A Voice in the
October 22, 1999
I Liked your article (Christians and Militias), I do believe in paying Taxes and obeying Just Laws. I do believe God Allows Oppression of Tyrants as Chastisement for a nation who has deliberately Kick God out of their Government Schools and I'm NOT an Extreme Leftist or Right hand Bible Activist.
But the way I see it with Radical New Age Humanistic Homosexuals and Politicians are striving to "declare Open season on True Christians " thinking they are doing their god of a new age millennium a favor. My Questions to Obedience are strained at several points - that May well come to pass in this next century. They are...
You have raised some very good points. Thanks for asking about them, so we can have an "excuse" to address them, and thus complete the topic begun by the commentary.
A bit later, the religious leaders confront them and tell the disciples not to preach in Jesus' name. And the response they get is, "It is right to obey God rather than man." (Acts5:29)
History and the blood of the martyrs illustrates the "disobedience" to civil law when it would have meant, as a result, disobeying God. Jesus did say that anyone wanting to follow Him must "count the cost". (Lk14:28) That He did not come to "bring peace but a sword". (Mt10:34) And this "sword" was not a sword by which Christians were to go out conquering (while participating in militias, for instance), but the one the persecutors would be using against Believers, as He also exhorts Believers, "when they persecute you in this city, flee to another." (Mt10:23) Believers do not "fight back" against persecution, but rather "whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also." (Mt5:39) Because, as we partake in the "afflictions of Christ" (Col1:24), we -GIVE- ourselves just as He did. "I gave My back to strikers, and My cheeks to pluckers; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting." (Is50:6) Up to a certain point Jesus would elude their attempts to throw Him over the cliff (Lk4:29-30), or stone Him. (Jn10) But finally when His time had come, He says, "I AM" the one you're looking for. If you've come for Me, let these others go. And when Peter starts to fight, Jesus tells him to put his sword away...and heals the person whose ear Peter has just whacked off. (Jn18:8-11)
1b) The scenario of buying or selling without the "mark" is addressed in Rev13:16-17. The "beast" sets up an economic requirement of the "mark on their right hand, or on their foreheads", without which a person is not able to do business. (vs17) While the Church will not experience this, it is good to address it for those who during that time "call upon the name of the Lord" so as to be "saved". (Joel2:32)
We see "three angels" (Rev14:6-9) making three proclamations. They are during the "hour of His judgment". (vs7) We know this is not for the Faithful Church, because Jesus promised, "Because you kept the word of My patience, I also will keep you out of the hour of trial which is going to come on all the habitable world in order to try those dwelling on the earth." (Rev3:10)
The first proclamation is that the "everlasting gospel" is proclaimed, during that time, to everybody on the earth (vs6) with the exhortation to "worship Him who has made the heaven, and the earth, and the sea" because "the hour of His judgment has come". (vs7) As though to say, 'this is your last chance to be saved before judgment falls.' The second angel proclaims Babylon's fall. (vs8) And the third angel gives a warning; anybody who receives the "mark" of the beast will also partake of the "wine of the anger of God...His wrath." (vs10)
Now, notice what the "voice" says, "Blessed are the dead, the ones dying in the Lord from now. Yes, says the Spirit, they shall rest from their labors, and their works follow with them." (vs13) This describes those who do believe in response to the preaching of the "everlasting gospel". Because we are told that the other beast (13:1) will make "war with the saints..to overcome [kill] them" (vs7) Remember Jesus' words about "he that endures to the end"? (Mt24:13) This "endurance" is worded "patience and the faith of the saints". (Rev13:10) And again in 14:12, the context of those "dying in the Lord". (vs13) What did Jesus say about those "enduring"? They will be "kept safe".
You see, those who "call upon the name of the Lord" during the coming time of Wrath and Judgment will not live long. They will be martyred. Those martyred, whose souls were under the altar, ask "how long" until their deaths are avenged. (Rev6:10) And it is promised that some more need to yet "fulfill" the number. That more are 'about to be martyred'. (vs11)
No! For those who come to Christ during that time there is no stockpiling of goods and supplies, and hiding out to survive the time. Anyone who names the name of Christ during that time will be martyred. And if anyone takes the "mark" in order to survive, they will receive God's eternal judgment.
2) Back to the 'present'... We already know that we pay our taxes and show proper respect to those in authority. We don't go stealing and murdering. Those, even, are God's laws.
What if the authorities say that you are not allowed to "pray" in a public place or government-funded function, like school sports? What if you are told you cannot pray before taking a test? Well, 'they' obviously cannot stop what is already going on in the Christian's heart, can they. If we remember back to the recent Q/A on praying, we know that -real- prayer is not the acts of closing the eyes, bowing the head, and reciting some -words-. Prayer -is- the "Christian life". The continual fellowship of "abiding in the Vine", Jesus Christ. It is impossible for them to legislate prayer for a -True- Christian. Prayer is the very -essence- of -being- a Christian. A Christian's -existence- IS one of prayer. Thus, they are not able to legislate it. They simply do not have the means to do so. In that, they are trying to mess around with the "sovereignty" of "another Country". Never forget that Christians are citizens of Heaven. (Phil3:20) And our being in this wo rld yet is as "ambassadors" for Christ. (2Cor5:20) They cannot legislate our essence. They might torture our bodies, and kill our bodies for disobedience of -their- laws...but such a death is "Blessed". (Rev14:13)
3) This point is why I believe it is wrong for an 'assembly' of Believers to become incorporated via the laws of the land. And herein is an indication of yet another thing that is 'wrong' with the way current "churches" do business. They believe that the "church" is that 'temple' (building) they built. Within that 'temple' they have pagan altars, pagan inscriptions on their objects of worship. And are incorporated for financial reasons. And entice the unsaved they erroneously invited into their assemblies (for "worship") to give into the offerings, by saying it is "tax exempt". Giving becomes a "tax write-off"...not a sacrificial giving to the Lord.
Do any of you realize what the government has "on" your "church" when you are incorporated, or have status as qualifying for "tax exemption"? A little over a year ago when a few people started sending little amounts to VW, and some were checks made out to "A Voice in the Wilderness", I realized I needed some manner to correctly cash those checks. The only way one bank would open an account for me with "VW" as part of the account's name was if I had some government-issued "license" or other document. In the process of sorting through all this, I requested some forms from the state government for making VW a "tax exempt" entity. The questionnaire includes all sorts of questions about 'ideologies'. Questions on the order of, "Does your organization believe that your doctrines are the only correct doctrines, and that all others are wrong?" And many other such similar questions. As you can imagine, I did not fill out the form, nor has VW become incorporated, nor does it have tax-exempt s tatus. It does not belong to the world or any of its agencies. It is God's work. As I see posted on the mailings of another entity (not Christian) that speaks out on politically sensitive issues, that they are not tax-exempt in order to "keep any agencies from peeking into their databases, or dictating editorial content."
If the group you assemble with has any of these ties to the government, you might want to bring up at your next business meeting the matter of investigating your group's charter and other official documents, and if your group is truly "Christian", you might think about making some "adjustments" in how you function as an entity. If people are truly giving as unto the Lord, tax exemption isn't necessary.