The Presidency in the Age of Satan
John Milton's Paradise Lost -- 17th Century
A Doors song from, I believe, the second album, contains the words, "We want the world." At the same time, a strong, steady, unshakable Christian belief holds the unprovable fact that Satan controls the world. Part of the problem, for us, not him, is that he is considered invisible. This selfsame belief more or less calls wars of the 20th century, in part, an attempt to wrest control from Satan. Naturally, without the assistance of Jesus, who, I take it, hardly figures into any noteworthy battle plan, it is rough going, to put it mildly. Some of the statements made in a Witness book on government are extracted from scripture, which, again, as we know, Satan is fully versed in. Belief itself comes, as it were, under the gun as well as the sun. Satan, too, the author proclaims, believes that Jesus is the Son of God. So what? Jesus, during His desert fast, was, as the story goes, offered every nation, if only He would bow down and worship the Devil. The implication is that the Devil presided over every nation. It is not for nothing, it occurs to me, that President Trump, during his campaign, had to physically show his Presbyterian bible to an audience, multiplied in number by television. After this, I plan to leave denominations out of the picture. I only want to entertain a Christian theory, one among many.
I find it interesting, let's say, as well as against the grain. Our gadgetry is quickly getting the better of us. A featured hub asserts that robots are robbing us of many manufacturing jobs. There is a commercial being aired in which a young man never takes his eyes off a cell phone while he walks mindlessly through the day, from morning to night. Well, I am not boasting. I have many computer tools, too. I read in a safer place, at home, however, not on a tread mill or an escalator. My mind is engaged, too. That, after all, is the idea. But add in a few more things I think are relevant. The book I am using is ninety years old, small, its pages yellowing, crinkly, faded, out-of-date, yes, but not without merit. It cost less than ten bucks. This laptop is priced well over a thousand. Where did I get the money? It's a little like drug addiction. You find a way. I almost cannot wait to close it up and go back to the book. I'm retired, semi-retired, underemployed, what have you. I can do it. What more does the book have to say? I'll find out, let you know, and try to make sense of it.
The Old and the New
The book, Government, by J. F. Rutherford, was published in 1928. It is interesting to read how Jews are stoked about returning to Israel, twenty years before the State is legally established. Of course, no mention is made of the Palestinian rejection of the partition and troubles that automatically ensue. My point is only that it can pay to examine older histories and not be so prejudiced on behalf of the latest history, about almost any subject, as though it has the complete goods, obliterating any need to inquire further. The book speaks of the agonies of WWI in terms of Matthew 24:7, "For nation shall rise against nation." There will also be "famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes" -- literally or metaphorically. A necessary time of sorrow is being introduced, the treatise explains. The unique perspective of the author, who only foregrounds his own doctrine, is that Satan begins to lose his grip. Nations are freed up, if in an appalling manner, and souls over whom he expected to have dominion, also get away. It looks, feels, and by all appearances, is horrible, except that it is not God's world that is crumbling. It is still mostly Satan's.
There is a passage in which Jesus speaks of having overcome the world. This world, according to the author, "is the Devil's organization, over which the Evil One has long been the invisible ruler." The argument is by no means simple and it is understandable why mathematicians might scoff at its strange equations. They involve years of 360 days, measured not by the sun but the moon, the multiplication of a number of 7s, as opposed to 10s, and beginning in 606 BC. It was then, as mentioned above, that King Zedekiah of Judah was taken prisoner. In Luke 21:24, "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." To me, Muslims are not Gentiles, but the haphazard thread I consulted contained the following: "who cares?" According to the author, time's up. Well,to be sure, it is getting there, that is, for everybody. Let the so-called Age of the Gentiles be over, but no one I know wants to simply hand it all over to the Muslims. So, there is also that. Religion never was my strong suit. Luke goes on to speak of signs, as well as "redemption" that "draws nigh". In other words, the sky is falling, but look upward all the same.
Garden of Eden
Trouble on Earth as it was in Heaven
Reading parts of this book is like watching a movie when the audience knows something the characters supposedly do not. The glitch in the argument is WWII, which casts doubt on the idea of a smooth transition from an Age of Jewry, to an Age of the Gentiles, to an all-encompassing age of salvation -- a.k.a., the Kingdom of Heaven. The first two have reached their conclusions. The ferocity of WWII forces, assuming Nazis to be effectively faithless (Neo-Nazis are fond of their Christian Identity), finishes Hitler, but does not yet guarantee the elimination of Satan. Belief in Jesus, nonetheless, is left pending, since it is not universal, as well as having produced unresolvable denominational hostilities. In particular, the book likens idolatry to "church systems", without naming culprits. For the most part, the book takes up stronger, less controversial positions, looking back on obsolete governments, and ahead toward the only thoroughly utopian government that could possibly endure, placing Jesus squarely at the helm. It also mentions unnamed associates. I cannot help but make a comparison, probably irrelevant as well as irreverent, to choices being made even as I write within the new, Republican administration. But then, the outgoing administration reputedly had "a little list", all of which really amounts to so much hearsay, hype, and trivialities.
After only a few days, many of President Obama's policies were reversed. It is, frankly, impossible to tell who is right, since, taking into account the book at hand, either policy is still of the world. Obamacare was repealed. Now what? Settlements continue in the Middle East -- just as before. The Keystone XL is on back on track. Everybody drives. The Trans-Pacific Partnership? Gone! Who knew it was there? How about the Wall? Will it, as the days wear on, become an old joke? Apparently not, according to the latest news flash. Now, more ominous than the others combined, our entire voting system has come under criticism. Without free and fair elections no democracy can exist. If this is the case, how then did we elect a President? Just wondering. . . .
The United States began with religious freedom. Nowadays, it is debatable. There are pressures to join; there are pressures to drop out. Long ago in ancient Rome monks were ordered to stop bothering widows. Today -- I would not know. The book I am using condemns "so-called 'organized Christianity' for having "rejected the Lord". It accuses "The clergy" for "deceiving many people". More than mere money is at stake, which is what a reader might at first think is first and foremost. No, it goes much deeper. I admit that writing about religion, as well as reading tractates outside my own faith or field of vision, allows me to keep at a safe distance from the fray. It can get ugly. Still, I maintain a steady on-and-off interest. Only a week ago I watched Angels and Demons, in which the papacy is almost captured by the Illuminati. What would it have meant if they had succeeded? Science would have taken command over a very major, highly populated, and geographically immense religion. It perhaps does not sound like much. Indeed, that says it all. Most deal with both science and religion to varying degrees anyway.
Still, the notion can be captivating. The idea that something is going on other than what can be seen, heard, and calibrated is not so much pernicious as hopeful. That we are on the road to destruction goes without saying. It needs no elaboration. But destruction has till now managed to elude us. So many predictions of disaster have not taken place it is not funny. Still, there are grave concerns. When it comes to health care, the World Health Organization rates Canada 30, the U.S.A. 37. Morocco comes right before Canada, and Costa Rica just prior to the U.S.A. Still, the U.S. M.D. might just surprise us. According to the Bible, eventually there will be no sickness: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Sounds good, right? But do you believe?
And Then Some
Scattered details gleaned from hither and thither, whether scripture or the media, form an intricate web of pre-fabricated scenarios. At the end of the day, it would truly be up to God had we not a say in the matter. In addition to "the [rejected] cornerstone", itself a matter of world-wide dispute, there will be associates, servants, and administrators. A heavenly government is not implausible. But a heavenly bureaucracy? It begs credulity. That all forms of government have failed, that only a government presided over by Heaven can succeed, makes perfect sense. But how it will function is impossible to discern. Here the argument, if there is one, stumbles.
It is, perhaps, unproductive to simply defer to an informed imagination. Things have to happen, and, verily, not to put too fine a point on it, they will. We return once more, as many claim, to signs. These are, we all agree, the long-awaited End Times. When I think of WWIII, or Armageddon, I draw a blank. I cannot conceive of it taking shape like any war that will have preceded it. I confess, my familiarity to war is exclusively through books, journals, conversations, and dvds. What, then, will happen? It cannot be accurately described without having to venture a guess. It seems, however, that it is our move. Neither Angel nor Demon can tell us what to do. They must await our decision with bated breath.
The Blind Lead the Way
Milton Writes, Satan Speaks
"Better to reign in hell, than serve in heaven," Satan declares in Paradise Lost. For dramatic flair, Satan's relentless attitude is hard to beat. Nevertheless, only a negligible few would really agree, were they to reflect seriously about it. If they believed in Heaven and Hell, the majority would choose the former, which requires a measure of lowliness. We have been deceived long enough. We want to know how to live and interact just as did the people in the bible who asked how to pray and many other significant questions. Or, at times, it would seem we already know. It is just that our convictions and beliefs cannot be applied without so many exceptions as to water them down into nothingness. Actually, we can bring about a better world. We just need a little help, shall we say, from above.