The Current Scene
Ever since the Cuban crisis Russia has striven to gain a nuclear supremacy over NATO. This, from all accounts, she has achieved. A smart Russia, ever since her political drubbing when forced to remove her missiles from Cuba in 1962, has had her wounded pride saying, “Never again!” As long as the American nuclear umbrella over Japan and Western Europe possessed unquestionable superiority a Soviet conventional attack was deterred. This balance is no more. The Economist of London admits, “It is generally accepted that Russia would be likely to win in Europe a war involving only conventional forces, and maybe one involving tactical nuclear weapons.” Hence, the present plans for America are to put its new Pershing 2 and cruise missiles in Europe. Russia’s obvious aim is to coerce Europe into a meek submissiveness in the same way she holds sway over the Baltic states. This strategy of blackmail is alarmingly on the road to success. The source of all the trouble, and who can interpret it otherwise, is the strategic placing of more than 1,000 warheads that assure Russia of military superiority in Europe. Also, in their pocket, are some two million people (many it would appear with a fanatical martyr complex) fiercely arraigned against America’s nuclear answer to the Russians. Such consider themselves better Red than dead.
So, at the moment Western Europe and Israel, humanly speaking, are in danger. The Soviets could well be on their way to rubbing their hands together and smiling as they see their purposes closing like a giant trap. This writer believes that Satan is the mastermind behind this massive buildup of military might never before equalled.
Looking into the Scriptures we discover a personal Devil whose deliberate aim has been to thwart the purposes of God. After the Edenic fall there was the promise of the “seed of the woman” to bruise the serpent’s head. Abel was the logical “seed” and was marked out for slaying. Later the dynasty of David was to produce the Anointed One —Messiah. The wicked Athalia slew all the royal seed except a baby that was saved from her bloody hand by his aunt. Later he became King Joash (2 Chron. 22:10). When the Lord Jesus disclosed to his disciples that he was going to the cross (Matt. 16:21), Peter replied, “Far be it from thee, Lord.” In this he was nothing less than the mouthpiece of Satan. Our Lord said to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou art an offence unto me, for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matt. 16:23).
All through we see Satan attempting to block our Lord from fulfilling the “things of God concerning Him.” What then are the purposes as to the future? Plainly, Israel is to be restored and play a major role in the great tribulation and in the kingdom to be eventually the head of the nations. The dominant power in the prophetic lineup will be the revived Roman Empire in some form or other. It will be headed up by the beast out of the sea (Rev. 13:1-4). This last Caesar is acclaimed, “Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
Getting back to our secular theme with Eurgpe’s independence at stake and Israel’s survival, both of these, since they are in the purpose of God, are Satan’s targets. The premillennial interpretation sees the Mediterranean nations confederate and gaining a superiority over the “the king of the North” — Russia and her satellites. The potential for a strong Europe is there; it only awaits the “man of sin.” Certainly a critical stage in world history is on its course to a climax. Our viewpoint comes from Scripture and so is different from that of The Economist of London.
The Israelis continue to capture the headlines. They have won a significant war in Lebanon but have fared badly in the news media. Branded as aggressors and assassins of innocent civilians, the reason for civilian casualties has not been given a fair airing. An unscrupulous foe, the P.L.O. deliberately holed themselves into civilian areas leaving little choice but to pound them out of their retreats. Now an unsteady peace prevails and the problem of winning the peace has become a multi-national problem. The present situation has introduced another phase of Bible prophecy. In Zechariah 14:1-3 we read that at the approach of “the day of the Lord” God will “gather all nations against Jerusalem.” Now to stabilize matters in this volatile area troops from Britain, Italy, France and the U.S. have been introduced into Lebanon. In the final analysis they are there to guarantee the safety of Jerusalem. Poised against that city is an opposing array of enemies. There are Russian “technicians” operating deadly antiaircraft weaponry, all backed up by 50 million human packages of Arab hate. Begin is far from disposed to put his nation’s security in the hands of the peace keeping forces. A member of the Jewish government (the Knesset) gave Shakespeare a new application when he said, “The problem of Israel is simply this — to be or not to be that is the question. The Arabs could lose many times but we Jews could lose only once, and we are finished.” The little nation has been dangerously near to extinction since its existence in 1948. The reason for this remarkable survival (one can hardly deny) has been providential. It now has a highly efficient army (according to the Institute of Strategic Studies, fourth in the world), possessing battle-tried sophisticated know-how. Its air force could be rated the best in the world for its size. The accurate bombing of Baghdad’s atomic potential amazed the investigators.
Even those Christians who look askance at dispensationalism, with its understanding that the Old Testament prophecies await a literal fulfilment for Israel, can hardly be blind to this school of prophetic interpretation. When first advanced by such teachers as J. N. Darby and William Kelly, there was the well reasoned array of Scriptures. Now we have a plus; we see spiritual conditions, moral laxity and geopolitics developing as could be expected from premillenial enlightenment. Not that we are necessarily saying, “This is it!” but we certainly can be excused from being on tiptoe expectation that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
We learn that there are 164 sovereign nations in the world; also 45 of them are either at war with each other or suppressing rebellions or guerilla struggles. In the last three years six new wars have started and only two have ended. For instance, there are ten wars in the Middle East (Iran, Afghanistan and Lebanon, to name a few). Ten in Africa and Asia and seven in Latin America and so on. The United States versus the Soviet Union are supplying the military equipment. In some respects the combatants are surrogates of these two major powers. Gen. Ghazali Seth of Malaysia, whose small country seeks to maintain a strict neutrality, has lately increased its military budget 500 per cent and realistically stated, “If we are weak, an outside power will come knocking at our door.” The U.S. presence in Europe has safeguarded that coveted hub of vitality from aggression.
An example of unpreparedness is seen in Judges 19:27. There we read of the vagabond Danites in search of an easy victim to exploit and found it in Laish, “a people that were at quiet and secure: and they (the Danites) smote it with the edge of the sword, and there was no deliverer and they had no business with any man.” In a world such as it is, America has no choice but to arm sufficiently to face all threats. The Scriptures plainly teach, as to the world, “the way of peace have they not known” (Rom. 3:17). The peace-nics and rioters, especially the leaders, are often questionable characters. Their dress and unkept hair give them a “gay” identity. With them little thought is given to the revealed fact that lax living invokes the displeasure of heaven. We read, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). The need is for more who constitute “the salt (preservative) of the earth.” No one in this century was more dedicated to peace than Neville Chamberlain. In spite of all the concessions he made with Hitler, war came. Some of the concessions were at the expense of others but based on an egalitarian philosophy. The leaders of the Free World must face a Russia that is bent on making her Communism worldwide and obviously has a will to do so, as evidenced by a buildup of weaponry sufficient for such a goal. God in His providence has limited the world to four empires according to Nebuchadnezzar’s image. Only the fourth (Rome) is to be revived and then go into perdition (Rev. 17:11). The Europe that is so ill-equipped to limit Russia’s aims is yet to arise under a dictatorship that will successfully challenge Russia’s ambitions (Rev. 13:4) . Until the Prince of Peace (the Lord Jesus Christ) comes the dictum for the ever warring world is, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isa. 57:21).