“Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel.”
“The Lord has just ground of controversy with every nation and every person; and he will execute judgment on all the wicked. Who can avoid trembling when God speaks in displeasure? The days are fully come; the time fixed in the Divine counsels, which will make the nations wholly desolate. The tender and delicate shall share the common calamity. Even those who used to live in peace, and did nothing to provoke, shall not escape. Blessed be God, there is a peaceable habitation above, for all the sons of peace. The Lord will preserve his church and all believers in all changes; for nothing can separate them from his love.” From a Matthew Henry commentary on Jeremiah 25:30-38
Rarely, if ever, have I printed an article in its entirety, but the following resonates with me to such degree that I’m printing every word of this lengthy AP article. With a dateline of Saturday, June 21, this riveting abstract is written by Alan Fram and Eileen Putman
WASHINGTON – Is everything spinning out of control?
Midwestern levees are bursting. Polar bears are adrift. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Home values are abysmal. Air fares, college tuition and health care border on unaffordable. Wars without end rage in Iraq, Afghanistan and against terrorism.
Horatio Alger, twist in your grave.
The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. Eroding it is a dour powerlessness that is chipping away at the country’s sturdy conviction that destiny can be commanded with sheer courage and perseverance.
The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year’s presidential election. Each contender offers a sense of order — and hope. Republican John McCain promises an experienced hand in a frightening time. Democrat Barack Obama promises bright and shiny change, and his large crowds believe his exhortation, “Yes, we can.”
Even so, a battered public seems discouraged by the onslaught of dispiriting things. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll says a barrel-scraping 17 percent of people surveyed believe the country is moving in the right direction. That is the lowest reading since the survey began in 2003.
An ABC News-Washington Post survey put that figure at 14 percent, tying the low in more than three decades of taking soundings on the national mood.
“It is pretty scary,” said Charles Truxal, 64, a retired corporate manager in Rochester, Minn. “People are thinking things are going to get better, and they haven’t been. And then you go hide in your basement because tornadoes are coming through. If you think about things, you have very little power to make it change.”
Recent natural disasters around the world dwarf anything afflicting the U.S. Consider that more than 69,000 people died in the China earthquake, and that 78,000 were killed and 56,000 missing from the Myanmar cyclone.
Americans need do no more than check the weather, look in their wallets or turn on the news for their daily reality check on a world gone haywire.
Floods engulf Midwestern river towns. Is it global warming, the gradual degradation of a planet’s weather that man seems powerless to stop or just a freakish late-spring deluge?
It hardly matters to those in the path. Just ask the people of New Orleans who survived Hurricane Katrina. They are living in a city where, 1,000 days after the storm, entire neighborhoods remain abandoned, a national embarrassment that evokes disbelief from visitors.
Food is becoming scarcer and more expensive on a worldwide scale, due to increased consumption in growing countries such as China and India and rising fuel costs. That can-do solution to energy needs — turning corn into fuel — is sapping fields of plenty once devoted to crops that people need to eat. Shortages have sparked riots. In the U.S., rice prices tripled and some stores rationed the staple.
Residents of the nation’s capital and its suburbs repeatedly lose power for extended periods as mere thunderstorms rumble through. In California, leaders warn people to use less water in the unrelenting drought.
Want to get away from it all? The weak U.S. dollar makes travel abroad forbiddingly expensive. To add insult to injury, some airlines now charge to check luggage.
Want to escape on the couch? A writers’ strike halted favorite TV shows for half a season. The newspaper on the table may soon be a relic of the Internet age. Just as video stores are falling by the wayside as people get their movies online or in the mail.
But there’s always sports, right?
The moorings seem to be coming loose here, too.
Baseball stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens stand accused of enhancing their heroics with drugs. Basketball referees are suspected of cheating.
Stay tuned for less than pristine tales from the drug-addled Tour de France and who knows what from the Summer Olympics.
It’s not the first time Americans have felt a loss of control.
Alger, the dime-novel author whose heroes overcame adversity to gain riches and fame, played to similar anxieties when the U.S. was becoming an industrial society in the late 1800s.
American University historian Allan J. Lichtman notes that the U.S. has endured comparable periods and worse, including the economic stagflation (stagnant growth combined with inflation) and Iran hostage crisis of 1980; the dawn of the Cold War, the Korean War and the hysterical hunts for domestic Communists in the late 1940s and early 1950s; and the Depression of the 1930s.
“All those periods were followed by much more optimistic periods in which the American people had their confidence restored,” he said. “Of course, that doesn’t mean it will happen again.”
Each period also was followed by a change in the party controlling the White House.
This period has seen intense interest in the presidential primaries, especially the Democrats’ five-month duel between Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Records were shattered by voters showing up at polling places, yearning for a voice in who will next guide the country as it confronts the uncontrollable.
Never mind that their views of their current leaders are near rock bottom, reflecting a frustration with Washington’s inability to solve anything. President Bush barely gets the approval of three in 10 people, and it’s even worse for the Democratic-led Congress.
Why the vulnerability? After all, this is the 21st century, not a more primitive past when little in life was assured. Surely people know how to fix problems now.
Maybe. And maybe this is what the 21st century will be about — a great unraveling of some things long taken for granted.
Having brought about this gripping secular viewpoint of our times, I wish now to apprise you of a prophetic biblical perspective. In the July issue of the Pentecostal Herald, Rev. Irvin Baxter, Jr writes a compelling article in which he cites four major biblical prophecies pointing to the end of this age that are being fulfilled now.
He lays as foundation that there has been one other time like this in history…just before the first coming of Jesus to earth. That generation had at least 100 specific prophecies concerning the first coming. The Old Testament foretold Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, would come from the tribe of Judah, from the lineage of King David. The method of His death was foretold, the exact amount for which the Messiah would be betrayed, and that the betrayal money would be used to purchase a potter’s field.
Rev. Baxter challenges us:
“…most people on earth at the time missed the coming of their long-awaited Messiah…It is our generation’s turn now. We stand just before the promised second coming of Jesus to the earth. This time, we do not have only 100 prophecies of His coming. We have closer to 1,000.
Could we possibly live right through the prophetic fulfillments God has given us for this time and not recognize the signs of His coming and the end of the age?”
He goes on to list four prophecies that he feels are being fulfilled at this moment.
1. Rebirth of the Holy Roman Empire
“Ratification of the Lisbon Treaty will solidify the rebirth of the Holy Roman Empire. It provides for Europe to have its own president and its own foreign minister. For all practical purposes, it creates a United States of Europe. Circumstances look favorable for the Lisbon Treaty’s ratification.
Will the rebirth of the Holy Roman Empire be finalized in 2008? It certainly looks like it! If so, a European president could be elected in 2009.”
2. President Bush predicts Middle East peace in 2008
“The prophecy states that a Middle East peace agreement, which establishes internationally recognized borders between Israel and the Palestinians will mark the beginning of the final seven years to Armageddon.
…Palestinian President Abbas speaks of signing a peace agreement. Are negotiators actually nearing a peace agreement?
3. Implementation of a national ID in 2008?
“Is the Real ID the mark of the beast? No, not now, but I believe it is the mechanism that will ultimately be used to implement the mark of the beast once the Antichrist takes power.”
4. World War III in 2008?
“The most ominous prophecy in the entire Bible has been tucked away in Revelation 9:13-16. It says, “the four angels were loosed…to slay the third part of men.”
Two billion human beings will be wiped off the face of the earth in one single war. The war will start from the Euphrates River and will feature an army of 200 million soldiers.
When America launched its invasion of Iraq in 2003, almost no one noticed (that) from the north in Iraq to the south flowed the prophesied Euphrates Rivers. When pictures of U.S. troops fighting up and down the Euphrates began to surface in the news, a sense of unease came over us who are familiar with the prophecies. Could this be the “Two-billion-to-die Euphrates River War?”
Rev. Baxter concludes his article:
“…2008 could be the most important year of prophetic fulfillment since the year of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Should we totally mobilize to reach the world now? Or should we just wait awhile?”
I’m far from being a scholar of either biblical prophecy or of sociology. I am a Christian and for as long as I can remember the preaching of the second coming of Jesus Christ has pealed in my ears. I’m also an observer and a listener, and I try to be a logical thinker. When I see the utter chaos in our world, and feel the stirring in my spirit, and when I read within a 24 hour period voices from opposite ends of the spectrum that cite impending earth-moving developments, I take notice.
Perhaps you should also.
(I hope I have preserved the integrity of Rev. Baxter’s article, despite heavy cutting. You might want to visit his site for more information. Rev. Baxter also has been a guest on George Norry’s Coast to Coast, where his interviews may be heard.)
My devotional blog is here.