“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)
I’m not sure what many of you are feeling these days but, with all the disturbing developments occurring in the country, I’m wondering if what I’m sensing is in any way similar to what Jeremiah must have felt as he watched his country falling apart right before his eyes. As I see it, it is as if someone flipped a switch and, all of a sudden, insanity has taken over America. Here are a few examples of the insanity I refer to:
- A North Carolina town council is prohibited to pray at their weekly meetings by a court.
- Eight states and counting have now legalized gay marriage.
- Muslim judge dismisses case against an admitted Muslim attacker, while berating victim.
- Decades-old prayer banner is removed from a school because of one “offended” student.
- Pro-choice activists throw condoms at Catholic school girls praying for the unborn.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a short list of incidents that merely represent the mindset and trends of our troubled civilization – all of them indicating that we, as a nation, have lost our way and are very likely heading rapidly toward a disaster much worse than September 11. In my opinion, these and other unsettling developments are occurring almost daily throughout the country for three basic reasons:
- The nation has not safe-guarded the sacred principles entrusted to us by the Creator.
- As a result we have ceased to serve our intended national purpose.
- There is a time for “every purpose under heaven.”
From the beginning of time, God’s people have consistently exhibited a weakness that has caused them great suffering and, eventually, exile or – let’s put it this way – being plucked up from where they were planted. That weakness is the inability or unwillingness to maintain vigilance against those external forces that seek to infiltrate, contaminate and destroy them from within. In a manner of speaking, His people always seem to drift off to sleep giving opportunity to the Adversary to sow tares in the midst of the wheat. This despite the fact that, from the beginning, the Creator explicitly instructed His people to stay alert and guard those things He entrusted to them. In the very beginning, Adam was told to work and “guard” the Garden, a place I believe represented the first earthly Sanctuary. That being said, the land of Eden would correspond to the court of the Sanctuary, the garden would represent the Holy Place and the midst of the Garden, the Holy of Holies. That would mean Adam’s role was to function as Priest. Unfortunately for him and us, at some point he let his guard down, which allowed the Adversary to gain access to the midst of the garden and the Tree of Life – i.e. the Holy of Holies. The result, of course, was Adam’s downfall and his exile from the Garden.
The principle of guardianship is dramatically emphasized by the responsibilities delegated to the Kohenim (Priests) of Israel. They were given the privilege and obligation to work in the Sanctuary and to safe-guard against anything that would defile and corrupt what was holy. They were to teach the people to distinguish between clean and unclean so that this duty to guard against the profane would resonate throughout the nation. Yet, in the days of Eli the High Priest, the tabernacle in Shiloh was destroyed and the Ark of the Covenant was captured (1 Samuel 1-4) because Eli and his sons, Hophni and Pinchas, did not attend to their responsibilities and, consequently, led the people into a state of national sin. Before the end came, God sent an unnamed prophet to tell Eli that he would see “an enemy in my dwelling place.” In other words, because they didn’t safeguard those sacred principles that made the Sanctuary possible, God would allow an enemy to possess that which God Himself had intended to inhabit. This is exactly what happened in the beginning: the Serpent penetrated the midst of the Garden, the place representative of the Holy of Holies, because Adam did not guard it properly; the parable of the wheat and tares suggests he was sleeping, either metaphorically or literally. As a result, he and Eve were cast out of the blessed land that had been entrusted to them.
Adam and Eli’s failure is repeated over and over by subsequent generations of priests and citizens, evidenced by the destruction of both the First and Second Temples and the subsequent captivities. Had the priests consistently fulfilled their duties, perhaps, the people would have responded in like kind. For instance, Moses warned that Israel was not to make treaties with the people in the Land nor let their sons and daughters marry the sons and daughters of Canaan – Israel was to be a set apart people. Yet, over time they forgot this warning and this responsibility, let their guard down, made treaties with them, intermarried and ended up being exiled from the Land, leaving the Sanctuary in ruins.
The fundamental reason the Tabernacle and both Temples were ultimately destroyed, first by the Philistines, then the Babylonians and finally the Romans, was because, as Sanctuaries, they had ceased to function in their intended purpose. When the Creator spoke to Moses concerning the building of the Sanctuary, He said: “Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” – Exodus 25:8 The Hebrew term translated as “dwell among” is shakhanti – literally “dwell in” them. In short, the sole reason for the Sanctuary’s existence was that the Creator could dwell among His people. This means if His Presence was not abiding in the Sanctuary, then it was no longer functioning in its original purpose. When Eli’s apathy led to corrupt practices occurring in the Sanctuary and, ultimately, national sin, the Presence of God departed. Upon giving birth to Pinchas’ son Ichabod (“there is no glory”), his dying wife lamented:
“The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.” – 1 Samuel 4:22 That God’s Presence had departed allowed the enemy to seize the Ark and destroy the Tabernacle. The absence of His Presence meant that the Tabernacle and the Temples that followed were nothing more than a tent or a building with really expensive furnishings. At that point, from the Creator’s perspective, they no longer served their purpose and, therefore, were simply taking up space. It is abundantly clear that the Creator expects things, people and nations to function in their intended purpose. When they cease to serve their purpose or are appropriated for other than His purposes, it is usually because they are thoroughly corrupt. When things reach this point, oftentimes, God removes these things, people and nations as proof that He will not be mocked nor will He allow the wickedness of His people to continue unchecked. Consider this parable in Luke. “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ” – Luke 13:6-9 In other words, the owner of the tree feels the fig tree is simply taking up space, unable or unwilling to serve its purpose, which is to bear fruit. If, after receiving special attention, it still does not bear fruit, it will be cut down. There are other passages in Scripture that teach the same principle; here are a couple of them:
- Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is hewn down and burned (Mat.3:10).
- Salt that has lost it savor is no good and is tossed out and trampled underfoot (Mat. 5:13).
In Isaiah 5, God planted a vineyard that He called Israel. He planted the choicest vines and provided it with a hedge and a press. Yet, rather than producing good grapes it brought forth wild grapes – it didn’t serve its purpose. As a result, the hedge was removed and the vineyard trampled down and replaced with briers and thorns. Once again, it becomes clear; when something or someone is no longer serving their intended purpose, they are taken out of the way. In the case of Israel, they came to this end because they first failed to safeguard those precious and holy gifts entrusted to them by the Creator. The Garden of Eden disappeared from the earth because Adam’s first failure was in allowing those things that offend – i.e. the Serpent – to have access to the Tree of Life.
In regard to America, it is obvious to me – in spite of those who attempt to rewrite history – that the United States was intended, by the Creator, to be a stabilizing force in the last days economically, politically, militarily and, yes, morally. I say that because, of all the nations of the world, only one other can lay claim to such a singular and miraculous birth and development as the United States and that other nation is Israel. So then, like Israel, our prosperity and prestige is not the result of our vast knowledge and advanced skills; rather, our knowledge and skills have been blessed by Providential favor and purpose. That favor, no doubt, came, in part, as a result of the desire among those who founded the nation to construct it upon sound, biblical principle. They knew that the nation would not long endure if Biblical truth was abandoned. In short, the purpose of America is directly linked to and based upon Scriptural statutes and values. If the Creator was to continue favoring this nation it would require that this nation remain vigilant to safeguard those precious gifts He entrusted to us.
As Scripture declares, “To whom much is given, much is required.” Certainly the Father of the nation, George Washington, understood this. He commented that America would continue if the people upheld morality and virtue. On multiple occasions he warned that if the people were to lose that virtue then the nation would decline. In one private address he stated that if the people were to “lose all virtue” they would be inclined to surrender “that pre-eminent blessing – the birthright of a free man – for a mess of pottage.” In other words, an immoral people would be willing to exchange something sacred – freedom – for something common and profane – a bowl of soup (or a government handout). At that time, Washington warned, the American people would be “ripe for a master”; an immoral people no longer protecting what is sacred and, consequently, no longer serving their purpose will end up being oppressed by a tyrant. It occurs to me that we may be at that point. Perhaps the tyrant is already in place? On September 12, 2001, Americans were immersed in mourning and prayer, still stunned after the tragic events of the day before. For a few weeks, it seemed that God had our attention. Sadly, over ten years later, it is obvious we have returned to our immoral ways with even more vigor and heightened contempt for what is holy. As a result, the country seems to teetering on the brink of chaos. Consider:
- The ACLU is aggressively seeking to remove any mention of God from all public places.
- Occupy Wall Street movement is growing increasingly violent calling for revolution.
- Obama Administration supports radical elements while vilifying true Bible believers.
- Homosexual activists are attempting to impose gay rights and gay marriage on all states.
- Gay activists are successfully forcing school children to be exposed to their lifestyle.
- Islam is glorified and honored while Christianity and Judaism is mocked and ridiculed.
Granted, these kinds of things have been going on for some time. Still it seems to me that, in the last few years, events have been on a fast track and it has been, to some degree, baffling just how accelerated the demise of American culture and civilization seems to be. Did you really think you would see the day when the U.S. government would tell religious institutions that, in spite of their long-held spiritual convictions about contraception and abortion, the law now demanded that they abandon them in deference to newly instated policy? Twenty years ago, would you have imagined an Administration aggressively supporting the idea that public conscience has no right to determine what a woman does with her body (i.e. abortion) but, at the same time, expect the public to disregard their conscience and, through taxes, fund whatever that woman wishes to do with her body (i.e. “reproductive rights”)?
As far as I’m concerned these policies are only a hop, skip and a jump from a gold image erected on the plain of Dura and the people being forced to bow and worship under the threat of death. The only explanation for this hastened descent into chaos that I can fathom is: “Deception (is) among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 When Israel cried out for flesh, God gave them what they asked for – until it was coming out their nostrils; until it was loathsome to them. In the end, those who craved flesh were destroyed. Likewise, those who refuse the truth will be fed the lie and will be destroyed by it. They who refuse to guard what is holy and virtuous will be forced to embrace what is corrupt and will be overcome by it. Refusing the Truth Results in Death When God created pigs, it seems the primary purpose was to provide the earth with a natural garbage collector. As long as they are serving their intended purpose all is good. However, when man takes the pig out of its ordained “position” and makes it the centerpiece of his dinner table, he has corrupted the pig’s purpose and his own body to boot. This misappropriation and corruption of purpose can, and often does, lead to disease and eventual death.
The point is, once again, God determined that things, people and nations were to function according to His design. When the entity refuses to perform its own function or misappropriates the purpose of something else, God often chooses to remove the offending party, either through the logical consequence of their actions (e.g. eating unclean leads to disease) or Divine interposition (e.g. removing a hedge of protection). In either case, the eventual result is death. So, when people refuse to partake of the truth, by default, they ingest a lie. Being far more deadly than a piece of ham, the corruptive nature of falsehood will infect a man and incite him to resist and, in many cases, aggressively combat truth and holiness. That in and of itself would result in death as surely as a disease would cause the body to eventually shut down. On a national scale, however, this spiritual malady undermines the overall function of the country and, in time, provokes the Almighty to intervene through other – sometimes external – means.
In other words, a once moral nation favored with supreme power and unprecedented influence cannot be allowed to continue in rebellion and wickedness unabated. He must balance His infinite mercy on the one hand with the required measure of justice on the other. So then, what should we expect to be the outcome of the disturbing trends in American society? Today, secularists, atheists and progressives are attempting – with a great deal of success unfortunately – to erase any memory or mention of God from our national history and public dialogue. They apparently have such contempt for anything holy that they can’t bring themselves to admit the Founders unabashedly acknowledged the Hand of God in the affairs that brought forth this nation. These activists strive to sever the American people from the truth of the past and rewrite American history in order to redirect and transform the nation into something it was never intended to be. In short, they wish to misappropriate America for another purpose – their purpose – which means, if they succeed, the nation will no longer be fulfilling God’s purpose.
Due to the efforts of these progressives, precious few American students truly realize our unique history, its foundational principles and the role of Scripture in our national heritage. Many students have no idea how the government is designed to work, what the Constitution says, how the nation came about and many of them simply do not care. Brainwashed by the philosophies and ideologies of their misguided mentors, they refuse the truth of our history and, thus, believe the lie being propagated by many of our leaders – that this is not and never has been a “nation under God.” Not surprisingly, many of the “Occupiers” are university students; deprived of the truth, they embrace the lie that they alone are representative of what is true and right. When they advocate anarchy, atheism, Marxism, Socialism and Communism, they do so with the conviction that they have truth on their side. Furthermore, this upcoming generation of progressives seems poised to advance their version of the truth by any means necessary, including violence.
Of course, they claim to be proponents of tolerance and co-existence and, yet, it is obvious that there is one element they cannot tolerate or co-exist with – those who truly believe in and honor the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In fact, it is this disdain for the Holy One that fuels their attacks on those who hold to more traditional beliefs and who desire to see the nation return to God and our founding principles. They ridicule and despise those who uphold an American history that honors the Holy One and His purposes for America. They falsely accuse these “rightwing bigots” of trying to impose their “flat earth views” on the rest of the population and establish a “theocracy in America.” While that is certainly not true, I do have some potentially alarming news for the activists, the anarchists and the progressives – there will indeed be a theocracy in the earth! However, it will transcend America and every other nation for it will be over the whole earth. Scripture says:
“The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He shall reign forever and ever!” Which brings us to this: if I have provided an accurate assessment of the state of affairs in America; if current events testify that we are no longer serving our intended purpose; if it is unlikely that the current trends will be corrected that we may return to that purpose, then we must entertain the very real possibility that the season assigned to America and God’s purposes for her are expiring – there is a time for every purpose under heaven. We must consider that, because we abandoned His purposes for the nation, He may remove us from the position and status we once enjoyed. We must also consider that there was always a “set time” assigned for America to serve her purpose and that “set time” might be coming to an end. Therefore, we must contemplate the eventual reality that America must cease to be the world’s superpower and yield that position, ultimately, to Israel under the Kingship of Messiah Y’shua.
I will be the first to admit that the thought of witnessing America’s downfall is both sobering and sad. The observations I have made and the conclusions I have drawn are not accompanied by any sense of glee or emotional disconnect from the ramifications – I grieve for what I see happening to the country. Nevertheless, I must acknowledge that, as a believer, I am a citizen of another kingdom and, therefore, owe allegiance to a higher authority. As a believer, I must also embrace the fact that, for His purposes to continue to materialize and function according to His will, some things, some people and, yes, some nations – that have served their purpose in the past– must come to an end. Shabbat, not the sixth day, is the culmination of the Creation account. The very purpose of Shabbat is to bring an end to the toil that is assigned for the other six days of the week. The six days serve their purpose – i.e. the days to work – but that purpose must cease at the appointed time if Shabbat is to serve its purpose – i.e. the day of rest. God’s purposes in the earth are assigned seasons and when one season is fulfilled, it must give way to the other that is beginning. Upon the arrival of the Messiah, John the Baptist said: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:30 John understood that his purpose had been fulfilled and now he must give way to the next step in the Father’s plan. So then, like John, you and I must come to grips with our responsibility and our purpose – namely to submit our will to the Father’s will, whatever that may be. Even if it requires that, like Abraham, we are willing to die to “your country, your family and your father’s house” (Gen. 12:1).
As believers, we must be willing let go of what is passing and embrace what is coming according to His Will. Admittedly, this will prove to be very difficult for many of His people in America and the West at large. Might it be, though, that the darkness which surrounds us and the lawlessness that expands its influence and grip on our society is there to serve its own purpose – there is a time for EVERY purpose under heaven! Perhaps many of these troubling events are occurring, not to provoke us to focus on the perpetrators and their agenda but, to provoke us to focus on the Father and His agenda. If so, that means we must attend to our purpose; we must not become weary in well doing and should not permit the downward spiral of the culture to pull us down with it. Y’shua said: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” – Matthew 24:12-13 Ironically, it is darkness that accentuates the light. To be light to the nations is what we are called to do. We must therefore resolve that, regardless of what direction the country takes, we will be committed to stay the course. We must determine in our hearts to be like those three Hebrews – Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah – who determined in their hearts that they would not bow to the idols of Babylon in order to save themselves. They understood their purpose was to sanctify the Name of the Holy One. They made this determination while in exile and servitude and in the face of certain death. Still, they remained vigilant and guarded what had, obviously, been hidden in their hearts. These brave servants of the Most High were determined to surrender their lives, if necessary.
The importance of their decision is this: had they not made this bold stand, they would not have encountered the fourth man in the fire. Had they not encountered Him, then Nebuchadnezzar – the most powerful man on earth – would have never said of the God of Israel: “There is no other God who can deliver like this.” – Daniel 3:29 We must also acknowledge that this declaration would have not been made by Nebuchadnezzar if Jerusalem and its occupants had not been delivered into his hand by the Creator – everything and every situation serves His purpose. Therefore, I have begun to accept that it is very possible God’s purposes for America have run their course. That does not mean, however, that God’s purpose for you and me is complete. To the contrary, maybe our function – our reason for being here – is just starting to take shape. Perhaps, we have come into the Kingdom for just such a time as this. Therefore, do not let your hearts be troubled; believe in the One who predicted such perilous times and who admonished us that, when we see these things begin to come to pass, we are to, “Look up, for your redemption is at hand.” Shalom.