The Current Scene
The American Century
Providing events do not sour within the next 15 years this century will, with very little contradiction, go down in history as the American Century. The U.S. provided the tip of the scales that appeared essential to decide the outcome of the century’s two world wars. For the past 40 years it has been the bulwark against Russian designs in Europe, just as England thwarted Napoleon at Waterloo. The thought of unifying the world has never left the imagination of ambitious would-be conquerors or the designs of religious, medieval Catholics and Mohammedans. Then there are the philosophers who beg the question by assuming that all men are brothers and, therefore, can be persuaded to act as such. It would seem from history that God is allowing every ism full reign until each reaches its dead end. Paul defined it this way, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work” until it is consummated by “then shall that wicked one be revealed” (2 Thess. 2:7-8). A monster is yet to come who will be the summation of all human perversity. The wicked Popes, Napoleons and Hitlers were but forerunners of him who is yet to come, “that man of sin.”
One of the strangest phenomenons of history is the mergence of the U.S. as a super power. Not by military conquest but by the default of the free world. By this we mean America’s preeminence militarily, economically and technologically. The Soviets excel only in the military field, while Japan and Europe have only economic power. America’s former atomic superiority has kept Europe free from wars for an almost miraculous 40 years. Only 40 years ago Europe was exhausted and its cities in shambles. They are now back to normal and could stand up against Russia if atomic weaponry were not the decisive factor. So the U.S. must still play the major role as guardian of the free world. Still, Europe is growing up and is now inclined to chafe under American interference. An Italian commentator explains it this way: “You can tell any two-year-old what to do. When he is 11, it is more difficult, and by the time he is 18 you have your hands full.” The Western European countries have done a lot of growing up in the last 40 years, and alliance policies lag behind the changes. Admittedly, good men have come to different interpretations of prophecy. Since it occupies such a large place in the Bible, it justifies the attention it has recieved in these last days. Those who ignore it are negligent of part of the whole counsel of God. Fortunately, all schools of prophecy arrive at the same conclusion that God is going to be the ultimate victor over evil. The writer happens to consider the Darby, Scofield interpretation of prophecy to be the best reasoning based on Scripture. That being the case, we accept that the times of the Gentiles will include the revival of the old Roman Empire, only to be destroyed at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Understandably, no part of the world longs for peace as does Europe. From bitter experience they have learned that war is the supreme irritation of mankind. Von Der-Porten, in his history of the German Navy’s World War 2, closes with this reflection, “In the broader power picture, while some have been seeking Utopia and others retreating to cynical nationalism in the frustrating deadlocks of the postwar world, a remarkable consensus has been tacitly established to enable the feuding great powers to exist for over thirty years without a world war. The atomic threat is not enough of an explanation. A grasp by all sides of the strength of the Western Maritime community has established the power relationships of central Europe. The carefully maintained balance of strength implies a world of some tension, although less tension can be said to exist than in 1939, when Hitler’s inner drives dominated the world scene. The balance is not perfect nor is it sure to survive, but it is noteworthy that large parts of the world have been without war for over a quarter of a century, and that wars have occurred only in regions outside of the areas where a rationally understood balance exists.” It is forseeable that the world is on the way to that time when they shall say, “Peace and safety,” only to be involved in sudden destruction. After all, the heart is not changed and the Prince of Peace has not yet come to enforce His rightful claims. The potential for such destruction only awaits the touch of a button. Praise God, however, He rules and overrules.
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Perhaps by the time this column gets into print we should know what has been accomplished in the U.S. President’s recommendations. That there is unfairness in the present system is the concensus of the majority in this nation. The elimations and deductions are the main problems and often exploited by the manipulators. Fairness is the slogan; but the beneficiaries of the present exemptions are all up in arms. All argue that their cause is deserving in some way or another. No doubt many highly respected charities would be affected, as they depend mostly on tax deductible gifts. Many are concerned that tax reform isn’t going anywhere on account of the many special interests with clout. This time there is, however, the voice of the majority and if the obstructionists are the losers, then the winners are predicted to be the party of the future.
In a pluralistic society where all are actuated by what happens to be their self-interest we fail to envision complete fairness. David, speaking by the Spirit of the Lord, said, “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (2 Sam. 23:3). David did not say “they.” Herein lies the weakness of a democracy. Agreement can only come when a crisis is reached. Until then, bickering. Witness the deficit problem ticking away like a time bomb, demanding heroic action, not indecision. David, probably Israel’s most successful king, laments his own failure to measure up to his ideal. His attempts to reform were confronted by those whom he defined as “the sons of Belial,” and he adds, “they cannot be taken with hands.” The sweet psalmist of Israel confessed that he did not possess the iron to rid himself of dissidents. Of course “the Ruler” that David had in mind was his greater Son, the Messiah: “And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun ariseth … by the clear shining after rain.” If there is not to be a literal millennium (as some theologians insist), then this world will never know for what it unwittingly pants — namely “a king that shall reign in righteousness” (Isa. 32:1).