What is Truth?

Posted on 2023-10-31

I have often spoken of how, many decades ago, I came to the understanding that authentic prophecy is not so much that men may fathom the mind of God as it is that they may see the spiritual reality behind certain temporal events. That means that a solid prophecy is cause for more alertness to events rather than smug assumption that one “knows” God’s plan.

For almost a millennium before the birth of Christ authentic prophets in Israel had foretold the coming of a Messiah who would redeem God’s people. During that same millennium, not a single person of any stature expected that Messiah to be anything other than a political and military leader who would restore the temporal dominance of Israel. No one got the specifics right – or even close – that God would come, Himself, becoming part of our family that we might have the opportunity to become part of His family. God is always startling, fresh, and new.

People think that prophecy is revelation. They are not wrong, but it is only in the most general sense – like a mysteriously wrapped package under the Christmas tree is revelation that there is a gift there. The fulfillment of prophecy is the beginning of revelation. It is in the events that unfold after fulfillment of prophecy that we see God’s plan begin to unfold. It is always in ways that are unexpected and extravagantly generous.

Many good people have counseled me to temporize in my support of Israel after the atrocities Hamas perpetrated on Oct. 7 of this year. I will not and cannot. This is one of those temporal events that has a much larger spiritual significance. It is the beginning of a great revelation, one that will cut to the bone of all our expectations.

I have been expecting an event like this. It signals a great new turning, just as the Revelation 12 sign in the sky on Sept. 23, 2017 signaled the beginning of laying bare the rot at the core of all our institutions in the world. Apparently, I have not conveyed what I think this all portends very well, as some seem to think I believe that this will be a quick battle between good and evil where my favored side will briskly prevail. Others seem to believe that I think one side comes with entirely clean hands and the other with entirely dirty ones. We seem to have lost the capacity to distinguish between what is flawed or outright bad and what is genuinely evil. Even worse, many seem to think that one cannot fight actual evil with real vigor unless one’s hands are as pure as a vestal virgin’s.

The first effect of Armageddon is to destroy our illusions. For the brief interregnum since WWII, we in America and much of Western Europe have lived in a cocoon of safety. While that is comforting, with the loss of any real knowledge of history it has made us into pitiful rubes who are simultaneously preeningly arrogant in our naivete. We play judge and jury about what everyone else does from our cocoon of safety in the west, having completely lost our sense of history and how starkly existential all battles, but particularly tribal battles, are. My primary message in, “Welcome to Armageddon,” was not that the devils were coming for Israel, but they are coming for each and every one of us. The invasion of and atrocities on Israel on Oct. 7 were the equivalent of the Battle of Manassas, the first major battle of what became a much larger, comprehensive American Civil War. Only this time it is global. This is what I have meant when I have said that God is pushing us to a time where each of us must choose whom we will serve and publicly declare ourselves. There is no area of neutrality. The only judge and jury in this case is God, Himself. The rest of us are participants, whether we like it or not.

Let me go, brick by brick, why I believe the attack on Israel is the opening battle in what will be the greatest crisis in world history. First, a little history and some facts on the ground…

  • There has never been a nation of Palestine. There is no unique Palestinian language or set of customs. Palestine is a region of the Middle East, just as Appalachia is a region of the US. For almost all of history the Palestinian Region has had Jews and Arabs intermingled. It was ruled by Israel in antiquity, which was conquered by Rome, then conquered by Muslims and the Ottoman Empire, then ceded to Great Britain after the Ottoman Empire was vanquished, culminating in the re-establishment of the Jewish State of Israel in 1948. The Arabs in Palestine were offered a mandate to create their own nation-state at the same time, but declined. This would be the first of three refusals by Palestinian Arabs to form a nation-state. The sticking point? All such agreements required Palestinian Arabs to give up dreams of exterminating Israel and all Jews in the region.
  • Israel became a nation in the Palestinian region around 4,000 years ago. Though conquered and ruled by others for much of that history there has been a continuous and substantial population of Jews there ever since. After becoming a nation-state again in 1948, surrounding Arab states united to try to completely exterminate Israel. They lost. They did it again in 1967 and then in 1973. Again, they were vanquished in the subsequent attempts, losing territory in the process. The population of Arab Palestine surged, as the other Arab states largely refused to accept those Arab soldiers displaced by the wars back into their native countries. In 2000, Pres. Bill Clinton brokered a deal that would give Palestinian Arabs an independent nation. Israel made substantial concessions, but the Palestinians refused, launching yet another Intifada against Israel. In 2008 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians a new deal – one in which Israel would evacuate tens of thousands of Jewish residents beyond what it had already evacuated from Gaza and give the Palestinians nation-state status. Again, the agreement would require Palestine to abandon its goal of exterminating Israel and all Jews. Palestine refused.
  • In 2006, having been given autonomous authority by Israel in Gaza, the Palestinians elected Hamas, a committed terror organization, to govern it. According to public surveys, Hamas retains 57% overt support at the low end and 65% overt support at the high end among Palestinians even after the brutal butchery of Oct. 7. As a humanitarian gesture, Israel had been giving Palestine free water, electricity and other utilities since 2007 – because Palestine’s government used the billions it has got in aid to buy rockets and bombs to destroy Israel instead of building public services. Despite the smear of being colonizers, Israel remains the only multi-ethnic state in the region. The 2 million Arabs in Israel live unmolested, with full citizenship rights – even serving in the Knesset. Israel provides evacuation routes for Palestinian civilians while Hamas refuses to let anyone use those routes, preferring to keep its human shields to slow Israel down and to have as propaganda against Israel. It is absurd to criticize Israel for bombing the published evacuation routes after several days of no one using them. Egypt has sealed its borders against any Palestinian refugees. Other Arab nations refuse to receive them because the Palestinians are too radically violent for even other Muslim states.

The events since Oct. 7 are not just business as usual in the Middle East – or the rest of the world, for that matter. After nearly a century of wallowing in shades of grey and indulging in constant “on the one hand, on the other” equivocations, we are now forced into a series of black and white binaries. God is forcing us to make choices and publicly declare ourselves. You must choose or perish. It is time for serious precision of thought and action.

I have often made clear my contempt for hazy, pious-sounding bromides that sound okay but mean nothing – or constitute a complete misunderstanding of the sentiment expressed. Foggy thinking makes for foggy action – and constitutes much of the reason why we have drifted far from the philosophical moorings that made Western Civilization the great blessing for mankind it is. A few quick examples:

  • “WWJD, What Would Jesus Do?” Though well-meaning, this question completely misses the point. Jesus might well walk across a lake to get to the other side. Jesus might use His authority to calm a storm. I am not Jesus – and His mission is not the mission He has assigned me. The salient question is, what would Jesus have me do?
  • “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” A genuine saying of Christ, but many silly, shallow people have used it to justify outlawing swords, or demanding that Christians never use force for anything. If that is what Christ meant, why did He tell all His disciples to get a sword for after His departure in Luke 22? To live by the sword is to impose your will by force; those who do that will ultimately perish when the same force is used defensively against them. This is not just with Christ’s approval, but at His solemn command.

I could give dozens of examples but these are sufficient. If you simply shop the Bible or other great wisdom literature in search of snippets that seem to support what you already want to believe, you will not get wiser. You will get dumber – and more petulantly certain in your own ignorance. You must study it looking for seeming contradictions and see how they interact in synthesis with each other in order to find truth and the fullness of the meaning. It is the difference between stumbling around in a pile of lumber and exploring a house made from that lumber.

Do you have a coherent, comprehensive world view? Or are you just situationally opportunistic, eagerly taking every snippet you like to heart regardless of how it contradicts other things you profess to believe? Again, it is the difference between stumbling around in a pile of lumber and exploring a house made artfully from that lumber. A pile of lumber will offer you little to no protection from the stark choices that now abound. A coherent edifice is defensible.

So first, dig deep. Challenge your own assumptions vigorously. It is hard work, but it filters out the contradictions and errors. It is essential for these times and the battle before us. If you are your own worldview’s most demanding critic you will speak with confidence, for what you say has already been mercilessly vetted. It prevents you from becoming a blowhard.

From the time I started writing about these times I have been consistent on what the overall sequence looks like. First, substantial dysfunction grows almost invisibly as people shirk off discrete instances as not their concern or not that big a deal. Then the depth of the rot that has taken hold is revealed. This is frightening and disorienting, when it should have been the steady growth that was frightening – before it could take hold. Then all must choose and publicly declare themselves. During this period, God ruthlessly slaps down the comforting fantasies and sophistry with which people try to console themselves and pretend they are in control. We are in that period now. Once enough people abandon all illusions and make their mature stand, God will intervene. He does not forsake a penitent people.

First, there is the illusion that battles do not have to be existential. This was largely promoted by a president I otherwise admire, Harry Truman. It was Truman who came up with the idea of limited war, accomplishing some aims, then evacuating in hopes that everything will sort itself out. Throughout history, battles have largely been either to the death or to unconditional surrender. My attitude has always been to avoid war if at all possible. If there is no option left but war, I do not believe in proportionality. Go in hard, fast and strong, making the consequences of war clear to the opponent. The quicker an opponent realizes a war is unwinnable, the more lives are ultimately saved.

A civilized nation will not target civilians. Yet in any war, many civilians will die as collateral damage. When you make it a prime objective that no civilians be harmed, rather than that they not be targeted, you give savage opponents incentive to hold their own people hostage as human shields to prevent you from attacking them. This results in more innocent people being killed. Imagine a group of 20 gang members highjacked a school bus with innocent kids inside – and then started systematically killing everyone in the region who was not part of their gang. If you refused to target the bus because of the children, do you think you bear no responsibility for all the innocent people that die? Sorrowfully, hostages often – maybe usually – die. But God’s justice ensures that no innocent hostage dies to eternity.  The best way to prevent it is to make sure that belligerents who seize hostages are killed with dispatch. If you can do so effectively while saving hostages, by all means do so. But do not let your principles keep you from destroying the belligerents. Otherwise, you are setting up an endless cycle of hostage-taking and condemning more innocents. That is both hard and real. Genuine war is a desperate and savage effort at survival.

For eons, siege warfare was used as an effective method of prosecuting a battle that would minimize casualties. A siege would cut off all supply lines to the opponent, effectively starving them into surrender. The Nazis perverted this humane option in the Siege of Leningrad in WWII. Germany would not accept surrender and sought just to starve everyone to death. Now, ignorant folk demand not only that there never be a siege, but that opponents must feed their enemies, ensuring that resistance can go on endlessly with casualties rising endlessly, as well.

The ”on the one hand, on the other” equivocations that have taken root in the west have caused us to lose the capacity to differentiate between disorder and actual evil. The demand that no one can resist evil unless they have spotlessly clean hands is a formula for the death of all at the hands of evil. Even in prison, inmates know there are some prisoners who are beyond the pale because of their depravity and savagery. Pathetic that our temporizing has left us less able to discern actual evil than convicted, violent criminals. Of course, sometimes the temporizing is just an excuse for not taking any meaningful stand at all.

We have long, particularly in the United States, played judge and jury to the actions of other nations, secure in the knowledge that however we come down, the violence will not reach us. That is why this event with Hamas is global – and guarantees we will face the starkest choices now. We have allowed the godless left to mutilate language to the point we establish moral equivalency between combatants who have no moral equivalency – and that has just empowered the savages.

Among young people between the ages of 18-25, surveys show 48% of them support Hamas over Israel. The same surveys show that 71% of the same people believe that Hamas is bent on genocide against Israel. That means that a substantial majority of those who support Hamas understand it is genocide and support the worst atrocities for their comrades in arms to get their way. That means that the greatest horror is not that many people are so ignorant of history that they will errantly support the brutal torture of even babies to get their way, but that so many DO know the history and still support the butchering of babies to get their way. That is not errant disorder, but naked evil.

This entirely shreds the moral pretense of the godless left. They posture as champions of the downtrodden, filled with compassion and charity for all. By their actions, they are telling us loud and clear that they do not oppose genocide and butchery on principle, but simply as a tactical matter. They would kill us where we stand if they believed they were strong enough to make it stick. Contemplate that the next time you hear a plea for “common sense gun control.”

We have had a great moral illumination here. One side is repulsed by the idea of savage genocide as an acceptable means to get their way; the other side eagerly embraces it, restlessly working to gaslight the world into putting them into position to make it stick. The left in the west cheers on the butchery because it is what they aspire to when they feel strong enough.

This has huge consequences for personal relationships. It is also the driving force that will transform the globe very quickly. As I have written before, contrary to all the happy talk about peaceful Islam, the Koran commands Muslims to conquer the world – by persuasion if possible, by the sword if not. The many Muslims who do, indeed, value peace are now going to have to deal with the stark internal contradictions of their faith. As much as I loathe Islamic Jihad, my study of the Koran and the Haddith after 9-11 shocked me into the realization that it is the most authentic expression of Islam. Multiculturalists are going to have to come to grips that some cultures are superior to others in guaranteeing peace and co-existence, while other cultures seek to obtain it by butchering everyone who disagrees with them.

Western Europe is probably lost, at least for a time. In London last weekend they had several hundred thousand people marching in support of Hamas. Western Europe welcomed in the invaders with no requirement of adopting western notions of liberty and tolerance. Now they are about to reap what they have sown. Russia, which is playing footsie with Iran to tweak America, saw a horde of antisemites storm an airport looking for Jews to kill at an airport in Dagestan, its majority-Muslim province. Russia has had more than its share of problems with Islamic Jihad,  notably the Beslan School attack of 2004 in which 333 people, mostly children, were attacked and murdered. It, too, will have to decide where it stands on principle rather than tactical considerations.

In the United States, lip service was given to Israel while Joe Biden hastened to get $100 million in new aid for…Palestine. Though many civilians suffered in Germany, Franklin Roosevelt never considered giving financial aid to the Nazis, knowing that it would go to finance Hitler’s war aims. America DID give historic assistance after receiving Germany’s unconditional surrender ending the war.

One fellow (here or on Twitter) informed me the fight to destroy Hamas might destabilize Israel internally, leading to its government falling. Do I come across as a dewy-eyed naif? Of course it might. The only thing that keeps Israel from being as leftist as San Francisco is the ever-present threat of annihilation. Many modern Jews have subordinated Yahweh to mindless leftism. They, too, will have to decide whom they will serve. For them, though, it is obviously existential now.

Apparently, some think that when I say many unexpected things will happen I mean all things will fall the way I want them to. To the contrary, borders will fall, alliances will rise and die and ALL will be winnowed to determine whom they will serve. Some I will like, some I will not. We are on uncharted ground now. What I know is that God intends to force us to choose or perish – and that is what we will do. I have never offered a plan on how to turn back the storm we have summoned. I have spoken of how to weather it in solidarity with each other under God.

If you are going to write to direct my attention to the puddles of dysfunction among communities and people of faith to try to pretend it is the same thing as the pestilential swamp of dysfunction we have welcomed, don’t bother. I am not at all interested in your sophistries at this stage of things.

If you want to avoid, at all costs, the sufferings attendant to what is upon us, you will probably perish. This last year I have bluntly told people at talks who have asked who will send their social security checks if the government falls that no one will. It will be gone. I soften it by noting that if it happens to one person, that is a disaster but when it happens to all, it forces people of good will to live solidarity with each other. That is what the whole purpose of CORAC has been from the start: a way to live solidarity in cooperation with each other in the ugliest of times.

The Church hierarchy is going to have to make some tough decisions. If it just wants to be a leftist NGO to gain influence in the world, it will quickly find its influence dead on both the left and the right – or more appropriately among the heterodox as well as the orthodox.

Those people who retreat into theological conspiracies, ersatz theological takes that contradict Scripture and the Magisterium, wishful thinking about the dominant political figure who will rescue us all, or ersatz private revelation (including made up addendums to approved private revelation) are just trying to maintain a semblance of control over what they never had control of in the first place. The only thing any of us control is our behavior. It is through that – Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope – that God will move to renew the face and the faith of the world. If you adopt that fully internally, you will suffer hardship and want. But you will discover, improbably, great joy in the midst of the suffering. God has begun the process of taking us down to our foundations, to rebuild or discard us as we show our fidelity or lack thereof. It is paradoxically through our suffering we will re-discover all we have forfeited. The joy at the rediscovery will be sublime.

I know that there are many people of good will who will disagree with me profoundly on this nakedly stark assessment. That is okay. This, too, is a process of discovery. If things proceed broadly the way I foresee them, we will be glad to welcome you back into the fold if you later decide that the ordinary way makes the most sense, after all.

*********

Because of my illness we postponed the global ZOOM meeting last Sunday. It is on for this Sunday at 4 pm ET, 3 pm CT, 2 pm MT, and 1pm PT. I am prepared for a very lively discussion. But first, I will lay out the direction CORAC is taking now.

Your link to the meeting is here.

If communication goes out for any length of time, meet outside your local Church at 9 a.m. on Saturday mornings. Tell friends at Church now in case you can’t then. CORAC teams will be out looking for people to gather in and work with.

Find me on Twitter at @JohnstonPilgrim

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