A Voice in the
"In the world you will have tribulation.." (Jn16:33) "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works." (2Cor11:13-15)
The recent American presidential election, innauguration and accompanying cabinet appointments have stirred up quite a volume of controversies; both from the left-wing liberal media, sodomites, right-to-kill activists, etc.; and from various 'flavors' of christendom that call themselves "Christian".
The present traditional "honeymoon" aside, the liberal activists are scared spitless that the new administration is going to try to undo ALL the previous administration's executive orders; all those things which support the worship of 'mother earth', and other similar agendas. They are scared that the appointee for Attorney General will stop them from their "right to kill" babies. If it were to boil right down to it, and they understood all the facts, they are scared of the rise to power of what they would view as the 'Christian Coalition'. Bush is a Billy Graham prodigy "christian", having the son, Franklin, become what appears to be the new 'minister of prayer' for the nation. Ashcroft, a Pentecostal; as far as the world is concerned, a "Christian". With these conservative "moral majority" type values, and F.Graham's PK-esque prayers, asking God's "forgiveness" for this nation for the "sins of ethnic intolerance" and all the other things PK promotes and prays about; the unregenerate world is TERRIBLY WORRIED that religious "reconstructionism" is going to "take over" and finally fulfill what the "covenant theology/kingdom now" people have been promoting for years. A "christian" nation. If you will... a "theocracy".
At the other end of the spectrum are Christians and conservative Fundamentalist pharisees debating the issues from their perspective. Asking questions like, "Can Ashcroft, if he is a Christian, even consider taking on a job like AG, and thus, enforce the law of the land which (among other things) supports the killing of babies?" How can a Christian enforce a Godless law, and still remain faithful to God's Laws? I still wait to see anything from any of them on that topic which is truly Scriptural, which also 'answers' the question; not merely talk around it in circles. David got pretty bloody and killed a lot of people, in war, before Israel was at peace and Godlessness was cleansed out of the land. While he was the "man after God's own heart", because of all his bloodshed, he could not build God's temple. (1Ch22:8, 28:3, 1Kg5:3) But he was God's servant for that very necessary time and purpose. As Daniel "sat in the gate of the king" of Babylon (Dan2:49), one has to wonder what laws of the land he had to enforce. When Naaman tells Elisha that, when he goes home, he will have to "bow" to Rimmon at his master's side, and asks for pardon in advance, Elisha tells him "Go in peace". (2Kg5:18-19) When Esther had to sleep with the king, to come to her place as queen (Es2:14); when it came time to do her part which saved the Jews, as she feared for her life, it was said to her, "Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for a time such as this?" (Es4:14) But the concensus from the "spiritual ones" of the Fundamentalist camp seems to be that a True Christian could not hold such an office, and still remain true to God's Laws. If (IF) that's true, I guess it's impossible for this country's corrupt situation to be changed, then... considering that it is set up under Constitutional Laws with democratically-elected officials. No Godly person can take the position, and begin to effect change in this nation. I guess it's 'hopeless'! [Editor: said, tongue-in-cheek]
And then, from correspondence with a subscriber who writes frequently, in the context of the subject of the Ashcroft nomination hearings, the question is raised, Why are 'pretend' christians being persecuted? If it is assumed from readily available testimonies, and their "fruits" (Mt7:20) which are understood by True Believers, that the new administration has a name, "Christian", they make claim to, but the reality is that they are part of christendom we have come to call "pretend christians" (along with Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, the pope, Promise Keepers, and all the other members of the one-world-religions "unite" movement), why do the liberals persecute them as though they were -real- "Christians"? Why do the pharisees tear them apart and make mince meat out of them...as they elevate themselves in their own estimations? If these people are not REAL "Christians", why are they persecuted? Are not only REAL Christians persecuted? Doesn't satan only target those who belong to Christ? Why would he target his own for such abuses?
Well, the answer to that is the 'germ' to Jesus' statement, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." (Mt12:25)
The reason satan persecutes his 'look-alike' pretenders is because of the nature of his work. BECAUSE they are pretenders!! He appears as an "angel of light". He is the "shining one" or "light-bearer". Rome honored him with a name (Lucifer), based on the Latin word (lux, luc-) for "light". But God never gave him that as a 'name'. God proclaims, "Oh shining star, son of the morning, how you have fallen from the heavens!" (Is14:12 LITV) Satan's doom was in place before he ever began deceiving. Even though his works are "works of darkness" (Rom13:12, Eph5:11), he deceives with 'light'; not darkness. How many satanic apparitions entail "a bright (rushing) light"? Remember, he is the embodiment of "Antichrist", trying to imitate God Who -is- "The Light". (Jn1:9, 3:19, 8:12, etc) And thus, his followers also appear to be "ministers of righteousness". (1Cor11:15) In other words... "Christians".
So, what did Jesus promise for His (true) followers? In this world you "will/shall" have tribulation. (Jn16:33) It is a matter-of-fact. "You -HAVE- distress in the world" (LITV) It is part of the definition of what it means to follow Christ; taking up the cross. Without it, one "cannot" be His disciple. (Lk14:27) When Paul would return to "strengthen" the new converts, he did not go "there-there...you'll be all better soon" as he patted them on the shoulder and kissed away their boo-boos. No! He would say, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts14:22b)
So now, if satan is to come up with his own warriors to infiltrate and pretend to be Christians, his followers cannot be without persecution, either, can they. If persecution is an integral part of "being a Christian", if his followers are having it 'easy', they will be spotted easier as frauds. But what better way to be convincing, than for them to be 'suffering' persecution. After all, that was one of the indicators to the early Church that a person was "real", and possessing real 'dedication' to Christ. "..men who have RISKED THEIR LIVES for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ". (Acts15:26) After all, there is no "greater love" than to give up one's own life. (Jn15:13)
I've mentioned this in the past; let's observe again. A few years ago I received a copy of Foxes 'Book of Martyrs'. Initially I thought it would be a 'precious' item to have, given its topic and reputation; I had not read it before. But as I read, there was a fascinating observation as one progresses through the book. As the book begins, it is obvious that the accounts are about True Believers in Christ who are dying for their Faith in Christ. This is so for about the first century of Church history. The next 200 years begin to become murky, as to 'what' the martyrs are dying for. Once past the 3rd century, and especially into the years of the Dark Ages and Reformation, martyrdom is recorded as being related to being a "Protestant". Or being of "the church". And all those "holy wars" between the Catholics and Protestants had really nothing to do with "Faith in Christ". They had to do with creeds and politics. Most of those "great men" whose writings many "Christians" worship, and judge Scripture against, were not True Believers. They were Protestants and Reformers. They were taking up the sword and doing military combat against Rome. They apparently missed Paul's exhortation that "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal.." (2Cor10:4) That Jesus told Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight...but now My kingdom is not from here" (Jn18:36) As... many of them persecuted True Believers and Jews.
You see, dear Believer, our "citizenship is in heaven". (Phil3:20) We are "ambassadors for Christ" (2Cor5:20, Eph6:20) Ambassadors do not conduct warfare. They 'represent'. (We are "witnesses" Lk24:48) When things become desperate, they are sometimes taken hostage, and killed. They are given "defensive" forces. (Eph6:11-17) But embassies do not station entire regiments and battalions from their home nations. Those forces are dispatched from the home country "toward" the needs of the ambassador when necessary. (Eph1:19)
Thing is, today's 'pretend' christians are arming themselves. We began speaking of the newly elected administration. Let's leave them and any thoughts of 'politics'... (So far Mr.Bush's first day 'at work' has issued a reversal of one of Clinton's first exective orders, and now prohibition has been reinstated, to prohibit the use of U.S. tax dollars to support international "family-planning" groups providing abortions. He was also shown giving a speech to his staff exhorting them to obey the law and conduct themselves at the highest ethical standards. A 'good' switch from what we have seen for the past eight years! Let's hope this trend continues!) and speak of those people of the similar 'faith' as theirs. The liberals are paranoid of the administration because it looks an awful lot like the "christian coalition". They persecute the administration, as they have been doing so to the coalition. While the administration will be involved in the nation's business at the secular level, that's government; the coalition has been assembling its forces and engaging in spiritual warfare.
You see, while there is a similarity between the persecution of True Believers and the 'pretend' christians, there is a cavernous gap between 'response' ideologies. Where Jesus taught to "turn the other cheek" (Mt5:39), many of satan's pretenders are engaged in OFFENSIVE "spiritual warfare". While Jesus told Peter to put his sword back into its sheath (Jn18:11), Restorationism teaches that there are times to take up arms and "kill" the godless. "in the name of Christ", of course. While today, some of them have bombed and killed baby-killers; as their movement progresses, their venom will also be turned against True Believers. As God's Word continues exposing them for the frauds they are, their anger turns back upon the Believer.
Yes, they will have the cover of themselves being persecuted. But as their true colors are manifest, their persecution of True Believers will again fulfill Jesus' words, "They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service." (Jn16:2)
Recently a venemous diatribe was leveled against VW for its expose of a false teaching of a person who proclaims false doctrine. While this is a regular common occurence, this particular attack began with words of "prayer". The person saying he needed to take time out to "pray" in order that what he was about to say would not be of "the flesh". And then, proceeded into his lengthy angry rant. But you see, in spite of his claim to "prayer", his true spirit was manifest. And while he was claiming to proclaim for God's right, he was spewing forth satan's anger. But this is what Jesus said. They will claim to be doing "God's service". But what they do, they do "because they have not known the Father nor Me." (vs3)
So, when you experience the taunts of these pretenders, remember Jesus' words about tribulation... "but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world". (Jn16:33b)
And here we come to that "germ" I mentioned. If satan also persecutes his own, in order to deceive... what happens when a kingdom is divided against itself? It falls. These who pretend to be Christians, who look like the 'real thing' to the untrained person, as they receive persecutions (and sympathy), will fall along with the one they follow. The reason the True Believer doesn't "take up arms" of flesh is because Jesus said, "I have overcome..." Our victory is "through our Lord Jesus Christ". (1Cor15:58b) Remember that satan is the "prince of the power of the air" of the "principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph2:2, 6:12) And who is it who deposes him out of the heavenlies? Us?? No! When he is "cast to the earth" (Rev12:9) it is the "kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ.." (vs10) The "kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ" (Rev11:15) They are taken over by the One called, "Faithful and True", the "King of kings, and Lord of lords" who will "strike the nations" (Rev19:11,16,15) While satan is so intent upon defying God, he persecutes his own followers along with God's followers. He will fall.
So, just because the pretenders are objects of persecution, do not be deceived. It is only satan's strategy of deception. They will fall with him. Don't join and sympathize with them. Don't be signing petitions to a godless government to "do something" about the "plight of persecuted christians around the world". The care of -TRUE- Believers under persecution does not come from the world's institutions. It comes from God. And if they are to give their lives... "Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His saints." (Ps116:15) We are promised, "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end (to death) will be kept safe." (Mt10:22 LITV) "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." (Rev2:10)
While God promises persecution from satan and the world, He, Himself, gives "good things to those who ask Him" (Mt7:11)
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." (Jas1:17) He does not deal shadily, with deceit.