This is a follow up to my previous article which was based around Matthew 24:6-10. I would suggest that if you haven’t read that yet, please do so, as it forms the foundation of what is to follow. For those who did read it, as a reminder I would like to provide a brief summary.
We are presently living in a time of intense war and strife. The past 100 years has seen this planet turned into one vast graveyard as a direct result of war, and compounding disasters in every land and continent. Matthew 24:6 and 7 are being played out before our very eyes. And not only nations are at war, but we also witness sectarian violence, terrorism, gang warfare in our local suburbs, and family violence in our homes. So poignant are the words of Jesus when He described the last days as being as the days of Noah, “the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” Genesis 6:11.
But Matthew reveals to us a subtle change. After describing a period war and natural disasters, Jesus tells us that these are just the beginning of sorrows, with the real heavy stuff beginning in verse 9 where He tells us that Christians will be hated of all nations for His name’s sake. The nations, after being at each others throats for millenia, finally find something that unites them. A hatred for God’s people. The reason for this, I believe is clear. They blame the church for all the troubles that have come upon them. In Luke, Jesus said that the nations would be perplexed at the troubles. They have no solutions, no answers. But why blame the church? Because they have turned to religion as a last resort to solve their problems. Revelation informs us in chapter 13 that the whole world will worship the beast and its image. Believing it is the will of God and to appease who it believes is an angry God pouring out His last day judgments upon mankind, Babylon the Great decides that the only way to avert annihilation is to destroy the only remaining people who refuse to bow their knee to his authority. This ‘remnant’ the scriptures inform us are they “who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus”. (Revelation 12:17; 14:12)
So how could such a scenario come about, especially in a nation like the United States which has religious freedom enshrined within its constitution? I read an article in my local paper here in NZ just this week-end which made my heart race. A reprint of an article in Newsweek magazine written by Lisa Miller, the headline reads…
Fear and Loathing at Ground Zero, with the subtitle …
A proposed mosque near where nearly 3000 died in terror attacks tests the limits of American tolerance.
We are all aware of the recent furor and debate over the plans to build a mosque by New York Muslim leaders a block or two from the former site of the World Trade Centre. And from my side of the world, it seems the debate is getting very very heated indeed. I can fully understand the angst and heartache that many must feel at what they deem a frontal assault upon their most sacred and cherished memories, an insult many claim to the memories of the many who lost their lives, some of whom simply disappeared without trace. But aside to this, there is a much bigger issue at stake here.
The headline I quoted above deeply concerns me. Is it true that religion in America is now only tolerated?
Has religious freedom in America now been reduced to something one may practice only by permission? Toleration certainly is far better than intoleration, for I would far rather be tolerated in my religious practice than be bundled off to the nearest gallows or bonfire for choosing to worship God in a manner different than what the government deems ‘appropriate’. But is that what religious freedom in America is? Toleration? If I should come to America and take up residence there, if I should practice my religion, being a member of a minority faith, would I be merely tolerated? Or would I truly be free as your founding fathers intended I should be? You see, to be tolerated is not the same as being free.
Thomas Jefferson said, “God hath created the mind free; that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion.” If religion is between man and God, and not between man and the state, then the state (nor the people who live in the state) has no more right to ‘tolerate’ my religion than do I have the right to ‘tolerate’ fishing in Alaska.
The Act of Toleration in Britain permitted religious freedom for everyone, except Jews, Catholics, and Unitarians. The founding fathers of your great nation wanted something better. Having the forefathers live through what amounted to ‘toleration’ during the dark ages in both Europe and Britain, they desired true freedom. Your Bill of Rights states, “That religion, or the duty we owe our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, being under the direction of reason and conviction only, not of violence or compulsion, all men are equally entitled to the full and free exercise of it according to the dictates of conscience.”
Intolerance, as practiced in Communist Russia and Saudi Arabia and in Europe under the medieval papacy assumed the right of the state or the church, or a combination of both,to withhold the right of conscience. Toleration, as it appears to be now making itself manifest in the United States, particularly in relation to the current argument over the building of a mosque in Manhattan, assumes the right of the state to grant the right of conscience. The rights of religious minorities in this world, regardless of recent history and hurt feelings, are just that, rights. For “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights” and surely, among those “unalienable rights” is the the right to “full and free exercise of it (religion) according to the dictates of conscience”. This is religious freedom. And it goes way beyond what is constitutional and what isn’t, it is who we are as created beings. And if we should demand that freedom for ourselves, so ought we demand it for everyone else. The states role is not in defining that freedom, nor is it in tolerating it, but solely in protecting it. And the moment the state, or the people starts down the road of intolerance or tolerance, then true religious freedom disappears under a tide of popular opinion.
When Babylon the Great or Antichrist, in his attempts to placate God and defuse His judgments he will influence the state to introduce legislation that enforces a particular brand of worship. That is what Revelation 13 is all about. Worship. Worship and deception. And this religion I speak of is not a secular/humanist type of religion nor is it Islam, nor is it any other of the worlds main religious branches. The religion of the Antichrist, Babylon the Great, is a form of apostate Christianity. And the entire world is deceived. Jesus warns us time and time again of false prophets, false Christs. Mohamed is not a false prophet. He is a true prophet of a false religion. False prophets are false prophets of the true religion. And the greatest false prophet of them all is soon to come, speaking as a dragon and causing “all both great and small to receive a mark”. This false prophet is a beast. A nation. A nation that once had horns like a lamb’s, innocent and Christ-like.
To tolerate is to suffer that which at some future time you may prevent or prohibit. Professor Robert Alley in his book “The Despotism of Toleration” writes…
“evidence is persuasive that whenever persons advocate some form of a Christian state or argue for the messianic role of the United States as God’s chosen nation, there is a corollary, the introduction of toleration as a principle. And while the implementation may be benign in the beginning, the departure of Madison’s principle of religious freedom as a natural right is replaced with the ‘despotism’ of toleration”.
However distasteful it may seem, however awkward it may feel, all Christians in America should be demanding the right of Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf to build his mosque. For if we believe that we are merely ‘tolerating’ Islamic culture and religion in America, and deem it appropriate to remove said ‘toleration’ then we have planted both our feet upon the slippery path to fulfill Revelation 13 to the tee.
Abraham Lincoln once said: “Familiarise yourself with the chains of bondage (or withhold Imam Rauf his right to build his mosque) and you prepare your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample upon the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you.”
When the dragon makes war with the woman and the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus; when ye shall be hated of all nations for Jesus’ names sake; and when he ( the false prophet) cause all both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or forehead , whose side will you be on? Do you truly agree with and support the concept of true religious freedom as an unalienable right, or do you believe certain minority religions are only to be tolerated if certain conditions or agreements met?
The mark of the beast is not a code or tattoo or chip giving people the right to buy and sell. That is not what Revelation 13 is all about. The mark is a form of false worship, and those who don’t submit are forbidden to buy or sell as an inducement to comply. The death sentence will be the final inducement. Upholding true religious liberty, regardless the cost and pain or embarrassment this may cause, is the first step in resisting Babylon the Great. And it starts today. Islam is not the real enemy. The real enemy is to be found within our own churches. The whole world will not be deceived by Islam, but the whole word will be deceived by a form of apostate counterfeit Christianity, a counterfeit so close to the real, that only by the scriptures can the differences be discerned. And freedom to make that choice must be protected, in whatever country we live in. It is our unalienable right, and everyone else’s also.