A Time magazine article recently described the precarious balance in which the tenure of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is hanging. “He may be the most widely disliked figure in the Soviet Union, yet he is convinced that he alone can avert outright warfare among tribes and factions that hate one another even more than they hate him” (“The Conductor of Discord,” March 25, 1991, p.33).
Gorbachev stands on a narrow precipice. On either side are civil war with social anarchy or a return to the iron hand of a repressive dictatorial government. The condition of the Soviet Union at this moment is extremely urgent. Forces which seem out of control have been unleashed which either threaten to destroy the Soviet republic or promise to bring lasting change and permanent freedom. Caught in the fulcrum of the mechanism of change, Gorbachev is being used as an instrument to bring freedom to many long repressed people.
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has brought some very real changes to the style of leadership within the Soviet Union. Despite the turmoil that has occurred under his leadership, Gorbachev is unlike all of the Soviet leaders of the past, who have refused to talk with the heads of state of the free world. Gorbachev once spent many hours with Margaret Thatcher debating the power of the free market verses Marxism. Only the two of them and the Soviet president’s interpreter heard the conversation. Gorbachev made everyone else leave the room.
He also spent a lot of time speaking with President Reagan. The ideas of liberty and freedom being sown into his heart and mind began to take root and overturn the falsehoods of communism. Those ideas of freedom went deep into his heart and prospered because it was really God who sent them.
Other Soviet leaders have always presented very formal canned speeches, while Gorbachev has stimulated the minds of people all over the world with fresh ideas. This dramatic change has affected all of Soviet society, especially the young people. In an interview with some 20 year-old Soviets, Public Radio reported on perestroika … The question was asked: “What does it mean to you?”
One responded: “It means that we can think for ourselves … Before we were expected to only do as we were told. What we speak in the kitchen can be published in the paper. There is a feeling that we can change things. We will never allow the cult of personality worship to happen again. We keep feeling that something within us needs to be changed, but we don’t know what it is.”
What is the driving force behind all of the changes the past few years have brought to the Soviet Union? The answer to this question can only lie in an unseen force in history which is pulling the Soviet people toward a greater destiny. It is as if the God of all history has said to the Soviet Union, “I’m going to put my hook in your jaw and turn you around and rain fire upon you. Is not my word like fire and like a hammer that shatters the rock?”
While we must always keep in mind the diabolical nature of the communist system of government, as well as a realistic understanding that a few reforms will never renew a governmental system whose foundational principles deny personal freedom, truth and the existence of God, we must not ignore the possible beginnings of freedom that are stirring within the Soviet Union today.
God has foretold in His word that every nation, every tribe, and every kingdom of this world is destined to come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.While the earmarks of repression are still observable in the Soviet Union and while oppression still continues, the seeds of communism’s downfall have already been planted.
Perhaps history will record that the unseen hand of God moved through Gorbachev and his policy of glasnost to insure the complete destruction of communism – an event scheduled on God’s calendar in order to establish His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
In the West’s fear of the spread of communism, we have missed a vital truth. There is a great destiny for this nation. The question has never been – “Could the West contain communism?” – but rather – “Could communism resist freedom?”
Some of the most obvious recipients of the benefits of perestroika have been the Soviet Jews. The number of Soviet Jews returning to Israel in 1990 exceeded the expected 150 thousand, as thousands of last minute arrivals landed in Israeli airports in late December before the impending Persian Gulf War. This year the total number of Soviet Jews returning to Israel under Gorbachev may approach one million.
Like King Cyrus, the Persian who promised safe passage to returning Jews coming out of the fallen Babylon in the 6th century B.C., Gorbachev is allowing an ancient prophecy to be fulfilled. The Prophet Jeremiah proclaimed that the Lord would bring “the sons of Israel from of the land of the north and from all the countries where he had banished them” (Jeremiah 16:14,15). Today Gorbachev is allowing Soviet Jews to be restored to their biblical homeland.
Financing this tremendous task, Christians and Jews from all over the world are sponsoring the Soviet Jews’ safe passage out of the Soviet Union. Forbidden to take Soviet wealth out of the country, many Jews are being greeted at the Jerusalem airport by a banner that reads “International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.”
Many Jews, who have been falsely taught that Christianity is at the source of the vast anti-semitism of Europe, are visibly overcome with emotion at the first sight of their homeland. The thought that Christians have actually helped them to come home is unbelievable. A great reconciliation of Jews and Christians around the world is occurring as a result of the sponsored airlifts.