Carlyle has provided an interesting quote from Isaiah. Whilst I am familiar with Isaiah I was not familiar with this passage. So, I looked it up using the Ignatius Bible, RSV edition (Catholic edition). I am one who errs on the side of caution especially when it comes to how one should be interpreting the Scripture. As a Catholic I defer to the interpretation of the Catholic Church and place no special significance upon interpretation that comes from a variety of sources. Self-interpretation can lead to errors and misunderstanding of the Scripture. At the same time, I tend to be a person who looks to the historical aspects of Scripture, rather than applying these ancient Scriptures to current events. Isaiah for me is steeped in ancient history, especially the historical situation in Judah and the kingdom of Israel at that particular time.
As I have tried to explain, Biblical prophecy is not necessarily about foretelling future events, although we can look back into Scripture and find bits and pieces that apply to events throughout history. Jesus, for example used the prophet Isaiah on several occasions especially to point out that His Coming was prophesied by Scripture.
Whilst I do take this attitude, I also accept that the course of historical events do in fact repeat themselves, thus we can take the following passage, and possibly draw some conclusions but in doing so, we are always subject to being wrong in how we are perceiving that which is written in the Scripture. Here then is the passage referred to by Carlyle:
“For behold, the Lord, the Lord of Hosts, is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah stay and staff, the whole stay of bread, and the whole stay of water; the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder, the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the skilful magician and the expert in charms. And I will boys their princes, and babes shall rule over them. And the people will oppress one another, every man his fellow and every man his neighbour; and the youth will be insolent to the elder and the base fellow to the honorable.” (Isaiah 3: 1-5)
The passage itself is not really all that remarkable, but it does in fact point to an interpretation of events during the time of Isaiah. The leadership was in disarray. Does that sound familiar? In my own view, it sounds very familar, especially in our own time.
In Australia, as well as in the USA, there has been a common saying about “adults in charge”. It is in fact a very interesting observation that in some respects lends itself to the observations that were being made by Isaiah all those centuries ago. In those ancient civilizations it often happened that the heir to the kingdom ended up being a child because the father had died from either battle, being murdered or disease. The historical aspects of that ancient time can be found in the Books of the Kings, where Isaiah was a contemporary of Hezekiah. My point here is that when a child came to the throne, someone else was in charge of the kingdom. The child did not make the decisions.
What you need to keep in mind though, is that “child” has more than one meaning in Scripture, including a meaning of innocence. However, let’s press on and bring this into the present time. This is where I think the term “letting the adults be in charge” has a lot of meaning.
In my country, over the past 3 years we had been afflicted with a government that was based upon a relationship between what I term as watermelons aka the Green Party because they are red on the inside and green on the outside, and the Australian Labor Party. There are Marxists in both groups, but the Marxists in the Green Party are more extreme than the other Marxists. In my country we have foolishly elected to the Senate some extremely childish individuals who want to destroy our country by allowing people who have no papers (because they destroyed them) into the country based upon a lie that they are refugees seeking asylum. Their ideology is much worse than this suggests because these same children also believe that humans cause global warming. If that is not enough these same children want to destroy our agricultural industry, our coal and mininng industry and expect the government to pay for their more nutty ideas including their love affair with bird smashers and glass panels placed on the roofs of houses. Whilst the Australian budget deficit is a lot lower than the same in the USA, the way in which the debt has blown out during a period spanning 7 years (from the election of Kevin Rudd the dud in 2007) is totally horrendous. A budget surplus of roughly $10 billion has turned into a budgetary deficit of something like $30 billion or more in that time. They have been spending money like they are drunken sailors.
I think the more significant part of the passage from Isaiah is the following:
“For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen; because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence”. (Isaiah 3: 8)
Think about that passage for a moment, because it speaks volumes, not just about the ancient society of Samaria and Judah, but of our own times. What is the one thing that modern western society has in common with those ancient kingdoms of Judah and Samaria?
In attempting to answer that question, I point to the fact that atheism and agnosticism has been on the rise. On top of that many have left Christianity in favour of pagan religions including Hinduism and Buddhism. There are other pagan religions including witchcraft to consider in this context. Note: I am not mentioning Islam for a good reason. Islam is a mix of both Judaism, Christianity and Paganism. Mohammed had listened to one of the Christian heretic groups (I think it was Arianism but am open to being wrong aka I named the wrong heresy). He also took the Middle Eastern paganism that was rampant at the time and applied what he had learned about both Judaism and Christianity to that pagan religion. I do not believe that he ever saw any archangel but that is another story. Those who recant Christianity in favour of Islam are also committing heresy in my view, but they are not completely abandoning God, therefore my remarks are aimed at people who no longer profess belief in any God.
The downfall of western civilization can be traced back to at least the start of the modern Olympics. This is because the Olympics do in fact honor ancient gods that never existed in the first place. When the Olympics came to Sydney, it was the first time that I really became aware of some of the rituals involved and that includes the reverence given to the Olympic flag. I thought that it was all over the top. Then there was the winter olympics in France, and what was either the opening or closing ceremony where the beat of the drums that were used was that of a pagan beat of the drums. It was when I felt that I could no longer get excited about the Olympics. After Sydney came the Olympics in Athens, and again the ritual was over the top… I paid almost no attention to any of the ceremonies because of those paganist aspects with all their talk of gods and the like. Yet, the Olympics were only one aspect of the beginning of the end.
We can also trace the downfall of western civilization to the rise of Marxist thought, the overthrow of the Russian czar in favour of Lenin the dictator followed by Josef Stalin. Marxist thought gave birth to communism and it gave birth to the notion that human beings were expendable. If you did not agree with the regime then it was “off with your head” or at least “you are hereby sentenced to go to the gulag”.
However, that is not all, because there are other aspects to consider including the rise of Fascism – Adolf Hitler, Mussolini and others. I am not so much concerned with the politics as I am with the social spin off, and in this case that spin off is the rise of the movement in favour of voluntary or not so voluntary euthanasia.
What happened in Germany pre-2nd world war was abhorrent. Prior to moving Jews, Catholics and others into concentration camps, Hitler experimented with euthanasia by killing the elderly and the disabled children. Hundreds died in hospitals prior to the extermination of the Jews. The world knew about these things. For a while the world was shocked, but there has been a movement that has led us back down the same path taken by Adolf Hitler.
In Australia the man behind the movement is Philip Nietzche. I am in a dilemma because I think that this abhorrent man has formed a party and that they will have Senate candidates in NSW. It means that I want to place a number of groups last, but cannot make them all equal last. In my view Nietzche’s party should be last because of their whole ideology. I find them totally abhorrent in what they are trying to promote. This is one election where I wish I did not have to fill in all of the numbers!! In the USA there have been equally abhorrent individuals.
Since the mid-1960s we have seen the convergence of a series of movements that in my view have led people astray. The world has become self-indulgent, and this is indicated by the pre-occupation with such things as gay marriage, abortion on demand, voluntary euthanasia, and all of the other things that lead to a culture of death. At the same time as this convergence there has been a rise in Islam on the world scene. I do not think that this rise has been coincidental.
However, Islam is as divided by ideology as Christianity and even Judaism have been divided. In the past we have seen Christians warring with each other, and in our time we are seeing Muslims continuing to fight each other. When Sunni and Shia are fighting each other, it should mean that they are leaving the rest of us alone, but sadly that is not the case.
(to be continued)