(Minor Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation
Oswald T. Allis
John A. Broadus
Wilhelm De Wette
Charles Homer Giblin
Johann von Hug
J, F, and Brown
Jean Le Clerc
Jack P. Lewis
Sir Isaac Newton
Dr. John Owen
William W. Patton
Rudolph E. Stier
(Major Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation
John L. Bray
Dr. John Brown
Francis X. Gumerlock
J. Marcellus Kik
Ovid Need, Jr
Milton S. Terry
(Virtually No Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 & Revelation in 1st
C. - Types Only ; Also Included are "Higher Critics" Not Associated With Any
Alan Patrick Boyd
John N. Darby
Charles G. Finney
J.P. Green Sr.
John N.D. Kelly
Dr. John Smith
George Fox |
Margaret Fell (Fox) |
PRETERIST UNIVERSALISM |
MODERN PRETERISM |
Daily Strength for Daily Needs
Mary Tileston (1896)
A temple there has been upon earth, a spiritual Temple, made up of living
stones; a Temple, as I may say, composed of souls; a Temple with God for its light, and Christ for the high priest; with wings of angels for its arches, with saints and teachers for its pillars, and with worshippers for its pavement. Wherever there is faith and love, this Temple is.
J. H. NEWMAN., Jan 5
The Rise of Civilization
PROOF OF THE GOSPEL & GROUNDS FOR CHRISTIAN ENCOURAGEMENT
Fall of Pagan Rome |
Fall of Temple-Based Worship |
The Rise of Civilization
Athanasius - Wars Lulled by Christianity
The last age, decreed by Fate, is come: And a new frame of all things does begin. A holy progeny from Heaven descends. Auspicious be his birth! which puts an end To the iron age! and from whence shall rise A golden state far glorious through the earth!
Is the world better because of Christ, or not? Many would have us believe that things are worse than they have ever been, but this surely is not the case. If we can suspend our prejudices about the matter of who is in control of the world, we may see the glory of Jesus Christ like never before.
The Gospel According to CNN teaches that Jesus is a failure. Surprisingly, many Futurist Christians are quick to join this anti-Christ chorus:
"To say that Christ is ruler now is a statement that reaches almost blasphemous proportions.”
(Tim Lahaye End Times Controversy: 2nd Coming Under Attack, pg. 11)
If we look, however, at Jesus himself, the author and finisher of our faith, we can see the progress of society in His watch-care:
"Examples could be multiplied, in every field. The whole rise of Western Civilization—science and technology, medicine, the arts, constitutionalism, the jury system, free enterprise, literacy, increasing productivity, a rising standard of living, the high status of women—is attributable to one major fact: the West has been transformed by Christianity." -
Following will be a collection of quotes and stories which attempt to paint the larger picture of the long struggle for civilization, particularly since the dawning of the New Covenant age. According to this website, the simultaneous appearance on earth of Augustus Caesar (man's best man) and Jesus Christ (God's best man) in the first century is the
all-time fulcrum point of history. It is the strong belief that the battle was decisively won in that day
and at that time, and that it is the pleasure of the King of Kings to use His army of spiritual warriors to wage the ground war in His name -- so that His body may reveal as clearly on earth, through the process of time, the reality of things in the new heavens and earth of His never-ending age.
"Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end..
the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this"
"THE WORLD IS GETTING BETTER"
"Force is always, and everywhere, a sign of fear -- that is, a sign of weakness. From the Creative point of view, which is God's point of view, force is weakness, and only Love is power."
G. A. Studdert Kennedy, The Wicket Gate
"It is significant that the decline of the Roman Empire dates from the fall of Jerusalem."
Christianity Taking Over Planet? - WND "The growing core of Christianity crosses theological lines and includes 707 million born-again people who are increasing by 8 percent a year," he says. So fast is this group growing that, under current trends, according to ("Megashift" author Jim) Rutz, the entire world will be composed of such believers by the year 2032. "There will be pockets of resistance and unforeseen breakthroughs," writes Rutz. "Still, at the rate we're growing now, to be comically precise, there would be more Christians than people by the autumn of 2032, about 8.2 billion."
"Very few people realize the nature of life on Earth is going through a major change," he writes. "We are seeing a megashift in the basic direction of human history. Until our time, the ancient war between good and evil was hardly better than a stalemate. Now all has changed. The Creator whose epic story flows through the pages of Scripture has begun to dissolve the strongholds of evil. "
"There is a sort of arrogance in the assumption of the Christians
that evil is on the rise. Even is something seems evil to you it is far
from clear whether it is really evil; one person with his limited perspective on
the whole state of creation is unequipped to know whether what is good for you
is good for someone else in the universe, and vice versa. When a man was
angry with the Jews and killed them all, both young and old, and burned down
their city, they were completely annihilated; yet (they say) when the supreme
God was angry and wrathful he sent his son with threats - and suffered all kinds
of indignities. *Celsus refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman
forces under Titus in August of 70: the contrast he intends is between the power
of Rome, manifested in the destruction of the Temple, and the powerlessness of
the Christian God, which he claims is reflected in the killing of Jesus)" (Celsus,
on the True Doctrine: A Discourse Against the Christians)
"When the sun has come, darkness prevails no longer; any of it that may be left anywhere is driven away. So also, now that the Divine epiphany of the Word of God has taken place, the darkness of idols prevails no more, and all parts of the world in every direction are enlightened by His teaching." (On the Incarnation )
"Examples could be multiplied, in every field. The whole rise of Western Civilization—science and technology, medicine, the arts, constitutionalism, the jury system, free enterprise, literacy, increasing productivity, a rising standard of living, the high status of women—is attributable to one major fact: the West has been transformed by Christianity. True, the transformation is not yet complete. There are many battles ahead. But the point is that, even in what is still largely an early Christian civilization, God has showered us with blessings."
'What need to tell you again how it purified a society which was rotten through and through with lust and hate, how it rescued the gladiator, how it emancipated the slave, how it elevated manhood, how it flung over childhood the aegis of its protection, how it converted the wild, fierce tribes from the icy steppes and broad rivers of the North, how it built from the shattered fragments of the Roman Empire a new-created world, how it saved learning, how it baptized and recreated art, how it inspired music, how it placed the poor and sick under the angel-wings of mercy and entrusted to the two great archangels of reason and conscience the guidance of the young! ' " (Farrar Quoted by Alexander Brown, Great Day of the Lord. pp. 217,231.)
"The fact is that bad as the world still is, yet morally it is a vastly better world than it was when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea. It is said for example that at the present time there are not anywhere on the earth outside of Christendom ten square miles where the life of a man or the honour of a woman is safe. But this, which is now true of only part of the world, was probably true 1,860 years ago, of the whole world. Few people in these days have any adequate conception of the misery and degradation which were then the common lot of almost all mankind, owing to the monstrous wickedness of the times, to continual war, and to the cruelties of political despotism, and of the everywhere-prevailing slavery.
"This earth of ours is a new world compared with what it was two thousand years ago. Let anyone who doubts it read C. L. Brace's Gesta Christi, or Dr. R. S. Storrs' Divine Origin of Christianity indicated by its historical effects Whence has come the change for the better? There can be no reasonable doubt that it is largely due to the fact that the supreme spiritual influence which has been at work in men's hearts and lives during that long period has been the influence of the Lord Jesus Christ." (ibid.)
John LeClerc"The world manifestly improves every day,
and grows wiser than it was" (True Religion Explained and Defended against the Archenemies Thereof in the Times (The Truth of the Christian Religion)
"How readily we assume that the Church is the only channel of divine action among men! Common sense tells us this assumption is wrong -- and nothing in the Bible supports such a conclusion. Believing that God is the Lord of history, we believe that God is at work now in the development of industry and commerce throughout the world, in the experiments and researches of the scientists, in the deliberations of the United Nations, and in the course of events in Berlin and Havana, in Moscow and Peiping, and Detroit. One might say, then that He seems to be doing some very strange and contradictory things! But, though we cannot claim to know God's purpose in all this, we do believe that God acts in all these circumstances. The revolutionary changes of our time are not all a mistake: they are not taking place without God."
(The Day is at Hand)
"Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mahomet, and Napoleon; without science and learning, He shed more light on things human and divine than all philosophers and schools combined; without the eloquence of schools, He spoke words of life such as never were spoken before or since, and produced effects which lie beyond the reach of any orator or poet; without writing a single line, He has set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art and sweet songs of praise, than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times. Born in a manger, and crucified as a malefactor, He now controls the destinies of the civilized world, and rules a spiritual empire which embraces one-third of the inhabitants of the globe. There never was in this world a life so unpretending, modest, and lowly in its outward form and condition, and yet producing such extraordinary effects upon all ages, nations, and classes of men. The annals of history produce no other example of such complete and astonishing success in spite of the absence of those material, social, literary, and artistic powers and influences which are indispensable to success for a mere man. "
"It is also observable, that the Romans after having been thus made the executioners of divine vengeance on the Jewish nation, never prospered as they had done before; but the Lord evidently fought against them, and all the nations which composed their overgrown empire; till at last it was subverted, and their fairest cities and provinces were ravaged by barbarous invaders." [Thomas Scott, The Holy Bible, etc., 956.]
"Yes, the pessimists say the world is falling apart, and there is nothing we can do about it. However, when we think of our relationship with God through our Savior Jesus Christ, we have incredible stability and an exciting opportunity to make a difference in the world. We have the assurance,
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to day, and forever." Hebrews 13:8." (Baptist Progress.)
"The first readers were almost certainly well versed in the sort of symbolic language and imagery in which the book is written. Whether they had formerly been Jews or pagans, they would read the language of myth as fluently as any modern reader of the daily papers reads the conventional symbols of a political cartoon. Much of this language we can reconstruct for ourselves from the Old Testament and Jewish apocalyptic writings on the one hand and from Greek and Roman literature, inscriptions, and coinage on the other (Black's New Testament Commentaries, "A Commentary on the Revelation of St. John the Divine," 2nd edition, p. 6)."
"Our difficulties begin when we try to decide how far to take this picture language literally and how far to take it figuratively. When John echoes the Roman legend that the dead Nero was about to return, how literally does he mean it? Does he believe that Nero was not in fact dead, or that he would be resurrected, or that another paranoiac would come to fill his empty shoes? (Black's New Testament Commentaries, "A Commentary on the Revelation of St. John the Divine," 2nd edition. p. 7)."
"Misleading to say that in Revelation the monster is Rome, and still more misleading to say that it is ruler worship. The monster is both an older and a newer phenomenon than Caesar, and the great city is more ancient and more modern than Rome" (Black's New Testament Commentaries, "A Commentary on the Revelation of St. John the Divine," 2nd edition, p. xii)." (Revelation: Book of Cosmic Symbols)
G.A. Studdert Kennedy
"Force is always, and everywhere, a sign of fear -- that is, a sign of weakness. Behind the vast armies and navies which we call the great powers of the world, there is fear. Fear it is that drives us out to war. Fear is the father of ferocity, and the forger of the sword. From the Creative point of view, which is God's point of view, force is weakness, and only Love is power." (The Wicket Gate)
"Discoveries and inventions are culminative . . . filling the earth with the glory of the Lord, all nations will sing His glory and bow before Him . . . our work and its fruit are culminative."
"We work towards a new state of things. Future missionaries will be rewarded by conversions for every sermon. We are their pioneers and helpers . . . Let them not forget the watchmen of the night, who worked when all was gloom and no evidence of success in the way of conversions cheers our path. They will doubtless have more light than we, but we serve our Master earnestly and proclaim the same Gospel as they will do.
" . . . A quiet audience today. The seed is being sown, the least of all seeds now, but it will grow into a mighty tree. It is as if it were a small stone cut out of a mountain, but it will fill the whole earth (Daniel 2:34-45).
" . . . We work for a glorious future which we are not destined to see, the golden age which has not yet been, but will yet be. We are only morning stars shining in the dark, but the glorious morn will break - the good time coming yet.
" . . . The dominion has been given by the power of commerce and population unto the people of the saints of the Most High. This is an everlasting kingdom, a little stone cut out of the mountain without hands which will cover the whole earth; for this time we work."
Abbott, Jacob, Rome. Harper's New Monthly Magazine, vol. 36, issue 211 (December 1867).
Abbott, Lyman, The Eternal City. Harper's New Monthly Magazine, vol. 44, issue 259 (December 1871).
"From the day when the faithful first assembled around their Messias until the date of this epistle, a series of years had elapsed; the full daybreak, as Paul deemed, was already close at hand. We find here corroborated, what is also evident from several other passages, that the apostles expected the speedy advent of the Lord. The reason of this lay, partly in the general law that man is fond to imagine the object of his hope at hand, partly in the circumstance that the Saviour had often delivered the admonition to be every moment prepared for the crisis in question, and had also, according to the usus loquendi of the prophets, described the period as fast approaching." (Comm. on Romans, in loc.)
IS GETTING WORSE"
"To say that Christ is ruler now is a statement that reaches almost blasphemous proportions.”
An important part of the spiritual war is identifying and exposing the enemies of the Christ's victorious work - forces consciously or subconsciously promoting darkness -- actually seeking to bring darkness
to the world instead of light. This group clearly includes non-Christians who deny the effective power of Christ. Regrettably, though, this group also includes many who claim the name of Christ. By promoting an 'end times now' world view, they present a weak, ineffectual Messiah, who failed His first time around (by failing to be made a temporal King), and whose people have failed in history (in the supposed "end of the church age").
"The text above is currently attracting attention. It is supposed to support the amazing idea that the Second Coming (Parousia), as described by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24), took place in AD 70!
Such a view abandons the Gospel of the Kingdom, which promises the world a universal era of prosperity and peace when the Messiah comes back. The destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the scattering of Jews outside their homeland did not signal the arrival of the Kingdom of God (Luke 21:31). The Kingdom, when it comes, will produce peace in Israel and the restoration of Israel as the headquarters of the Messianic Kingdom (Luke 1:32-35; Acts 1:6; 3:21, etc.). To imagine that the coming of Jesus happened in AD 70 is to misunderstand the Kingdom of God and thus the Christian Gospel of the Kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:14)." (This Generation)
"What we are about to consider will tend to show that, instead of permitting ourselves to hope for continued progress of good, we must expect a progress of evil; and that the hope of the earth being filled with the knowledge of the Lord before the exercise of His judgment, and the consummation of this judgment on the earth, is delusive... Truly Christendom has become completely corrupted, the dispensation of the Gentiles has been found unfaithful: can it be restored? No! Impossible." [Speech in Geneva, 1840, in William Kelly, ed., The Collected Writings of J.N.Darby, Prophetic no. 1, vol. 1 (Kingston-on-Thames: Stow Hill Bible and Tract Depot, undated), 471, 486)]
"It is absolutely necessary that we should renounce everything. We shall have to do so sooner or later, either with joy by the Spirit of Christ, or with shame when the judgments of God shall break every tie that is still keeping us back. We must then leave everything, or else be burnt up with Sodom. Prophecy has a special power to separate us from this present evil world, which the patience of God can bear, because He is taking His own out of it, but which is judged already nevertheless. (Writings, II.44. Emp added.)
Benjamin Franklin (1869)
"But there is another class of scoffers that this discourse has to do with. They say the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ has long since occurred--that he came the second time at the destruction of Jerusalem; that he there judged the world; separated the righteous from the wicked, and, consequently, argue that the coming of Christ, the judgment, and punishment of the wicked are all long since gone by. This fallacy must now be refuted. It must be shown that the coming of the Lord is yet future." (The Second Coming of Christ and the Destruction of the World, The Gospel Preacher, Ch. 18)
'Certainly. I think Judgment Day is approaching fast. I think there are major prophecies that have been fulfilled. The rebirth of Israel. All of this was foretold. The great tribulation will come then. And this world will be judged for rejecting Jesus Christ. In America now, you cannot mention His name on television, you cannot teach the Bible in school, but you can talk of Muhammad all you want. Why is that? Because the great tribulation is coming. The true followers of Jesus will be taken up and the remainder left behind." (source)
"When Jesus comes, He is going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Could anyone even suggest that for these last 1,900 years Jesus has been Lord and King over the kings of this earth – kings who have persecuted Christians by the millions (an estimated 50 million martyrs have been slaughtered for their faith)? To say that Christ is ruler now is a statement that reaches almost blasphemous proportions.” (End Times Controversy: 2nd Coming Under Attack, pg. 11)
The Christmas Peace of 1914
Live-and-let-live accommodations occur in most wars. Chronicles since
Troy record stops in fighting to bury the dead, to pray to the gods, to
assuage a war-weariness, to offer signs of amity encouraging mutual
respect. But none had happened on the scale or duration - or the
potential for change - as when the shooting suddenly stopped on
Christmas Eve 1914.
The difference then was in its potential to become more than a
momentary respite. In retrospect, the interruption of the horror, to
soldiers "the sausage machine", seems unreal, incredible in its
intensity and extent, impossible to have happened without consequences
for continuing the war. Like a dream, when it was over, troops wondered
at it, then continued with the grim business at hand.
Under the rigid discipline of wartime command authority, that
business was killing, targeting even those whose
hands one had clasped, whose rations one had
shared, and who had joined in singing of peace on earth and goodwill to
all men. The Christmas truce of 1914 was no myth, although song, story,
film, and dubious reminiscence have added layers of fantasy upon it.
For four, bloody months, what became
known, with good reason, as the Great War had been raging. Christmas has
always been hard on soldiers who are far away from home. The British and
German troops facing each other in chill, muddy, sometimes freezing
Flanders were as close to home geographically as enemies on someone
else's territory get. London was 60 miles away, across the watery trench
of the English Channel. The German border abutted Belgium, which the
Kaiser's army had invaded and despoilt.
Yet the muck, and the crisscrossing,
water-logged trenches and the barbed-wire entanglements separating the
two armies, as well as the relentless firing by machineguns and
artillery, made the distances home seem far greater.
A Royal Engineer, Andrew Todd, wrote to
The Scotsman in Edinburgh that soldiers were "only 60 yards apart" at
some places on the front lines. They could see and hear each other, and
even raise bold placards to taunt each other. Such intimacy hardly
contributed to morale, because they could also fire at each other, and
raising one's head above a trench parapet invited death. The number of
casualties was already enormous. Troops dreamt of Christmas with their
families, who seemed increasingly remote in time as well as place. A
cynical German saying was, "We'll conquer until we're all dead". A
cartoon by Lieutenant Bruce Bairnsfather, "AD Nineteen Fifty", depicted
two soldiers with drooping white beards musing over an old newspaper
while shells scream over their trench. War-weary "Ole Bill" is asked how
long he is "up for". "Seven years", he groans. "You're lucky," says the
other. "I'm duration."
To make it feel more like Christmas,
governments on both sides had prepared small holiday gift-boxes for the
troops, with snacks, sweets and tobacco. Queen Victoria had set the
precedent in 1899, ordering small tin boxes of chocolates shipped to
soldiers in distant South Africa for a Boer War Christmas. In 1914,
Tommies received a "Princess Mary" brass box, with her head embossed on
the lid, much like that of the queen 15 years before.
German troops in Flanders, accessible
from home by land, received, along with their wooden gift boxes
decorated with a wreath and a Flammenschwert - a flaming sword -
tabletop-size Christmas trees with candles conveniently clamped to the
branches. The law of unintended consequences activated itself. On
Christmas Eve, as darkness came early, the Germans - at some hazard -
placed trees atop trench parapets and lit the candles. Then they began
singing carols, and though their language was unfamiliar to their
enemies, the tunes were not. After a few trees were shot at, the British
became more curious than belligerent, and crawled forward to watch and
to listen. And soon they began to sing.
By Christmas morning, no man's land
between the trenches was filled with fraternising soldiers, sharing
rations, trading gifts, singing, and - more solemnly - burying the dead
between the lines. (Earlier, the bodies had been too dangerous to
retrieve.) The roughly cleared space suggested to the more imaginative
among them a football pitch. Kickabouts began, mostly with balls
improvised from stuffed caps and other gear, the players oblivious of
their greatcoats and boots. The official war diary of the 133rd Saxon
Regiment says "Tommy and Fritz" used a real ball, furnished by a
provident Scot. "This developed into a regulation football match with
caps casually laid out as goals. The frozen ground was no great matter.
Das Spiel endete 3:2 fur Fritz." Other accounts, mostly German, give
other scores, and British letters and memories fill in more details.
The high brass on both sides quickly
determined that they could not let the situation develop. In the
national interest, the war had to go on. Peace has always been more
difficult to make than war, but it was materialising. Under threat of
court martial, troops on both sides were ordered to separate and restart
hostilities. Reluctantly, they drifted apart. General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien's
order to II Corps from his cushy rear-area headquarters read: "On no
account is intercourse to be allowed between opposing troops. To finish
this war quickly we must keep up the fighting spirit."
But some units were too contaminated by
Christmas to be reliable, and it took a few days to bring in
replacements. Both commands ordered rolling artillery barrages to
disrupt the stillness and to motivate responses.
In most sectors where the shooting had
stopped, signals (in some cases, flares) set by their officers called
men back to their trenches or confirmed the imminent close of the truce.
Private Percy Jones of the Westminster Brigade wrote in his diary: "We
parted with much hand-shaking and goodwill." Rifleman George Eade of the
3rd London Rifles said a German soldier told him: "Today we have peace.
Tomorrow you fight for your country. I fight for mine. Good luck."
Some troops referred to the "wonderful
day". One wrote of the experience as "a waking dream". The remarkable
happening is corroborated by reports from up and down the line, even
from French sources. Although the French officially denied there was a
truce, Victor Granier, a Paris Opera tenor, sang "Minuit, Chrétiens,
c'est l'heure solennelle" ["O Holy Night"] - across the trenches near
the Polygon Wood, and a leading singer from the Berlin Imperial Opera,
Walter Kirchoff, performed for the British for the first time since his
appearance at Covent Garden the year before.
There was no way to conceal French
fraternisation even when the unwelcome reality was kept from the
newspapers, because German accounts identified the units, and the sick
and wounded evacuated to hospitals at the rear delightedly reported what
had they had seen and done.
Most fascinating as corroboration of the
truce are the letters posted home, before censorship closed such
opportunities, by both sides. Many from the British side can still be
read, because families eagerly sent them to their hometown newspapers,
from the Exeter Argus to the South Wales Echo and Belfast Evening
Telegraph, which through January 1915 described details of what
otherwise would indeed have seemed a fairy tale.
The truce would reappear in song and
story, seemingly stranger than mere fiction. Robert Graves, who joined
the Royal Welch Fusiliers just after the truce, wrote a short story
which included a game of football and a German juggler who entertained
the troops in no man's land. However improbable any account of a juggler
in such circumstances, the 3rd London's official war diary reported that
he "drew a large crowd".
The German writer James Kruss wrote of an
impassioned soldier who took a lighted tree into the French trenches to
stop the shooting, and found the enemy were Algerian Islamic troops, who
knew nothing of Christmas. In astonishment at the apparition, they put
down their rifles. The tale, allegedly from Kruss's grandfather, came
from his uncle, who had been at the front, I discovered, opposite the
45th Division of the Armeé d'Afrique.
The last veteran associated with the real
thing, Alfred Anderson, died at 109 on 21 November, in a nursing home in
Scotland. In 1914, he was 18, and in the Black Watch. Off the line in
reserve, Anderson was sheltering in a dilapidated farmhouse on Christmas
Eve, when British and German troops, emerged from their trenches in the
darkness near by, and fraternised. A spokesman for the Royal British
Legion of Scotland called him "the last surviving link with a time that
shimmers on the edge of our folk memory".
It could not have been better phrased,
for Anderson was only on the edge of that remarkable event. He heard the
stillness, the suddenly silent night in embattled Flanders. By New
Year's Eve the firing almost everywhere along the line had restarted.
Hundreds of thousands would die before the armistice four gory years
later in November 1918.
Attempts at other Christmas truces
failed. On 22 July 2001, Bertie Felstead, a veteran of the Royal Welch
Fusiliers, died aged 106. He was also called "the last known survivor of
the Christmas truce". The longer he lived, the more famous he became. He
recalled hearing the Fritzes call out "Merry Christmas, Tommy!" and
playing football with the enemy in no man's land, bartering souvenirs,
singing carols. But he said the experience lasted only half an hour, a
fleeting moment for so much to have happened to him. And the year was
1915. A second truce, he called it. Yet both the British and the German
headquarters issued explicit orders, under pain of punishment, that
there was to be no repetition of the extraordinary 1914 stoppage of the
war, football included. Wars were to be fought, with no holidays from
Two officers who tried to initiate that
second truce, Captain Miles Barnes and Captain Sir Iain Colquhoun of the
1st Scots Guards, did so ostensibly to bury the dead. The two sides
mingled briefly and returned to their lines. For the rest of Christmas
Day, Colquhoun said, "the Germans walked about and sat on their
parapets. Our men did much the same, but remained in their trenches. Not
a shot was fired".
A court martial was convened, and the two
officers were reprimanded, the mildest sentence possible. So went the
abortive 1915 truce. It is more than possible that Felstead's vivid
memories traded upon the tales of his Welch Fusilier comrades who were
in the trenches in 1914.
Such wartime truces as in 1914 are no
longer likely. My late friend Nigel Nicolson, an army captain in Italy
in 1943, said the Germans ringing bells on Christmas Eve from a church
high on a nearby hill. "Can we stop shooting?" he asked a superior. "Not
on your life," he was told. The more vast the cultural and ideological
divide, the more improbable such truces become. There could have been no
shared Christmases with the Japanese in the Pacific war between 1941 and
1945, nor now with Islamic combatants in Iraq.
A Christmas truce seems in our new
century an impossible dream from a more simple, vanished world. Peace is
indeed, even briefly, harder to make than war.
Stanley Weintraub is the author of
'Silent Night: the Remarkable 1914 Christmas Truce' and 'Iron Tears:
Rebellion in America' (both Simon & Schuster). 'Joyeux Noël' is in
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The world is not getting better and the Bible tells us that in the last days
it will be like it was in the days of Noah. HELLO, wake up and find the
truth. Jesus is returning soon and we all had better be awake and watching.