Echoes from the Past, Warnings for the Future
By Ramon Arias
Being ignorant of history does not exempt us from repeating it. Perhaps some of you have had the experience of hearing the echo of your own voice, it is a very interesting and amusing phenomenon. What is not amusing is to ignore voices of the past that warn us of danger when we abandon the correct way of life. It seems the United States of America is obstinate in ignoring the roots that originated it when it considers the false supposition that riches and power are permanent regardless of the morals people live by. Great civilizations in the past such as Babylon, Greece and Rome also believed those lies and what is left of them are ruins for tourists to visit.
A voice in the past that should not be ignored is that of Thomas Jefferson who in 1781 made the following declaration. Extracts of this quote are on the monument in his honor in Washington D.C.:
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever; That a revolution of the wheel of fortune, a change of situation, is among possible events; that it may become probable by Supernatural influence! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in that event.”
When people conceive the idea that liberty in a society depends upon the desires of the people and their concept of liberty, which in reality is to be libertine, has always been an error that brings enormous negative consequences. Approximately two generations (80 years later) after Jefferson proclaimed that it is God who gives life and liberty is that Civil War broke out. Obviously both sides forgot that these truths should not be violated and still think we do not deserve negative sanctions from God. They lost the fear that Jefferson had spoken of.
The atrocities that were committed during the armed conflict between the North and South can only be classified as barbaric. Even though both sides forgot God they both sought his favor to obtain victory over one another, as ironic as it may seem that's the way it was.
After the Civil War ended, on a Saturday, March 4th, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln in his second inaugural address, just 45 days before he would be assassinated, declared:
“Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained....Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged.
The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. ‘Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.’
If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?
Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God will that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsmen's twohundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
At a mere 149 years after this conflict among the states of the North and South, what is the state of the union in regards to recognizing that it is God who gives life and liberty? Could we be so arrogant as to brag that no major catastrophe could happen in this nation strong enough to take away the power it exhibits and flaunts today? Can we pretend as if the events of September 11, 2001, or the actual war against terrorism is not significant?
What about the almost 60 million babies that have been massacred by their mothers all across this nation in the past 40 years? Let's not kid ourselves by calling abortion anything else but what it is. A woman who becomes pregnant automatically becomes a mother regardless if the scientific definition of what has been conceived is called a fetus, whose definition by the way means unborn, there's no way they can truthfully call it anything but a human being. From the moment the mother decides to condemn her child to death it is not an abortion it is an assassination.
What about the homosexual agenda being imposed by Hollywood and the media that wants to convince society in general that it is a correct and therefore an acceptable lifestyle? The list of moral corruption in this nation is very extensive to which we need to add the disaster in the church as a result of all the confusion within the faith because of the rejection of God's absolutes. A church infected by all types of sicknesses and diseases, if I may use sickness as a metaphor, spiritually, intellectually, and philosophically. The ill-fated war between the North and South from 1861 to 1865 should remind us that the church can lose its perspective that it is God who has life and liberty in his total control.
For those “born-again” Christians who live almost the same as non-believers should seriously consider the words of our Lord Jesus Christ when he affirmed:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1-5)
This is the only reason why we have been given a new birth, to be new people in Christ and produce the justice of God in all areas of human development.
Since this nation was born there has existed no other hope than the one placed upon the living God, in the God of the Bible and his absolutes. A church that is solidly established upon biblical perspective of life and liberty will cease to make concessions to accommodate a secular liberal and leftist’s perspective as well as all other diverse non-biblical preferences. God, this and future generations are waiting for the church to take its rightful God-given place to restore the quality of life and liberty as God has ordained it, for a unique and only guarantee of true human progress.
The question to be answered is, is the church listening to the echoes of the past to be warned about what the future will bring?
- Jefferson, Thomas. 1781, in his Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XVIII, 1781, 1782, p. 237. Gary DeMar, America's Christian History: The Untold Story (Atlanta, GA: American Vision Publishers, Inc., 1993), p. 126.
- Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States - From George Washington 1789 to Richard Milhous Nixon 1969 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office; 91st Congress, 1st Session, House Document 91-142, 1969), pp. 127-128.