Continued from last week
The same thing has happened in Communist Russia, and China, and many other places where tyranny rears its ugly head. It will likely happen on this side of the Atlantic in the not-too-distant future, if current trends continue.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
Christians are not to war after the flesh. (The word “flesh” simply means “the body” or this physical world.) Swords, guns, knives, bombs and lasers are carnal weapons. It may not be wrong to own one, but is it the best for the propagation of the gospel?
I think people like Ray Gano are pushing the idea that we need to fight physically, because they have forgotten our real weapons, or don’t believe in the effectiveness of these weapons;
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Ephesians 6:10-18
Truly most of us go out partially armed, most of the time. I must confess that I too do not pray as much as I ought.
This is not the only place where Paul spoke of the Christian’s armoury this way. He also spoke of it in the context of the End Times;
1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. I Thessalonians 5:1-11
So, in the context of the Day of the Lord, believers ought to arm themselves with the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of the hope of salvation, and the sword of the spirit; the Word of God! This says nothing about taking up carnal weapons like swords, guns and bombs. Nor does it tell us to learn Karate, or Krav Maga.
Gano goes on to talk about the “Bushido Code” of the Samurai, as if this is the model for Christians! Well, the Samurai are pagans…Lost! Can Christians learn something from them? Yeah, maybe, like what NOT to do!
“Bushido refers not only to martial rectitude, but to personal rectitude: Rectitude or Justice, is the strongest virtue of Bushido. A well-known samurai defines it this way: ‘Rectitude is one’s power to decide upon a course of conduct in accordance with reason, without wavering; to die when to die is right, to strike when to strike is right.’ Another speaks of it in the following terms: ‘Rectitude is the bone that gives firmness and stature. Without bones the head cannot rest on top of the spine, nor hands move nor feet stand. So without Rectitude neither talent nor learning can make the human frame into a samurai.’”
So the Samurai must follow his own reasoning. He must lean on his training by martial arts masters. This is the opposite of the commands of the bible;
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” Proverbs 3:5-6
Acknowledging Him does not mean that we should go about quoting Samurai warriors, or pagan priests, or any other enemy of God. Quote Scripture!
“Jesus spoke of this fiery end time scenario we are facing, that the BEAST (ISLAM) would threaten us with death by beheading, if we refused to submit (to Islam).”
Gano equates the beheadings of ISIS with the beheadings of the End Times in the Book of Revelation. While I am quite sure the Antichrist will come from a Muslim family, he will not be a Muslim himself. He is certainly correct that we are in the End Times, but I think he is getting ahead of the Lord’s time-table. This is very dangerous!
Those who think a Non-Tribulation event is actually the Tribulation itself, will be ready to crown the Antichrist as the Son of God, or at least “a man of God”, when they think the Tribulation is over!
Not only this but Revelation tells us that those who fight the Beast will be killed. In fact it is God’s will that they are killed!
He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Revelation 13:10
If Gano is convinced that Islam is the Beast of Revelation, then he must apply this verse to his own reactions. Those who fight the Beast must be killed. You can’t defeat the Beast, because he is reserved for Jesus to defeat!
This verse does indeed indicate that some will attempt to fight the Beast with carnal weapons, but at the same time it indicates that they will fail! The “patience of the saints” refers to the fact that true believers will not pick up arms to fight the Antichrist, but will rely on Jesus for their safe keeping, and many of them will lose their lives. Even so, their faith is not misplaced!
23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. Luke 9:23-26
Is Islam the Beast of Revelation? Is ISIS? No! Absolutely not! The Beast of Revelation is a man, not a religious, or political system;
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of A MAN; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. Revelation 13:17-18
No doubt there will be Muslims who will join the Beast’s army, and will use their favourite method of execution, but the Beast is not Islam. The Beast’s religion is a new religion.
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. Daniel 11:36-37
The king here is the Antichrist, the Beast, (a man) and while he will likely come from a Muslim family he will not regard, or care about, the god of his fathers, but will lift himself up above all gods. These verses were meant to be taken literally, but Gano, and many others, spiritualize it to the point of meaninglessness!
No doubt Gano is correct that ISIS, and all Jihadists are very evil, and very dangerous, however, there is a danger greater than ISIS; Apostate Christianity!
I am talking about people who call themselves Christians, but who are quite willing to hold hands with people of other faiths, in fleshly unity, to obtain a common goal! (The goal of the true believer is not to take over this world, that is Jesus’ job, which He will accomplish on His own!) These people will anoint the Antichrist! These make up the Harlot who will ride the Beast to world power, and then they will be destroyed by the Beast they thought they could tame!
Apostate Christianity will defeat Islam, I am convinced! Then, as Islam is defeated, they will be telling the lie that “now the Tribulation is over, and now we can set up the kingdom of God on earth”! Just as Gano is wrong equating the Beast to be Islam, these people will proclaim the Tribulation over, when it hasn’t even begun!
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. I Thessalonians 5:3
One service the Left Behind series of movies and books does serve, is that it does give the unbelieving world a (false) sense of the End Times. As they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Having a partial knowledge of the End Times scenario can lead one to proclaim it over, when it hasn’t even begun!
There is no substitute for personal bible study!
Islam is about to start two major wars, at least one of which will be classed as a World War; Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39. The people of the New Apostolic Reformation, and the Word of Faith, when they realize the dangers of having Muslim neighbors, will fight back when attacked. No doubt there will be many evangelicals and even fundamentalists with them. People who think like Gano (and Falwell).
So is it wrong to fight back? You should always push-back against the world, but the way you do it should be the way God commanded you.
Here’s what I think; God always has a remnant, and sometimes he uses His enemies to protect the remnant!
God is able to work in the hearts of his enemies so that believers find favour in their eyes. Daniel and his three friends are perfect examples of this. They were protected by the pagan Nebuchadnezzar, and yet did not have to compromise their faith! Those who survive the Tribulation just might do so as slaves of unbelievers!
So what matters? Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If He wanted 11 of the 12 Apostles to die martyrs deaths, then why would you and I think we should avoid a similar fate? It is the fear of death that leads many to deny Jesus.
I have heard preachers say “Accept Jesus and your life will be so much better”! This is a lie! As a result many pray the “sinner’s prayer” expecting their troubles will be over, but Scripture tells us something else;
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. II Timothy 3:12
Gano objects that I am taking Scripture out of context. He says that the context of the bible’s End Times prophecies is the Middle East, and thus only Middle Eastern wars are in view.
He is partly correct; there are two major Middle Eastern wars which I have already mentioned; Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39. Like most prophecy buffs, however, he thinks these wars are a part of the Tribulation period. They are not! They are End Times, Pre-Tribulation events, which will occur during the Church-age shortly before the Tribulation begins. Those who interpret these two wars as consisting of the Tribulation are false teachers, who will lead Christians astray;
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Matthew 24:5-6
Just because someone says Jesus is the Christ, it doesn’t mean that everything he says is true. Many use their Christian testimony to gain entrance into Churches, and then teach error. Jesus is specifically warning us about those who falsely interpret End Times wars, and he is implying that the Church will still be here while these wars ensue.
Context, in the context of Scripture however, does not merely mean the verse before and the verse after, but it means the whole of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. Scripture must be compared with Scripture, indeed all of Scripture, and not just select verses!
The bible starts off with God’s dealing with the whole of humanity, and while it centres on the Middle East, it continues with this theme right through to Revelation. In fact God’s scattering the tribes at Babel was to avoid Armageddon right then! Had Armageddon occurred before the Saviour came, no one could have been saved!
So now, after two thousand years of the Church-age, humanity is very near Babel, again!
To be continued…