Monday, November 30, 2015

God of Fortresses

All indications are that we are very close to the return of the Messiah and thus in a time when we can expect to see birth pangs foreshadowing the Tribulation. So it is instructive then to be familiar with the traits of the world ruler who will be the Beast of Revelation because we should expect to see the spirit of Antichrist present and growing in the world. Among the many characteristics of the coming Antichrist is this: "he shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses" (Daniel 11:37-38, NKJV).

Many have said the Antichrist must be of Jewish descent because of Daniel 11:37 referring to the "God of his fathers." That may well be the case but it could also mean that he is a descendant of Abraham via Ishmael and thus a Muslim. However, speculation on this is an idle exercise because the Church will not be here when it becomes apparent to the world who he is at the beginning of the Tribulation. The Antichrist will also have no regard for the Messiah who has historically been "the desire of women" among Jewish mothers. But what is interesting here for the purpose of this article is that the Antichrist will honor a "god of fortresses."  

Back in the Prophet Daniel's day, security was found in fortified cities. According to the historian Herodotus, Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon was protected by a brick wall in the form of a square, 14 miles on each side, 300 feet high, 25 feet thick and extending 35 feet below ground. As if that was not enough, the wall was encircled by a massive moat, there was another wall 75 feet inside the first wall, and there were also 250 450-foot-high towers distributed around the fortress. All these fortifications did not stop the Medes and Persians from taking the city who exploited a weakness diverting the Euphrates river which ran through the city and simply walked in underneath the wall.

The leading nations of the world are secured today not so much in fortresses but in weapon systems that can project awesome power great distances. The common thread between what secured cities in the days of fortresses and today is technology. As ancient wealthy nations had technology to build towers, walls and moats, today we have technology for intelligence gathering, weapons, and delivery systems. Unfortunately, we have come to trust in this technology instead of the One who blesses us with technology. We have forgotten that, "unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain" (Psalm 127:1).

The Antichrist will certainly employ technology to aid him in controlling the people of the world. The technology for both the mark of the beast and the image of the beast already exist (Revelation 13:14-17). And it is easy to see how today's technology will enable half the population of the planet to be exterminated during the Tribulation (Revelation 6:8 & 9:18). It is also likely that the narrative explaining away the Rapture of the Church will involve an application of extraterrestrial technology. So it is no wonder that the Antichrist will honor the technological "god of fortresses."

We have in this country already made an idol of technology foreshadowing the Antichrist honoring the "god of fortresses" during the Tribulation. We are totally dependent on our technological marvels not knowing what to do with ourselves when the power goes out. Indeed, the younger generations have difficulty interacting with one another preferring instead to keep their eyes on their electronic devices. We trust that the distribution systems bringing our food to us from afar will continue to work as it always has. And the government with their paid, high priests of science are working to make us feel guilty about our use of energy in preparation for the austerity that will one day be forced on us.

We trust in our superior American technology to deliver us from any nation that would dare attack us. There is however a nagging feeling that this is but a false sense of security since a rag-tag band of Islamic terrorists armed with box cutters were able to bring us to our knees on September 11, 2001. We believe that surely we've adapted our technology to keep this from happening again. But then the recent Paris attacks showed us how such confidence can so easily be shaken. We are in the age of asymmetric warfare when we are not up against a nation-state where our technology can give us an advantage. Indeed, our dependence on technology has become a disadvantage that is being exploited by a resilient, nimble ideological foe not limited by the conventions of past wars.

Our greatest disadvantage in this new form of warfare is society's multicultural values which prevents us from being honest about what is really threatening us. Our trusted leaders continually repeat the dogma that Islam is a religion of peace when all evidence and rational evaluation screams the exact opposite. Whenever we see manifestations of a debased mind such as this, we should recognize that God is removing His restraint of evil to set the stage for the consequences of turning away from Him. Our national idols of prosperity and technological security will not deliver us from God's wrath.

This nation's trusted governmental leaders have been assuring us of peace and security which is apparently enough to convince the majority of the sheep that we have nothing to worry about. Most people in this country have too much invested in the progressive humanist promise of utopia to turn away from that now. But those of us with a biblical worldview know that any path away from God will meet with disaster. Indeed, "for when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Jesus said in John 17:11-14 that His followers are in the world but not of the world. So we don't have to succumb to the sin of worshiping the idols of the world. But this doesn't mean we are immune to the consequences of the sin perpetrated by those who are of the world. There will be Tribulation birth pangs that makes for perilous times; just ask the Christians in the ISIS-controlled regions of Syria if there are any still alive there. In the face of Tribulation birth pangs, our hope is not in this world but in Christ remembering that, "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

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