The Pride Of Our Power – Or Weakening Resolve?
By Garner Ted Armstrong
As the tragic news of crashes, deaths and injuries emerges from the “fog of war”; as millions demonstrate world wide against the US and the UK; as the first “fragging” incident occurs where a US soldier attempted to murder his own officers, millions of Americans and Britons will find their earlier anticipations and expectations dampened.
Many will slip from euphoria to depression.
As enemy television shows pictures of a little child with half its head blown off, as grisly statistics of hundreds of civilians killed and injured are shown, that depression will become doubt.
As US planes are inevitably shot down, and as US pilots and troops are captured and forced to condemn the war and George Bush, saying they are “criminals” and “terrorists,” and are being forced to wage war against the “peaceful Iraqi people,” that doubt may well metamorphose into complete disenchantment with the war. In other words, it is far more likely that those who favor the war against Iraq will change their minds as a result of inevitable battlefield casualties than will the anti-war demonstrators, who will seize upon each civilian casualty as proof of the righteousness of their cause.
The pro-war attitudes may diminish, while the anti-war attitudes may strengthen.
Into just how deep of a morass will the US and UK find itself sinking? Remember, the coalition is waging war against an Islamic nation; people who do not think the same way as do westerners; people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for “Allah.”
One of the most famous authors to write about war was Karl von Klauswitz. To this day, military men and historians study his works. In his oft-quoted work, “On War,” book 1, chapter 2, he wrote: “If, in the next place, we keep once more to the pure conception of war, then we must say that its political object properly lies out of its province, for if war is an act of violence to compel the enemy to fulfill our will, then in every case all depends on our overthrowing the enemy, that is, disarming him, and on that alone. This object, developed from abstract conceptions, but which is also the one aimed at in a great many cases in reality, we shall, in the first place, examine in this reality.
“In connection with the plan of a campaign we shall hereafter examine more closely into the meaning of disarming a nation, but here we must at once draw a distinction between three things, which as three general objects comprise everything else within them. They are the military power, the country, and the will of the enemy.
“The military power must be destroyed, that is, reduced to such a state as not to be able to prosecute the war. This is the sense in which we wish to be understood hereafter, whenever we use the expression ‘destruction of the enemy's military power.’
“The country must be conquered, for out of the country a new military force may be formed.
“But if even both these things are done, still the war, that is, the hostile feeling and action of hostile agencies, cannot be considered as at an end as long as the will of the enemy is not subdued also...”
Millions of Americans have been propagandized to believe the Iraqi population will welcome US and UK troops, not as conquerors, but as deliverers. Many expect Saddam’s divisions to surrender en-mass. Perhaps some will. It is certainly to be hoped, in order to spare additional human suffering and death. However, no matter what kind of interim provisional government is installed, probably from leading Iraqis who have already been working to form such a provisional government from London and elsewhere, the new regime will be viewed by dozens of Islamic countries as bogus, as a puppet of the west.
Some American leaders have painted a picture of a wonderful, democratic Iraq, prospering under a new, benign government, counterbalancing the seething contempt and hatred which exists in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan – indeed, throughout the entire Islamic world.
However, even as democracy will fail in Europe, so any attempts at democracy among the peoples of Islam is doomed to failure. Some peoples, given their history, their race and their religion, simply cannot function in a democratic society.
Can the American and British governments subdue the WILL of the Iraqis and Afghans?
Can they maintain and nourish their own WILL to carry on to the finish? Does the US and UK have the WILL to withstand a large and growing surge of violent anti-American and British sentiment? Does the “Coalition of the willing” have the will to withstand the strident and ongoing condemnation of the war, with demands that it halt coming from Europe, Russia, China, and many other nations?
Lest those who read my columns misunderstand my intent in many of my commentaries over a period of months; lest they misinterpret my purpose, let me here set the record straight: I fully believe what God’s word says about the futile wars of mankind.
James wrote, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
“Ye lust [usually for money and power], and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world [man-made societies based upon vanity, jealousy, lust and greed] is the enemy of God.
“Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:1-6).
The French government is deeply enmeshed, economically, in the Iraqi regime. Millions believe the war is “all about oil.” In some sense, there is an underlying truth to that charge, although it is very simplistic, and misleading.
One of the bloodiest books in the Bible is the book of Judges. At the end of this tragic book, replete with horrifying slaughter and war, the ironic statement is made, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
Solomon wisely said, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Nothing could prove the veracity of that statement better than the human tragedy of war.
Today, the leaders of the coalition of the willing believe they are RIGHT in waging war against Iraq. From a purely human perspective, they see Saddam Hussein and his regime as a grave danger to his neighbors, to his own people, to the US and the UK and their interests, and to Israel. They have no doubt that Saddam, once he got his hands on nuclear weapons, would either use them in nuclear blackmail, or actually launch them against Israel, or, gaining ICBM’s, the US itself.
They also believe, and claim to have evidence to support that belief, that Saddam would provide weapons of mass destruction to the operatives of Al Qaida, and other terrorist organizations like Hizbollah and Hamas. Such terrorists would attempt to poison US food and water supplies, unleash horrifying plagues among us by spreading anthrax, smallpox and other diseases, or spray VX and botulinum toxins over large cities.
There are other more subtle reasons for war, such as the fact that Iraq sits squarely atop the second richest deposits of oil – energy for the developed world. The French covet that oil. So do the Europeans. So do the Japanese. So do the US and the UK. All know that an increasingly wealthy Saddam Hussein, absent sanctions and hauling in huge amounts of “petrodollars” could be spending his billions on programs of WMD; that he could become a major nuclear power in less than ten years.
Hence, for all such reasons, taking Saddam out in a preemptive war seemed the only logical course.
However it seems right to our leaders. However, all of this is purely from a human perspective.
I have spoken and written that Jesus Christ is not a “pacifist.” This is not to be taken to mean Christ approves of man’s wars. It means He will, in His own time, wage the FINAL war, the “war to end all wars” once and for all, and he will WIN!
Read it, in your own Bible: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
“And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
“And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
“That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies [see my articles on the Beast, the Mark of the Beast, and read “Europe and America in Prophecy”], gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
“And the beast was taken [arrested!], and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
“And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:11-21).
This is the description of the second coming of Christ; the intervention of God in human affairs! Christ prophesied, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be [a time unparalleled in human history].
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [not a man, woman or child would survive!]: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
“Behold, I have told you before.
“Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:21-27).
This should not be surprising to nominal Christians. Isaiah prophesied of Christ, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots [Jesse was David’s father; Christ came of the lineage of David]:
“And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
“And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
“But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:1-4).
Christ’s war to end all wars will be infinitely more powerful than the modern weapons of the US military. There will be NO “collateral damage.” By the power of God, the returning, conquering Christ will look into the MINDS of human beings, not identify them by their flags or uniforms. Those who resist Him will be INSTANTLY killed. He will not injure a single one. He will not torture anyone. One moment they will be standing there, trying to launch their lasers, missiles and bullets up into the sky against Him, and in the next instant they will be dead. They will feel no pain. They will simply be dead. God says, “Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth” (Zechariah 14:12).
America is attempting to be the world’s policeman. We are acting as if we are a world empire; that every threat, every trouble spot, is our personal problem. We have been virtually forced into this unwanted role – a vast, gaping gulf of difference from our pre-World War II isolationism – by events beyond our control.
Subtly, from the time of the first exodus of many Jews from New York and Beverly Hills to the fledgling nation of Israel; from the time the world found its conscience and the truth about Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwitz and all the other torture camps and crematoriums came out with irrefutable documentation, the creation of a homeland for the Jews was inevitable.
The Lord Balfour Declaration, honored by the British and Americans, eventuated in the creation of the state of Israel. From that day in 1948 until the present, the Islamic fundamentalists have been in the grips of steeping, seething rage; rage which has manifested itself in five wars against Israel, thousands of border incidents, and countless terrorist acts. Daily, the hideous attrition continues as fanatic Palestinians blow themselves and their victims apart, and their families find their homes being bulldozed to rubble in return.
Because the US is seen as the mentor of Israel, it is hated with virulent passion by the Islamic world.
Events of these coming weeks and months may prove to be far more than US military planners and the George Bush cabinet have bargained for.
America is not a God-fearing country.
We are not a Commandment-keeping people.
We give lip service to a “God,” but as a nation we will not OBEY Him! Those clergymen who should be in the forefront proclaiming God’s laws and obedience to God are instead the chief proponents of no law; they claim the “law was done away.” But it is only ONE of the Ten Commandments they hate! If you need a clue, it is somewhere between the third and the fifth commandment.
Paul wrote, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
“Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
“Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Our leaders have a form of godliness. They mention God frequently in statements like “God bless America,” or “May God continue to bless America.” This enrages many Americans who have gone to court to expunge all mention of any deity from the Pledge of Allegiance or public buildings.
Millions of those who use the generic title “God” neither know the true God, nor obey Him. How do we deny the power of God? By failing to rely on Him, and Him alone, for our protection and our salvation as did Jehosaphat and all his people (2 Chronicles 20).
David’s greatest sin was depending upon the size of his army, and forgetting to depend instead upon God! Read the account in 2 Samuel 24:2-10. Because of his lack of trust and faith, thousands of his citizens died!
If we DID rely solely on God, and if we were an obedient people, here are His promises to us:
“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
“Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
“Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
“Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
“Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
“The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
“The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
“The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.
“And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.
“And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
“The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
“And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
“And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them” (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).
Such fabulous blessings cannot be imagined. Rain in due season? That would mean no deserts, no droughts, no crop failures — huge WEALTH for farmers. Obedience to God would mean no infant mortality (and no abortion!), no crib death, no childhood disease or any other kind of disease; it would mean an end to heavy taxation and the introduction of God’s tithing system; a ten-per-cent “flat tax” across the board; every laborer would keep NINETY PER CENT of his or her earnings! It would mean no crime, no divorce, no pornography, no kidnapping, no child molestation! It would mean happy, healthy families; long marriages, full lives!
What, instead, are we reaping? And what is the underlying CAUSE?
“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
“Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
“Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
“Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
“Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
“The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
“The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.
“The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
“And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.
“The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
“The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.
“And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away.
“The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.
“The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart:
“And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.
“Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof.
“Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them.
“Thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand.
“The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed alway:
“So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see.
“The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head.
“The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.
“And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee.
“Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it.
“Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.
“Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit.
“Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity.
“All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.
“The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low.
“He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail.
“Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee” (Deuteronomy 28:15-45).
God also said, “And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
“And I will break the pride of your power...” (Leviticus 26:18,19).
Today, America stands at the pinnacle of her power. Our POWER, represented by our panoply of military weapons, is the source of both resentment and jealousy around the world. Because we rely on that power, instead of God’s power, we can expect to experience a series of the horrible curses which God says will descend upon us.
Will God allow us a time of respite? Will we win, and win convincingly, in Iraq?
Even if we do, as I have portrayed in earlier commentaries, the entire balance of power in the world is now being forever changed. NATO is divided. Europe is divided. Europe and Britain are hurling accusations. France is deeply anti-American and anti-British.
A United States of Europe will emerge which will SHOCK AND AWE America and Britain when it reaches the zenith of its military and economic power.
It sounds impossible to most to think that Europe could eventually emerge as America’s most dangerous enemy. Tragically, events taking place right now are contributing to that very scenario in the future.
It is not too late for America to REPENT both individually and collectively.
But it is much later than you think.
It is time and past time for Americans to heed the words of the Apostle Peter who said,
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:38-40). The best advice I can give.
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