In this presidential election cycle, one candidate is openly socialist and another is following closely on his heels. Moreover, the openly socialist candidate already has attracted a loyal following that, for the more conservative voters, appears to be surprisingly large. The older of the conservatives shake their heads in wonder as they recall how recently the label of communism and its socialism brother had evoked feelings within a large part of the American public akin to those associated with criminals. For those born in the American heartland older than the millennial generation and residing outside the larger cities, this attitude remains prevalent.

Socialism isn’t a new idea. It’s at least as old as the Christian Church. And, for a time following the Pentecost, it worked beautifully, as described in Acts Chapter 2. The only problem with it is that it only worked that one time in history, and it worked then only because of the massive infusion of the Holy Spirit into the newly-birthed Christian community.

Outside of that one instance in the distant past, modern socialist/communist governments have uniformly turned into repressive, dictatorial regimes that have caused enormous human suffering. There’s a reason for that. Without the direct involvement of God, socialist/communist systems of government rapidly degenerate into self-service on the part of government officials and bondage for the rest. We’d turn into a nation of apathetic, indolent and lazy seekers of handouts, as a good percentage of us already are, and our leaders would manage to turn the system into a huge windfall for them, like Putin has done with Russia. Socialism apart from God is evil, and we in America, having in large part discarded God, are certainly not exempt. The biggest problem with us as a nation is that we’ve collectively tossed God into the dumpster.

George Orwell once wrote a novel, entitled Animal Farm, that has become a classic. It used to be required reading in school. I doubt that it is now. Simply written, it almost reads like a childrens’ book. The theme is that the animals, led by the pigs, revolt against the farmer who owns them. Their battle cry is “All animals are equal!” After the revolt succeeds, the pigs take over and, of course, grab all the goodies to be had, making the others more destitute than they were before they revolted. They complain to the pigs, attempting to remind them that all animals are equal. “Of course all animals are equal,” the head pig responds, “but we pigs are more equal than others!”

Another person besides the American candidate is attempting to resurrect socialism, and since he’s doing so within a Christian setting, there’s more hope of his being capable of installing a successful system. Pope Francis appears to be a socialist at heart, and he’s also the leader of the Catholic Church, which, on the surface, would seem to grant him sufficient authority to handle the task. But look at the opposition he’s getting from the thoroughly-entrenched Vatican leadership. If he survives the next two years and manages to sweep the Vatican clean of the moneychangers, I’ll be more than willing then to grant that he represents the second successful instance of socialism/communism. But I wouldn’t bet on it at this point.

I certainly wouldn’t want to bet that here in America Bernie Sanders would, if president, be capable of implementing a successful socialism. We fallen humans simply can’t be trusted with that kind of society.

The sad truth is that we don’t reside in heaven. We live on Earth, which is kind of a tough neighborhood. It’s getting more evil and dangerous every day. Part of why so many Christians don’t understand the real situation is that for centuries elements of the Church have embraced a philosophy in which the Bible’s Book of Revelation is interpreted allegorically as opposed to literally, and as a result views the role of the Church as cleansing the world of evil on its own and handing over a pristine world to a passive Jesus. Augustine championed that view because he couldn’t understand Revelation in a literal sense. Of course he couldn’t understand it! The book wasn’t intended for his generation.

Daniel 12:4-9 refutes those who would argue that the books of the Bible were intended to apply to the generation in which they were written, or that they applied to all generations:

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

“Then I, Daniel, looked and, behold, there stood two others, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by him who liveth forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished the breaking up of the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

“And I heard, but I understood not. Then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”

The Books of Daniel and Revelation appear to have been intended for our generation because now, with our technical knowledge, Revelation is readily understandable to us in a literal sense. As you look around, do you see the world getting better? It’s more like the exact opposite is happening. It may not be what we’d like to believe, but it’s right in line with a literal reading of Revelation.

We do have a chance at an election cycle that will be benign for conservatives. But first we’ll have to include God in the game. Without Him, it won’t matter what flavor of politician we’ll have for our next president.


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