America’s Winter of Discontent
By the Watchman
Dana G Smith
Keywords: America, Winter of Discontent, Shaking, LORD, God, Jesus Christ, faith, testimony, commandment
1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
The phrase ‘Winter of our Discontent’ sounds ominous and foreboding. When first contemplating such a task as writing on the ‘Winter of our Discontent’, it is to be understood in the full meaning and scope to which it pertains too! No doubt when John Steinbeck wrote his novel and published it in 1961 he had a very unique purpose. This was to be his last book before his death in 1968.
John Steinbeck was not rich, but born into a modest family with modest means. His was not a charmed life, but they did have land and not a little of it. They thought they were rich because of it. Furthermore, it was during the sixties, that time of unbelievable riot with the youth both in a counter culture rebellion and against the Vietnam war that he published his novel, “Winter of our Discontent”. It was later said that he wrote the novel to address the moral degeneration of American culture in the 1960’s.
In various letters to friends before and after the publication of Winter, Steinbeck clearly states he wrote the novel to address the moral degeneration of American culture in the 1960s.
The novel was the last that Steinbeck completed before his death in 1968;
These characters are so real that you forget that the author is the one narrating the story. The author is transparent. The narrator is your own heart, a characterization of yourself. His narration is raw and truthful. The prose may be nearly 50 years old, but it paints a portrait of American life that transcends all the days from this to that.
He also wrote another very popular classic that rests alongside many other classics in literature. That was “The Grapes of Wrath”, of which I wrote about in one of these weekly Newsletters. Briefly though, it is one of the best portrayals of the era of the Great depression that I have seen or read. It strikes home as does the fact today we are living in the extended period of his novels.
John Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. He is best remembered for THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1939), a novel widely considered to be a 20th-century classic. The impact of the book has been compared to that of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Steinbeck’s epic about the migration of the Joad family, driven from its bit of land in Oklahoma to California, provoked a wide debate about the hard lot of migrant laborers, and helped to put an agricultural reform into effect.
Today we as well have a slide in the moral’s in America. But even more so today, the witchcraft is seen in the “Harry Potter” series, the “Gothic and darkness of the youth”, the “Vampirism, bloodletting, and sex” which has successfully nabbed the youth today. In many cities the drug culture of the sixties has expanded with murder rates, drugs, and all that goes with gang warfare taking over the streets of America.
Moreover, as with the sixties and Vietnam, we have Afghanistan and Iraq, both wars. These have lasted longer than World war II. Here I am reminded again of Israel, in which, Hanani the seer in 2 Chronicles came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, “Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.” In the latter part of what he told the king, there is a phrase he mentioned to the King of Judah, this was “therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.”
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
Today America has been warring longer than they have at any time, that is on a continual basis with arms, men, machines, all in two major conflicts in the world. Add to that the struggle against Islamic Extremists who certainly have threatened to inflict an “American Hiroshima.” Iran and North Korea, with Venezuela also consider America an enemy. They also are developing major weaponry.
When we see these items, let us also put in the major Swine flu scare that has been ongoing since its inception the first part of the year. Now in the fall, America is readying herself for an onslaught of the sickness in a major way. Then add the economy to it and you have a formula for what is called, “America’s Winter of Discontent.” It is in this that I borrow the phrase from Steinbeck, but also from Shakespeare and in play that was put into print in Richard III in 1594. It was from Shakespeare that Steinbeck coined the term as well. Shakespeare though was describing King Richard who had been seen in an unfavorable light. According to Shakespeare, King Richard was a discontented man who was unhappy in a world that hated him. It was to this that the phrase “Now is the winter of our discontent” became the opening words to the play and was the foundation for the play itself. A discontented man living in a world that always seemed to be in a cold, blue, chilling, and obviously bleak season. Winter if you will. A Time when green things die, and the cold and opposing forces of Summer rule the land. This describes both the time of Steinbeck and Shakespeare in their writings. It also very aptly fits America today!
“Now is the winter of our discontent” are the opening words of the play and lay the groundwork for the portrait of Richard as a discontented man who is unhappy in a world that hates him. Later he describes himself as “Deformed, unfinished, sent before his time into this breathing world, scarce half made up”. This deformity, which has now been shown to have been exaggerated or even deliberately faked in portraits of Richard, is given as the source of his supposed evil doings. He says that as he “cannot prove a lover” he is “determined to be a villain”.
For many Americans the season of ‘America’s discontent’, will last for many years to come. While we are used to comfort, ease, plenty, and abundance, the truth is, we will see little of it. What we have will be erased by the judgments of the LORD. It is here that the true servants of the LORD, those who are seen in Revelation, are described thusly:
This verse describes the ‘blood of the covenant.’
Through Christ Jesus, and his work on the Cross, by the ‘blood of the Lamb, and their testimony, with the fact they are disciples unto death!
Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
This verse describes who are the remnant of her seed:
This is those who are the followers of the Lord Jesus and have his testimony [all the above in verse 11] plus keep the commandments of God [Jesus said if you love me, keep my commandments!]
Revelation 12:17 And 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.
These verses warn of the need to keep ‘patience and faith’ as a saint amidst death and captivity and the war the beast makes with them! It also warns of the need to keep the commandments of god and keep the faith of Jesus! All this requires ‘patience and faith’!
Revelation 13:10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
I mention this because this is the time of the end! We as believers need to understand the truth of what God wants and expects of us. We cannot be fence sitters, but true disciples. If our Lord tells us to walk in his ways, he means it. If our LORD tells us to have faith, patience, and a testimony, we must. If Jesus Christ tell us to keep his word, his commandments, we must! For when we truly follow him, seek him, and do as he says, then we can expect him to deliver us from our enemies. However, if we are rebellious, this is as witchcraft, then the Lord will act accordingly!
It is in this that we must understand, “America’s season of Discontent, the Winter of Discontent” is here! It will be with the nation for years to come. It will also be upon the nations! It is the time of the end, the time of shaking and judgment! These are the days of the vengeance of my God and your God, my Lord and your Lord! It will be upon all those who are in rebellion against him, his word, and his ways!
Luke 21:22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
These are the days for the believers in America to change their ways, behavior, and walk in accordance with the will of God. But know this, Judgment will begin in God’s house. That means for those of us who claim to know this God and his Son, Jesus Christ, we will see this! If we are walking in a manner pleasing to the Lord, then we have nothing to worry about. In fact, we can expect him to deliver us as we cry out to him.
The Judgment of God, must begin at the house of God!
1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
This is where many in the church today leave this thought! They are on the train, so they think that will take them out of here! Yes the Lord will come, but not before this judgment upon the church, nor upon those in the earth that do not believe. He will come, that is sure and certain! We will meet with him, that is sure and certain! We will be saved, if we do not faint, give up, or quit!
This too is sure and certain!
In Mark 4, we read of Jesus telling us a parable of the sower. In Mark four, verse sixteen, it says of those who have the seed sown on stony ground, that they “heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness.” But then he says, “these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.”
Mark 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
It is here that many in American churches can and possibly will find themselves. The scripture itself is self explanatory! They have no root, any persecution or affliction will offend them! Why? They have been taught that to be a believer, there will be no ‘persecution or affliction’. It is a worldly life, that God endorses, or so they have been taught. Money, fame, riches, wealth, ease, comfort, and the love of things, all this is what they can enjoy! Or so they thought! When this comes, and it will they will be offended, quit, and leave. They will turn on those who keep in the Truth of Gods word and follow him. They will betray, hate, and even follow false prophets and false Christs. Because of the iniquity in the world, especially in America, their love for Christ will grow cold! The warning here, “he that endures to the end, will be saved.”
Matthew 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
The warning and times are clear, make ready for the ‘Winter of your discontent is here’. Unless you are in Christ, keeping his commandments and the testimony of Jesus! Draw nigh to him today, follow him with all your heart, for the season is here! America and American’s, men and women, children and teens, believers and non believers, the search light of God is on. The shaking is here, and the ‘Winter of your discontent’ is it knocking on the door! The only way to answer this is in Christ, in his word, by faith, by discipleship, and doing as his word commands us!Click here for reuse options!
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