Most High rules in the kingdom of men’ [Dan 4:17] ‘As I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand’ [Is 13:24]. ‘Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?’ [Lam 3:37]. As the psalmist triumphantly asserts ‘He rules by His power forever’ [Psalm 66:7].
As another decade passes we are ten years nearer to the return of our Lord to rule and reign over this disordered planet.
A final matter of concern that has surfaced in this last decade is ‘global warming’ – that the world is slowly but surely getting hotter & hotter. Combined with this we have had fear expressed about the ecological disasters that will result. One alarmist theory has turned its attention to the honey bees that pollinate most of our crops – the bee population is under threat and it has dropped seriously in both the USA & Europe. An expert tells us that if we lose the bees we should have no food in five years!
The increased acidity of the sea – attributed to an increase in CO2 from human activity – means that creatures that need to form a shell based on calcium carbonate like corals are no longer able to do so.
I am no expert in the science involved here: undoubtedly the CO2 level has increased over the period of the industrial revolution – one estimate puts the rise at 35% - but there is still only 0.0384% of the earth’s atmosphere that is carbon dioxide. And plants need it to combine with water to produce food that we can eat and oxygen that we can breathe.
I think that the jury is still out on this issue. I am comforted by what David says in Psalm 24 – the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. He watches over it, sustaining all things by His powerful word [Heb 1:3]. Man was given the earth by God and told to look after it [Gen 2:15] – but God in His wisdom has designed the earth with amazing fail-safe mechanisms. There are terrible natural disasters like the sunami in the Far East but in view of the fact that mankind has almost totally turned its back on God isn’t it amazing that so few similar catastrophes occur?
Looking around the world as a new decade begins we can see increasing signs that we are in the times of the end. Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money and lovers of pleasure as Paul writes prophetically to Timothy [2 Tim 3]. We should rejoice as we see the day of the Lord approaching.
In this edition of Trumpet Sounds, I am writing to you, from a province of the world’s youngest state. The journey to this foreign land passed without a hitch as I didn’t have to fly, catch a train or even drive. In fact I didn’t leave the house to become a citizen of this new country. With the Ratification of the Lisbon Treaty the EU became a state in its own right.
The New Europe
The Lisbon Treaty has established a European Union which is separate from and superior to its member states.
The 27 EU members have lost their character as true sovereign states. Constitutionally, they are more like regional states in a multinational federation, although they still retain some of the trappings of their former sovereignty. Therefore the status of the United Kingdom is now very similar to that of one of the States of the USA and its parliament equivalent to that of the state legislator.
Simultaneously, 500 million Europeans became real citizens of the new post-Lisbon European Union. They have real citizens’ rights and duties with regard to this EU, as compared with the merely notional or symbolical EU citizenship they are assumed to have possessed up to now.
What does the future hold for this super state? Will it, as its creators hope, hold its place among the existing or emerging super powers of USA, Russia, China and India? Is it a stepping stone to global government as it takes its place alongside other emerging groupings of nations which include South America, Africa, the Middle East, Australasia and South East Asia?
If I did not believe in scriptural prophecy with the accompanying assurance that God rules supreme over the affairs of men the developments would be alarming. The progress towards a form of global government seems unstoppable. The freedoms we have taken for granted will soon be lost as leaders become more frantic in their attempts to resolve one global crisis after another. Whether it is climate change, population growth or water shortages each crisis will require increased restrictions on personal freedom in order to achieve a man made solution. Looking ahead it is easy to foresee a world in which what we eat, how we travel, how many children we have, how long we live and many other aspects of our lives are controlled. But above all what we believe will come under the tightest restrictions. There is no room in a world in crisis for those who disagree. Like conscientious objectors in a nation geared up for war they do not fit.
Beast or Babylon?
Will this global government succeed and become the empire of the Man of Sin who leads the whole world in rebellion against God? Or is it the final manifestation of Babylon the Great the kingdom of this world to be crushed and destroyed by the Antichrist when he comes. Readers of Trumpet Sounds will know my personal view that what we see being created is Babylon not Beast.
Two recent events have drawn attention to the underlying weakness in the aspiration to form a global government. That weakness is mankind’s selfishness.
A President for Europe
In creating the Lisbon treaty the leaders of the nations of Europe agreed that to be taken seriously the new state should have a leader. They thought that Europe needed a leader who could meet on equal terms with the President of the USA or the Leader of China. The leader would be a person who would have a voice on the world stage. But when it came to decision time the leaders backed away from a person who would have fulfilled that role and chose instead a faceless bureaucrat. They could not accept their own power being eclipsed by another taking pre-eminence.
Before the conference on climate change held in Copenhagen the need for an agreement was talked up by some political leaders. Notably Gordon Brown spoke in terms of a last chance to save the world from catastrophe. After two weeks of negotiation the conference failed to come to a meaningful resolution. Any chance of agreement was scuppered as nations or block of nations put their own interests first.
Sin the greatest obstacle
This does not bode well for those who see global government as the future of the world. For them Copenhagen must pose the question; if agreement cannot be achieved by consensus, who is strong enough to impose such leadership? The workings of the United Nations testify that as nations consolidate themselves into blocks of countries their voice becomes stronger and vested interests are more difficult to reconcile.
Often Globalism is seen as a conspiracy. This is due to the way the cause is advanced through lies and subterfuge. The United Kingdom’s entanglement in the Common Market leading directly and predictably to the EU is an example of the subterfuge. When the UK had a referendum on membership of the Common Market it was clear to some that the intended destination was a European super state. Our political leaders lied to the nation promising that this would never happen, unfortunately the people believed them.
However to succeed global government depends on good will and willingness to work towards a common destiny among the leaders of the nations. (I write about this in the Attraction of Globalism below). If there is no common purpose the dream will fail, just as Copenhagen failed to deliver an agreement. Man’s own selfishness is his greatest barrier to achieving a world without God.
Globalism is not dead yet. In the coming years we will see more desperate attempts to put in place the structures of a global government capable of initiating the changes which many believe are necessary for this planet’s survival. This will be accompanied by growing frustration at the way vested national interests block agreement.
The time will come when those without hope in God will recognise that strong leadership is required to hold mankind together. That leadership will not come from the West or the globalists, for Babylon the kingdom of this world is destined to fall. There is another rising global power which is not working towards the same goals. It believes that its time of ascendency has come. It also believes that globalism is a Jewish conspiracy to dominate the world. Therefore it hates all that the West and the globalists stand for and seeks their destruction. Through this rising power God will soon allow Satan to offer the world a choice of Antichrist instead of Christ.
“Today we are only half way to honouring the pledges we made for a new world, we are only half way from these beaches to the shining future, the truly global society to which they opened the way. The beacon of hope which they lit by the liberation of Europe must now lead us on. ....... Lead us on to a world finally delivered from the evil of poverty and the sin of prejudice. Where intolerance is never tolerated, where no one suffers persecution or discrimination on the grounds of race of faith or differences of identity and nationality. ........... and if our beliefs are God given our path to achieve them is man made.......”
Extract from a speech by Gordon Brown, Normandy, 7th June 2009.
In a speech at the commemoration of the 65thanniversary of the D Day landings, Gordon Brown presented his dream for the future. The dream that one day the world will be governed in a benign manner for the good of all peoples. It is a dream of an age when war is no more, discrimination is eradicated and all peoples will live happily at peace with one another.
He expressed the dream which is the driving force behind all forms of globalism. Globalism seen in its best light is the desire to create a benign global government working for the good of all peoples. Humanism believes that man is responsible for his own destiny and must strive to build a better future. A secular politician has no other point of reference to guide him.
The Hope of the World
According to the author Carol Quigley in his monumental work ‘Tragedy and Hope’, the model for this new world order is the British Empire. For a brief period this empire exercised undemocratic but benign rule over most of the globe. In that book he makes the case that even countries not part of the empire benefitted from British rule. The USA is included in his list of the beneficiaries. Strong government bringing the rule of law and regulating trade benefitted everyone.
This beneficial rule is illustrated by a member of my church. He tells of how, on leaving school in the late 50’s, he hitch hiked the length of Africa without any worries. There was the occasional danger from wild animals but no other fears. The whole journey was made without leaving British controlled territory. Could you imagine doing that today?
With the demise of the British Empire the dream of a secure peaceful world was kept alive by a network of international institutions operating with the purpose of rebuilding a benevolent global government. The tragedy to which Quigley referred in his book was a world torn apart by two devastating world wars. The hope is that men of good will working for the common good can build a new world like the one described in Gordon Brown’s speech.
It is easy to see why a person who entered politics out of a desire to serve can be caught up in this vision. It is a dream which offers hope for the future. It offers the opportunity of working with others who share a belief that man can rise above the failures of the past to build a shining future. For these leaders nationalism and democracy play no part in this vision. It is for them ‘the enlightened’ to lead the way. The people will follow as the benefits are seen.
This vision is seen as so compelling that there is no place for those who will not fall into line. Gordon Brown spoke of the hope which will; “Lead us on to a world finally delivered from the evil of poverty and the sin of prejudice. Where intolerance is never tolerated, where no one suffers persecution or discrimination on the grounds of race of faith or differences of identity and nationality.”
These sound like words which we as Christians should applaud. We support the ending of poverty, prejudice and discrimination. We believe in a tolerant and just society. The words create the impression of a free society which respects the views and beliefs of others. Unfortunately we know from experience that this is not what Gordon Brown has in mind.
In his own words Gordon Brown will never tolerate the intolerant, hence the waves of anti-discrimination legislation which have flowed from his and Tony Blair’s governments. The expression of the view that someone’s faith or chosen identity may be wrong cannot be tolerated. In the shining future everyone is to be accepted except those who will not accept everyone.
The intolerant Gospel
There is nothing more intolerant than the Christian gospel. The Christian gospel to have affect must confront people with their sin and the need to repent. Jesus recognised that His message would not bring peace but a sword. It would divide families and set one person against another. Only when people recognise their sin and rebellion against God can repentance and forgiveness follow. If we go along with the world and refuse to recognise sin as sin, we are closing the door to reconciliation with God and condemning people to the tragic consequences of His judgement.
The motivation is love
The motivation to bring such a challenge is love. This is a paradox that the world cannot understand. If we did not care about others we would conform to the world. We know that by limiting our faith to church and engaging only in good works, we will be tolerated and able to lead a quiet life. But if we love others, in the new world of tolerance, we will be regarded as intolerant and bigoted.
The issue of homosexuality has become the touch stone by which tolerance is measured. Under Equality Laws we are obliged to accept homosexuality as a legitimate alternative lifestyle. To even hint that homosexual practice is sinful provokes heated reactions and would be regarded by many as harassment. The challenge for Christians is do we love sinners enough to speak the truth despite the potential penalties. Jesus dealt gently with the woman caught in the act of adultery, but His message was very clear, “go and sin no more”.
Our politicians’ dream of a world of peace and harmony is deeply flawed, because human nature is not benevolent. Human nature is selfish and corrupt. It is through the transformation of our nature that society can be changed. There is only one message that can bring about such a transformation. It is the message that, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Without a confession of our sins and recognition of our dependence on God every utopian dream ends in hell.
Recognising this truth, how are we to live in an increasingly ‘intolerant’ tolerant society? As Christians we are people who do not fit into this vision of a new world. There is a real prospect that in our day we will join the list of saints who were outcasts and despised, of whom the world is not worthy. In these last days we need to keep focused on our true citizenship. We belong to a heavenly country. The only shinning future on offer to man is the kingdom of Jesus Christ. “But now they desire a better, that is a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”Hebrews 11: 16. Come Lord Jesus.
The next step in the enlargement of the EU appears to be the Mediterranean Union. This is a federation made up of the EU plus the countries of North Africa and the Middle East which have a Mediterranean coast. In December the Spanish Foreign Minister announced that this Federation in soon to appoint its first General Secretary. The predominant religion of this new enlarged EU federation is Islam.
A correspondent has taken me to task
for what I wrote in the last issue of Trumpet Sounds on some of the Jewish
customs associated with the Feast of Tabernacles. I was in no way commending
waving the bundle of four species: I was merely passing on information that I
thought would be of interest which I had acquired from the internet. I have
since discovered that this is not a reliable source [see above!] and apologize
sincerely for any offense given in mentioning it.
This will be held at Rora House, Liverton on Saturday 27 March 2010. If you would like to attend the conference please reply using the enclosed booking form.
This quarterly newsletter has been circulated for the past 25 years. It provides an update on worlds events seen in the light of scripture prophecy and is prepared by Ken Kite and Philip Wren. We seek to help Christians prepare for the final turbulant years which will preceed the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is coming soon, hallelujah.
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