In Parts 1 and 2 of this series of essays titled America’s Fate: A Mashup of Ideas, we started bringing together some very disparate sources and ideas to try to understand how our country has gotten to the place in history that it currently stands. We briefly discussed the secular book by Strauss and Howe called The Fourth Turning, which examines the various cyclical eras in history, and we came back to a favorite concept of mine explored by Dr. Michael Heiser in The Unseen Realm. This book brings us a supernatural Biblical worldview and explains how the nations of the earth turned away from the One true God, how Israel became His Chosen People, and what the implications for this dynamic are as we move forward to the end of the age. As an aside, The Unseen Realm also coherently shows how Jesus fixes everything!
In this article, Part 3 of our series, we want to add one more element into the mix by considering the fictional representation of the battles that occur in the spiritual realm based on Frank Peretti’s novel This Present Darkness. This story presents spiritual warfare in a way that had not been done previously. C.S. Lewis gave us a taste of this in The Screwtape Letters, but the dramatic element that Peretti brings fuels the imagination to a greater extent.
This Present Darkness personalizes the dark forces arrayed against humanity and gives us a visual representation of what could be occurring in the spiritual realm as they gather, scheme, and fight. The book also illustrates what could be happening on the side of angels—literally. What is it that God has set in motion and that He requires of His human family as His enemies attempt to thwart all that He has planned? What are the means by which we as God’s people push back against the darkness and bring about the blessings of God? When mankind neglects God and turns its own way, what is the inevitable result? Yet, how is it that God always has a way mapped through the darkness that light may shine?
The simple answer is that God desires a people who revere Him, who seek Him, who are a praying people that want to be obedient to Him. When man goes his own way, desires to glorify himself, and/or pursues other gods, the One true God of the Bible patiently puts up with that for a while, but eventually tires of it. He essentially says, “Fine, you don’t want to love, worship, and obey Me? Have it your way.” Just as we see throughout the Old Testament with His Chosen People Israel, God let them self-destruct until He couldn’t stand it anymore, then He came to the rescue. Because He loves us so much, the same generally holds true for us in the church in our nation.
In the midst of this there is always a remnant who are faithful to God through His Son Jesus Christ. Sometimes it’s the prayers of one person that move Him. Regardless how many are part of this faithful few, God eventually responds. No doubt, just like in This Present Darkness, He’s got the warriors of His heavenly host poised for battle. At the right moment, they can attack bringing light to the darkness.
The question is: How does that right moment occur? Frank Peretti suggests that it results from the prayers of the saints. Assuming that God has not decided to allow a complete overthrow of a nation, or even a city like Ashton in Peretti’s book, then there may be a triggering element that causes God’s divine army to act. Maybe the prayers of the saints take a while to build. Maybe more people need to focus their prayers in spiritual warfare as they wake up to the danger around them.
In the case of America as a parallel to this idea, perhaps as we have slipped further from God, He has withdrawn the protective shield of His angels, maybe even of the divine son ruling over our nation. Seeing this, the enemy takes advantage and moves in. Without prayer, there is no defensive force against the ramparts built up against those in God’s figurative city. Is that what has happened in our nation? The good angels are still here but this territory has been seized? Given how God often operates, perhaps the only remedy to take back what the enemy has taken is prayer. Failing that, the forces of darkness can’t and won’t yield. This would also assume we haven’t fallen to the point of no return from God’s perspective, which is entirely possible now or very soon.
God obviously has the entire situation in complete view. He sees the end from the beginning and how it all plays out, i.e. which He allows. The war has already been won. We know that Jesus Christ is victorious, and those who follow Him are on the winning side. However, many battles getting to that point are still to be fought.
Using the concepts presented in this series of essays, how do they all coalesce in our speculations about America and these end times? In Part 4, we’ll conclude this mashup of ideas and attempt to bring them all together so as to put the final brush strokes on the canvas in this connect the dots picture. Hopefully, we’ll come up with a reasonable painting worthy of framing that presents where America stands in these dark times.