By Joseph Stephen
Israel is always in the news, and rightly so, she is the focal point of end times prophesy. She is the apple of God's eye, and so long as the ordinances of heaven remain, so shall she remain as a nation (Jer. 31:35-37).
I preface this message by clearly stating that the church is not Israel, does not replace Israel and will never replace Israel. I also want to say that Australia is not directly linked to end times prophesy except in the sense that she may be a sheep or a goat in terms of her treatment of Israel. However, prophesies may have a general application, and from the general application we may see the relevance to our own situation today.
As the church, we wait with anticipation for the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ. How soon that event must be as we consider the state of the nations and the state of the church. As Christians, it is easy to fall into the trap of being an armchair spectator, simply sitting back and allowing evil to overwhelm us, resigned to the fact that it will all soon come to a head, and that the Lord of Glory will appear to fix up the mess. Is that however what the Lord would have us think? Is that the attitude that we should hold? We should indeed love His appearingi but we must do more than wait.
From my reading of Scripture, the Lord Jesus would have us be salt and light, beacons of brightness in an ever darkening world, sounding forth the gospel to a lost world, and calling an increasingly complacent, materialistic and idolatrous church back to holiness, right up until the day He returns. That glorious gospel is far more than a ticket to heaven, it is calling rebellious sinners to be reconciled to a holy God. It is teaching the nations “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you,” i.e. bringing God’s wise truth revealed in His Word, which applies to every aspect of life, to the nations. The Lord Jesus Christ never asked us to make converts of the nations. He commanded us to make disciples of them. Our forefathers understood this which is why our law was originally based upon the Scriptures.
My reading of 2 Thessalonians 2:7 leads me to believe that it is the Holy Spirit, working through the sanctified life of the empowered believer, that slows the rot and decay of evil in our culture, until He be taken out of the way when the church leaves this scene.
2 Thessalonians 2:7
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
He that Letteth (or restrains) is the Holy Spirit, and He does His work through the availability of the sanctified believer.
To that end, I'd like to introduce my topic for today. I'd like to consider five signs that a nation is under judgement and observe that Australia appears to be manifesting these signs now.
Our constitution's preamble begins with a declaration that we as a nation are "...humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God..." We bound ourselves by that declaration at Federation (and reaffirmed it in 1999) when as a nation we opted to keep these words in the preamble. Why is this significant? It is significant because we bound ourselves by this upon earth, and thus it is also binding in heaven according to Matthew 16:19, just like marriage or any other oath we make before God.
At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
Notice that this passage says "a nation," not "Israel." This is a general pronouncement. While this passage may have been in the context of pronouncing judgment upon Israel, nevertheless, this statement is a general pronouncement from a sovereign God. It also says "at what instant," not "at a particular time in history." As already pointed out, Australia was founded upon a Christian foundation. Our preamble invokes the name of the Almighty God of the Holy Bible, not Buddha, Mohamed or any other name. Since our nation is founded upon Biblical law, and since we have affirmed our reliance upon Almighty God, He is at liberty to treat us according to our humble reliance or proud defiance.
The following verses describe at least five evidences of God’s judgment of a nation. Can we observe any of these in Australia today?
Lamentations 5:1-8, 12
Remember, O LORD, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach. Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens. We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows. We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold unto us. Our necks are under
persecution: we labour, and have no rest. We have given the hand to the Egyptians, and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities. Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand. ... Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured.
When I originally read these verses, I was not looking for anything in particular but as I read, the words leapt out of the page at me as if God was saying, “observe what is going on around you.”
As I pondered the verses, the truth became obvious, at least five of these signs were true in Australia already, perhaps not to the same extent in every aspect, but true nevertheless. A sceptic might think it mere coincidence. For five concurrent signs to be true is no coincidence, even if you believe in coincidence. I do not believe in coincidence, I believe in providence and I also believe that God means what He says. Remember the verses from Jeremiah 18:7-10 we read earlier?
1. Foreign ownership
Our inheritance is turned to strangers, our houses to aliens. (Lam 5:2).
Australia is being swallowed up by foreign investors as we sell off our assets and land in vast amounts! In 2013, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimated that about 50 million hectares out of 400 million (one eighth) of agricultural land was now wholly or partly owned by foreign entities.ii If Australia has approximately 23.8 million people,iii that is 2.1 HA or 5.2 acres for every person. This foreign ownership is increasingly made up of Muslims.iv
Many argue that foreign investment is good and that the majority of agricultural businesses are still Australian. Firstly, it is God who says that foreign ownership is a sign of judgment, not me. Secondly, those who say that the majority of agricultural businesses are still Australian owned are only telling half the story. The majority of small businesses may be Australian owned but those that are not, are giant multinational conglomerates which make up a major proportion of the total agricultural business in Australia. Others say that we have far more foreign investment in mining than agriculture so we shouldn’t worry. Farmland however is what provides a nation’s food security. Also, sale of farm land doesn’t even get considered by the Foreign Investment Review Board unless it is worth over 15 million dollars,v and thus numerous smaller parcels of prime agricultural farm land are snapped up by foreign entities under the radar.
2. Disintegration of the Family:
We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows. (Lam 5:3).
We are orphans. Have we ever considered the plight of the unwanted preborn babies ? Are they not orphans when both biological parents have disowned them?
Interestingly, in Lamentations 4:1-3, right before this judgment chapter we are currently considering, the prophet asks why the precious sons, comparable to fine gold, were esteemed as erthen pitchers. He says that even the seamonsters give their young suck and yet mothers were cruel as the ostrich of the wildernesss. How similar to the attitude to children today. This devaluing of life contributed to Israel’s judgment then, just as it is contributing to ours today.
Every year around 100,000 unwanted babies are killed through abortion in Australia.vi This is 274 babies killed a day! Since 1996, in Australia alone, there have been about 1.9 million abortions.Thereareabout50millionabortionsaroundtheworldeachyear.vii Itisestimated thatsince1980,1.3billionabortionshaveoccurredaroundtheworld.viii NowondertheLord Jesus said of children that “for of such is the kingdom of Heaven” (Mt 19:14). Are these babies not made in the image of God? Yes, these orphans are made in the image of God but they never get a funeral as they are not valued as a person! Why then do we allow this wickedness to continue? Why aren’t we crying out for those who cannot be heard?
We are fatherless. I for one do not know my biological father due to my Mum’s one night stand. How much more terrible it is for ivf children of lesbian couples who’s birth certificate shows two mothers since the male donor’s name is omitted.ix
Our mothers are as widows. Note it says “as widows”, not that they were widows. The number of fatherless families or families in which fathers no longer take a role in their children's moral and spiritual (let alone their physical) upbringing is higher than ever before in history and we're reaping its bad fruit.
Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities. In 2004–2006, there were on average 486,000 one-parent families with children under 15 years. They accounted for 22% of all families with children of this age. In 2006, 87% of one-parent families with children under 15 years were headed by mothers.x In June 2011, there were 950,000 lone parent families, about 15% of all families. Today, 40% of teenagers do not have their biological father in the home and 48% of marriages end in divorce.xixii
Disintegration of the family is incredibly devastating. Even in the church, many parents have relinquished the majority of their children’s discipleship to the godless state, their peers, a
god-hating culture, the public education system, or even Christian schools, many of which have lost their Christian foundations.
How many fathers today lead family devotions, that is, read the Bible, discuss its impact upon the culture around them, and pray with their children on a daily basis?
3. We have to pay for water and even wood and our food is mostly imported
We have drunken our water for money; our wood is sold unto us. (Lam 5:4).
We have given the hand to the Egyptians, and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread. (Lam 5:6).
The Farmers and Landowners Action Group (FLAG) warned in 2012 that within ten years, the absolute majority of our food would be imported unless something drastic happened. At a dinner with Lord Monckton in 2014, FLAG reported that in 2012, Victoria imported more food than it produced and said that South Australia is well on its way to following suit. The over regulation of the NRMA and EPA are ensuring that farmers are forced off the land. At the dinner, a figure was quoted of four suicides per week amongst the farming community because of the hardship of this over regulation!xiii
We’ve also heard much in the media in recent days about the poor quality of imported foods causing serious illness, and the need for better labelling of a food’s origin.xiv
There has been almost $1 billion of foreign investment in Australia's embattled timber industry in the very recent past, more than 500,000 HA has been sold off in the past few years. We literally have to buy our own timber, with the proceeds flowing out of our local economy.xv
As far as water, a government proposal of a tax on rain water was leaked to the mediaxvi, farmers are already charged for the privilege of using water from their own bores on their own land, and, water profits were up 109 million dollars in 2012 in South Australia, i.e. we’re having to pay for the use of our own God-given resource to an extent which is raking in big profits for our socialist government.xvii
The current situation reminds me of a time when the Children of Israel were under judgment and had to go to the enemy to sharpen their toolsxviii, just as the majority of our technology, clothing, vehicles, and soon a majority of our food, are all imported.
Throughout history, God has used tyrannical governments to discipline his people.xix
4. Our labour does not bring sufficient income
Our necks are under persecution: we labour, and have no rest. (Lam 5:5). Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. (Hag. 1:6-7).
Kirsten Birkett, in her book, The Essence of Feminism, shows how real wages have halved over the past 50 years, giving the labour force two workers for the price of one as a result of women leaving the domestic sphere.
"This page compares real minimum wages in the 1920s to those in the late 1990s, and concludes that real wages have dropped by more than half ... 'Young couples complain that it now takes two wages to live in the suburb where their parents survived comfortably on one wage... The business world, then, has acquired two workers for one family wage, where it used to get only one worker for that amount.'"xx
5. The Biblical authority structure has been turned upside down
Servants have ruled over us: there is none that doth deliver us out of their hand. (Lam 5:8).
Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured. (Lam 5:12).
As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they
which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. (Isa. 3:12).
Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, Animal Rights and Environmentalist groups work together with a corrupt sympathetic government to push their agenda.
Children rule over adults because parental rights have been taken away by a government that insists they know how to raise children better than their own parents.
Elders are mocked rather than being honoured for their wisdom and values because a technically savvy generation believes that just because they know more than their elders in terms of technology, that this somehow translates to knowing more about the wisdom of life and values generally.
We've had the first woman prime minister in Australia's history. Though she may be
gone, Penny Wong and other feminist politicians shamelessly push their anti-Biblical agendas. The Bible is clear, though men and women are certainly equal, their roles differ.
The end times are not coming my friends, they are upon us. Nothing in the Scriptures precludes God’s chastening of the church or judgment of national sins prior to the Lord’s coming. Christians may escape the great tribulation but there is nothing to suggest that we won’t experience the labour pains leading up to that time. There is also nothing to suggest that God will not chasten the church by judging the nation. There may not be condemnation to those in Christ Jesus,xxi but, there is chastening for whom the Lord loves.xxii
In Rome’s time, there may have been abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, rampent materialism and idolatry, but that was before the light of the gospel blazed in the darkness of that culture. In Australia, we have no excuse. The gospel light has been shining since the birth of this nation and yet we are under judgment because:
We Kill our unborn or prevent them from being conceived. Birth control was repudiated by the church up until the early 1900s, but the boundary has shifted and now, even abortion is accepted in many churches.
We push for euthanasia. This of course is a natural progression from abortion.
We condone, normalize and promote homosexuality, and push to legalize same-sex marriage. This too is a direct consequence of birth-control and abortion because the purpose of marriage, procreation and raising godly children, has been obscured. This is such a slap in God’s face. Marriage is a picture of Christ and His church. Anything which mocks and perverts this picture is surely the greatest of abominations. This is not about hating individuals. We must love individual sinners, but we must not condone what they seek to justify when it is an abomination to God (Lev. 18:22). We certainly should not be legalizing and thereby normalizing such sin. The fact that God hates it should be enough to call us to action.
We delegate the training of our children to the god hating socialist public indoctrination system we call “public education” without question. This very action alone has largely destroyed the faith of an entire generation. To prove this point, in South Australia, in 1911, 95% of people identified themselves as Christian. In 2011, only 50% identified themselves as Christian.xxiii Not all, but many teachers even in Christian schools, have been educated by that same socialist god-hating education system. Listen to these quotes. These come from some of the founders of our education system who most
educators hold in the highest esteem:
Charles F. Potter wrote, "Education is thus a most powerful ally of humanism, ... What can a theistic Sunday school's meeting for an hour once a week and teaching only a fraction of the children do to stem the tide of the five-day program of humanistic teaching?" ("Humanism: A New Religion," 1930)
John J. Dunphy said, "The battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: A religion of humanity -- utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to carry humanist values into wherever they teach. The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new -- the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism." ("The Humanist (1983").
John Dewey said, “There is no God, and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded then immutable truth is also dead and buried.
There is no room for fixed, natural law or permanent moral absolutes. ...” (John Dewey (1859-1952) “Soul-Searching,” Teacher Magazine, Sept. 1933, p. 33.)
We tolerate sin in our churches. We no longer publically speak out against fornication, adultery, divorce, homosexuality, pornography, birth control and abortion, idolatry and materialism, for fear of losing our congregations. Having churches full of socialites who are more interested in their personal peace and affluence than obeying the Lord who redeemed them with His very blood may pay the pastor’s sallary, but it is a false sense of church health. The problem is that often our Christian leaders aren’t much better. The Leadership Survey on Pastors and Internet Pornography found that 37 percent of pastors in the US have an issue with pornography.xxiv Other research found that only 38 percent of pastors regularly read their Bible for personal devotion and study.xxv Putting these two figures together, it becomes clear what they are vieweing instead of their Bible. Since Australia shares the same cultural influences as the US, it is likely that figures are similar.
We embrace the onslaught of Islam, Socialism, Environmentalism, and other religions as if equal to the truth all in the name of love. All people are equal, but not all philosophies or religions are equal.
May God bring to mind and convict each of us individually of our blind spots and desperate need of repentance from every issue which grieves His Spirit and resists His purposes!
May we not be those who the Apostle Paul writes to Titus about who “...profess that they know
God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” (Titus 1:16).
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Judgment indeed begins at the house of God. There’s no point praying for our farmers or politicians if we are idolatrous, unholy, disobedient, turn a blind eye to the ongoing abortion holocaust, or love the world more than the one who redeemed us with His own precious blood.
Let us lead our nation in repentence and perhaps by God’s grace, the ungodly may follow suit.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14
If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
i 2 Tim. 4:8.
iv ref for Muslims buying up prime farm land http://www.crikey.com.au/2011/06/16/foreign-ownership-of-aussie-land-the-peril-of-selling-the-farm/
vi The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that in 1996 there were approximately 95,200 abortions recorded by Medicare and public patient hospital records. This represents about 27 per cent of known pregnancies ending in an abortion during that period (ABS 1998b).http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/diversity/14havingchild.pdf
￼vii http://www.worldometers.info/abortions/. viii http://www.numberofabortions.com/.
xii https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2005/182/9/estimating-australia-s-abortion-rates-1985-2003, http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id%3A%22library%2Fprspub%2FCF7F6%22. xiii http://flagaustralia.org/
xiv Nanna’s Frozen Berries recalled amid hepatitis A:
Contaminated foods causing dangerous health effects bound for Australian supermarkets | The Courier-Mail: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/contaminated-foods-causing-dangerous-health-effects-bound-f or-australian-supermarkets/story-fnn8dlfs-1227239221803
xv Calls grow for tougher foreign ownership laws, The Age, June 26, 2011 Cameron Houston http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/calls-grow-for-tougher-foreign-ownership-laws-20110625-1gkr9.html).
xvii SA Water profits up $109 million while desal frozen, The Advertiser, December 07, 2012,
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼xviii 1 Samuel 13:20.
xix Ezra 5:12; Ps. 106:41; Ezek. 39:23; Neh. 9:36-37.
xx The Essence of Feminism by Kirsten Birkett, p23, Matthias Media 2000. Rom. 8:1.
xxi Pr. 3:12; Heb.12:6.
xxii South Australians who identify as Christians has fallen to its lowest level on record by Jackson Gothe-Snape and
xxiii James Hetherington from The Advertiser April 02, 2015 9:32 PM.
xxiv See http://www.christianitytoday. com/le/2001/winter/12.89.html.
￼xxv http://www.intothyword.org/ articles_view.asp?articleid=36562.
Many of our website visitors will know about my involvement as the director of Faithful Generations but many will not know what my day to day job entails as a blind software engineer. This year marks the 20th anniversary of JAWS, the software which I both develop and use on a daily basis. The below links link to videos and interviews in which I have participated to mark the 20th anniversary. I have been involved with the development of JAWS since 1997, but a user since version 1.21 in 1996.
I was recently interviewed for the Freedom Scientific FS Cast. You can listen to this interview here.
I was also interviewed on a local radio station, 5RPH. This interview can be heard below:
Finally, I was featured on their 20th anniversary video here: