The Current Scene

The Current Scene

Edwin Fesche

Africa

This long-time sleeping giant is now flexing its national muscles. While it remained primitive it was the most fruitful mission field in the world. Now Africa is being subjected to another of the white man’s imports —Communism. This, in contrast to the dogged work of the missionary, appears in many quarters as an overnight success. It is more palatable, we suppose, to those who have not grasped the Christian message. Also the missionary’s steps have been closely followed by the prospector, and this in turn has brought along materialism and exploitation which has further confused the African mind. Now the vast natural wealth of the continent is coming to light, and so essential if Western standards are to be maintained. Russia and China see this source of raw material in two ways. First, they would like to lay their hands on it. Failing this, they at least want to keep the Western world from capitalizing on it. At the moment they have jumped the gun on the free world. Their successes in the former Portuguese colonies have put them in a position to maneuver favourably. Secretary of State Kissinger has now belatedly moved on the scene. His proposals to the white minorities would have been preposterous two years ago. Now the whites are faced with a hard choice between a blood bath or “shuttle diplomacy.” It is questionable whether bullets can stop idealogies when championed by such superior numbers. Perhaps Israel is an exception to this conclusion, but they have prophecy on their side.

Sadly enough, these black takeovers have so far been conducive to anarchy followed by black oppressive dictatorships. Uganda’s Idi Amin has exhibited to date the most highhanded racism. In the areas where the white man rules there is stability and the blacks fare better than in all the black nations. Then there is the matter of timing. Institutions and industries can quickly deteriorate when not in competent hands. There is also concern about the advance of Christianity in an atmosphere where hate, suspicion and racial loyalties have been kindled. We can see an embarrassing situation developing for black Christians. How can they fail to be considered as “Uncle Toms” by the revolutionaries? They could find themselves in the middle in the event of hostilities. We can hope that there is enough Christianity in this latent “powder keg” to call for understanding and moderation. Christians are “the salt of the earth.” May that “salt” now work in an area where modern missions have been so signally blessed.

The Apple of His Eye (Zechariah 2:8)

With Egypt for the present pacified with her restored military honour and in possession once more of the Suez Canal, Israel’s southern front is quiet. Syria, however, maintains her belligerance. This is not new but a reminder of Old Testament hostilities. Russia has given Syria an almost blank check to purchase arms. This Russian military hardware was to be used exclusively to crush. To the chagrin of Russia, Syria decided to invade Lebanon and is spending a considerable portion of her military strength in that operation. This is removing the heat from Israel. Consequently, Israel is enjoying an unlooked for breathing spell and time to attend to some of her badly shattered fences. If anything, be it ever so faint, there appears to be a change in the Arab mentality to adjust to Israel’s presence in Palestine. Israel’s birth as a nation in 1948 and their tenuous hold on the land until now has been spectacular. It has won much of the world’s admiration. To the Christian, “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23).

Israel is not to be confused with the Church. Both enjoy a divinely appointed program, and both are heirs of particular promises. Israel’s inheritance is earthly. They have been allotted land (Genesis 15:18), a permanent dynasty (Psalm 89:4), and a national conversion (Jeremiah 31:33). Actually, these covenants have had only token fulfillment so far. Attempts have been made to account for this delay. Quite common today is the teaching that Israel’s blessings are to be spiritualized and applied to the Church. So, if “the wolf and the lamb shall feed together” (Isaiah 65:25), that means the triumph of the Christian Gospel. Wild and ferocious tribes, when converted, will be brethren dwelling together in unity. We have no objection to this as an application, but it is not sound interpretation. There is unfairness in unduly allegorizing Scripture. The blessings are appropriated and the curses upon Israel are sedulously ignored. The prophecies concerning Israel’s future pose the least difficulties. This, then, demands Israel’s restoration, and some very significant events in current history support this viewpoint. Then also we notice that the Apostle Paul, long after Pentecost, accounts for Israel as distinct from the Church and still applies the appropriate prophecies, not to the Church but to a future Israel (Romans 11:26). After the Church has been raptured (1 Thessalonians 4), then follow supernatural interventions in world affairs. “The day of the Lord,” so often mentioned in the Old Testament, and the post rapture judgments of the Revelation, will be as patent as the lightning streaking across the sky from east to west.

After earth’s travail comes the millennium, “for He must reign.” Now grace reigns, then it will be with the “rod of iron.” At last it will be authority in the right hands. It can be pointed out that these climactic events rotate around the Jew. Thus the original divine hegemony will find its perfection in the end times, for “He set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel” (Deuteronomy 32:8).