ASK Commentary
January 28, 2005 

Freedom as God’s Gift

Commentary for January 28, 2005 — Bush’s Second Inaugural Speech

President George W. Bush gave a highly significant Second Inaugural Speech on January 25, 2005. I encourage you to read the speech at article “ President Sworn-In to Second Term.” It is a speech written not to America only, but to the world. It “reads” beautifully. It was a carefully crafted speech. The words are powerful.

In the past President Bush had been criticized for not having a vision of history and not having a sense of his place in history. No one can read this Second Inaugural Speech and continue to hold that criticism.

President Bush’s Prior Statements

The words and sentiments of the Second Inaugural Speech strongly reinforce and expand upon President Bush’s previous statements made often in his prior speeches. Two years before on January 2003 President Bush spoke these words:

“We will free people. This great, powerful nation is motivated not by power for power's sake, but because of our values. If everybody matters, if every life counts, then we should hope everybody has the great God's gift of freedom. ... And the biggest value we hold dear is the value of freedom. [Applause.] As I said last night, freedom and liberty, they are not America's gifts to the world. They are God's gift to humanity. We hold that thought dear to our hearts.”

• President Bush, speech January 29, 2003
 http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030129-4.html

Freedom and liberty are cognate word as used by President Bush. By “freedom” and “liberty” he means a lack of restraint and freedom to have address from grievances and complaints publicly without fear of arrest or punishment. President Bush repeated those words several times in many speeches. Note what he said over 1½ years later:

“Freedom is not America's gift to the world; freedom is the Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world.”

• President Bush, November 4, 2004
  http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/11/20041110-9.html

Whether you agree or disagree sharply with his actions as President, these are not just true words, these are sound words (1 Timothy 1:13). President Bush gave similar sentiments a few weeks later when he declared Human Rights Day:

Freedom and dignity are God's gift to each man and woman in the world. During this observance, we encourage all nations to continue working towards freedom, peace, and security, which can be achieved only through democracy, respect for human rights, and the rule of law.”

• President Bush, December 10, 2004
  http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/12/20041210-17.html

President Bush uses these words deliberately to communicate to the world his political message. It is hoped that the effect of those words will have the same effect of galvanizing thoughts of unfree people around the world.

Presidents Carter and Reagan

In the 1970s President Carter’s call for all nations to respect the human rights of their citizens had some effect. In the 1980s Ronald Reagan’s words of freedom and hope galvanized the people of Poland and other countries in Eastern Europe to resist the rule of the Soviet Union, not with bullets but by simply expecting justice, demanding their rights, and ignoring unjust rules, demands, and commands of their oppressors.

President Reagan’s declaration that the Soviet Union was an “evil empire” inspired those peoples to non-violent action. Another action was Reagan’s call for the Soviet Union to tear down the barriers between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, calling for greater autonomy for the east European nations. In a speech referring to the Berlin Wall separating East and West Berlin, President Reagan declared, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” He reinforced his rhetoric with the action of military buildup that the Soviet Union could not match. The internal and external pressures cracked the political structure of the Soviet Union, causing a relatively peaceful disintegration.

As a result the following nations had the yoke of the Soviet control removed from their necks. 1 These countries now possess varying degrees of freedom, while maintaining a relationship with Russia, but they are not directly oppressed by a dominating foreign Soviet Empire. All have selected a form of government with varying degrees of democracy. These countries are:

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, East Germany, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Boznia, Herzegovina, Yugoslavia, Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia — and the ruler, Russia itself.

That is an amazing list. Some of these nations I cannot place without a map identifying them. Some of them are landlocked deep within Asia and Eastern Europe. Most of these nations, if not all, have had elections several times since the collapse of the Soviet Union. See the map: “The Collapse of the Soviet Union” that shows most of them.

In the 1990s with European nations leading, the United States assisted some of the former Soviet client states in the Balkans to stabilize their political situations toward a democratic structure. Lately the United States militarily liberated (but not pacified) the countries of Afghanistan and Iraq both of which have Islamic populations of mixed ethnic heritage. Recent successful elections in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Palestine, and the soon elections in Iraq signal further political stability where elections have not been seen in a lifetime or longer.

Second Inaugural Speech – Specifics

The recent reelection of President Bush signals that the United States will continue his stated policy to promote freedom around the world. President Bush expanded this theme repeatedly in his Second Inaugural Address. In fact he used the word “freedom” 27 times and “liberty” some 14 times.

“Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well — a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.”

In my opinion, the phrase “hope kindles hope” is what President Bush desires to accomplish in the minds of unfree people around the world. One country turning from totalitarianism to freedom encourages others to hope and work for the same thing. “If they can have freedom, why not us?” is the question people in these countries ask. President Bush believes that if one country gains freedom, its example will lead others to desire their liberty, and that will influence still others in a domino effect around the world.

I believe this to be a correct understanding of the rising tide of freedom around the world.

The phrase “fire in the minds of men” is an intentional literary reference to a catch-phrase used by radical revolutionaries in the late 1800s and early 1900s. President Bush deliberately turns the phrase completely around, changing it from a meaning that expressed the historical inevitability of collective totalitarianism (whether socialist fascism, socialist Nazism or socialist communism) into a phrase expressing the historical inevitability of freedom. 2

President Bush’s View of History

President Bush believes that history has moved in a direction of increasing freedom, and he explains why he feels that way. I have set out some phrasing poetically to emphasize his intended meaning:

“We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom.
Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability;
it is human choices that move events.
Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation;
God moves and chooses as He wills.
We have confidence because,
freedom is the permanent hope of mankind,
[freedom is] the hunger in dark places,
[freedom is] the longing of the soul. ...
History has an ebb and flow of justice,
but history also has a visible direction,
set by liberty and
the Author of Liberty.”

These are deep and powerful philosophical thoughts that exhibit a knowledge of God as Creator and, I might add, a sophisticated biblical understanding. These are the words of a thoughtful man. These are the words of a man who has a fear of God (Proverbs 9:10, 14:26–27). As former Presidential speech writer and author, Peggy Noonan said, this speech by President Bush was “God drenched.” The reference to “dark places” is perhaps a reference to Psalm 74, particularly two verses where national humiliation and oppression are in view:

“The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty. O let not the oppressed return ashamed: let the poor and needy praise your name.”

• Psalm 74:20–21

The phrase “longing of the soul” also refers to oppression and a waiting for deliverance:

“For he satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron.”

• Psalm 107:9–10

These words of President Bush exhibit a sophisticated political and historical sense. While not believing that the course of history is inevitable, there is a recognition that the direction of history is toward freedom and liberty.

United States Is Not Chosen

President Bush clearly states the United States of America is NOT “a chosen nation” or even a nation with a mission. It is important that he understands this and expresses it to the world.

Even so, he states that the United States will promote freedom simply because it is the right and correct thing to do at this time in history. I think this is a proper sentiment.

Of course, the unstated implication is that President Bush understands that there is a people and a nation that is chosen by God, although that nation is not the United States. President Bush’s political relationship toward Israel and Palestine indicates that even though he may believe Israel is that chosen nation (as the Bible clearly indicates), it does not mean that the government of Israel is always right or that it should always have its way vis-à-vis its neighbors.

President Bush has treated Israel with reserved respect as a political ally, while attempting to use the great influence of the United States to help solve the Middle East dilemma of the Israel/Palestinian issue.

Love your Neighbor

This is an exactly correct understanding and goal. In the international “neighborhood,” nations should, ideally, “love their neighbor” and this is the sense in which I read and understand President Bush’s words. To be sure this is a goal, and not an expected reality, certainly not within his term and likely not within his lifetime. In fact he states precisely his goal by declaring a single policy statement.

In international relations such statements are made for the benefit of other governments and are intentionally worded to be clear and unambiguous, as President Bush says:

“So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”

This policy puts non-democratic countries on notice that their actions are being watched, judged and may be acted upon by the United States. Primarily this policy would be conducted by judging and reacting to the behavior of nations by how they treat their own people.

This is precisely the basis on which God judges rulers. See Psalm 82 and particularly Leviticus chapter 19. Consider the international neighborhood that Israel (Jacob) lives in today, with its neighbors and even its brother nations descended from Esau:

“You shall not defraud your neighbor, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with you all night until the morning. You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear thy God: I am the LORD.

You shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: you shall not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go up and down as a talebearer among your people: neither shall you stand against the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

You shall not hate your brother in your heart: you shall in any wise rebuke your neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him. You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”

• Leviticus 19:13–18

Paul reiterated this on a personal level,

“For, brethren, you have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

• Galatians 5:13–14

This statement by Paul (who in turn references Leviticus) is the same basis used by President Bush to promote freedom to the international “neighborhood.” President Bush sees this as a good and correct thing for the United States to attempt, given its present power, position, and influence around the world. Freedom is not something that can be forced upon a people or a nation, but it can be helped.

The Policy of Freedom — the Method

Natan Sharansky points this out in his book The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny & Terror (New York: Public Affairs, 2004). Sharansky was a dissident in the Soviet Union who was imprisoned for 9 years before he emigrated to Israel. Sharansky credits Senator Henry Jackson and President Reagan with understanding how to promote freedom in international relations. He explains,

“The Soviets needed things from the West — legitimacy, economic benefits, technology, etc. To get them, leaders like Reagan and Jackson demanded that the Soviets change their behavior toward their own people. ... Jackson and Reagan would link America’s policies to the Soviet’s domestic conduct.”

• Sharansky, Case for Democracy, p. 12
emphasis by the author

... and not just their international conduct. How countries treat their own people will now be the basis of judging conduct. This linkage is how the Bush policy will promote freedom.

Bush hosted Sharansky at the White House two days before the Second Inaugural address, when they discussed their mutual ideas on freedom. (See the article, “ White House takes a page out of Sharansky's democracy playbook.”) Apparently the two men were in total agreement. President Bush noted that his ideas about freedom were developed before he ever read Sharansky’s book, although he stated that the book precisely reflected his views. This may be a case of iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17).

President Bush in the Inaugural Address also made clear the means by which the United States would “seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions.” Military action will be rarely used:

“This is not primarily the task of arms, ... Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.”

Freedom, What Is It?

Sharansky defines freedom: “A society is free if people have a right to express their views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm” (Sharansky, Case for Democracy, p. 40). President Bush would likely add that this expression of views would take place in public. Sharansky (p. 40–41) further explains,

“The town square test: Can a person walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm? If he can, then that person is living in a free society. If not, it’s a fear society.”

By dichotomizing societies into either free or fear, Sharansky has simplified and made stark the identification of each society to fit into either of these two categories. This free or fear identification can be made in any society from the village to nation states. (He makes a further distinction between a free society and a just society.) Free societies are not perfect. Neither are democracies.

Democracy’s Imperfections

Six days after his Second Inaugural Speech President Bush admitted in his January 26, 2005 White House press conference ( http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/01/20050126-3.html), that democracy is never perfect:

“Democracy is a progress — you'll see progress toward a goal. There won't be instant democracy. And I remind people that our own country is a work in progress. We declared all people equal, and yet, all people weren't treated equally for a century. We said, everybody counts, but everybody didn't count. ... we're talking about the work of generations. And so in my talks, in my discussions with world leaders to solve the problem of the day, I will constantly remind them about our strong belief that democracy is the way forward.”

He truthfully acknowledged that for the first 100 years, and more, the United States itself did not live up to the ideals of the founding fathers or its founding documents.

The achievement of freedom for the entire world will not be accomplished before Christ’s return or even for a period after that. We know this because a large number of Jews will be enslaved before the Second Coming of Christ. Note again the careful metrical phrasing in the Second Inaugural Address:

“In America's ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence,
instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. ...
In America's ideal of freedom, the public interest depends
on private character,
on integrity, and
[on] tolerance toward others, and
[on] the rule of conscience in our own lives. ...
In America's ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights is ennobled by
service, and
mercy, and
a heart for the weak.”

These are biblical ideals that reflect how we should relate to our fellow human beings. To continue,

“We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world. ... America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one.”

The interdependence of nations and peoples and trade and communications and travel necessitates, in President Bush’s view, that if one nation is not free, the other nations are diminished. Our liberty depends on the liberty of others.

Proclamations

Toward the beginning of his speech President Bush used intentional biblical language when he pointedly used the word “proclaim” twice:

“From the day of our Founding,

we have proclaimed
that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value,
because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth.
Across the generations
we have proclaimed
the imperative of self-government,
because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave.”

These words are both beautiful and true. The proclamation is two-fold, first that everyone has rights, and second that self-government is essential.

Then yet a third time, at the end of his speech, President Bush used the word “proclaim” again, this time making a direct biblical reference:

“When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, ‘It rang as if it meant something.’ In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof.”

This is a tremendously ambitious proclamation. He was quoting Leviticus and applying that statement to the world:

“And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

Leviticus 25:10

This proclamation of liberty in Leviticus was to occur at the time of Jubilee when Israel would emancipate slaves. There is no evidence from the Bible or from history that the Jubilee or the liberation was ever carried out.

President Bush said that freedom and liberty are God’s gift to mankind. While not explicitly listed as a gift to nations, freedom is a gift on a personal level. Freedom comes from the Son through His truth which makes you free (John 8:32, 36). To understand the full range of the gifts of God, see Ecclesiastes 3:13, 5:19; John 4:10; Acts 8:20, 11:17; Romans 5:15–16, 6:23; 1 Corinthians 7:7; 2 Corinthians 9:15; Ephesians 2:8, 3:7; 2 Timothy 1:6; and 1 Peter 4:10.

To strive for freedom in every sphere of life — whether in your personal, family, national, or economic life — is a noble ambition, but it is not the most important thing in life. As Christ said:

“But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Matthew 6:31–34

It is possible to seek the Kingdom of God without being free, but it is easier and better to seek the Kingdom of God and learn about God when you are free to read, study and discuss Him and His Word in public without threat of duress or punishment. Economic freedom often leads to political freedom, which in turn leads to social and religious freedom. For those people who do not know God, freedom — political, economic, and social freedom — is a powerful motivator and a worthy goal.

The Problems of Freedom

My admiration notwithstanding, I have difficulty with President Bush’s vision of the world and even with the freedom that may result.

First, freedom without discipline and a rule of law can cause a degeneration of society into lawlessness, chaos, and anarchy. A good case could be made that something akin to democracy was what Israel had during the time of the Judges of Israel, when the rule of law was only loosely applied

“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

• Judges 17:6 (and 21:25)

Second, President Bush and the United States had better follow through and work hard to bring liberty to the world. Read Jeremiah chapter 34. The king and leaders of Judah reneged on the freedom they promised, which God said was good for them to do. God looks harshly upon those who proclaim freedom and do not carry out what is necessary to fulfill that promise.

The apostle Peter was likely thinking of Jeremiah chapter 34 when he wrote about people in his own day who similarly proclaimed liberty, yet became corrupted and entangled in the pollutions of the world. (See 2 Peter 2:19–20.)

Third, there is a tendency in President Bush’s speech to equate democracy and freedom. The two are mutually exclusive although in the present day they tend to occur concurrently. Several powerful nations throughout history have been democracies while oppressing non-citizens.

Let me point to ancient Greece, ancient Rome, the Venetian Republic, the Dutch Republic, the British Empire, the French Republic, the German Republic after World War I, and the United States — all allowed forms of extreme servitude to exist toward non-citizens, or toward second-class citizens in their histories. This flaw contributed to their downfall. The United States on its part underwent a horrific Civil War. Some say the United States today is oppressive and overbearing in its economic policies.

The apostle Peter states clearly the proper manner of life we should living:

“As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.”

1 Peter 2:16–18

Fourth, there are many forms of democracy, with a sliding scale of representation. Even tribal societies can be representative and just. In most tribal societies the wife and children are represented to the larger world by the man, the husband and father. He in turn is represented by the extended family elder. Together the elders may represent their extended families at the village or neighborhood level within a city. That village or neighborhood is represented to the city or state or national government. Grievances (and taxes) go up the ladder of authority while protection and developments hopefully go down the ladder for the benefit and prosperity of the community. Voting is less important, power and status and payment are more important. Every person has a place and a voice, great or small, within their community, yet the system is very representative usually with laws and traditions to protect the weak of society.

As cultures open themselves up to more direct participation, then the older structure breaks down, while public participation and a “voice” within the community and nation grows. This may be taking place even in regimes such as Saudi Arabia that are commonly considered as oppressive to women and poor in their society.

I recently attended a local world affairs council meeting in my hometown where one of the speakers was a representative from the U.S. State Department who spoke about change in Saudi Arabia. It was his assertion that in spite of the strict Islamic Wahabi sectarianism of the ruling Saudi families, it was in fact the government and upper levels of the ruling families of Saudi Arabia that were pushing for social and political change, especially for the women in their society. The Saudi middle class was pushing for greater freedoms, not just social reform. Resistance was coming from the poorer segments of the Saudi society.

I was surprised at this but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. Many members of the Saudi royal family have lived, worked, and been educated overseas, and have been exposed to Western culture and have seen the benefits of a wider democratic participation, and an “opening up” of the more restrictive social controls and traditions. It is the Saudi rulers who are the agents of change (while maintaining strong rulership power, of course).

One wonders if influence from President Bush and members of his administration after September 11, 2001 have made a difference in the outlook of the Saudi government. Possibly. Perhaps it is a trend that they have been following for some time. On the surface nothing has changed. The Saudi Wahabis continue to support schools that teach hate of non-Muslims. However, constant, careful, and subtle negotiations are at work between the governments of the United States and Saudi Arabia. Change is in the interest of both parties; maintenance of the flow of oil is in the interest of both parties — and to the near-term world economy. Change takes time.

Fifth, the impetus toward freedom is happening in many countries all over of the world, and even in the Middle East. The race seems to be between democratic reform and religious fanaticism. Religious fanaticism will lose. Why? Because the religious fanatics have nothing to contribute to the life of the people. They have yet to show they can successfully administer and rule a country or its resources. All have failed.

Islamic civilization became great when it incorporated the cultures, knowledge, and governmental administrations of the countries they conquered. Such conquest is no longer possible. The governments of Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other Islamic countries are feeling great pressure to reform from the people. They must reform or the ruling structures will break. The policy of President Bush will hasten that reform — or break.

In a speech just as eloquent as Bush’s Second Inaugural Speech, Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke to a joint session of Congress,

There is a myth.
That though we love freedom, others don't.
That our attachment to freedom is a product of our culture.
That freedom, democracy, human rights, the rule of law are American values or Western values.
That Afghan women were content under the lash of the Taliban.
That Saddam was beloved by his people.
That Milosevic was Serbia's saviour.

Ours are not Western values. They are the universal values of the human spirit and anywhere, any time, ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same. Freedom not tyranny. Democracy not dictatorship. The rule of law not the rule of the secret police.

• Prime Minister Blair, July 18, 2003
 http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page4220.asp

Freedom is a universal human desire. How that freedom is expressed is culturally and nationally determined.

Sixth, the best form of human government today is a republic, which can exist only under certain conditions. This is what should be promoted. To push democracy rather than a republic or a representative democracy is a mistake. The United States is less of a republic than it was originally. Some view this as an improvement, others do not. See the excellent article by Walter Williams “Are We a Democracy or a Republic?”. It clarifies the distinctions between the two forms of government: democracy and republic.

In reality, a theocracy is the best form of government because that is the form of rule that Jesus Christ will take when He returns (Psalm 2:7–12; Matthew 25:31–32; Revelation 2:27, 12:5, and 19:15). Later, even He will relinquish the government of the Kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Seventh, the outcome in Iraq is important, whether it remains one country or is broken up into several. (See my article “Iraq in Prophecy, the War Rages”.” This article contains good information and it will direct you to Dr. Martin’s article “The Prophetic Future of Iraq.”

An argument may be made that the phrase “Arab democracy” is an oxymoron. As Natan Sharansky (Case for Democracy, p. 37) points out there has never been an Arab democracy, so how can Bush, Blair, Sharansky ever believe or hope that democracy can come to any Arab country, such as Iraq? Simply because the human condition dictates that all human beings have the same desire:

“There is a universal desire among all peoples not to live in fear. Indeed, given a choice, the vast majority of people will always prefer a free society to a fear society.”

• Sharansky, Case for Democracy, p. 38,
emphasis Sharansky’s

I would consider delays in the stabilization of Iraq as an indication that the time of the end will be farther in the future. Babylon must be rebuilt and become a major world financial center. That takes time. (See the articles on this ASK Website. Type “Babylon” into the “Study Search” box.)

Eighth, Israel, Jerusalem, and the area of the Temple will become increasingly important. If the issues of Israel could be dealt with equitably the radical elements of terrorism would lose credibility, and a powerful issue for their support would go away. The wind will go out of their sails, so to speak. This issue is also used by Middle East governments to divert the attentions and energies of their people from issues of freedom within their own countries. It will remove the excuse not to address the issue of freedom for their own people. I believe Dr. Ernest L. Martin has the best information for a solution to these problems, particularly Jerusalem and the Temple. He also has a political solution. See his seemingly contradictory articles, “Israel Should Cease Its Military Conquest Post-Haste” and “How Israel Will Conquer the Middle East.”

The Future

When the countries of the world change to various forms of democracy and freedom, and their peoples participate in the governing process (even if just to vote), and their right to dissent is protected by the rule of law, then the world will be prepared to receive the Gospel which is prophesied to be preached to all the world (Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13 and Luke chapter 21). They shall be prepared to learn the truth.

When the Gospel is preached to all the world, the people will be ready to receive it. This time the world will listen.

God will prepare them by making them free and giving them liberty to receive, discuss, dissent, and explore the ideas that God will present to them in the restitution of all things.

Most will accept and acknowledge God as God, and will even give lip service to God’s righteousness, but their heart will not be in it. Knowledge of God will fill the earth in seeming fulfillment to prophecies in Isaiah 11:9 and Habakkuk 2:14 (these will actually be fulfilled later). Prosperity will abound around the world and mankind’s greatest achievements will occur. It will be a 666 society.

That very democracy and freedom that brings so many benefits will soon bring corruption, moral and judicial, just as it has in much of the United States and in Europe. Remember what happened to Israel after they crossed the sea and were free from the Egyptians — they rose up to play (Exodus chapter 32, 1 Corinthians 10:1–12).

The apostle Peter relates conditions just before the destruction of Jerusalem, conditions that will reappear during the end-time. The Jews had thrown off the Roman yoke in rebellion, achieving an all too brief and temporary freedom. Referring to reprobates from faith in Christ, some of whom were in control of Jerusalem and making promises to believers and Jewish people alike,

“While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.”

2 Peter 2:19–20

The free peoples of the world will choose to be ignorant, repeating the example of Romans chapter 1. God will blind them and the people of the world will be ripe to accept the antichrist just before the return of Jesus Christ.

Deception and Reception

Then will start a new and final persecution of the Jews:

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and you shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. ... And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

Matthew 24:9, 14

“And the gospel must first be published [Greek, proclaimed] among all nations.”

Mark 13:10

“Who in times past suffered [allowed] all nations to walk in their own ways.”

Acts 14:16

The antichrist will gain his rule by his brilliance, his understanding of “dark sayings” and he will be acclaimed by the free peoples of the world who will think he is God. The entire world will rejoice and celebrate when the two witnesses are killed. Such will be the action of free peoples (Revelation 11:3–12).

Impact

The effect of the policies of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, and others, as presented by them and authors like Natan Sharansky is beginning to have an effect. Nations of the world appear to be reacting to these pronouncements.

Recently even Communist China is beginning to allow (so they say) multiple political parties. In a statement titled “CPC to strengthen multi-party cooperation (01/24/05)” issued by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, multiple political parties would be allowed so long as they adhere to the guidelines and rule by the Communist Party of China. While this likely refers to local political interests and the pre-existing parties in Hong Kong, this announcement gives lip service to the freedoms that President Bush promotes. While the CPC has no intention of giving up power to any other political party, it felt a need to express their “allowance” for multiple parties,” as propaganda ploy.

The timing of this statement coming only 4 days after President Bush’s speech is very interesting. So too, the fact that China is not imprisoning leaders of other political parties is interesting. China’s extremely rapid economic growth is creating economic independence for many in China. The almost nonexistent middle class is now being created. This economic prosperity will put pressure on institutions to allow open public discourse. Eventually this will allow open public discourse about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 3


1   Dr. Ernest Martin predicted the fall of the Soviet Union long before it took place. Dr. Martin produced a tape dated February 6, 1982 (reissued in 1991) in which he gives his reasons why the Soviet Union could not succeed and would collapse, hopefully without warfare. This in fact happened. (ASK will put up on the Website soon). Dr. Martin noted that the bulk of military might of the Soviet Union was used as a prison-guard force to keep the people inside the Soviet empire, not to be used to invade further countries. This was a most accurate appraisal.

Around the same time Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) predicted the Soviet Union’s collapse. See political historian Richard Gid Powers’s lengthy introduction to Moynahan’s excellent book Secrecy: The American Experience (Yale University Press, 1999). Moynahan’s premise in the book was that excessive secrecy by the U.S. government prolonged the myth of Soviet economic and military power, and delayed its collapse. DWS

2   Historically the phrase “fire in the minds of men” is best explained in the book of the same name by traditional historian James Billington, Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith (Transaction Publishers, 1998, original publication, 1980). James Billington is currently the Librarian of Congress in Washington D.C. The faith Billington refers to is based on a hatred of God and a desire of the few to rule over the many, the opposite of democratic ideals and the direct opposite of a republic.

Personal freedom in Christ is your possession right now, no matter what your personal situation. See Dr. Martin’s article “God’s Manifesto of Human Rights and Privileges.” DWS

3   Christianity in China has an interesting history. Do you know about the Taiping Rebellion in China in the 1840s to the 1860s? The Taipings created a heterodox Christian empire out of the Chinese Manchu empire during that time. The Taipings begged Christian missionaries to come and teach them about God and the Bible. Because the Taipings were not doctrinally “pure” the missionaries never came. The British helped the Manchus destroy the Taiping Rebellion, advised by the good “Christian” General Charles Gordon (who later died at Khartoum fighting Sudanese Arabs). It seems that the Taiping Rebellion was threatening the British opium trade within China, which the Manchus permitted. Millions of people died in that war, Christianity in China was crushed, and later went underground after the Communist Chinese takeover of Mainland China in 1949. The Chinese Christian movement has flourished under Communist persecution with little help from Christians overseas. God knows His own. For a snapshot of China’s future see Dr. Martin’s excellent article “China in Prophecy.” DWS

David Sielaff
david@askelm.com

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