The Demise of the West
Nations that had taken for granted a common culture, history and values have been challenged by huge waves of immigration bringing ideas and practices that challenge the assumptions and the dominance of their host cultures. Across Europe and the Americas, this trend is increasing. Yet, few today realize that Bible prophecies foretold that this would happen and reveal why. These ancient prophecies are coming alive today!
The philosopher George Santayana famously said, “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them.” Today, most people perceive isolated events that cause problems, but only a few recognize the “big picture”! More than 200 years ago, the distinguished English historian Edward Gibbon pointed out key causes of the demise of the ancient Roman Empire: a love of pomp and luxury, a growing gap between rich and poor, an obsession with sex, freakishness in art and an increasing desire to receive government payments and live at state expense. In the last half-century, these same phenomena have become increasingly visible in the Western nations.
Other historians and analysts have generated similar lists, noting the parallel conditions that lead to national decline. Jim Nelson Black, in a book entitled When Nations Die, describes trends found in empires that declined and disappeared from the world stage: increasing lawlessness, loss of economic discipline (rising debt), increasing bureaucracy, decline in the quality of education, decay of religious belief, increasing materialism, rising immorality (pornography, sex outside of traditional marriage), weakening cultural foundations, disrespect of government, the devaluation of human life (abortion, euthanasia, violent crime) and loss of respect for traditional values and institutions. Tragically, all these trends have appeared and spread during the last 50 years in the “Christian” nations of the West.
Drawing a lesson from history, commentator Russell Kirk observed, “No nation endures forever: of those that have vanished… most have expired due to internal decay” (America’s British Culture, p. 90). Samuel Huntington, a noted Harvard University historian, discussed stages that civilizations go through and progressive signs of decay, “when the civilization, no longer able to defend itself, because it is no longer willing to defend itself, lies open to barbarian invaders” (The Clash of Civilizations, p. 303). Sadly, this describes the conditions in many Western nations today!
The historically “Christian” nations of the West face growing threats from within and without. For more than a century, the secularist threat from within has been chipping away at fundamental biblical values, and in recent decades this attack has been particularly successful among intellectuals and academics, who regularly mock the idea that God exists and intervenes in human affairs. Scholars and critics openly challenge the long-held notion that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Today, biblical ideas about marriage, gender roles and moral values are increasingly rejected as “old-fashioned” and “outmoded.” Yet it is these same “outmoded” ideas that have undergirded the foundations of Western civilization for centuries. Huntington asserts that this rejection “means the end of the United States of America as we have known it. It also means effectively the end of Western civilization” (ibid., pp. 306–307). Sadly, very few today seem to grasp this fact!
Western civilization also faces external threats to its continued health and dominance. One major challenge is the re-emergence of Islam as a force to be reckoned with. The stated goal of many radical Islamists is the destruction of the corrupt “Christian” West and the establishment of a Caliphate based on the Koran and sharia law. This poses a direct challenge to the basic biblical values of Western civilization. Muslims blame Jews and Christians for “corrupting” the Scriptures that God originally gave them. Islam considers Jesus Christ a prophet, not the divine Son of God. Sharia proponents reject democratic governance that allows modern preferences to overrule centuries-old traditions of Muslim jurists. Under strict Islamic law, non-believers who do not convert to Islam must pay a tax to maintain second-class status in society, or else face death.
Though for several hundred years the armies of Islam sought unsuccessfully to conquer all of Europe—reaching into Spain to the west and the gates of Vienna to the east—a new attack is underway, this time carried out through immigration and birth rates. Families with centuries of ancestry in Europe are seeing their birth rates drop below replacement levels, yet their countries are experiencing growth because of Muslim immigrants who come to Europe and rear large families. Watch for intensifying polarization of Europe, as Muslims gain increasing political power in formerly “Christian”-dominated nations. The time may soon come when a backlash against immigrants brings greater unity among European countries “re-claiming” their Roman Catholic heritage as a bulwark against Islam, which in turn would inflame hostilities with Muslim nations to the south and east of Europe.
The rising economic and military power of China, India and other countries that formerly were not “players” on the world geopolitical scene is coming at a time when the formerly dominant power of the U.S. and Great Britain is fading. Additionally, the major Western powers are increasingly dependent on economic loans and energy supplies from foreign nations. This does not bode well for nations that are also crumbling from within! But, why is this happening to the “Christian” nations of the West today?
The Bible reveals that God made a covenant with the ancient twelve-tribed nation of Israel. The modern nations of America, Canada and Great Britain, as well as the northwest European countries, are descended from the ancient Israelites (for more on this topic, read our booklet The United States and Great Britain in Prophecy). The terms of the covenant were simple: obey God and His laws and be blessed, or disobey God and His laws and suffer the consequences (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28). God gave His laws to His chosen people, so they could be an example to the world (Deuteronomy 4:1–9; 7:6–11). Sadly, despite warnings from God’s prophets, the Israelites turned away from His laws and instead followed the practices of pagan nations around them—suffering terrible punishments as a result.
Few today realize that many of the prophecies in the Bible are dual—that there was an initial fulfillment in ancient times, but the ultimate fulfillment of these prophecies will be in the last days just before the return of Jesus Christ. Long ago, God instructed Moses to warn the Israelites that if they “do not obey Me… if you despise My statutes… I will even appoint terror over you… Those who hate you shall reign over you… I will break the pride of your power” (Leviticus 26:14–19) and that “if you do not obey the voice of the Lord… cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country…. The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. Moreover all these curses shall come upon you… until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 28:15–45). Our nations are witnessing these prophecies coming alive today—because the modern Israelite nations have turned away from the God of the Bible!