Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, April 18, 2021
Day 15 of counting the Omer
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר
Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu Al Sefirat Ha-Omer.
Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us about the counting of the Omer. Today is two weeks and one day of the counting of the omer.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 18 Apr-2021 6th of Iyar, 5781
Le 16:1-24 Isa 55-56 Job 12 (Mt 13:1-30) 1 Jn 1
Is the United States in a Downward Spiral?
Will Believers Try to Save America?
How Can You Help Your Family? Part 2
INTRODUCTION: In last Sunday’s RR, I began a discussion about hostile ideologies (governments) which are seeking to overthrow America. I continue today by touching on the last two questions posed in the title.
QUESTION– WILL BELIEVERS TRY TO SAVE AMERICA? Regretfully, I probably know the answer to this question, and the answer is: “No!” We Christians/ Believers are weak, ineffective, apostate, secular, consumed with political correctness, cowardly, lazy, … (stop me when you’ve heard enough).
I have quoted God’s formula for saving a nation, but I will repeat it because we should think of it often (2 Chronicles 7:14): [Adonai said] “… when My people, over whom My Name is called, humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Why would non-believers seek help from Adonai, and why would He listen to them, even if they asked? The key to salvation of America is “My people over whom My name is called.” Simplifying the text, this means the sole responsibility for saving America lies with Believers/ Christians and Jews. Muslims, atheists, agnostics, and the like need not apply.
We could simplify this verse to read: “Oy vey! America is in trouble!” Most “people called by God’s name” are almost worthless in working for God’s kingdom. Many of us are weak cowards, far too comfortable with our good lifestyles (not wanting to “rock the boat”). We know more about Facebook than we know about the Holy Bible. Incidentally, I include myself as the greatest among the worthless.
One example of our cowardice is abortion, as now practiced in America. When the Supreme Court issued the Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton opinions on January 22, 1973, few Believers and few pastors protested by sending a clear message to Congress: “You will NOT kill innocent babies in MY country.” I sadly confess to being in the group of silent cowards. With more than 60-million aborted babies discarded in EPA-approved medical waste incinerators (note the similarities to babies incinerated in Molech idols’ bellies in ancient Israel), few of us now say anything about killing innocent babies. If we care nothing about abortion, why should we care anything about the political course of America?
According to Bible prophecy and commonsense observation of current events in our country, bad times are in America’s future. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have given their lives in wars and other struggles to preserve “the American way of life,” but few of us seem to care as long as we have Facebook, Kardashian sagas, and other mind-numbing pastimes to follow.
Pastor Martin Niemöller was a Lutheran minister in the Third Reich. At first an enthusiastic follower of Adolf Hitler, he became an outspoken critic of Nazism after watching Hitler’s atrocities. His remarks about conditions then are just as relevant to are our conditions today:
“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out– because I was not a socialist.
“Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out– because I was not a trade unionist.
“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– because I was not a Jew.
“Then they came for me– and there was no one left to speak for me.”
At the risk of cluttering Niemöller’s classic comments, I will add an update to fit modern times:
“Finally, they came for the Believers, including me– but no one cared and no one helped.”
Your voice– my voice– is weak, and probably will have little effect, when speaking against millions of voices coming from government, media, political entities, powerful businesses, technocrats, and so forth. These powerful factions will drown out your weak voice, but God will hear it. These powerful factions will not care what you say, but God will care.
Multiple Scripture verses (not quoted here) indicate that God knows the heart of every person, regardless of the “mask” that person wears to appear to be something else. Incidentally, Yeshua was critical of hypocrites. “Hypocrite” comes from the Greek hypokritēs, which may be translated “actor.” Religious institutions are filled with hypocrites– actors– playing at religion.
Do not follow the many who travel the broad path to destruction, but follow the few who travel the narrow path to eternal life (Matthew 7:3-14). [Yeshua said] “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Note is being made of those who confess Yeshua and right things on earth (Matthew 10:32-33): [Yeshua said] “Therefore whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”
Even the smallest deeds done (or not done) for others are majestic deeds when done (or not done) for Yeshua the King. Read the Parable of the Judgment of the Nations in Matthew 25:31-46, focusing on Matthew 25:40 and 25:45, which read: [Yeshua said] “’… Amen, I tell you, whatever you did to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” [and] “’… ‘Amen, I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’”
QUESTION– HOW CAN YOU HELP YOUR FAMILY? In my opinion, the United States is collapsing.
In 1787 (which is in the time frame of the formation of the United States as a constitutional republic), Alexander Tytler (b. 1747, d. 1813), a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, said this about the fall of the Athenian Republic approximately 2,000 years earlier (Athens fell in 404 BC):
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.
“A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
“The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these Nations always progressed through the following sequence:
“ From bondage to spiritual faith ►
“ From spiritual faith to great courage ►
“ From courage to liberty ►
“ From liberty to abundance ►
“ From abundance to complacency ►
“ From complacency to apathy ►
“ From apathy to dependence ►
“ From dependence back into bondage.”
The American republic has already exceeded the 200-year limit Tytler suggested as the lifespan of a “democracy.” Do you recognize any other similarities in the Athenian and American experiments with “democracy?” (I enclose democracy in quotation marks because the United States government is not a democracy, as many erroneously believe. Our government is a constitutional republic.)
SIDELIGHT: You may wish to read more about the Strauss–Howe generational theory (the Fourth Turning theory), which is a theorized recurring generation cycle in American and global history, proposed by William Strauss and Neil Howe. According to this theory, historical events are associated with recurring generational personas. Each generational persona unleashes a new era lasting around 20-25 years, in which a new social, political, and economic climate exists. They are part of a larger cyclical “saeculum” (saeculum = “age”). The theory states that after every saeculum, a crisis occurs, which is followed by a recovery. During the recovery, institutions and communitarian values are strong. Succeeding generations attack and weaken institutions in the name of autonomy and individualism, ultimately creating a chaotic political environment that sets the stage for the next crisis. According to this theory, the United States has entered the fourth (fourth of four) generational turning. END sidelight.
If we assume that America is collapsing, what measures should we take to protect family? You may consider some of the following and think of more measures:
● Of course, our neighbors are part of our human family, but this is too broad to have practical application. Let us narrow “family” to two groups:
● First, understand there is nothing you can do to prevent a collapse of America. It is the manifest sins and lack of caring of a nation’s people that determine her future– not the efforts (or lack of efforts) of an individual citizen. Recall Adonai’s formula for saving a nation (2 Chronicles 7:14): “ … when My people, over whom My Name is called,….” A nation’s people– Adonai’s people– must rise up to save that nation. I see no unity in “Adonai’s people” working together to save America through the righteous acts God commands. It is this very disunity– this division of a nation– which will lead to America’s fall, as warned by Yeshua in Matthew 12:25, Mark 3:24-25, and Luke 11:17.
● God chooses a nation’s leaders (Daniel 2:21b): [Daniel said, after being revealed mysteries of God] “… He [the God of heaven] removes kings and installs kings….” Before we rejoice that God chose Joe Biden to be our “king” (president), understand the pattern of God’s selection of leaders. A good leader may be chosen to bless a nation. Or, a bad leader may be chosen to punish a nation. If Joe Biden was installed by God as America’s president, was it to bless or to curse America? Only time will tell whether God blessed or cursed America on the recent election night (November 3, 2020). I think most American Believers have an idea whether we have been blessed or cursed.
● America is filled with “believers” who will do little to save God’s kingdom from defeat. Consider the following prophecies about the end of the Age of Grace:
□ We will be a wicked people (Matthew 24:37-39): [Yeshua said] “For just as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For in those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. And they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away. So shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man.” The wickedness of people in the “days of Noah” nearly exceeded Adonai’s tolerance (Genesis 6:5-6): Then Adonai saw that the wickedness of humankind was great on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their heart was only evil all the time. So Adonai regretted that He made humankind on the earth, and His heart was deeply pained.
□ Our religious leaders will be ineffective, according to the Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 4:3-4): For the time will come when they will not put up with sound instruction, but they will pile up for themselves teachers in keeping with their own desires, to have their ears tickled. And they will turn away from hearing the truth and wander off to myths. Anyone who watches “Christian television” knows examples of false prophets, false teachers, and false doctrines. One wonders how religious “teachers” can start with the Holy Bible and come to the many diverse, often obviously wrong conclusions we now have.
□ We will be apostate– falling from faith (Luke 18:8b): [Yeshua said] “… But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Again, we should be amazed that many religious leaders are so shallow in their beliefs and understanding of God’s Word that they will not defend more vigorously what has been written for us. Multiple Scriptures record Yeshua’a warnings about taking choosing the wrong paths in life, rather than the right paths; about being weak in faith; and about failing to stand for truth.
● America’s enemies (Russia, China, etc.) are building up armed forces, while we Americans busy ourselves worrying about whether troubled young people can figure out whether they are boys or girls. Many politicians in Washington resent tax money being spent on national defense, feeling such funds should go into education, social programs, and other non-military programs. If you have even the most rudimentary understanding of current news, you know of many ways our enemies can attack us with devastating consequences. If America is suddenly attacked without warning, would we fall?
□ In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev (First Secretary [Leader] of the U.S.S.R.) threatened the U.S.A., by saying: “We will take America without firing a shot. We do not have to invade the U.S. We will destroy you from within….” Sadly, Khrushchev’s prediction is on course to be fulfilled.
Our Constitutional Framers gave us a remarkable document– probably the best political document ever written. (We Believers would like to “brag” that the American Constitution was based on Biblical– Judeo-Christian– principles.) One glaring defect in the Constitution, though, is failure to provide term limits. Founding Fathers envisioned a government composed of citizen representatives who would serve a few months each year to enact laws, and, then, return for the rest of the year to live “back home” among their neighbors under the laws they enacted. No one, then, would have imagined legislators living permanently in Washington, D.C. and serving in government for many decades. We have such grotesque “representation” now, and our country is the worse for it. Long-serving politicians amass too much power (and, probably, too many “gifts”) and spend their time fighting on partisan lines, seeking more power.
George Washington was adamantly opposed to political parties. In his “Farewell Address to the People of the United States” (1796), he wrote: “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.” Alexander Hamilton called political parties “the most fatal disease” of popular governments. James Madison wrote in Federalist 10 that one of the functions of a “well-constructed Union” should be “its tendency to break and control the violence of faction” (“dividing into factions” was a term for forming political parties). But, our country has Democrat and Republican parties, always fighting each other, and this internal “civil war” is destroying our nation. Remember Khrushchev’s warning that America would be defeated from within without a shot being fired.
□ Americans have divided themselves in far too many ways. You surely know how many ways we have divided our nation, and I will not recount the ways. Remember Yeshua’s warning (Mark 3:24): “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”
□ I will mention Babylon the Great. The Book of Revelation discusses two different Babylons– Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Harlots (Revelation, chapter 17), which is the ecclesiastical (religious) Babylon, and Babylon the Great (Revelation, chapter 18), which is the political Babylon. Babylon the Great has some features of the United States, but most scholars believe destruction of this Babylon is reserved for destruction of end-time governments. See also Daniel, chapter 2, where the Rock (Yeshua), carved out of the Mountain (God the Father), without human hands (Yeshua’s birth to a virgin), crushes the toes (Antichrist’s empire) of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, to collapse the statue (no more human empires), and becomes a Mountain to cover the world (the Messiah’s Millennial Kingdom).
AND SO FORTH: You and I are helpless to heal America’s rifts. Since President Biden could care less about what you and I say or think, we have no influence with him. So, then, we must do what we can for those over whom we have some influence. Now is the time you and I should think about family. We have two families to protect. Even though there is so much to say about the significance of current events, I will close this RR by discussing two families we need to protect:
► One family is the Shomair Yisrael Synagogue family. We are told to support and encourage one another, our family of Believers (Hebrews 10:24-25): And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good deeds. And do not neglect our own meetings, as is the habit of some, but encourage one another– and all the more so as you see the Day approaching.
► A second family are the members of our traditional family, however we may define such a family (1 Timothy 5:8): But if anyone does not provide for his own, especially those in his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Several years ago, I worshiped with a Blount County church. I wrote a rather extensive emergency preparedness manual. If I may brag on myself (since no one else will), the manual was fairly complete and provided a basic outline of what families should do to prepare for emergencies that may come (EMP attack, volcano eruptions, massive earthquake, war, drought, civil insurrection, etc.). Very few families are prepared to weather a true emergency, One preparation that must not be overlooked is spiritual preparation. Are family members saved? Do they have faith to withstand the evil that would accompany a true emergency? Are they stockpiling supplies, as much as they can afford?
DOES IT MATTER? It is depressing to consider the bad times that may be coming. Much more needs to be said in this RR, but I will stop now. You probably love America as much as I love her. You may grieve that our country is about to die at the hands of her enemies. You may be deeply hurt that Satan appears to be winning– at least temporarily. It really does not matter, though. Let Satan and his minions have America, because our home is not in America with the sinners. Our home is in Heaven with the Holy Trinity and the redeemed of the Lord (saints). Consider just a few reassurances:
● Philippians 3:14: I [Paul] press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua.
● Hebrews 13:14: For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come.
● John 18:36: Yeshua answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Judean leaders. But as it is, My kingdom is not from here.”
● 1 John 2:15, 17: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. |…| The world is passing away along with its desire, but the one who does the will of God abides forever.
● Hebrews 11:16: But as it is, they yearn for a better land– that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
● Revelation 21:2-4: I [John] also saw the holy city– the New Jerusalem– coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. I also heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the dwelling of God is among men, and He shall tabernacle among them. They shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them and be their God. He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more. Nor shall there be mourning or crying or pain any longer, for the former things have passed away.”
● Revelation 22:1-5: Then the angel showed me [John] a river of the water of life– bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the city’s street. On either side of the river was a tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in the city, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. Night shall be no more, and people will have no need for lamplight or sunlight– for Adonai Elohim will shine on them. And they shall reign forever and ever!
● John 14:1-3: [Yeshua said] “Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself, so that where I am you may also be.”
● Romans 8:18: For I consider the sufferings of this present time not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed to us.
● Colossians 3:2: Focus your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
● 2 Corinthians 5:1: For we know that if the tent, our earthly home, is torn down, we have a building from God– a home not made with human hands, eternal in the heavens.
● 1 Corinthians 2:9: But as it is written, “Things no eye has seen and no ear has heard, that have not entered the heart of mankind– these things God has prepared for those who love Him.”
● 2 Peter 3:13: But in keeping with His promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
● And many more promises of a New Heaven, a New Earth, and a New Jerusalem! The good news is: God loves us, and He will reward us some day.
Until next Sunday, Shalom and Maranatha.