God’s Judgment Upon America
October 7th, 1975
GOD’S JUDGMENT UPON AMERICA
California Graduate School of Theology
Dr. W. A. Criswell
10-7-75 7:30 p.m.
The message tonight is entitled God’s Judgment upon America, and it comes out of a deep, moving concern for the destiny of our nation. I read in the tenth chapter of the Book of Isaiah the first five verses:
Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and that write grievousness which they have prescribed;
To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of My people…
And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will you leave your glory?
Without Me they shall bow down under the prisoners, and they shall fall under the slain. For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand in judgment is stretched out still.
O Assyria, the rod of Mine anger, and the staff in their hand is Mine indignation.
There has never been in the ancient world an empire more merciless and cruel than that of Assyria. Five times in the lifetime of the prophet Isaiah did the winged bull of Asshur ravage and scourge and destroy the kingdom of Israel and Judah. Finally, in the judgment of Almighty God, the northern ten tribes of Israel were forever destroyed, with its capital of Samaria, by the invading Assyrian army [2 Kings 18:9-19:37]. And time and again did Assyria overrun little Judah and Jerusalem. Assyria in the ancient day was a veritable ogre to the Jew. And when Isaiah asked God why the incursion and inroads and invasion of the bitter Assyrians, the Lord replied, “Assyria is the rod of Mine anger, and the staff of Mine indignation” [Isaiah 10:5], to scourge and to chasten the wayward people of God.
But out of all of the empires that have been scourges over the face of the earth, there has never been one so tyrannical and so merciless and so cruel as the modern empire of Red Russia. Four times in the last twenty-two years have the colonies of Red Russia risen in rebellion; and all four times has the Red army crushed the desperate attempt for freedom, such as in Hungary and such as in East Germany. All of the colonial empires of the world have been dissolved, they’ve been liquidated: the British Empire and her colonies, the French empire and her colonies, the Dutch empire and her colonies, the Portuguese empire and her colonies, the Italian empire and her colonies. But there is one that remains, and that is the Red empire of communist Russia. And to the amazement of the earth, the inroads and the invasions and the conquests of Red Russia are not only accepted, but they are appeased and condoned and defended!
One could wonder why the existence of such a devastating, and merciless, and cruel, and ruthless colonial empire in the world today. One reason can be it is the judgment of Almighty God against the lethargy and the indifference of the Christian and Western world. Russia, in God’s hands, is the rod of His anger, and the staff of His indignation to chasten us and to scourge us.
I was a guest in the home of Dr. Black, the president of the Presbyterian college, Robert College in Istanbul. He had married a Bulgarian, and was in Bulgaria when the communists of Russia took it over. And he said to me, “I cannot explain communism. It is inexplicable.” He said, “Children will testify against their parents when the testimony means the death of their fathers and their mothers.” He said, “It seems to me that there is a kingdom of darkness in this world presided over by Satan himself. Like the kingdom of light presided over by our blessed Lord, so there is a kingdom of darkness presided over by Satan [Colossians 1:13], and that kingdom is the scourge of Red communism.” However that imponderable lies in the purpose of Almighty God, I cannot define, delineate, or describe; but I do know the near and the immediate reason why the spread of the colonial empire of Red Russia: it lies in the leadership of the liberal theologian and the liberal politician, the state-welfarer, the pinko, and the fellow traveler in America and in the nations of the Western world.
Wherever you find the liberal in the pulpit or in the legislature, there will you find the nation soft toward Russia, there will you find the people given over to state planning and to welfare and dole, and there will you find the critic for the conservative who believes in working and paying his debts and living within a budget. As the theological liberal has emptied the churches of Europe and is beginning to empty the churches of America, and as the political liberal has led the nations of the Western world into chaos and into despair and into bankruptcy, so the liberal, whether in the pulpit or whether in the legislature, is plotting a course that means the disastrous disintegration and destruction and downfall of our Christian Western world.
Look at England. For thirty years England has been under the aegis of a socialist welfare government, soft toward communism, easy toward Red Russia. One of her crown colonies is Hong Kong. I was there a few weeks ago. In 1967, in the bloody riots on the streets of Hong Kong, the British government closed down the communist schools. Then after the furor of the bloodshed was over, they not only opened all of those schools, but they added to them. There are now more than seventy communist schools in the city of Hong Kong alone.
I was visiting in the home of one our missionaries, who said that he was trying to win a family to Christ in Hong Kong. The family was atheistic, unbelieving. And when they said to the missionary, “We don’t believe in God,” there was a little boy in the family, and he raised his voice and said, “But I believe in God, and his name is Chairman Mao Tse-tung.”
The government of Harold Wilson and the socialist welfare government of England has plunged that nation into the abyss, and has brought her down to her knees. While I was there a few weeks ago, I listened five consecutive nights to the report of the great industries of England to the English people; and all five of these great industries face absolute bankruptcy. I listened to the report of the electric utilities. I listened to the report of the gas industry. I listened to the report of the coal industry. I listened to the report of the steel industry. I listened to the report of the transportation industry. And all five of them are facing deficits of staggering proportions. England is literally beat down to her knees! England is facing sheer bankruptcy.
And when I came back to America, what did I find in New York City? What did I find in the state? I find the same thing gradually growing in America as I have found in the countries of Western Europe, and particularly in England. Every third person in New York City is on welfare: they don’t work; they live off of the dole of the government. And the welfare state that you find in that city is gradually, gradually, gradually compressing the very life out of the American cities and the American states.
But as though that were not tragic enough, for the first time in American history we have seen our flag fall down in shame and in defeat. Who did it? A little tiny country no bigger than a county, backed by Red communist Russia and China. How could such a debacle ever characterize America? What has happened to our will to resist? How is it that we’ve been beat into the dust of the ground and communism is now the fear of takeover in the islands of the sea, in all Southeast Asia, in Africa, and around the world?
I talked to a missionary who had just come out of Vietnam. He was a personal friend and confidant of General Westmoreland. And General Westmoreland said to him, he said, “I could end this war in a matter of days. I would take my army to the DMZ, I would call for the seventh fleet off shore, I would say to Hanoi, ‘You will withdraw your soldiers from the south, or you will be invaded.’” He said, “The war would close in a matter of hours.” Why did we not do that? The reason is apparent: we did not do that because the political, theological liberals in America ruined the will of our nation to resist. When Senator “Halfbright” of the Foreign Relations Committee and all of his fellow liberals in the Congress got through with us, they left us in shambles and in despair.
Why should we fear Red Russia? Red Russia cannot even feed itself. Were it not for the free world, Russia would starve to death. They have a country two and one-half times bigger than America. They have a nation that is forty-five times bigger than France. There are thirty million farmers in Russia; there are not six million in America. I have flown over the great Ukraine: thousands of miles. It looks exactly like the rich farmlands of Wisconsin and Illinois and Iowa. There is built into the system lack and need and failure. A war is not won by numbers: a war is won by logistics that is, supporting the nation and supporting the fighting men. And Russia cannot support an army: it cannot even feed itself. The technological achievements of Russia have been due to our importation. The trucks and the tanks that were used in Vietnam to kill our American boys were manufactured in plants that were built through our technicians.
What is it that has happened to America? We have a policy toward Russia of appeasement and compromise. It is our supposition that if we will feed the wolf, he will go away. That has been our policy through the years and the years. You see it recently in the visit to America of one of the greatest authors, a Nobel Prize winner, one of the great spiritual leaders of the world, a devout Christian, a man by the name of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The house in which our president lives and the government presided over by our president snubbed him. Why? As Henry Kissinger said, “Lest we offend Russia.” And that is the keystone of American policy: “Lest we offend Russia.”
When Dwight Eisenhower and the United Armies stood at the gates of Berlin, we refused to take the city, and let the communists have it. Why? “Lest we offend Russia.” When Winston Churchill said to the president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “Let us invade Europe from its soft underbelly, and let us keep Russia out of the nations of Eastern Europe,” Roosevelt said, “Nay, lest we offend Russia.” And when we had beat Japan to her knees in the Second World War, and we were within a few days of absolute surrender from Hirohito, who is now in America, we invited Russia into the war and gave Russia the northern islands of Japan—lest we offend Red Russia. And in this last Yom Kippur War between Israel and Egypt, Israel had surrounded the Egyptian army, and the United States intervened and said, “Let the army go. Break the circle, let them escape, lest we offend Russia.” And now in the last few days, even while I was in Europe, thirty-five nations of the world have signed a détente with Red Russia.
I don’t know whether you saw it or not, but when I was in Europe, and the president came from America to sign that document of détente, when he stepped off of the plane onto the ramp, he fell down. And the picture that I saw in the front of the pages of the newspapers of Europe was President Gerald Ford down on his face, struggling to get up. And as I looked at it, that great, big, strong man, fallen on his face, trying to rise, I thought, “That is a picture of the strength and the might of America: down on our face, down on our knees, beat there by the liberal and the communists of the world.”
What is that détente that we signed thirty-five nations? Do you know what it is? This is what we gave to Red Russia: 182,000 square miles of land from Finland, and from Poland, and from Romania. Not 182,000 acres, 182,000 square miles we forever placed into the hands of the Soviet Union. Another thing we did in that détente: forever we blotted out the three little nations of Estonia, and Latvia, and Lithuania. What else did we do in that détente? Forever we consigned the countries of Eastern Europe as colonies to the Red bear, to communist Red Russia. We recognized that the colonies belong to them. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, forever they belong to Russia. What did we get in return? Two things: one, the right of a man, if his family were behind the Iron Curtain, under certain conditions he could visit his family; and second, under certain conditions a correspondent in Russia could come out and look at us in the West. That is all. That is all! And those are basic human rights that ought to be accorded to mankind anywhere, anytime in the earth!
When you look at the future, what lies ahead for the Western world and for America? It is known, of course, but to God. There are some things in it, though, that are very apparent. One is this: communism is gradually possessing and taking over the entire earth. Unbelievable that such a thing could come to pass in our day, in our generation, and before our very eyes.
I listened to a man in Hyde Park, that speakers’ corner where anybody can talk, anybody can say anything. One of them was a fellow who had a high stepladder, and on the stepladder was a flag, red, red, flag, and toward the top, and just under the flag, he had a little platform on which he was speaking. And as he spoke, this is what he said: he said, “Communism, Red communism is the wave of the future.” And as you know in Hyde Park they can heckle the speakers. So one of them spoke up and said, “Oh yes, you up there up there under that Red flag, what about the anti-Semitism of Karl Marx? What about that?” Well, he had an answer to that. Then another heckler spoke up and said, “Say, you up there under that Red flag on top of that thing, you up there on that stepladder, say, how you going to explain to us the millions that were murdered by Joseph Stalin? Explain that to us.” And then he mouthed a few things about that. Then another heckler said, “You up under that red flag, tell us about that Berlin wall. Who put that there?” And he said a few anemic things about that. Then he said this, repeating his basic summarization: “The wave of the future belongs to the Red communist. The revolution will liberate the masses in all the nations of the world.” And he added, “It has happened in Russia, it has happened in China, it has happened in Cuba, it has happened in Vietnam; it is beginning to happen in India, and in Portugal, and in South America, and in the nations of Africa.” Then he added, “All that intervenes is the United States of America, and she is off somewhere playing some kind of mumbo jumbo. We’ll kick her in the teeth, and then the whole world will be communist.” And when he said that, there was nothing but silence: not a heckler, not a speaker, for what do you say? It has happened in China. It has happened in Cuba. It has happened in Russia. It has happened in Portugal. It has happened in India. It has happened in the nations of Africa. It is spreading over the earth like a red flag. And when it does, it means the destruction of the Christian community, it means the annihilation of the people of God, it means the slavery of the population, and it means the dissolution of the family. This is the prospect that faces modern America.
“Pastor, what do you think the future holds? Do you think the wave of the future belongs to the Red communist? Do you think the great destiny of the nations is to be shaped and framed by those who are the bitter enemies of Christ? Do you?” Let me say it in another way, how I feel in my heart. Every day, every day there are thousands and thousands and thousands who queue up, who line up, to look at the dead, cold face of Nikolai Lenin in the mausoleum before the Kremlin wall in Red Square. After all, you have to worship something: every man has some kind of a god. And those Russians queue up every day by the thousands and the thousands to look on the still, silent, dead face of Nikolai Lenin. So along with the rest of them, I queued up, and finally came into the tomb. And walking down this way, and across this way, and back up that way, looking on the still, silent, dead face of that Bolshevik communist. He died in 1924 of a stroke at the age of fifty-four years of age. And when he died—which was a shock to the communist world—when he died the Grand Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, seated in the Kremlin in Moscow, published this announcement to the world: I quote, “No man ever wrought as Lenin. He was the greatest teacher of all time. He was the greatest leader among men. He was the author of a new social order. He was the savior of the world.” But unknown to the Grand Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, they spell their ultimate and final defeat in the tense of the word that they used: “He was the greatest teacher of all time.” But look at him; he’s dead. “He was the greatest leader among men.” But look at him; he’s dead. “He was the author of a new social order. He was the savior of the world”; but he is dead. And there he lies for the world to see in that mausoleum before the frowning Kremlin wall.
With what triumph and with what glory can the Christian say before Joseph’s empty tomb [Matthew 27:57-60]; “He is not here: He is alive! He is alive! He is alive! He is alive! He is the greatest teacher of all time. He is the greatest leader among men. He is the author of a new social order. He is the Savior of the world—our living Lord!”
In Moscow there is a church that is open, an evangelical church, a Baptist church that is open: one in a city of seven million people. It is open as a showcase for the world to look at, just one. And as I sat in the pulpit of the church in Moscow, the choir, which is in the balcony there with the organ, the choir sang a glorious and moving song. I can only recognize three words: Iēsous, Jesus, Christos, Christ, hallelujah! And I turned to a Russian minister seated by my side in the pulpit, and I said, “What are they singing about?” And he replied to me, “They are singing about the second coming of our Lord and His glorious reign in the earth.”
Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Doth His successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
[Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun”; Isaac Watts]
Iēsous Christos, hallelujah!
All hail the power of Jesus’ name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
[“All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”; Edward Perronet]
Iesous Christos, hallelujah!
Lo! He comes on clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
God comes down on earth to reign.
[“Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending”; John Cennick]
Iesous Christos, hallelujah! Even come, blessed and glorious Lord Jesus! [Revelation 22:20].
And I close. The darker the hour and the more pitiful and helpless the estate of the world, and the more persecuted the suffering children of Christ, just so much nearer is the coming of that final Antichrist, whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of His coming and the glory of His presence [2 Thessalonians 2:8].
I think the day is drawing nigh when we shall see the clouds roll back like a scroll [Revelation 6:14], when the Lord shall descend with thousands of His saints [Jude 1:14], and with all of the angelic hosts of glory [Revelation 19:11-14], when the eyes of the earth will be lifted up [Revelation 1:7]; could it be this dull and stolid earth could ever see so glorious a vision? When the eyes of the earth will be lifted up, and there, personally, triumphantly, victoriously coming down on the shekinah glory of God is our Lord Christ Himself [Revelation 1:7], bringing righteousness and peace and truth and justice to a war-weary and darkened and dying world. And to think we shall share in that glorious kingdom [Revelation2 2:3-5]. O God, am I ready? I am, Lord. If I know my heart, I can pray the prayer, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” [Revelation 22:20]. Is my family ready? Lord, every one of them is in the kingdom, every one of them; all of them been saved. We’re ready, Lord.
Is my city ready? Is my state ready? Is my country ready? Is this world ready? O God, bless the minister who anywhere in this earth raises his voice and calls men to repentance and to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ [Acts 20:21]. The night is far spent, the day is at hand [Romans 13:12]. O God, that the Lord might touch our lips with the burning coals from off the altar of the Lord [Isaiah 6:6-8], that God might visit us with a double portion of His Spirit, that with fire and eloquence and appeal and the moving Spirit of God we might make appeal for men to turn from judgment, and from sin, and from damnation, and from hell, that they might find life and peace and salvation everlasting in Jesus Christ our Lord [John 3:16, 10:10, 14:27].
So bless you, Dr. London, and bless the men and women in the graduate school of theology, and bless all in this congregation tonight. And to us in this television program, and in our congregation, and whoever anywhere will listen to us, God bless them that they might find Jesus Christ dear to their souls, a Savior who died for them [1 Corinthians 15:3]; that they, as we, might have eternal life, in His blessed and saving name [John 3:16; 10:27-30]. Amen.