The Pit And The Pendulum
The Bible reassures us that, concerning the Devil's program, "we
are not ignorant of his devices" (II Corinthians 2:11). I have
observed that Satan has several basic formulas that he uses
over and over again - evidently because they are consistently
successful. It is one of these devices that I wish to elaborate on in
this essay. It may be summarized as the Pendulum Swing.
Satan desires to deprive the LORD of our presence by hijacking
humankind in order to seduce us into accompanying him to his eternal
place of abode in the pit. In recognizing one of his tactics
towards that end, I've borrowed from the dark writer Edgar Allen
Poe in characterizing this phenomena as a cycle of manipulated
events that is best described as The Pit and The Pendulum.
The actual methodology in this tactic is relatively simple. It's
related to the Dialectic - the process of taking two
opposing perspectives (thesis and antithesis), and causing them to
conflict until they produce the desired result - the synthesis.
In the Pendulum Swing effect, the idea is to exaggerate and
manipulate the flow of events, until they produce an over-reaction. In
the modern parlance, we use the term backlash or blowback
to describe the eventual result.
History is littered with examples of this practice in political,
economic, and religious anecdotal data. A classic example may be found
in the Protestant Reformation. The reader will recall that in
the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church had fallen so far from the
original faith of the fathers that the ordinary populace was actually
forbidden to read the Bible.
In this strange series of historically demonstrable apostasies,
priests were commonly illiterate and could not read the scriptures
even if they wanted to. Meanwhile, the occasional literate commoner
that managed to obtain a copy of the scriptures was executed
under "church" authority if caught with a copy of the Bible.
Indeed, those that read the scriptures and realized how far off the
church had drifted from its mandates immediately recognized why
the religious authorities had banned the book in the first place.
The office of Pope had been auctioned off to the highest bidder, the
leadership had invented doctrines with no scriptures to support them,
and the "church" had even come to the audacious proposition that
people could buy favor with the LORD through the sale of "indulgences" -
a practice that was little more that a brazen attempt at generating
revenue for the church by having priests "sell" God's favor in
exchange for filthy lucre.
As the Spirit of Antichrist continued to engender more
and more decadent and decrepit behaviour in the organized church, Satan
knew an inevitable backlash was building. He stalled it as long
as possible, and when the Pendulum began to swing the other way, he
changed sides. Even as Martin Luther, John Huss, John
Calvin, and the other "reformers" led the way back towards a
more Scripturally mandated form of Christianity, the Spirit of
Antichrist joined the Protestant side in the conflict.
In Germany, roving bands of politically aroused "Christian"
Protestants sacked and burned Catholic cathedrals. Obviously, there is
no New Testament justification for such misdeeds, but they wanted
revenge for all the excesses perpetrated by the Roman leadership -
and rationalized such evil under the guise of righteous indignation.
In other parts of Europe, the "reformers" sought to legislate the
grace of Jesus Christ that is found in the New
Testament, and began to rule with an oppressive hand that was no
better than the Papacy it sought to replace.
Then Satan changed sides again, and sought to swing the Pendulum back
to the Papacy as the Catholic Church reacted to the theological
challenge with rancor and hideous violence. In what was dubbed the
counter-reformation, Bible quoting reformers were tortured to death
by "inquisitors" - a unique blend of "priest" and sadistic
executioner. Countless dungeons were filled with the agonized cries of
Christians that were slowly murdered in the name of God.
Although the Protestant Reformation is one of the most glaring
examples, the Pendulum Swing also worked well in secular
government settings. The French Revolution is a stellar example
of the destructive energies that can be unleashed through the tactic.
History records how the French aristocracy had become oblivious to the
plight of the commoner to the degree that amidst the opulence of the
so-called nobles, the underclass was starving.
The royal house in France was largely bankrupt during the reign of Louis
XVI, and his young bride Marie Antoinette was so
bored with her standing that she spent her time pursuing frivolities
and superficial social discourse. As conditions deteriorated across
the land, the queen was more concerned with the latest hairstyle than
the condition of her hapless subjects.
Court intrigue was everywhere, and the under-currents of religion
formed an important part of the brewing political backlash.
As if on cue,
the "Diamond Necklace Affair" occurred which sealed the fate of
the French throne. A swindler had convinced a certain priest named Cardinal
de Rohan that the queen desperately wanted him to purchase a
fabulously expensive diamond necklace. He arranged the purchase, and
the high society criminal, a woman named Jeanne de la Motte,
escaped with the opulent jewelry. The jeweler went unpaid, and the
Cardinal was prosecuted; but the population believed Marie
Antoinette was secretly behind the subterfuge in a foolish attempt
to squander the French treasury.
This occurred at a time when the French aristocracy could least afford
such a scandal. It was almost as if the affair of the necklace
was purposely engineered to cause the Pendulum to swing too far
over to the side of wasteful opulence. As if to add insult to injury,
the queen of France, Marie Antoinette, who was
apparently innocent of any wrongdoing in the matter, was seen to be
the true culprit as the crown prosecuted the Cardinal for his role in
the strange scandal.
The pressure built up to the degree that the social explosion that
ensued was devastating. The Pendulum then swung to an atrocious
barbarity as the new French Republic sought retribution for the
perceived sins of the royalty. The guillotine fell, and the resulting
carnage was as evil as anything ever perpetrated by the short-sighted
aristocrats of French society.
Wide Church Of God
On a much smaller scale, a sectarian example of this principle is in
order. Many are familiar with the ministry of Herbert W Armstrong
and his late son Garner Ted Armstrong. The WWCOG
ministry had a widely watched television broadcast, a popular magazine
(The Plain Truth), and even a college.
The World Wide Church Of God placed a great emphasis on the Ten
Commandments and the Old Testament feasts of Israel. They were Sabbath
keepers with a healthy respect for the laws of God. Non-Trinitarian,
they were perceived by mainstream denominations as being somewhat
cultic with various doctrines such as British-Israelism (the idea that
the 'lost tribes' of Israel are the white Europeans) that were seen
as aberrational by mainstream denominations.
As the sect grew and matured, dissension in the ranks ensued. After a
sex scandal erupted, Garner Ted Armstrong was removed from his
responsibilities as the heir apparent to Herbert W Armstrong.
At the death of the elder Armstrong, political maneuvering occurred
that placed a relative unknown at the helm. That man, a gentleman
named Joseph Tkach died rather abruptly leaving his son Joseph
Tkach Jr in charge.
The Pit and The Pendulum effect began, and the younger Tkach
arbitrarily decided to "reform" the church and bring it in line
with mainstream Christianity. As the Pendulum swung back from the
fervency of a more works oriented theology, Tkach rejected much of
what was good about the church, and embraced much of what is false in
Already viewed as a heretic moving away from the church's legacy,
incredibly the young leader turned for help to one of the worst
elements in mainstream Christianity - the Christian Research
Institute headed by Hank Hanegraaff. CRI's leader
has already been exposed as a liar and a plagiarist, so the move to a
more mainstream theological approach was exacerbated by a new-found
reliance on a thoroughly disreputable character. The new WWCOG
theology went too far in the opposite direction, and the Pendulum had
swung once again across the truth back into the pit on the other side.
Significant defections occurred among senior pastors as the national
church imploded. Most of the breakaway groups tried to
re-capture the spirit of what had come to be known as Armstrongism.
In the process, the WWCOG actually sued at least one of
the groups for publishing a book written by Herbert W Armstrong! The
now thoroughly mainstream (read apostate) World Wide Church Of God,
operating in the sway of the corrupt Hank Hanegraaff, held the
copyright to one of the key books articulating Armstrong's original
The WWCOG not only refused to continue to publish the primary
work of their founder, they sought to suppress the publication of the
book by anyone else. They sued in court to try and suppress
the work of Armstrong from being published by others - even though
they themselves wanted no part of it.
Incidentally, the point is not that the Armstrong book
was pure truth as it is, in fact, filled with inaccuracies and false
doctrine. The point is, the Pendulum Swing brought the formerly
zealous church to the ridiculous proposition that it was their job
to suppress the beliefs and spiritual practices of others. In
this regard, the "church" had become precisely what its founder
had despised - a self-righteous pious bunch of corporate hypocrites.
At last report, the WWCOG had lost so much support they were
even forced to sell the prized real estate that they had occupied for
so many years.
American-Israeli Pendulum Swing
There may be no better example of this Satanic procedure
than the present manifestation that is seen in the American White
House. After eight long years of liberal whoredoms with President
Bill Clinton grossly misbehaving in the oval office, the Democrats
were swept out of office.
The Clinton's had offended virtually every conservative with their
embarrassing carnal atrocities. Even the incorporated brothels that
call themselves churches sought to bring the Republicans into
power. As George W Bush's record demonstrates, the Pendulum
Swing has moved to a stark militarism that is largely justified
through the potent political constituency known as Judaeo-Christianity.
In fact, at this writing, the neo-conservative mood-swing has just
reached into California, thrown out the Democratic governor, and
installed the cinematic strongman Arnold Schwartzeneggar.
The same thing has occurred in Israel.
After several coalition governments wherein the liberal Labor party
shared power with the conservative Likud party because neither side
could achieve a clear mandate, the Pendulum has swung away from the
previous appeasement of the Palestinian insurrection. It is now widely
seen that the so-called "Intifada" never even abated during times
of peace talks and cease-fires, and the swing is now towards an
The population has wearied of attempting to make peace and the popular
mindset is now openly advocating a final war to end the conflict once
and for all. Meanwhile, the neo-cons in America have aggressively
pursued a martial posture of pre-emptive war against what they claim
are Arab terrorist nations. Thus, the Pendulum Swing has moved
America to justify the preposterous position of a "Christian"
President that is aggressively bombing Islamic peoples to "protect"
the interests of the "chosen people" - the Jews.
Under basic New Testament doctrine, the Jewish people are not the
so-called "chosen people" - but that's hardly the point. The
point is, the present American policies will only serve to perpetuate
another round of the Pit and the Pendulum. Each military
incursion against an oil-producing Islamic nation can only be viewed
by the rest of the world as an opportunistic attempt at gathering the
oil riches that are held by the Arab and Islamic peoples. Indeed, most
observers outside of the United States see these efforts as the
cynical mercenary acts of a military power that is clearly acting in
concert with a politically ambitious Zionist agenda. And the
backlash is building.
The prophesied period of history described in the Bible as The
Great Tribulation is the final series of events that will
erupt as the inevitable result of man's mismanagement of his
existence in this age. Our stewardship of the planet has been so poor
that the collectivists are all utilizing the cry for a balanced
ecology as the mantra for a misguided globalism.
The truth is, the 'green' movement is just another swing too far in
response to the corrupt 'black' policies of the present
international order (see the horsemen in Revelation 6 for the
sequential flow of events). The political dialectic will continue as
the era of nations comes to an end. The age of global tyranny will be
far worse, but the dynamics of the Pendulum Swing are already
well in play and there is no stopping it now.
We are now storing up the fuel for the inevitable fire that is
about to be kindled. The Islamic moral backlash to the decadence of
American Sodomocracy has already begun. On the opposite side, the
coming Israeli explosion that has been building through decades of
unconscionable violence perpetrated by multi-generational Moslem
extremism will be unsurpassed in its ferocity and carnage.
In the end, the world will cry for deliverance as the cycles spin out
of control in an ever-escalating series of cataclysmic acts of war and
violence. Ultimately, anyone that can offer any semblance of order
will be enthusiastically received. Thus, the Pit and the Pendulum
continues its incessant rhythm as it steadily draws the world into the
chaos that is desired by the Spirit of the Antichrist. In
classic dialectic fashion, it is to this horrifying
malady that the Devil will offer his unholy bargain of deliverance.
But the Pit and the Pendulum will both ultimately be cast into
the lake of fire, along with Death and Hell, when the
LORD of glory returns and sets up His genuine kingdom of peace, joy,
and eternal life in Jesus Christ.
October 27, 2003 - James Lloyd
Copyright © 2003 Christian Media Network