What is the future of the United States?
(Translated by Jerry Cai & Wendy Meng)
The United States has suffered an unprecedented catastrophe in 2020. The new coronavirus epidemic has caused more than 1.9 million infections and more than 110 thousand deaths, and there are no signs of it coming under control as of yet. However, before the first wave subsides, a new wave rises. On May 25th , George Floyd, an African-American man from Minnesota, was killed by the violent act of a police officer. This instantly ignited a storm of protests that swept more than 140 cities across the United States. The demonstrations quickly turned into violent riots and looting.
The epidemic and riots have hit the United States very hard. How have we come to this? How has the United States, which has led the whole world for so long, descended into such a state of disgrace?
Today, we will try to analyze the cause and effect of the current chaos in the United States, by looking closely into the recorded account of Jesus’ clearing of the temple courts, in the second chapter of the Gospel of John.
A. Fall and Sin
“13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.” (John 2:13-16)
King Solomon built a glorious temple for God. When Solomon offered a dedication prayer for the temple, he stated that God did not live in the temple built by man, but asked him to look after the temple, which was the place that God chose for his name’s sake. This temple would be the place where the people of Israel, and those from other nations who wanted to seek God, could pray to him.
“41 Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake; 42 (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house; 43 Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.” (1King 8:41-43)
The Lord said, “...for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” (Isai 56:7) This temple should have been a temple for all people to pray in, but what the Lord Jesus saw was like a den of thieves.
“12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”(Matt 21:12-13)
When Jesus came to the temple, he did not see a house of prayer for all nations, but instead, it was more like a corrupt livestock market. People were buying and selling cattle, sheep, and pigeons, exchanging money, and some were collecting temple tax. If someone brought a sacrificial animal to the temple, the priests would check to see whether the animal he brought was without defect. In consequence, it was likely that the person would have to purchase a replacement sacrificial animal, because the priests would deem the original to be unqualified. Therefore, Jesus could not hear the voice of prayer. On the contrary, the sounds livestock, as well as the noises of various trades and transactions, were endless. In addition, all of the trade dealings were made with greed. No wonder the Lord Jesus said that the temple of prayer for all people had become a den of thieves.
The structure of the temple included the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of Women, the Court of Men, the Holy Place where the priests served, and the Holy of Holies. Such a structure was reminiscent of a certain degree of separation, especially the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest of the Israelites could enter on the Day of Atonement once a year, and only after the blood of the proper sacrificial animal was used to atone for himself. But what separates man from God is not the wall of the temple, or even the veil of the Holy of Holies, but the sin of man, as the Lord saw at the moment, the falseness of religion, and the greed of the human heart.
“8 This people draw nigh unto me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” (Matt 15:8)
When Jesus, who was the meek, humble and compassionate Lord, came and saw the blatant and flagrant disregard for the intended use of his temple, he became angry. “15 And when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables.” (John 2:15)
This is a rare instance in the Gospels where Jesus' anger was recorded.
If Jesus walked into the churches across the United States today, just as He traveled through all of Israel 2000 years ago, would He be angry again? The Pilgrims came to this new continent to worship freely, and built this country on godly faith and hard work. Why then, is it today, so far away from its original intention?
Three defining events symbolize the downward slide and gradual decline of faith in United States: in 1963, prayer and bible reading were banned in public schools; in 1973, abortion was legalized; in 2015, same-sex marriage was legalized.
Since the ban of prayer and bible reading in public schools, criminal activities such as robbery, theft, rape, drug trafficking, and shootings, have increased dramatically across the United States. The divorce rate has also risen rapidly, which brings disastrous consequences to the entire society.
In recent decades, the United States has begun to eliminate the influence of Christianity from every aspect of people’s lives (i.e., political, business, scientific, educational, cultural, and entertainment fields), so much so that many people are afraid even say "Merry Christmas" because of political correctness. Darwin's theory of evolution has permeated colleges and universities, and society has advocated liberalism, hedonism, individualism, and relativism, etc. The legalization of marijuana, gender identity politics, and the normalization of LGBTQ lifestyles, have led the younger generation, and even the entire society, to move away from God.
In 2009, former President hastily and proudly proclaimed, “The United States is no longer a Christian country."
“12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord;....”(Psalm 33:12)
How can a society that expels God from all fields, from all directions, expect to be blessed and protected?
The death of George Floyd is tragic and disheartening. Police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The other three police officers involved, Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. However, the mere arrests and charging of the four police officers involved, cannot appease the anger of the protesters.
George Floyd was violently killed, justice should be served, and reform should be activated. The right of people to protest peacefully should be protected. Yet violent riots should be avoided as much as possible. Smashing, burning, and looting can only aggravate the situation, which will lead to a vicious circle. The most important thing, is to uncover the underlying reasons behind all this.
Let’s Review the three defining events mentioned earlier, to see their disastrous impacts on American society.
First, since the banning of prayer and scripture reading in US public schools, criminal cases have risen extensively in this country. A tragic effect is that crime and gang culture in African-American communities has become extremely serious. This is an indisputable fact. In an online video, an African-American man was talking on the street, and said that his chances of being killed by his own peers were 2,000 times higher than of those by the police.
Therefore, American society, churches, Christians, especially of the younger generation, need to recognize that if racial discrimination does exist in American society, the solution must start from the ground up. Government leaders, education systems, and the news media, need to truly fear God and honor Jesus Christ. The United States needs God-fearing politicians. Therefore, the American people should cherish the votes they hold in their hands, and exercise their electoral rights responsibly to elect God-fearing leaders, and not those who maliciously opposes God. The social welfare of ballot politics, is to win election by promising temporary material benefits, but not to consider the long-term well-being of the African American community, and is the irresponsible hypocrisy of many politicians.
The church should strengthen the evangelism ministry towards the African-American community and lead more African-American groups to Jesus Christ the Savior. Is it possible that, a society that respects the Lord, loves one another as oneself, works honestly and diligently, is full of energy and hope, self-respect and self-improvement, solidarity, and mutual assistance and tolerance, will have continued crime, frequent disasters, and extreme poverty and turbulence for an extended period of time?
Second, since the legalization of abortion, in the United States during the past 50 years, there have been nearly 50 million babies, the most innocent and helpless from of human life, with the least capability to resist, that have been brutally murdered in their mother’s wombs in the cruelest and bloodiest of ways. It can be just for “women's rights” or the convenience of "My body My way". The next generation of young Christians in the church today is very concerned about social injustice, and chooses to stand with the disadvantaged groups. There is nothing wrong with this and should be affirmed. However, if you care about George Floyd’s life (which should be the case), but have intentionally or unintentionally ignored the fact that nearly one million babies are legally slaughtered each year, quite a percentage being of the African American community (and the murderous doctors are praised for their “work”), and have turned a blind eye to such large-scale bloodshed crimes, it is unreasonable.
“10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
How can we expect that a society that sheds innocent human blood on a large scale, and allows the evil forces of Satan to kill and destroy, will get the blessing and protection of Jehovah God?
Third, the legalization of same-sex marriage. The direct consequence of the legalization of same-sex marriage is to destroy the marriage system established by God, which leads to the disintegration of the most basic unit of society. Don’t forget that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible were destroyed because of homosexuality.
It is clearly forbidden in the Old Testament. “22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)
It is also very clear in the New Testament. “27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Rom 1:27)
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”（1Cor 6:9-10）
The church is the conscience, lighthouse, and preserver of society. If the church tolerates or even condones such sins, if Christians, especially of the younger generation, also tolerate (in the name of love) homosexual sins that God is so against, and compromise the truth of the Bible with societal sins, then they deny the absolute truth of the Bible, and are destined to be in harmony with the sinful World. But the Bible says, “17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17)