In the name of sanctions, geopolitical interests or the so-called “rules-based order”, colonial powers do what they do best – plunder those they see as weak and insubordinate
Satan’s policy in this final conflict with God’s people is the same that he employed in the opening of the great controversy in heaven. He professed to be seeking to promote the stability of the divine government, while secretly bending every effort to secure its overthrow. And the very work which he was thus endeavoring to accomplish he charged upon the loyal angels. The same policy of deception has marked the history of the Roman Church. It has professed to act as the vicegerent of Heaven, while seeking to exalt itself above God and to change His law. Under the rule of Rome, those who suffered death for their fidelity to the gospel were denounced as evildoers; they were declared to be in league with Satan; and every possible means was employed to cover them with reproach, to cause them to appear in the eyes of the people and even to themselves as the vilest of criminals. So it will be now. While Satan seeks to destroy those who honor God’s law, he will cause them to be accused as lawbreakers, as men who are dishonoring God and bringing judgments upon the world.
God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan’s constant resort—to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce—is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this, he works through both religious and secular authorities, moving them to the enforcement of human laws in defiance of the law of God.
Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law and order, as breaking down the moral restraints of society, causing anarchy and corruption, and calling down the judgments of God upon the earth. Their conscientious scruples will be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and contempt of authority. They will be accused of disaffection toward the government. Ministers who deny the obligation of the divine law will present from the pulpit the duty of yielding obedience to the civil authorities as ordained of God. In legislative halls and courts of justice, commandment keepers will be misrepresented and condemned. A false coloring will be given to their words; the worst construction will be put upon their motives.
As the Protestant churches reject the clear, Scriptural arguments in defense of God’s law, they will long to silence those whose faith they cannot overthrow by the Bible. Though they blind their own eyes to the fact, they are now adopting a course which will lead to the persecution of those who conscientiously refuse to do what the rest of the Christian world are doing, and acknowledge the claims of the papal sabbath.
The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet’s words: “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. GC 591.1 – GC 592.3
Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is author of the recently-released No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using “Humanitarian” Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests.
FILE PHOTO. A US military vehicle patrols near the Rumaylan (Rmeilan) oil fields in Syria’s Kurdish-controlled northeastern Hasakeh province. © AFP / Delil SOULEIMAN
There is an old joke which still has resonance. A child asks his parent, “Why are there pyramids in Egypt?” The parent answers, “Because they were too big to take to Britain.” Of course, many a true word is spoken in jest. Indeed, there is an apocryphal story that back in the day when Vladimir Lenin was in exile in London, he would enjoy taking friends to the British Museum and explaining to them how and from what far-flung lands all the antiquities there were stolen.
One might have thought that these days of colonial plunder had ended, but one would be very wrong. Current examples abound. A notable one is, of course, the freezing by the US of $7 billion from the Afghanistan treasury – monies the US continues to hold even as it watches Afghans begin to die from starvation. Apparently, the US believes that, after laying waste to Afghanistan through 20 years of war and, even before that by supporting the mujahideen terrorists, it is entitled to some compensation. This upside-down type of reasoning abounds in the minds of those in the West who simply believe they can take whatever they wish.
Similarly, the US is now plundering Syria – another country utterly devastated in no small part by Washington-backed militants in a campaign to overthrow the elected president – of most of its oil, even as Syria suffers from severe energy blackouts. Thus, according to the Syrian Oil Ministry, “US occupation forces and their mercenaries,” referring to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), “steal up to 66,000 barrels every single day from the fields occupied in the eastern region,” amounting to around 83 percent of Syria’s daily oil production.
READ MORE Experts call for US to release frozen Afghan funds
According to the ministry’s data, the Syrian oil sector has incurred losses of “about $105 billion since the beginning of the war until the middle of this year” as a result of the US oil theft campaign.
Additionally, the statement added that alongside the financial losses incurred by the oil sector were “losses of life, including 235 martyrs, 46 injured and 112 kidnapped.”
One of the biggest heists the US has carried out is against Russia. After the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the US seized an incredible $300 billion of Russian treasury funds which were deposited abroad. This was done, of course, without any due process, and to the great detriment of the Russian people – and with barely a critical word from Western pundits.
The US treatment of Venezuela abounds with other examples. As I write these words, the US is maneuvering to seize a commercial 747 airliner from Venezuela on the grounds that it once belonged to an Iranian airline which had some connection to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (which Washington has designated as terrorists) – which might sound like a tenuous justification, but the US really needs no reason. And this is simply the tip of the iceberg. The US has already seized Venezuela’s biggest single source of revenue – its US-based oil company CITGO – and is now in the process of selling off this company in pieces, even as Washington lifts restrictions on Venezuelan oil to shore up its own economy. The UK, meanwhile, has decided to keep over $1 billion in gold which Venezuela naively deposited in the Bank of England for safe-keeping. To add insult to injury, the US continues to criticize Venezuela for the hardships its people endure as a direct consequence of this plunder.
READ MORE The cynicism behind US’ rapprochement with Venezuela
Meanwhile, the US continues to persecute Colombian businessman Alex Saab for trying to obtain food and medicine for the Venezuelan people , denied such amenities by US sanctions. Saab was captured at the behest of the US in Cabo Verde in 2020 as he was flying to Iran to negotiate a deal for humanitarian supplies, including medicine to confront the coronavirus pandemic, on a mission he was employed to perform by Caracas. Saab has since been removed to a federal prison in Miami, Florida, despite the lack of an extradition treaty between the US and Cabo Verde, and he continues to languish in prison as the wheels of US “justice” turn at a snail’s pace to resolve his case. In short, not only has the US freely stolen from Venezuela, but it is also going to great lengths to stop those who try to acquire the basic necessities for the Venezuelan people.
All of this illustrates that colonial habits die hard, and the US is always ready to turn to the tried and trusted traditions of plunder – whether to dig itself out of one of the worst economic crises in years, or to coerce other nations to serve its own geopolitical interests. The fact that the US is allowed to get away with this demonstrates that in the Washington-imposed “rules-based order” rule of law is nothing but a tool employed by the mighty to keep the weak down.
The Jews had forged their own fetters; they had filled for themselves the cup of vengeance. In the utter destruction that befell them as a nation, and in all the woes that followed them in their dispersion, they were but reaping the harvest which their own hands had sown. Says the prophet: “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself;” “for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.” Hosea 13:9; 14:1. Their sufferings are often represented as a punishment visited upon them by the direct decree of God. It is thus that the great deceiver seeks to conceal his own work. By stubborn rejection of divine love and mercy, the Jews had caused the protection of God to be withdrawn from them, and Satan was permitted to rule them according to his will. The horrible cruelties enacted in the destruction of Jerusalem are a demonstration of Satan’s vindictive power over those who yield to his control.
We cannot know how much we owe to Christ for the peace and protection which we enjoy. It is the restraining power of God that prevents mankind from passing fully under the control of Satan. The disobedient and unthankful have great reason for gratitude for God’s mercy and long-suffering in holding in check the cruel, malignant power of the evil one. But when men pass the limits of divine forbearance, that restraint is removed. God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown. Every ray of light rejected, every warning despised or unheeded, every passion indulged, every transgression of the law of God, is a seed sown which yields its unfailing harvest. The Spirit of God, persistently resisted, is at last withdrawn from the sinner, and then there is left no power to control the evil passions of the soul, and no protection from the malice and enmity of Satan. The destruction of Jerusalem is a fearful and solemn warning to all who are trifling with the offers of divine grace and resisting the pleadings of divine mercy. Never was there given a more decisive testimony to God’s hatred of sin and to the certain punishment that will fall upon the guilty.
The Saviour’s prophecy concerning the visitation of judgments upon Jerusalem is to have another fulfillment, of which that terrible desolation was but a faint shadow. In the fate of the chosen city we may behold the doom of a world that has rejected God’s mercy and trampled upon His law. Dark are the records of human misery that earth has witnessed during its long centuries of crime. The heart sickens, and the mind grows faint in contemplation. Terrible have been the results of rejecting the authority of Heaven. But a scene yet darker is presented in the revelations of the future. The records of the past,—the long procession of tumults, conflicts, and revolutions, the “battle of the warrior … with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood” (Isaiah 9:5),—what are these, in contrast with the terrors of that day when the restraining Spirit of God shall be wholly withdrawn from the wicked, no longer to hold in check the outburst of human passion and satanic wrath! The world will then behold, as never before, the results of Satan’s rule.
But in that day, as in the time of Jerusalem’s destruction, God’s people will be delivered, everyone that shall be found written among the living. Isaiah 4:3. Christ has declared that He will come the second time to gather His faithful ones to Himself: “Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:30, 31. Then shall they that obey not the gospel be consumed with the spirit of His mouth and be destroyed with the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8. Like Israel of old the wicked destroy themselves; they fall by their iniquity. By a life of sin, they have placed themselves so out of harmony with God, their natures have become so debased with evil, that the manifestation of His glory is to them a consuming fire.
Let men beware lest they neglect the lesson conveyed to them in the words of Christ. As He warned His disciples of Jerusalem’s destruction, giving them a sign of the approaching ruin, that they might make their escape; so He has warned the world of the day of final destruction and has given them tokens of its approach, that all who will may flee from the wrath to come. Jesus declares: “There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations.” Luke 21:25; Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24-26; Revelation 6:12-17. Those who behold these harbingers of His coming are to “know that it is near, even at the doors.” Matthew 24:33. “Watch ye therefore,” are His words of admonition. Mark 13:35. They that heed the warning shall not be left in darkness, that that day should overtake them unawares. But to them that will not watch, “the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-5.
The world is no more ready to credit the message for this time than were the Jews to receive the Saviour’s warning concerning Jerusalem. Come when it may, the day of God will come unawares to the ungodly. When life is going on in its unvarying round; when men are absorbed in pleasure, in business, in traffic, in money-making; when religious leaders are magnifying the world’s progress and enlightenment, and the people are lulled in a false security—then, as the midnight thief steals within the unguarded dwelling, so shall sudden destruction come upon the careless and ungodly, “and they shall not escape.” Verse 3. GC 35.3 – GC 38.1
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
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