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July 2015 Prophetic Observer

For a printable version, click here.


GIs with FlagThe Sleeping Giant

by Bob Glaze

At the conclusion of the 1970s film TORA! TORA! TORA!, the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese naval marshal General Isoroku Yamamato uttered the now famous words concerning the semi-successful attack, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Although the quote cannot be substantiated as his, it turned out to be prophetic, as this sleeping giant—America—rose to the occasion, and within months went on the offensive. However, this was not the first time the United States woke up to the fact that we cannot ignore a sickness that will eventually come to our own shores. Isolation soon began to thaw and we plunged headlong into a determination to defeat evil and injustice. 

During the early days of WW I, the United States initially tried to remain neutral. Then-President Woodrow Wilson was dedicated to remaining neutral, but the country was divided over this issue. In his address to Congress in 1914 he is quoted as saying, “Such divisions amongst us would be fatal to our peace of mind and might seriously stand in the way of the proper performance of our duty as the great nation at peace, the one people holding itself ready to play a part of impartial mediation and speak the counsels of peace and accommodation, not as a partisan, but as a friend.” However, after German U-Boats began sinking ships carrying American citizens, the attitude of isolationism began to change, and on April 6, 1917, our grandfathers and grandmothers gritted their teeth, set their jaws, and began to sail “over there.” The signs were all there: democracies began to fall; Germany encouraged Mexico to attack the United States; and it was sure that Europe would soon fall to German fanaticism. When reality finally set in, Washington recognized that we had to enter the war, and 24 million Americans registered for military service. Of these, 4.7 million served, of which 53,000 were killed and 204,000 wounded (www.pbs.org/greatwar/resources/casdeath_pop.html). 

However, when the war ended and the last piece of confetti hit the ground, the memories of the loss of their loved ones set in and the compassion for our friends abroad began to dim. Questions began to abound: Did we do the right thing, or should we have stayed home and let everyone fend for themselves? Immediately, the American military began to dwindle—after all, this was “the war to end all wars” so there would be no need of a strong Navy or large standing Army. Between the end of WW I and the beginning of WW II “doves” prevailed and our political stand was once again “isolationism.” So we quietly stood by with “baited breath” as Germany began a move toward the domination of Europe, and Japan began a move to dominate Asia. European countries quickly began to fall to Germany, but Hitler could not finish off England and began a move to starve them out.

As hostilities heated up, the opinion polls showed that the majority of Americans were against involvement. “President Roosevelt realized that Britain needed aid or else the U.S. would become a lone ‘free’ nation in a fascist-dominated world. The American military needed to be mobilized in order to assist the Allies or democracy would be in grave danger. Roosevelt pled his case to the American people in his famous ‘Quarantine Speech’ in which he called for an end to dangerous isolationism. However, his speech was not well-received and he was criticized for his desire to ‘entangle’ the U.S. in European foreign affairs (Document D). With Britain the only remaining power fighting against Germany, Roosevelt felt compelled to offer aid in some way. In 1940, Roosevelt boldly transferred fifty World War I destroyers to Britain in exchange for eight valuable defense bases stretching from Newfoundland to South America. As bombs dropped over Britain, Americans began to realize that their interests were intricately tied to Britain’s and that they must offer aid or else the battle would come to American soil soon” (“American Foreign Policy: Isolationism to Interventionism” [DBQ], www.apstudynotes.org). 

 

The U.S. government continued in its attempts to stay clear of any conflicts by signing treaties with different factions, but all of them failed completely. All of these attempts came to a sudden close when the empire of Japan attacked the U.S. fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The angry “Sleeping Giant” suddenly aroused and resolved to retaliate and ultimately defeated our enemies. Admiral Yamamoto is quoted as saying, “In the first six to twelve months of war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success.” Again, his words proved prophetic. When asked about invading the mainland of the United States, he responded with, “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.” 

Leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. watched as nation after nation was attacked by the Axis powers: Britain; Manchuria; Ethiopia; China; Albania; Poland; Finland; Denmark; Norway; France; Luxembourg; Holland; Belgium; Egypt; Libya; Greece; and finally, the United States on December 7, 1941. The United States finally declared war on Japan on that date, and four days later, on December 11, the United States and Germany declared war on each other. Germany formally surrendered on May 8, 1945, and Japan followed on September 2, 1945, ending the last war that we were declared the victor. The League of Nations was dissolved and the United Nations was instituted. 

World War II ended the United States political views of isolationism. However, we seemed to have developed a blindness as to who our friends are, and when to support them. Instead of demonstrating our strengths as the world’s only superpower, our leaders apologize for our greatness and work to lower our position in the world to a third world level. Through bad trade agreements, we have in reality adopted Japan and China as the 51st and 52nd states. The world’s respect for the United States under the lack of leadership of President Barack Hussein Obama has dwindled to the lowest level in our history. Therefore, our weakness is being probed and tested by those that would destroy us. 

Russia is continually harassing our partners in NATO. They are charting our defenses and checking for possible blind spots in response time as well as our resolve to push pack. China is testing our brinkmanship using their growing navy and air force to intimidate their neighbors and our allies. They consider the United States a “paper tiger.” North Korea is continually firing missiles and threatening ships in open international waters that involve our support and resolve. Iran, allied with Russia, is threatening to upset the world stage by developing nuclear capabilities to attack the United States and its allies, especially Israel. Now our government has begun the process of establishing full diplomatic relations with Cuba, who, with Russia’s help, prepared to attack us with nuclear missiles in the 1960s—the same Cuba which emptied their asylums and prisons of the vilest persons, placed them in boats, and shipped them to Florida—and has never apologized for their plans to destroy the United States. 

When Obama took the office of president the second time, it sent a message to all or our enemies that they are safe to continue their imperialism without resistance. What act of aggression will it take to awaken this “Sleeping Giant” to act in its own defense? ISIS knows that we really don’t have a plan to defeat them, and they continue to move into new territories, killing Christians and Jews and anyone else that would resist them. ISIS is successful because they fear no one. The United Nations, and even NATO, doesn’t make a move without the leadership of the United States. And since we have not substantially come to the aid of countries such as Syria, our “big stick” means nothing. 

American is still the greatest nation on the face of the earth, and we need to act like it. We have no reason to apologize for our greatness, or the fact that we have been favored by God to prosper and go to the aid of others less fortunate. Even Japan, our Pacific partner, is allowed to take advantage of us through trade. It is a one-way trade arrangement. Our homeland security, including our police, is drawn from the finest and most committed of our people, but they are limited by useless laws and lack of funding. Our military is tasked with missions, but are not allowed to pull the trigger. 

Independence Day on July 4 is a special day when we proudly fly our Stars and Stripes and show our support for those who serve. If we don’t exercise our God-given rights and privileges, we will begin to lose them.

 


 Prophecy, the Bible, and the Christian Life

by Larry Spargimino

Praying hands on BibleScripture is God-breathed. It was given by God so that Christians can know God and live in a way pleasing to Him—that we would be “throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:16–17). 

Bible prophecy is an important part of Scripture. Many prophecies that were given centuries ago have already been fulfilled. The first coming of our Lord and Saviour is a good example. It was predicted in the past, and it was fulfilled in the past. Yet, it is clear that there are many prophecies that have not yet been fulfilled. Rapture and resurrection are yet future. The glorious kingdom of Christ on earth, is another example. How, then, is the study and proclamation of unfulfilled prophecy to affect how we live? 

The Time Is Short—So What? 

In an increasing number of my interviews, guests are observing how fast things are changing, faster than they could ever have imagined. Just ten years ago we would never have thought that some of the far-reaching, seismic changes that are staring at us right now would ever happen in our own generation, or even in the next. Our nation, and the entire planet, is in a moral freefall. Science and technology are providing unbelievable conveniences, yet there is the uneasy feeling that the technology providing the conveniences might be the technology that imprisons us. 

When time is short our perspective changes. If a tornado were bearing down on your home, would you gently suggest to your wife that she prepare a gourmet meal? There is something about the brevity of time that introduces both urgency and simplicity to life. The basics become very important. There is no time to dream and make extravagant plans. How then should we live? “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Pet. 4:7). 

It’s amazingly simple, isn’t it? No discussion of elaborate charts and prophetic theories concerning which engender debates, learned treatises, and hot arguments; nothing esoteric, far out, weird, sensational or freakish. Just be alert and pray. 

But is that what we are really doing? Are prophetic ministries helping us be faithful to this mandate that God has given? 

There is more in this passage from 1 Peter 4 that we must take seriously. Verse 8 says: “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves.” “Charity”—agape love—is so important that the Bible says as we stare at the end of all things, above all things show agape love. 

Verses 9–10 reinforce our understanding of the passage: “Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 

Somewhere down the road, Christians have picked up the erroneous and thoroughly unbiblical idea that prophetic preaching and teaching has very little to do with Christian living and everything to do with studies, charts, and some new, sensational idea. And the public gobbles it up. Book and video sales soar. The freakish, weird, and terrifying becomes candy for the masses. Preachers and teachers willing to scratch the itch for the sensational are only too happy to oblige the public and to satisfy this desperate craving. Though many of these purveyors of the sensational criticize megachurch pastors whom they claim are interested only in numbers and big bucks, they themselves are guilty of the same. Sounds like hypocrisy to me. 

Putting Bible Prophecy in Focus 

The words “prophetic preaching” are often misunderstood. People limit “prophecy” to prediction. However, prophecy is not just about predicting things that will happen in the future. It’s that, and much more. To be sure there is the element of FOREtelling in prophecy, i.e., announcing beforehand some event; but there is also the element of FORTHtelling. The Old Testament prophets spoke God’s Word and called on God’s people to repent of their sins. Amos called for justice: “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24). Likewise, one of the ethical peaks of the Old Testament comes from a Hebrew prophet: “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Mic. 6:8). 

When the prophets of Israel spoke about Messiah’s coming kingdom they spoke about it being a kingdom of righteousness and justice. We are now living in the day of man, and it is a day of injustice and oppression, but the coming Day of the Lord is a day of justice. Jesus spoke about that when he said, “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory” (Matt. 12:20). In his book When a Jew Rules the World, Joel Richardson writes: 

The Scriptures testify to the fact that the Lord is filled with compassion for the enslaved, the violated, the broken, the suffering, the oppressed, the depressed, the outcast, the rejected, the afflicted, the forgotten, the sick, the poor, and the weak. These are the things that the Lord repeatedly speaks about healing and utterly bringing to a decisive end when he returns (p. 79). 

Why Some Avoid Prophecy 

The charge is sometimes made that pastors don’t preach enough on prophecy. No doubt, some don’t preach on prophecy because prophecy, rightly presented, glorifies God, brings us to our knees, and exposes evil. Horrors! Who wants to expose evil? 

On the other hand, there are some pastors who don’t preach prophecy because much of it is a nesting ground for birds from the lunatic fringe. Have you ever noticed how so many books on prophetic themes have titles with question marks? –Is This the Final Warning?Is the Pope the False Prophet?Is the President the Antichrist? 

God’s Word is intended to call people to decision and He calls people to decision not on the basis of what we don’t know but on the basis of what we do know for sure because it has been revealed in the Scriptures. Continual speculation on fringe issues, fanciful interpretations of current events, and raging conspiracy theories are completely contrary to the spirit and design of biblical prophecy. 

Too much of our teaching on prophecy is cluttered. It’s like a photograph that needs to be cropped. It’s a portrait, but the subject—the main thing—is too small. There are too many other items in the photograph—trees, a lake, a cabin. The photographer needs to ask himself: “Am I doing a portrait, or am I doing a landscape?” If it’s the former, remember this: less is actually more. The old dictum—“If your photographs aren’t good enough, it’s likely because you aren’t close enough”—still holds. 

In the primitive church, Jesus was at the center of the picture. “For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you,” we read in 1 Thessalonians 1:9, “and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven.” Jesus is to be our focus. After all, He did acknowledge being the Messiah, the Son of God (John 4:25-26; Matt. 16:16-17; Mark 14:61-62). 

The Signs Are Just That 

While the prophetic signs are important we are never told to use them to fix the date of the Lord’s return. In fact, when speaking about the signs signaling the end of the age, Jesus presents them and adds, “but the end is not yet” (Matt. 24:6), and says that “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (vs. 8). Even His disciples will be unable to fix a specific date. He’s coming back “in such an hour as ye think not” (Matt. 24:44). 

Scripture reminds us that we are getting closer, but it never tells us how close. Even some 20 centuries ago the apostles believed they were living in “the last days” (Heb. 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:20; 1 John 2:18). The emphasis of Scripture, with regard to the approaching end, is godly living. We are told to “awake out of sleep” because “the night is far spent.” So what does the mean? “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh” (Rom. 13:11–14). 

Early in their ministries, many pastors wax eloquent and parade their “deep knowledge” of Bible prophecy, deftly weaving Bible exposition into a mixed fabric of hype and terrifying monsters. Later on, as they mature, they file away those notes and dig them out for a good laugh. “I said that in the pulpit?” 

One pastor heard a young preacher give a great prophetic oration. The young preacher had it all figured out, down to the last detail. The pastor said, “Brother you must be on the planning committee for the return of Christ, but I’ve moved from the planning committee to the welcoming committee.” 

Jesus is coming. What a day that will be for those on the welcoming committee!