Will America Exchange Liberty for Security?
Will America forfeit civil and religious liberties in quest of national security? Our cities seethe with political and racial turmoil, while threats multiply from radical Islamic terrorism. Some foresee a crisis of such magnitude only God can save us. Desperate leaders could transform American democracy into theocracy.
How could that happen? What might it look like?
Consider the following imaginative scenario:[i]
You’re watching the Yankees game when suddenly the station breaks away to the newsroom. How dare they interrupt your game! Bases loaded, tying run on second.
Then you notice the somber newscaster with tousled hair announcing, “A tragedy has struck our nation’s capitol this evening. At Union Station near the Capitol Building, a pressurized canister containing poison gas was set off on the Red Line subway platform, spewing noxious fumes. Scores of passengers are being taken to hospitals. Dozens are dead.
“Authorities are uncertain what type of poison gas is involved, though cyanide is suspected. Unconfirmed reports are that one minute before the attack, a young man, perhaps of Middle Eastern descent, activated a timer on a spraying device. He then ran out of the station northbound on North Capitol Street and remains at large.
"Police have sealed off the area. Rescue workers and FBI agents with gas masks are swarming the site. We’ll keep you updated throughout the evening as details become available.”
Wow. This is bigger than a ball game. What a calamity! But the evening is still young. People have hardly yet begun to die.
In Manhattan’s Broadway theater district, tuxedo-clad attendees are running out of restaurants and writhing on sidewalks, vomiting violently. Rumors are the water supply is poisoned. Speaking of water, the George Washington Bridge collapses into the Hudson River after a massive fiery explosion lights the night sky.
What a night! What’s next?
Terrible beyond imagination, but not beyond belief. Jesus warned of devastating pestilence in various places (see Matt. 24:7).
Imagine a terrorist event in your locality. Picture the panic as sirens wail without ceasing. Banks and other businesses are abandoned, except for looters scurrying through shattered storefronts lugging water jugs. National Guard tanks rumble through, shoving aside wrecked taxis and police cars. Camouflage green bulldozers dig mass graves for countless anonymous body bags. Loudspeakers blare orders from the Emergency Broadcast System — only this time it’s not just a test. It’s a grave new world.
That spine-chilling scenario became more plausible after 9/11 and increasingly so today, with continual threats from within and without. The core issue in my mind: What may be the role of militant Islam in Earth’s final conflict and how would fundamentalist Christendom react?
Last month in this column I shared my perspectives from Daniel, Chapter 11, that militant Islam aligned with communist/socialist nations could be the end-time prophetic King of the South (KoS), versus the Western Christian alliance as King of the North (KoN). In this scenario, God's final remnant would be caught between a pincer movement of those clashing civilizations with their antigospel agendas: crusading Christendom (KoN) seeking salvation by force battling those opposed to the very concept of Jesus as Savior and Lord. In other words, counterfeit Christian faith versus open antagonism to Christianity.
How could fervently theocratic Islam find common cause with atheistic communism? Because of their common opposition to Christendom. As the saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
So that’s the scenario I see in Daniel 11 — a scared and scary theocracy in America confederating with right-wing movements already stirring in previously pacifistic European nations such as Germany, France and even the Netherlands (in reaction to the terrorist threat from militant Islamic immigrants).
Facing an urgent existential threat from militant Islamic jihad, the relevance of Daniel 11 in end-time prophecy is evident. Could attacks from fundamentalist Islam eventually become so frequent and intense that Western society will make a big move to revive and enforce its traditional weekly day of prayer — Sunday?
God’s Sabbatarian remnant will find no common cause with fundamentalist Christendom — a religion by force that amounts to coercive salvation by law. Those faithful to God's kingdom values will resist both the KoN Sunday revival as well as Islamic Friday fervency in KoS culture. This will mark the remnant for persecution — and open the eyes of sincere people around the world who have not yet seen the beauty and meaning of God's true character or of the Sabbath.
I realize our best understandings of last-day prophecies may prove in some cases to be off the mark. But regardless of how exact circumstances play out, the core message of Scripture seems clear. Only God’s faithful remnant, comprised of true believers of every religious background who are faithful to God, will resist false worship. World powers will seek to destroy them with a death decree. But at that crisis hour, Christ will return to rescue His people.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.
[i]Originally proposed in the 1999 book Millennimania, published by the General Conference Ministerial Association, now out of print.