commentary: How Far Have We Fallen? (Part Five)
Triggering The Persection
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 23-Nov-13; Sermon #1186c; 12 minutes
John Ritenbaugh, suggesting that we are living in a time when immorality has surpassed righteousness, asks whether we have surpassed the immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah. Strangely, America has perhaps produced more Bibles than any other nation, yet it's peoples are, in the main, not even remotely convicted by the pages of the Bible. Destructive lies have been advanced by false prophets. The current hideous persecution of nominal Christians in the Middle East, perceived as "payback" for the intervention of American forces in Moslem nations, will crescendo (according to Satan's diabolical plan) until God's called-out ones will receive intense persecution as well.
There was something that I noticed especially at this past Feast that I do not believe that I ever saw quite as clearly before. It was that every sermon and sermonette touched on some aspect of how far and how disjointed the world is from God's truth revealed in His Word.
God established life on Earth with the best laws and principles that one could ever imagine, laws directly covering both personal conduct and also clearly stating those means by which local communities and nations should be governed, and He freely gave them to Israel.
Last week, I devoted my commentary to showing that though the government lies as a normal way of operating, what is now becoming clear is that lying by those in the greatest authority in our government is shown to be acceptable by the public because the public has similar standards. This acceptance by citizens is not limited to lying. As time moves forward, we see increasing evidence that so is homosexuality, lesbianism, same-sex 'marriage', the murder of babies, and the stealing of the public wealth to give to those who do not produce as a bribe to get votes.
We are living in a time that immorality has clearly transcended over righteousness. The question at this point is, "Have we descended to the level of Sodom?" God's laws are readily available to anybody who has a Bible and reads it. There are no nations on Earth that have more Bibles than America and Britain, and therefore, we can conclude that these nations have the best opportunity to operate by the Bible's priceless instructions well for its citizenry. This is a major reason why what is happening in American and British life is so tragic. We are nations without an excuse.
This helps reveal how few citizens actually read it, and even more clearly, how few who do read it really do not believe Who wrote it, nor believe what He wrote. Even those who claim to read it believe it and base their lives upon upon its words, really only partially believe it. If they did believe Who wrote it, wouldn't those people actually be keeping the Sabbath with us? And wouldn't they be keeping the Feasts with us? Both the Sabbath and the Holy Days are clearly established in the Bible forever. God doesn't lie. Aren't Christians to follow Christ in their daily lives? Christ kept both the weekly Sabbath and the annual Sabbaths because He was following God. But people justify not keeping those days through flimsy excuses.
It reveals how successfully that Satan has done his work of blinding people's minds to God's truth. But this also tends to show us how fantastically blessed those called are because we've been given grace in our understanding so that the truths that we read stick in our minds and we believe them. It also tends to show that what we have against us, because the bulk of the citizens of this world are being turned against us, not even realizing what is happening to them as being used by Satan as slaves for his purposes. Without our doing a thing against them personally, or even incidentally, Satan has managed to turn their minds against us using artful lies, claiming that we mean harm to them when we do not have a single say in anything against them in any way that is public policy.
How has he framed his lies? Well, it's by using historical evidence, gathered in abundance from the clear historical records, of those publicly claiming they are Christian and are not. They indeed have the name "Christian," which they have stolen from God's word, but they have not truth, conduct, or spirit that matches the Bible. Thus Peter warns us,
II Peter 2:1-2 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
This general sort of program by Satan is why, historically, Israel killed the prophets. The unrighteous killed the righteous prophets simply because they lived righteous lives, and thus their conduct and their messages condemned the man on the street and the government as well.
The last, week I closed my commentary informing you that the UK's Cabinet Minister for Faith, a Lady Warsi, would visit the United States to speak at Georgetown University, warning of the intensity of the persecutions of Christians in the Middle East. This week, an email on this subject hit my inbox, this one authored by one Michael Holehouse and it is titled, "Christians Face Extinction Amid Sectarian Terror." Again, the subject, like the email last week, is the Middle East. Holehouse reports, "It is a global crisis, and a massive exodus on a biblical scale is taking place."
Now, another email hit my inbox. This may be from a more interesting source. The Catholic Church has joined the fray. Pope Francis on Thursday said, "The Catholic Church will not accept a Middle East without Christians. We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians." He also disclosed that what he called the diaspora of Christians is growing. This makes me wonder: Are we entering into a period of time in which more crusades will begin to form to release, to "save," Jerusalem from "the infidel"?
Here is another interesting state statement from the Pope's report. This was not made by the Pope, but came from the report: "...amid reports that Christianity is in danger of becoming extinct in its own cradle...." The cradle is the Middle East.
There is something in that that I wonder if you caught. It is is a parallel of what I said earlier in the beginning of this commentary. The Christians in the Middle East are being persecuted as a justification for what the United States and other Western powers do in the Middle East. The people being persecuted are not the perpetrators of the violence against the Muslims. The Christians (in name only) are merely collateral damage of Satan's war against God. But the radical Muslims are taking out their Satan-inspired anger against them. In like manner, real Christians will be persecuted by Satan through his lackeys, and his lackeys, like the Muslims, well feel justified because real Christians might be the only ones they can vent their frustrations against.
We carry the name truly and honestly. Was Christ truly guilty of any unlawful thing to cause the persecutions against Him? Not on your life. Of course not. And neither will His Body, the church, be guilty of things charged against it by the world.
The persecutions against Christians are growing—these are the false Christians—but they are advancing towards us. We are not guaranteed that they will hit us, but our responsibility is clear. God is giving us the time remaining to get our relationship with God in good shape and glorify Him in whatever way He desires. The world doesn't need to be motivated against us. It's already motivated against us, and they will find a reason to attack.