When the Rules Change

by Lawngren

 

For long-time Christians, most of this will probably be review. Sorry about that, but it won’t hurt you to review. There’s a tough final exam coming soon. Unannounced until it happens.
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If it becomes illegal or dangerous to be a Christian, how should Christians respond? What plans should they make? What lives should they live? What courses of action should they follow? What should they not do?

What doors does illegal status open for Christians?

You read that right. What doors does illegal status open for Christians?

Ain’t that a hoot? Many of us are strongly in favor of deporting illegals, yet we may become illegals in our own nations. We may need their advice! If we dare to ask it. Hmmm … a whole other topic …

Sin remains sin, no matter what the circumstances. But the waters get muddied when the whole world is in an uproar, when hell pays a visit and makes its home on your block. Or moves into your house.

In the confusing description of end times events in Daniel 11, Daniel records in verse 32 these words of the angel Gabriel: “With flattery [the king of the north] will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”

The best way to know the God of the Bible is to be thoroughly acquainted with the Bible: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the human of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2nd Timothy 3:16-17)

The word I have translated “human” is the Greek word “anthropos”, from which we get “anthropology”, which in fact is NOT “the study of Man”, but the study of the human species, both male and female.

To prove the point, see 1st Timothy 2:11-13, where Paul says he does not allow a woman to teach or have authority over a man. The word Paul used for “man” there is “andros”. “Male”. So in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17, when Paul used the word “anthropos” he did mean “the man or woman of God”.

I’m glad I could clear that up for you. đŸ˜€

The best way to know what’s coming is … ditto. And what’s coming isn’t pretty: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (2nd Timothy 3:1-5)

OK, there’s the first rule for such times: have nothing to do with such people. But remember that Paul described such people as “having a form of godliness, but denying its power.” So it seems to me that Paul is warning us not to associate in any way with religious hypocrites claiming to be Christians.

Answering the questions at the beginning of this article:

Recommended reading:

Brother Andrew’s Story, a very brief intro to “the man who started it all”, the “founder” of Open Doors: “…we are delighted to see how God used an ordinary man like Brother Andrew. Because his story suggests God might also use ordinary people like us in extraordinary ways.” (Emphasis mine.) “We hope today you will choose to join us in being the Brother Andrews of this generation.” (Emphasis of Open Doors.)

You’re not exempt from adventure and danger and death and torture just because you’re so ordinary you’re almost invisible. Or so old, so weak, so disabled … if God chooses you for “an active duty assignment”, you have or will have what it takes. (This does not make me happy, BTW. I prefer and hope to live out my life in comfort verging on boredom.)

Brother Andrew’s complete story, in the book God’s Smuggler, is an incredible true account of adventure and faith. It will astonish you and open your eyes to what God has, can, and will do, when it fits in with His purpose, even in the 21st century. To those who have not yet read it, I envy you the joy of reading it for the first time.

Tortured for Christ, Richard Wurmbrand

Wurmbrand’s story is in a way the opposite of Brother Andrew’s story. Wurmbrand was not protected from many years of evil, depraved torture by Communists, after his nation, Romania, was taken over by Communists in 1945. When I read this book, I couldn’t eat for a full day. It is not something that should be read by very young Christians. What you see in this book is that God can and will enable us to withstand anything without being broken, and He will use us! to shine the light of salvation by faith in King Jesus, into the darkest corners of evil.

Wurmbrand said that at one point he was transferred into a prison where the worst tortures occurred constantly and the mortality rate was terrifyingly high. There were devout Communists imprisoned here also who had” been betrayed by their comrades. Wurmbrand said that he never saw one of the prisoners here die without having become a believer in King Jesus. Imagine the intense rage, the bitter frustration, of the evil ones, when their worst produced a small legion of people who stepped out of this present darkness into the light and joy of salvation through faith in Jesus.

Remember Jesus saying this? “On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it!” He wasn’t being optimistic. Just the facts, Ma’am.

That’s our next lesson, folks. Evil in power does not restrain the power of God!

As she was dying in a nazi concentration camp, Corrie ten Boom’s sister Betsy told her, “We must tell people, because we have been here and they will believe us. We must tell people that there is no hell so deep that God’s grace is not deeper still.

Both Daniel 7:21 and Revelation 13:7 tell us that “the beast” will be allowed “to make war against the saints and to conquer them”. I am one who believes that this describes events during the Great Tribulation, aka Apocalypse, after genuine believers have been removed from earth in the Rapture. There will be those who believe in Jesus during the Great Tribulation, but as I understand it, they will not have the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide them and strengthen them. They can be “conquered”, in one sense, but the Bible also tells us,
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ … Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’ ” (From Revelation chapter 13)

So while they may be “conquered”, they have not lost their faith or their salvation. I don’t know how that is possible, but the outcome is a tremendous victory. Since Jesus does not lie, and He said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His church, those verses do appear to support the belief that only believers from the Resurrection until the Rapture are “the Church”, the “Body of Christ”, and believers after the Rapture are believers, but not members of that specific group called “the body of Christ”. I have no idea why this is so, but it makes sense of several facts and statements.

The privilege of knowing the truth: Brother Andrew (“God’s Smuggler”) said that the Communist authorities had forfeited the right to the truth, because they intended to use the truth for evil purposes. He said that when believers from outside Communist nations began to smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, the question arose of how to deal with being questioned by Communist authorities: should they tell the truth, or lie? Should they admit that they had Bibles concealed in their cars or luggage, or lie? Brother Andrew said that both viewpoints were practiced, and he said both means met with success. He related several absolutely incredible instances that … well, get a copy of God’s Smuggler and read it yourself! It will fill your heart with joy!

Corrie ten Boom said that during the nazi occupation of Holland, two of her brothers quickly hid in a secret cavity under a rug, under a table with an overhanging tablecloth, when nazis were seen coming. The hiding place worked, until the nazis asked one of the young ladies present, “Where are your brothers?” She replied, “Why, they’re hiding under the table!”

The nazis, rifles ready, yanked the tablecloth away and saw … nothing. The young lady burst into hysterical laughter, and the nazis, thinking she had made fools of them, threatened her and went away. The family was divided over whether or not she should have spoken the truth, but God protected the brothers – that time.

Since God honored both truth-telling and lying in smuggling Bibles and protecting Christians from evil authorities, it appears to me that whether or not to tell the truth to authorities of an anti-Christian regime is a personal choice, based on your own degree of faith.

I think another lesson from these accounts is that if a Christian tries his or her best to do what is right in God’s eyes, and is arrested, tortured, loses property, job, or reputation, that person can rest easy, knowing that the God Who hung the stars in space could easily have prevented it had He so desired. Meaning you are where you are supposed to be, so sit up and look around for cleverly disguised open doors. :E You are now an espionage agent who has been embedded behind enemy lines.

I hope and pray I never have to put any of this sound advice into practice.

That’s all for this time, folks! Suggestions, questions, or comments are welcome.