The most significant commentary I’ve seen on the Afghanistan crisis is this prophetic article from American Doug Wilson.
By placing what has happened in the context of God’s judgement, rather than merely the failure of a corrupt Presidential administration, he shows that the present situation is of a piece with the constant stream of bad news over the last year in the fields of health, science, politics, morality, finance, and liberty. And by viewing things at this deep, unifying level he explains, beyond conspiracies or even satanic attacks, why the whole western world is croaking from the same disintegrating hymn-sheet. The problem is not a senile president, but a sinful people.
For remember, even if as a Christian you get a whiff in current events of the scripturally-foretold end times deception, with all its accompanying evils, Scripture also tells us that the delusion’s origin is, ultimately, in God himself (2 Thessalonians 2:11), and that he sends it as judgement on “those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”
Some Christians may be truly mystified by their own affliction, mental or physical, in these times, having expected that the saints would be raptured away and not see days of trouble. I don’t think that was ever the deal, actually. Revelation suggests that Christians come through the Great Tribulation, and that is appropriate both in imitation of the Lord, whose path to glory lay through suffering with the world, and for another reason: that judgement begins with the people of God.
All the good people who follow The Hump, and who have commented or contacted me about their grief and isolation from those who believe the lie are, I believe, grieving for a couple of reasons which may need clarifying in our minds if the feelings are to be spiritually productive.
The first is that it is painful to be the only person on the Titanic who sees the iceberg coming and knows its true implications. Such was Jeremiah, renowned for being a gloomy prophet, but actually only gloomy because he was realistic, whilst the cheerful folk rushed headlong to destruction. God makes his people aware, as some others are not, of the seriousness of the situation.
The second reason is that, although it is hard to see past our western worldview, Christians too are caught up in the sins of the culture that God is judging, having failed (as we all do) to be true salt and light in it. That is why the Bible says that judgement begins with God’s people. We feel desperate – perhaps more than others who trust in a new election, a vaccine or “science” – because the Spirit is prompting us to feel desperate, so that we may repent and turn more wholeheartedly to the salvation only found in Christ.
This is no novel idea. When Jerusalem finally fell to the Babylonians, it was righteous Jeremiah who, in the Book of Lamentations, repented on behalf of the faithful for the whole nation, for most of whom the pain of defeat was self-centred (weeping) and angry (gnashing of teeth), at least until seventy years of captivity had taught them humility. A few of us have seen this judgement coming for twenty years, which in my own case does not preclude my being wrong-footed by events and looking at the immediate evils rather than the spiritual big picture. I wrote about it after 9/11 here, and again in 2004 when events in Iraq presaged in a smaller way what we now see in its fullness in Afghanistan.
I remember conversations with other believers about the presumptiousness of second-guessing God’s involvement in world events. And indeed, claiming to be able to understand God’s purposes is as futile in human affairs as it is in science. But behind the hesitation is often a belief that God usually is not involved, making any attribution to God near-blasphemy. I was publicly condemned by a commenter at BioLogos for my 9/11 article (which she stumbled across by chance), and told I would not be welcome if I ever came to America. But that is not the biblical worldview. Amos foretold the fall of Israel’s culture in his third chapter:
2 “You only have I known among all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will punish you for all your wrongdoing.”
3 Do two people walk together unless they have agreed to meet?
4 Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey?
Does a young lion growl from his den unless he has captured something?
5 Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground when there is no device in it?
Does a trap spring up from the earth when it captures nothing at all?
6 If a trumpet is blown in a city, will the people not tremble?
If a disaster occurs in a city, has the Lord not brought it about?
7 Certainly the Lord God does nothing
Unless He reveals His secret plan
To His servants the prophets.
8 A lion has roared! Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken! Who can do anything but prophesy?
In our case, those most loudly proclaiming themselves as prophets of the Lord – the hypercharismatic charlatans of the megachurches – have spectacularly failed to see any of the last two years’ major events coming. They are blind guides, partly because the last thing on their mind is their own repentance, but rather their vainglorious self-promotion as apostles of a prosperity which the Lord is in the process of cancelling.
But it remains true, because it comes from God’s lips, that if a disaster occurs in a city, be that city Kabul, Wuhan, New York or London, the Lord has brought it about. And he has no doubt revealed it in advance to his servants, the prophets. It seems to me that, in this instance, Doug Wilson is speaking as one of those, and we need to take heed, because more is coming.