May 28, 2012
I read somewhere that there is no word in the English language that describes a person who enjoys the misfortunes of other people. We have plenty of adjectives like "cruel," "evil," and "sadistic" that we can apply to someone's nature, but we lack an appropriate noun. To find a word that fits the bill, we have turn to the German language for the word "Schadenfreude."
The folks at Merriam-Webster need to find a word we can call our own because we live in a world that thrives on Schadenfreude. It has become the core foundation of much of what passes for entertainment, and I think this mindset is doing major damage to the moral fabric of our society.
Television has become so fractured that networks have been forced to turn to the cheapest forms of programming to fill their daily schedules. One of the most cost-effective formats is a show that features videos of people making fools out of themselves. One of the pioneers of this field is America's Funniest Home Videos, which first aired as a special on November 26, 1989, and is now in its twenty-second season.
The standard fare from AFHV is footage of people falling down and sports-related nut shots. When compared to some of the new shows today, AFHV looks like The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Some of these shows feature people doing stunts that result in major bodily harm. One example is the Tosh 2.0 channel on YouTube, which runs footage of a young man lighting a large firecracker that prematurely exploded in his hand. The host then makes light of the horrid situation.
Another popular program is Cheaters, a weekly show that documents people who are suspected of committing adultery, or cheating, on their partners. Cheaters has the host and jilted lover confronting the alleged cheater, normally in a public setting. One odd thing about the show is that all parties need to eventually sign a release before their images can be used in the show. It's unbelievable to think that there would be so many people who would willingly give their consent to having the whole world see them caught in the act of committing a despicable act of betrayal.
The winner of the most confounding example of Schadenfreude would have to be World's Dumbest, which airs on truTV. Most of the videos in the show are about criminals doing stupid acts. Some of them have been on the Internet for several years. What is unique about this program is that much of the commentary comes from people who are famous for having their own lives result in a train wreck, including names such as Daniel Baldwin, Leif Garrett, Todd Bridges, Tonya Harding, and Danny Bonaduce.
One of the most dangerous aspects of the Schadenfreude reality shows are all these law enforcement programs that provide a voyeuristic view of people being arrested for various offenses. There are shows about bounty hunters and campus police, and one about rangers who arrest people who shoot deer out of season. All of these programs work together to make people more and more comfortable with images of our nation slowly transforming into a police state.
If Hitler lived today, I have to wonder if he would give the nod for a show called Concentration Camp. I'm sure that during the Tribulation hour, there will be reality shows about what happens to people who refuse to receive the "Great Leader's" special "Mark."
The book of Revelation describes the eruption of international Schadenfreude when the world population rejoices at the death of the "two witnesses." The following passage has been often cited as a prediction of global satellite news coverage:
"And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth" (Revelation 11:9-10).
If you ask the average person to name a sign of the end times, natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and volcanoes are going to be the most common answer. But the Word of God repeatedly warns that gross immorality will be the greatest calling card of the Tribulation hour. Predictions like Schadenfreude are very tricky because if you don't maintain your moral vigilance, this whole category of signs can creep up without you noticing them.
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
"And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Mat. 24:12).
Jerusalem’s Burdensome Stone
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has once again thrown down the proverbial gauntlet. Despite his playing to the news cameras and to the international community diplomatic forces trying to force the Jewish state to divide the city where Jesus was crucified, when push comes to shove, Netanyahu says a resounding “NO” to Jerusalem being divided.
The prime minister has, as pointed out before, learned to talk the talk in playing the game to agree on matters of forging some sort of a peace. This is a trick long utilized by PLO head Yasser Arafat and most other Islamists when it comes to seeming to agree to move ahead with peace, but always changing some things at just the right time in the process to prevent negotiations from ever actually coming to fruition.
Netanyahu, however, makes no bones about the status of Jerusalem in his thinking.
He said, upon becoming prime minister the first time around: "I will never allow Jerusalem to be divided again. Never! Never! We will keep Jerusalem united and ... we will never resurrender those ramparts… Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years since the time of King David and we don't expect to change that for the next 3,000 years!"
His present position, despite all of his jockeying to produce sound bites that make it seem he’s for doing most anything to bring about the Roadmap to Peace, is as firm as ever. Netanyahu’s position with regard to Jerusalem is unchanged. He recently made his thoughts even more adamant about Jerusalem and what he considers the most vital matter involved in keeping the city undivided, according to the following news excerpt:
Whoever proposes that giving up the heart of Jerusalem-the Temple Mount-will bring peace, is fatally mistaken, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared on Monday evening.
Addressing the Knesset plenum at a special session held to honor Jerusalem Day, Netanyahu said that taking the Temple Mount out of Israeli hands, would bring decline, and the rise of radical Islam in the region and in the world…
"Only under Israeli control, will this accessibility... and freedom of religion continue," he said. "The Temple Mount is in our hands and ... it shall remain in our hands." ("PM: Yielding Temple Mount would be fatal mistake," By JPOST.COM STAFF, 05/21/12)
Netanyahu’s assessment of the vital importance of the Temple Mount is far more profound than even he realizes, I suspect. If I might be so bold, I refer to my own writing on the matter, written some years ago.
Mt. Moriah sits at the southern end of the ancient city, crested by a golden dome that represents hundreds of millions whose religion demands of its adherents' blood-vowed opposition to God's chosen nation, Israel. This is the place God picked to have His temple on earth constructed. It is the precise location where the third temple will sit, the temple that will be desecrated by Antichrist, earth's last and most beastly tyrant. Even more importantly, the Temple Mount will be the home of Christ's Millennial Temple. Moriah, then to be known as Zion, will be supernaturally elevated by the tremendous topographical changes caused when the Lord's foot touches the Mount of Olives at His return.
Diplomats of the world have, for the past four decades, engaged in effort after effort to bring stability to the region, at whose heart the city of Jerusalem sits. We remember the many jettings to and from Washington DC, Jerusalem, and other capitals of the Mideast. From Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Madeleine Albright, and Colin Powell to Condoleeza Rice.
America's secretaries of state have burned mega-gallons of jet fuel in trying to find the formula for peace that would defuse the Armageddon bomb. And, the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, immediately upon resigning, was named by the so-called "Quartet" (US, EU, UN and Russia) as the overseer of continuing efforts toward constructing Mideast peace, which has eluded mankind for thousand of years…
To be even more specific about the importance of the temple mount, here is what one of the foremost Christian Hebrew scholars, Arnold Fruchtenbaum, tells us.
The significance of Israel' s reinstituting the Sanhedrin may be another event that leaves in place the possibility of how the Lord will work out His will with His people. Almost sixty years after a 1900-year absence, the nation of Israel came into existence. Jewish people from the four corners of the world have made aliyah to live in the Land. The Temple Institute in Jerusalem has reconstructed the instruments for Jewish Temple worship; Jewish men determined to be descendants of Aaron, known as the Kohanim, are being trained in ritual practices to serve as Temple priests; and now we have the establishment of an authoritative body to speak to the nation of Israel on matters of Jewish religion. This is significant in light of such passages as Zechariah 12:10 and Hosea 5:15, which speak of a time when the people of Israel will be led into the acceptance of Jesus as their Messiah. The existence of a religious authority for the entire nation will facilitate the multitudes coming to faith. (Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Ariel Ministries Newsletter, Fall/Winter, 2004)
Make no mistake, the Temple Mount–Mount Moriah—is the burdensome stone that Zechariah the prophet foretold: “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:3).
We ask that you pray for Dr. Mal Couch, who is currently in Hospice care.
He is a Christian educator, being the founder and former president of Tyndale Theological Seminary. He is also an author of many books, and has written 40 documentaries on Bible prophecies and biblical issues.
Dr. Couch is part of the Pre-Trib Study Research Group that was founded by Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice. He is also a member of Tyndale Seminary's Conservative Theological Society.
Again, we request that you please include him and his family in your prayers.