And I Thought It Was Just Me. . .
Vol: 81 Issue: 24 Tuesday, June 24, 2008
And I Thought It Was Just Me. . .
More often than not, as I’m reading through the various headlines of the day, I catch myself humming the theme song to the 1950’s TV series, “Car 54, Where Are You?”
For you youngsters out there, “Car 54, Where Are You?” was a weekly half-hour sitcom revolving around two particularly bumbling NY City police officers, Officer Toody and Officer Muldoon.
I don’t remember much about the plot lines or the other characters – mostly I remember the opening sequence and the theme song.
Officers Toody and Muldoon are driving in their squad car, confusion on their faces approaching panic, while the theme song provides the context.
(Baby Boomers, feel free to sing along. You might as well – you’re gonna be humming it all day long anyway. Sorry. LOL)
“There’s a hold up in the Bronx, /Brooklyn’s broken out in fights. /There’s a traffic jam in Harlem /That’s backed up to Jackson Heights./ There’s a scout troup short a child, /Kruschev’s due at Idlewild. . . . /Car 54, Where Are You?”
I don’t think I’ve seen the TV show in thirty years or more, (maybe forty, who knows?) but when I checked the lyrics — as I recall them — I still had every word rattling around in my head.
Officers Toody and Muldoon are a sort of a metaphor; their theme song resonates at every level of Western society; the UN, the White House, the economy, the election campaign, the candidates, entertainment, the military . . . it’s like a 50’s sitcom. (Is there anybody DRIVING this bus?)
But I thought it was just me.
Well, not exactly just me. You, too. But we are “prophecy nuts” or “Doomsday merchants” who see the antichrist behind every tree.
You know the drill: “People have been predicting the end of the world for thousands of years, and it’s still here.”
I often think to myself, ‘doesn’t anybody else think things are a bit, er, surreal? After all, if it is this obvious to me that something is more than a bit off-center here, then it should be just as obvious to everybody else.
It’s like an elephant on the coffee table. We’re locked in a war of civilizations in which the enemy goal is to either convert or exterminate Western society.
The economy is being ground to its knees by the meteoric rise in fuel prices. The nation’s dependence on foreign oil forces us to kowtow to the wellspring of Islamic terrorism.
And the campaign platform of the current front-runner for the office of President of the United States calls for surrendering to al-Qaeda, levying new taxes against energy suppliers, and a moratorium on domestic oil exploration!
So I was somewhat relieved to see an AP headline this morning that read: “Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out of Control.” (Even that seems a bit weird; shouldn’t that headline be scary?)
The AP noted: “The sense of helplessness is even reflected in this year’s presidential election. Each contender offers a sense of order and hope. Republican John McCain promises an experienced hand in a frightening time. Democrat Barack Obama promises bright and shiny change, and his large crowds believe his exhortation, “Yes, we can.”
Even so, a battered public seems discouraged by the onslaught of dispiriting things. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll says a barrel-scraping 17 percent of people surveyed believe the country is moving in the right direction. That is the lowest reading since the survey began in 2003.
An ABC News-Washington Post survey put that figure at 14 percent, tying the low in more than three decades of taking soundings on the national mood.
“It is pretty scary,” said Charles Truxal, 64, a retired corporate manager in Rochester, Minn. “People are thinking things are going to get better, and they haven’t been. And then you go hide in your basement because tornadoes are coming through. If you think about things, you have very little power to make it change.”
A good part of the article (from the AP, remember) sounds like it was lifted right out of an analysis of the Olivet Discourse; “What shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3)
“Food is becoming scarcer and more expensive on a worldwide scale, due to increased consumption in growing countries such as China and India and rising fuel costs. That can-do solution to energy needs turning corn into fuel is sapping fields of plenty once devoted to crops that people need to eat. Shortages have sparked riots. In the U.S., rice prices tripled and some stores rationed the staple.
Residents of the nation’s capital and its suburbs repeatedly lose power for extended periods as mere thunderstorms rumble through. In California, leaders warn people to use less water in the unrelenting drought.”
The tone of the article is unquestionably messianic; could it be that the AP has suddenly ‘got religion’? It would seem so.
The AP quotes historian Allan Lichtman, who opines that in previous times of crisis, America’s confidence was restored by a “change in the party controlling the White House.”
The AP’s point is unmistakeable. We need a messiah to restore order and bring things back from the abyss. And by changing the party in control of the White House, we’ll have one.
At the same time that the AP is making its case for an American messiah to solve the world’s crises, an new Pew Research Poll firmly establishes that America has joined the rest of the Western society’s post-Christian era.
The survey was conducted last year, but only released this week. Among its findings was that 70% of Americans ‘with a religious affiliation’ said they believe that many religions can lead to eternal life. That view was shared by 57% of alleged “evangelicals”.
The finding that floored me was this one: More than two-thirds (68%) said there is “more than one true way to interpret the teachings of their own religion.”
Two-thirds of Americans can accept conflicting ‘truths’ as being equally ‘true’. That goes beyond illogical and crosses all the way over to delusional.
Noted Rice University sociologist on religion professor D. Michael Lindsay, “The survey shows that religion in America is indeed 3,000 miles wide and only three inches deep.”
According to Pew’s research, only 14% of Americans cite their religious beliefs as the main influence on their political thinking. And while 92% of Americans express a belief in God, one in four self-professing Christians say they have doubts.
Only six in 10 Catholics described God as “a Person with Whom people can have a relationship” which the Vatican teaches while three in 10 described God as an “impersonal force” — a view shared, astonishingly enough, by 21% of self-identified atheists.
So, we can glean two important facts from today’s report so far: America has a messiah complex and pretty much any old messiah will do.
In fact, the best kind of messiah would be the kind who was educated and raised among Muslims before converting to Christianity, but who makes it clear that he doesn’t really believe any of that stuff anyway.
The Apostle Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians was written specifically to address a heresy that had begun to circulate in the Church at Thessolonika.
He opens by addressing the topic at hand head on; “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” AND “our gathering together unto Him.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:1)
Open up your Bible and read it for yourself and tell me if you can find an alternative understanding. Paul mentions two things: the Lord’s return and “our gathering unto Him.”
This doesn’t occur at His Second Coming — He comes WITH His saints, not FOR them. So it can only refer to the Rapture of the Church. There was a rumor circulating that the Rapture had already taken place and that they had been left behind to face the Tribulation.
“That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
The “Day of Christ” is not the Rapture — it refers to His Triumphant Return at the end of the Tribulation Period. The Rapture is, by definition, a secret coming.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”
“That day” (the Day of Christ) comes AFTER two other events: “the falling away” — reflected admirably by the Pew Poll — and the subsequent revelation of the man of sin (ie; the antichrist).
Having laid out the heresy, Paul begins in 2nd Thessalonians 2:6 to set the record straight:
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.”
Two points to note here. Something withholds the revelation of the antichrist until the appointed time, and Paul assumes the Thessalonians know that that something is actually Someone.
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way.”
The “mystery of iniquity” could be expressed like this: 70% of Americans ‘with a religious affiliation’ said they believe that many religions can lead to eternal life.
By definition, this view conflicts with the basic doctrine of Christianity expressed in John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”
If there is more than one way to heaven, then Jesus cannot be God come in the flesh and that He cannot be “the Christ”.
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1st John 4:3)
The revelation of the antichrist is ‘withheld’ by the Holy Spirit, Who indwells the Church. Paul says that only AFTER the Holy Spirit is withdrawn;
“And THEN shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His Coming.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:8)
Notice the chronology. First, the withdrawal of the Restrainer. THEN, the revelation of the antichrist. And AFTER that, his destruction by the Lord “with the brightness of His Coming.”
The Rapture, the Tribulation and the 2nd Coming at Armageddon.
Where are we right now? Even the Associated Press thinks the world is spinning out of control. The public is yearning for a messiah who can give them hope.
They prefer a messiah who is above all that Biblical faith nonsense, one who has the form of godliness, while denying its power.
All the polls indicate a growing apostasy within the professing Church, with one in four Christians expressing doubt about the reality of God and two-thirds denying the efficacy of Christ.
“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
But what is holding them back? The indwelling Holy Spirit.
Until He is taken out of the way ” . . . by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him.”
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