The Road To Armageddon Revisited
When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come and see.” Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. (Revelation 6:3–4 NKJV)
Only God knows what events He had in mind when He inspired these verses. Nevertheless, with each passing day, the thirst for violence among the masses is growing. This is exactly what we should expect. Scripture teaches us clearly that human nature has been corrupted with the nature of Satan — who was himself filled with violence and subsequently cast out of Heaven (Ezekiel 28:16). The Psalmist gives precious insight into why God banished Satan and his followers in Psalm 11:5: “The LORD tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.” The great Old Testament scholars Keil and Delitzsch pass this comment, “He hates him with all the energy of His perfectly and essentially holy nature) the evil-doer and him that delights in the violence of the strong towards the weak. And the more intense this hatred, the more fearful will be the judgments in which it bursts forth.“
Even a Prophet of Their Own
Is God the only one to explain the violence of fallen man? After years of studying human behavior In the early 1900s, Sigmund Freud put forward what many believed was a new theory about human nature. Through his experiments in Psychoanalysis, he discovered that human beings have aggressive, violent and sexual forces that are lying just below man’s consciousness — waiting to be unleashed. Through his examination of dreams and free association, he came to believe that man was a violent creature. These findings were so pointed that they led him to dislike human beings. In fact, he wrote:
“Men are not gentle creatures, who want to be loved, who at the most can defend themselves if they are attacked; they are, on the contrary, creatures among whose instinctual endowments is to be reckoned a powerful share of aggressiveness. As a result, their neighbor is for them not only a potential helper or sexual object, but also someone who tempts them to satisfy their aggressiveness on him, to exploit his capacity for work without compensation, to use him sexually without his consent, to seize his possessions, to humiliate him, to cause him pain, to torture and to kill him. Homo homini lupus [man is wolf to man]. Who in the face of all his experience of life and of history, will have the courage to dispute this assertion? As a rule this cruel aggressiveness waits for some provocation or puts itself at the service of some other purpose, whose goal might also have been reached by milder measures. In circumstances that are favorable to it, when the mental counter-forces which ordinarily inhibit it are out of action, it also manifests itself spontaneously and reveals man as a savage beast to whom consideration towards his own kind is something alien.” (Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents, trans. and ed., James Strachey; New York: W. W. Norton, 1961, p. 58)
Nevertheless, Jesus had a more succinct description of man in his fallen state, You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44) John elaborates on this fact in 1 John 3 when he writes, “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
A Temporary “Fix”
In ancient times governments often controlled the people with an iron fist. This is how they kept the peace. They would smash oppositions and uprisings. God gave governments the awesome responsibility to maintain order in society. In Paul’s words, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” (Romans 13:3–4 NKJV) Consider the fact that the original recipients of this letter had been under Caligula (37- 40CE), Claudius (41 – 54CE), and presently Nero. These leaders were deadly men. Nevertheless, a bad government is better than none. We have learned this dreadful lesson in modern times more than once.
A strategy was devised that would channel man’s aggressiveness towards something non-destructive. Many inventions were being developed; manufacturing techniques were improving; and money was made available through fractional lending. So, we entered the era of consumptionism. People spent their energy working to buy the latest clothes, the newest car, the larger home and the coolest gadgets. Many people find their identity in this “competition.” Instead of fighting one another in the streets, the masses head to work each day having beaten their swords into plowshares. Instead to castles they buy large homes. In place of tanks and artillery batteries they employ SUV’s and ATV’s. Rather than dress blues they don the finest designer clothing. Here we find their rank, weaponry, and the spoils of war. Status is the goal of life. How does it work? Exalt yourself by the things you possess.
The First Box of Cigars
Edward Bernays was front and center in this process. He is the father of public relations and to a large degree popular culture (POP Culture). His uncle was Sigmund Freud. Bernays sent Freud a box of Havanna cigars in exchange for a copy of his book on Psychoanalysis. He then employed Freud’s findings to help corporations transform our culture from “needs” based to “desires” based. People began buying products they did not need. The poor began behaving like the wealthy. This worked for the government, because they were working to “make the world safe for democracy.” People were too busy to riot and vandalize.
The Failure of Selfish Discontent
For nearly a hundred years this man made scheme has been somewhat effective. We have had wars to contend with, but our streets have been relatively calm (with the exception of a few race riots over the years). However, when the economy plunged in 2008 and the handheld device became the primary focus of young peoples’ lives, the door started coming open again. Few young people aspire to the things their parents and grandparents did. Their values are different. The crowd is growing more and more dangerous everyday. Therefore, I came up with some statements to describe this phenomena:
Worldliness + dis-contentment = docile
Worldliness + contentment = a dangerous crowd
When Edward Bernays worked to help manufacture a state of discontentment within society, it only served as a temporary distraction. In fact, it only ever worked on people who bought into the system and were willing and able to put forth the efforts to experience it. That leaves out a great many people in the 21st century. Theirs is a mind of worldliness + contentment, a dangerous combination. That is not to say that worldliness + discontentment is the right thing. It is not. It is simply what has been used to a decent effect for controlling mass violence within society.