David Jeremiah - A Cultural Prophecy: Socialism
Under the cover of darkness, a middle-aged man inched out of the window of his seventh-story apartment and then silently rappelled 75 feet to the ground. A pair of bolt-cutters snipped off his ankle monitor, and the man jumped into a waiting car. No, this is not a movie. After 15 years of imprisonment on bogus charges, Ivan Simonovis was escaping from Venezuela. In 2014, Ivan had been moved to house arrest to seek treatment for 19 chronic health conditions, most of which had been caused by his imprisonment. Knowing this was his only chance, he arranged his daring escape, and after speeding off in a car, he spent three weeks evading security in a cat-and-mouse pursuit, a 14-hour ride in a small fishing boat got him to a Caribbean island, and from there, he flew to the United States.
Ivan could recall when Venezuela was the wealthiest nation in South America. The per capita income of its citizens was greater than those of China and Japan, almost rivaling the income of US citizens. The people of Ivan's generation enjoyed religious liberty and political freedom and personal dignity and economic opportunity. But when the oil prices crashed in the 1980s and then again in the '90s, the Venezuelan economy experienced a dip and then that dip became a dive in 1998, and the Venezuelan people elected Hugo Chávez as their president. Once in power, Chávez relentlessly implemented the socialist playbook formulated by the Soviet Union, Cuba, and China, and other nations. His first task was to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution, guaranteeing citizens the so-called "free rights of government," provided health care, free college education, and social justice.
When the Supreme Court ruled against Chávez on several important issues, he responded by stacking the court with 12 new justices, all of which were loyal to him. Socialism totally engulfed the country when Chávez was re-elected in 2006. Fully in control of the courts and the Legislature, he moved quickly to nationalize the media, removing every voice of dissent. Then he authorized government agencies to seize privately owned wealth and property from Venezuela's citizens, all in the name of fairness and equity. Chávez took control of the nation's oil industry. He expelled all the foreign investors. He nationalized power companies and farms and mines and banks and grocery stores, and his final step was to eliminate term limits for elected officials, setting himself up to rule for the rest of his life in the style of Russia's Stalin and Cuba's Castro.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Not even Chávez could evade the last enemy. He died from cancer in 2013, but his handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro, continued to implement Chávez's agenda, even going further in some areas to force a Marxist system on the Venezuelan people. Today, Venezuela is descending into anarchy. Record numbers of Venezuela migrants are fleeing northward, trying to reach the border of the United States. Right now you may be wondering what all of this has to do with you. I mean, if Venezuela has proven that socialism is a bad idea, why should anybody care? Well, you should care. You should really care. Because socialist visions and policies are invading the United States. You'll hear it discussed under four different names. Some people call it socialism, communism, Marxism, and cultural Marxism.
Consider this, Hugo Chávez had plenty of cheerleaders in the United States during his rise, including Hollywood stars like Sean Penn, Michael Moore, Oliver Stone, and Danny Glover. Socialism seems to hold some sort of hypnotic power over many thinkers, and it's spilling into the common culture. A 2020 poll showed that 40% of Americans had a favorable view of socialism. This was up from 36% in 2019 and even more frightening, 47% of the Millennials and 49% of Generation Z view socialism favorably. Indeed, one 2019 poll found in Axios that 61% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 have a positive reaction to socialism. And then there's this: in 2020, Bernie Sanders nearly won the Democratic party's nomination for president of the United States, and this is the same senator from Vermont who publicly declared, "I am a socialist and everybody knows it".
When Jesus was describing what it would be like on earth just before he returned, here's what he said: "But as the days of Noah were, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be". What were those days of Noah like? Genesis 6:5 describes them this way: "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually". The people of Noah's day ignored and ridiculed his warnings. Noah built and preached for 120 years and not one single individual outside of his immediate family believed him. The people were so indifferent that they didn't understand what was happening until it was too late.
The heedlessness of the people of Noah's day will be duplicated in the last days of our world's history. It will be a day much like ours, a day when ideologies like socialism can sneak in without much attention. Will this be the political philosophy on the earth when the Tribulation begins? I believe it will. Socialism is tailormade for the Antichrist's appearance. It creates global conditions that bring great stress and trouble, difficult days that will be hard to bear. And it demands a one-world system of government, which Scripture says will be established before the end of history. Revelation 13 describes the Antichrist as a "beast having vast power and authority. The whole world marveled and gave allegiance to the beast. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and every language and nation. And all the people who belong to the world".
There's coming a day when there will be a leader who will be in charge of the whole world. He will be the central authority for everybody in every place on Planet Earth. And you think that's not possible, but it is. And if this pandemic had been worse than it has been, you would have probably seen more of that than you have seen already. So I've introduced all of this and I've talked about socialism a couple of times. What is socialism? Well, socialists believe that the world's means of production, like infrastructure, farms, factories, energy, natural resources, medicines, and more should be under the control of quote, unquote, "the people". In other words, society as a whole should own all the raw materials and the systems that produce wealth. In a free market system, these materials are controlled by companies or individuals, but in socialist countries, they are owned by "the people".
Of course, there's no way to make decisions based on such a loose concept as "the people". So, under socialism, the government becomes the sole authority and controller, and the means of production. Unfortunately, governments are controlled by specific people, often the kinds of people who seek out power, and those people are entirely corruptible by greed and selfishness, lust, and vindictiveness and violence, and the overwhelming desire for power. As more power flows to the government, the handful at the top become dictatorial.
To understand socialism, as it is in our culture today, we must first understand the originator of socialism as we know it. He was a man by the name of Karl Marx. When you understand who he was and what he believed, you will be able to trace a lot that's going on in our world today right back to him. If you study the life of Karl Marx, you will learn that he wasn't just a hater of God, he was a cheerleader for the devil. His family thought him possessed by a demon. A biographer described him like this: "He had the devil's view of the world and the devil's malignity. Sometimes he seemed to know that he was accomplishing the works of evil". "On one occasion, Marx's own son sent him a letter and addressed it to 'My dear devil.'" Marx's partner, Friedrich Engels, declared that 10,000 devils had Marx by the hair. Marx was a tyrant, a racist, and a misogynistic radical who hated God and wanted to see the world burn.
In his 1837 poem "The Pale Maiden," he composed these words. This is his poem: "Thus heaven I forfeited, I know it full well. My soul, once true to God, has been chosen for hell". He knew in his own life that he was an evil man. In 1849, one year after publishing the communist manifesto, Marx was evicted by his landlord who was fed up with his filthiness. "Karl drank too much, he smoked too much, he never exercised, and he suffered from warts and boils due to the lack of washing. He stunk. As for the family apartment, everything was broken down, busted, spilled, smashed, falling apart, with toys and chairs and dishes and cups and tables everywhere". Karl Marx fathered an illegitimate child by his maid, Helene Demuth. He blamed the child on his partner, Engels, who thought it was a great joke.
Since Marx never had a job, he mooched off everyone, his parents, Engels, and anyone else he could find. His wife, Jenny, was so miserable in their marriage, she wanted to die, a wish she pondered daily. His daughters, Jenny and Laura, fulfilled their mother's wish. Jenny poisoned herself when she was 43. And in a death pact with her husband, Laura also committed suicide. Karl Marx died in despair on March 14, 1883. Just before his death, he wrote to his friend Engels: "How pointless and empty is life," he said, "and yet how desirable". He was buried in the Highgate Cemetery, considered the center of Satanism in London.
Now, I've given you that little report on this man because I can't help but wonder how many people who are championing socialism and Marxism are aware of the poisonous roots of their belief. Their founder was a hideous person and what he was, socialism became. Today, Karl Marx is ruling the world from his grave, and here are some of the characteristics of his ideology.
Number one: Marxism is anti-God. Karl Marx hated Christianity, which he saw as a source of oppression. To him, religion was the opium of the people. "For communism to succeed, loyalty to the church had to be replaced by loyalty to the state. On one occasion, he described the church as medieval mildew that had to be scraped away". In spite of what many claim to believe or propose, Marxism is incompatible with the free expression of religion. I don't think you can be a Christian socialist, a Christian Marxist. The things that are involved in these two understandings are totally opposite. They contradict each other. So Marxism is, first of all, anti-God. It's not atheistic. They believe in God. They just hate him, and they try to push him out. One of their little sayings was: "We're gonna rid the world of capitalists and rid heaven of God". That was their motives.
It is also characterized by totalitarianism. Now, that's a long word but it's a word you'll understand in a moment. This fact about Marxism is one we should grasp. It quickly becomes totalitarian. "The term 'totalitarianism' was first used by supporters of Dictator Benito Mussolini who summed it up this way: 'Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, and nothing against the state.'" "According to Hannah Arendt, the foremost scholar on totalitarianism, a totalitarian state is one that aspires to nothing less than defining and controlling reality". Truth is whatever the rulers decide it to be. As Arendt has written, "'Wherever totalitarianism has ruled, it has begun to destroy the essence of man.'"
It's anti-God, it's totalitarian, and it's divisive. Marxism thrives on division. In historic Marxism, the division was promoted between classes of people: the oppressors against the oppressed, the bosses against the workers. Men like Hugo Chávez went out of their way to ensure that the poor people of his country hated the wealthy people of his country. In today's cultural Marxism in our country, the exploited divide is often racial. I believe that's one of the reasons we've lost some of the progress we've made on race relationships. Whatever it is or however far it might be removed from actual racism, whenever a socialist or Marxist can't figure out how to respond to an issue, they always, and I mean every time, call it racist. And this is tragic for many reasons.
It's very hurtful to be branded a racist if one has done or said nothing that would lead a rational person to make such an accusation. And once racism has been pinned on a person, it's almost impossible to get rid of it, no matter what you do. But there is another seldom-discussed sadness with playing the race card. If everything is racist, nothing is racist. All of us know there are still issues that need to be addressed with race relationships in America, but the true issues get lost in the avalanche of unwarranted accusations and there's never any time to devote to the real issues that still face us. When everything is racist, then nothing is racist. And Marxism is using this divide in our country to make headway into our culture.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Marxism to me as I studied it, is how deadly it has been. Christianity leads to life; Marxism leads to death. In 1999, "The Black Book of Communism" endeavored to attempt the impossible task of tabulating a Marxist-Leninist death toll for the 20th century. It revealed the most colossal case of political carnage in history. Latin America: 150,000 deaths; Eastern Europe: 1 million deaths; Vietnam: 1 million deaths; Africa: 1.7 million deaths; Cambodia: 2 million deaths; North Korea: 2 million deaths; USSR: 20 million deaths; China: 65 million deaths. The death count that resulted from Marxism between 1917 and 1979 would equate to a rate of multiple thousands of dead people over the course of 100 years. Even Adolf Hitler got nowhere close to that. In fact, neither did the two deadliest wars in history.
Think of this, World War I and World War II would have to be combined and doubled to get near to communism's butcher bill. More people have died as the result of communism than the First World War and the Second World War times two. Communism leads to death. Wherever you see it, across the globe, you will see the deadliness of it. That's all from the heart of the evil Karl Marx. So, that's what it is, and obviously there's much more to socialism than what I've said.
Those are some of the main characteristics, and you say, "Well, Pastor Jeremiah, that's a good study. So what does that have to do with us? What does that mean"? Well, I am afraid this new political trajectory in our nation is more than just a trend. It is a seismic shift toward the socialist agenda. If you look closely, you can draw the connections. First of all, the destruction of our monuments. It's become common in recent years to see news headlines or live video of protest groups surrounding, defacing, even eventually removing statues and other historical monuments they consider to be offensive. We were surprised when they took down some of the early monuments. There might have been some reason for that. But then they didn't stop there. They took down Washington and Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, everybody they could find that had anything to do with history. When we witness these events, we're not simply seeing a bunch of rowdy young people tearing down statues for fun. No, instead, this is a part of a concerted effort to erase the past.
"The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory, destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have someone write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history, and before long, the nation will forget what it is and what it was". On the contrary, it is interesting to discover that the word "remember" is found 164 times in the Old Testament. Socialism wants you to forget. Christianity wants you to remember. "Remember the former things of old," God said through the prophet Isaiah, "I am God, and there is none like me". Yes, remember all that God has done for us. On the basis of past mercies, we can build a future of grace. The destruction of monuments is related to the socialist agenda. Cancel culture. Remember what I told you about socialism? It's totalitarian. Don't think it's just statues and histories that are being torn down. It's also anyone who doesn't kneel at the altar of prevailing, political passions. You are canceled if you don't agree. I wanna point out that this, too, is a child of socialism. In cultural Marxism there is no room for dissenting opinions. Are we seeing that? Absolutely.
Number three, the dismantling of the nuclear family. Marxism reaches its icy fingers into your very home. Marxists want to raise your children. They wanna do it, not you. That's what's going on in our schools today. They want to put all of this insidious craziness into the curriculum, starting now earlier and earlier in school. As long as the family remains strong, socialism can't flourish, so there's an ongoing attempt to subjugate the home to the government. That explains much of what is happening in our schools at this very moment. You need to be aware of that, and I'll tell you what, I think this may be the Achilles heel, what's happening right now, because parents all over this country are waking up. When they watched on Zoom what their kids were being taught during the pandemic, they said, "Wait a minute. This is not what we want for our children".
The destruction of monuments, the cancel culture, the dismantling of the nuclear family. And how about this? The redistribution of wealth. That's the central thing that most people know about socialism. This ideology teaches that all human assets should be claimed by the government and redistributed to the masses in a more equitable formula. This would supposedly rid the world of poverty. But somehow, it has never worked out that way. It doesn't take a scholar to see that wherever this principle has been implemented, the poor people have gotten poorer and the few elitists who have been assigned to redistribute the wealth have themselves become filthy rich.
Listen carefully. In all the history of socialism from the beginning of time, there is not one, not one, single, successful, socialist story. They are all failures. They all lead to death and destruction and poverty, and don't give me the Scandinavian countries as an illustration 'cause they're not socialist. Those are welfare societies. Socialism fails. Socialism is death. Socialism will lead this country to destruction and everything it was built on, everything we believe, will be destroyed if we don't stop this in its tracks.
Here's one that really makes sense: the defunding of the police. Socialists are especially keen on keeping the reins of law enforcement in their tight fists. In America, their first step is to villainize the police, then defund them, and that's why some cities have slashed their police budgets. And surprise, each of these cities has seen a dramatic uptick in violent crimes in all the months that followed. Who could have thought? Police officers are retiring early and the recruiting of new police officers is at all-time low. Progressive politicians go to and from work to discuss all of this in their limousines accompanied by their expensive security personnel. Whatever you do, don't miss the socialists' motivation for vilifying local authorities. No matter how loudly they deny it, they are simply trying to let the local government fail so that they can federalize our cities and states and move control for all that happens to Washington. Everything you watch today is about nationalizing elections, nationalizing schools, nationalizing everything. Nationalize it, then you can control it with just a few people.
So, that's where we are, that's where we've been, and here we come to this question: where do we go from here? You say, "Dr. Jeremiah, I'm just one little one. What am I supposed to do about all this? How can I have any response? I mean, this is coming and I see it and I feel it and it touches my children and my grandchildren, so what should I do"? Well, let me give you some thoughts that I hope you will carefully consider. First of all, we need to review what the Bible says. You say, "Well, isn't it possible for me to be socialist? Can I have a socialist concept and still be a Christian"? So I'm gonna give you a really quick little survey of what the Bible says. This is from an article that I read by Al Mohler: "Scripture affirms the dignity of work, Ephesians 4:28. It affirms the fact that those who refuse to work should not eat, 2 Thessalonians 3:10. The Bible affirms private property, Exodus 22. It condemns theft, Exodus 20:15, and covetousness, Exodus 20:17. It promotes saving, Proverbs 13:22, and thrift, Proverbs 21:20, land ownership, Acts chapter 4, investment, Matthew chapter 25. All of these are honored in Scripture, and the Bible teaches that the laborer is worthy of his wages".
Socialism contradicts every single one of those biblical principles. You can't be a biblicist and believe what the socialist wants you to believe. So review what the Bible says. You can do your own study on that. Just get a good concordance and go to work. Number two, refuse to live by lies. If you refuse to live by lies, you might have to go out of the world 'cause it seems like everywhere you look, it's all lies. I mean, I've told you this. I watch on television, it's just amazing to me that intelligent people see this and it doesn't just strip every gear in their body. Someone is accused of doing something that they shouldn't do in opposition to our country. They have all the proof. You can see the proof. It's recorded. They ask the person and that person says, "No, I did not do that". And instead of believing what they can see with their own eyes by way of proof, they believe the person and life goes on as usual. I mean, whoever heard of anything like that?
The Bible says there's coming a day when "good will be called evil, and evil will be called good," and I guess we're living in that time. But here's what I want you to know. You do not have to live by lies. Proverbs 29:12 says: "If a ruler pays attention to lies, all of his servants become wicked". After his expulsion from Russia for writing his famous work, "The Gulag Archipelago," Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn published a message to the Russian people and here was his message: "Live not by lies". In this essay, he offered a list of what citizens must not do if they were to be faithful to the truth. Here's what he said:
They must not "say, write, affirm, or distribute anything that distorts the truth".
Number two, they must not "go to a demonstration or participate in a collective action unless you truly believe in the cause, and it is true".
Number three, you must not "take part in a meeting in which the discussion is forced, and no one can speak the truth".
You must not "vote for a candidate or a proposal you consider to be dubious or unworthy".
And you must not "support journalism that distorts or hides the underlying facts".
And that last point will subtract almost all of the news programs that are on television today. I mean, they don't tell the truth. Christians have been called to refuse falsehood. Even to accept or listen to what is false is wrong. That's why if you let your mind be filled with all the garbage of some of these networks that just force these lies out of their network room into the atmosphere, you're hurting yourself. Solzhenitsyn said, "Don't do it. Don't listen to it". Don't allow yourself to be listening to lies and then live by lies. So much of what we hear in our culture today has no connection to common sense. Let us refuse to live by lies. Just because somebody in power says it's true doesn't mean it's true.
So review what the Bible says, that's a good thing. Refuse to live by lies. Here's another one: resolve to be a follower of Christ and not just an admirer of Christ. What is happening, men and women, in this time is we're sorting out the church. We're sorting out Christians. We've got some Christians who are admirers of Christ and we have some who are followers of Christ. Soren Kierkegaard wrote something about that. He said, "The admirer of Christ never makes any sacrifice. He always plays it safe, though in words and phrases and songs, he is inexhaustible about how he praises Christ, he renounces nothing, he will not reconstruct his life, and he will not let his life express what he supposedly admires. Not so for the follower. Oh, no. The follower aspires with all of his strength to be what he admires". And that's what we need to be today as Christians.
You know, I know a lot of people who are cultural Christians. They go out and live for the devil during the week and show up in church on Sunday, sort of gives them a feeling of respectability. They're not followers of Christ. They might be admirers of Christ. They want Christ on their portfolio, but they don't necessarily want him dictating their life. More and more than ever before, we need to really be seriously asking ourself, "What does Jesus Christ want me to do in this situation"? Rethink small groups. As many of us learned during the COVID crisis, small groups are vital in rough times. This is what happened in the early days of the church where they "continued daily with one accord in the temple, and in breaking bread from house to house".
One person has written this: "What the experience of the church under communism and a discerning read of the signs of the times today tell us is this, that all Christians of every church should start forming these small groups, not simply to deepen its members' spiritual lives, but to train them in active resistance. Small groups are not retreats from the rest of the world. They are gatherings that help us care for one another, study the instructions of Scripture, cope with the world and advance the gospel. They are biblical in nature and they will prepare us to resist the socialist thought army that is coming after us today".
We need to be in small groups so that we can get strength from one another, and when this stuff starts happening to us, we aren't standing all by ourselves trying to face it as one couple. I believe more than ever before, that as we walk into these next days with all of this craziness that's going on around us, if we are not in a small group, we are setting ourselves up to be picked off. You know, the enemy likes to isolate people and pick 'em off one by one. You get in a small group and you have some people that can pray for you and help you. And we need to join hands with others who can help us stay strong during the things that are happening.
Number five, resist any way that you can. "We ought to obey God rather than men". So let me tell you a little story that will help you to understand how we can stand in the way of some of this stuff that is happening. Elizabeth Turner worked hard on her valedictorian speech for Hillsdale High School in Hillsdale, Michigan. She intentionally highlighted her faith in Jesus. In the draft of her speech, she said, and this is from her speech, "For me, my future hope is found in my relationship with Christ. By trusting him and choosing to live a life dedicated to bringing his kingdom glory, I can be confident that I am living a life with purpose and meaning. My identity is found by what God says, and who I want to become is laid out in Scripture".
Well, that didn't go over too well with the school officials. Her principal told her, "You are representing the school in this speech, not using the podium as your public forum. We need you to be mindful about the inclusion of religious aspects. These are your strong beliefs, but they are not appropriate for a speech in a school public setting. I know this will frustrate you but we have to be mindful of it".
Well, that didn't just frustrate Elizabeth. It frustrated my dear friend, Robert Morgan. When Robert Morgan heard this and read about it, he did something I would have never thought of doing. He picked up the phone and called the school and he spoke with someone in the principal's office. Rob was gentle and soft-spoken but he questioned the school's decision. "This is an infringement on the civil rights of this student," he said. "It's an erosion of our freedom of speech and worship". He was directed to the office of the superintendent of schools where he left a message on the answering machine and posted a link to the story on his social media sites. To his surprise, Rob said, "superintendent Sian Vandra called me back. He answered and wanted me to know that Hillsdale High School will certainly allow Elizabeth and all their valedictorians to express their genuine faith without any censorship".
Can you imagine that? Sometimes when something like that happens, you will have something go off in your heart and it will say, "I ought to". When it says you ought to, do it. That's what happened to Robert. He saw this, he heard it. "I ought to call". He called the school. Whoever thought of such a thing? Well, it's amazing what can happen if we don't just sit on our hands when people are trying to steal from us the things that mean so much to us as believers. So there are times when you can resist, and God'll show you when that is, and when your heart says, "I ought to," you do it. And please come and tell me the story. It'll be in another sermon, I promise you.
And finally, I want you to remember Venezuela. That's where we started. Today, Venezuela is a social and economic wasteland. Ninety-six percent of citizens live below the poverty line. Most people earn less than a US dollar per day. Poor economic management brought about inflation rates of more than 10 million percent, which is why a roll of toilet paper costs 2.6 million bolivars, the Venezuelan currency. And the lack of investment in commodities means the nation is barren of essential medicines and medical services. As a result, an estimated 5.5 million refugees have fled Venezuela, a number that represents more than a sixth of the nation's total population. In short, a country once defined by freedom and opportunity is now oppressed, barren, and hopeless. And Marxism caused it. Marxism is among the worst ideas ever conceived. Just ask its oppressed multitudes and its countless casualties.
We should be aware of its history, herald its dangers, and oppose its spread. When you see these crazy people on television, and I could name a few of them, talking about how this is gonna be the new face of our nation, I hope you shudder as I do and you hit the ground and pray, "Never, God, let this happen to us". Well, the best news of all is this: there is coming a Utopia. Better than anyone can ever imagine. Better than we can imagine. Isaiah 9:6-7 describes a time when the government will be upon the shoulder of Jesus Christ. When Jesus returns, things will be different, amen? Our Lord, when he returns, will right all of these wrongs. "He will judge between the nations. He will rebuke many people; and they will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; and nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore".
No, friends, socialism, Marxism, and all the other ugly "isms" of history will be utterly destroyed when Jesus comes back and sets up his kingdom on this earth. And the Bible says this kingdom will be forever and ever, and it also tells us that we can be citizens of this kingdom if we will put our trust in Jesus Christ. If we will allow Jesus Christ to become our Savior, he will not only just be the King of the earth, he'll be the King of our life, and I hope you have done that. I hope there's been a time in your life where you've given yourself to Jesus Christ and asked Christ to come and live within you.