Isaiah 61:1-2 “The Lord has anointed Me… to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
2020 was a tough year. The COVID-19 pandemic out of China has caused immeasurable suffering. More than 30% of Americans think Socialism is good, while Christianity continues to drop in popularity and secularism and atheism increases, especially among our young adults, as our education and entertainment industries rewrite history to remove any reference to America’s Christian foundation.
One political party wants our federal government to give “free stuff” (college costs, health care costs) to our younger generation, by taking income from those who’ve worked for it so that they “pay their fair share”. They want an entitlement generation, where big government gives us things in exchange for our freedom.
2020 saw the abortion debate in America redefined from whether the child is a human being or not (the 1970’s) to whether the child can be put to death. Science has given us the absolute truth: an unborn baby is a human being. Pro-abortion forces, ignoring science, want each person to decide what is true, what is right and wrong. We have abandoned the Christian imperative America was founded upon: absolute truth.
The attack on the traditional family is now in our elementary schools, where institution of marriage has been redefined. As Dennis Prager once wrote, “Changing the nature of marriage, the building block of society, will change society. Same-sex marriage means that because sex (now called ‘gender’) no longer matters for society’s most important institution, it no longer matters in general. It is not only the end of marriage. It is the end of any significance to gender. Men and women are now declared interchangeable.”
In a 1948 speech to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill said
“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
We only need to look at the history of how the greatest empire ever built by man – Rome – failed, to see that America is making the same mistakes. In his classic “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah”, Alfred Edersheim details 5 plagues on Roman civilization that led to its destruction.
1) The spread of atheism and self-deification: “Religion, philosophy, and society ultimately embraced atheism and despair – the one, by turning all higher aspirations self-ward, the other, by indulging every passion and the worship of matter, its ideal.”
2) A culture of entitlement: “The free citizens were idle, mostly supported at the public cost…. more than 200,000 persons were maintained by the State.”
3) The end of marriage and traditional family, the spread of abortion: “The sanctity of marriage had ceased. Abortion, and the exposure and murder of newly-born children, were common and tolerated.”
4) The rejection of absolute truth: “Among the philosophers, all religions were considered equally false or equally true. Absolute right did not exist. Might was right.”
5) A culture of hopelessness: “Society could not reform itself; philosophy and religion had nothing to offer. Tacitus declared human life one great farce. All around, despair, conscious need, unconscious longing.”
But Edersheim also explains that while Rome burned due to Nero’s fire, and Titus destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem, the Christian Church grew and flourished because of the arrival, death and resurrection of its Founder, Jesus Christ: “Can greater contrast be imagined, than the proclamation of a coming Kingdom of God amid such a world; or clearer evidence be afforded of the reality of this Divine message, than that it came to seek and to save that which was thus lost? On December 19, 69, the Roman Capitol, with its ancient sanctuaries, was set on fire. Eight months later, the Temple of Jerusalem was given to the flames. Upon the ruins of heathenism and of apostate Judaism was the Church of Christ to be reared.”
In our verse this week, God tells us through His prophet Isaiah that Messiah, when He arrives at His first coming, will usher in God’s “acceptable year”. When Jesus Christ first speaks in the synagogue, He reads this very passage, and then announces He is the Messiah who fulfills this verse. God had made Himself available at that time in history when all of mankind most needed Him. Today, Christ lives in all who trust Him with their lives. When people ask me “What can I do to combat what is going on in America?”, I share the same advice: “Make Jesus known to those around you, in every conversation.” He is, and always has been, present and available. Make this your New Year’s Resolution.
The Evidence of Faith’s Substance – Article #429