The Implosion of America
Is America's collapse inevitable?
by Pastor Robert Jeffress
[read in Lamplighter (pdf)]
(Editor's Note: This essay is an edited version of the sermon delivered by Robert Jeffress at the Lamb & Lion annual Bible conference which was held in June of this year. Jeffress is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas. The sermon is based on his book, Twilight's Last Gleaming, published in 2011. The sermon is available in full in our DVD album, Living on Borrowed Time.)
I believe the doctrine of the Second Coming is the most neglected doctrine in the Church today. People say, "Well it's irrelevant. It doesn't meet my needs today." Or they say, "It's too complicated to understand."
God devotes more space to the subject of prophecy than any other subject in the Bible and we need to understand it. That's why this fall in our church, First Baptist of Dallas, I'm beginning a new series on Bible prophecy called "Perfect Ending: Why Christ's Soon Return Matters Today." And I want to thank you Dr. Reagan for standing firm in the faith and proclaiming, without wavering, the truth of Christ's return.
I really appreciated the kind comments that Dr. Reagan made about my media appearances. I want to say one word about that, and I want to give you a little assignment. Okay? Do you mind having a homework assignment?
You cannot believe the incredible pressure media outlets like Fox News are under when they have a conservative guest on one of their programs. I'm not at liberty to share everything with you, but believe me, when I am interviewed, the liberals bombard Fox News and any other outlet for having a conservative on, threatening boycotts and other forms of retaliation.
So if you appreciate Bill O'Reilly having me on his program — and he has been very kind to have me on regularly — this is my little assignment for you: E-mail the producers and tell them you appreciate their having me on the program, or whomever is representing a conservative point of view.
All they hear from mainly are liberals. They need to hear from people who appreciate a conservative biblical viewpoint. Just e-mail them at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell them you appreciated it if you saw me or people like me sharing a conservative viewpoint. You may be thinking, "Well it won't make any difference. I'm only one in a million." But you would be amazed at the impact of one or two emails.
An Illustration of America's Future
I believe America's collapse is inevitable.
I came to understand why this is true just a couple years ago when we were in the midst of preparing for the building of our new church campus. We had to first of all get rid of five of our buildings, consisting of about 600,000 square feet in the middle of downtown Dallas. And so the question arose: How do you get rid of that many buildings in the middle of downtown Dallas without bringing down the surrounding skyscrapers?
The demolition people met with me, and they said the best way to achieve this is through an implosion. And they explained to me what they were going to do. They said, "We're going to take 200 pounds of dynamite and attach it to key structural supports within those five buildings. We will then explode the dynamite, there will be a pause, and then the law of physics will take over. Without those foundational supports, the buildings will fall in on themselves under their own weight." I said, "Well, that sounds pretty good to me. Let's do it."
And so, on a brisk October morning in 2010, they closed downtown Dallas. The Mayor and I and our building committee chairman were on a nearby roof top, along with all of the media. CNN, Fox News, and all the local media were there to cover the implosion of our buildings. This was going out live on Fox and Friends and other media outlets around the world.
We did the countdown, 5-4-3-2-1. The Mayor and I pressed the ceremonial red button, and in the next block we heard the explosions going off just like they predicted. And those explosions were followed by nothing. Absolutely nothing! I cannot begin to tell you what all went through my mind over those next few seconds. I began to think, "Who am I going to fire first?" I could just see this scene being replayed endlessly on YouTube, "Pastor's Implosion a Dud." I mean it seemed like forever. But you see, I had forgotten what the demolition people told me. They had told me there was going to be a pause after those explosions.
And suddenly, without any warning, I heard a sound that could only be compared to standing in front of a jet engine. The roar increased in volume as we watched those once mighty buildings fall in on themselves, and within 30 seconds, they were reduced to nothing more than a plume of debris-filled dust.
I learned something that morning about implosions. They begin with a series of seemingly unrelated explosions, followed by a pause, and then a sudden collapse.
Four Explosive Decisions
Ladies and gentlemen, over the last 50 years our Supreme Court has made four explosive decisions that have so weakened the moral and spiritual structure and foundation of our country that our inevitable collapse is certain. Right now we're simply living between that time of the explosions that have weakened our basic foundation, and the coming implosion.
These four decisions have changed the direction of our country more than any congressional mandate and more than any executive order from the President of the United States. What are those four decisions?
Explosion Number One
Decision number one — I call it explosion number one — was the Supreme Court case in 1962 of Engel v. Vitale. This is the case that removed the saying of a prayer in the public schools.
A simple 22-word voluntary prayer was deemed unconstitutional. And of course, it is from that decision that all of the other court decisions cascaded concerning prayer, showing government is not neutral toward religion, but rather is hostile toward it. And government is especially hostile toward the Christian religion.
Explosion Number Two
From that decision eventually came the decision in 1980 of Stone v. Graham which stopped the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools. Specifically, that case came out of the public schools of Kentucky where copies of the Ten Commandments were posted on the school walls. And what was the Court's reasoning for removing the Ten Commandments from our schools? If I were to paraphrase this for you, you would think I was making it up. So I want to read to you the Supreme Court's decision and their reasoning for removing the posting of the Ten Commandments. The Court said:
If the posted copies of the Ten Commandments are to have any effect at all, it will induce the school children to read, meditate upon, perhaps venerate and obey the Commandments. This is not a permissible state objective under the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
In other words, if we post the Ten Commandments, children may actually read, venerate and, heaven forbid, obey them!
Now that was in 1980. In a strange twist of irony, 17 years later in 1997, in the hallways of Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky, a group of students were meeting together before school began to have a time of prayer. And as those students were praying together, with their eyes closed, a 14 year old approached them with a handgun and started firing. He seriously wounded five students and killed three. This all occurred in a public school hallway where the Supreme Court 17 years earlier had said, "You cannot post the words, 'Thou shalt not kill.'"
Now, even if the Supreme Court had ruled correctly, that doesn't change God's law. You see, God's law never changes. But the fact is the Supreme Court did not rule correctly. Consider this — 118 years earlier the Supreme Court had said in the case of Vidal v. Girard's Executors:
Why may not the Bible, especially the New Testament without note or comment be read and taught as a divine revelation in the [schools] — its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained, and its glorious principle of morality inculcated? Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly, or so perfectly as from the New Testament?
The Meaning of the First Amendment
Now you have to ask yourself the question, "What's changed?" The Constitution hasn't changed. What has changed is our culture. We have allowed the liberal activists to pervert the meaning of the First Amendment. Let's be clear about what the First Amendment says and what it doesn't say. The First Amendment, commonly known as the Establishment Clause, says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." That Amendment simply says Congress cannot establish a state church and it cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. And yet we have people who have perverted that into meaning that there is some imaginary freedom from religion that is found in the Constitution.
Did you notice here in our metroplex, just a couple of weeks ago, that a Joshua High School student who was valedictorian of his class dared to violate the school's regulation and mentioned Jesus Christ in his speech? He was threatened with having his career at the Naval Academy ruined because he did such a thing! And the public school district lawyer said this: "We have to balance this student's right and freedom of religion with other students' freedom from religion." Where is that in the Constitution? There is no constitutional guarantee that somebody doesn't have to listen to a prayer at a graduation ceremony or see a nativity in the public square, or look at the Ten Commandments in the courthouse. That is nowhere in the Constitution. What the Constitution says is everyone is free to practice his or her religion.
Right before I came over here, I got an advance copy of the Dallas Morning News, for tomorrow morning. And we are on the front page, our church. Some architectural critic they hired to criticize everything is criticizing our new building downtown. One of the things he said that nearly caused me to fall out of my chair was, "This church has imposed itself on the community downtown with a cross and a Scripture verse. And it is so beautiful that it lures people to come in and look at it." He added, "And Jeffress is showing how he violates the separation of church and state." Have you ever heard of an architectural critic condemning a church for being too open and inviting people to come in? That is the culture in which we are living right now.
Listen, all the Congress said was you cannot establish a state denomination. It had nothing to say about government showing preference for Christianity. It said you can't establish a state religion and make everybody go to one denomination versus another.
You say, "Now pastor, how do you know that? How do you know such a thing?" It is very clear historically. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story was appointed to the Court by James Madison in 1811. Madison is the man who is known as the architect of our Constitution. Now, I want you to listen to what Justice Story said about the First Amendment in his Commentary on American Law. He said:
The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Islam or Judaism or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but the purpose was to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects, Christian denominations and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.
That's all the First Amendment is about. You can't elevate the Methodist above the Baptist, or the Episcopalian. That's all it is saying. But we have perverted the First Amendment to mean something that it is never intended to mean.
Ladies and Gentlemen, even if the Supreme Court had ruled correctly in the last 50 years, do you think that changes God's mind? Do you think that when God looks at America He says, "Oh, I am going to treat you differently than any other nation?" Ladies and Gentlemen — this is going to offend some of you — God doesn't get chill bumps when He hears the Star Spangled Banner! Did you know that? God is not a respecter of people or nations. Any nation that reverences God is going to be blessed by God. And any nation that rejects God, including the United States, will be rejected by God.
Explosion Number Three
Explosive decision number three was rooted right here in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex. It was the 1973 decision in the case of Roe vs. Wade. It is the decision that has resulted now in the murder of over 50 million children in the womb. By the way, whenever I am on television talking about this, I never allow the phrase to be used, "a woman's right to choose" without completing the sentence: "It is a women's right to choose to murder her child." Don't let anybody else get by without completing that full sentence. That's what this is about. And that is what Roe vs. Wade has done. It has sanctioned the killing of unborn children. Now I know what the conventional wisdom says — I heard it during the last election cycle and we are going to hear it in the elections of 2014 and 2016 — and that is that the American people don't care about social issues anymore, all they care about is the economy. Well ladies and gentlemen, you can't separate economic issues from moral and spiritual issues.
In my book, Twilight's Last Gleaming, I cited a study that says that if the 50 million children who have been killed in the last 50 years had been allowed to live and grow up and become productive citizens, they would have added anywhere from 35 to 70 trillion dollars to our gross national product. If those 50 million children had been allowed to grow up and live and contribute to society, there would be no Social Security crisis. There would be no Medicare crisis. They would have been paying into the system. You cannot slaughter 20% of your population, no nation can, without severe economic repercussions.
Ladies and gentlemen, the economic repercussions of abortion pale in significance to the most heinous and disastrous result of abortion, and that is the certainty of God's judgment. All you have to do is look at history and see how God has dealt with nations that kill its children. In the Old Testament God raised up the Assyrians and the Babylonians to judge Israel for participating in child sacrifice. During the Second World War God raised up the allied forces to crush Nazi Germany for taking children to the gas chambers by the train loads. Looking at history, does anybody have to wonder how God is going to deal with a nation like ours that sanctions the killing of children? We need to be in prayer for our Texas State Legislature as they meet to pass a bill that is going to protect the lives of tens of thousands of children in our state. I was talking to Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst about this bill, and he agreed this is a spiritual battle. This is war. This is satanic warfare for the lives and souls of our children. Let's be in prayer.
Explosion Number Four
The fourth explosive decision was Lawrence and Garner vs. the State of Texas in 2003. This is the Supreme Court decision that struck down our state's anti-sodomy laws. It was the beginning of a domino effect that we see continuing today. What is interesting is in that decision in 2003 Justice Scalia at that time said, "This reasoning leaves on pretty shaky ground the state laws limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples." Justice Scalia was being prophetic. In fact it was the reasoning of that court in 2003 that led to the recent decision that struck down a part of the Defense of Marriage Act. What you need to understand is that for 226 years our judiciary has understood that the relationship between a man and woman is what constitutes marriage, and it is the bedrock of social order. James Kent, who served as Chief Justice of the [New York] Supreme Court, wrote in his commentary on American Law, "The primary and most important of the domestic relations is that of husband and wife. It has its foundation in nature and is the only relation by which Providence has permitted the continuance of the human race."
If you heard me recently on the O'Reilly show, I was debating a former Clinton advisor who is a homosexual, who along with his partner has adopted a child. And I reminded him that in 1885 the Supreme Court in Murphy vs. Ramsey said, "Marriage is a holy union consisting of a man and a woman." And it went on to say, "And it is from that relationship that everything good in nature perceives." Now my question that night was, "What has changed in 130 years since 1885?" Certainly the Constitution hasn't changed. What has changed is the culture.
What we saw in the recent DOMA decision is the Supreme Court caving in to political correctness. Now you know, people say — even Christians — "Well so what? What harm is it to me that homosexuals want to get married? How does that hurt me?" Well, first of all it's not all about you and me, it is about society. But the fact is it does harm society.
The Hoover Institute has done long-term studies on Scandinavian countries that legalized same-sex marriage. Do you know what they found? They found that in countries that legalize same-sex marriage the rate of heterosexual marriage drops precipitously. And the reason is obvious: If marriage becomes anything you want it to be, why bother to get married at all? It was reported last week that our marriage rate here in the United States has dropped to the lowest level it has been in a century. And so you create tremendous instability in society when you allow that to happen. You know what is interesting to me? Sara McLanahan, a Princeton sociologist, has said, "If we were trying to devise a system in which a child's basic needs would be most well met, it would be in a situation where the child is connected to both biological parents." That sounds a lot like a family to me, doesn't it?
God knew what He was doing when He designed the family. And ladies and gentlemen, even though Supreme Court opinions change, even though culture changes, God's Word never changes. He is the one who designed marriage and He knows how it best operates.
Now my point in citing these four cases is simply this: no nation that outlaws the acknowledgment of God in the public square, that sanctions the killing of unborn children and destroys the most basic unit of society, the family — no such nation can survive. The explosions have already occurred. The implosion is coming. We are simply living in the in-between-time.
The Christian Response
Now the question is, "How are we as Christians to respond to all this?" I want to suggest to you that we turn to the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who told us exactly how we are to respond to a decaying culture. In Matthew 5:13 Jesus said, "You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has become tasteless how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men."
Jesus said our first responsibility as believers is to act as salt. Do you know that in Jesus' day salt was a preservative? In the day before refrigerators, salt was the way to delay the decay of the meat. What salt did was simply give the meat a little longer shelf life. Eventually the meat would rot and would have to be discarded. The salt delayed that process. And what Jesus was saying is this, "You're not going to prevent the ultimate destruction of this culture." You know what, ladies and gentlemen? America is going to end because this world is going to end. That is why we know America's days are numbered because this world's days are numbered.
My own reading of the book of Revelation is that America is going to end at least seven years before the rest of the world ends. Because when I look at that final form of government in the world during the last seven years, it is a dictatorship under the Antichrist, in which there is no freedom of commerce, no freedom of speech, no freedom of religion. That means when the Antichrist takes power there will be no U.S. Constitution at that time. Our Constitution will have been done away with by that point. And once the Constitution ceases to exist, America ceases to exist. The fact is America's days are numbered. We are not going to prevent that, but we can delay it.
The Sovereignty of God
You say, "Wait a minute, Robert, don't you believe in the sovereignty of God? Don't you believe God has fixed on His calendar the date of America's destruction and there is not one thing you can do to change that? Don't you believe that?" I believed it until I read my Bible, specifically the book of Jonah. God said to Jonah, "I'm going to destroy the wicked city of Nineveh." But then Jonah 3:10 says God changed His mind. God relented of His decision. Now look, I don't understand that. It's above my pay grade. It is one of my long list of questions to ask God about when I get up there. But here is what I know when I read the book of Jonah. Because of the righteous preaching of Jonah, God delayed His destruction of Nineveh. Now God ultimately did destroy Nineveh, we know that historically. But He delayed the destruction, giving more people time to repent because of the preaching of Jonah and the people's positive response to it.
And what I believe Jesus is saying to us is, "We're not going to prevent the destruction of America, but we can delay it so we have more opportunity to share the Gospel." I therefore believe God has called us as Christians to stand up and push back against the tide of evil and immorality that is sweeping our country.
A Call for Christian Courage
I tell you, I am sick and tired of these wimpy Christians who mask their timidity and lack of courage with some sort of pseudo-spirituality that says, "Well, you know, we're just not citizens of this world; we are citizens of Heaven. And you know, we just need to let the world takes it course." Look, God never encouraged us to engage in silo-spirituality — to separate our faith from the rest of what's happening in this world. The fact is there are a lot of people in your church right now, perhaps even your pastor, who think for a Christian to use his faith to try to influence other people or unbelievers, or the course of this nation, well that's un-American, un-Christian and it may be illegal.
Listen, Jesus Christ is not just Lord of the Church, He is Lord over all creation. Jesus isn't just interested in religious people and religious institutions, Jesus is interested in every institution, and He's interested in government as well. Whenever you say that God doesn't want us to influence our culture, just start looking at the Bible itself. Look at men of God like Jonah and David, and Jeremiah, and Isaiah, and in the New Testament, men like John the Baptist.
When you look at the ministries of those men, you will see that they didn't just preach to themselves. Nor did they just preach to God's own people. These men of God were willing to stand up in an ungodly culture and confront ungodly leaders and say without stuttering or stammering, "Thus saith the Lord." We need men of God like that today to do the same. We need men of God who will stand up and say compassionately yet courageously, "Abortion is murder." "Homosexuality is a perversion of God's plan for human sexuality." And "God will reject any nation that rejects Him."
When you say that Christians shouldn't try to influence society, you are completely negating Jesus' words when He said, "You are the salt of the earth." How do we influence the world? How do we push back against immorality? It is by engaging in that dirty, filthy word called politics. Now you know I hear this all the time, "Christians shouldn't get involved in politics." Do you know what the word politics means? The word means "to influence, to control." When you say Christians shouldn't get involved in politics what you are saying is that Christians shouldn't try to influence the society in which they live. Can anybody say that with a straight face and believe it?
Christians and Politics
Let me ask you three questions: Do you believe that God cares about 50 million children being murdered in the womb? Do you think God has any opinion about that? Do you think that God cares about the rampant immorality that is sweeping our land? Do you think that God cares at all about His name being outlawed from mention in the public square? If you've answered yes, you have just explained why Christians ought to be involved in politics.
You see, in the Old Testament times it was the king who determined the spiritual direction of the nation. If he was a righteous king, God blessed the nation. If he was an unrighteous king, God cursed the nation. But as John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, said, "God has given us the privilege of selecting our leaders." And it is the duty and preference of Christians to prefer and select Christians as their leaders.
Every time I use that quote the liberals go crazy, but those were the words of the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. It is our duty to prefer and select Christians as our leaders. Every time you go into the voting booth, you are either casting a vote for righteousness or for unrighteousness. And if we're going to push back against this evil we have to get involved — not to save America because we are not going to save America. But we can delay our nation's collapse if we get involved.
Why Push Back?
The reason we want to buy more time for America is so we as Christians can fulfill our ultimate calling as believers, as stated by Jesus in Matthew 5:14 — "You are the light of the world." Listen, God has not called us to save America. God has called us to save Americans from the coming judgment of God. The only way that can happen is by introducing them to a personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The reason we want to buy time for our culture is so that we have the opportunity to do just that.
Do you understand that is the reason that God has left you here right now? Have you ever wondered why is it that God didn't rapture you to Heaven the moment He saved you instead of leaving you here in this sin-filled world? I mean think about it, if God's only goal is to have fellowship with you, couldn't He have much better fellowship with you in Heaven than He has here on earth with you, where you are distracted by the things of the world? No, the only reason God has delayed His gratification, so to speak, in having a perfect relationship with you and me is so that we can fulfill His agenda, not ours.
God has not left you or me here to build a bulging portfolio, to have a successful business, or even to have a happy family life. The only reason God has left you and me here is to win as many people to faith in Jesus Christ as possible before He returns. That's the reason we've been left here. And let me tell you, when you understand that, it gives you a whole different way of looking at what is happening in the world right now.
I think about the Apostle Paul. I just came back from taking a group to Greece where we retraced Paul's second missionary journey. We went to the city of Philippi where the church was located that Paul wrote to from Rome where he was imprisoned. Paul said, "I don't want you to be upset about my situation. My situation has turned out for the progress of the Gospel."
Now listen, if the Apostle Paul had the goals of most Christians — peace, prosperity, pleasure, and the avoidance of pain — if his life goal had been that of most of us, then Paul's imprisonment was a tremendous tragedy. It was a detour from peace, prosperity, pleasure and the avoidance of pain. But you see, Paul had a bigger purpose in life. His purpose was the spreading of the Gospel, and that gave him a whole different perspective from which to view the difficulties he was facing. He said, "I'm rejoicing in this." And then he exhorted the Philippians to do the same.
You know, the Philippians lived in a much more decadent, anti-Christian environment then we do. They lived in the Roman Empire. Nero was the emperor at that time. But you know what Paul said? He said, "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice." And he said in chapter 2 to the Philippians, "I want you Philippians in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation to be children of light, holding out the Word of Life."
A Fundamental Principle About Light
You know why Paul said we could rejoice in the culture in which we are living, even though it may be very wicked? He understood a very simple principle — the darker the background, the brighter the light.
I experienced an illustration of that not long ago. I was helping my younger daughter celebrate a special occasion in her life. I said, "Dorothy, I'll take you to the mall and get you anything you want." Now when I said, "anything you want," I had in mind going to a shop like Forever 21 and getting a $20 or $30 dress. So, we go over to North Park Shopping Center and she leads me right past Forever 21 and right into a jewelry store! We're standing there in front of the counter, and the salesman approaches, looks at my daughter and says, "Good to see you again." At that moment, I knew I'd been had! He said, "Would you like to look at that ring you were looking at yesterday?" She said, "Yes."
So he went back and brought forth a little tray with different rings on it and picked out the one she had been looking at. Before he sat it down on the plexiglass counter he took a piece of black velvet, spread it out on the counter and then took that ring and plopped it right in the center of the black velvet. The contrast between that black velvet and the light emitting from the ring was so stark it almost blinded me to the price, not quite, but it almost did. You see, that salesman understood a fundamental principle: the darker the background, the brighter the light.
The Opportunity Provided by Darkness
Listen, we are living in dark days today, no doubt about it. I'm telling you if your goal in life is peace, prosperity, pleasure and the avoidance of pain, you have every right to be discouraged. You know, so many Christians today are such poor advertisements for the Gospel because they are so downbeat and they are so pessimistic. They send all these depressing e-mails to one another and to me in which they describe all the terrible things happening in our nation.
When somebody gets down about our nation and the situation we are in, many times it simply shows they have the wrong life purpose. Because if it's about us and our pleasure, and our peace, and our prosperity, and avoidance of pain, then these are terrible times in which to live. But if your goal is the same as the Apostle Paul, to share the Gospel with as many people as possible, there could never be a better time to be alive than today, right now. Because the truth is, the darker the background, the brighter the light. The more hopeless this world becomes the brighter the hope of Jesus Christ shines.
So which is it? Are we to be salt? Are we to get involved in politics and try to push back against evil? Or, are we to be light involved in evangelism and sharing the Gospel? It's not an either-or answer. It is both-and. God has called us to do both. He has called us to be balanced. But please don't equate that word balanced with passive. This is not time for Christians living in America to be passive.
I'm reminded of the words of William Watkins in his book, The New Absolutes. He wrote, "As Christians we must reject the new tolerance and become a people marked by intolerance. Not an intolerance that unleashes hate upon people. But an intolerance that is unwilling to allow error to masquerade as truth any longer. An intolerance that is willing to stand up and call evil, evil and good, good." May God grant us the courage to do just that.
Dr. Jeffress' book, Twilight's Last Gleaming, can be purchased on Amazon.com. He has a new book about Bible prophecy that is scheduled to be published in January 2014. It is titled, Perfect Ending: Why Your Eternal Future Matters Today.