The Current Scene
Two stark realities have surfaced. One is that Communism is an economic failure, and in America the government cannot underwrite all of the social needs of its people. We are also witnessing both systems receiving the attention of their respective leadership. They are desperately trying to mend the fences.
Communism has little choice but to use repression. Incidentally, where a modicum of free enterprises has been allowed, or a look the other way, as in Hungary, agriculture certainly has improved. In spite of the general economic failure of Communism there are strong tides surging in Latin America for a try at Communism. The rhetoric of their revolutionaries, as always, blossoms out with beatitudes of hope and plenty. History, so far, reveals that the Achilles’ heel of Communism is the nonco-operation of the farmer. One boast of Communism is that it is “the historical perspective of mankind.” From the viewpoint of Scripture, Communism is doomed to fertilize more seeds that spell its destruction than its rival and foe — Western freedoms. The Bible will allow no ideology to master the world; that is reserved to Jesus Christ who is the only “King of kings and Lord of lords.” Communism’s coffin nails are its atheism. The patience of the God of the Bible will have its limits to this blasphemy. Then also, man is lowered to being nothing more than a breathing mass of clay. Without a God and a hereafter life is an enigma and holds no explanation for its trials. Man’s freedom is denied. Indeed it is a denial of man’s most cherished aspirations — after all he is created in God’s image.
Our welfarism occasions some pressing questions. We suffer from recurring recessions. Since the great depression of the 30’s governments have sought to show, more than ever before, a human face. The “unseen hand” of the free market has been pushed aside and F. D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” evolved into the “Great Society” of Lyndon Johnson. It is still, “the poor always ye have with you” (John 12:8). Consequently, the disciples of thrift, the work ethic and respect for authority have been badly eroded. The average citizen of a Judeo-Christian culture is not uncharitable toward the unfortunate. Not, however, to the extent of an attempt to redistribute the nation’s wealth. Is equality a legitimate goal? As to a political system, the Bible is silent. However, the tilt appears to favour the sacredness of property, “Thou shalt not steal”! By the time this gets into print the congressional elections will make or break the present attempt to initiate a conservative reform. The competitive struggle for votes gives an edge to the politician that can promise the most. Unfortunately, the U.S. needs the medicine that only the realistic will implement; such as defense, an ailing Social Security solvency, and even those recommendations of the “Moral Majority.” The present sees both emphases polarizing, an incipient military moral majority, and an equally aggressive American Civil Liberties Union. May not this be the iron that will not mix with miry clay? This mixture marks the unstable feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s image (Daniel 2). If so, it is an impressive sign of the nearness of the pulverizing stone “cut out without hands” that ends “the times of the Gentiles.” The “Stone” is an oft repeated symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ.
However, we observe God in the Old Testament often using a wicked nation to chastise His ancient people Israel. If it were a moral measurement, Israel could be a shade better than the nation oppressing them. Israel possessed more light and was judged according to the height from which she had fallen. As Peter informs us down here, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (4:17). Later judgment catches up with the wicked.
Before Russia’s prophesied downfall she is to be, if our understanding of Ezekiel 38 is correct, used as God’s whip, especially upon Israel.
In this connection the little minor prophet, Habakkuk, writes of his perplexity. He deplores the uncorrected violence, iniquity and spoiling that he witnessed among God’s people. The apparent inactivity of God in the matter concerns the prophet. Then there is a reply from God who was about to raise up the heathen Chaldeans to be the instrument of chastisement. This further alarmed Habakkuk; why, they were more wicked than Israel! Yes, but they were about to fulfill God’s purpose and then afterward be judged for their ways. This principle still operates among the nations. It accounts for the Napoleons, Hitlers and Soviets. “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”
The second volume of Dr. Henry Kissinger’s memoirs is particularly interesting to the student of Bible prophecy. He aptly titles it, Years of Upheaval. Its main concern is the Yom Kipper War in the fall of ‘73. Only a few days before that war broke out, Dr. Kissinger was installed as the Secretary of State. Referring to this event that took place in the East Room of the White House he writes, “My parents were as in a dream, they could hardly believe that 35 years after being driven out of their native country, their son should have reached our nation’s highest appointive ‘executive office.’” Indeed, this was not the first time a Jew had been appointed to preside over national affairs with success and distinction. We can add such worthies as Joseph, Daniel, Mordecai and, of more recent times, the British Prime Minister Disraeli.
The war was a cleverly conceived plan by the Egyptians and Syrians and, humanly speaking, with a good chance of success. Kissinger had not taken Sadat seriously. The many feints to start a war were but gestures of a conscious strategy; and then deciding on the time for the real attack, the Jewish air losses were alarming from the Soviet surface to air missiles on both fronts. Not until the Egyptians were beyond their range could the Israeli planes target the advancing tanks. The real shocker, writes the secretary, was the loss of 500 Israeli tanks. The alarming situation was kept a top secret lest the rest of the Arab world join in for a knockout blow. Consequently, a cry came to Washington for help which resulted in a spectacular airlift. The Soviets were already engaged in an airlift to their allies. On October 15th some 2,000 were joined in a battle in the Sinai — one of the biggest armor battles in history. The next day Israeli tanks were across the Suez and pounding away at the SAM missiles and a clear opening was developing on to Cairo. Along with this, a 35,000 man force was trapped on the East Bank of Suez. Sadat was frantic and called for the Russians and Americans to enter the war and assure a cease fire. To Brezknev this was fine — Americans stopping the Jews. Kissinger was urgently called to Moscow and given complete power to negotiate with Brezknev. This he acknowledges, was to his disadvantage, as he could not if cornered bide time by conferring with the President. To create delays was to Kissinger’s advantage when it was plain that Brezknev would act unilaterally. Their air-borne forces were alerted and there were 85 of their ships in the Mediterranean; two amphibious vessels were heading for Alexandria. The President was distraught with the clouds of Watergate gathering around him. The Soviets would save the Arabs on their two battle fronts; the Arabs would subsequently sing their praises and Russia would have an indisputable hold in the Middle East. With a “functioning” President we see Kissinger rising to the occasion. He remarked, “We are at the point of maximum weakness, but if we knuckle under now we are in trouble.” The U.S. could not tolerate Soviet intervention. The U.S. military was put on the alert; two aircraft carriers were rapidly moving to the area of conflict. The Russians withheld their forces and Kissinger flew to Cairo. His task was to enforce a cease fire and a genuine disengagement of forces. At this juncture Kissinger writes, “The strategy of the October war was to thwart a victory of Soviet arms and hence a defeat of Israel; to prevent humiliation of moderate Arabs, especially on the Egyptian front; to convene a peace conference in which sub groups would negotiate away from the rhetoric of plenary sessions; to seek results step by step rather than in one comprehensive negotiation, and to restore ties first with Egypt and then with other Arab nations ready for peace.” To implement all of this the so-called “shuttle diplomacy” was brought about between Jerusalem and Aswan. Few realize that a major confrontation was avoided between the two world major powers. Humanly speaking, a big appreciation goes to the Secretary of State.
The need for a settlement to the recurring Middle East upsets is apparent. Nations dependent on oil from this area demand a solution to the problem. Who can stop Israelis and Arabs from continually bringing the world to the brink of the feared holocaust? The closeness of Russia to this theatre, Arab population and the oil blackmail create a formidable advantage at any peace table. Israel is kept impoverished by huge military expenditures. Is there any relief from this and who can assure her security? As Dr. John F. Walvoord observes, “The international political leader who can give Israel these guarantees and force dissident Arab factions to accept a final peace will gain world recognition overnight. This role is not America’s, we will have problems enough closer at home. The crisis calls for a super man — the antichrist. How easily Daniel 9:27 could fit in here — a seven year covenant made with Israel by ‘the prince that shall come.’”