The Current Scene

The Current Scene

Edwin Fesche

A Sovereign God

A decade ago we heard that “God is dead,” but we were never told of any one to take His place. A low view of God was prevalent in Isaiah’s day. Then it was a penchant for idols. The prophet in his indignation challenged the people to really analyze creation, “Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for He is strong in power; not one faileth” (40:26). The mortuary statement about God came from a Protestant seminary professor. Now we are hearing from Archbishop Bernadin of Chicago, in his pleas for a nuclear freeze: “The destructive potential of the nuclear powers threatens the sovereignty of God over the world He has brought into being. We could destroy His work.”

To allay such fears there are numerous verses in Scripture that assure the believer that the God of revelation will always have the last word. One of these verses stands out in particular, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain” (Psa. 76:10). We have no guarantee that a third World War will not break out. Whenever a nation’s armament balloons beyond all reasonable needs of its defense, then look out! We cannot blame its most obvious victims from matching strength with strength. If history is to be our monitor, such a situation eventually leads to war. None of us has an assurance that we will not be blown to bits. Millions have met such a fate in the past 66 years; many of them Christians. Believers have a different outlook, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). This world is our “wilderness” to prepare us for our “Canaan.” The Christian discovers he has prepared himself for any eventuality. God does not take the bumps out of life; He is our strength in them. In other words, the man who has prepared himself for eternity, or is ready to die is also a mighty good candidate to live. We are the salt of the earth.

A sister who attends our prayer meeting had just returned from a Bible conference where the subject of the millennium had come up. There was little agreement. Then one woman broke in and said that she was “pan-millennial.” When asked what that is, she replied, “Everything is going to ‘pan’ out all right.” Strange, but all schools of prophecy finalize with God and the Lamb victorious. We, however, are committed to dispensationalism and a premillennial, pretribulation rapture, but by no means making it a shibboleth for fellowship.

This world is a wilderness wide!
We have nothing to seek or to choose;
We’ve no thought in the waste to abide;
We have naught to regret, or to lose.

We quote from another source where the spiritual reasoning is cogent with our own. “After all, the very evils of the world are a blessing, for the existence of these evils emphasizes that to which most close their eyes — that things are not right, and this is so because men are not right in heart with God. It is easy to see the social advantages which would result from universal application of the ethics of Christ. Nevertheless, the application of these principles to the world without individual reception of Christ as personal Saviour and Lord, amounts to seeking the blessings before the Blesser, the Kingdom conditions before the King, and salvation’s results before the reception of the Saviour. When the facts of these efforts are brought out into the light and considered, they reveal the efforts to be not only misguided (albeit well-meaning by those who make them) but a refined and cunningly camouflaged rejection of Christ Himself.”

Calamities

The early boast of this century that man was getting better and better every day has been flatly contradicted by the facts of history. Postmillennialism was extremely popular until the advent of World War I. It revived after the Armistice. The war had been fought to end wars and make the world safe for democracy. Prime Minister Chamberlain of England did his utmost to appease Hitler, but the frightful hostilities came. The present United Nations Organization can do little more than debate the world’s problems. The man of the world is thus further tempted to doubt the Christian’s testimony that God is love.

In reading through the Old Testament and the Revelation, one is struck with the inspired writers attributing every disaster to the direct hand of God. Isaiah is very bold when he says that his God makes peace “and creates evil” (45:7). Again, Amos 3:6, states, “Shall evil befall a city and the Lord hath done it?” The word “evil” is not normally used for iniquity and lends itself to such English words as affliction, adversity, troubles, and distress. Man in a subordinate way is the instrument, such as the recent massacres and bombings; nor can we leave Satan out, but over and above there is God that rules and overrules. The strange acts of man’s inhumanity to his fellows are reminders of the divine displeasure With the sons of men for their behaviour.

Our Lord used two incidents that occurred in His day to press home the solemnity of divine judgment here and hereafter. A delegation came to the Lord regarding an atrocity of Pilate’s soldiers against some Galileans whose blood had been mingled with their sacrifices (Luke 13:1-4). In reply Jesus said unto them, “Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, nay, but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that were in Jerusalem?” Again the refrain, “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” The word “perish” here does not necessarily refer to destruction by a physical calamity but to “perish” in the after life, a danger common to all unbelievers. God has more ways of reaching mankind than through sermons. May the tragedies so prevalent around us today at least awaken some to flee from the coming wrath.

Perverted Freedom

The blessed word freedom has received some outlandish interpretations in our day. To some of us the new things that have been tacked on to our cherished heritage smack more of license and not far from anarchy. No God above and no master below is the cuddled complex of those whom Jude foresaw when he wrote (v. 8), “Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignitaries.”

The current argument is that drugs are fashionable; homosexual liaisons have always been practiced and abortions could always be arranged no matter what the law said, and these things “happen anyway.” Therefore, they should be included in man’s inalienable rights. The fallacy in such reasoning is that legalizing these abominations would not increase their frequency. Actually, the moral tone of society has been changed almost overnight. How quickly can Biblically based morals be eroded by determined liberals. In Kipling’s day (turn of the century) it was, “Take me somewhere East of Suez where there ain’t no ten commandments, and a man can raise a thirst.” Now there is no need to travel abroad to do “your thing.” The libertine’s paradise is here and the shamefulness of such moral irregularities is being bowed out. The noted English Parliamentarian (a sympathizer of American colonists) Edmund Burke observed, “Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without.” The military governments that have sprung up around the world are possibly, in most instances, the only alternative to otherwise ungovernable situations. Distress over the lawlessness in the United States has occasioned the surfacing of a vocal conservatism.

The activism of the “moral majority” is an example; also the continued support of President Reagan. We appreciate the brakes they have been able to use to lower the speed that this nation appears to be travelling down the “broad way” to destruction (Matt. 7:13). As in Jeremiah’s day, “for they have healed the hurt of my people slightly” (7:11), so with this present generation. Then also, if we are on the threshold of the second coming of Jesus Christ, we can but look for this moral decline as one of several signs. Harbingers, the Lord said, would announce His coming, “As it was in the days of Noah; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimestone from heaven, and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:29).