The recent undesired war in Korea, the prolonged armistice negotiations that brought the actual fighting to an end and the unfinished nature of the Armistice and of the Korean situation, appear to me to have significance to Christians. These Korean matters seem to be symptoms of trends in world affairs which, if continued, may eventually produce conditions of great interest to students of the prophetic Scriptures.

Communist Aggression The Issue

In that war, men of the United States and fifteen other countries fought Chinese and Korean communists who were goaded and supported by the communist rulers of Soviet Russia. The immediate issue was the question of who would control Korea. The real issue was communist imperialism and lawless aggression. The war was localized in Korea but the issues and consequences were world wide. The fighting resulted in a stalemate. Neither side could win without extending the war to other areas and intensifying the operations, which, as some believed, might have engulfed civilization in a third terrible world war. Thus, with neither side willing to take this risk, there was little reason to continue fighting. Accordingly the effort to gain an advantage was transferred to the field of armistice negotiations. In the end the fighting ceased, the Republic of Korea was still intact, but the real issues were not resolved.

The Urge For Superiority

These issues could not and cannot be settled, because of the nature of the communist rulers. Communist character and methods became known to me through personal experience during the armistice negotiations. That experience was neither gratifying nor interesting, but it was enlightening. My pleasantest memories include the earnest efforts of our armistice team, their friendly camaraderie in camp, the not-so-hopeful hand waves of the men of the 25th Infantry and 1st Marine Divisions as I flew in a small helicopter over the front line trenches to Panmunjom, the friendly, honest attitude of representatives of the American press and the almost childish determination of the communists to appear superior even in the simplest things. For example, if we had a small United Nations flag on the conference table they had to have a North Korean flag too, but on a higher stick. When our soldiers decorated their part of the site a bit, the communists decorated their part too, but more so. One of the enemy’s reporters, Winnington of the communist London Daily Worker, underscored communist atheism by referring to me as a “pious Baptist.” At least, he did see some dissimilarity between us.

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As to the communists themselves, I found them untrustworthy in the ultimate degree. They were insulting, formal, rough or whatever attitude seemed to be useful at the moment, but never sincere except when something happened to surprise or startle them. No doubt everyone who reads this is familiar with the cruelties practiced on civilians, refugees and prisoners of war, both in Korea and in Indo-China. Sadistic cruelty is one of the ordinary traits of communists. There is, too, their well-known determination to control the minds of men through so-called “brain washing.

Since I wrote the preceding paragraphs, the world has had an amazing demonstration of the unspeakable cruelty of Russian rulers and their soldiers in Hungary, a country whose sole offense is that it desires liberty from Soviet oppression. At the same time that those poor people were being slaughtered by Russian guns and bayonets the Soviet government was continuing to do all in its powers to foment unrest, subversion and fighting among countries of the Near and Middle East.

The Issues Are Clear

It seems to me that no one who calls himself Christian can ever again fail to see in these events the only possible moral end of communist philosophy. In the past I have at times noted statements by men of some prominence in Protestant circles, in which they professed to see in communism and its adherents, intentions and objectives not foreign to Christian ethical principles and the hope of society. As far as I could discover, those writers had assumed Christianity to be a gospel of human social achievement. At the same time they rejected or ignored the simple New Testament Gospel of individual men’s salvation from sin and reconciliation to God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God who provided redemption by his substitutionary death on the cross. To any but the most naive, the communist mask has now been torn away beyond recovery. Communism or other materialistic philosophy no longer affords an escape from Christ and New Testament truth. Today, as for nineteen centuries, the crucial question before every man is “What think ye of Christ, whose son is he?” (Matt 22:42). For me that question has been settled unalterably for a long time. In company with millions of others, I am thankful to God that I can say with the Apostle Paul, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him against that day” (2 Tim 1:12).

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The foregoing implication of the present world situation is of primary importance, but there is another trend which should arouse Christians to a more diligent and penetrating study of God’s word, the Bible.

Complex Status Of Society

Anyone who has read some history realizes that the criminal procedures of communists are not new but have always been prevalent in the world. Even their blatant atheism merely serves to set up a man-made religion, that of the materialistic, totalitarian state. Aside from the Gospel, there is no known way of eliminating the sinful nature of man or of preventing criminals from becoming heads of states. What is new is the complex status in which society finds itself as illustrated by the Korean war and its aftermath. By means of modern communication and transportation the natives of the world are closely bound together. The industrial age needs the movement of materials from one area to others far distant and in different countries. The nations are so interrelated and interdependent that trouble or confusion in one area has a direct and immediate effect in other parts of the world. This impact, combined with speed of communications and the emphasis on public information and propaganda, results in a continuing state of excitement, uncertainty and confusion. This unrest in the minds of men is changed to fear by the aggressive policies of governments and the deadly weapons that are increasingly available to destroy great masses of people in a very short time.

It does not take a seer to see something of the probable future effect of such God-rejecting rulers on a society which is daily becoming more complex in its relationships. It seems clear that man can no longer think of himself as the master of his own destiny. Some naive or ambitious men might so consider themselves but the mass of men increasingly appear to believe themselves helpless in the midst of forces that they are powerless to control. As such helplessness becomes more apparent to men, they will discover the need for someone to save them from themselves. They must turn to someone, either to God or to some human leader. They reject God: therefore, they will welcome a Man, putting security above freedom.

Rise Of The Tyrants

The process of nations combining and surrendering their sovereignty to such a dictator seems most likely to occur first among countries which have highly industrialized civilizations, which have a common great fear, and which, by combination of strength and unity of action, think they have a reasonable chance to resist or overcome that which causes their fear. These conditions are found today among the nations of western and southern Europe and in Turkey, which must live in close proximity to the great threat imposed by the imperialistic military power of the Soviet Union with its allies and satellites. The shape of such a developing embryo of anti-Soviet federation under a single ruler is already in evidence among those countries.

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The hope in the hearts of men who bow to a great dictator will be peace. Yet since men are sinners, peace will depend upon the balance of power. The hope that such a peace can endure is illusory. The war that might result when the balance becomes unequal might well be a great world war of a destructive nature never before known to man. A prize sought by that war would probably be the Near and Middle East, one of the critical economic and strategic areas of the world today and in the foreseeable future. Right in the vortex of the conflict would be the land of Israel and the Jewish nation.

The possible developments described above appear to me to have a noticeable similarity to biblical prophecies concerning the end of the age and the second advent of Christ as they have been understood by one school of thought, to which I subscribe. There have been many, and there still are many, who have taken all references to a coming superman, or the Antichrist, as being of spiritual and not actual interpretation.

But there is developing before our eyes a philosophy that can lay the ground work for just such a development. The one-world concept, the United Nations, the frantic desire for any collective organization or arrangement to prevent war—all could result in men surrendering their freedoms, even their national integrity, to a brilliant and able leader who seemed to offer peace and prosperity to a disrupted world.

A Dimly Lighted Theater

Trends in the world today are enlightening. The similarity cannot be ignored. Little time and change would be needed for all the pieces of the human drama to fall into place so that with little warning the world surrounding the Jews and their land might find itself in exactly the arrangement that many Bible students see in the great age and prophecies.

Of course, one cannot say that we are close to the end of the age nor can we set any date. God graciously may further delay the fall of his wrath on men. Nevertheless, one cannot help feeling as though he were in a dimly lighted theater watching the preparation of the stage for the play that will shortly begin. Although we realize that the coming of the Lord may not yet be at hand, can we afford to neglect study of Advent prophecy and of the signs that appear so closely to follow that prophecy (Matt. 12:26)? It seems to the writer that now is the time for every believer in Christ to be looking expectantly for that blessed hope, the glorious coming of the Lord and in that expectancy to hold forth unceasingly to the world the Word of Life.

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The Rev. W. Graham Scroggie, D.D., 80 years old yesterday, moved from his ministry in Charlotte Chapel (Baptist), Edinburgh, from 1916–33, to a world-wide traveling ministry from 1933–37, and then became Minister of Spurgeon’s Tabernacle, London, from 1938–41. He is author of many works, among them Know Your Bible in four volumes.

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