The Current Scene
Recently we heard a remark to the effect that the greatest threat to world stability is that of overpopulation. In ‘86 it was computed that 5 billion people are now living on planet earth. It has taken only a dozen years to make up the 5th billion. The vice-president of the Population Crisis Committee said, “This population growth is a revolutionary force in the world that we’re not doing much about.” The earth’s population has more than tripled in the last century and the rapid growth continues. This dubious fruitful multiplication is taking place in the so-called Third World where poverty, disease, hunger, illiteracy and unemployment make life a daily struggle for survival. Thousands of landless nationals are seeking an asylum in the West with millions pressing them to lessen their problem of overcrowding. The popular concept of one-man one-vote as a cure for all ills could pave the way for the tyranny of the majority. South Africa is not appreciating the pressures for instant change front without. There are saturation points where humanism and pacifism dig their own graves. Eventually there are limits that only dragonian methods can maintain the status quo of the comfortable with always the constant fear that revolutionary forces will be unleashed. Half of the problems of the republics south of the Rio Grand is overpopulation. If we manage to rid the threat of Communism, then they will be to a large extent our wards. A measure of stability can be kept providing there is water and bread to spare, but what are the liberals to do when there is insufficient to go around?
The Bible likens humanity to the troubled sea which cannot rest, “whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20). We also read of an army crossing the dried up Euphrates River far greater than Genghis Khan ever fielded, but that could be a rehearsal of what is yet to come. The number of this future army is to be “two hundred thousand thousand” (Rev. 9:16). The prophet Joel tells of the day of the Lord and describes a tribulation scene as “multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision.” The beast that rises up out of the sea (Rev. 13:1) and brings about an iron-fisted peace, calms the troubled sea. This same beast marshalls the peoples to war hopelessly against the Lamb. Again, it is in connection with vast numbers of humanity: “The waters which thou sawest are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (Rev. 17:15). Overpopulation fits into the Biblical picture of “the time of the end.” It spells riots, strife, dictatorship and wars.
The Near East
This section of our globe continues to attract more than its share of attention. Why not? It possesses a piece of real estate that God particularly claims as “His land.” “For thus saith the Lord, he that toucheth you (Jerusalem) toucheth the apple of His eye” (Zech. 2:8). As the end time approaches and matters really heat up, Zechariah prophesied, “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people” (Zech. 12:3).
The discovery of a bomb attempt to blow up an El Al jet has been traced by the British to Syrian origins. Its President Assad has, with other discoveries, merited the title “Master of Terror.” Britain has broken relations with Syria and is disappointed that her friends are not following suit. But things are not that simple; hostages, terrorism, and arms deals are driving Syria still further into the Soviet camp. The U.S. paid an unprincipled price to free hostages. It has brought disunity in the President’s Cabinet and introduced more confusion, if that is possible, amid the oil rich nations surrounding the Persian Gulf. Immediate pragmatism and not principles will be the reputation of the policy makers. In the light of Ezekiel 38 this area will be caught in the Russian net. There are other reasons why the U.S. is cozying up to Iran. The Ayatollah Komeini is near death’s door and at the moment it is a toss up who succeeds him, another Islamic Fundamentalist, or a moderate. If a moderate, the U.S. sees an opportunity, perchance, of better relations with that strategically located country. It’s the game of geopolitics. It will be interesting to see how events develop in this area that conies within the scope of Bible prophecy. Others fear, like Saudi Arabia, that an Iranian victory over Iraq could inflame the Persian Gulf with Islamic fanaticism and have begun wondering about the U.S.’s intentions in the region.
Sheik Yaniani after 13 years of heading the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries has lost his job. He possibly had more control over the world’s economy than any other man. He was the author of massive gas lines and the steepest rise in oil prices. This triggered the world’s greatest search for oil and the resulting present oil glut. In a way he authored his own downfall. The world’s greatest oil reserves are bound to excite the cupidity of nations. It is a necessity the West will fight to protect and others are tempted to gain by force. The whole Arab world is volatile; unpredictable changes and loyalties are likely. This is the main reason the U.S. is the friend of Israel as the only reliable ally. As has been observed, “It is not the holy places, but the oily places,” that make the area so vital to the prosperity of the civilized world. Can we not see God’s providence in bringing the world’s attention to the Bible lands?
Again matters are heating up in Israel. There has been a changeover of prime ministers. The man now in charge is listed as a hard-liner advocating Israeli expansion. Terrorist raids or internal bombing has given the excuse to step up punitive air raids on suspicious terrorist retreats. One of the Israeli planes was shot down revealing that their enemies have access to highly technical weaponry. Now it is rumoured that the Israelis are producing their own nuclear arsenal. Maybe Qadhafi spoke better than he knew when recently interviewed. He said, “America will be harmed because it involved itself for the benefit of the Israelis.” The prophet Zechariah wrote, “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people” (12:3). Thus the Bible predicts in the end time that the world will again focus its attention on the Middle East. The immediate cause for this is the presence of Israel and oil. Assad envisions Syria to be the dominent influence in the area, but the Israelis stand in his way. When Qadhafi was asked, “Would he like to lead such a united Arab world?” He answered, smiling broadly, “Yes, why not.” Then of course he could settle the Israeli problem on Arab terms. Both are in opposition to the divine covenants, especially, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curseth thee” (Gen. 12:3).
By the time this article finds its way into print we should expect the mysteries (or are they mysteries?) of that umbrella and coined word “Irangate” soundly behind the nation. It gives the legislators an escape hatch by postponing those inevitable days when they must do something about the urgencies of the U.S. that cry louder each day for attention. Sinners, too, can allow their minds to get so clouded with Christian failures (never hard to find), that they fail to get occupied with their own dire need to repent and believe the gospel.
Many feel that the President should have taken the responsibility of the actions of his subordinates. Then the palpable mistakes could be patched up, if not forgiven. After all, whatever was done was but the carrying out of the President’s policies. Then, too, he was the only one that could get American hostages out. Tearful pleas and almost demands from the relatives of the hostages brought an unkind pressure on the President. The endeavor to do so at any cost was the commanding urgency placed upon the President. At the same time the geostrategic aims to cozy up to Iran had their appeal but were little more than a front for the hostages. Eventually, Persia (Iran) will fall into the Russian camp in the end times (Ezekiel 38:5).
At times there is the acknowledged precedent of the President to act independently in situations where secrecy and timing are essential.
Who can forget Jefferson’s Louisiana purchase or F.D.R .’s lend-lease policy to help England in World War II? Such are matters that would be debated to death and lose their worth for pitch and action in parliamentary debate. In a dog-eat-dog world it is hard to imagine that a Christian President could maintain a good conscience in dealing with the inevitable opposition and enemies that only know that winning (no matter how) is the name of the game. At times, right or wrong, expediency demands means to counter the enemy at his own game.
What became of the 500 million dollars perhaps only Poindexter and Col. North can disclose. Presumably all went to the Contras. No one has lined his pockets. Poindexter and North impress one as patriotic servants doing what they believed was best for the country and certainly was the mind of their Commander-in-Chief. All might have gone undetected had not a Middle Eastern magazine revealed that American arms were being slipped into Iran. It was a sort of “be sure your sin will find you out” type of thing. Yet the fuller disclosure of these imbroglios awaits the confessions of those who have taken “the fifth.” That there was tacit consent to resort to clandestine methods to gain ends seems most feasible. Says U.S. News and World Report, “Now, every day of confusion, denial and leak is a day of sad subtraction from a Presidency of significant achievement.” The observation of Solomon is fitting: “One sinner destroyeth much good.” This one incident has jeopardized a whole school of other interests.
The integrity of the U.S. is called into question by our friends and foes alike. If secret deals are going on that ignore commitments and policies, then suspicions arise. The winning back of integrity is far slower than the process of losing it. If the Christian church had kept true to its original charter (1st and 2nd Corinthians), it might have remained small but a sure refuge to those in this world’s bewilderment who might cry, “What must I do to be saved?” Thank God the church’s Head can be fully counted upon.