It was the Elizabethan poet Thomas Dekker who wrote of the “merry month of May.” And so it must have seemed to some living during what his society perceived to be the most admirable time to be alive. It remained for the dour T.S. Elliot living through the Great War to stamp the times since with the appellation of “April is the cruelest month,” as he began his “Wasteland.” But for our Septembers there is no poetry. It began as a Black September Palestinian group determined to avenge their expulsion from Jordan and escalated into the 1973 killings of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, Germany. And for Americans, September 11, 2001, forever marked the month as a symbol of loss, threat and apocalypse. The economic meltdown of 2008 surely confirmed September as the month to fear.
And now comes September 2015! It may have begun by the time you read these words. I write this a few days before--and must comment in anticipation.
The few days before September have been good where I live: not so good for farmers in California, but much better for farmers in the East, where suspiciously furrow-like clouds have brought rain in tropical fashion. The stock market sets new highs, even as Greece staggers under Euro austerity measures. ISIL continues to ravage Mesopotamia and summer hotel prices here cannot rise fast enough to turn away sun-seekers or conventioneers. In short “ all things continue as there were from the beginning of the creation” for most people. Not too many seem to have noticed September coming back to intrude again.
It has been flapping its wings on the Internet for some time now; an incubus presence growing in the blackness and unknowing of cyberspace. Doubtless you’ve stumbled across its spoor and, like most of our peers, kept on moving rather than disturb the whole cave of monsters below the level of conscious zeitgeist.
I knew the “September surprise” was going to be trouble when a retired lady called up to ask my advice on what she was about to do. Seems she had been listening to one of the many Internet preachers who juggle a little Biblical knowledge with even less context for the many complex events in the world. “He said I should immediately sell my home, close my bank account and buy a property in the wilderness,” the lady told me with some dismay. “I’m not sure how to do that.”
No matter the threat, real or imagined, it didn’t take much consideration for me to advise her to stay put. “You have a stable life now—but if you sell all and move, everything will be out of place and you likely will bring on your own tribulation time, “ I told her. She seemed relieved; but suggested I check on what the guru was saying online.
Now I know why she was worried. For starters much is made of the upcoming Jewish Jubilee of Jubilees—a time when all the debts are forgiven and all the slaves freed. Of course that might be more significant if Israel were a theocracy still or if the New Testament had not opened the whole spiritual economy up to a global Goyam. And of course the State of Israel is not about to recede the land of promise to anyone else; nor are the global financiers more eager than usual to forgive the debt of Greece or the United States.
Then it gets a bit more existential. Also predicted are a blood moon lunar eclipse and a full solar eclipse. These things served well to frighten the unscientific tribes into submission when offered as portents by the colonizing powers. We know better? Well, the Old Testament prophet Joel did write that “The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.” Joel 2:31. But to think that this September might be the direct antecedent to that Day is to ignore some of the details of end-time Bible prophecy—things like the full emergence of the antichrist, a more thorough persecution of the faithful worldwide and of course global coercion to false worship.
Central to the online September panic is the specter—no, the promise—of global economic collapse. As I began, this may already be a reality for you as you read this. But more likely not; even as it is patently obvious that we are in the waiting time for “the big one”—the massive financial correction that will change the world as we know it.
The last element that recurred over and again on most sites with September madness was the Pope of Rome and his coming pronouncements in America. I am a Protestant with some rather clear knowledge of why there was a Reformation and of the continuing doctrinal baggage of Rome. But for me, most of the online fears are puerile and without substance in the same way that most of the pulp papers on the checkout stand are catering to the unknowing and credulous. No, I doubt that Francis is going to unveil a plan to communicate with space aliens!! But I must say that September is yet another month of mortal peril for all that keeps the liberal west free.
One must ask why it is so earthshakingly important that a Pope’s Encyclical be given top billing now. After all, scientists have long ago reached equanimity on the reality of global climate change. After all, anyone, even a Protestant, can read in the Bible a clear warning about the earth “waxing old like a garment” and has surely read Paul’s conclusion that “all creation has been groaning” (Romans 8:22), and has perhaps noted the warning that God is coming “to destroy those that destroy the earth.” Revelation 11:18. It troubles me that a power more political than religious is inserting itself into the public forum of what was once a dominantly Protestant society, governed by a secular system once resolutely determined to keep Pope and prelate from directing public policy, as President John F. Kennedy once promised the electorate. We have barely recovered from the bullish appearance before Congress of the leader of a long-term ally. How more damaging might it be for our bewildered leaders to have a carrot speech from an ideology long regarded with justifiable caution in a Protestant nation! We must not forget a system long premised on the separation of church and state as a prescription for avoiding the ills of high church establishment in England and the all out attacks on individual self-determination long mounted by an ancient order determined to maintain hegemonic control?
And the central September paranoia of economic collapse? You will know if it eventuated, better than I could as I write this. Certain it is that we will have another collapse, since the damage done by the September 2008 collapse has not been repaired and may have been made worse by experiments like Quantitative Easing. The history of fiat currency and stock speculation is a ruinous tale of boom and bust. We are surfing an ever-cresting wave of disaster. Which might explain the spate of rumors surrounding Jade Helm, martial law and so on. For some time now military planners have recognized the role of natural disasters and economic dislocation in generating conflict. I am sure that our leaders are watching and planning, as they should be. My prayer is that we cling resolutely to our core values of civil and religious freedom, no matter what happens.
Author: Lincoln E. Steed
Lincoln E. Steed is the editor of Liberty magazine, a 200,000 circulation religious liberty journal which is distributed to political leaders, judiciary, lawyers and other thought leaders in North America. He is additionally the host of the weekly 3ABN television show "The Liberty Insider," and the radio program "Lifequest Liberty."