Not words found on too many year-end Christmas greeting cards, are they?
The words love, peace, joy, and hope? These dominate as the world looks towards a new year. But not their antonyms, that is for sure.
But it’s hatred, war, lamentation, and despair that are loose in this world of sin and evil. These are what dominated AD 2018, and they will only intensify in the Year of Our Lord 2019.
Sorry to put such a sour ice-cube in mankind’s New Year’s martini, but that is how it was and will continue to be.
That is, until our Lord returns again as promised.
What dominated the American political scene and our society in 2018?
Hate and strife, and strife and hate. And do not say, “But it has always been that way—strife in politics, different agendas, the hurling of insults and invectives between supporters of opposing parties—politics as usual. Nothing new.”
To be sure, hatred and strife in American politics are nothing new. There were times when political opponents settled their differences with pistol duels. And the newspapers with venom spewed slander against the candidates they disdained. But what we have been dealing with the past year is not “politics as usual.” Over the last number of years the hatred has intensified; it is escalating. And it is only going to get worse.
Such gloom and doom, you say, as we face a new year. Was there not enough of that in the past year? Wouldn’t it be more encouraging to put a happier, optimistic face on things? Give us a little encouragement, some reason for hope as we face the future.
I suppose one could, like the prophet Micaiah when demanded by King Ahab to prophecy concerning the coming battle against Ramoth-Gilead (and told by the king’s servants to bring a good word or else!), say “Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king[!]” (I Kings 23:15). As if to say, “There! Feel better now?”
Sarcasm through and through, and Ahab knew it. He adjured Micaiah to tell him what God’s true word was.
The next thing out of Micaiah’s mouth was a sobering word of God’s judgment upon Ahab’s house, spouse, and Israel as well. “I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd” (v. 17).
And that was the truth of it. Ahab did not return in peace but in a pool of his own blood, dying in his chariot. Israel suffered great defeat.
A dose of reality for an apostate nation, its king, and for a society filled with the abominable immoralities of Baal and its worship.
As for the righteous remnant? In the cross-hairs of Jezebel (the mother of all feminists and their liberal, diabolical agenda). A remnant struggling to survive and persevere, knowing that in time they could well suffer the fate of Naboth, put to death on trumped up charges for refusing to sell Ahab his vineyard, the Lord’s inheritance.
Our age is similar.
Trying to put a happy-spin on things—“Let’s just hope that our polarized society learns to get along”—is not going to change a thing.
There is hatred, and it runs deep in our society. If 2018 proved nothing else, it proved that.
And it was not simply an aversion to this maverick president of ours, Donald Trump, whose character and morals leave much to be desired. It goes deeper than that. That became evident this past summer in the confirmation hearings for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Talk about the assassination of a man’s character. There was no depth to which the liberals would not stoop to prevent the nominee from being approved, even if it meant trumping up rape charges based on some doubtful, drunken memories of deeds alleged to have occurred some 40 years ago.
It was not simply that this fellow was the detested President Trump’s nominee. It was the record of his jurisprudence and his political affiliation in the past. The nominee, Justice Kavanaugh, had served as a counsellor for the recent Bush administration when it was considering amending the abortion laws and inserting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages.
To our present society, those murderous laws and abominations have become sacrosanct. It is as in the days of Baal. Touch them not. To so much as suggest that our laws should forbid abortion on demand and same-sex marriage makes one the target of the Jezebels in our days. There is nothing to which this growing segment of society will not stoop to prevent one from testifying against, let alone destroying, their “bullcalves” (their Baals).
Yes, a “growing segment of our society.” That’s the alarming thing. That there is a growing segment of our society committed to legalizing every form of licentious behavior in the name of freedom and inalienable rights became plain in the national elections of 2018.
In the previous national elections of 2016, the conservative segment of our society gained some surprising victories, electing a legislative majority that seemed to promise the protection of our religious freedom and speech against sexual perversions, as well as the right to teach our children truth and righteousness according to our biblical convictions.
The national elections of 2018, however, speak of a reversal of that current. The narrow majorities that held sway in 2016 have evaporated, a thing of the past. The liberals, with a gain of some 40 seats, once more control the U.S. House of Representatives. And they have their eyes on greater gains in the year 2020.
Keep in mind, these are liberals who have no love for freedom of religious conviction. In fact, they hate such, and are committed to legalizing every sexual pervasion known to man. And besides, they are committed not only to making it lawful to practice these insanities, but, by threat of severe penalty, to forbidding any testifying against them as well.
The next step? Forbidding any institution (including the Christian home) to teach its children (ours) that to despise the Creator’s distinctions between male and female is sexual perversion and sin.
A vocal, anti-Christian segment of our society has become a majority, we fear, and one that will continue to grow. It is reported that in a number of States there was a spike in eighteen-year olds that registered to vote just prior to the elections, and it was their votes that sealed liberal victories.
That should not surprise us. We live in a society whose public-school teachers come from universities dominated by socialistic, anti-Christian professors, places of toxic environment for even the most basic conservative values, to say nothing of Christian. It is these educators, indoctrinated by such professors, who for the past decades have been teaching the new voting generation.
What do we expect in future elections?
A member of my congregation just graduated from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, W. Michigan. Scarcely a liberal area on the geopolitical map. Yet he relates that one of the final instructions his education professor gave his class of prospective teachers was that their primary purpose was to inculcate social-justice into the minds of their students (read, equal-rights of behavior to those of the LGBT, etc. disposition). He then proceeded to urge them to be willing to break the laws and policies governing their schools to achieve this end. And this education professor is only one of thousands scattered throughout the colleges and universities of the Americas and Europe, you may be sure.
So, in the interests of inculcating sexual perversions into the minds of impressionable youth, lawlessness (social strife, war!) is openly promoted in institutions of education. This is academic freedom!
A society whose perspective is influenced and ruled by such educators (educators who have no more regard for the rights and lives of those who oppose their liberal, anti-biblical agenda than those of Nazi Germany) is a society filling up with hate towards those who would thwart their sexually unrestrained utopia—hatred and silencing of those who dare to dissent. And all in the name of love! Perverted love, that is.
As an aside—the legal victories those bakers of wedding cakes in the U.S. and in the UK had this past year, bakeries that refused to cater to homosexuals and their inscriptions, will be short-lived, we fear. What an amount of time, energy, finances, and courage it took to face down that leaven of evil with all its resources in these matters. Who dares go through such again?
Intimidation is the name of the game.
And that is what is showing itself—warfare, a war that originates in “wickedness in high-places” (Eph. 6:12). It is the age-long war between the Dragon and The Seed of The Woman that we see coming to a head.
It is war against truth and righteousness. And in every facet of life. The most obvious lies and self-evident falsehoods are insisted upon as unchallengeable truths. And we speak of falsehoods so obvious that, in any other age, reasonable men (even unreasonable) would have laughed them out of school.
Case in point? Gender realities of male and female that, supposedly, can now be determined not by genetics and obvious physical realities, but by one’s preference. What once would have been laughable is now taken seriously. And this in the (supposedly) most advanced scientific age for dealing with biological facts.
If a society can convince itself and pawn off such obvious nonsense (we are talking here of matters of Biology 101) as ‘truth,’ with which all must solemnly agree and maintain, then there is no lie or self-deception to which our society is incapable of being in bondage.
The past year has demonstrated that our society has, in its infatuation with sin and by the judgment of God, been given over to “strong delusion that they should believe a lie” (II Thess. 2:11).
What is so striking about the II Thessalonians passage is that the next verse speaks first of what God’s purpose in all of this is, namely, that they might be damned (suffer final judgment) for believing not the truth (which they knew to be the truth); and then second, pointing out why they reject the truth and embrace the lie, namely, because they “had pleasure in unrighteousness!” (v. 12).
And that is our society. Nothing, not the truth staring them in the face, not the threat of damnation, will turn them from maintaining their lies. Why not? Because nothing is going to take from them the pleasures their unrighteous perversions give them.
Consider, not even God’s temporal judgment of AIDS has deterred them. “We have developed medicines to counteract that to some degree. Nothing and nobody will deter us from besotting ourselves with sins! No, not though the rumbling of Sodom shake under our feet.”
And headlong they proceed.
It has been war against truth and righteousness. It will continue unabated in the year 2019. Even in the face of God’s judgments, they will continue dancing about their altars shouting “Baal, hear us!”
And God’s judgments are falling on our increasingly lawless and anti-Christian society. Just in North America we have witnessed the hurricanes wreaking more and more destruction. The twenty-first century gives evidence of their increasing severity. The scientists themselves speak of changing weather patterns giving rise to such.
And do not ignore the upsurge of tornados raging across the heartland either.
The recent earthquake rocking Alaska, 7.1 on the Richter scale, followed by over a thousand smaller quakes, stirred up recollections of how many earthquakes of increasing magnitude there have been in recent memory around the Pacific Ring. And of their devastation. Even the world is taking notice.
And then there were the fires burning throughout California and other parts of the West. Among the largest and most destructive on record. Talk about a sign of judgment, and one speaking of God’s wrath in particular. Raging fire stands preeminent.
Let no one imagine these fires burning with consuming appetite were not judgments of God. It may have been human carelessness that sparked them. But the reason they raged with such intensity is because of years of drought, making everything tinder-dry, waiting for just one spark. And if there is one thing man does not control, it is the weather and its patterns. The will of the Creator is indisputably sovereign here.
And the result of these catastrophic events? Lamentation and sorrows as those affected view the ruin, loss, death, and devastation.
And we are speaking of just one section of this world, the wealthiest section. Even here lamentation and sorrow are not unknown. Now visit Africa and Asia, and view the results of famines and food shortages in large sections of those continents. Lamentation bordering on despair shows itself on an even larger scale.
What did we see in 2018? Man setting himself against God, and against truth and righteousness. Such men, according to Scripture, are without hope in this world. A world of despair.
We with our little ones live in such a world, facing a new year.
Without hope? In despair?
No! But with hope. Why?
Because our Christ Himself is a Man of War. Remember, He comes from a warrior line, David the warrior king.
It was exactly as such that the Old Testament prophets spoke of Him and the church looked for Him. Psalms 2 and 72 are cases in point (Psalter #’s 3 and 200). The great King who would crush His and the church’s enemies once and for all, and thus have the victory, the final victories that would usher in the Kingdom of righteousness and peace.
Lord, haste the Day, cried the Old Testament church. And He came!
We must not think it is simply the Dragon and the world that are at war against the church, and we are suffering defeats. No! The great scion of David came. And as the Christ of the New Testament age He is marching—if you will, galloping to war against the gates and dungeons of hell. He is taking the battle to the enemy with a vengeance and having victories, millions of them over the New Testament age, delivering and saving His own from Satan’s clutches. Every one of these conversions a casting down of another citadel of Satan in an elect’s heart.
Consider, Satan suffers defeat after gospel defeat. Our Christ has never lost one soul! Not one battle, one soul, if you will. And He never will, not the battle for your soul or mine, nor for that of any elect child across the face of the earth.
So, take heart in the face of the world’s hatred, warfare, and strife. This coming year we face it—and those who display it—in the name of The King, the King of Righteousness and the Prince of Peace, the conquering King.
Theirs is the lamentation and the despair.
Ours the joy that goes with the one hope, sure and steadfast, that will never put to shame.