Last week after the grisly terrorist attacks in Brussels and Pakistan, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and founder of Facebook, offered his solution to the problem of Islamic terrorism via his own Facebook account:
"Each of these attacks was different, but all had a common thread: they were carried out with a goal to spread fear and distrust, and turn members of a community against each other.
"I believe the only sustainable way to fight back against those who seek to divide us is to create a world where understanding and empathy can spread faster than hate, and where every single person in every country feels connected and cared for and loved. That's the world we can and must build together."
Really, Mr. Zuckerberg? Do you really believe that your ideas will work? They may sound hopeful but, can they work? No offense, but what you are proposing sounds just like the Coke commercial ideology that we baby boomers grew up singing. Back in our day we also desperately wanted to figure out how to "teach the world to sing in perfect harmony." We earnestly desired to "furnish the world with love" while we helped them "grow honey bees and snow white turtle doves."
Together in harmony we sang. It sold a lot of Coke and gave us goose bumps as it became a sort of rallying cry. But that's all it did. It didn't work. No matter how passionately we sang our songs and rallied around our favorite political reformers, peace failed. And with good reason. For standing against both the lofty platitudes and the genuine desires for world unity, global peace and how to coexist is one big giant problem: sin.
Sin: that nasty detail that keeps the whole world enslaved to depravity (Rom. 8:21). Sin is that force that that keeps mankind trapped in a universally selfish state of greed and lust and makes peaceful coexistence impossible apart from God (Gal. 5:19-21).
It may not be in vogue to talk about, but sin is exactly why all of mankind will never be able to be fixed. And that's why, Mr. Zuckerberg, it's not possible for every person in every country to feel "connected, cared for and loved" this side of heaven as you suggest. In fact, the direct opposite of your suggestion is the result. We can't and won't build this world together—at least not now.
How do we know this is true? The proof is found hidden in a biblical event that many of us may have dismissed as an odd story with little relevance to modern times: the Tower of Babel.
Please allow me to explain how this historical event has doctrinal significance in an age where Bernie Sanders has influenced young Christians with platitudes of socialistic and communistic ideologies and Obama has peddled policies of false world cooperation and international peace. For in this story is an unchangeable truth that remains today.
The Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 comes right after the account of Noah and the destruction of the world with the flood (Gen. 10). The historical sequence of the two stories is significant. In Noah's day the world had deteriorated under the influence of sin to the point that "every inclination of the thoughts of his [man's] heart was evil all the time" (Gen. 6:5). The flood became the doorway. It brought judgement of the world for sin, but it also brought hope that mankind could try again.
After the flood, when God allowed man to repopulate, we were given a second chance at human culture. According to Genesis 11, the whole world had one language and one speech, and it was through this commonality that the people said to themselves: "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly. ... let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth" (Gen. 11:3-4).
On the surface that sounds like a great plan. The people were working together via a common cause instead of destroying each other. It sounds sort of like the Coke song with the world coming together in perfect harmony, does it not? It was a Zuckerberg/Bernie style moment when mankind was seemingly sweetly building together, and yet if you look at the rest of the story you discover that God did not like (or trust) what was happening. In fact, He responded to their efforts with a strong statement and action:
"The Lord said, 'The people are one and they have one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do; now nothing that they propose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.' So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they stopped building the city" (Gen 11:6-8).
In my youthful days, God's response seemed crazy. Why would He intervene to stop what could have been the utopian moment of all human history? Why would He stop the unity that we modern progressive thinkers knew would certainly solve the world's problems?
It was only when my eyes were opened to the rest of the Bible that I discovered what God knew all along.
Collective tower building won't achieve good things. In fact, in the days of the Tower of Babel, it would lead humankind right back into the same hopeless state that caused the flood. God knew what my human mind struggled to comprehend. He who sees into the inner heart of man knew where the sin state condition would lead again. That is why He accurately diagnosed that their unified, collective, unbridled sin would cause mankind to build a tower that reached to the heavens and yet become their object of worship. Their unbridled human "oneness" would ensnare mankind once again and bring about their own destruction.
So God stopped their plans immediately and set a boundary in place (diversified languages) that would hinder their ability to come together in that way again.
It is beyond the scope of this brief article to consider all the ramifications of that historical event. But I believe it is critical that we recognize where we are today in relationship to this God-ordained boundary, lest we fall for deceptive modern ideas that lead us to believe that in our own ability we can somehow save the world.
Collective human efforts toward world peace will not work. Not in this dispensation of human history and not until the end of the age when Jesus comes back and finishes His work of judgement on the earth which ushers in the establishment of God's peaceful kingdom where the wolf will lay down with the lamb and true peace shall reign (Is. 11).
That is why Jesus, in His discourse about the last days, before His return in Matthew 24 clearly states, "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom."
As mature followers of Christ, we must be ready to rightly discern the false Christ (or anti-Christ) voices that will come on the earth before His return, promising a false peace apart from the Lord Jesus who is the Prince of Peace. The closer we get to the time of Jesus' appearing, the more mankind will rally around the false hope of self-preservation by a collective human effort and pride that refuses to bow to the King of Kings. It is the inevitable "one world system" predicted through the pages of Scripture.
Are we ready? Are we, as the church of Jesus Christ, equipped to reject the tantalizing lure Jesus warned us about in Matthew 24? How many of us—who should know better—will fall victim to the same deception of the Tower of Babel that shakes a fist in the face of God and declares "together we will build?" We will visualize world peace and in our collective mind, we will Facebook it into existence!
As a formerly deceived person, who was blinded by these same false beliefs in humankind, I have compassion on those who cannot understand. And yet, I cannot sit back and fail to sound the alarm about these deceptive ideologies that for a season entrapped me.
It is foolish and ridiculous.
Gandhi couldn't make world peace happen, and neither can Oprah or Zuckerberg or any other do-good charismatic leader. There will be no peace without the Prince of Peace. There will be no justice without an allegiance to the Lawgiver. There will be no love without the One who is love.
As we see this clash play out before our eyes, as His Church we must stay true to our call to love people, preach the gospel, make disciples of all nations, and prepare our self for our Bridegroom, the Prince of Peace who is to come. And that, for now, is enough.
Lisa Cherry is an author, speaker and co-founder of Frontline Family Ministries. She is the author of Not Open: Win the Invisible Spiritual Culture War and Like a Flood: Live Boldly, Stand Fearlessly, Love Truthfully in a Post-Christian America. Her Project 7000 and books equip today's parents and Christian leaders to tackle the sticky subjects of life. For additional insights, sign up for her weekly blog at Frontlinemoms.com.
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