Protests in the Streets
Here in the Fourth Watch blog we examine current trends in this nation or the world that I believe are harbingers of earth’s darkest hour (what the ancient Romans called the fourth watch) just before the sunrise of Christ’s return. And while these observations and analyses reflect my personal convictions, I am amazed at the ascendency of voices—secular as well as religious—that are warning of what lies ahead for our civilization. Take for example the seemingly isolated street protests against Wall Street, that for three weeks now occupied Zuccotti Park in the financial district of New York, railing against corporate greed and economic decline, and blaming US financial institutions and Wall Street for the resultant unemployment. Hundreds have been arrested. But thanks to Twitter and social media sites, the New York protests are now spreading to other cities in the nation. Students now threaten walk-outs from classes in sympathy with these protests. (Though less violent, these homeland demonstrations are not unlike the radical street protests in Athens, as Greeks have turned with vengeance on their government and the European Union for their own financial meltdown—and what now appears to be certain national bankruptcy.) How could an isolated street protest burgeon into a national movement? Here’s CNN.com’s assessment: “Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless movement made up largely of twentysomethings upset with the economy, the Afghanistan war, the environment, and the state of America and the world in general. In less than three weeks, the movement has become a magnet for countless disaffected Americans at a time when an overwhelming majority of U.S. adults say the country is on the wrong track” (http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/05/politics/occupy-wall-street/). But what could morph the Occupy Wall Street protests into an apocalyptic game-changer is the announcement that labor unions are joining the movement. Responding to Twitter calls from Occupy Boston (a sister movement to the New York protests), the Massachusetts Nurses Association is joining the rally. In New York so are the Amalgamated Transit Union, the Transport Workers Union, and the United Federation of Teachers union among others. Is it possible that a nationally diminished labor movement could find new life and impetus in all of this? How innocuous are labor unions in a Fourth Watch scenario? In a terse exposé of capitalist excesses, the Bible declares: “Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. . . . Your gold and silver are corroded. . . . You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. . . . Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord's coming. . . . because the Lord's coming is near” (James 5:1-8). A day of reckoning is coming for the barons and minions of Wall Street who have made their billions at the expense of the paltry savings and investments of a once unsuspecting public. But could a sympathetic labor movement backlash into a prophetic paradigm shift? These words were in a letter written in 1904: “The trade unions will be the cause of the most terrible violence that has ever been seen among human beings” (Letter 99, 1904). Main street, Wall Street, the street protests may not be so innocuous after all. My point: the headlines we now live through are not inconsequential to a Fourth Watch mindset, are they? NOW is the most opportune time you and I may ever have to freely share the everlasting gospel of Christ with people who need him—family members, friends, colleagues. NOW is the church’s opportunity to seize the moment, rise up and in the panoply of the Spirit’s infilling and hurry to a final civilization with the news of Jesus’ soon return. Our friend Ron Clouzet’s satellite series, “Prophecies Decoded,” to the continent couldn’t be timelier (join us this evening at 7:20). Let him, let her who has ears hear. For the rumble we hear may be the tread of an approaching God.