Solving the World’s Problems 101, Pt 4

As the World Collapse approaches, and suffering and persecution are in store for us, we have examined the 2 main responses that many in the church are contemplating. Besides the Rambo or Red Dawn scenarios, along with the withdrawal and isolationist approaches I have discussed, there is one more line of thought I have observed with many Christians. Many are just burying their proverbial heads in the sand and refusing to see the coming troubles. This response is the least effective from an evangelical standpoint, and will cause quite a shock to the person in denial when the grocery stores are bare, and their money doesn’t buy anything.

So what is the best way for us as the Church to handle the coming crisis?  Lets look at some Biblical models to help guide us. We can see how God’s children related to governments much more cruel and Godless than ours. As a matter of fact, we see the positive relationship of many of God’s children with Governments. Some Old Testament examples are Joseph, David, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel and his 3 cohorts. Each of these governments, in varying degrees, make our present US Government seem like a wonderful operation. In each case, each of the men and woman exemplified the the Romans 13:1-7 mandate referred to in Part 2 of this series, mainly that all authority is ordained by God, thus we are to obey them in almost all cases.

Lets look at another example; that of Moses. On the surface, Moses appears to have components of both the withdrawal, and the Rambo approaches in his relationship to  Pharaoh and Egyptian law.  It is true that he murdered an Egyptian Foreman, and fled to the hills, but after getting his mind right in Midian, (with a lot of direction from God), we see a man returning to one of the most pagan, persecuting, and Godless governments. During his remaining time in Egypt, he obeyed the laws, and petitioned Pharaoh through legitimate channels. It was God who did the fighting. Moses was the messenger at this point.

If God was on one side in this battle, who was the opponent?  Pharaoh?  Ephesians 6:12 tells us that the battle is not between flesh and blood, but against Powers and Principalities, meaning a supernatural hierarchy of spiritual beings. The amazing irony of this story is that Pharaoh, with all that he was and did against God, could have become one of God’s family if he would have bowed his knee and confessed with his tongue that the God of Israel was Lord. In fact, God gave him many chances to believe, up to the point of his death.

Through it all, God administered the plagues, They weren’t so much an attack on Egyptians or even Pharaoh as much as against the Gods the Egyptians worshiped. Each plague demonstrated victory over the “Powers and Principalities” that ruled the Egyptians.

As a result, God maneuvered the Israelites out of Egypt, God plundered the Egyptians on behalf of His people, and ultimately destroyed the Egyptian army. The Israelites responded to Pharaoh legally and submissively in all circumstances (although with a lot of grumbling).

Yes, Pharaoh was defeated and the Israelites escaped to the promised land, but more than that, the “Powers and Principalities” mentioned previously were dealt a serious blow.  Satan had a plan to eradicate an entire nation, and thus cut off the line of his greatest foe, the Redeemer, mentioned all the way back in Genesis 3.  That was the battle here… not the rights of the Israelites.  Satan’s attacks ultimately were to defeat God’s plan more than to punish a nation.

Today, we must also ask, “Who is the enemy?” Is it really the President? Is it the Supreme Court? Is it Gays? How about Russia? Isis? If we are to apply God’s truths consistently, our enemy is undoubtedly Satan and his minions.  All of the people mentioned above are souls being fought over by unseen players.  Each one of these seemingly nonredeemable individuals is capable of believing Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  The Bible is full of people that seemed impossible to reach for Christ, such as Jacob, Naaman the leper, the Disciples, and Saul of Tarsus. I will put myself on this list.  I was just as lost as them until I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior.  And while we are on this subject, how about you?

And who does the fighting?   Is it our mission to resist the authorities? How about letting God do our fighting?  How about letting Him rain down the plagues today while we go about making disciples for Christ?  Back in Ephesians 6, after we are told to put on the armor of God, we are then commanded to “Stand Firm”, not fight.  Like the Israelites, God will ultimately deliver us out of the hands of our oppressors.

You may think, “If we are depending upon God to fight, when is it appropriate for us to resist authority?” According to the Biblical Model, it is appropriate to resist when we are prohibited from declaring the Gospel, or compelled to break God’s law.  In Daniel 2 for instance, three Israelites exiled to Babylon were ordered to acknowledge and worship a false god.  It was at that point they resisted authority.  In Acts 4, the religious leaders (who had some civil authority) ordered Peter and John not to preach the Gospel.  They resisted as well.

Finally, each person should decide for themselves what their response to government should be when confronted with oppression and persecution. The response shouldn’t be what we think is right, or how we were brought up, or any other reason except what God wants from us.  And that response can be found  through the Bible and prayer.

Solving the World’s Problems 101 , Part 3

As we continue looking at various answers as to how the Church is to deal with the coming world crisis, we last looked at the “Red Dawn” approach.
Another approach is the separatist, or pacifist response. Throughout history we can see this type of response through monasticism; withdraw completely from society. In other words, maintain a separation of the Church from the World to preserve purity. In the dark and middle ages, men retreated to monasteries to meditate on God, usually in remote deserts or mountains. Today, followers of this response may not seek the remoteness of mountains or deserts, but instead have separate communities. The Exclusive Plymouth Brethren, Amish, and Quakers are some contemporary examples of this approach . They have ordinances of not fighting in the military, or using worldly devices that may corrupt their holiness.
The biggest obstacle to follow this response is the lack of biblical model. Nowhere in the New Testament did the Church act in this manner. Soldiers weren’t instructed to quit the military and not fight. On the contrary, the apostles are constantly in contact with the worst of humanity. Jesus is even criticized for eating with “sinners”. If the Church is to be salt and light to the world, she has to be in the midst of it. Disengaging from worldly affairs may prolong our lives, but it defeats the purpose that God assigned us; that is, to reflect and glorify Him. We are supposed to do this by teaching, worship, preaching, evangelizing, and setting the example of loving one another.
So if armed rebellion, and pacifism aren’t the optimal response to Global meltdown, what is? How does the Church fulfill Her mission of Matthew 28:18-20 the way God wants it done?
Tune in next week.