The Current Scene
In the West many believe that the Soviet Union is plotting a war against us, or seeking to gain sufficient superiority over the major industrial nations of the world. On the other hand, the Russians are led to believe that the U.S. is developing a nuclear arsenal that is to be launched against them. They have little doubt that the U.S. is the villain in the superpower tensions. This is the result of their controlled news media. The Russians are not told of the numerous deployments of their own strategic missiles that so worry the responsible leaders of the West.
A half-truth can be more misleading than an outright lie. A lie is more likely to be discovered for what it is. The half-truth approach was the Devil’s stratagem in the Garden of Eden. The dark side of the forbidden fruit was denied, “ye shall not surely die.” Our advertising is artful; liquor ads present all smiles, never the aftermath it can lead to. The cigarette ads picture a super masculine cowboy that catches the eye, not the warning notice. In Matthew 22 we see our Lord finally turning a question on his questioners, “What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He?” The reply was a half-truth: “They say unto him, The Son of David.” To this the Lord Jesus replied, “How then doth David in Spirit, call him Lord?” a quote from Psalm 110. To this, we read, “No man was able to answer him a word.” David’s Lord was David’s God. Since the 110th Psalm was a description of the Messsiah and acclaims His deity, the Jews of that day realized to give that title to Christ would silence all their grounds for rejecting Him. Our Lord Jesus Christ was both David’s Son, and also the only begotten Son of God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. Here is a revealed mystery for faith to accept, but beyond human understanding, “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father” (Matt. 11:27).
In Titus 3:3 Paul gives a good summary of mankind and includes himself before his conversion. He says men of the world are “foolish,” defined as, the “lack of commonsense perception of the reality of things natural and spiritual, or the imprudent ordering of one’s life in regard to salvation.” All this suggests that mankind is gullible and capable of being manipulated. Added to this we are told man is easily “deceived.” He is duped by “all manner of unscrupulous words and deeds designed to deceive” (Vine’s dictionary). In contrast to this the regenerated Christian, experiencing the renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5), now knows the world from the divine viewpoint, seeing he has passed from its darkness to God’s marvelous light. The believer is no longer beguiled by the world’s false ways.
“He Maketh Wars to Cease” (Psalm 46:9)
The climactic emphasis of the President’s “State of the Union” speech was a repeat of the universal yearning for peace. He said, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” To achieve this much desired goal is to arm America to the teeth. The former Chief Executive, Richard Nixon, concurs when he says, “We have to be strong enough militarily to take the profit out of war.” Such a formula to assure the peace appears to be the concensus of a fair majority in America and Western Europe. The lessons of history would side with President Theodore Roosevelt’s advice, “Speak softly, but carry a big stick.” In the light of what the Bible teaches us about the human character, that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), we are treating things as they are and not as we would hope them to be.
The alternative to matching strength to strength is witnessed in the fanatical minorities who see unilateral disarmament as the best way to eventually make the aggressor do likewise by following a genuine example. Nixon’s reply to such naive hopefuls sounds realistic, “We first have to see the real world, not the idealistic world. The idea if we could only have a summit and if Reagan and Chernenko could only sit down together and we could become friends, is, of course, ridiculous.” Nixon speaks of a “real world”; the Bible reveals that “the whole world lieth in wickedness”; the margin reads “in the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). The Christian goes beyond the strong man with his blather, war of nerves and armaments and sees him as an instrument of Satan. The rider on “the red horse” (Rev. 6:4) has had plenty of experience before he initiates “the great tribulation.” All through history there has been given to him “power to take peace from the earth.” We question whether any of the self-styled “peaceniks” believe in a personal Devil or an inspired Bible.
Actually, there is no formula for peace in a world such as this until Jesus Christ returns a second time to rule with a rod of iron. The dictum is, “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled, for all these things must come to pass” (Matt. 26:6). In the light of Romans 13 the Christian living in a democracy should consent to the decisions of “the powers that be.” Allowances are made for those who find it impossible to bear arms. Work within the system; don’t refuse to register. Go as far as you possibly can, with a good conscience, in obeying the laws of this favored nation. Those who find occasion to rebel against some of the laws and others who desire more government services are only paving the way for Big Brother. Above all, obey this: “I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions … be made for all men, for kings, and all that are in authority be made” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
It is ironic that the President who promised a balanced budget, if elected, has succeeded only in further increasing the deficit to nearly twenty billion dollars. Those who realistically analyze the problem see the need of a quick adjustment. Eliot Janeway says, “We’re on notice to avert a catastrophe by 1985.”
The Draconian measures that would be necessary to bring about fiscal responsibility cannot be expected from Congress, nor is the President of a mind to curtail his defense spending. So we have a hung situation while the fuse continues to burn toward the blowup. There are faint echoes of letting the problem develop until there is a call for a completely new currency, the old money to be cashed in by a certain date and, we suppose, greatly devalued.
The alarm is being sounded from authoritative quarters, but little heeded. Who wants to be held responsibile for shooting “Santa Claus”? We live in a real world where payday eventually comes someday. That a financial collapse is somewhere in the future is suggested by “the beast out of the earth” (Rev. 13:11) who binds the world into his financial schemes, “both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond,” insomuch that he controls their ability “to buy or sell.” It would appear that the financial prodigality of the last fifty years is demanding some settlements.