Orthodox Survival Course, Class 70: Wars and Rumors of Wars, Part B – A Paschal Reflection on the War Everybody is Talking About

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Class 70:  Wars and Rumors of Wars, Part B – A Paschal Reflection on the War Everyone is Talking About

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Introduction – A Paschal Reflection on the State of the World 

In our last talk, we offered a way of understanding the meaning of the present war in the Ukraine (Spring, 2022) by reflecting on the Particular Judgment that every Orthodox Christian will undergo at the hour of death, both to encourage ourselves to pray for the eternal salvation of those who have died and will die in this war, and to motivate each of us to repent and prepare for his own Particular Judgment at the hour of death. 

In this talk, we shall attempt to offer a way of understanding the meaning of this war in the light of the future Second Coming of Christ and the General Judgment of all men and all nations.  This light of understanding, from our point of view, comes from history, from the past and from the future.  From God’s point of view, of course, there is no past or future: this light is the same intellectual light He is always giving to His rational creatures to the extent that their minds participate in the Uncreated Light of His grace, a light-bearing capacity for receiving the light of Divine Revelation in the Scriptures.   But seen from our point of view, since we live inside of Time,  God’s revelation about the ultimate future – the Second Coming, the Dread Judgment, the New Creation, and eternal reward or punishment – and the grace of the intellectual light He gives our minds to understand our lives in regard to His revelation about these realities, are, respectively, the key to understanding the present in light of the past and a capacity for using this key, and thereby, by means of this understanding, to prepare for the future.  

The previous talk, Part A, is probably more important than this Part B, not because of the relative importance of their contents – for both the Particular Judgment and the General Judgment are equally part of God’s Revelation to man – but simply because Part A is more practical for all of us:  Each of us needs to prepare for his own Particular Judgment, regardless of his ability or opportunity to form an accurate Orthodox understanding of history and eschatology.  It is also true, however, that we become bored with and tired of our own spiritual struggles, we get discouraged, and we need motivation; each of us needs to see his own little story in the light of the Big Story of God’s plan for mankind, which gives ultimate and cosmic meaning to our own little struggles.  I need to see that my own life is a microcosm of God’s macrocosmic war with the devil that’s been going on since before the creation of the visible world and will go on unto the end of this world.  In a sense, that’s what the Bible is all about.  Thus we also need Part B:  How do I understand this current event in the light of God’s truth, and how do I apply this understanding to my real life behavior and choices?  

Both Parts A and B, however, have the same purpose, which is to encourage us to subordinate our discussion of the war to the needs dictated by the realities of spiritual life, which are more real, more stable, more permanent, and actually more amenable to being known, than the realities of passing and fragmented temporal phenomena such as this war or any war, no matter how exciting, attractive, or dreadful the latter may appear to our limited minds.  For this effort to bear fruit, we must suppress the passions of useless curiosity, animal fear for our physical safety, and sinful anger against our fellow man, or, rather, ask for the grace to transform these perverted faculties of the soul into their original and natural forms:  the godly desire for true understanding, the fear of God, and righteous anger against the demons and against sin.  

I have subtitled today’s talk “A Paschal Reflection” in order to establish the pre-condition for understanding today’s talk:  We must understand that the Resurrection of Christ, which we are both remembering as a past event and participating in as a present reality through our present Paschal observance,  has already determined the ultimate outcome of the present war and all wars, which is the triumph of God in history and leading beyond history, into the Kingdom of Heaven.    Let us forgive all things by the Resurrection, and in the light of the Resurrection behold the light of the future Coming of Christ and His eternal triumph over sin, death, the devil, and hell.  This is the authentic starting point from which to compose an accurate philosophy of history on which to base an accurate understanding of current events. 

“In Thy Light shall we see light.  O continue Thy mercy unto them that know Thee!”  

Once Again, the Great Stereopticon 

The war in the Ukraine is real, real people are suffering and dying, and it is a terrible thing.   There is no doubt of that.  But this does not mean that we are supposed to think and feel about it in the way that the government and the media tell us to think and feel about it.  The people who own the government and the media are using this war, which they have planned and instigated, just as they have used and are using the so-called pandemic, which they also created,  in order to further their goal of a one world government under the control of demons.  What they are constructing is certainly at least a type of the Kingdom of Antichrist, even if it is not the final version portrayed in the Book of Revelation.  

Remember that we no longer have sovereign national governments in the historical sense, and therefore we cannot interpret warfare in historical geopolitical terms.  All of the national governments, so called, are actually a technocratic managerial interface between the people who are really in charge, who decide who is even going to be in the government – because they are in essence simply their employees – and the common people.   This is true East and West, in Eurasia as well as the so-called West.   This is not a wacky fantasy story made up by marginal paranoiacs.   It is an empirically demonstrable financial, political, and economic reality written about and described exhaustively in countless academic journals, conferences, and books by acknowledged establishment experts, over the last 100 years.   A network of a few million private individuals, the so-called 1% – who are actually not even 1% but much less –  control the world’s resources, humanly speaking, by means of a rapidly consolidating global financial system whose dictates ultimately decide matters of economics and geopolitics for everyone.  This is just the way it is.  Even if you do not believe that this elite is controlled by demonic powers,  and even if you don’t think there is a spiritual element in this at all – that it has nothing to do with Biblical prophecy or God’s Providence or the Antichrist or anything like that, even if you have a totally secular worldview – the situation is obvious.   The only people who don’t believe that this is what is going on, are those who don’t want to believe it, because the implications are frightening, or because it does not fit into an ideology that comforts them, or because the people whose respect they crave won’t like them if they say things like this, or who don’t want to bother to do the homework, or who just have not thought about it.  The reality is so big and so in your face, it is understandable that when confronted with it, most people’s minds will just shut down. So for those who refuse to see it or just can’t deal with it, it remains hidden in the plain sight of everyone.   

By means of the Great Stereopticon, the world of illusion created by the communications media, the elite can now control the interests, beliefs, and daily conversations of a critical mass of the world’s population. Most people will believe in and act on what is told them by some electronic media outlet controlled by the global elite.   Very few try to study history seriously and examine current events critically,  in order to form an educated opinion.  A critical mass of the population will march off to have toxins of unknown and practically unexamined powers injected into their bodies and even those of their children, because a strange little man on television told them that it was good for their health, and others who might not do that will, upon command, hang up Ukrainian flags on their front porches when they cannot even find Ukraine on the map.  This mass mindlessness is, perhaps, just as apocalyptic a sign as any war or supposed pandemic, if one is looking for apocalyptic signs. 

The first lesson in all this for those who want to have a serious spiritual life is, “Do not get excited about what They are telling you to get excited about.”  Your mind and heart were created by God first of all for prayer and second for serious study and serious work.  Keep focused on your real life – ora et labora – pray and work!   Yes, there really is something happening over there in Eastern Europe, but you have little responsibility for it, and there is little you can do about it.   Moreover, what you are being told is truth mixed with lies to create delusions, and in order to have an intellectual life, much less a spiritual life, we must avoid lies and delusions, and deal in reality.   Let’s not be the deer in the headlights, paralyzed by a perceived approaching doom because of our cowardice, laziness, or lack of will to action.  There is so much real good we can still do, so much we still have control over, especially our own minds and our hearts – let’s do that good as much as we can and not focus on the evil around us!  

Another lesson for our spiritual life is that we must not commit the sin of using other people’s sufferings to entertain and distract us.  Do I really care about what is happening in the Ukraine, or am I using other people’s sufferings for entertainment, or to feel good about expressing self-righteous opinions approved by some media commentator and parroted by my friends?  Do I really pray for the people there – something concrete, like saying an akathist every day for them – or do I just parrot the popular sentiment that we must “pray for peace”?  If tomorrow the media stopped talking about the war altogether and suddenly started talking about some new supposed emergency – another “pandemic,” food shortages, the next stolen election, a “climate change” disaster, whatever – would this suddenly become the sole object of my passionate concern, with the war totally forgotten, its victims suddenly unreal to me because they are no longer depicted on a video screen every day?   

A third lesson for our spiritual life is that we must remember not to be frightened by “wars and rumors of wars.”   We must fear God and no one else.  Everything that is happening is under God’s Providence and holy will.  He is using everything for our salvation.    “Lift up your eyes and see, for your salvation is near at hand.”  It is only a short while, after all, until each of us faces God’s judgment, one way or the other, either in the Particular or the General Judgment.  Let us pray to be faithful and place all of our trust in our Creator and Savior.   

In conclusion:   We must concern ourselves every day with doing God’s holy will, and this includes our interests and our conversations.  Do our interests, our studies, and our conversations fulfill His holy will for us, do they contribute to our salvation and the true good of our neighbor?   That should be our question, not, “What do the media say I must talk about today?”   

Models for Understanding 

Of course, there are serious people, including serious Orthodox people, who study the current war and make a conscientious effort to understand it in the light of history and the evidence of current events.  Necessarily, everyone has a framework, a model for understanding, which they believe has explanatory power, into which they fit the evidence presented.  But very few even of these serious people have reached quite the conclusion I summarize above, that the global elite is really a single network of people orchestrating events on both sides of the perceived East/West divide.  Most are still using the model of the opposition of hostile powers, of East vs. West, nationalist-traditionalist-socialism vs. globalist-liberal-capitalism, Eurasian tellurocracy vs. Atlanticist thalassocracy, etc.  Some of these thinkers are Orthodox, and, like us, they believe in God vs. the devil, angels vs demons, and so forth – they believe in the framework of history as a spiritual warfare leading to the ultimate triumph of Christ over Antichrist.   But in the present situation, they also prefer to believe that God is actually on the side either of socialism or capitalism, of East or West, of Eurasia or Oceania, and that their preferred side is the side God is on, and the other side are the Bad Guys.   And they are now interpreting the events in the Ukraine in light of this belief.  They can be divided roughly, therefore, into two camps:  The Anti-Communist Cold Warriors vs. The True Believers in the New “Holy” Russia.   

A.  The Cold Warriors – The “Cold War” is the term applied to the supposed conflict between the United States and its allies and the Soviet Union and its allies during the period between the end of World War II and the so-called fall of Communism in the early 1990s.   There were, of course, many “hot” wars during this time, but never a time when American and Soviet forces were openly fighting each other in a declared conventional war; either one or the other was fighting a proxy, or two proxies were fighting each other.  Thus the term “Cold War.” 

Many Orthodox people had fled Russia at the time of the Bolshevik revolution, and many more had fled both Russia and the other European countries enslaved by the Soviets at the end of World War II.  Predictably and understandably, they deeply appreciated the freedom, safety, and dignity they were offered by their Western host countries, and many were employed by the military and intelligence establishments of the United States and its allies during the Cold War period.   What many of them did not see or understand was that the same international money power that had financed both the Communists and the Nazis in Europe were also tightening their control of the Western nations during the entire Cold War period, and for the same reason:  as another step towards the destruction of all nations and all traditional societies, and the creation of a world government.    The goals of Communism – the destruction of religion, family, and private property – had to be accomplished in the East by slaughtering millions of people.   The same international elite that had slaughtered the millions in the East accomplished the same goals in the West by the Gramscian march through the institutions, which by the end of the Cold War, was nearly complete.   The godless Utopia was in place without firing a shot.  The means were different, but the results were the same, not in regard to material prosperity, which the West then still enjoyed, but in regard to spiritual devastation, which is the real purpose of the global revolution.   

There is an old saying that the generals are always preparing for the last war, not the one they are about to fight.  It is easy for our thoughts to run along accustomed paths and use outdated models for understanding new realities.   Today there are self-proclaimed conservatives, including some Orthodox people, who would prefer to believe that the U.S. and the “West” are still the Good Guys, and post- or neo- Soviet Russia, led by the “evil Putin” – who is portrayed as Hitler, Stalin, and Charles Manson all rolled into one – are still the Bad Guys.  Here is another proxy war, in which the “good” American proxy, Ukraine, is fighting the “evil” Soviets, and this is the situation in which the old Cold Warriors feel comfortable; they like it.  

The reality is that the common people on all sides – Russian, Ukrainian, American, etc. –  do not hate each other and, sadly, are not really not much different from each other – they are mostly secular materialists with a veneer of religion, obsessed with financial and health problems, listening to bad music, watching bad videos, and staring at their smartphones.  They are not Big Bad Guys; they are just ordinary sinners like you and me.  The leadership on both sides, however, are indeed Big Bad Guys, and though they may oppose one another on one level – even the demons in hell fight each other – on another level, they are all working under the same longterm strategy, and and they are all working for the same people.   If the U.S. leadership were really Good Guys, they would not be aggressively pursuing police-state tyranny and imposing godless immorality here at home, while going abroad to commit mass murder by bombing and invading smaller and weaker countries in order share the blessings of feminism, abortion on demand, fast food outlets, drug addiction, and transgenderism with the foreign masses who are supposedly begging to be “liberated” from their traditional way of life. 

So when you are being egged on to engage in a Two Minutes Hate against the evil Putin by the media, just remember that you are being used by people who are just as evil as, or more evil than, Putin, and perhaps they are even having cocktail parties with Putin via video chat after work at night, while all of them are laughing at you. 

B. The True Believers in the New “Holy” Russia – Just as it is understandable that those who suffered under Communism used to look to the West for deliverance and hope for a happy future on earth, it is also understandable that the present generation of conservative Christians in the West, suffering from the maniacal onslaught of the leftist “woke” tyranny here, would now look to a spiritually reborn East, led by a reborn Orthodox Russia, for hope in a rebirth of Christian civilization.   They see thousands of new churches being built, laws being passed against pro-sodomite propaganda, Vladimir Putin doing photo ops with and giving state awards to large Orthodox families, and so forth, and naturally they rejoice. “It’s getting really bad Over Here,” they think, “but at least there is hope Over There,” poignantly echoing the sentiments of Christians trapped behind the Iron Curtain in the 1950s, who were looking out at us for their deliverance.   

In the current conflict, therefore, it is easy for those who hold this point of view to be sympathetic to Russia and against the “Western” establishment.  So these pro-Russian apologists will argue against the Cold Warriors and cheer for their preferred Good Guys vs. the Cold Warriors’ preferred Good Guys.   Again, as with the delusion of the Cold Warriors, this delusion is an understandable temptation – we all want a Good Guy vs. Bad Guy scenario, because we all want some kind of happy ending to our problems in this life, so that we can live here, on earth, happily ever after.  But this is not reality.  

I cannot express how much I dearly – painfully – wish that this dream of a reborn Orthodox Russia were true.   I cannot express how dearly I hope it will one day come true.   But the reality today is that the Russian population, like the American population, are mostly secular people with mostly material concerns, and that the Russian leadership, like the American leadership, are technocrats in the employ of the same international money power that employs the American technocrats.  The style is different, the flavor is different, and there are real conflicts among them – again, even the demons in hell fight each other, and there is no honor among thieves – but the endgame for both is the same.    

(An American who lives in Moscow, a young man named Riley Waggaman, who used to write for the website “Russia Insider,” has a blog called Edward Slavsquat.  Riley is married to a Russian woman, and he likes Russians.  He is by no means a Russophobe on the one hand or someone who hates America on the other hand, just an honest person who is looking at what is going on in Russia up close and honestly, without the lens of pro-“Western” or pro-“Russian” propaganda.    If you will read his articles that explain the connection of the top Russian leadership to the World Economic Forum, the World Health Organization, and the global financial system, you should become more critical of the claim by our hopeful pro-Russian conservatives that the present Russian government is really against the New World Order.  Of course, Riley is just one person – you don’t have to take his word for it.  But if you read his articles and follow up on verifying the data he gives, you will see that he is telling the truth.  Interpret the data as you will, but there it is).  

And, even if the top Russian leadership were not working for the New World Order, even if they were really sincere patriots, their patriotism is sick, because it is not Orthodox patriotism, for it prostitutes the institutions and rituals of Orthodoxy to their new religion of the “Great Patriotic War,” whose High and Holy Feast of Victory Day they celebrate every May 9th with far more fervor than they celebrate the Birth or Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  For a true Holy Russia to be reborn, there must first occur a complete repudiation of and repentance for the satanic behavior of the Red Army as it completed the destruction of Christian Europe, begun in World War I and the Bolshevik revolution,  by its unimaginably vast rape and slaughter at the end of World War II, which directly enabled the subsequent enslavement, imprisonment, torture, and death of millions of Russian, Romanian, and South Slav Orthodox Christians, as well as non-Orthodox European Christian peoples such as the Poles and the Germans, who until then had managed to escape the hell of the Marxist-Leninist “workers’ paradise.”     Every May 9th, the unrepentant Russian leadership and a critical mass of the unrepentant Russian people renew their pact with the devil by this pagan ceremony of Victory Day, which is the chief celebration of a pagan pseudo-Orthodoxy, the religion of the Cross combined with the Hammer and Sickle, the Imperial Eagle of Holy Russia reconciled to the Red Star of satanic Bolshevism. It is all blasphemy, of course. Sadly, this is an essential part of their self-understanding; it’s who they say they really are.  They have accepted a bizarre pseudo-Orthodoxy that mixes paganism with the Faith of Christ.  This is not only not bringing about the rebirth of Orthodox Russia; it is holding it back. 

So when your favorite pro-Russian commentator is egging you on to do a Two Minutes Hate against the “Western” Establishment (though, admittedly, this Establishment is eminently hate-able), remember:  don’t get angry, don’t get carried away, don’t delude yourself.   Sadly, no matter how much we may detest the Bad Guys, there are no Good Guys in the present situation.  

Come, Lord Jesus 

Whose victory, then, should we hope for in the present war?   Let us pray for a speedy end to the war, whatever that takes, so that this terrible blood sacrifice to the demons, engineered by the servants of the demons who govern both East and West, will cease.   Let us pray for the victory of Christ, of Orthodoxy, in the hearts of all Russians and Ukrainians, and for the restoration of a truly Orthodox Patriarchate and truly Orthodox Tsar in Russia, on the basis of real repentance by the triune Russian peoples of the Great Russians, Little Russians, and Byelorussians, who of rights should be one, not one necessarily in the same political structure, but One in Christ. 

When there is a truly Orthodox Patriarchate in Russia, and a true Tsar, then, of course, everything will change.  There are many prophecies that this will come to pass, and that there will be a last flowering of the Church before the reign of Antichrist.   Let us remember that “wars and rumors of wars” are indeed signs that the Lord Himself gave as presaging the end.  We need to be sober and attentive, not carried away with the passions of the times, and do our job as Orthodox Christians, which the world cannot do for us but which the world desperately needs for us to do:  To believe in the true Faith, to conduct the true worship, to lead the true Christian life, and to witness to the true God in this world which is so rapidly falling into corruption and death.  We must flee delusion, refuse all secular pseudo-salvations, and put our hope in God alone. 

Let us then pray, repent of our own sins, weep for those who suffer, and live in hope, joyful to carry our own cross, for our own salvation, and – God knows! – perhaps for the salvation of many souls unknown to us, whom God may save even for our sakes, unworthy as we are.   We are His children, and He loves us.  That is the bottom line. 

Christ is Risen!   Truly He is Risen! 

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