Chapter 5 Prelude
I remember as if it were yesterday, listening to the Star Spangled Banner at my graduation ceremony at Ft. Lee , Virginia. I had just completed six months of intensive officer´s candidate training. We were standing at attention, about 1000 strong, waiting for the command to pass in review. The notes of the song sent chills running up my back. When the anthem ended we began to march past all the generals. It was the proudest moment of my life. I was not a born again believer then, so I didn´t realize my deception and the error of blind patriotism.
The deception is understandable when a person knows nothing of Jesus, Heaven and eternal life. Like all the other soldiers, all of my hopes were wrapped up in America and its system of government. However, once we become believers, we must become like Abraham, who came out Babylon after hearing the call of God. Abraham did not continue to be patriotic or mindful of Babylon. He refused to take his eye and heart off the vision of the New Jerusalem.
One year later, in February of l968, during the Tet offensive, I landed in Vietnam. Admittedly I was quite scared, not knowing what the future held for me. Jesus Christ was the furthest thing from my mind. Because I was not assigned to a combat unit, I had it pretty good compared to most. However, having arrived during the Communist offensive, that was pretty much country wide, I´ll never forget the nights enemy mortars would be lobbed close to our quarters. I´ll never forget the American jet fighters and helicopter gunships going after those mortar and sniper positions. I´ll never forget travelling through the burned out rubble that seemed to go on for blocks. I´ll never forget going down a river road in Saigon, when sniper fire opened up on my vehicle.
The five years I spent in military service are very hard to forget. The many experiences I had were part of life´s circumstances that led me to repent and receive Jesus Christ. Occasionally my thoughts go back to the day chills went up my back at the playing of the national anthem. I had always considered myself to be proud patriotic citizen of America. I knew what patriotism means: A person who loves, supports and defends his country and its interests. That´s Webster´s definition, but I would expand the word “defend” to literally mean “to kill or die”, for that´s what war is all about, isn´t it?
But Jesus took over my life and loyalties. He saved me from the pride which lies at the root of patriotism. He wants to save everyone from the hating and killing that patriotism produces. When a person is born again into the kingdom of God, he becomes a citizen of Heaven. He is also an ambassador representing the King of Heaven. He is also in the army of God. In his heart he can´t serve two kingdoms. He must decide, like Abraham, which country will have all his heart.
It is no wonder that people can´t see or understand America´s role in Bible prophecy, when they have been led to believe America is God´s Christian country. The American Christian seems to think America is God´s vehicle to defeat the devil in Communism and militant false religions around the world. Is America really a Christian nation, founded upon the person and teachings of Jesus Christ, as many would like us to think?
Or is it a pagan nation, with a form of godliness that closely resembles the truth? Americans don´t understand that the only chosen nations of God, until the millenium, are Israel and the worldwide body of born again believers. Peter explains exactly what I´m talking about.
1 Peter 2:9,
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a people of his own, that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;”
“Symeon (Peter) hath declared how God first did visit the nations, to take out of them a people for his name.”
When Peter refers to a holy nation, he´s not talking about America or any other nation. He referring to all people who are called out and chosen from the world´s nations which are all deceived. Remember the two-headed snake I spoke of earlier. As Peter said, they are all in darkness. The patriotic pride and intense nationalism in America´s Christians is blinding them from the truth Peter lays out. In fact, patriotism is the darkness that all nations suffer from.
This pride, patriotism, and selfishness is at the root of all wars among people and nations. It is antichrist. This patriotic mania will lead blind Christians to die for a nation, but not Jesus. Christians are called to die for Jesus, but never called to kill for Him.
This chapter is the most heartbreaking part of this book. The future of the United States is not a bright spot in Bible prophecy. The more I watch events in the world and study the word of God, the more accurate this chapter becomes in my mind.