Just as the resurrection is the hope of an individual, the Millennium is the hope of nations as entities in their own right.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
When we really begin to look at the small details of life and set them alongside the big picture, we see a great need for evangelisation and for the return of Christ. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are longing to see Christ ruling from Jerusalem over the nations. They long to see the death of Babylon the Great and the destruction of the Beast and the False Prophet. Ultimately, they desire the imprisonment and judgment of Satan, our enemy. The rot, the corruption is everywhere to see.
We may note that there has always been failure and evil in the world; we are fallen beings and there are fallen spirits at large. That does not mean that evil will always have sway over the human world. The earth belongs to God – He has the right to rule it as He sees fit, and He will step in at some point in history to free the earth from despotic governors.
Corruption of the State
The state was ordained by God to ensure civil harmony and as a defence against foreign invasion. These are legitimate aims, and are most easily observed in the acts of the police, the criminal courts, and the army. The state is not entitled to interfere in all aspects of life, however.
We see the corruption in the big controversies on front pages of newspapers and blogs:
- redefining marriage;
- redefining gender;
- hampering free speech; and
- permitting abortion.
But the rot is seen in the small things, the boring aspects of our everyday lives:
- Inheritance tax;
- Capital gains tax;
- Some aspects of income tax;
- Corporation tax;
- Politicisation of education;
- Excessive regulation for businesses; and
- Quantitative easing.
The fingers of the state are in practically all aspects of our lives these days, and our ancestors would find this strange. Roger Scruton, talking about the free market, once remarked that one of the pillars of true conservatism is that we reserve some things from the market. These things we keep for family and church, and so forth. Similarly, we might remark that some things ought to be reserved from the state. The state has no right to interfere in private transactions, in matters of family life and personal expression. Conservatives are horrified by the vision of the state conjured up in Plato’s Republic; we ought to be asking ourselves whether those phantoms are present now even in so called “moderate” and “centrist” states. Where is the liberty our ancestors protected?
Corruption of Culture
If the state has signs of corruption, it inherited the disease from its people. Our legislatures, executives, and judiciaries are staffed by real, fallen human beings. As dangerous values perfuse the populace, they will inevitably find their way into the institutions that govern the people. The rise of leftism is evidence of this: even so called “conservative” parties show signs of the infection in their unquestioning approval of the expansion of the state. When small-government people ask questions or make observations, others around them look at them as if to say, “Are you out of your mind? Why shouldn’t the state be involved in X?” Few it seems are willing to ask the fundamental philosophical question of what the limits of state competence should be.
We have neo-conservatism to blame, in part, for this. Its constant use of the word “democracy” as a buzzword, as a sacred chant, has blinded people to the dangers of democracy and statism. It takes great effort now to introduce people to the ideas of classical liberalism and to show that the Founding Fathers of the United States of America were wary of the excesses of democracy they understood from their study of ancient Athens. A further contributing factor in the rise of this corruption is the decline of classical studies, which would reveal once again what the Founding Fathers knew from their childhood days. Were classical studies to become popular again, they would also need to be taught in a level manner – the leftist tendencies of revisionism would need to be exposed.
Corruption of the Church
The problems in the Church are increasingly being exposed for all to see across all traditions: Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and evangelical/dissenting. Some of the most striking are:
- The “Prosperity Gospel”;
- National divisions within the Church (e.g. in the Ukraine);
- Gay marriage;
- Financial mismanagement;
- Full preterism;
- Ecumenism; and
- Inter-faith dialogue.
These issues not only deter outsiders from the Gospel, but they also cause issues of governance and participation within the Church. There is now a choice facing Christians in all these traditions: do we try to remove the corruption from our ranks or do we go elsewhere? This is not an easy decision. There are good reasons to stay, the principal reason being to witness to those who are not Christ’s in the hope that they will repent. Catholics will of course argue that as theirs is the one, true Church, they cannot flee Catholicism itself: such would be apostasy or schism or both. They have “underground” options to consider, however – though these are more common in places of overt persecution than in the West.
I am aware that this post is largely assertions rather than argumentation. Such is required given the space of a single post, but it is worth discussing the reasoning behind these claims in the comments below as well as providing examples in evidence.