American Empire Disaggregated

We’ve taken our post, ‘Revolution Within the Form – Review and Commentary’ and disaggregated it. It was too long and tortuous as extracted from the source material, so we took it apart into more cohesive modules. However, as with all blog posts, these modules were posted in reverse order so that they would be in order when read later. This post links these posts for those who saw them issued in reverse order.

  1. Do Not Look for a RevolutionGaret Garrett and his views on our loss of the American Republic to empire, his so-called ‘revolution within the form.’
  2. Our Government’s Erosion Garet Garrett’s synecdoche, centered on the Constitution’s phrase, “The Congress shall have power to declare war,” for the erosion of the American republic and transformation into empire.
  3. What Has Become of Our Government? Garet Garrett’s description of the American Empire.
  4. The Bureaucratic State Garet Garrett’s description of the growth of executive power and nature of the administrative state.
  5. What Should We Do About the American Empire?Garet Garrett’s thoughts for reconstituting the American republic and a suggested scriptural alternative.

We also attempted to get these published in a national blog, but they weren’t appropriate to their needs. Hopefully these smaller articles will get wider distribution and reading. Garrett foresaw what many did not seventy years ago. Some, however, did. The difference of course is that he said something about it. He was forgotten.

Signing the U.S. Constitution
Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, Howard Chandler Christy (January 10, 1873 – March 3, 1952), Public Domain in the US

Do Not Look for a Revolution

Seventy years ago, Garet Garrett, a journalist and novelist, maintained,

There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road.  But they are gazing in the wrong direction.  The revolution is behind them.  It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs to freedom.

He quotes Aristotle’s Politics, “one thing takes the place of another, so that the ancient laws will remain, while the power will be in the hands of those who have brought about revolution in the state.”

In a Mises Institute condensation, titled, “The American Empire,” (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) from his book, The People’s Pottage, he quotes Aristotle’s Politics again,

People do not easily change but love their own ancient customs; and it is by small degrees only that one thing takes the place of another; so that the ancient laws will remain, while the power will be in the hands of those who have brought about a revolution in the state.

Garrett charges this subversion, which he terms a ‘revolution within the form,’ against the Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Harry Truman administrations.

Garrett sums up his thesis this way,

The extent to which the original precepts and intentions of constitutional, representative, limited government, in the republican form, have been eroded away by argument and dialectic is a separate subject, long and ominous, and belongs to a treatise on political science.

…When the process of erosion has gone on until there is no saying what the supreme law of the land is at a given time, then the Constitution begins to be flouted by executive will, with something like impunity.  The instances may not be crucial at first and all the more dangerous for that reason.  As one is condoned another follows and they become progressive…

As we see every day, the revolution is not over.  However, Garrett’s point is that the revolution started in the early Twentieth Century.  Keep in mind that the original source article was published in 1952, seventy years ago.

Our Government’s Erosion

In a Mises Institute condensation, titled, “The American Empire,” (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) from Garet Garrett’s book, The People’s Pottage, he wrote,

The extent to which the original precepts and intentions of constitutional, representative, limited government, in the republican form, have been eroded away by argument and dialectic is a separate subject, long and ominous, and belongs to a treatise on political science.

…When the process of erosion has gone on until there is no saying what the supreme law of the land is at a given time, then the Constitution begins to be flouted by executive will, with something like impunity.  The instances may not be crucial at first and all the more dangerous for that reason.  As one is condoned another follows and they become progressive…

Garrett describes a representative instance of the whole erosive process,

…There was one thing a President could never do.  There was one sentence of the Constitution that could not fall, so long as the Republic lived.

The Constitution says: “The Congress shall have power to declare war.”

…Congress could be trusted never to do it but by will of the people.  And that was the innermost safeguard of the republic.  The decision whether or not to go to war was in the hands of the people – or so they believed.  No man could make it for them…

He writes that this constitutional principle was circumvented, an example of the progressive ‘revolution within the form,’

President Truman, alone and without either the consent or knowledge of Congress, had declared war on the Korean aggressor, seven thousand miles away, Congress condoned his usurpation of its exclusive constitutional power.  More than that, his political supporters in Congress argued that in the modern case that sentence in the Constitution conferring upon Congress the sole power to declare war was obsolete.

Mark you, the words had not been erased; they still existed in form.  Only, they had become obsolete.  And why obsolete?  Because war may now begin suddenly, with bombs falling out of the sky, and we might perish while waiting for Congress to declare war.

The reasoning is puerile.  [Firstly,] the Korean War, which made the precedent, did not begin that way; secondly, Congress was in session at the time, so that the delay could not have been more than a few hours, provided Congress had been willing to declare war; and, thirdly, the President as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Republic may in a legal manner act defensively before a declaration of war has been made.  It is bound to be made if the nation has been attacked…

A few months later Mr. Truman sent American troops to Europe to join an international army, and did it not only without a law, without even consulting Congress, but challenged the power of Congress to stop him.  Congress made all of the necessary sounds of anger and then poulticed its dignity with a resolution saying it was all right for that one time, since anyhow it had been done, but that hereafter it would expect to be consulted.

But the damage had been done.  The congress no longer held this constitutional power, de facto.  All that was left was for the executive branch to declare it de jure.  Garrett writes,

At that time the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate asked the State Department to set forth in writing what might be called the position of Executive Government.

The State Department obligingly responded with a document entitled, “Powers of the President to Send Troops Outside of the United States, February 28, 1951.” For the information of the United States Senate, it said: “As this discussion of the respective powers of the President and Congress has made clear, constitutional doctrine has been largely molded by practical necessities.  Use of the congressional power to declare war, for example, has fallen into abeyance because wars are no longer declared in advance.”

…If constitutional doctrine is molded by necessity, what is a written Constitution for?

Garrett states that the modus operandi for every revolutionary act undertaken by the Wilson, FDR, and Truman administrations, in the context of his example,

Thus, an argument that seemed at first to rest upon puerile reasoning turned out to be deep and cunning.  The immediate use of it was to defend the unconstitutional Korean precedent, namely, the declaration of war as an act of the President’s own will.  Yet it was not invented for that purpose alone.  It stands as a forecast of executive intentions, a manifestation of the executive mind, a mortal challenge to the parliamentary principle…

If you think about recent history, this method of operation is used to this day at all levels of government.  Imagine teaching these things in civics class.

What Has Become of Our Government?

Summarized in a Mises Institute condensation, titled, “The American Empire,” (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) from Garet Garrett’s book, The People’s Pottage, we read,

If you may have Empire with or without a constitution, even within the form of a republican constitution, and if also you may have Empire with or without an emperor, then how may the true marks of Empire be distinguished with certainty?  What are they?

Garrett lists six of these marks,

1) The executive power of government shall be dominant.  – What Empire needs above all in government is an executive power that can make immediate decisions, such as a decision in the middle of the night by the President to declare war on the aggressor…  The Federal income-tax law of 1914 gave the government unlimited access to wealth…not for revenue only but…for redistribution of the national wealth.  Congress…principal function was to enact and [fund] them.  The part of the Supreme Court was to make everything square with the Constitution by a liberal reinterpretation of its language…  For all the years before when you spoke of the executive power of government you meant only the power to execute and administer the laws.  Henceforth it would mean the power to [rule].

No longer did the Congress of the United States speak for the people, but the President did, as head of the Executive Government.  Garrett writes, “Thus the man who happens to be the embodiment of the executive principle stands between the Congress and the people and assumes the right to express [the people’s] will.”

Examining the second mark of empire, Garrett writes,

2) Domestic policy becomes subordinate to foreign policy.  – It needs hardly to be argued that as we convert the nation into a garrison state to build the most terrible war machine that has ever been imagined on earth, every domestic policy is bound to be conditioned by our foreign policy…  We are no longer able to choose between peace and war.  We have embraced perpetual war…

The third mark of empire is this,

3) Ascendancy of the military mind, to such a point…that the civilian mind is intimidated.  – War becomes an instrument of domestic policy.  Among the control mechanisms on the government’s panel board now is a dial marked War.  It may be set to increase or decrease the tempo of military expenditures, as the planners decide that what the economy needs is a little more inflation or a little less – but of course never any deflation.  And whereas it was foreseen that when Executive Government is resolved to control the economy it will come to have a vested interest in the power of inflation, so now we perceive that it will come also to have a kind of proprietary interest in the institution of perpetual war…

He then identifies a historic structural aspect of empire,

4) [It acquires] a system of satellite nations.  – We speak of our own satellites as allies and friends or as freedom loving nations.  Nevertheless, satellite is the right word.  The meaning of it is the hired guard…  For any one of them to involve us in war it is necessary only for the Executive Power at Washington to decide that its defense is somehow essential to the security of the United States…

…Any candidate for office who trifles with its basic conviction will be scourged.  The basic conviction is simple.  We cannot stand alone.  A capitalistic economy, though it possesses half the industrial power of the whole world, cannot defend its own hemisphere.  It may be able to save the world; alone it cannot save itself.  It must have allies.  Fortunately, it is able to buy them, bribe them, arm them, feed and clothe them; it may cost us more than we can afford, yet we must have them or perish.  This voice of fear is the voice of government.

This hired guard becomes a source of both boasting and fear for empire.  Garrett says,

5) [It is in thrall to a combination] of [boasting] and fear.  – As we assume unlimited political liabilities all over the world…there is only scorn for the one who says: “We are not infinite.  Let us calculate our utmost power of performance, weigh it against what we are proposing to do, and see if the scales will balance.”  The [boastful] answer is: “We do not know what our utmost is.  What we will to do, that we can do.  Let us resolve to do what is necessary.  Necessity will create the means.”

Conversely, the fear.  Fear of the barbarian.  Fear of standing alone.  A time comes when the guard itself, that is, your system of satellites, is a source of fear.  Satellites are often willful and the more you rely upon them the more willful and demanding they are…  How will they behave when the test comes?  …If they falter or fail, what will become of the weapons with which we have supplied them?  What if they were surrendered or captured and turned against us?  The possibility of having to face its own weapons on a foreign field is one of the nightmares of Empire…

The last mark of empire, Garrett writes, is that the time comes when,

6) [It] finds itself a prisoner of history.  – …A Republic is not obliged to act upon the world, either to change or instruct it.  Empire, on the other hand, must put forth its power…  It is our turn: to assume the responsibilities of moral leadership in the world; to maintain a balance of power against the forces of evil everywhere – in Europe and Asia and Africa, in the Atlantic and in the Pacific, by air and by sea…; to keep the peace of the world; to save civilization; and to serve mankind.

…Always the banners of Empire proclaim that the ends in view sanctify the means.  The ironies, sublime and pathetic, are two.  The first one is that Empire believes what it says on its banner; the second is that the word for the ultimate end is invariably Peace.  Peace by grace of force.  One must see that on the road to Empire there is soon a point from which there is no turning back…

Summing up his description of empire, Garrett writes,

Between government in the republican meaning, that is, constitutional, representative, limited government, on the one hand, and Empire, on the other hand, there is mortal enmity.  Either one must forbid the other or one will destroy the other.  That we know.  Yet never has the choice been put to a vote of the people.

The country has been committed to the course of Empire by Executive Government, one step at a time, with slogans, concealments, equivocations, a propaganda of fear, and in every crisis an appeal for unity, lest we present to the world the aspect of a divided nation, until at last it may be proclaimed that events have made the decision and it is irrevocable.  Thus, now to alter the course is impossible.

Who says it is impossible?  The President says it; the State Department says it; all globalists and one-worlders are saying it.

Garrett wrote these things seventy years ago.  Having had a brief respite from new perpetual wars, we are right back at it.  What comes to my mind is the scripture, “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”  Jeremiah 6:14, English Standard Version.

The Bureaucratic State

Before the administrative state was named, it was called the bureau government.  Garet Garrett defined it in his book, The People’s Pottage.  From a Mises Institute condensation, titled, “The American Empire,” (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), we read,

What Empire needs above all in government is an executive power that can make immediate decisions, such as a decision in the middle of the night by the President to declare war on the aggressor…

The Federal income-tax law of 1914 gave the government unlimited access to wealth and, moreover, power for the first time to levy taxes not for revenue only but for social purposes, …for redistribution of the national wealth.

Congress received from the White House laws that were marked “must.”  Its principal function was to enact and [fund] them.  The part of the Supreme Court was to make everything square with the Constitution by a liberal reinterpretation of its language.

The word executive came to have its new connotation.  For all the years before when you spoke of the executive power of government you meant only the power to execute and administer the laws.  Henceforth it would mean the power to [rule].

Garrett concludes, “The result is Bureau Government, administered by bureaucrats who are not elected by the people…”  He then examines the ways that executive power expands.

(1) By delegation.  That is when the Congress delegates one or more of its constitutional powers to the President and authorizes him to exercise them.

(2) By reinterpretation of the language of the Constitution.  That is done by a sympathetic Supreme Court.

(3) By innovation.  That is when, in this changing world, the President does things that are not specifically forbidden by the Constitution because the founders never thought of them.

(4) By the appearance in the sphere of Executive Government of what are called administrative agencies, with power to issue rules and regulations that have the force of law.

(5) By usurpation.  That is when the President willfully confronts Congress with what in statecraft is called the fait accompli – a thing already done – which Congress cannot repudiate without exposing the American government to the ridicule of nations…

(6) Lastly, the powers of Executive Government are bound to increase as the country becomes more and more involved in foreign affairs.  This is true because, both traditionally and by the terms of the Constitution, the province of foreign affairs is one that belongs in a very special sense to the President.

Examining the administrative state more deeply, Garrett writes,

These [administrative] agencies have built up a large body of administrative law which people are obliged to obey.  And not only do they make their own laws; they enforce their own laws, acting as prosecutor, jury and judge; and appeal from their decisions to the regular courts is difficult because the regular courts are obliged to take their findings of fact as final.  Thus, the constitutional separation of the three governmental powers, namely, the legislative, the executive and the judicial, is entirely lost.

Garret wrote this seventy years ago.  Sadly, generations of conservative opinion makers seem to have made their fortunes from this kind of material.  Garrett was conveniently forgotten.  The administrative state has only grown larger these many years.

What Should We Do About the American Empire?

Garet Garrett defined the American empire in his book, The People’s Pottage, seventy years ago.  From a Mises Institute condensation, titled, “The American Empire,” (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), Garrett says,

Do not ask whether or not it is possible [to alter our course].  Ask yourself this: if it were possible, what would it take?  How could the people restore the Republic if they would?  Or, before that, how could they recover their Constitutional sovereign right to choose for themselves?

When you have put it that way you are bound to turn and look at the lost terrain.  What are the positions, forgotten or surrendered, that would have to be recaptured?

He then lists the hills that must be retaken if the republic is to be reestablished.

The first hill is “a state of mind,”

To recover the habit of decision the people must learn again to think for themselves; and this would require a kind of self-awakening, as from a wee small alarm in the depths.

The second is “renewed public debate of foreign policy.”  Citing a speech given to the National Women’s Democratic Club on November 20, 1951, by President Truman, Garrett quotes,

You remember what happened in 1920.  When the people voted for Harding, that meant a tremendous change in the course the United States was following.  It meant that we turned our backs on the new-born League of Nations…  I think most people now recognize that the country chose the wrong course in 1920…  Since I have been President, I have sought to steer a straight course of handling foreign policy matters on the sole basis of the national interest.  The people I have chosen to fill the major positions concerned with foreign policy have been picked solely on merit, without regard to party labels.  I want to keep it that way.  I want to keep our foreign policy out of domestic politics.

Garrett then analyzes Truman’s remarks,

So far had the American mind been conditioned by the infatuate phrase, bi-partisan foreign policy, that extraordinary statement was vacantly received.  What was the President saying?  He was saying that because, in his opinion, the people once voted wrong on foreign policy, they ought not to vote on it at all anymore.  Let them leave it to the President.  It follows logically that the people have no longer anything to say about war and peace.

On this [hill], where foreign policy once more shall be debated by the people who may have to die for it, let the wind be cold and merciless.  Let those be nakedly exposed to it who have brought the country to this impasse.

The next hill that must be retaken is the “public purse,” once controlled by the people through congress, and now by the unelected Government Executive through (or, sometimes, in spite of) the president.  He writes,

Until the people have recovered [the public purse] they cannot tame Executive Government.  Passing laws to control or restrain it is of no avail whatever.  The only way to reason with it is to cut it off at the pockets…  No matter how badly the people may manage the public purse it cannot control them, whereas, in the hands of the government, control of the purse becomes the single most powerful instrument of executive policy touching the lives of the people.

Finally, the highest hill Garrett identifies, is the cost to save the republic that each citizen must pay, which he names “the Peak of Fortitude.”

What you have to face is that the cost of saving the Republic may be extremely high.  It could be relatively as high as the cost of setting it up in the first place, [two hundred forty-seven] years ago, when love of political liberty was a mighty passion, and people were willing to die for it.

When the economy has for a long time been moving by jet propulsion, the higher the faster, on the fuel of perpetual war and planned inflation, the time comes when you have to choose whether to go on and on and dissolve in the stratosphere or decelerate.  But deceleration will cause a terrific shock.  Who will say, “Now!”?  Who is willing to face the grim and dangerous realities of deflation and depression?

…No doubt the people know they can have their Republic back if they want it enough to fight for it and to pay the price.  The only point is that no leader has yet appeared with the courage to make them choose.

As a defining example of the restoration cost, Garrett cites the scripture, “When Moses had brought his people near to the Promised Land, he sent out scouts to explore it…”  However, he incorrectly concludes that the Israelites would have had to fight for the land themselves in their own strength.  Garrett neglected to mention that the Lord God promised that He would fight for them.  In this, Garrett is grievously mistaken.  Actions of mere men will never overturn powers, principalities, and rulers of the darkness

Remarkably, though, all of Garrett’s remarks were written seventy years ago; they sound familiar, don’t they?

We must not forget that the principles of the republic are still valid, no changes required.  But, as John Adams reportedly said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

To restore the republic, two things must happen.  First, we must repent of our luxury and moral indifference and function as free and responsible citizens again.  And second, we must pray that the hand of God removes the administrative state with its rules and regulations and installs responsible citizens in reconstituted city, state, and federal governments.

During this time of turmoil and strife, we do well to abide by the command,

“Do not call [confederacy] all that this people calls [confederacy], and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.  But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy.  Let him be your fear and let him be your dread.  Isaiah 8:12-13 (English Standard Version and Geneva Bible)

Please do not be led astray by those imposters pretending to be the way to peace, safety, and health.  There is only One Who is The Way.

We must rest in the fact that the government of this world is on the Lord Jesus Christ’s shoulders (Isaiah 9:6.)

Remembering always to pass on to the next generation the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

God alone can save us.

Revelation – J. P. M. Sweet — Review and Commentary

I’ve been reading several commentaries on the Book of Revelation. Many people think it’s a coded message describing world history in detail. But Sweet’s commentary says it’s a broad picture of the Creator God’s plan to save people from the penalty of their sins, destroy evil, and recreate His paradise in which He will dwell with mankind forever.

Revelation, Sweet says, describes the cyclical rise and fall of empires and the beastly nature of those emperors. He uses those emperors (e.g., presidents, prime ministers, etc.) to chasten those who will repent, and He lets them destroy those who will not repent. Those who follow the leaders (beasts and false prophets) don’t realize that they lead them to destruction. Those who reject the leaders’ domination obey God’s moral law to the end and show and tell others of His sacrificial love to those who follow the beast, if perchance, they repent, too.

At a time of His choosing, when all those who will be saved are saved, the Creator God will intervene and call a halt to these cycles of destruction. Then God will mete out rewards and punishments to everyone for deeds they’ve done. Those found in the Book of Life enter His presence forever in the new earth and those who are not found in that book are driven into the outer darkness away from His presence forever. God as the Creator has the right to re-create a new earth in which He will dwell with mankind.

This is a simpler, more straightforward, and even countercultural understanding of a misunderstood and maligned book. Sweet emphasizes that the one whose Christian witness and moral practice endures to the end will be saved. On the flipside, he wrestles with Calvinism, attributing it, at one point, to unwarranted smugness. He also caters to a liberal understanding of the Book of Daniel but that can be overlooked.

Sweet makes some very strong points that organize our understanding of Revelation. First, that the book says it’s meant to be read out loud. Therefore, hearers would be listening to the rhythms and cadences of the book while picking up on verbal markers linking the book together and with Old Testament sources. Just like Jesus’ exclamation, “I thirst,” calls to mind Psalm 69, John’s symbols refer to and sometimes reinterpret Old Testament stories and images. He argues that the book was made to be apprehended by those who hear it, though textual analysis provides further depth.

Numbers also take on significance in the book. As an example, concerning Rev. 7:4, he says, “Twelve is the number of tribes of Israel, a thousand intensifies it (and is itself a military formation), a squared number expresses perfection: twelve times twelve thousands, therefore, means that the sealed are the totality of God’s Israel, brigaded for His service.”

Another organizing principle Sweet advances is that what John says he sees is interpreted by what he hears. He says, “What is heard, the ‘voice’, represents the inner reality, the spirit; what is seen, the ‘appearance’, represents the outward, the flesh.” Sweet is careful to say this is neither a gnostic nor Platonic understanding, but rather, “To the Jew the outward world is the locus of God’s ‘speaking’, His self-revelation and action, so that there is a dialectical relationship between inward and outward, spirit and flesh, hearing and seeing.”

He cites several examples. Sweet says,

Thus the slain Lamb (which John sees) is interpreted by the Lion of Judah (of which he hears): its death is not weakness and defeat, as it seems to be, but power and victory (cf. 1 Cor 1:23 ff).” Also, he says, “In Rev. 7 John hears (Rev. 7:4) the number of the 144,000 who are ‘sealed’ (i.e., the spiritual truth of Israel’s ‘election’), which interprets what he sees (v. 9), a multitude drawn from all nations: i.e., ‘salvation is of the Jews’. But the outward reality of the church, in which there cannot be distinctions between Jews, Greek, and barbarian (Col. 3:11), reinterprets the traditional theological truth of Israel’s priority.

Sweet says that the letters (Rev. 2, 3), “show that the church’s chief dangers are internal: complacency, somnolence, and compromise with worldly values.” However, Sweet says, there is also danger from external attack: false jews who attack faith in the Messiah and false prophets and Nicolaitans (Niko-laos means Conquer–people) who adulterate it with heathen religion and morals. The false prophets and Nicolaitans are associated with Balaam (Bala‘–’am means Destroy–people,) Balak, and Jezebel. Balaam and Balak, Sweet points out, are one of several Old Testament representatives of the false prophet and beast king of Revelation.

Sweet points out that within his four septets structure (i.e., letters, seals, trumpets, and bowls) there is another feature crucial for understanding the book. He says,

The visions of destruction (Ch. 6–20) are bracketed by the overarching vision of God the Creator and Redeemer (Ch. 4–5,) who makes all things new (21:1 – 22:5): carnage and chaos are within the divine plan and lead through into the fulfilment of man’s destiny in final union with God.

However, Sweet struggles to reinterpret all the destruction of chapter 6 through 20 as sacrificial love instead of vengeance, but ends up concluding rightly, with Farrer, “No other New Testament writing presents such embarrassing pictures…yet to a large extent Revelation merely colors in what was everywhere taken for granted…And as for divine vengeance, no New Testament Christian felt any qualms about it. God’s mercy was outpoured to save as many as would repent; but the triumph of His power over irreconcilable hostility was to have all the splendor of a victory.”

Finally, he analyzes the book and presents the following outline. Others, who agree with the symbolic interpretation, differ with the breakdown for textual reasons.

Revelation Verses

Description

Synoptic Gospel Verses – Matthew 24:

1:1–11

Opening address

 

1:12–end

Vision of the Son of man

 

 

2, 3

THE SEVEN LETTERS

 

Ephesus

Sardis

State of churches: deception, lawlessness

4–5, 9–12

2:1–7

Ephesus: false apostles, Nicolaitans

 

2:8–11

Smyrna: false jews, tribulation

 

2:12-17

Pergamum: witness, idolatry

 

2:18–29

Thyatira: Jezebel, fornication

 

3:1–6

Sardis: sleep, soiled garments

 

3:7–13

Philadelphia: false and true jews

 

3:14–22

Laodicea: affluence, nakedness

 

 

 

 

4:1–8:1

THE SEVEN SEALS

 

Smyrna

Philadelphia

Assurance and endurance

13

4

God the creator – rainbow and sea

 

5

God the Redeemer – Lamb’s conquest unseals book

 

6:1–8

Four horsemen = beginning of birth-pangs

6–8

6:1–2

First seal – conquest (the Gospel?)

 

6:3–4

Second seal – war

 

6:5–6

Third seal – famine

 

6:7–8

Fourth seal – death (pestilence)

 

6:9–11

Fifth seal – comfort for martyrs

13–14

6:12-17

Sixth seal – cosmic demolition

(‘wrath of Lamb’)

29–30

7:1–8

Sealing of true Israel (144,000)

 

7:9–17

Final ingathering from all nations

31

8:1

Seventh seal – silence (birth of New Age)

 

 

8:2 – 14:20

THE SEVEN TRUMPETS (THREE WOES)

 

Pergamum

Laodicea

Idolatry and witness

14–15

8:2–5

Heavenly altar of incense

 

8:6–12

First four trumpets: destruction of nature

29

8:13

Eagle – three woes

 

9:1–12

Fifth trumpet = first woe: locust–scorpions

 

9:13–21

Sixth trumpet = second woe: lion-cavalry

Self–destruction of idolatry; impenitence

 

10

Little scroll (= the gospel)

 

11:1–13

Measuring of temple, two witnesses

Church’s witness; penitence

14

Mark 13:9–13

11:14 – 13:18

Seventh Trumpet = third woe (12:12)

 

11:15–19

Heavenly worship

 

12:1–12

Defeat of dragon in heaven leads to

 

12:13–17

Flight of woman (= church)

16–20

13

Kingdom of beasts on earth

15

13:1–10

Sea beast: war on saints

21–22

13:11–18

Land beast: deception

23–26

14:1–5

144000 – first fruits

 

14:6–11

Eternal gospel; consequence of refusal

 

14:12–20

Coming of the Son of man

Final ingathering: harvest and vintage

30–31

 

15:1 – 22:5

THE SEVEN BOWLS

 

Thyatira

Laodicea

Fornication and purity: Bridegroom comes

30

15:1–4

Song of Moses and the Lamb

 

15:5–8

Heavenly Temple

 

16:1–9

First four bowls of wrath: cf. trumpets

 

16:10–11

Fifth bowl: beast’s kingdom darkened

29

16:12–16

Sixth bowl: Armageddon

 

16:17–22

Seventh bowl: beast’s city destroyed

 

17

Harlot destroyed by the beast

 

18

Doom of the harlot = Babylon = Rome

37–40

19:1–10

Marriage supper of the Lamb

25:1–13

19:11–16

Coming of the Son of man, as Word of God

30

19:17–21

Destruction of beasts

 

20:1–6

Binding of Satan, rule of saints –

Thousand years (millennium)

 

20:7–10

Release and final destruction of Satan

 

20:11–15

Last judgment

 

21:1–8

New Creation, expounded as

 

21:9–21

Adornment of bride – holy city

 

21:22 – 22:5

Ingathering of nations

Tree of life – paradise restored

 

 

22:6 – end

Final attestation

 

Four Horsemen of the Apocalype
Death on a Pale Horse is a version of the traditional subject, Four Horsemen of Revelation, 1796, Benjamin West (1738 – 1820), in the public domain in the US

The Theology of the Book of Revelation – Review and Commentary

Richard Bauckham’s book, The Theology of the Book of Revelation, presents a different interpretation of the book of Revelation. From the Amazon sales page,

The Book of Revelation is a work of profound theology. But its literary form makes it impenetrable to many modern readers and open to all kinds of misinterpretations. Richard Bauckham explains how the book’s imagery conveyed meaning in its original context and how the book’s theology is inseparable from its literary structure and composition.

Revelation is seen to offer not an esoteric and encoded forecast of historical events but rather a theocentric vision of the coming of God’s universal kingdom, contextualized in the late first-century world dominated by Roman power and ideology. It calls on Christians to confront the political idolatries of [their] time and to participate in God’s purpose of gathering all the nations into his kingdom.

Once Revelation is properly grounded in its original context it is seen to transcend that context and speak to the contemporary church. This study concludes by highlighting Revelation’s continuing relevance for today.

Bauckham summarizes his own thesis on pages 159 – 164. He presents them as eleven “theological directions for contemporary reflection.” The following is a concise restatement of these points,

(1) Revelation reveals that, in every age, world rulers adopt ideologies by which they maintain their power. It directs “the one who hears” to resist and challenge these ideologies. The worldview it presents shows that all earthly powers, structures, and ideals are relative and contingent, only God and his truth is absolute and sure.

(2) Refurbishing the Christian imagination, Revelation uses images that witness to the one true God and His righteousness and grace. Revelation confronts both totalitarian ideologies which claim to be absolute truth while suppressing the gospel and nihilistic ideologies of relativistic despair that disregard the gospel through consumerism.

(3) The worship of the true God confronts and resists the deification of military and political power (i.e., the beast) and economic prosperity (i.e., Babylon.) Both are sources of oppression, injustice, and inhumanity. Confronting these apart from God’s true worship risks deification of resistance itself.

(4) Revelation resists the dominant ideology by proclamation of God’s transcendence and his coming alternative future (i.e., the new creation and the New Jerusalem.) These enable the hearer (or reader) to recognize the earthly ideology’s injustice and oppression and to relativize the seemingly powerful, absolute structures which maintain them.

(5) Revelation speaks from the viewpoint of the victims of history calling for their acknowledgment and solidarity with them. It achieves this by standing for God and his kingdom against the idolatries of the powerful.

(6) Revelation does not promote withdrawal of Christians into sectarian enclaves leaving the world to its judgment while consoling themselves with millennial dreams. This is the opposite of Revelation’s outlook, which is directed toward the coming of God’s kingdom in the whole world and calls Christians to active participation in this coming of the kingdom. Christians are to witness to the truth of God’s coming kingdom in the public, political world. Worship of the true God resists the worlds idolatries and points to the universal worship of the true God for which the whole creation is destined.

(7) Revelation emphasizes future eschatology to point toward God’s universal kingdom. The church is the “first fruit” of the nations as the direct result of Jesus Christ’s conquest on the cross. Though the Messiah’s victory is the decisive eschatological event, its ultimate goal is not realized until all evil is abolished from God’s world and all the nations are gathered into the Messiah’s kingdom. This uniquely Jewish apocalyptic perspective is a necessary counterweight to an already realized eschatology which so spiritualizes the kingdom of God as to forget the unredeemed nature of the world.

(8) Revelation prophetically criticizes the churches as much as it does the world. It identifies false religion not only in the blatant idolatries of power and prosperity, but also in the churches compromise with these idolatries and the betrayal of God’s truth. To resist idolatry in the world by faithful witness to the truth, the church must continually purify its own vision of the utterly Holy One, the sovereign Creator, who shares his throne with the slaughtered Lamb.

(9) Christians participate in the establishment of God’s kingdom through verbal witness to God’s truth that is substantiated by lives which conform to that truth. The Revelation does not envision using Christianized power and influence to change society into God’s kingdom. The essential form of Christian witness, which cannot be replaced by any other, is consistent loyalty to God’s kingdom. In this powerless witness, the power of truth to defeat lies comes into its own. The temptations of power are best resisted by maintaining our faithful witness.

(10) Revelation portrays the linkage of the doctrines of creation, redemption, and eschatology to the realization of God’s universal kingdom. It is God the Creator of all reality who, in faithfulness to his creation, acts in Christ to reclaim and renew his whole creation. It is as Creator that he can renew his creation, taking it beyond the threat of evil and nothingness into the eternity of his own presence. Revelation puts the New Testament’s central theme of salvation in Christ clearly into its total biblical–theological context of the Creator’s purpose for his whole creation. This is a perspective that needs recovering today.

(11) Revelation has the most developed trinitarian theology in the New Testament, apart from the Gospel of John. By placing the Lamb on the throne and the seven Spirits before the throne it gives priority to sacrificial love and witness to truth in the coming of God’s kingdom in the world.

(12) God’s rule does not contradict human freedom, as the coercive tyranny of the beast does, but finds its fulfilment in the participation of people in God’s rule; that is, in the coincidence of theonomy and autonomy. The divine transcendence does not prevent but makes possible the eschatological destiny of creation to exist in immediate relation to God, his immanent presence is its glory and its eternal life.

I urge everyone to read this different, countercultural perspective on a much-studied book. Tracing John’s masterful references to Old Testament imagery is amazing. To discover how he weaves these images together to speak to every church generation is eye opening. Revelation is a book just as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago. It speaks to everyone in simple, easy to understand images. I fear we do not like what it says.

The Last Days According to Jesus – R.C. Sproul, YouTube, Ligonier Ministries

Revolution Within the Form – Review and Commentary

Garet Garrett wrote several essays and books on “the New Deal planning state and the regimentation of national life it brought about.” In a Mises Institute condensation, titled, “The American Empire,” (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), from his book, The People’s Pottage, he quotes Aristotle’s Politics,

People do not easily change but love their own ancient customs; and it is by small degrees only that one thing takes the place of another; so that the ancient laws will remain, while the power will be in the hands of those who have brought about a revolution in the state.

Garrett charges this subversion, which he terms a ‘revolution within the form,’ against the Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Harry Truman administrations. Clearly, as we see every day, the revolution is not over. However, Garrett’s point is that the revolution started in the early Twentieth Century. Keep in mind that the original source article was published in 1952, seventy years ago.

Garrett sums up his thesis this way,

The extent to which the original precepts and intentions of constitutional, representative, limited government, in the republican form, have been eroded away by argument and dialectic is a separate subject, long and ominous, and belongs to a treatise on political science.

…When the process of erosion has gone on until there is no saying what the supreme law of the land is at a given time, then the Constitution begins to be flouted by executive will, with something like impunity. The instances may not be crucial at first and all the more dangerous for that reason. As one is condoned another follows and they become progressive…

He then describes a representative instance of the whole erosive process,

…There was one thing a President could never do. There was one sentence of the Constitution that could not fall, so long as the Republic lived.

The Constitution says: “The Congress shall have power to declare war.”

…Congress could be trusted never to do it but by will of the people. And that was the innermost safeguard of the republic. The decision whether or not to go to war was in the hands of the people — or so they believed. No man could make it for them…

Garrett recounts how this constitutional principle was circumvented, an example of the progressive revolution within the form,

President Truman, alone and without either the consent or knowledge of Congress, had declared war on the Korean aggressor, seven thousand miles away, Congress condoned his usurpation of its exclusive constitutional power. More than that, his political supporters in Congress argued that in the modern case that sentence in the Constitution conferring upon Congress the sole power to declare war was obsolete.

Mark you, the words had not been erased; they still existed in form. Only, they had become obsolete. And why obsolete? Because war may now begin suddenly, with bombs falling out of the sky, and we might perish while waiting for Congress to declare war.

The reasoning is puerile. [Firstly,] the Korean War, which made the precedent, did not begin that way; secondly, Congress was in session at the time, so that the delay could not have been more than a few hours, provided Congress had been willing to declare war; and, thirdly, the President as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Republic may in a legal manner act defensively before a declaration of war has been made. It is bound to be made if the nation has been attacked…

A few months later Mr. Truman sent American troops to Europe to join an international army, and did it not only without a law, without even consulting Congress, but challenged the power of Congress to stop him. Congress made all of the necessary sounds of anger and then poulticed its dignity with a resolution saying it was all right for that one time, since anyhow it had been done, but that hereafter it would expect to be consulted.

But the damage had been done. The congress no longer held this constitutional power, de facto. All that was left was for the executive branch to declare it de jure. Garrett writes,

At that time the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate asked the State Department to set forth in writing what might be called the position of Executive Government. The State Department obligingly responded with a document entitled, “Powers of the President to Send Troops Outside of the United States, February 28, 1951.” For the information of the United States Senate, it said:

As this discussion of the respective powers of the President and Congress has made clear, constitutional doctrine has been largely molded by practical necessities. Use of the congressional power to declare war, for example, has fallen into abeyance because wars are no longer declared in advance.

…If constitutional doctrine is molded by necessity, what is a written Constitution for?

He then states what was the modus operandi for every revolutionary act undertaken by the Wilson, FDR, and Truman administrations, in the context of his example,

Thus, an argument that seemed at first to rest upon puerile reasoning turned out to be deep and cunning. The immediate use of it was to defend the unconstitutional Korean precedent, namely, the declaration of war as an act of the President’s own will. Yet it was not invented for that purpose alone. It stands as a forecast of executive intentions, a manifestation of the executive mind, a mortal challenge to the parliamentary principle…

If you think about recent history, this method of operation is used to this day at all levels of government.

Garrett then turns to the question of what our government has become. He writes,

If you may have Empire with or without a constitution, even within the form of a republican constitution, and if also you may have Empire with or without an emperor, then how may the true marks of Empire be distinguished with certainty? What are they?

Next, he lays out the requirements of empire,

1) The executive power of government shall be dominant.

2) Domestic policy becomes subordinate to foreign policy.

3) Ascendancy of the military mind, to such a point …that the civilian mind is intimidated.

4) [It acquires] a system of satellite nations.

5) [It is in thrall to a combination] of [boasting] and fear.

6) [It] finds itself a prisoner of history.

Expanding on each of these at length, Garrett writes,

1) The executive power of government shall be dominant.

What Empire needs above all in government is an executive power that can make immediate decisions, such as a decision in the middle of the night by the President to declare war on the aggressor…

The Federal income-tax law of 1914 gave the government unlimited access to wealth and, moreover, power for the first time to levy taxes not for revenue only but for social purposes, …for redistribution of the national wealth.

Congress received from the White House laws that were marked “must.” Its principal function was to enact and [fund] them. The part of the Supreme Court was to make everything square with the Constitution by a liberal reinterpretation of its language.

The word executive came to have its new connotation. For all the years before when you spoke of the executive power of government you meant only the power to execute and administer the laws. Henceforth it would mean the power to [rule].

No longer did the Congress of the United States speak for the people, but the President did, as head of the Executive Government. Garrett writes, “Thus the man who happens to be the embodiment of the executive principle stands between the Congress and the people and assumes the right to express [the people’s] will.”

Furthermore, he writes,

…The President acts directly upon the emotions and passions of the people to influence their thinking. As he controls Executive Government, so he controls the largest propaganda machine in the world, unless it be the Russian machine; and this machine is the exclusive possession of Executive Government.

The Congress has no propaganda apparatus at all and continually finds itself under pressure from the people who have been moved for or against something by the ideas and thought material broadcast in the land by the administrative bureaus in Washington.

Garrett concludes, “The result is Bureau Government, administered by bureaucrats who are not elected by the people…”

He then examines the ways that executive power expands.

(1) By delegation. That is when the Congress delegates one or more of its constitutional powers to the President and authorizes him to exercise them.

(2) By reinterpretation of the language of the Constitution. That is done by a sympathetic Supreme Court.

(3) By innovation. That is when, in this changing world, the President does things that are not specifically forbidden by the Constitution because the founders never thought of them.

(4) By the appearance in the sphere of Executive Government of what are called administrative agencies, with power to issue rules and regulations that have the force of law.

(5) By usurpation. That is when the President willfully confronts Congress with what in statecraft is called the fait accompli — a thing already done — which Congress cannot repudiate without exposing the American government to the ridicule of nations…

(6) Lastly, the powers of Executive Government are bound to increase as the country becomes more and more involved in foreign affairs. This is true because, both traditionally and by the terms of the Constitution, the province of foreign affairs is one that belongs in a very special sense to the President.

Examining the administrative state more deeply, he writes,

These [administrative] agencies have built up a large body of administrative law which people are obliged to obey. And not only do they make their own laws; they enforce their own laws, acting as prosecutor, jury and judge; and appeal from their decisions to the regular courts is difficult because the regular courts are obliged to take their findings of fact as final. Thus, the constitutional separation of the three governmental powers, namely, the legislative, the executive and the judicial, is entirely lost.

Examining the second mark of empire, Garrett writes,

2) Domestic policy becomes subordinate to foreign policy.

It needs hardly to be argued that as we convert the nation into a garrison state to build the most terrible war machine that has ever been imagined on earth, every domestic policy is bound to be conditioned by our foreign policy.

The voice of government is saying that if our foreign policy fails, we are ruined. It is all or nothing. Our survival as a free nation is at hazard. That makes it simple, for in that case there is no domestic policy that may not have to be sacrificed to the necessities of foreign policy — even freedom. It is no longer a question of what we can afford to do; it is what we must do to survive.

We are no longer able to choose between peace and war. We have embraced perpetual war. We are so committed by the Truman Doctrine, by examples of our intention, and by such formal engagements as the North Atlantic Treaty and the Pacific Pact.

…What is not so clearly understood, here or abroad, is that these are no temporary measures for a temporary emergency but rather the beginning of a wholly new military status for the United States, which seems certain to be with us for a long time to come.

The third mark of empire is this,

3) Ascendancy of the military mind, to such a point …that the civilian mind is intimidated.

War becomes an instrument of domestic policy. Among the control mechanisms on the government’s panel board now is a dial marked War. It may be set to increase or decrease the tempo of military expenditures, as the planners decide that what the economy needs is a little more inflation or a little less — but of course never any deflation. And whereas it was foreseen that when Executive Government is resolved to control the economy it will come to have a vested interest in the power of inflation, so now we perceive that it will come also to have a kind of proprietary interest in the institution of perpetual war.

Yet in the very nature of Empire, the military mind must keep its secrets. A Republic may put its armor on and off. War is an interlude. When war comes it is a civilian business, conducted under the advice of military experts. Both in peace and war military experts are excluded from civilian decisions. But with Empire it is different; Empire must wear its armor. Its life is in the hands of the General Staff and war is supremely a military business, requiring of the civilian only acquiescence, exertion, and loyalty.

He then identifies a historic structural aspect of empire,

4) [It acquires] a system of satellite nations.

We use that word only for nations that have been captured in the Russian orbit, with some inflection of contempt. We speak of our own satellites as allies and friends or as freedom-loving nations. Nevertheless, satellite is the right word. The meaning of it is the hired guard…

…Satellite traffic in the American orbit is already pretty dense without taking into account client nations, suppliant nations and waif satellites, all looking to the American government for arms and economic aid. These are scattered all over the body of the sick world like festers. For any one of them to involve us in war it is necessary only for the Executive Power at Washington to decide that its defense is somehow essential to the security of the United States. That is how the Korean War started. Korea was a waif satellite…

Fear at last assumes the phase of a patriotic obsession. It is stronger than any political party. Any candidate for office who trifles with its basic conviction will be scourged. The basic conviction is simple. We cannot stand alone. A capitalistic economy, though it possesses half the industrial power of the whole world, cannot defend its own hemisphere. It may be able to save the world; alone it cannot save itself. It must have allies. Fortunately, it is able to buy them, bribe them, arm them, feed and clothe them; it may cost us more than we can afford, yet we must have them or perish. This voice of fear is the voice of government.

This hired guard becomes a source of both boasting and fear for empire. Garrett says,

5) [It is in thrall to a combination] of [boasting] and fear.

As we assume unlimited political liabilities all over the world…there is only scorn for the one who says: “We are not infinite. Let us calculate our utmost power of performance, weigh it against what we are proposing to do, and see if the scales will balance.” The [boastful] answer is: “We do not know what our utmost is. What we will to do, that we can do. Let us resolve to do what is necessary. Necessity will create the means.”

Conversely, the fear. Fear of the barbarian. Fear of standing alone. A time comes when the guard itself, that is, your system of satellites, is a source of fear. Satellites are often willful and the more you rely upon them the more willful and demanding they are.

…How will they behave when the test comes? …If they falter or fail, what will become of the weapons with which we have supplied them? What if they were surrendered or captured and turned against us?

The possibility of having to face its own weapons on a foreign field is one of the nightmares of Empire…

The last mark of empire, Garrett writes, is that the time comes when,

6) [It] finds itself a prisoner of history.

A Republic is not obliged to act upon the world, either to change or instruct it. Empire, on the other hand, must put forth its power… It is our turn:

a) To assume the responsibilities of moral leadership in the world.

b) To maintain a balance of power against the forces of evil everywhere — in Europe and Asia and Africa, in the Atlantic and in the Pacific, by air and by sea…

c) To keep the peace of the world.

d) To save civilization.

e) To serve mankind.

…Always the banners of Empire proclaim that the ends in view sanctify the means. The ironies, sublime and pathetic, are two. The first one is that Empire believes what it says on its banner; the second is that the word for the ultimate end is invariably Peace. Peace by grace of force.

One must see that on the road to Empire there is soon a point from which there is no turning back…

Summing up his description of empire, Garrett writes,

Between government in the republican meaning, that is, constitutional, representative, limited government, on the one hand, and Empire, on the other hand, there is mortal enmity. Either one must forbid the other or one will destroy the other. That we know. Yet never has the choice been put to a vote of the people.

The country has been committed to the course of Empire by Executive Government, one step at a time, with slogans, concealments, equivocations, a propaganda of fear, and in every crisis an appeal for unity, lest we present to the world the aspect of a divided nation, until at last it may be proclaimed that events have made the decision and it is irrevocable. Thus, now to alter the course is impossible.

Who says it is impossible? The President says it; the State Department says it; all globalists and one-worlders are saying it.

Switching gears, Garrett says,

Do not ask whether or not it is possible [to alter our course]. Ask yourself this: if it were possible, what would it take? How could the people restore the Republic if they would? Or, before that, how could they recover their Constitutional sovereign right to choose for themselves?

When you have put it that way you are bound to turn and look at the lost terrain. What are the positions, forgotten or surrendered, that would have to be recaptured?

He then lists the hills that must be retaken if the republic is to be re-established.

The first hill is “a state of mind,”

To recover the habit of decision the people must learn again to think for themselves; and this would require a kind of self-awakening, as from a wee small alarm in the depths.

The second is “renewed public debate of foreign policy.” Citing a speech given to the National Women’s Democratic Club on November 20, 1951, by President Truman, Garrett quotes,

You remember what happened in 1920. When the people voted for Harding, that meant a tremendous change in the course the United States was following. It meant that we turned our backs on the new-born League of Nations. … I think most people now recognize that the country chose the wrong course in 1920. … Since I have been President, I have sought to steer a straight course of handling foreign policy matters on the sole basis of the national interest. The people I have chosen to fill the major positions concerned with foreign policy have been picked solely on merit, without regard to party labels. I want to keep it that way. I want to keep our foreign policy out of domestic politics.

Garrett then analyzes Truman’s remarks,

So far had the American mind been conditioned by the infatuate phrase, bi-partisan foreign policy, that extraordinary statement was vacantly received. What was the President saying? He was saying that because, in his opinion, the people once voted wrong on foreign policy, they ought not to vote on it at all anymore. Let them leave it to the President. It follows logically that the people have no longer anything to say about war and peace.

On this [hill], where foreign policy once more shall be debated by the people who may have to die for it, let the wind be cold and merciless. Let those be nakedly exposed to it who have brought the country to this impasse.

The next hill that must be retaken is the “public purse,” once controlled by the people through congress, and now by the unelected Government Executive through (or, sometimes, in spite of) the president. He writes,

Until the people have recovered [the public purse] they cannot tame Executive Government. Passing laws to control or restrain it is of no avail whatever. The only way to reason with it is to cut it off at the pockets. …No matter how badly the people may manage the public purse it cannot control them, whereas, in the hands of the government, control of the purse becomes the single most powerful instrument of executive policy touching the lives of the people.

Finally, the highest hill Garrett identifies is the cost to save the republic that each citizen must pay, which he names “the Peak of Fortitude.”

What you have to face is that the cost of saving the Republic may be extremely high. It could be relatively as high as the cost of setting it up in the first place, [two hundred forty-seven] years ago, when love of political liberty was a mighty passion, and people were willing to die for it.

When the economy has for a long time been moving by jet propulsion, the higher the faster, on the fuel of perpetual war and planned inflation, the time comes when you have to choose whether to go on and on and dissolve in the stratosphere or decelerate. But deceleration will cause a terrific shock. Who will say, “Now!”? Who is willing to face the grim and dangerous realities of deflation and depression?

…No doubt the people know they can have their Republic back if they want it enough to fight for it and to pay the price. The only point is that no leader has yet appeared with the courage to make them choose.

As a defining example of the restoration cost, Garrett cites the scripture, “When Moses had brought his people near to the Promised Land, he sent out scouts to explore it…” However, he incorrectly concludes that the Israelites would have had to fight for the land themselves in their own strength. Garrett neglected to mention that the Lord God promised that He would fight for them. In this, Garrett is grievously mistaken. Actions of mere men will never overturn powers, principalities, and rulers of the darkness…

Remarkably, though, all of Garrett’s remarks were written seventy years ago; they sound familiar, don’t they? Sadly, many generations of conservative opinion makers seem to have made their fortunes from this material. Garrett was conveniently forgotten.

We must not forget that the principles of the republic are still valid. But, as John Adams reportedly said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” To restore the republic, two things must happen. First, we must repent of our luxury and moral indifference to act as free and responsible citizens again. And second, we must pray that the hand of God removes the administrative state and installs responsible citizens in reconstituted city, state, and federal governments.

During this time of turmoil and strife, we do well to abide by the command,

“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear and let him be your dread. Isaiah 8:12-13 (English Standard Version)

Please do not be led astray by those imposters pretending to be the way to peace, safety, and health. There is only One Who is The Way.

We must rest in the fact that the government of this world is on our Lord’s shoulders,

For to us a child is born,

    to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

    and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)

Remembering always to pass on to the next generation the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

God alone can save us.

Government: Christian Worldview with R.C. Sproul, 28 minutes, January 20, 2021, YouTube, Ligonier Ministries

A. W. Pink’s View on End Times

In his book, The Antichrist, 1922-3, A. W. Pink expressed his views of this Man of Lawlessness. At this time Pink held what he described as Historicist and Futurist perspectives on end times. He later moderated his futurist views. However, in The Antichrist, he illumines an idea that transcends these perspectives.

Pink expounds on this passage of scripture,

…They are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come, he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth, but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast.

Revelation 17:10–12 (English Standard Version)

He writes, repeating words attributed by him to B. W. Newton, author of “Thoughts on the Apocalypse” and “Aids to the Study of Prophetic Inquiry.”

The native monarchy of Nimrod, the theocracy of Israel, the despotic authority of Nebuchadnezzar, the aristocratic monarchy of Persia, and the military monarchy of Alexander and his successors, had all passed away when John beheld this vision. All these methods had been tried — none had been found to answer even the purposes of man; and now another had arisen, the half military, half popular monarchy of the Caesars, — the iron empire of Rome. ‘Five have fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh he must continue a little space’.

That other (though it cannot yet be said to have come so as to fulfill this verse)1,2 and, with one brief exception [i.e.., the eighth kingdom], the last form that is to be exhibited before the end shall come, and it is under this form that the system of Babylon is matured. It is obvious that a monarchy, guided not by the people numerically, but by certain classes of the people, and those classes determined by the possession of property, must be the form adapted for the accumulation of wealth, and the growth of commercial power; for it gives (which pure democracy has ever failed to do), the best security for property without unduly fettering the liberty of individual enterprise…

1 It will not have come in the sense of this verse, until it pervades the Roman world. When all the ten kingdoms have been constitutionalized, it may be said to have come.

2 We are rather inclined to believe that the ‘seventh’ is commercialism, that is, the moneyed-interests in control — A.W.P.

He then comments on Newton’s exposition of Zechariah 5 this way,

…Everyone who has a general knowledge of the past, and who is at all in touch with political conditions in the world today, knows full well the radical change which the last two or three centuries have witnessed. For a thousand years the Church (the professing church) controlled the governments of Europe. Following the Reformation, the aristocracy (the nobility) held the reins. During the first half of last century democratic principles obtained more widely. But in the last two or three generations the governmental machines of this country and of the leading European lands have been run by the Capitalists. Of late, Labor has sought to check this, but thus far with little success.

In the light of Zech. 5 and Rev. 18, present-day conditions are profoundly significant. It is commerce which is more and more dominating the policies and destinies of what is known as the civilized world. “If we turn our eyes abroad upon the world, we shall find that the one great object before the nations of the earth today is this image of commerce, drawing them with all the seductive influence a siren woman might exercise upon the heart of men. The one great aim on the part of each is to win the favor of this mighty mistress. The world powers are engaged in a Titanic struggle for commercial supremacy. To this end mills are built, factories founded, forests felled, lands sown, harvests reaped, and ships launched. Because of this struggle for mastery of the world’s market the nations reach out and extend their borders” (Dr. Haldeman)

Contemporary Globalism seems to be the fulfillment of this titanic struggle for commercial supremacy. It reminds us of Matthew 6:24,

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

In humility, Pink writes,

Doubtless, there are many particulars respecting [Antichrist’s relations with Jews in Palestine] and all other related subjects, which will not be cleared up until the prophecies concerning them have been fulfilled. We, today, occupy much the same position with regard to the predictions concerning the Antichrist, as the Old Testament saints did to the many passages which foretold the coming of the Christ. Their difficulty was to arrange those passages in the order they were to be fulfilled, and to distinguish between those which spoke of Him in humiliation and those which foretold His coming glory. A similar perplexity confronts us.

To ascertain the sequence of the prophecies relating to the Antichrist is a real problem. Even when we confine ourselves to those passages which speak of him in his connections with Israel, we have to distinguish between those which concern only the godly remnant, and those which relate to the great apostate mass of the Nation; and, too, we have to separate between those prophecies which concern the time when Antichrist is posing as the true Christ, and those which portray him in the final stage of his career, after he has thrown off his mask of religious pretension.

It is important to realize that Pink’s work was written before The New Deal, The Holocaust, the establishment of Israel, the fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of China, and the Abraham Accords. The Antichrist contains many insights and nuggets of truth but certainly is not authoritative.

Later in life, Pink wrote to former congregants in relation to Romans 16:19,

Satan* is persuading many professing Christians that it is their duty to be well informed concerning current events and induces them to waste much time in reading secular literature and in listening in to the radio in order to be so. The “Signs of Times” men are zealously raking over all the “evil” they can find in the moral, political and social realms, as well as in the International Situation; all of which is contrary to Romans 16:19! And what good is accomplished thusly? Not a particle, either for themselves or anyone else…

You and I have no responsibility in the running (government) of this world, nor does He require us to take the burden of such government upon our shoulders. HE is ruling it directing all its affairs. There we may, and should, rest. Your business and my business is to be “wise unto that which is GOOD.”

… Let us prayerfully endeavor to pay more heed to that injunction. Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report … Think on THESE things (Phil. 4:8.)  

* And note the very next verse – Rom. 16:20 – opens with the word “And”, after which reference is made directly to “Satan”!

To this stern advice, the A. W. Pink archivist writes,

It is probably wise to note that in the opening exhortation, Pink is not necessarily arguing against being generally aware of current events which are taking place, however he is pushing back against the suggestion that such things should so engross the Christian.

…It is with no doubt in my mind that Pink is notably pushing back against the overemphasis on the end time, or eschatological, prophesying that so dominated early-to-mid 20th century evangelicalism.

What comes to mind, in summary, is,

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16 (ESV)

Therefore, as we make ourselves generally aware of world events, especially this ongoing global economic struggle among the nations, we should not fret, but trust in God’s sovereignty, grace, and mercy and continuously ask Him who laughs at the raging nations for true justice.

Holocaust Survivor Kitty Werthmann’s Entire Speech, 33 minutes, YouTube, Jan 13, 2021, Suzanne Wheeler