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April 30, 1975 Saigon

–>Portions of the following account is taken from an article in the San Diego Union Tribune April 29, 2012

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April 30, 1975 – Saigon

For the previous ten years, the democratically elected government of South Vietnam and her American allies fought the communist troops of North Vietnam. The United States had never demonstrated the political will to win the war outright so that the costs and sacrifice had become enormous and America decided to leave.

Now, divisions of North Vietnamese Communist troops encircled Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. The airstrip was cratered and blocked by smoldering aircraft. The only way out for the Americans and their South Vietnamese allies was Operation Frequent Wind, a heliborne evacuation.

In those last days, the Marine security guards had worked with little or no sleep, shoveling sensitive documents into furnaces and panicked Vietnamese onto departing flights.

Ken Crouse, was a 19-year-old lance corporal at the time.

“We tried to keep them in family groups. That was very important,” he recalled.

They crammed twice the number of passengers as normal into the helicopters, allowing each person one small bag.

“A lot of the people were simply scared. They were really stepping off into the unknown. They had no idea where they were going or where they would live,” Crouse recalled. The United States later opened a camp for Vietnamese refugees at Camp Pendleton, where Crouse had trained for the infantry.

“Their bigger fear was the North Vietnamese army. A lot of these people had good reason to fear them,” Crouse said. “They were huddled in groups, looking at me with these questions in their eyes.”

More than 50,000 people escaped by plane and an additional 7,000 by helicopter. When the evacuation finally ended on April 30, the rest were abandoned to their fate.

…The people inside the gates had pushed through the mob and showed the proper documents so the Marines could pull them over the wall.

“Dung lo!” An American officer called out. Don’t worry! Everyone will get out. A couple hundred Vietnamese remained, seated in family groups waiting for a flight,

Then the ugly order came down: “round eyes only.”

The last few dozen Americans left at the embassy backed inside the building and barred the heavy teak doors.

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“When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from…”

Luke13:25-28

One door and only one

And yet, its sides are two

Inside and outside

On which side are you?

The Good news of the gospel is that there is still an open door. The warning of the gospel is that soon that door will be shut. It will not matter what you say or what you have done. All that will matter is which side of the door that you are on.

Many of those that were left behind that day in Saigon were loyal South Vietnamese workers at the U.S. embassy. For ten years they had been assured that they would not be left to the communist guns of the North Vietnamese.

They stayed on at their posts while they watched many of their countrymen leave as it became apparent that the South Vietnamese army would not have the resources to defeat the North Vietnamese once the Americans left. In the end their loyalty was not enough, only their nationality could save them.

In the same way there are many today that believe that they are saved because of their close association with Christians; they are loyal church members and they dutifully perform their good works in the hope of being saved.

They have received warm assurances from their religious leaders that they are saved because they have been baptized and taken communion, they prayed a prayer, they did penance, sang in the choir, came forward with insincere repentance to an altar and they might have even preached the gospel. In the end, these loyalties and good works will not save them. Only the right citizenship will save them.

Is your citizenship in heaven or only of this earth?

If you are confused about this, read on.

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Please read Luke 23:27-31

These events of the last week of Jesus’ life on earth were marked by a fickle crowd that were easily blown around from one position to another. They were followers of the religious rulers in Jerusalem. Yet, the week before Jesus came to Jerusalem for this last Passover, he raised Lazarus from the dead who was placed in a grave four days earlier! Surely this had to be Messiah, shouldn’t we be following Him?

So, it is no wonder that as Jesus came into the city they hailed Him as Messiah, the King of Israel. They reasoned that surely this is He that should come to give Israel their place among the nations and rid them of this awful Roman yoke.

Yet instead of attacking Rome, Jesus attacked the temple and threw out the money changers. He taught the people in the temple, but it wasn’t to organize a kingdom and an army. Instead, He spoke against the rulers of the Jews, He preached repentance, but He did not preach the salvation of Jerusalem. He preached its destruction.

So, the people turned away from Him when He didn’t appear to be their kind of Messiah. Their leaders convinced them that this Jesus was a Satanic counterfeit, with demonic power, He is an imposter of the true Messiah that the leaders had described to the people.

The people were confused, they were vacillating, they were just not sure who this Jesus really was. A few days after receiving Him into the city with Hallelujah’s, they called for His crucifixion. Some of them even as they watched Jesus on the cross held out hope that He would come down from the cross, that He would save Himself. When He died, the people were disappointed; they were grieved that He did not turn out to be what they had hoped for.

Along the path to the cross the Lord speaks to certain women. These are not His disciples but they are mourners. Every Jewish funeral has its professional mourners. Jesus was on His way to death and the grave and so it was the custom that there would be those dutiful mourners along the route to the cross.

That isn’t to say that there was not some genuine sympathy for Jesus with these women. Jesus was marked by a special kindness to women. This was unusual for a Rabbi in those days. Yet, the Lord commands them to not weep for Him but instead weep for themselves and their children.

He was warning of judgment to come. He was warning of a disaster to the nation that would mean slaughter of their children and the end of hope in Israel. There was no more an invitation to grace but a warning of pity as to what was to happen to them.

The nation would be destroyed by the Romans in 70 a.d. These women would watch their sons and husbands slaughtered, their babies torn from their arms and killed before their eyes, their homes destroyed, their temple burned to the ground. Israel would not be a nation again for 1875 years.

This was Israel’s opportunity to receive her King and they rejected Him. They would not have this man to reign over them. The result was horrible destruction.

Do you know the difference between a green tree and a dry tree?

Green tree = the day of grace, an opportunity exists to be saved.

Dry tree = the day of judgment when the last opportunity to be saved is gone.

We are approaching the day of the shut door; the day of the dry tree; the day, and a world, that is ready for the fire.

Now is your day of salvation, Now is your day of opportunity. Will you pass it by and suffer the same condemnation as Jerusalem?

The day came in Saigon in 1975 when, just before that door was shut, the call was given for those who were distinct from the rest; ’round eyes only’.

Even so, just before the door of salvation closes, the call is given for those whom God sees as different from all other people. He is not looking for a different appearance, but men and women of different hearts – cleansed hearts

Only those who have trusted the Lord Jesus to change them on the inside; only those who are citizens of heaven will be allowed on the inside of that shut door.

Do you have the right citizenship?

For our conversation (commonwealth) is in heaven;

from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Philippians 3:20

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