By the time you read this, the January 15 deadline for Iraq to pull out of Kuwait will have almost arrived. It would be foolish to predict what will happen. However, the major factors that should contribute to the outcome can be clearly defined.
The Gulf crisis is the direct result of U.S.-led Western miscalculations. This country was humiliated during the Carter presidency by Iran's taking of American hostages and using them for propaganda and manipulation. Therefore, the Reagan administration rejoiced at Iraq's invasion of Iran and hoped they would destroy each other. When Iran seemed to be winning, however, we and our allies gave Saddam Hussein the weapons and technology he needed to turn the tide. We continued to supply Iraq with the means of building its present war machine, though it was clear that Hussein was utterly ruthless, having used poison gas even against his own people, and having murdered anyone who might be a rival for power.
The weaponry we continued to provide was obviously far beyond Iraq's needs for self-defense. Shortly before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the U.S. State and Commerce Departments approved the sale to Iraq of 1million nerve gas antidote kits for defense. Since none of its neighbors had the capability of delivering such gas, it was obvious that Iraq wanted protection for its troops in case of a shift in the wind during its own offensive use of gas. Greedy for profits, we literally sold Saddam the means and thereby encouraged him to attack his neighbors—which, predictably, he did.
Kuwait was a costly lesson, but it finally opened eyes and united almost the entire world to stop Hussein and to prevent similar aggression in the future. Permanent peace through the "new world order" which Gorbachev had proposed at the UN in 1988 suddenly became the hope of the international community. In response to Hussein, war would be outlawed. Soviet Foreign Minister Edward Shevardnadze made it clear to the UN in September that Hussein's attack upon Kuwait was a "threat to a new world order." A new era was being painfully birthed.
The issue was never merely the price of oil, as critics suggested in questioning whether such a goal was worth the possible loss of life. The issue was and is a new world order of lasting peace. To allow Saddam to keep Kuwait would only encourage his evil designs. It would be the appeasing of another Hitler for "peace in our time," which, as history has demonstrated, only leads eventually to even more bloodshed in the end.
Even if Iraq withdraws from Kuwait, having raped, plundered and all but destroyed her, Saddam Hussein cannot be left with his capabilities for future invasion and destruction intact. No neighboring state could rest secure if that were allowed. Exactly how this threat will be neutralized is not clear. If we are as near to the Rapture, however, as the signs seem to indicate, then a solution to the Iraqi threat will be effected. We must move in the direction of "peace" in the Middle East and worldwide—the false peace that will prevail when Christ takes His bride home, leaving the Antichrist's bride, the false church, to welcome that imposter.
Any attempt to link Kuwait with "the Palestinian question" is the most cynical fabrication. "Justice for the Palestinians" was not Iraq's reason for invading Kuwait. And that a ruthless murderer of his own people and a suppressor of basic human rights could become the champion of "rights for the Palestinians" reveals both Saddam's hypocrisy and that of the Arab world. Moreover, that a naked aggressor who pressed an eight-year war against Iran at the cost of 1 million lives, then raped Kuwait, could delude the world into believing that he wears the shining armor of the "Defender of the Palestinians" demonstrates the prevailing prejudice against Israel. As Dennis Prager of the Los Angeles Times pointed out when the UN Security Council condemned Israel for its handling of the October Temple Mount incident in which 20 Palestinians died,
In that U.N. council sit nations every one of which condemned Israel for destroying the Iraqi nuclear weapons in 1982. In that council sit...the Chinese butchers of Tiannamen Square, the totalitarian state of Cuba and the two greatest suppliers of weapons to Iraq—France and the Soviet Union.
Here is tiny Israel...[which] a generation after [Hitler's] gas chambers, has to fit its children with gas masks because hundreds of millions of Arabs hate the Jewish state....
I have never deluded myself that Palestinian self-determination prevents Arab-Israeli peace, since one never saw a single Palestinian flag, never once heard about the existence of a Palestinian nation, when the entire West Bank was under Arab control before 1967....It isn't Yitzhak Shamir who causes the hatred. Israel-haters wanted Israel dead when it was governed by David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir. Nor is it the West Bank: Israel-haters wanted Israel dead when Israel had no West Bank. And it isn't Israel's reactions to the intifada; more Palestinians were killed by King Hussein of Jordan in September 1970 than by Israel in 42 years.
The cause of hatred is the mere existence of the Jewish state....
Pressure will increase upon Israel to agree to a "peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue"as defined by those who have vowed her destruction. A European boycott would cost Israel the $15 billion she exports there annually, a price she cannot pay. She will eventually be persuaded. The Antichrist will guarantee Israel's security—a covenant which he will break, then lead the world's armies to destroy her. The first step—to nip future Husseins in the bud—may well be regional security councils and forces, the probable "ten toes" of Antichrist's worldwide revived Roman Empire. Something more, however, is involved in the growing "peace and prosperity" delusion, as we have so often warned.
At the same time that the secular world is being prepared politically, economically and militarily for the Antichrist, the church is being prepared spiritually. Ecumenism's many Pied Pipers play an irresistibly seductive tune that exalts "unity" above truth, turns love into prostitution and the church into a whore as foretold in Revelation 17 and 18. Doctrine is despised, experience is glorified and correction is forbidden as "divisive." "Christian psychologists" have persuaded most of the church that an unholy union between Christ and such antichrists as Freud, Jung, et al. is biblical and essential. Zealous to get others to accept the gospel, we have, as Oswald Chambers warned, manufactured "a gospel acceptable to people" which is packaged in the world's appealing language of self-love, self-esteem, self-worth, self ad nauseum.
Satan's strategy has long been to install his "ministers of righteousness" (2 Cor:11:15) inside the church to corrupt the truth, and he has done so effectively. His ultimate aim is to deceive mankind into thinking that his Antichrist is really the Christ and to bring the world to his feet in worship. Two things are necessary if this scheme is to succeed: (1) a gradual change in the view generally held by those who call themselves Christians relative to (a) who Christ is, (b) what He came to accomplish, and (c) in what manner and for what purpose He will return to the earth; and (2) a gradual preparation of the world to embrace a "positive Christianity" that is acceptable to every religion.
"Christian leaders" are daily more blatant in their "positive" proclamation of heresy. Benny Hinn's new book, in which he proposes that the Godhead is composed not of three but of nine (Father, Son and Holy Spirit are each a trinity of body, soul and spirit!), is selling briskly. To Vicki Jamison's "subliminal tapes" which inject into the subconscious the entire New Testament in one hour (neither study nor understanding is now required) have been added W. V. Grant's "subliminal neckties" each of which proclaims "Jesus saves" 555 times in print too small to see and is thus all the more effective in "unconsciously" converting the lost! In a recent TBN broadcast Fred Price persuaded his audience that Christ and His disciples were wealthy (otherwise how could they have traveled around for three years without employment?!). He justified his flying first class and driving a Rolls Royce as part of a godly mentality that causes us to treat God first class and gives Christ a successful image.
One hardly knows whether to weep or to laugh at such follies. Certainly Paul would not laugh. The Apostle's attitude contrasts sharply with that of today's church leaders who refrain from identifying and correcting heresy for the sake of "unity." He knew how deceptive and deadly false doctrine could be. Most of his epistles were written to correct those who were wandering even slightly from the truth. Yet the most blatant heresy today not only goes unchallenged by church leaders, but it seems to enhance the acceptance of such preachers. Tony Campolo continues to be one of the most popular Christian conference speakers in spite of declaring:
Then it hit me—humanness and Godness are one and the same....Jesus was God because He was fully human and He was fully human because He was God...
Furthermore, it is in "I-Thou" relationships [as defined by Buber] that a person...encounters the Jesus who incarnates the fullness of humanness. Many people...through "I-Thou" encounters...encountered Jesus, were transformed and humanized by Him, and yet they didn't know who He was. Jesus is the only Savior, but not everybody who is being saved by Him is aware that He is the one who is doing the saving....
That little boy [whose mother had tried to get Campolo to take with him from Haiti] was more than a starving child...That little boy was Jesus....The resurrected Jesus...is in every person....I do not mean that others represent Jesus for us. I mean that Jesus actually is present in each other person....
The hymn writer who taught us to sing "Amazing Grace" was all too ready to call himself a "wretch."...Forgetting our divinity...is responsible for a host of maladies that plague our contemporary society....
A great deal of criticism has been leveled at...Dr. Robert Schuller.... Personally, I think most of his critics are jealous....Schuller affirms our divinity ...[and] isn't that what the gospel is?...Erich Fromm, one of the most popular psychoanalysts of our time [a humanistic anti-Christian], recognized the diabolical social consequences that can come about when a person loses sight of his/her divinity or the divinity of others....
There are those who would limit Jesus to being present only in those who would acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior, but I will not accept that limitation. I believe that Jesus is present even in...those who refuse Him.
On the contrary, salvation comes only through believing the gospel (Rom:1:16), not through an "existential encounter" with an unknown "Jesus" experienced in a human "I-Thou" relationship. It was Jesus himself who said that to have eternal life we must "know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ" (Jn:17:3). Those who preach any other gospel come under the curse of God's wrath (Gal:1:6-9).
That Campolo was absolved of heresy by a panel of leading evangelical theologians and that his false teachings continue to appeal to a wide audience is indicative of the growing tide of apostasy. How many crusade against evil in today's society while tolerating false doctrine! Paul was so concerned about the compromise and error coming into the church that, as he testified to the Ephesian elders, "by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears" (Acts:20:31). Were he alive today he would be outraged—and what "negative" epistles he would write to correct the rampant error!
The growing confusion concerning the gospel even among evangelical leaders is evident in the "Lordship salvation" controversy. John MacArthur stands accused of teaching salvation by works because he declares that, to be saved, one must know and receive Jesus as Lord. Sincere men are aligned on both sides.
One hardly needs complex arguments, much less a theological degree, to reach a conclusion. When confronted by Jesus on the road to Damascus a not-yet-converted Saul of Tarsus responded, "Who art thou, Lord?" (Acts:9:5). To a jailer's urgent plea, "What must I do to be saved?" Paul and Silas replied, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts:16:31). To be saved is to "confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus" (Rom:10:9). Referring to their salvation, Paul told the Colossian believers, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord" (Col:2:6). Peter explained that Cornelius and those with him and all others who had received the Holy Spirit had "believed on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts:11:17), and Paul agreed that the gospel he preached involved "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts:20:21). God's gift of "eternal life" is "through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom:6:23). The gospel itself is called "the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thes:1:8); etc., etc. The biblical evidence is overwhelming.
If Jesus is not God, then He cannot be our Savior. And if He is God, then He surely is Lord. More than 100 times in the New Testament Jesus Christ is identified as Lord. This isn't some title that one is free to use or ignore. This is who He is. Thus to fail to know Him as Lord is not to know Him at all—and not to be saved at all, for no lesser "Christ" can be the Savior. While one may not understand the full implications of His lordship at the time of receiving Christ, any mistaken notion that the "Savior" who is being received is anything less than "Lord of all" (Acts:10:36) is to misunderstand the gospel itself and thus not to be saved.
Let this reminder challenge once again those of us who know Christ as Lord but who, perhaps, have not been allowing Him full control of our lives. And like Paul, let us not "Christianize" but evangelize the world around us—and let us "labor night and day with tears" to oppose all error within the church. TBC