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A View from the Altar / Color me pessimillennial
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Color me pessimillennial

Our friends who believe in the postmillennial view of the end times disparagingly refer to the premillennial view as “pessimillennialism.”  Har, har.

True enough, the premillennial believer thinks this present world will die ugly.  We don’t think the Gospel is going to win everyone.  Since most postmillennial guys are also Calvinists, you’d think that would make sense to them.

But when the inspired writer says that “evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse,” (2 Ti 3:13) I take that as God’s face-value description of how things will turn out.

Now, God is the one who is writing the story of the world, not me.  But if I were going to take a stab at the theme of His story, it’d be this: “You people need Me.”  Nothing works without Him.  The Bible shows us various views of man, and this is the theme that summarizes each view.  In Eden, perfect people in a perfect world were seduced by Satan when God was not immediately present.

This dismal scene gets repeated in every successive era and condition of history with every race and variety of human.  In the first era after the Fall, the world grew so evil that God stopped the decline by the Flood.  After this followed the ages we read about in ancient history in which despots set themselves up as gods and afflicted their subjects with centuries of almost unbelievable misery.

And speaking of that, maybe things haven’t changed so much after all.  While the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Romans all had some form of emperor worship, it didn’t look all that much different from Jamie Foxx calling Barack Obama “our Lord and Savior.”  Two thousand years of Gospel influence haven’t enlightened the West sufficiently for the general public to recoil from that as a shocking act of depravity.  It’s scary to think of the general observation about history that what’s morally permitted so often becomes somehow required.

I suspect we’ll get better acquainted with this notion as ObamaCare marches forward.  I’d really, really hate to be in the medical profession when the abortion issue reaches front and center, because there, what is permitted now will certainly become required then.  People without God lack “natural affection” (Ro 1:31), so they start killing their own young.  Given time, they start ordering their neighbors to kill their young.

And speaking of developing trends, a CBS poll finds a majority of Americans thinks homosexual marriage should be legal.  I mention this in case you entertained some doubts about how far the paganization of the American mind has progressed.  Meanwhile in San Francisco, the city council risks the wrath of the populace by requiring people to wear clothes in certain areas such as restaurants.  Seriously.  In America, you can totally stump people on moral questions which were blazingly obvious to everyone just ten years ago.

The explanation for this is simple: Moral questions cannot be answered unless God is explicitly in the picture as the basis for it all.  To generalize about America, for now, she has God shut out of the picture as resolutely as possible.  The theme once again, “You people need Me.”  At least as far as America is concerned, color me pessimillennial.

Okay, that’s America.  If there’s evidence that the rest of the world is very much different, I’m not seeing it.  In the past 30 years, the Islamic world has become highly radicalized.  Islam has never been anything but ancient Canaanite paganism upgraded and localized to seventh century Arabia.  Now this barbaric philosophy has experienced a resurgence of its grim energy.  Nation after nation is regressing into a more radical stance under the baleful influence of the Moslem Brotherhood.  Where this stops, nobody knows.  If any population in world history ever needed a clear vision of the true God, it’s the poor souls living under the darkness of Islam.

If there’s a bright spot in the world for the postmillennial guy, it would have to be China.  A sizeable minority of China is now Christian in some form or other.  The extent of Chinese Christianity is roughly the size of the entire population of America, if that gives you some sense of scale, while the total population of China is five times as large.  So the Chinese church is big, and anything that big must eventually be influential.  But the jury’s still out on the question of whether China can be as extensively Christianized as Europe and America once were, and further still, whether the Chinese brethren can resist the apostasizing influences that are ruining us.

The story that I see developing around the world is the same one we saw in Eden: “You people need Me.”  Not everyone is going to become a Christian.  Jesus compared the proportions of saved and lost in this rather somber text,

Matt 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat : 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

If this passage has any significance for the outworking of world history — and I think it does — then places and times when Christianity is culturally ascendent are out of the norm.  We thank God for them, and we rejoice that we’re blessed with the fruit of them.  But the general trend of history will remain that God calls out his elect from among the great mass of men who ignore the Gospel to the destruction of their souls and ultimately their world.  Only the intervention of the returning Lord Jesus will undo this by supplying man’s one, ultimate need: Jesus Himself.  When He is here where every eye shall see him, then shall the knowledge of the glory of the Lord cover the earth like the waters cover the sea.

otherbrothersteve@gmail.com

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