“Are these the shadows of the things that will be, or are they shadows of things that may be, only?... Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead. But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change….Say it is thus with what you show me.”
So said Ebenezer Scrooge to the “Spirit of Christmas Future,” in Charles Dickens’ classic 1843 novel, “A Christmas Carol,” one of his most popular and enduring books.a It was a book that pierced the souls of middle class and upper class Victorian England, and forced them to confront how they treated the poor and overworked lower classes, especially the children of those classes, in a country that changed the world in so many respects, but found it difficult to change how the people of England treated each other, at a time when the “Chartist Movement” (a leftist/progressive style “people’s movement”) raged throughout portions of Great Britain, and Christianity was still the prevalent religious and societal mandate among the proud middle and snobbish upper classes, at least on the surface. Sadly, even the surface “veneer” of Christian religious belief has mostly been purged by indifference and socialist animosity from the country now called “The United Kingdom”, and once-Christian churches are almost empty on the Sabbath in the land that gave Magna Charta, the first forms of representative government, and Shakespeare to the world.
Which brings us to the U.S.A. of today—the country that was born from the spiritual and philosophical “seeds” planted by Great Britain, our “mother country”, the land that God has entrusted Americans to care for, the land that He gave to Christians to spread His Gospel in, “proclaiming Liberty” (eventually) to all of its inhabitants, the land that seems to be slipping away from a significant number of Americans because they either don’t care about the erosion of their freedoms, or they’ve been too brainwashed by people and/or institutions they respect and trust to know that they’re being duped.
A lot of words have been written in recent years concerning the supposedly “imminent return” of our LORD and Savior, Jesus the Messiah. Movies have been produced and many books written in the hope that all will have a chance to be saved, and that no one will be “left behind”. But I again ask the question that more than once I’ve asked before: What if our LORD tarries for 100, 500, or 1000 more years? He could, you know, because Scripture informs us that with our Lord, “a thousand years are like one day”. As Christians, have we seriously pondered that “what if” question? I have. As a Christian, have you ever, in the depths of your soul, asked yourself what will the world be like for our descendants if our Savior, Jesus, does not return soon, as many Christian believers are confidant that He will? (Perhaps too confident, in the opinion of some believers, including myself).
God’s Word advises us to not conjecture on when our Savior, Jesus, will return, and to “occupy” until he does (Luke 19:13), whenever that may be. One may define “occupy” as only witnessing to the unsaved and ignoring “the world” and our culture; or as only battling the forces of totalitarianism that seem to be slowly and inexorably enveloping us in this, our troubled and tormented present; or as I believe that Christians are advised to do—change the person FIRST, and then “changed men and women” will do, under God’s direction and inspiration, what they can to “change our culture and the world”. More succinctly, as Michael LaPierre said in his great book, A COVENANT-RESPONSIBLE CITIZENSHIP AND GODLY CONVERSATION (Pub. by High Bridge Books, 2019), “The Bible extends enormous responsibility in the sandbox of public policy, governance, and the corresponding decision making in each. At certain times, as much as we would like to run and hide from the decisions in the public arena, God tells Christians to LEAD. The Bible tells us much more than to simply identify with Christianity in politics. We must LIVE Christianity out loud and with the passion and vigor necessary to proclaim Christ and IMPACT the culture.” (Michael LaPierre is running against Senator Lindsay Graham for one of the Republican Senate seats from South Carolina, in November, 2020. He is trying to “impact” our culture!)
Can we, as both Christians and citizens, look at the events of our day and, assuming that they are “the shadows of the things that will be…”, as old Scrooge asked of the “spirit”, project a possible future? I believe we not only can, but we MUST. It may be perceived as presumptuous for anyone to claim to know the “history of our future”, for in truth only God knows what will unfold in future time with absolute certainty. However, those who have at least a modicum of familiarity with accurate history know that the lessons of the past have often been ignored by people of every time, right up to our present. For those who have learned from those “lessons” of the past, a possible future is not difficult to fathom. If our LORD Jesus continues to tarry over his long-awaited return, and applying the sad and sorry record of mankind to a possible future, it isn’t difficult to postulate that the “history” of that future will be dark and foreboding, violent and dangerous. Just read God’s Word about the events of “The Last Days” (Matthew 24) to see just how frightening the “future” will be. (If you want my extended thoughts about “The Last Days” go back and read my article, published here in The Times Examiner on May 27, 2019, titled: “It Would Appear We’re Living In Perilous Times”—archived under my name.)
Interestingly, the very FIRST mention of the “last days” that I can find in Scripture is NOT in the New Testament or in the Book of Revelation, but is in the FIRST Book of our Bible: Genesis. The Scripture reference, from the 1599 Geneva Bible, is Genesis 49:1, which reads: “Then Jacob called his sons, and said, ‘Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall come to you in the last days”. I assume that in this context Jacob was referring to the ‘last days’ of the 12 Tribes of Israel, because our LORD Jesus had not yet appeared among mankind in His physical manifestation, and the New Testament, with its warnings about “The Last Days” before Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom, had not yet been written down for humanity’s benefit.
Some sincere Christians might dispute my projections of, and concern for, a future of mankind that may extend out for many centuries, contending as some do that “the Lord’s Return” is so imminent that it is foolish to concentrate on anything except getting the unsaved “saved”, praying constantly, and ignoring what happens in “the world”, including the U.S., since we as Christians are merely “pilgrims” passing through this brief life, and should focus only on witnessing to the unsaved, and on our eternal existence with our LORD and Savior in Heaven, a Savior who will surely appear soon, probably in our own lifetimes. As you may reasonably conclude, I DO NOT SHARE THIS VIEW OF OUR LORD’S ‘IMMINENT RETURN’. I remind you that our ancient brethren in the year 999 A.D. also confidently awaited Jesus’ return in the year 1000 A.D. They waited their entire lives, and we of the present are still waiting.
The ominous “shadows of the things that may be” in mankind’s future generally, and in the future of Americans specifically, are ever looming over us. Some conservatives and political philosophers foresee a future that entails an almost endless downward spiral into some form of repressive socialism, into what the late President Ronald Reagan foresaw would be “a thousand years of darkness” and tyranny—what the prescient George Orwell foresaw as “a jack boot stomping on a human face, forever”. (Just review the history of the 20th century for multiple examples of ‘repressive socialism’ and the evil those philosophies—Nazi-ism, Fascism—Communism—inflicted upon suffering mankind). Others, including myself, are virtually convinced that a true civil war between groups of socialist-loving pseudo-Americans, and the remnants of Constitution-honoring Americans, is on our near horizon. Still others are certain that the United States has already entered the inescapable “event horizon” of the “black hole of tyranny”, when our historic Constitutional liberties begin to die from “a thousand cuts” rendered against them by those who we call “The Deep State” and their willing accomplices, the slimy “Swamp Dwellers”, from which the ‘blood’ of freedom will slowly drain away, and one form or another of ghastly repression and collectivism will descend permanently on this land. If our current “courses are persevered in”, one or another of these ghastly outcomes will surely come to pass—an inevitable penalty for our denying the gruesome and painful lessons of history, and being too cowardly to band together with others of like mind and “change” those courses!
Whatever the future holds for us as Americans, Christians, and patriots who love what America once was, it will surely be a time full of the everlasting Grace of our Heavenly Father, who will still shed His love on and protection of any remnants of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes, for even though we now see “through a glass, darkly”, we as Christians have the assurance that God is now, and always will be, in control of the affairs of men. What I am confident of is that, until the moment that God’s ‘trumpet’ sounds, and our Lord returns to gather up his flock, the battle between good and evil—between light and darkness—between man’s innate longing for freedom and the “beast’s” desire to enslave—will still be raging. Until Jesus’ Second Coming, whenever that may be, soon or far off, I know that there will always be special men and women, just as there are today, who will battle against the DEMONS OF COLLECTIVISM who have tyrannized our species since the first one told our first parents, in God’s Garden, that they, too, could be ‘just like God’ if they’d only listen to him. Sadly, some of their descendants are STILL listening to that ‘evil one’, to their eternal detriment; and even more sadly, and more than a bit ominously, our nation is full of them.