Year of our Lord, 2014.
The important words in the above statement, of course, are the words “our Lord,” historically represented by the letters AD (Anno Domini).
I say ‘historically,’ because even that reference is under assault in our post-modern, increasingly anti-Christian age and society, as you know. Newly published books, when it comes to historical references, are in the process of replacing AD with CE (for Common Era) and BC with BCE (Before the Common Era), so that any suggestions that the central event of time was the birth and coming of this Jesus of Nazareth are expunged. In particular, our universities and educators are resolved not to acknowledge that some two thousand years plus of history have been coming to pass according to words recorded in some ancient, Christian gospel manuscripts—prophetic words uttered of this Jesus of Nazareth (cf. Matt. 24, Mark 13, Luke 21).
Or, as if this world is heading for some final ‘apocalypse’ according to some revelation given to an apostle named John.
Perish the thought.
The learned of our day are resolved to suppress truth and that which ‘even the very blind’ can see.
The enmity of the seed of the Dragon continues to express itself with increasing focus right down to particular details. All favorable reference to this Jesus and the Christian faith must be expunged, even ‘AD.’
The historic Christian church has commonly placed the signs of Christ’s return into four main categories: the signs in creation (as God’s catastrophic judgments fall), signs in the church (as the gospel spreads and apostasy increases), and signs in society itself (with its wars, lawlessness, and mounting tensions that cry for some resolution of peace), and the signs of the antichrist himself.
Commonly, as a year begins, one wonders what significant events will occur that will affect the course of history and society itself. Not every year has an event as momentous as the beginning of World War I, the events of 9/11 (with its destruction of the World Trade Towers), or some great tsunamis washing far inland, putting the whole world on notice of how fragile its tenuous, man-made security is.
But in every year, especially over the past few decades, events have occurred that indicate the increased rumblings caused by the running of the four horsemen, events and occurrences that serve the ripening of all things for the inevitable coming of antichrist and his world-wide kingdom (cf. Rev. 6).
World unity, peace, and security at last!
The year of our Lord, 2014, was no exception.
It is worth noting that 2014 marked the 100th anniversary of WWI, which war unleashed the ‘dogs of war’ upon the Western world for the past 100 years. It was a war that, with its unsatisfactory conclusion and Versailles treaty, served to incubate a storehouse of resentment in those defeated, a resentment that exploded into WWII, giving rise to our Atomic Age. And it is World War II with its resulting treaties (at Yalta and Potsdam) that established an entirely new geo-political world map, which remapping, to a great extent, explains the unresolved tensions and animosities that dominate our present world and its troubling headlines.
Israel and the Middle-East?
Mounting Eastern European tensions?
Russia growling at Europe and the U.S.?
East vs. the West?
All these are the fruit of WWII and its aftermath, the “Big Three” powers of the century past dividing the world and national boundaries to their own likings, but to that of few others.
Our present global tensions are the direct aftermath of what was set in motion 100 years ago when the guns began to thunder on the Western Front in August, 1914.
And do not think that the running of the red horse (during WWI), with all the ensuing history, was not directed by the Rider of the white horse.
The ‘war to end all wars’ (so WWI was labeled by the politicians and the experts of the time) was anything but that, as its aftermath has proved again and again.
And the number of wars and conflicts that have ‘played’ across the face of the globe since the conclusion of WW II are beyond count.
And tensions are anything but resolved 100 years later in this the year of our Lord, 2014.
Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine is a case in point—an invasion that experts thought could never again occur in our modern age. And this is just one of some fifty-six wars and unresolved conflicts occurring in 2014 (according to those tabulating these events), conflicts in which bullets and missiles are flying, families with little ones are huddling in their homes, and blood is being shed on the streets.
Of special significance in this regard is the appearance of ISIS (a widely scattered army that calls itself The Islamic State) in the Middle East. An informative article in the SB recently commented on this deadly new force rearing its fanatical head in the Middle East (Nov. 1).
We comment again briefly because of the significant reaction to this new group of Muslim fanatics.
The reaction of the whole world to the rise of these new barbarians coming out of ‘Gog and Magog’ is illuminating. This is a group of fanatics practicing such barbaric slaughters and executions that they are serving to unite the world against themselves. The result of their fanatical barbarianism is that the most unlikely, unforeseen alliances are taking place—alliances between nations that to this point were avowed and seemingly irreconcilable enemies.
Radical Muslim groups agreeing with the hated West that this ISIS evil is a threat to every society, and must be confronted and stopped? And that by joint actions?
Who would have thought it!
Just when we begin to question how the prophecies concerning a future united world could possibly come to pass due to the deep suspicions and hatred of the Muslim world towards the ‘Christian’ West, the Ascended Christ ‘moves His pieces on the board,’ gives the devils freer reign in the hearts of men, and this results.
It becomes plain how the Lord Jesus, when He so wills, can remove all barriers to His prophecies being fulfilled.
2014 and the rise of ISIS gives testimony to that.
Whether ISIS is the evil that will open the door to antichrist’s appearing and uniting the world is another question. But its appearing and the world-uniting response to its appearance is as significant as the unforeseen demolishing of the Berlin wall twenty-five years ago, in 1989.
The demolishing of the Berlin Wall—another significant anniversary marked in 2014. Who back then foresaw what its significant implications would be?
Not the experts. It took them by complete surprise.
But on the calendar of the Ascended Christ, it was time. And a great breach between East and West was removed as a result.
However great the present divisions that separate the nations and ethnic groups of the world may be, a review of the recent past indicates that the great wound to the Dragon’s head is being healed stage by stage.
The dream of a world united against the Christ and His church remains very much alive.
It is astonishing what alliances longtime enemies can forge, becoming each other’s ‘allies’ and ‘friends’, be it only for a short time.
As well, this past year, there was the outbreak of this Ebola virus. And the running of the pale-green horse of plague and death comes to mind. The medical developments of the early 1900s gave society the optimistic hope (and predictions) that by the end of the century all disease would be eradicated.
The pale horse would run no more!
Indeed, how could the prophecies of that ‘mad’ book of the Revelation with its harsh prophecies of increasing death via vials of wrath and disease possibly be fulfilled? Man’s medical knowledge, so advanced in biology and chemistry, would corral that evil, stopping that judgment in its tracks.
In the mid-1980s no one saw HIV (the AIDS virus) coming as a judgment on the homosexual lifestyle, a virus so diabolical that it actually mutates (evolves) to escape eradication. And just as medicines have been developed that seem to have the potential to keep that plague somewhat under-control, here comes this Ebola virus. If not rigorously quarantined, it seems there is no stopping the dreaded disease.
But even if man gets a handle on this plague, you think God cannot visit another even deadlier microorganism on mankind when his time is ripe?
Significantly, the medical community warns us that their serums of immunization are being challenged on a great number of fronts. Dangerous, lethal bacteria once controlled by the serums are themselves becoming immune to medicine’s immunization application.
The pale horse continues to run. There is no corralling him by man.
And when the Ascended Christ decides the time is ripe to pour out the vial of disease on a new level, it becomes self-evident, He can.
The words of The Book are still ‘fulfilling’.
Events in history and creation keep validating God’s Word as Truth.
One other item is worth noting at year’s end.
The enmity of the Devil’s world against Christianity and its witness continues to develop and grow.
A recent article in World Magazine (Nov. 15) by Marvin Olasky underscores this.
The article is titled “Fighting Christian Influence,” that is, Christian influence in the military. An organization that calls itself “The Military Freedom Foundation” has committed itself to that goal.
The ‘freedom’ referred to is not that of ‘fighting’ for the right to practice religion, in particular Christianity, in the military.
Rather the organization is committed to freeing military personal from being ‘confronted’ by any Christian witness in the military. They want it judged unlawful for a soldier to invite a fellow soldier to a Bible study on base, in particular invitations made by a commanding officer. But their policy would also forbid having Bibles available in hotel rooms rented by the military, or for that matter, any literature that might be associated with Christianity in some form—such as books by C.S. Lewis, or even Dante’s Inferno or Milton’s Paradise Lost.
The group charges that such activity amounts to religious intimidation, as well as being contrary to the Constitution with its principle of the separation of church and state.
The organization has its watchdogs scattered through the military. The military is under pressure to inform its personnel that anything that can be construed as proselytizing will not be tolerated. Penalties will be administered where the policy is violated. Freedom means the right not to be confronted by any type of witnessing in the name of religion.
They claim this applies to every religion, but do not think that the focus is not on Christianity and the possibility of it being spread in the military—to be treated as if it were a deadly disease.
The enmity of the serpent’s seed runs deep and is becoming more and more active in excising Christianity from every forum of society and its life.
And once bearing witness to the Christian faith in the military is judged unlawful and a threat to a person’s freedom, what is to prevent our present government from applying this standard of ‘freedom’ to every area of public life?
A witnessing, proselytizing brand of Christianity will not be tolerated.
The handwriting is on the wall.
But let us not forget that what was written on Babylon’s wall was written by the finger of God and foretold the Christ’s coming in judgment on Babylon, that great representative of antichrist’s kingdom in the Old Testament age.
Another great event not foreseen by men.
Babylon to fall in one day?
And yet it occurred.
And that according to biblical prophecy.
And Babylon’s fall meant the time for God’s church to return to the promised land had come, there to await the coming Messiah.
Christ’s church delivered and full victory at hand.
Let us as saints and churches not be afraid to stand as Daniels in this present evil age.
2014. Year of our Lord. As will be 2015 and those following.
As evil grows, and with it the world’s enmity against the Christian faith, let us not be intimidated, but continue to bear witness to The Truth in love, a love for Christ and what is really true love for our fellow man.
The gospel of this Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Christ, remains this old world’s only hope.