Sunday, October 9, 2016

Here's Your Sign

Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.  Daniel 2:20-22  NKJV

Of many things I look forward to every fall season is the return of old favorites on television that I remember from my youth, especially those of the gang from “Peanuts” written by Charles Schultz.  Not only are they entertaining, but especially in this day and age, remarkably clean and wholesome.  While some might see them as cartoons for children, they also contain some very philosophical content that often only an adult can appreciate.  The following quote is a perfect example, and one which I have remembered over the years and actually used on more than one occasion.

“There are three things that I've learned never discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”   Linus Van Pelt, from “It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

At this point in our political season, I’m sure many would agree with this sentiment as we can observe the strong emotions many are exhibiting concerning the upcoming election.  While I have always endorsed the position of supporting the political process, and exercising an individual’s right to vote, I personally have always had in the back of my mind the part that God plays in the final outcome according to His power and wisdom.  Why is that?  Because, as you can see from this passage, the final decision is God’s to make and the history of this world conforms to His will and plan.

With the caveat that what follows is simply my opinion, as I look at the decision we are faced with this election between two individuals wanting to lead this country for the next four years, I can’t help but feel that there is a stark contrast between the motivations of both candidates.  It seems to me that there is one who desires to lead because of a genuine concern for the direction this country is going, and one who desires to lead solely for the power that comes with the position.  As I considered this, I could not help but recall what Daniel had to say about the motivations of the coming world leader who will attempt to become the king of this world.

“Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. “He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. “But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. “Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.   Daniel 11:36-39  NKJV

I believe anyone who reads this passage can readily see that this coming leader is in it solely for himself, and the acquisition of power and wealth is all consuming.  His motivation is not for the betterment of the world in which we live, but personal gain.  Although he likely begins his rise to power by promising peace and prosperity for all, the truth is that he is in it for himself and the pursuit of power and wealth is his only consideration.  Many of you are familiar with at least part of the following quote by Lord Acton, but I have included the entire quote for you to read.

“I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.”

Letter to Mandell Creighton (5 April 1887), published in Historical Essays and Studies, by John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (1907), edited by John Neville Figgis and Reginald Vere Laurence, Appendix, p. 504; also in Essays on Freedom and Power (1972)

I found the use of the word corrupt especially telling considering how often I have heard it used lately in reference to the current cast of characters in our political arena.  Although I thought I had a pretty good idea what the word corrupt meant, I was surprised to read the following definition when I looked it up in the dictionary.


1. guilty of dishonest practices, as bribery; lacking integrity; crooked: a corrupt judge.
2. debased in character; depraved; perverted; wicked; evil: a corrupt society.
3. made inferior by errors or alterations, as a text.
4. infected; tainted.
5. decayed; putrid.

It is an understatement to say I was surprised by some of the adjectives used in this definition.  It most certainly calls into question the moral standard of an individual as well as defining their selfish motivations.  Yet if this indeed describes so many leaders in the world today, and the passage we read makes it clear that God appoints these leaders, one has to ask the question what in the world is going on?  The only answer that makes any sense to me is that these leaders are in fact, representative of society as a whole, and reflective of the state of the world we live in.  If you look at it this way, should that be any surprise considering the words of Jesus concerning the times we find ourselves in today?

“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:”  Luke 17:26  NKJV

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  Genesis 6:5-6  NKJV

I am asked many times about the signs we should be watching for, and most of the times those questions refer to natural disasters or wars among nations.  Yet the most overlooked one is right in front of us, and is being played out on our very own political stage for the world to see.  The past administrations have promised change, and they certainly delivered on that promise.  Unfortunately the change in direction of our moral compass not only reflects the corruption one would expect from a world under the spell of the evil one, but spells doom for those who would support it.  How can we know we are living in the end times?  Well, here’s your sign.

The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations.   Psalms 33:10-11  NKJV

He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry, And sets others in their place. Job 34:24 NKJV

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ “Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, Who are far from righteousness: I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.             Isaiah 46:9-13  NKJV

Now more than ever, this world needs Jesus.  The time of our departure, the rapture of the Church to be with Him for eternity, could happen at any moment.  If you are reading this today and have never made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I urge you to do it right now. Simply admit to God that you need His forgiveness because you are a sinner,  be willing to turn away from your sins, believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and invite Him to come in and control  your life through the Holy Spirit by praying a simple prayer like this;

Jesus I know I am a sinner in need of salvation. I believe you sent your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sin, and I ask you now to forgive me of my sins. I want to receive your gift of salvation so please come into my heart and help me to live and follow you as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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