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              Thy WORD Is Truth.

A Crisis in America?

by Tom Stewart

November 26, 2000

In the United States of America, why are national elections held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November? In 1845, the Tuesday after the first Monday was established for the appointment of Presidential electors every fourth year (3 U.S.C. 1). At that time, America was an agrarian society that finished its harvest in the fall. Farmers and rural workers could still travel to the polls over the unimproved roads in early November. The first Tuesday insured that the settling of merchants' books at the 1st of the month would not interfere with voting. And, it prevented the necessity of having to begin travel on Sunday (interfering with Church services and Sunday worship) to reach a polling place. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance" (Psalm 33:12).

But, what happened in America on November 7th 2000? The President of the United States of America was to be selected in a national election that would have most probably chosen Vice President Al Gore (Democrat) or Texas Governor George Bush (Republican) by the early morning hours of the following day. Both America and the world have been watching the news for the last few weeks, without either candidate making the traditional, final concession speech, indicating their agreement with the results of the vote count. The State of Florida has been the focus, since they would apparently cast the deciding vote that would elect either Bush or Gore. Florida has been engaged in a vote recount that has kept Bush ahead by only a slim margin. Absentee ballots would have been tabulated by Saturday, November 18th. Theoretically, everyone would have known who should have been at the helm of America at that time, unless further judicial challenges or vote recounts in other states, tipped the election in favour of the other candidate. Could we still be in doubt of the leadership of America by January 20th 2001, Inauguration Day?
"O LORD, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against Thee" (Daniel 9:8).

The virtual stalemate of the American Presidential election has been variously described as a validation of the precept that every vote counts, further proof that the Electoral College must be reformed, as well as the suspicion that vote count fraud takes place in the absentee ballot. Has any other American Presidential Election yielded a similar result? Yes, in the election of 1876 the Republican Party ran Ohio Governor Rutherford B. Hayes on a platform of an unblemished public record and high moral tone in contrast to the scandals of President Ulysses S. Grant's administration, receiving 165 of the necessary 185 electoral votes to win. The Democratic Party ran Samuel J. Tilden successfully against Hayes, capturing the popular vote for a Democratic candidate for the first time since the end of the Civil War, and receiving 184 electoral votes.
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13:1).

Hayes was about to concede the election, when it was noticed that the 19 electoral votes of three states-- Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina-- were still in doubt. Oregon also had a question about one electoral vote awarded already to Tilden. This total of 20 questionable electoral votes would give Hayes a total of 185 electoral votes and the presidency. Quickly, lawyers from both parties descended upon the three Southern states, hoping to influence the official canvass. Two further sets of ballots were submitted from the three states, but by December 6th 1876, the date the Electoral College met to tabulate their votes, the impasse still existed. After six more weeks of stalemate and threats of civil war, on January 29th 1877, Congress appointed a special Electoral Commission-- composed of 7 Republicans, 7 Democrats, and a mutually acceptable Moderate Republican. Oregon was clearly legitimately awarded to Hayes; but, starting with Florida, which Hayes had almost certainly lost, the Commission voted down party lines 8-7 ruling in favor of Hayes. The Commission's results were reported to Congress on February 23rd. And, a week later, Congress convened to count the electoral vote, declaring Hayes the President of the United States. The Republicans had made secret assurances during the compromise negotiations to withdraw Federal troops from the South that was still occupied, ending Reconstruction, and promises were made to cease interference in the elections of the former Confederacy, returning the states to their traditional white Democratic supremacy.
"This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men" (Daniel 4:17).

The turmoil and uncertainty of the Election of 2000 seems to be affecting investors and international watchers more than the average American. Could this time of uncertainty for the leadership of the ostensibly remaining superpower nation of the world, cause an even greater loss of American influence in world diplomatic affairs? How will this affect the unrest in the Middle East, especially as Yasser Arafat petitioned the UN Security Council on November 10th 2000 for the establishment of a UN protection force to be stationed on the West Bank and Gaza for Palestinian civilians? Will the loss of American influence for Israel, give rise to European leadership in the Middle East "Peace Process", paving the way for the
"covenant with many" (Daniel 9:27) negotiated by the Antichrist before the beginning of the Tribulation Week? Will Moscow and Beijing use America's stalemate leadership to promote their advantage to the detriment of America? "7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; 8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. 9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10 If it do evil in My sight, that it obey not My voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them" (Jeremiah 18:7-10).

True Christians need not fear the outcome of this election, for the
"LORD God Omnipotent reigneth" (Revelation 19:6). Confidence in our Faithful Saviour to deliver the Saints "from all evil" (Psalm 121:7) will keep the waves from flooding our boat. "I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the LORD shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His Heavenly Kingdom: to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (2Timothy 4:17-18). This is nothing new "under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The Psalmist and our brethren in the Early Church witnessed the same potential disasters; but, they had the assurance that God is in Sovereign Control. "25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the Earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the LORD, and against His Christ. 27 For of a truth against Thy Holy Child Jesus, Whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy Counsel determined before to be done" (Acts 4:25-28).

We have confidence in the LORD
"Jesus Christ [Who is] the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8). Our certainty is in Jesus, His Word, and in His Promises. He promised, "I come quickly" (Revelation 22:20); and, we believe Him. "Amen. Even so, come, LORD Jesus" (22:20). He said, "Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (3:11). We respond, "Yea LORD, make me to 'stand fast' (1Thessalonians 3:8) in Thee." He promised us a Pre-Tribulational Rapture (if we can receive it): "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). And, we respond, "We 'desire to depart, and to be with Christ'" (Philippians 1:23); but, if the LORD tarries, "to abide in the flesh is more needful for you" (1:24). Father, grant us the patience that will cause us to exercise the "faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6), that brings men to Christ and establishes the Godly. "Perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2Corinthians 7:1).


Tom Stewart

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