2Thessalonians2,9-11: "The one who is coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie."
Revelation 16,13-14: "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
H.B. Swete commenting on Rev. 16,13-14: "There have been times when nations have been seized by a passion for war which the historian can but imperfectly explain. It is in such an epoch that the seer [John the Revelator] foresees, but one which, unlike any that has come before it, will involve the whole world in war." (N. 49, p.300 "Book of Revelation" NICNT, Robert Mounce, Eerdmans, 1997).
1Kings22,20-22: "The Lord said, 'Who will entice Ahab to go up and attack Ramoth-Gilead?' One [demon] said one thing and one said another, 21 until a spirit came forward and, standing before the Lord said, 'I shall entice him.' 22 'How?' said the Lord. 'I shall go out', he answered, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' "
Robert A. Nisbet (1913-1996) The Twilight of Authority (1975? Liberty Fund?):
"A great deal of the spirit of localism, of grass roots, and of pluralism that had chracterized so much of American reform thought ... dissapeared with the war. A very different spirit, rooted in the centralized power of the national government and which in a sense took war-society minus war as its ideal of planned economy [ie planned Wall Street bailout and crony capitalism], replaced the older one.
Nothing has proved more destructive of kinship, religion, and local patriotisms than has war and the accompanying military mind. Basic social institutions can, on the incontestable record, survive depression, plague, famine, catastrophe . They have countless times in history. What these and related institutions [ie the Christian church] cannot survive is the transfer of their inherent functions and authorities to a body such as the military..." 7.1.2011, the-classic-liberal.com
I happened upon a mid summer Sunday soccer match between girls in their mid-teens on a bucolic high school field that I too played on.
But it was not a particularly friendly match between these "travel teams."
This was so because it was watched by very vocal parents on the sidelines (who had notably given up their free day and driven their hearts out) and who wanted to get the full thrill of winning too. Just being there, apparently, was not good enough for many of them, not on this day anyway.
And so the play on the field was right on the edge between keen and over the line.
One athletic looking mom, standing anxiously nearby, whose daughter had been stepped on and sidelined, would have sided with the latter assessment.
After the ref corrected one the parents for protesting too much (an act that wasn't done with great courage either), she looked over my way and half-vocalized and half-gestured "What in God's Name is going on here?"
It was a good question.
I could tell she was ready for more than a "girls will be girls" type of answer. So, I just blurted it out what was already on my spirit as I watched.
"Eleven years of war."
She didn't disagree.
In the moment Afghanistan seemed like a good idea (but now what of the suicides and friendly fire casualities).
Then there was the moment of WMDs! which made Iraq seem OK.
Then all the technology of the moment made ongoing droning seem OK.
Then the Arab Spring moment made Lybya seem like "nation building" will take off.
But since our Ambassador was assasinated in Lybya, I'm wondering if the sum of all this war in the moment doesn't also include our attempt to bail ouselves out from tackling our other demanding problems? Like the fiscal cliff for example.
But be that as it may, eleven years of war, right or wrong, has changed our culture, our politics, our attitudes, our privacy and due process rights, and the way teenagers play soccer.
Will cooler heads prevail?
Will we as human beings be able to dial back some of the violent consequences of our varied grievances before war becomes like oxygen in the air we breath?
Revelation 16,13-14 tells is that in the endtime all the nations and peoples and potentates and strongmen will all be deluded into thinking that more war is the answer, and will gather for it.
Each will no doubt have a tidy list of grievances against all real and perceived enemies, just as Cain stored up his list for the day he killed his brother Abel.
And surely these groups, right or wrong, will be looking for their governments and political groups to win, at all costs, to protect the quality of their particular way of life.
But as Richard Weaver warned in "Visions of Order:" (1964, republished by Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 1995):
"The self contradiction of total war is that it destroys the very things for which one is supposed to be self-sacrificing. The 'total' belligerant finds at the end that he has the formal triumph [if Jesus doesn't come in judgment first], but that he has lost not only the lives necessary to win it but also the objectives for which it was waged. In other words, he has lost the thing that the lives were being expended to preserve." Ibid CL
Conclusion: What Space for Jesus' Promise of Salvation For All?
Our culture forms the very stuff of the ways and means of how we Christians express and live our faith. It inescabably shapes, for better or worse, the way we think and act and relate to each other, in the church and out.
So if our culture and church culture and the world culture becomes tilted and toxic towards ultimate trust in men and in national and international militarism, what space is left for the culture of Jesus and His gospel?
What space for His gospel word to every tribe and nation and people group?
What of Jesus' promise of salvation to all?
What becomes of Psalm 87,2-3, and inviting all exiles back to Zion?
"He loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken about you, city of God."
What of Psalm 87,4 regarding promises to present day Islamic nations and Arab people groups?
" 'I shall count Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me; of Philistines, Tyrians, and Nubians it will be said, 'Such a one was born there.' "
What of Psalm 87,5 regarding the fullness of us Christian gentiles coming to the fullness of our faith and the Holy Ghost?
"Of Zion it will be said, 'This one and that one were born there.' The most high himself established her."
What of Psalm 87,6-7 regarding all the saved in Zion in the end?
"The Lord will record in the register of the peoples: 'this one was born there.' Singers and dancers alike say, 'The source of all good is in you.' "
The only antidote to the endtime delusion of all out war is more faith in Jesus, a fiery faith that brings the same Holy Ghost discernment of the prophet Macaiah, who knew how to discern calls for war.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...