The Specifications of Revelation 13
Students of the latter half of Revelation 13 are watching with intense interest affairs of state that might have a bearing upon its fulfillment. Tremendous, culminating events in human history are there foretold, associated with the last things of probationary time. And our message is inextricably bound up with them. But we should be most careful not to draw unsound or unwarranted conclusions from present activities and pressures. It is manifestly fallacious to confuse a temporary and purely civil measure, obviously and actually created to aid business recovery, with that final and fixed enactment foretold, which, when it comes, will be based openly and primarily upon the evil principle of coercion of a religious minority that persists in loyal obedience to the commandments of God even unto death, and in which the boycott and ultimate penalty predicted will be employed.
Let none indulge therefore in oral or printed statements that would involve not only themselves but, which is far more important, the denomination of which they are commissioned as representatives. Sharp distinction should be made in any discussion of Revelation 13 between present purely civil provisions, having to do with economic recovery, and that religious legislation which will invade the domain God has reserved for Himself, and over which the basic principle of allegiance or disloyalty to the Almighty Himself is at stake. We will surely recognize these movements foretold when they come to pass. So long as governments do not ask that we violate the primal relationships to God which take precedence over all, and which are comprehended in the first table of the decalogue, all good citizens will aid in their nation's heroic struggle for economic recovery. But our time for untrammeled witness is short.
Great changes impend.
L. E. F.
New Perils Create New Obligations
The rising tide of popular evils has created a situation for our youth more intense and acute than heretofore known. To the ever-present and persistent movie menace, the plague of sordid fiction gaudily displayed on every news stand, the flaming billboard posters on the highways, and the catchy ads. in the secular press depicting young women smoking, is now added the portrayal of young women drinking beer, and we witness but the beginning of that sinister campaign of publicity. Beer signs monopolize the windows of the restaurants and even the grocery stores.
Unquestionably we have entered a new era calling for new defenses, new tactics, new counteracting moves. The vices of the past are at last clothed with respectability through this relentless commercial publicity campaign. The acknowledged evils of yesterday now have sanctions unknown in the past. This has created a new issue. It has produced a new peril, and likewise a new responsibility on the part of the church. The situation demands a counter campaign of education for our own youth and others, to enunciate unmistakably the moral principles at stake, to develop the moral stamina needed to resist the subtle sophistries of this propaganda and its devastating acceptance as seen on every hand. The scornful smile directed toward those who still hold to "the old-fashioned notions and Victorian standards that are vanishing," is a reality with which we must reckon. Social ostracism for these causes is no mere figure of speech. The pressure of the times is intense. We as shepherds are accountable for an adequate defense of our flock when in peril, and for the shielding of the lambs in this time of their trial.
L. E. F.
While every worker should be a direct soul winner, it is a mistaken notion to think that all are endowed by their Maker with the gift of public evangelism. Some do not have the speaking ability, the personal magnetism, the voice, or the personal presence. Many can best work quietly in the environs of the home or the classroom, but all can and should win souls and still more souls.
There are distinct gifts that God bestows, and the pastoral gift is one of them. It is unfortunate that unwarranted slights are sometimes cast upon the pastor and his divinely allotted responsibility. The work of God is so varied and so far-reaching that it encompasses a vast variety of gifts. Only a narrowed misconception of its breadth would seek to run all through a common mold, or to judge effectiveness by a constricted criterion. Remember, "God hath set" some to be pastors and teachers, just as truly as some to be evangelists.