CAN A CLOSED MIND BE OPENED?
Moses complained, “But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear” (Deut.29: 4). This was after the miraculous deliverance from Egyptian slavery. Moses came to the conclusion that unless the Lord opens a mind, it stays shut. Isaiah went a step farther. The Lord does not interfere with the person that deliberately closes his/her mind: “Loiter and be dazed, enjoy yourselves and be blinded, be drunk but not with wine, reel but not with strong drink; for the Lord has poured upon you a spirit of deep stupor (sleep); he has closed your eyes, the prophets, and muffled your heads, the seers” (Isa.29: 9-10, NEB). Mental blindness resulted in the dissolution of the Ten Tribes or Northern Israel.
Paul added that this mental slumber was present “to this very day” (Ro.11: 8). Earlier Jesus told the leaders that wanted Him to stop the disciples from announcing a day of deliverance, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Lk.19: 38-40). Just before He entered Jerusalem, “Jesus wept over it” and said this, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation” (Lk.19: 41-44; RSV).
In 70 AD, Rome did exactly what Jesus had predicted. In 1945, Israel was reborn and today, it faces again but even a far greater threat. It is only a target to what stands in the way of world domination by a system that purports to be a religion. This obstacle is Christianity as set forth by the New Testament. Like the people in Jesus’ day, Christians are blinded by secondary causes. The Risen Christ had this message to a Gentile congregation: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see” (Rev.3: 17-18; NIV). To another congregation, Jesus said, “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God” (Rev.3: 1-2; NIV).
It should be of enormous interest to us that Laodicea and Sardis lay buried underneath the rubble caused by a religious war. The sword no longer is the most effective way to convert people to an ideology or a religion. Armies are useless against a handful of fanatics. Ideologies, like democracy or socialism, are diversions for a greater cause, and so are discussions on domestic and national issues, even crisis. What good will a health plan or a social security do when this nation is dissolved? In fact, it does not even have to end but to go bankrupt. Economic has become the most powerful tool in the hands of a system that intends to dominate the world. Can we imagine the U.N. bailing us out and sending troops to stop us from rioting and rescuing us from utter chaos? Suppose the U.N. is run by a system with religious overtones? Like the Jews in Jesus’ time, we too have failed to recognize what was good for us.
How then can a people go so wrong when they were once doing so well? We fell asleep. We did not heed Jesus’ warning: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” (Mt.24: 4-5). How were we deceived? First and foremost, it is not a Christ of the soul but of economics. There would be many copycats that will make promises that can improve our lot and that their system shall give us security. They have been convincing Christians that we all serve the same God. In that sense, all religions are servants of the system. Trust in a person like Jesus cannot be tolerated. His morality and teaching stand in the way of economic exploitation. The economic exploiters are the pseudo-messiahs that hide their wealth with denouncing themselves so they can stay in power and increase their coffers. What they distribute comes from what little the people have left and what they can borrow from foolish investors. Mammon’s servants are in total control.
We are not dying as a nation. The whole world is dying. It resembles the days of Noah and of Lot (Lk.17: 26-37). Revelation tells us that in spite of the desperate conditions, mankind will not reverse course and keep heading toward Armageddon (Rev. 9, 16). The nation that once averted world disaster, now no longer is capable of reviving itself. Mammon has bled it dry and left it at the mercy of those that need some one to blame for their own mismanagement. We are being blinded by our own leaders in believing that we are the wealthiest country in the world, and so does the world. A few days ago, a small wind brought down a huge tree in our neighbor’s yard. I noticed that it had no roots but had been attached to another tree with roots. It reminded me of my adopted country that has severed itself from its roots and depends on others for its survival. We have become a house built on sand that is about to be swept away by a global storm (Mt.7: 26-27). Can we hear Jesus say, “Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (Mt.15: 14). Jesus could not open a closed mind.