[This gist of this article as it relates to the RMA (Revolution in Military Affairs) was gleaned from a report which appeared in International Security (Winter 1997/98, VOL. 22, NO. 3) entitled "The Utility of Force in a World of Scarcity." The author was John Orme, a professor of politics at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia.]
"... and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?"
From the dawn of history to the mid-twentieth century, relations between nations have been conducted in an atmosphere darkened by the ever present possibility of military violence. In the affairs of man, coercion, not reason, has been the all-too-frequent means of resolving disputes, and because resort to military force could never be completely precluded, systematic violence (i.e., the use of organized military power) has become the most effective form of coercion and the ultimate arbiter in world politics. Even when disputes were ended through negotiation, the threat of force still lay in the background and shaped the results profoundly. As Nicholas Spykman concluded in the grim world of the early 1940s,
"World politics is power politics, and the ultimate form of power in that domain is military force."
In the past five decades, however, it appears that the great powers (namely, the United States and the former Soviet Union) have shown increasing reluctance to employ force overtly against one another or even against weaker states. Their apparent hesitation has led several sophisticated observers of international affairs to conclude that the once-central role of the armed forces is rapidly diminishing, perhaps soon to the point of irrelevance. The central assertion of these authors is that the costs, risks, and difficulties in applying force are rising while the benefits derived therefrom are declining.
The people who buy into this type of thinking believe that military weapons - especially nuclear weapons - have become so destructive that their use has become unthinkable. Not only do these fearsome devices act as mutual deterrents, they maintain, but the prospect that even the most limited use of force could set in motion a process of unintended and uncontrollable escalation which might ultimately lead to the use of nuclear weapons, discourages the resort to violence at any level.
The unprecedented destructiveness of the atomic bomb has compelled states to resolve conflicts through "tests of will" - much as is occurring now between the United States and Iraq - rather than through overt violence. These contests are won by the side that conveys an image of superior credibility and determination, and not necessarily by the nation which actually possesses the greater power. In confrontations which pit advanced military powers like the United States and the former Soviet Union against effectively organized peoples inspired by intense nationalism, such as those in Vietnam and Afghanistan, the advanced military powers are at a disadvantage unless they are prepared to wield their great power in ways which the international community finds morally unacceptable. It's for this reason that so many military observers believe the advantage in military "showdowns" has passed from the "advanced military power" to the nation which possesses the "greater determination" - and it's for this precise reason that so many political pundits give Iraq the advantage over the United States in their current "face-off" in the Middle East.
It is generally believed that public opinion in the West (principally, North America and Western Europe) has grown much more critical of the use of force, although there is not complete consensus as to why. John Mueller in his book, Retreat from Doomsday: The Obsolescence of Major War (new York: Basic Books, 1989), asserts that human lives, and not only those of one's own soldiers, but those of the enemy, are simply valued more highly than in the past - a contention which evangelicals, at least, should find nonsensical unless one is prepared to believe that somehow or other the vigor and strength of lust in the lives of human beings has subsided somewhat over the years; it is, after all, the force of lust which, the Bible says, leads to war:
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts ...?
"Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not ..." (James 4:1-2)
Men would like to believe otherwise - i.e., that lust is not necessarily the most compelling dynamic behind war - but except for some rare occasions, the belief in a "Just War" depends more on who's telling the story than on any objective observation of the facts.
Nonetheless, the notion that war is an "outmoded" concept persists in certain circles - a belief that television has magnified the horror of war to the point that democracies are no longer able to suffer the inevitable casualties that accompany armed conflict. Those who subscribe to this way of thinking believe that the revulsion of the American public to the casualties of the Vietnam War and, more recently, to the deaths of several U.S. soldiers on October 3, 1993, in Mogadishu (to say noting of the long hesitation of the European powers to intervene in Bosnia) demonstrates the low tolerance of democratic publics for casualties on distant (or even proximate) battlefields; they assume that in this climate of opinion, it is difficult for leaders to present a compelling rationale for the employment of force and to carry out the action without facing heavy political damage.
Military force has been, first and foremost, a means of taking and holding territory; but the advantages of acquiring additional territory are much less apparent than in preceding epochs. Additional "living space," they maintain, is no longer necessary, as settlement is now urbanized; nor required for farm land, now that such a small proportion of the population is employed in agriculture; nor for raw materials, because they constitute such a small percentage of the value added through manufacturing; nor for defense, as modern weaponry affords adequate protection. Most important, the alternatives to territorial expansion are now much more attractive. The expansion of production at home appears to be a much faster and safer path to prosperity than conquest abroad, and if all the requisites of an industrial economy are not present within one's own borders, trade is also a cheaper and easier method of acquiring them than imperialism. The smaller the benefits that can be derived from the occupation of land, the smaller will be the reward to those who have invested in military might. As a result, the potential gains from the use of military force are much less attractive now than in the past.
Many people - non-Christians, and not a few Christians as well - find this an attractive vision of the future. Enduring forces, they believe, are now at work which are bringing about a permanent and irreversible decline in the efficacy of military power. But the people who have advanced this view of things have a very linear view of history - a view which pictures the maturation of man as an optimal development both materially and spiritually. But such a view is totally at variance with the Scriptures: the Bible doesn't see the "evolution" of man getting better and better, but worse and worse culminating in the development of "Babylon the Great" and the rule of "the Man of Sin" - i.e., the Antichrist ["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 ..." (2 Thess. 2:3)]; a kind of "negative evolution," (a "devolution") which will ultimately bring judgment and destruction.
And there is something more we need to take note of - such a view is not only unscriptural, it is not very realistic either. For example, the view that the acquisition of territory is no longer important is patently absurd. The world's population now numbers approximately 5.6 billion people. Because of the comparative youth of much of the current population, even if replacement fertility were achieved immediately, the expansion would not cease until 2050, when it would reach 8.5 billion. Estimates of the ultimate peak population vary widely, of course, but the United Nations' medium projection is 10 billion by 2050, nearly double the current total. These developments may hold profound significance for international security; after all, where are these populations going to go? - most are barely surviving on their current territory. Increasingly, they are headed for Western Europe and the United States. Indeed, if current population flows continue (principally, from the Middle East and Africa into Western Europe, and from Latin America into the United States), it is not too difficult to foresee a time when Western Europe and the United States will be forced to fight a defensive war just to hold on to their territory - and possible fight wars of territorial expansion [Western Europe into the Ukraine and Eastern Europe (the territory which Hitler once envisioned as Lebensraum - i.e., "living space" - for the German Reich); and the United States into Canada to accommodate population flows from Latin America].
And the absurdity that war is outmoded does not end here (i.e., that territory is no longer worth fighting over); the thought that today's super powers (really, super power (singular - i.e., the United States) are held hostage to the "greater determination" of lesser powers - i.e., countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam - is nonsensical; and, not only that, but naive and very fanciful. The fact is, the super powers are held hostage to the smaller powers only so long as they (i.e., the super powers) possess leaders who lack the will and determination to deal with the "lesser powers" with the ruthlessness and malevolence necessary to cower them into subservience - for who could imagine that if the United States had wanted to "make a parking lot" out of Vietnam during the Vietnam War, it couldn't have done so?
The United States chose not to "carpet bomb" Hanoi; it chose not to bomb Haiphong; it chose not to bomb the Red River dikes; it chose not to use nuclear weapons. The United States chose not to do so for three reasons: (1) the American public refused at the time to countenance such malevolence, (2) American leaders did not possess the necessary will (i.e., ruthlessness) to carry out such a policy, and (3) Americans feared the intervention of China and the Soviet Union.
But these are very thin reeds for those who believe that a resort to the merciless use of military power is a thing of the past. To believe that these conditions will prevail ad infinitum is very wistful thinking to say the least.
Already, one of the conditions which impeded the use of American military power in Vietnam no longer exists - i.e., the fear of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union no longer exists! And insofar as China is concerned, it is being "bought off" by access to America's market and the riches that come from "Free Trade." It's the methodology the United States used on Japan and Germany to win them over after the end of World War II to such great effect, and it is being successfully employed once again with regard to China - all this, of course, at the cruel expense of American workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the flow of cheap imports into the United States.
The second and the third impediments to the use of great power by the United States - namely, the lack of the necessary ruthlessness on the part of America's leaders to wield that power coupled with the willingness of the general population to acquiesce to its use - may not be quite the obstacles that some people today might think.
First of all, to believe that the American public (and the West in general) - given the "right circumstances" - does not possess the willingness of spirit to be utterly ruthless in the use of their armed forces simply does not comport with any realistic reading of history. Armed conflict, once it is entered upon, has a way of making monsters our of the best of us. Take, for example, the indiscriminate bombing of German and Japanese cities during World War II in which millions and millions of innocent men, women and children - all non-combatants - were hideously burned alive for very little reason at all except that the United States and Britain were pursuing a policy of utterly terrorizing the German and Japanese populations - and all this at a time when American intelligence knew that German and Japanese munitions factories had been moved out of these cities and hidden in caves and underground facilities in non-urban areas. And this is to say nothing of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (where, incidentally, the largest Christian population in Japan was located).
No! - man's capacity to inflict damage and ruin on his fellow man should not be underestimated, even in democracies. The fact is, democracies (from ancient Athens to the "democratic" colonial powers of Europe (i.e., Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, etc.) have proven themselves every bit as cruel as some of the world's worst autocracies - if not in their home countries, than certainly with regard to the populations over which they ruled in Africa, India, Asia, etc.
And the cruel policy these "democracies" used to coerce the colonial populations they governed? - "Racism," which is the deliberate policy of psychologically incapacitating a native population in order to render it compliant to the demands of the "master race" (i.e., the whites) - a policy of subjugation which has been practiced by the European powers (including the United States) from the palmy days of ancient Athens to today. No man who has never been beaten down by racism can adequately understand the debilitating impact of such a policy (i.e., racism) on a man's - any man's (black, white, Asian, Indian, etc.) - psyche (i.e., to be told day in and day out in ways too numerous and subtle to enumerate that you are "inferior"). And unless one is prepared to believe in the innate superiority of the white race (a belief which demands the repudiation of the Bible and a concomitant belief in evolutionism - please see "Racism & Right-Wing Christianity"), than one is forced to conclude that racism is nothing more than a way for one population to render another population impotent, usually for the purpose of financial gain (i.e., "cheap labor").
The sad fact is, there is nothing that much different from the racism historically practiced by the "Democratic West" in their colonial empires and the anti-Semitic racism of Nazi Germany, except that Germany carried racism to its inevitable and hideous end. So much, then, that democracies are incapable of waging war and inhumanely subjugating other peoples and populations to their advantage. No! - sin is resident in us all ["For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23)], and sin is just as capable of breaking out socially in a democracy as it is in an autocracy. So much for the fact that it was the democratic proclivities of the American public that stopped the United States from "making a parking lot" out of South Vietnam. The more likely reason was, the fear of what the Soviet Union would do. But, again, there is no more Soviet Union!
Now to be sure, populations are not normally pre-disposed to annihilate neighboring populations. To most people - believer and unbeliever alike - murder and slaughter are not activities easily and quickly embarked upon. There has to be a reason - a compelling reason. As Russian dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn has said,
"To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he's doing is good ...
"Ideology - that is what gives devildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others' eyes, so that he won't hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors."
Now, in the Christian West, it has not been so much "ideology" that has propelled Western societies (even democracies) into wars of conquest and has enabled them to annihilate their neighbors, as it has been "theology!" - namely, Christianity, but not a Christianity with which early Christians would have been familiar, but a kind of "Grail Christianity" which derives its force and power from Western mythology; specifically, elements which, while in combination or standing alone, approximate - at least on the surface - Christian ideals, but which, nonetheless, result from occultism and philosophy. Indeed, so intertwined have these ideals become in the Christianity of the West that most people seem hardly aware of their depraved and base origins; and while it may be true that many people would not be able to make the connection between these elements and their own situations today, each of these elements - when placed in their modern contexts (please see chapters XVI and XVII of the Antipas Papers - again, we urge those of you who have not yet ordered a "hardcopy" of the Antipas Papers, to do so) - would be easily identifiable to them. These elements are:
It's not our purpose at this time to delve too deeply into these matters [although we do urge you all to study carefully the referenced chapters above; in addition, in the upcoming weeks and months we will return to these topics and pursue them with more vigor than we are able to do now].
Our immediate purpose insofar as this article is concerned is to explain certain developments which have taken place in the technology of warfare which have had two outcomes: specifically, outcomes which have (1) the potential of making it easier for "great powers" to effectively wield their power, and (2) had the practical effect of reducing the number of so-called "great powers" to just one: the United States of America. The fact is, the revolution in warfare-making technology has brought about a change in the practice of warfare as profound as those which resulted from gunpowder and nuclear weapons. It has, in truth, made it possible for the first time in history for one nation, the United States of America, to gain mastery over the world - and if the truth were known, to a certain extent, it already possesses that mastery.
Take, for example, what Samuel P. Huntington, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government and Director of the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University says; after carefully explaining the almost complete domination of the West by the United States, he continues by talking about the West's position vis a vis the other nations of the world:
"The ... (United States) is now at an extraordinary peak of power in relation to other civilizations. Its superpower opponent has disappeared from the map ... The ... (United States) faces no economic challenge. It dominates international political and security institutions with Japan [acting largely as a 'copycat' junior partner - Huntington words] in the international economic arena. Global political and security issues are effectively settled by ... the United States (with Britain and France acting as 'junior partners'); and world economic issues ... (are settled) by the United States (with Germany and Japan acting as 'junior partners'), all (i.e., the United States, Germany, Britain, France and Japan) of which maintain extraordinarily close relations with each other to the exclusion of lesser and largely non-Western countries." [Samuel P. Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations," in Foreign Affairs, Summer, 1993, pg. 39.]
So great has U.S. domination of the world progressed that decisions made at the United Nations or in the International Monetary Fund are essentially U.S. decisions reflecting U.S. values - they are not world decisions at all. Huntington writes,
"The very phrase, 'the world community' has become (nothing more than) a euphemistic collective noun ... to give global legitimacy to actions reflecting the interests of the United States ... (and) through the IMF and other international economic institutions ... (the United States) promotes its economic interests and imposes on other nations the economic policies it thinks appropriate." [Huntington, pg. 39.]
The truth of the matter is, most people in the Religious Right have it all wrong - it's not so much that the United Nations dominates and controls the United States as it is that the United States manages and commands the United Nations! - and while for political reasons this fact is obfuscated by "political-speak" and diplomatic mumbo-jumbo, the fact is, the United Nations is much more the "toady" for the United States than the other way around.
THE FACT OF OVERWHELMING U.S. MILITARY POWER And why is this so? - because of the overarching economic and military strength of the United States. The fact is, so powerful has the United States become in the affairs of the world, that the other nations of the earth have been reduced to the stature of midgets in comparison. Nothing so underlines this fact as the development of American military preponderance, especially as it relates to the "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA).
The term "military revolution" was coined by historian Michael Roberts in 1955 to convey the importance of the changes in military organization and strategy conceived and implemented by Maurice of Nassau and Gustavus Adolphus between 1560 and 1660. Usage has since broadened to mean any epochal shift in military technique, organization, and strategy. The military revolutions of the past have had a profound impact on the evolution of domestic society, the balance of power, the conduct of war, and the prospects for peace. The revolutions initiated by Napoleon and the German High Command of the 1930s, for example, shifted the balance of warfare decisively to the offense and made possible France and Germany's grasp for continental dominion (by France in the early 1800s and by Germany in the 1930s and '40s).
The revolution in military affairs now in progress is no less far-reaching in its consequences for the United States (the one and only possessor of this technology), and the world at large. The technological bases of the ongoing revolution are (1) the dramatic improvements in the accuracy and range of weaponry (i.e., the development of "smart weapons"), (2) the acuity of reconnaissance and surveillance (i.e., spy satellites and other reconnaissance aircraft), (3) the ease of deception (i.e., stealth technology), (4) the ease of suppressing enemy defenses (again, "stealth technology and the development of "cruise missiles), and (5) the effectiveness of command and control (which the "computer revolution" has unleashed). This technology, when implemented effectively - and, again, only one nation possesses the means and "know how" of doing this - has the effect of reducing to impotence the military establishments of the other nations of the earth; hence the somber warning of Scripture against the proud possessor of this technology:
"... who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" (Rev. 13:4)
This technology promises to both ease the restraints against the use of force by the United States while at the same time increasing substantially American world-hegemony. We have only to look at the effects of this technology in the Gulf War to appreciate its capabilities. Although the information revolution in warfare was only in its initial stages in 1991 (since then, it has advanced immeasurably) this war provided ample evidence of its efficacy. The most impressive weapon in action during the Gulf conflict was the F-117A fighter-bomber. The F-117As flew only 2 percent of U.S. sorties in the Gulf War, but accounted for 40 percent of the damage done to strategic targets. Overall, more than 80 percent of the bombs dropped by F-117As hit their target, and none of the aircraft was shot down. And it wasn't just the F117As, but all the aircraft which utilized "smart bombs." As one U.S. Air Force officer remarked, the question was no longer even which building to target, but which room in the building - or in some instances, which part of the room.
Accuracy makes weapons more lethal to targets, but less destructive to their surrounding communities. Iraq suffered remarkably few civilian casualties (1,500 - 2,000 dead). In the words of a Dutch human rights observer, "What struck me most was how little damage allied air raids had actually caused to civilian areas, relative to the amount of bombs said to have been dropped. Especially in Baghdad, the bombing was eerily precise." One peace activist found the Iraqi capital to be "a city whose homes and offices were almost entirely intact," but noted that some of her colleagues were lamenting that smart bombs do not "produce the kinds of images that mobilize peace movements." As a result, the fateful correlation between military efficacy and random devastation that had increasingly characterized war over the past centuries has been decisively broken. War will not become antiseptic - it will still involve smashing things and hurting people - but it should be possible to wage it in the future without the massive damage to civilian life and property that has occurred in all major conflicts of the twentieth century, from World War I to Vietnam.
Moreover, the impressive improvements in the accuracy of weapons mean that more of what is seen can be destroyed, and with the expected enhancements in sensors, most of the enemy's forces will be seen. During the Gulf War, systems such as JSTARS and AWACS provided the Coalition with an unprecedented understanding of developments on the battlefield. A state with RMA technology (essentially, only the United States) can begin a future war with superior sensors that permit its commanders to see the enemy's forces much better than his are seen.
This "information dominance" should allow U.S. commanders to bring the enemy under threat while his own forces remain much less vulnerable. Once U.S. power has demonstrated the ability to kill nearly all of what it sees, simply communicating to the enemy that "we know where you are" may be enough to persuade them to surrender or withdraw. Take, for example, the potentiality of the Lacrosse imaging satellite which can penetrate clouds to provide wide area, all-weather, day and night, foliage-penetrating coverage for both target acquisition and prompt bomb damage assessment: what this kind of technology means is that there will no longer be the possibility for "Third World" guerrilla armies to use the cover of forests and jungle to hide from attack. They can now easily be engaged from miles away and destroyed readily without danger to U.S. forces.
Not only that, but there exists today imaging satellites like Lacrosse which can not only target whole armies, but specific individuals by using the "image type" which each individual gives off (and which differs from individual to individual) - a kind of high-tech satellite "finger-printing" which enables the possessor of this technology to target specific individuals (guerrilla commanders and the like) for destruction. Indeed, this technology has already been used in Columbia to target certain "drug lords" for assassination and / or capture.
Think for a minute what all this means - guerrilla armies reduced to impotence, rendering thereby the nations and peoples of the so-called "Third World" to the status of slaves to the will of their "First World" masters, and - ipso facto - the sweat shops of multinational companies like United Fruit (Chiquita Brand), Nike, Armani, Ford, General Electric, etc.).
And not only that, but there will no longer be anywhere for political (and religious) dissidents to hide either - not in the forests, not in the jungles, not in the crowded cities. No matter where you go, satellite technology can find you. There will be no place to hide. So much for buying secret mountain cabins in which to hunker down; so much for hiding in the slums of one of the world's big cities. Using your specific sensor image (which everyone possesses) satellites can track you , lock onto you, and direct police forces to your hiding place.
Moreover, "smart technology" is not simply the purview of the U.S. Air Force, but it also is being effectively utilized by the Army as well, as was demonstrated by the army's use of this technology in its M1 battle tank. For example, in the pivotal tank confrontations in the Gulf War on February 25-27, the Iraqi Republican Guards were repeatedly surprised by U.S. tank crews. During these tank battles, the unusually inclement weather sometimes grounded the Coalition's air campaign, but the crews of the United States' M1 tanks, possessing not only superior armor and longer-range guns, but also thermal sights, were still able to peer through the rain and mist to locate and destroy enemy tanks. Even in encounters where Pentagon analysts judged Iraqi defensive positions to be well prepared, the hapless Iraqis were still routed.
Future U.S. opponents may be luckier or more competent than Iraq, but the United States will continue to enjoy decisive advantages over their adversaries. Three advantages merit emphasis here. First, accuracy means that pilots can accomplish much more with fewer missions and thus greatly reduced risk. Second, most of the "searching" during the Vietnam War was done by highly vulnerable ground forces and most of the "destroying" by less vulnerable air power. Improvements in sensors should make it much easier to locate the enemy without putting ground forces at risk in this way. Third, long-range precision strikes launched from "stealthy platforms" should make possible "disengaged combat" in which U.S. forces will be able to inflict heavy damage on the enemy at minimal risk. By targeting the enemy's longest-range systems first, U.S. forces should be able to close on the enemy gradually while remaining nearly invulnerable to counterattack. The military effectiveness and limited costs in life of these tactics should do much to overcome the reluctance of democratic publics to commit their forces to battle.
In addition, it has always been necessary in the past for the offense to concentrate its forces at one point in order to break through the defense. Such forces then become vulnerable to counterattack, which is why defense has always in some measure had the advantage over offense. But today - using RMA technology - widely dispersed systems can rain down fire on defensive positions at specific points making it increasingly possible for the offense to concentrate fire but not forces before the enemy, which may shift the eternal contest between offense and defense decisively in favor of the attacker.
From a military standpoint, then - and given the collapse of the Soviet Union and the development of RMA technology in the United States military - the U.S. has no equal left to challenge its hegemony. What military forces the rest of the world possesses (and that includes Western Europe, Japan, China and the new Russian Federation) are non-RMA forces. Their navies are minuscule in comparison to the U.S. navy, while their air forces are hardly worth a yawn. Moreover, these nations possess very limited nuclear capability, and the once formidable capability of the Russian Federation has fallen into irretrievable disrepair. None of these nations has even the remotest possibility [either alone or in combination with each other] of building a RMA military machine with any chance of competing with the Americans - and none of them has the capacity to "project" power the way the United States can. No other nation on earth can put 540,000 men onto a battlefield thousands of miles from its home country like the U.S. did in the Gulf War, support that army in the field logistically, and when the time comes, win decisively on the battlefield the way the Americans can. No other nation; no how; no way!
Ah, but there is a catch. To use such force decisively, a nation must possess a leadership willing to use that power - and use it mercilessly - a mindset which at present the United States does not possess. It's one thing to possess such power, it's quite another to possess the ruthlessness necessary to use it effectively. A Napoleon or Hitler-like figure is needed, someone ruthless enough and merciless enough to wield that power. It's not enough for a nation to possess great power, it must also possess a leader that can direct that power effectively - and, again, that brings us back to the words of Solzhenitsyn:
"To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he's doing is good ...
"Ideology - that is what gives devildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others' eyes, so that he won't hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors."
America awaits such a leader! - a leader who can provide the ideology (in America's case, the theology) that gives "devildoing" the necessary steadfastness and determination that the use of great power necessitates. And - God help us all - the Religious Right also awaits such a leader; and, the sad thing is, ultimately they are the ones who may provide that leader. Now that would be ironic, wouldn't it? After all, if the Nazis could believe that God was on their side [e.g., the SS wore the inscription, Gott mit uns (i.e., "God is on our side," on their belt buckles), it certainly wouldn't be hard for the Religious Right to believe that either. And it is precisely in this direction that the Religious Right is tending. Thinking to do good, they are doing evil, and in the process bringing about the result they thought they were fighting against - and all the while dragging the evangelical community along with it. It's not without reason, therefore, that the Scriptures warn us:
"... Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4)
The plain warning of the Scriptures here is that if we stay where we are - i.e., if we remain within the evangelical "mainstream" - we will be "partakers of her sin" and we will "receive of her plagues," or do we cavalierly suppose that such warnings are given for nothing? Please, we implore you, remember what prophecy is all about -
Prophecy is like a road sign saying: "Slow down, sharp right hand turn ahead!" But if we fail to heed the sign, if we fail to slow down before we get to the turn, it will be too late to brake once we finally get there, and we will surely slide off the road and crash. Like a road sign, prophecy tells us things before they happen so that we can take evasive action before events catch up with us. If we wait until they finally overtake us, it will be too late to do anything - we will crash! Watch, therefore, for the "signs of the times," and don't wait to take action. You may wait too long! Jesus said, "... When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matt. 16:2-3) And Paul warns us, "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." (I Thess. 5:4-6) [Antipas Papers, pg. 6]
Bear in mind, knowledge which does not produce action is worthless! - if the articles on this website and the words within the pages of the Antipas Papers do not impel us to action, then they are worthless!
With this in mind, Christians need to pause for a minute in view of the facts presented in this article; we need to re-think some of the eschatology ("doctrine of end times") that the Religious Right would like us to believe; certainly, this won't be a comfortable exercise, but making people comfortable is not what prophecy is all about (as some people naively suggest):
"Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets ... and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your ... (meeting halls), and persecute them from city to city ..." (Matt. 23:34)
Over the years, Christians have been persuaded that somehow or other the United States is not to be found in the "Prophetic Scriptures" - that the "great nation" that will arise in the "End of Days" and which will exercise dominion over the rest of the world - i.e., "Babylon the Great" - could certainly not be "Christian America." This is what people like Tim LaHaye, Pat Robertson, D. James Kennedy, Jerry Falwell, etc. would have us believe. For example, Pat Robertson writes,
"Satan knows that a world government must soon be prepared for the man whom he is preparing to receive his particular empowerment and authority. Such a world government can come together only after the Christian United States is out of the way. After all, the rest of the world can federate any time it wants to, but a vital, economically strong, Christian United States would have at its disposal the spiritual and material force to prohibit a worldwide satanic dictator from winning his battle. With America still free and at large, Satan's schemes will at best be only partially successful. From these shores could come the television, radio, and printed matter to counter an otherwise all-out world news blackout. An independent America could point out Satan's lies. If America is free, people everywhere can hope for freedom. And if America goes down, all hope is lost to the rest of the world."
This is why Robertson says that -
"The Christian Coalition is launching an effort ... to become acquainted with registered voters in every precinct. This is slow hard work. But it will build a significant database to use to communicate with those people who are registered voters. When they are mobilized ... elected officials listen ... We must rebuild the foundation of a free, sovereign America from the grassroots, precinct by precinct, city by city, state by state ... This decade will decide the outcome. Events are moving swiftly, but there is still time. My goal is to see a pro-freedom (read, pro-Christian - editor) majority in the United States Senate ... and a reversal of leadership in the House of Representatives by 1996 ... Since in most congressional or senatorial elections a 5 percent swing in the vote means victory or defeat, the power of the concept of a free, sovereign (read, Christian - editor) America is so strong that, if properly presented, it can sweep the one-worlders (read, the secular humanists) out of contention in the public policy arena in a short time.
But is this view of things a realistic one? Think about it! In the light of what we have presented in this article, it's patently absurd! What nation or even coalition of nations could ever push the United States back behind her borders, like some whimpering giant! There is none! - and that's the fact of the matter. It sometimes seems that everyone else in the world recognizes this fact except Americans - and we don't recognize this fact because we choose not to do so. It's too uncomfortable. But the fact of the matter is, as we said in the Antipas Papers, such thinking - as the entire rest of the world plainly knows - is not only absurd, it's silly:
"(America's) ... fleets dominate the seas; twelve Herculean naval battle groups prowl the oceans, each dominated by incalculably powerful "supercarriers" - oceanic "battle stars" of immeasurable dread. Trident submarines larger than the battleships of World War II lie in wait beneath the seas, ready to unleash their horror and violence on anyone foolish enough to challenge her preeminence. Her air force overspreads the world with its shadow and makes the nations of the world tremble with fear. America's presence fills the world like some mighty colossus. She stands as a giant in a world filled with dwarfs. Her existence shatters the pretense of all those who have gone before her - of Egypt, Assyria, Persia, even of ancient Rome - and she inhabits and diffuses the earth with her omnipotence and Titan-like bearing."
We urge you, therefore, with every fiber in our being, to think about these things for yourselves. Order a copy of the Antipas Papers and study this matter yourself, especially - insofar as this article is concerned - i.e., those chapters having to do with "Babylon the Great;" specifically, chapter XIV.
These are not things that we as evangelicals can ignore. Think about it! - if the United States is indeed, the "Babylon" of the "End of Days" what kind of foolishness and even danger is our "community of faith" - i.e., the evangelical community - getting involved in as it moves to become ever more identified with her? Is this not deception? - deception on a massive scale? And, sadly, our leaders are a part of it. And what about our friends and loved ones who are still involved with this community? - what will happen to them if they persist with it, and by doing so, acquiescing in its folly?
What about ourselves? - can we really claim that we don't know what's happening? - and if we can't say that we don't know, then we are faced with a grave responsibility, a responsibility we can't escape. Some, of course, might say that we should stay and try to resist the misdirection of the church from within - but trying to fight the apostasy and even heresy in today's evangelical church while remaining a part of it will most likely prove an impossible task for anyone who tries.
It isn't that there are not countless numbers of godly men and women who are part of this church and who fervently love the Lord and who are honestly seeking to do His will; it's just that they are a part of an institution that is, unfortunately, going in the wrong direction, and there is nothing they can do - other than tampering with odds and ends on the periphery - to change that. It's like someone who is walking west toward New York on a ship which is sailing east toward London and who thinks that by doing so he can with much effort at last reach New York. It's impossible! Obviously, then, we face a great challenge - and just like Jonah, we're probably going to find that we can't run from it. The Bible says:
"Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
"Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
"But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
"But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
"Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
"Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,
"And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
"And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
"And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the SECOND time, saying,
"Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. (Jonah 1:1-4, 17; 2:1-2, 10: 3:1-2)
And no more than Jonah was able to run from his responsibility before the Lord, neither can we. The Bible warns:
"Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
"If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
"Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
"He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
"But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." (Ezek. 33:2-6)
And please remember here, these are not our words, they're God's words - they fall on us with as much force (and even discomfort) as they fall on you.
Some, of course, might say, all this is pretty negative! To go this way will cost too much! It's crazy! - and that might be true if we have our minds set on the things of this earth. But if we have our eyes set on the Kingdom of Heaven, then we will be able to say with Paul that -
"... we ... EXULT in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
"And perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
"And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:3-5)
Indeed, tribulation is the gate through which all true believers must pass into the kingdom of heaven; transformation is impossible without it. The Bible says:
"And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch,
"Strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, 'We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God'." (Acts 14:21-22)
And again, the Bible - speaking of those saints who through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit [during the Great Tribulation] have been translated to the very throne of God - says:
"After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands ...
"Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?
"And I said to him, Sir, you know. So he said to me, THESE ARE THE ONES WHO COME OUT OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Revelation 7:9,13-14)
The Bible says:
"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job, and that man was BLAMELESS, UPRIGHT, fearing God, and turning away from evil.
"Now there was a day when the sons of God [angles] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
"And the Lord said to Satan, 'From where do you come'? Then Satan answered the Lord and said, 'From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it'.
"And the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a BLAMELESS, UPRIGHT man, fearing God and turning away from evil'.
"Then Satan answered the Lord, 'Does Job fear God for nothing? [Why shouldn't he respect you since you take care of him so well?]
"'Hast Thou not made a hedge about him [haven't you put a wall around him to protect him from me?] and his house [his family] and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
"'But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face'." [but take away the wall and let me at him, and he will hate you]
"The Lord said to Satan, 'BEHOLD, ALL THAT HE HAS IS IN YOUR POWER ...'" (Job 1:1, 6-12)
Why does God allow his servants to suffer? Why does God allow Satan access to them? Why does God allow tribulation to enter their lives? Many in today's Church, of course, deny that God does - but this is obviously not what the Scriptures say. But these same people would retort that God only allows suffering when there is sin - and, apparently, this is what Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, Job's, friends said about Job during his sufferings: that Job was suffering because there was "hidden sin" in Job's life, and that this was the only reason that God would allow such suffering in one of his servants. But God was greatly angered by such thinking:
"And it came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, 'My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has.
"'Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has'." (Job 42:7-8)
GOD WAS GLORIFIED IN JOB!! Satan had said that Job loved God only because of the "things" God bestowed upon him. What a terrible thing to say. It is the curse of wealth. How does a rich man ever know that he is truly loved? The sad truth is, he doesn't so long as he retains his wealth. But should he lose it, then he will find out. Great crowds of people followed Jesus so long as he fed them and healed them of their diseases. But when tribulation arose because of the Word He spoke, the crowds disappeared.
Oh, to be loved because of who you are, and not just because of the "things" you have! This is the love that God desires from those who follow Him. It is the love that Ruth gave to Naomi, and this even after Naomi had asked Ruth to depart from her because she [Naomi] had nothing further to give Ruth - she no longer possessed any "things" with which to "purchase" Ruth's love:
"But Ruth said, 'Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
"'Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me'." (Ruth 1:16-17)
The Lord is looking for such to follow Him - those that will follow Him long after the "things" are gone, the crowds have left, the popularity faded; when the clothes are tattered and torn, there is no food on the table, and persecution rages all around. These are the disciples of Jesus! These are the disciples who can say with the prophet Habakkuk:
"Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock be cut off from the fold, And there be no heard in the stalls -
"YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD, I WILL JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION." (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
It is in this kind of love that the TRUE Church will be "revealed," "disclosed," "manifested" (Romans 8:19)! It is this kind of love which will expose the hypocrites for what they really are. It is this kind of love which will separate the wheat from the tares. And it is only in tribulation that this love is truly revealed in all of its splendor and beauty. In this, God's glory can find rest; in this the presence of God securely dwells.
Finally, dear saint of God, remember this:
"... continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven ...
"... and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ ... for his body's sake, which is the church:
"... according to the dispensation of God which is given to ... you, to fulfill the word of God;
"Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
"To whom (i.e., to you) God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of glory ..." (Col. 1:23-27)
God bless all of you.
PS Have the courage of your convictions! Contribute to the ministry by making out a check to "Antipas Ministries" and sending it to -