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Humanistic Reforms in Government and Society
By Prof. J.S. Malan and Rev. E.J. Zevenster

Various nations of the world are now confronted with humanistic constitutions after a long period of Christian constitutions. Far-reaching reforms emanate from these new principles.

The history of the nations clearly reflects the results of the Fall in the depravity of the human nature and in the godless socio-political and religious structures that the nations created for themselves. Since the earliest times, rebellion against Almighty God by the denial of His supreme authority and the rejecting of His righteousness, coupled with the worshipping of idols, was the order of the day. Instead of bowing the knee to God, man exalted himself by acting arrogantly, practising dictatorial powers, and worshipping his own idols. In modern times, this rebellion manifests in a more sophisticated form in a code for human rights and social justice in which generous provision is made for personal liberties and either the denial of all religion through secularism, or the flourishing of false religions in a multi-faith dispensation.

In this regard, history does not only repeat itself but the way is now paved for the worst rebellion of all times. God-rejecting constitutions are accepted through which freedom of expression is given to the perverted morality of fallen man. The Bible clearly depicts an end-time scenario of this nature and describes a world that is more than ever before turning its back upon God by way of humanistic reforms that contribute greatly towards the establishing of power bases for the coming world government of the Antichrist.

The renewed challenging and rejection of the sovereignty of God and the Lordship of Christ by accepting godless constitutions, are the first steps on the self-destructing march to Armageddon. The history of the nations ends where it began, with a Babylonian conspiracy against God. In Genesis 11, the first United Nations conference on record is described. It constituted rebellion against God and gave rise to a humanistic world order that functioned in close association with pagan religions. In Revelation 17 and 18, the culmination of an end-time Babylonian new world order is described, which will also invite the anger of God. It will be headed by the Antichrist who will, as in the previous world empires, reject God, exalt himself, and deceive, enslave and oppress his followers:

"And I saw a beast (the Antichrist) rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority… And all the world marvelled and followed the beast. So they worshipped the dragon (Satan) who gave authority to the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies… And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue and nation. And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb… He (the other beast, i.e. the false prophet) was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed" (Revelation 13:1-15).

The end-time empire of the Antichrist won’t be a unique phenomenon as it will be a revival of the previous godless world empires described in the Bible. However, in extent it will be far greater and in intensity much worse, because in his time there will be a great tribulation as there has never before been on earth (Matthew 24:21).

In the same way as Satan offered the kingdoms of this world to Jesus Christ if He would fall down and worship him (Luke 4:5-7), the devil will offer his evil authority and influence over fallen man to the great imitator of Christ, the Antichrist. He will accept the offer. For this reason, the people who worship him will also be compelled to worship the devil, from whom the Antichrist obtained his power, his throne and great authority (Revelation 13:4).

Although the world is presently in the sway of the Wicked One (1 John 5:19), Christians are, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the light of a dark world and the salt of a corrupt earth; consequently the devil has fierce opposition and can’t institute his final plans for world domination. True Christians (the body of Christ) restrain the devil’s counterfeit messiah until they will suddenly be taken out of the way at the rapture. "And then the lawless one (the Antichrist) will be revealed" (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Complete spiritual darkness will then prevail and set the scene for the world-wide acceptance of the Antichrist. He will be the symbol of religious unity in a deceived community of planetary citizens.

Seven successive world empires (the beast with the 7 heads)

The end-time empire of the Antichrist will be the seventh in a series of godless empires that started with the first Babylonian Empire of Nimrod (Genesis 11:1-9). After the Assyrians captured Babylon and dominated the then known world, Babylon’s supremacy was restored by Nebuchadnezzar. After that, the Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires followed. Since the fall of the Roman Empire the world became politically and culturally more divided than ever. At present, however, the First-, Second-, and Third Worlds are increasingly united under the banner of the New World Order in preparation for the seventh world empire which will be headed by the Antichrist. The seven empires are:

  1. The ancient Babylonian Empire
  2. The Assyrian Empire
  3. The restored Babylonian Empire
  4. The Medo-Persian Empire
  5. The Greek Empire
  6. The Roman Empire
  7. The end-time empire of the Antichrist

A repetition of the oppressive and godless practices of the ancient world empires will occur during the reign of the Antichrist. That is the reason why he is depicted as a strange beast composed of the features of various beasts which, in the book of Daniel, signify the Babylonian-, Medo-Persian-, Greek-, and Roman empires. The Assyrian Empire is not represented in these symbols, but from a passage in Isaiah 10:12-25 it is evident that the Assyrian is also a type of the Antichrist.

The Babylonian Empire (the mouth of a lion)

In Daniel 7, the lion is a symbol of the Babylonian Empire. In Daniel 2, this empire is also depicted by a large image with a head of gold. In accordance with this image, Nebuchadnezzar ordered the erection of a golden image that was 30 metres high. All the nations in his empire were forced to fall down and worship the image.

Nebuchadnezzar had power over all the nations in the known world of his time. He exalted the power of the Babylonian Empire above all other powers, deified himself and declared himself the saviour and king of mankind. He ruled that no other god be worshipped since the state and the king held supreme authority. He did not recognise any higher power, and consequently had a constitution without God.

A most frightful form of public execution awaited all who dared to ignore the order of the king. In this regard the true God of heaven and earth was contemptuously disregarded since the Jewish captives were also ordered not to worship their God, but to bow before the golden image.

Compare this situation with South Africa’s constitution in which God is not recognised as the highest authority. The tragedy of such a situation is that the denial of God’s authority always ends up in the belittling and even blaspheming of His holy Name. For this very reason a blasphemous name is written on all seven heads of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1).

After God humiliated Nebuchadnezzar and reduced him to an insane person who lived with the wild animals for seven years, he was restored to his former position. He was now a converted person who recognised God, also in the constitution of his empire:

"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase" (Daniel 4:37).

After his restoration, Nebuchadnezzar recognised the supreme power of God and explicitly defined his own power and that of the state as subservient to the Almighty God. He immediately revised and corrected the constitution of the Babylonian Empire.

The Medo-Persian Empire (the feet of a bear)

The bear is a symbol of the Medo-Persian Empire that defeated the Babylonian Empire and reigned in its place. The bear is a vicious animal that tramples many nations under its feet. It also fiercely persecuted the dispersed people of Israel.

King Ahasuerus of this empire was influenced by Haman, one of his evil advisers, to issue a decree ordering the persecution and extermination of all Jews. It is conspicuous that governments who exclude God from their constitutions always have religious advisers with great popular support, but who are actually blind leaders.

Ahasuerus was married to a beautiful Jewish woman, Esther, and he later realised that the people whose annihilation he ordered, posed no threat to him or his kingdom. They were loyal citizens who observed high moral standards. Many of them even prayed for him! The Jew, Mordecai, saved the life of the king by informing him of a plot against him (Esther 2).

This king of a godless world empire suddenly realised that he was deceived by his close friend and adviser, Haman, and that he acted wrongly by signing the decree. However, he was the victim of his own constitution that gave no recognition to God or the people of God. It also ruled that the king could not repeal any of his laws or decrees, as he ruled by the irrevocable laws of the Medes and Persians. What Ahasuerus could do under the constricting circumstances to alleviate the plight of the Jews, he nevertheless did. He gave them the right to defend themselves. He also disposed of his wicked adviser. Haman was forced to honour Mordecai and was then hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai.

As Nebuchadnezzar’s mind was radically changed, this king’s eyes were also opened to certain crucial facts about God and His chosen people who confess His Name. The God of Israel said to Abraham: "I will make you a great nation… I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you" (Genesis 12:2-3). History has confirmed the solemn truth of this statement.

The Greek Empire (the body of a leopard)

The leopard represents the Greek Empire that rose to world supremacy under the leadership of Alexander the Great after the reign of the Medes and the Persians. The Greeks had a multi-religious constitution which made provision for the worshipping of many gods, even the unknown god. Their Hellenistic world religion was actively propagated among all nations, including the Jews. Although they were prepared to recognise all gods in their inclusive (polytheistic) religion, they resented the exclusive religion of Israel within which all other gods but the one true God are referred to as vain idols.

Antiochus Epiphanes, one of the kings of the Syrian Province, did all he possibly could to eradicate Israel’s form of worship and to replace it with the worship of Greek gods such as Zeus. He persecuted and even executed people who circumcised their children and observed the Covenant with the God of Israel.

Our situation is in certain aspects comparable with that of Israel under Hellenism in that we also have a multi-religious constitution. It entails that Christianity is classified on an equal level with the non-Christian religions. People who oppose interfaith associations and promote their own religion at the cost of other faiths, may be regarded as unconstitutional.

The Roman Empire (the beast with the ten horns)

The terrible and most dreadful beast with the ten horns on its head (Daniel 7:7) signifies the Roman Empire with its godless and merciless domination of millions of people. The emperors deified themselves and instituted ruthless oppression against Jews, Christians and all other dissidents in their empire. Caesar Nero was one of the most notorious dictators of the Roman Empire. He ordered the use of maximum force in subjecting the Jews who revolted against the Roman occupation of their land. During the siege and destruction of Jerusalem, 1,1 million Jews died, while 97 000 were taken as prisoners of war, sold on slave markets and dispersed to other parts of the Roman Empire. The temple was destroyed and the walls broken down to the foundation in order to recover the melted gold. A military presence was maintained in Jerusalem to ensure that the Jews did not return and rebuild the city.

Idolatry was never prohibited in the Roman Empire, and the people who worshipped idols were not persecuted. After Christianity was embraced by Caesar Constantine early in the fourth century, it was not done at the expense of other religions.

In our time the non-Christian religions likewise don’t experience any opposition. It is Christianity that is pressurised and expected to bow the knee unto Baal by recognising other faiths and to reach out and associate with them. Protestant Christians never denied the members of other religions the freedom to practise their faith. All they asked throughout the centuries was that the government should recognise the true God and honour His Word.

Actions of the Antichrist as future world leader

Like the emperors of previous world governments, the Antichrist will claim absolute supremacy. He will also exalt himself to the position of God and demand the worship of all the people. His actions will correlate as follows with those of the previous empires:

It is obvious why the world empire of the Antichrist is compared to the previous world empires. The key features of all of them will be revived in his empire. But his rule will be more vicious and devastating than all his predecessors. For that reason the Lord Jesus said: "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21).

Godless governments

From the fate of the previous world empires it is evident what happens when an emperor denies the supremacy of God and claims supreme power for himself and his empire in the place of God. "For whoever exalts himself will be abased" (Luke 14:11). He will be cast down to the depths of humiliation and shame, and his empire become like the chaff from the threshing floors; the wind will carry it away so that no trace of it can be found. In the place of these kingdoms, the true Christ (Messiah) will rule from the throne of David in Jerusalem (Daniel 2:31-45; Acts 15:16-17; Revelation 11:15).

God is the Supreme Authority in the universe. He is the author and personification of all authority. He can delegate power to whoever He wishes. He appoints rulers and puts down the mighty from their thrones. For the same reason the Lord Jesus, who Himself is God, could say: "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth" (Matthew 28:18). He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 19:15-16).

The abuse of power

No government or leader would have any power over people if it was not granted to him within the permissible will of God. However, if he denies the supreme authority of God by not recognising it in his constitution, he is guilty of the abuse of God-given authority and in effect digs his own political grave. In doing so he rejects the very basis of the authority that he himself exercises since no recognition is given to the origin of it.

If the authority and position of the true God is not recognised, there are two possible consequences:

Godless, humanistic constitutions

During the past few years several governments in the world have been influenced by modern humanistic thought to deny and reject the authority of God by accepting constitutions in which no mention is made of His supreme authority. The USA is one of them. South Africa is also one of the many countries of which the government turned its back upon the true God by accepting a constitution in which authority is said to be vested in the state, while all religions are regarded as equal.

If the earlier communist expansion is taken into account at least 44 countries have, during the 20th century, declared themselves secular states. In all cases it led to constricting legislation and the persecution of people. More than 160 million citizens of secular states have died at the hands of their own governments during this century! It is incomprehensible why all this evidence is ignored and nations are reverting to God-rejecting secular constitutions at the end of the 20th century.

It is obviously in a time such as this that Psalm 2 will have its final fulfilment:

"Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed (Jesus Christ), saying, Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us. He who sits in heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

"Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him" (Psalm 2:1-12).

According to verse 2 of the quoted Psalm, the nations are waging an open campaign against Almighty God and the Lord Jesus. They deny the supreme authority of God and serve other gods instead of Him. They also reject a Christian world-view, the atonement for sins on the Cross, Christian education, Christian ethics, etc. They no longer associate with these principles and regard them as stumbling blocks in the pursuit of their humanistic liberties: "Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us." That, according to them, is true liberty, equality and fraternity!

God explicitly says that He anointed His Son, Jesus Christ, as King of the world and that He gave the nations as His inheritance (v. 7-8). If they revolt against Him, He will judge them and break them in pieces (v. 9). "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31).

The fate of the ancient godless empires also awaits the present Christ-rejecting nations of the world on their humanistic course of self-exaltation and association with the non-Christian religions. If they proceed with their rejection of the true Christ, they will inevitably receive the Antichrist (the beast of Revelation) as world leader and enter into a covenant with him and be participants of his neo-Babylonian world empire (Daniel 9:27). Together with him, and as part of his military dictatorship, they will fight against the true Christ when He comes back to establish His kingdom on Mount Zion in Israel. With the Antichrist and the false prophet, many members of the deceived nations will be judged and condemned when Jesus comes:

"And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him (Christ) who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast (the Antichrist) was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh" (Revelation 19:19-21).

Won’t the governments of the nations, including the South African government that have already taken the first dangerous steps on the way of the rejection of the true God and the blaspheming of His Holy Name by equating Him with vain idols, not rather accept a friendly warning? "Be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth" (Psalm 2:10). The judges who uphold the godless constitutions and other laws by virtue of which entire nations have defected from the Lord, are warned and held accountable together with the political leaders for their treason against God.

To them all, the Bible says: "Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling" (Psalm 2:11). God must be revered and respected by the kings and judges. The leaders of a country are obliged to set the right example to their followers. If they don’t do it, they can expect big problems: "Kiss the Son (the Lord Jesus) lest He be angry, and you perish in the way" (Psalm 2:12).

A person, a community or a government that puts its trust in the Almighty God by recognising Him, believing in Him, and serving Him is called blessed: "Blessed are those who put their trust in Him" (Psalm 2:12). On a national level, the best place for a statement of this nature would be in the preamble of the constitution: "In the God of the Bible we trust…" This basic fact should be observed in all the legislation and practices of a country.

A safe refuge

The Lord Jesus invites all sinners to take their refuge in Him. Confess your sins and lost state to Him, accept His forgiveness and receive Him as the Saviour of your life (1 John 1:9; John 1:12). The Cross of Golgotha is a refuge against the wrath of God. There, the judgement of God for the sins of the world was borne by Jesus when He sacrificed His life for us. "He was wounded for our transgressions… (and) the chastisement for our peace was upon Him" (Isaiah 53:5). Did you accept His substitutionary death? (Acts 4:12).

If you belong to the true Christ, and if you love and serve Him, you will be guided by the Spirit of Truth. Then you won’t be a victim of the Antichrist’s deception and follow him on the road to perdition. You will also be able to make a clear choice for Christianity and against the anti-Christian New World Order that is paving the way for the appearance of the Antichrist as world-leader.

This matter encompasses much more than merely your attitude towards a constitution, a particular ideology or an educational system. It concerns your personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. If you truly belong to Him, you will be a partaker of the eternal life of Christ. Through the work of the Holy Spirit you will have enlightened eyes of the mind, and be able to discern all the dangers and deception of our time, including many false movements within nominal Christianity. You will accept the challenge to be the light of a dark world and the salt of a corrupt earth.

All Christians are commissioned to boldly take a Biblical stand in all matters, and thereby restrain the march of the Antichrist towards world domination (2 Thessalonians 2:6). The Antichrist has not yet been revealed as a person, but his accomplices in the kingdom of darkness are actively busy preparing the way for his appearance as world leader. Consider the following humanistic and New Age statements as examples of promoting an anti-Christian ideology:

All these changing paradigms form part of the preparations for the world empire of the Antichrist. We can’t view these things passively and still regard ourselves as active Christians. Neither can we argue that it is a Biblical command to be loyal citizens who should not offer any resistance when governments do foolish things like the uprooting of Christianity in society. We must advance the interests of the kingdom of God and also protect our children from religious deception in state schools.

The nations must be warned against succumbing to the treacherous principles of the New World Order. If this campaign succeeds, the God-given liberties of nations will be taken away from them. In its core, the movement of humanistic reforms constitutes intentional rebellion against God and His Anointed One, Jesus Christ. We can under no circumstances give our approval to the movement, neither can we remain passive while it is promoted and expanded.

Are you resisting the evil powers of darkness, and do you assist the members of your society and government to see reason and reconsider their policies and strategies? The Bible says: "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them" (Ephesians 5:11). Perhaps many of them don’t realise that they are turning their backs upon God and are promoting the kingdom of the Antichrist. We know that the god of this world (the devil) has blinded the minds of many people (2 Corinthians 4:4). They think they are doing well to equate Christianity and the other faiths.

We who have the light of God’s Word, must not conceal it but let it shine more than ever before. Don’t be discouraged because your message may not be very popular in the present evil world. It is now the time to stand up for your convictions and to fearlessly proclaim them among all people!

God’s messages that He sent to Israel through the prophets were often in the form of admonitions that also apply to the other nations: "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place… The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD; so what wisdom do they have? …from the least even to the greatest everyone is given to covetousness; from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely" (Jeremiah 7:3 and 8:9-10).

Christians should stand up and perform the task of admonishing their backslidden nations. An immoral, perverted and spiritually sick society must hear the word of the Lord in order to understand its problems and also to realise what the only lasting solution is.

Christian protests

There are still people who are prepared to rise in the spirit of the early Protestant reformers and voice their concerns against constitutions, laws, principles and practices that pose a danger to Christianity. On 30th May 1995, a group of 20 000 persons marched under the banner of The Christian Voice to the Parliament buildings in Cape Town to demonstrate their grief and dissatisfaction with the proposed new constitution and related issues such as the legalising of abortion, a more tolerable attitude towards pornography, etc. On 3rd May 1996, a similar march by 12 000 Christians was staged. Furthermore, over 230 000 people signed the Christianity and Religious Freedom document which stated in point 3: "We require that those who will formulate the new laws of the land will acknowledge the Triune God in the Constitution of our country."

In a Memorandum handed to government by the chairman of The Christian Voice, Rev. E.J. Zevenster, the following statements, among others, were made:

"Sections of the proposed new constitution are anti-Christian. Instead of God being honoured in the constitution, man is exalted as sovereign. To Christians, God alone is sovereign. He is the King of kings, the Lord of lords and the Lord of the nations. He is the only One who gives life and who sends the rain. It is hypocritical and presumptuous to expect God to protect and bless our country while our constitution is in blatant rebellion to His eternal Law!

"The overwhelming majority of submissions to the Constitutional Assembly were for the execution of murderers, the protection of babies, the banning of pornography, and the honouring of God in the preamble. Yet, the drafters of the new constitution have chosen to reject the Christian concerns of a clear majority of the citizens of this country. The new constitution, if accepted, would abolish the death penalty for guilty murderers, but establish the death penalty for innocent babies through abortion! Pornography would be protected as freedom of expression…"

Dr. Ed Cain of Signposts added his voice to the protest actions against the constitutions and said, among others:

"Many provisions of the new constitution are at variance with Christian convictions. It is secular because it ignores God. It is humanistic because it puts man in the place of God… In the preamble the statement ‘In humble submission to Almighty God’ is replaced by: ‘We, the people of South Africa, recognise the injustices of our past; honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land.’ So, instead of bowing to God’s authority, the preamble begins by paying homage to a certain group of people!

"It is true that the preamble closes with the words: ‘May God protect our people’ and ‘God bless Africa’ (the opening words of Nkosi Sikelela iAfrika) in six languages. But seeking God’s protection and blessing without honouring and obeying Him means very little."

The New World Order

The reason why constitutions of this nature are so easily accepted is because they breathe the spirit of the anti-Christian New World Order. They are internationally praised because they appear to be so reasonable and democratic, being aimed at allowing maximum personal liberties. Moral judgements are extremely weak and in most cases completely absent, with the result that immoral behaviour such as sexual perversion and homosexuality is protected, as well as the rights of murderers.

Because human rights and freedom of association are elevated above group rights, cultural and religious groups are only to a very limited extent recognised and protected. In actual fact, no exclusive group rights are allowed; consequently such groups are exposed to all sorts of foreign influences. In an extremely open society they are induced to freely mix with other groups, cultures and religions. The merging of estranged groups and the synthesising of different opinions are regarded as special virtues.

Constitutions of this nature are the building blocks of the New World Order. As their influence further expands, a neo-Babylonian society will emerge on a world-wide scale. Everything will converge into a unified international order in which national sovereignty as a divisive group right will eventually also be sacrificed on the altar of internationalism. All nations will then join forces to establish a common framework for a world government and an alliance of world religions. According to the Bible, the Antichrist will be the head of this new dispensation. He will use it to realise Satan’s objective of universal sovereignty and religious worship.

It is an extremely important matter that we address in this article, as it intimately affects the fate of individuals and nations. Like Joshua in Biblical times, a Christian must always be ready to take a clear stand about his/her religious convictions:

"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).

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