A Point of Resistance
During the past few decades, an increasing number of court decisions have caused great concern among believers. Churches and Christian schools have been closed, various forms of perversion have been given legal protection, and unborn children have been murdered by the millions. Christians have increasingly been targets of media ridicule and legal control. A few have deserved it, most have not.
Historically, as well as today, many governments have made Christianity illegal. Some have gone so far as to proclaim a false deity that “legally" must be worshiped.
This increasing pressure has been causing stresses within Christianity as well. Opposition to antichristian laws in particular, has been a key issue in such conflicts. For instance:
Bibles have been smuggled into anti-Christian countries for several decades now. Some would argue that this is against God's law because this action conflicts with the laws of those lands. A common response is to quote Peter and John in Acts 4:19-20, where they raise the issue of obedience to God VS obedience to man. Each argument has its logical counter-point, and so it goes. But where is it going, and where has it come from?
Revelation 14:9-11 promises damnation to those who receive the mark of the beast, and to those who worship the beast and his image. God's will is very clear at this point: Believers are to disobey this command of the world authority in this circumstance.
This, in addition to the account mentioned in Acts, moves the issue from the absolute position of IF Christians are ever correct in defying government edicts to WHEN they are to defy government edicts. Let's now look further back in history.
Babylon, under the leadership of Nebuchadnezzar, was an authority established by God. God, through Jeremiah and others, instructed the Israelites to submit to this rule and to serve this kingdom for a period.
However, we see in Daniel chapter 3 where Nebuchadnezzar made a law that conflicted with God's law. This chapter tells how three young men who defied this law were sentenced, protected by God, and ultimately given great authority within the kingdom. What had happened was that Nebuchadnezzar had gone beyond the authority God had given him, and in this action he was not representing God. He was on his own. A policeman who uses excessive force, or otherwise exceeds the authority given to him likewise stands alone. He is no longer representing the authority of the land. The nature of the king's transgression is very significant in the context of the final world government. In Chapter 2 he was given a vision that portrayed world governments from his own kingdom to the end of the age. He himself was represented by the head of gold. The final kingdom was portrayed as a corrupt combination of iron and clay.
Nebuchadnezzar was not content to be in a position assigned by God, he wanted to BE God. Therefore he made a statue that was gold (representing himself), from head to toe. He then commanded the world to worship this image.
Note the parallel in Rev. 14:9-11: The last ruler in Nebuchadnezzar's vision will also make an image of himself, and require the world to worship it.
The actual origin of this pattern comes from a yet earlier time. Satan attempted to exceed the authority God had given him and tried to be like God. Satan's temptation to Eve was then "to be like the gods, knowing good and evil"--and so-on throughout history. IT IS THIS TENDENCY, OF GOVERNMENTS TO ILLEGALIZE THE WORSHIP OF THE ONE TRUE GOD, THAT MUST BE OPPOSED IN EVERY CASE.
Mankind has many mechanisms for playing God, but there are really only two schemes used in various forms: 1. Bring God down, and 2. Elevate mankind.
State-run Communism actively denies that God exists, and humanism denies it a little more subtly. Communism promotes the state as a kind of group God; that way everybody can have a piece of it. Humanism allows human beings to fill this void. Individual laws that enforce compliance with either of these faiths go beyond God's authority. In such cases, Godly authority is being usurped by ungodly effluences.
The rise of the antichrist is not scheduled to be an instantaneous event. As we have seen, this influence has been with us throughout history, and it was strongly typed in Nebuchadnezzar. The apostle John, in 1 John 2:18, speaks of many antichrists having arisen. We can expect an increase in this trend until the culmination of history.
In Daniel 11:21, we see the rise of the final antichrist. This despicable individual, the archetype, has been given no authority at all by God, but will usurp authority through deception and intrigue. Whenever we see court decisions and political actions corrupted through various forms of cheating, we are seeing antichrist influence. Whether valid or not, this man will have power; in fact, in verse 38 we even find him worshiping a god of power.
Though some laws are blatantly in error (legalized abortion for a strong case in point), many are very helpful to our society. In any case, we must be very careful not to interpret a law as "ungodly" simply because it may be inconvenient. What we DO need is to draw close to the heart of God, so that we can see the path through the difficult times that are upon us, and hear His voice during the period of darkness.