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Chapter 14

The   AIDS and ANTHRAX AXIS,
The Horror of Afghanistan and the Fear of America

News Radio, Australia October 21-22, 2001

As pestilences go, these are major.

AIDS has long been a scourge, a discipline and a doom for the earthly lives of many. While many not guilty of sexual perversion, quite simply using designer made equipment for undesigned purposes, have also caught this dreadful deletion, this apprehension of their resistance bodily, this is not something new. In its active sites, how ironic that the morally unresisted becomes so readily the physically irresistible, and this time, not so by choice.

This world, as Christ made crystal clear, even like streams from Mount Kosciusko bringing pure, clear water down from the heights, is NOT a place to play with; for a TOWER can fall on a passer-by. Christians are not immune to all scourges, but they ARE kept till their work is done, whatever it takes (Luke 13:1-3); for precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (Psalm 116:15).

Christ Himself was to DIE for a purpose, to ransom from the pangs and penalties of JUST death (I John 1:7ff. with Romans 3:23ff., Galatians 3); but even so, He did not (and when you reflect, of course did not) find death prematurely at the hands of assassins at Nazareth (Luke 4:18-30). Everything had to be arranged for maximal, indeed total meaning, and every prophecy fulfilled first; and at the last, there was that same steadiness, for then, just as earlier it was not permitted to happen, so the time had come when it had to happen, and Christ co-operated to the end of His purpose in coming in the first place, both to earth at all, and then to Jerusalem latterly (Luke 9:51, John 3:16, cf. Isaiah 50).

However, apart from this precious aspect, there is the punitive and exemplary aspect. AIDS is a lasso about the necks of runaway ponies, in one sense, for it indicates that if you fight against your purpose for existence, your purpose for existence can fight against you.

It has swollen to major plague proportions in Africa, including South Africa, now free from colonial 'scourge' it would seem, in order to participate with its new found wings, in AIDS. Liberty is relative to the source and purpose of life; and liberty from that is mere ruin (cf. Licence for Liberty). Aids also creeps into sophisticated places, is found in major nations, and takes time to act, just as life takes time to elect for the deformities of spirit, this way or that, adultery, theft, murder, hatred or whatever, that may take it where it ought not to go.

Now anthrax comes to blow its trumpet, to use the imagery of Revelation. It is purged; but it prospers. It is gone; but it comes. Where human ingenuity has expunged it, human ingenuity releases it. While pity prompts its removal, power pursues its re-introduction. So does man tangle himself like a kitten with a ball of wool, so clever that he is able to win and lose, and with much ardour what he takes, he loses. Man without God as friend, is like a flame without direction. It can warm, and it can burn; it can exhilarate and it can incinerate.

Little anthrax-ridden letters contrive to arrive in places of power, the Senate of the US, or to threaten the Congress which even closes, as if to ensure that the point is not lost: this IS a plague. It must be cleansed. Postal workers are stricken. Different types of the disease arrive, like foul spirits, like a physical sort of mimicry of the absurd and profoundly twisted theologies which have populated an earth not willing to cast aside the Christ, and not willing to abide in Him either. It may be the lethal respiratory thrust, or the merely penetrating skin type. It offers variety, just like sin. It beckons to death, just like iniquity. Anthrax is an exacting and instructive parallel, if not parable.

This aids-anthrax axis has much turning on it. It can humble the mightiest and bring fear to the uncovered, who do not know the Prince of life and so cannot face death without what is then very proper fear.

The 'mad cow' disease which laughed at Britain's purity and brought questions on its ethics in some respects, has not been limited to that country. Japan is being introduced to it, and much in Europe has evoked fears of it. It is becoming more like the plagues of Egypt. The world can turn on its axis and mock God, insist on betraying Israel which, despite its unbelief, has still great things ahead. It can ignore energy considerations, and continue without due restraint in its intoxication of the atmosphere, allowing dangerous hydro-carbons to infiltrate the scene aloft, and the spoilage of the canopy of ozone which, however thin, is part of the design, just as human reproduction likewie, has also its own design.

Meanwhile, with these plagues assembling themselves like an invading army for a so proficient race, which needs not God, but merely uses His equipment, physiological and terrestrial, famine is breathing its hideous breath. Lean and apocryphal, it slays in millions. As if unsated, it now crusades against Afghanistan. WHO will feed the MILLIONS displaced, who run from the ruin induced by the Taliban, which has deemed it GOOD that the World Trade Centre was destroyed. Again, toying with powers, mankind is troubled with plagues. Alas, it is doubtless not the fault of millions that this crusade against the US was founded and pursued as a jihad; but they suffer. They also suffer, in the main, something else.

They suffer from the Moslem plague, that Islam which means SUBMIT. The US must submit; the women must submit, all must submit to a God who NOT-GOD, as we have seen (cf. Deuteronomy 32:21 and Lord of Life Ch. 8, and Chs. 2, 3, 8, and 10 *4 above). Since the worship of what is not-God is idolatry, this begs for the judgment of God. Now it is swaggering with oil wealth and condemning with the voice of man, using a megaphone for a god who is no more there, than was the Baal which opposed Elijah. Alas, alas for their countries.

However this earth is a place of test, and if possible, things more provocative even than this to the Almighty (as He indicates categorically in Deuteronomy 32 and Revelation 19, II Thessalonians 2) are yet to come; and these take a little while to take root, and bear the evil fruits with which they will seek to subjugate the earth. It darkens before it lightens, and the floods rise a while, before they subside for ever.

Famine, then, moves from India, its historic lair, from Africa its chosen, and now is intensified in Afghanistan. Even, it appears, stray US missiles can there destroy precious food supplies! The world writhes and roars.

It is as Christ said (Matthew 24:6):

"And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake."
 

As to the last point, the arrest and trial of aid workers in Afghanistan merely exemplifies the evil works of intolerant centuries. Their crime alleged ? Preaching Christianity. So did Rome act in inglorious centuries, even murdering Archbishop Cranmer with much pomp, and adding Ridley and Latimer to the roasting list.

SO even this provocation to the Lord is added to all the rest. It seethes in squalor, spiritual and mental, physical and political.

There is no ghoulish pleasure in such horrific developments, as the end of the Age approaches. There is however a need to point out that this is what comes when history is what goes. The one produces the other. The one came, and the other now comes. It has been preparing long. It is intensifying until even the professionally blind (that is neological poets of philosophy and pundits of religion) must see, because if they shut their eyes, they yet stumble into unyielding events.

The Taliban is having trouble in mocking the US, but it still is securing much on its evil way. When however one mocks God, there is no respite. He is patient, but He is there; and what comes is what is prescribed, and what is prescribed is what is predicted, and what is seen is that same thing.

There is fear prescribed, too, as seen for some millenia in Luke 21:26:

"men's hearts failing them from fear an the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken."

There are two things to note about this context, what precedes and what follows.
 
 

WHAT PRECEDES

The preceding verse has this: "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, and on the earth distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring."

The preceding verse has this (Luke 21:25): "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, and on the earth distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring."
We have traced all these things in SMR Ch. 8, where they may be seen. Here we merely are pursuing the context relative to Luke 21:26. We note that there is not only fear but PERPLEXITY, and DISTRESS, and that this is at the national level. That of course has long been the case in the cold war, but now is growing even greater; for then, there was question of what MIGHT come to the nation, but now of what HAS come, is coming and may yet come. These psychic features  occur with increasing testimony to their growth, in the USA now; and of course in Afghanistan, and that in two realms, the Taliban, with troop defections despite the bravado of many, and the merging masses of DPs as they used to be called, the displaced persons in the power clashes.

What of Winter ? what of food ? what of shelter ? what indeed of SOME land where they are permitted to be, not on the border of one, in danger of financial or worse exaction, or in the gateways of the other, firmly closed

With the distress is thus to be found, among other thrusts,  one special cause of it: lack of food in the case of Afghanistan as, for that matter, an increasing fraction of this globe, this laboratory, this historical survey of the scenarios of sin, soon to be displaced. This lack like the tension, fears and apprehensions, is of an order sufficiently striking as to merit inclusion in so brief a prophetic survey. It was to be so; it is; and it is disastrous to the uttermost.

This brings us past the environmental hazards increasingly found in "the sea and the waves roaring" which is inherent in the global warming, the ice-cap melting, and the combination of more liquid water and more energy in its motions (cf. SMR pp. 714-715,    45, News, Facts and Forecasts 120,SMR pp. 714-715 and Scoop of the Universe  45, News, Facts and Forecasts 120, The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 6), to a further facet:  "the expectation of things to come".

Water rising, of course, is a topic equipped with various estimates of how many metres and how many cities will be plunged into how many waters and how much, and pluses and minuses constantly changing in forecasts, but with one feature in common, that it is coming; and is there not one other ? It is that there is danger for the very existence of many Pacific Islands, one rising with the waters, and that even Manhattan, as one recent TV show explained in somewhat painful detail, is under threat, her transport system for rail, having been partially inundated on one occasion already, so that there is more than word to attest the thing, yes, and more than the coasts of California. Many cities look to her plight with fright or concern.

Famine, flood, inundation with evils of watery and philosophic, martial and religiously directed fanaticisms, they accrue, like compound interest when the sum is large enough, rather impressively. However, the tension involved in the DISTRESS, the FEAR and the (increasingly obvious) EXPECTATION of things to come - radical as it is in its nature, enhanced by asteroid dangers, and the knowledge of near misses already, enhanced further by the knowledge of the prediction of Revelation 8:10, that 'star from heaven' or asteroid from the heavens which is so unlike the famous song as seen in 8:11 -  it has a far more perilous successor.

It is not merely Aids and Anthrax, water and heavenly objects which in this setting, become more objectionable than heavenly; it is not just war and its rumours, like the too raucous stomach rumbles of the ulcerously distressed; it is not only starving, and horrible sights, such as the Twin Tower Trade Centre disaster so evocatively and repetitively provided, and Cambodia so extensively emitted in the days of and following its torture. It is something quite different that is most evocative, though perhaps for most, most suppressed.

WHAT FOLLOWS

Is it seriously for one moment to be supposed that God is mocked!

Does one think that the utter and seditious depravities

that all these things will just loiter in the corridors of history!

Not at all. The vast canvas of TRIAL has become the vast cordon of judgment. When in Revelation we read of the relief:

"The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth" - Revelation 11:18,

we read also of redress.

Thus there is found this ecstasy of consummation:
"Now salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down."
From this comes further growth into reality:

"The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever" - Revelation 12:15, in that preceding vast opening of the design features of history; for Revelation contains a pageant of many approaches to the end, each securing a line and providing a focus.

But let us return from this array of spiritual contexts, to the immediate context in Luke 21. What follows ? It is this:

"Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" - Luke 21:27.

It is in view of this that Christians are exhorted to lift up their hearts when those desolatory and horrendous features arise, like a breaker before, briefly, it crashes. The end has the glory of the beginning (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 7, The Biblical Workman Ch. 7, Scoop of the Universe 45, Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 87).

The Son of Man as Daniel 7 makes so clear, is that divine being, shrouded in glory, who having come to earth as man, judges man with this status; and as Philippians 2 exhibits, having been in the form of God Himself and not esteeming it anything to gain, to be equal with God, He willingly took His humiliation to take the form of man. This He did, yet without sin, and dying for sin, became the ground of intensive praise,  and displaying the basis in meekness for the judgment of all men which is commited to Him. Just as He in fact, was intact under test, unassailable, so will He judge, and pardon those who receive Him on their account.

As to judgment, and life: He who did it, does it (Hebrews 2).

It is HE who so comes therefore to perform this judgment as He first came to achieve that salvation, free and by grace, since all the works were His (Romans 3:23-28, 5:15, Galatians 3:1-13, 5:1ff.). As to this return, it is as He in fact said, at the height of His own test (Matthew 27:64), having despised deliverance so that He might deliver those who receive Him and His salvation according to the Gospel, itself likewise predicted, as later predicated of those who  (Matthew 26:55-56, Galatians 1, Isaiah 53-55).

However for those who wilfully despise His grace, ignore His counsel and depart from His ways, so that His gospel is not accepted, and His word is not revered, what then ? It is then indeed a matter of fearful "expectation of those things which are coming". The Lord Himself is coming (II Thessalonians 1, Matthew 24, Acts 1:7, Zechariah 14;5), and His rule will be sweet to the lovers of truth and of righteousness (Psalm 2, 72); but not at all to those for whom peace must be pursued ex-God and ex-Gospel in the ditches of philosophic absurdity, of religious innovation and of ungodliness (cf. Repent or Perish Chs. 2, 6, 7).

If there is then fear in anthrax, or Aids, or Afghanistan, or the US, this is only a part. The fear has grounds and the grounds will spread far beyond any simple religious fanaticism. There will come what has long cast its coming shadow - that humanism which becoming obsessed with itself, worships itself, so that it is a MAN who would worship, first in priority, literally at his own shrine, and then require the beastly image to be worshipped compulsorily, compulsively, by those who must adore its image, which in fact is a dusty piece of rotten dentistry, a delusive prothesis, absurdly thrust into the mouth of maddened man, in order that he might love himself to the end, and lose his life for ever (II Thess. 2, Revelation 13, 19).

Not nice ? But anything which aspires to be what it is not equipped to be can be both gruesome and absurd. It has long been so with the vainglory of man. The worst is to come; but also to go. It will not go (of itself), and so must go (power assisted, when its nature and fruit is duly attested).

It does not work, and so is judged. It is mere pretence, the daughter of pretension.

Unlikely ? If a piece of bread is to be worshipped, on pain of death (as for so long, in various centuries - cf. SMR pp. 1032-1088H), then do not doubt that a piece of man can command the same. If the Pope could be God Almighty on  Earth, as in the New York Catechism, do not doubt that there is to come one who though mere man, will wish the accolade of God, and that not in terms of some phraseology of huffing and puffing, which contradicts all the Bible at once, but in very simple self-congratulation, direct and intense, the disciple of the devil, equipped with chaplain and temple.

But we do not focus on puss. It is the purity of the redeemed flesh, it is the deliverance of the gracious God, who in kindness sent Christ who at the first, as He put it, in the green tree was crucified. What, He asked in effect, do you suppose will come when the tree is DRY! (Luke 23:28ff.). Before the boil of folly leaves the flesh of mankind, it comes to a head (cf. SMR pp. 750Bff., Biblical Blessings Chs. 1, 2, 6, The Other News Ch. 5). This kind of thing is never attractive; but when health is restored, what a relief.

Therefore, with Christ the provided Saviour and the Holy Spirit, sent from Him (John 15:26) sanctifying, the blood the cover on the one hand, and the power of God available on the other(Ephesians 1:19), there is simply nothing to fear.

Without it, there is everything to fear.