Out the Fires of Anarchy…
God "Shoulder to Shoulder"
wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up
to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations,
that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation,
even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured
with the "fire" of my jealousy. For then will I turn
to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the
name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent [‘shoulder
to shoulder’ NAS]." Zephaniah 3:8-9
many of us feel perplexed—some are even faint with fear—for
what we see happening on the world scene. As Jesus prophesied
about "the day" at the end of the age, "Upon
the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring
of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation
of the things which are coming upon the world…" (Luke
the year 2008 began we were exposed to scenes of tribal conflict—this
time in postcard perfect Kenya. These scenes vividly reminded
us of Darfur, the "anarchy" of Rwanda and other the
genocides and religiously motivated wars that bathed the last
century with the blood of millions of innocents. Images appear
in the media briefly, but soon we were either numbed or of necessity
distracted by yet other crises, diversions—or football
games. Few of us are prepared to keep the flames of Kenya fresh
in our minds, much less be able to do anything to assist Kenyans
directly—even if we knew what to do. Will Kenya’s
Luo tribesmen go the way of the Tutsis of Rwanda? What will
eventually come of UN intervention? Will it be an effete useless
effort? How far and wide will such "fires" spread?
of the Nations
and its global factory and marketplace are another source of
potential destabilization and financial combustion. The world’s
economies are now lined up as so many dominos precariously placed,
interconnected and capable of bringing each other down. Even
the growing credit crisis will play into the gathering of all
nations spoken of by the prophet Zephaniah (3:8) who wrote that
God will "gather" the nations to pour out the "fire
of His wrath." And while all that sounds awful, there is
hope. God has a plan!
the "fire" of that day, God will turn to the people
and they will call on His Name and serve Him "shoulder
to shoulder." Thus understood the earth does not literally
burn up. If so, who would be left to turn to God? But after
the "fire" that is just what all people will do—they
will turn to God.
fires after War
20th Century has experienced significant changes in international
conflict. Wars have led to revolutions and revolutions have
led to anarchistic brush fires. The "Great War" of
1914, the "Russian Revolutions" of 1917 were benchmarks
of global change. The imperialism that helped ignite World War
I, also pressed African tribes and Eurasian ethnic communities
together within artificial borders. The fading of totalitarian
Soviet might in Eurasia and the departure of Imperial powers
left behind powder kegs of resentment and mistrust ready to
explode. And explode they did! Yugoslavia and Rwanda being just
two examples. Is there a pattern?
war-revolution-anarchy machine continues to wreak unspeakable
devastation on humanity. The machine is driven by any number
scarcity, overpopulation, famine, poverty, disease or fear of
conflicts, ethnic revenge or tribalism bloodletting;
zeal to gain converts, dominate or annihilate;
power hungry factions.
profile, targeted wars, in Afghanistan or Iraq may tend to ignore
the true picture of a worldwide Islamic jihad mentality. What
role terrorism in the 21st Century will play in the "war-revolution-anarchy"
scenario may not be clear, but the reality on the ground is
that religious, social, economic and political issues are still
at the root cause. Unsolvable conflicts will continue to press
many of earth’s billions under the wheels of crushing
widely praised, but expensive, democratic elections which put
President Joseph Kabila of Congo in power have left the West
blind to the corruption—some attributed to multinational
corporate mining involvement. Tragic is the cost in human lives—estimated
to be 5.4 million since 1998. Yes, Congo is a disaster. But
how long will its crisis remain within its borders? How long
the major powers ignore it and remain isolated and safe from
the conflicts? Kenya, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone and
Sudan’s Darfur all are shouting for help. Unheard cries
will not go away—rather their "fire" can spread.
Around the World
is destructive. There is nothing more destructive to society
than anarchy. The Scriptures define anarchy, in principle, as
the fighting of "every man’s sword …against
his brother and…neighbor" (Ezek. 38:21; Isaiah 19:2).
Through earth’s history, there have always been bursts
of anarchy. But since World War I—when the world gathered
for the Great War—the nations have gathered as never before—and
are now so interdependent that "fire" in one place
can easily spread. However, African States now burning with
tribal wars seem so removed from Western society.
heroic Canadian U.N. Commander, General Romeo Dallaire, assigned
to Rwanda (1993-1994), found himself helpless in the face of
a 100-day, 800,000-person genocide because the Western powers—who
could have made a difference—did not help. He said, "Because
there was no self-interest....No oil!….They didn't come
because some humans are [considered] less human than others."
But will anyone really be isolated from the "fires"
of this century?
Scriptures actually give us a model of the sequence that we
have seen since World War I. Fleeing a death threat by his arch
enemy Jezebel, Elijah the Prophet of the LORD escaped to Mount
Horeb (I Kings 19:1-12). For His Prophet Elijah, the LORD produced
a awesome display of power—first a "wind," then
an "earthquake," then "fire"—but finally
"a still small voice." That dramatic display was a
prophecy symbolic of the end time: winds of war; socio-political
earthquakes or revolutions and fiery anarchy—all before
the peaceable Kingdom. The 20th century saw two World Wars.
It witnessed more than half of the world’s population
hit with revolutions and social upheavals. It saw anarchistic
genocide in Turkey in 1915 and in the Congo as the century ended
(the worst human crisis since WW II).
the LORD has cause to be angry with the nations. Former colonial
and imperial powers will bear their share of responsibility.
Multinational corporations have done much to control the world’s
resources and production. Copper, gold and diamond rich Congo—are
being pillaged while the profits earned never reach the native
population. Congolese government leaders and their crowd are
kept well paid to achieve free reign for corporate exploits.
But a fiery day of reckoning is approaching.
leads to demands for rights and liberties. Selfishness generates
pride and lust for power. Governments hold the people in place,
but the "fire" of anarchy will flare up when there
is no government—whether good or bad—to maintain
kept African tribes under its thumb. But as Britain, France
Belgium and Portugal fled Africa, artificially created neo-nations
were left with new power bases igniting tribal suspicions and
rivalry. The results have been chaotic—and now anarchistic.
the "fire"—A Glorious Home
the Prophet Zephaniah wrote that after God gathers the nations
and pours out the "fire" of His wrath—He will
"turn to the people" the "pure language"
of Truth—and they will call on His Name and serve Him
"shoulder to shoulder."
again this means that the earth will not literally burn up.
For then there would be none left to turn to God. But after
the "fire" that is just what all people will do—they
will turn to God.
"Armageddon" of end times is generally misunderstood.
What began in the last Century is bad enough to be described
as the Biblical Armageddon, but has it already started? If not,
the gathering of the nations in leagues, unions and economic
conferences makes Armageddon seem close (Rev. 16:14-16).
wants man to learn the valuable lessons of the consequences
of sin and selfishness. But the core problem is the human heart—both
for the people on the street as well as those in power with
authority. God's Plan will soon climax, and "Surely the
wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt
thou restrain" (Psalm 76:10). The Bible affirms that God
is in control. What might be excessive—God will step in
and halt (Matt. 24:22). Thus man’s wrath will ultimately
serve for his own ultimate good to God's praise.
Earth Abides Forever
speaking there is no question: our present society—the
symbolic "earth" will pass away (2 Peter 3:7). But
the Scriptures clearly tell us that the planet earth will never,
never be burned up. "One generation passeth away, and another
generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever" (Ecclesiastes
Earth was prepared for Man’s home—forever! In spite
of people speaking of going to heaven when they die, most of
earth’s billions dream of living in an earthly paradise
anyway. Yes, the truly consecrated Christian's hope is to live
with Christ in Heaven, and to see God fact to face. But that
hope is the exception to the universal desire of mankind. The
Christian Church will be the Bride of Jesus Together they will
give perfect life on earth to the rest of the world—their
children (Rev. 22:17).
our God created the earth as man's home: "For thus saith
the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the
earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not
in vain, he formed it to be inhabited...." (Isaiah 45:18
fact, even though, Heaven is God’s throne—Earth
is His footstool. And He will make the place of His feet glorious!
It will be a Paradise. "Thus saith the LORD, The heaven
is my throne, and the earth is my footstool...:I will make the
place of my feet glorious...." (Isaiah 66:1; 60:13).
the purpose of Jesus returning is not to save a mere few—and
destroy the remainder with the Earth. The Scriptures say, the
heavens retain Jesus until the "times of restitution"—restoration
of mankind to their home on Earth. "That He may send Jesus,
the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until
the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke
by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time." (Acts
3:20-22 NAS) Restoration to what Adam—and all his children—lost:
Perfect life and home on a perfect earth. "For the Son
of man is come to save that which was lost" (Matt 18:11).
the "times of restoration," humanity will be learning
God’s righteousness. "When thy judgments are in the
earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness"
(Isa 26:9). It will be a time for healing. As Revelation describes
the "water of life" coming out of the throne of God
and the Lamb—symbolically "leaves" will be for
the "healing of the nations" (Rev. 22:1-2). After
the "fire" of anarchy has destroyed the structure
of the present evil society—as the Prophet Zephaniah says—God
will turn to the people the pure language of Truth. The knowledge
of God will cover the earth. "They shall not hurt nor destroy
in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the
knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah
11:9) Instead the anarchy of every man’s hand being against
his brother or neighbor—people will serve God "shoulder