Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on the controversial issue of how we're expected to respond to the coming One World Government system of oppression. I thank God for bringing such a diverse and international community of believers together to share their unique insights. If you want on in the discussion be sure to check out the Comments Section.
I must say that your fellowship through the Comments Section and via email has brought clarity to this debate (at least for me). The truth is so simple, but it's the harsh reality of that truth that I think gives most of us problems. We've never been called to experience -- even remotely -- the types of things we know are coming just for believing in Jesus Christ, and so we can't fathom any reality that flings us into the face of hard-core religious persecution.
While I still believe in a literal Rapture event, I think the responsible thing to do is to prepare spiritually as if we expect to face some sort of intense persecution for our faith in Jesus Christ to some extent. I don't believe that's exhibiting a lack of faith in the "escape" do you? What escape?
Luke 21:36 (KJV) Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man (emphasis mine)
I'm also not above admitting that I may be wrong in my interpretation and understanding of what this escape constitutes. By that, I simply mean that some have argued that while they certainly believe God's Word (as in this verse above) about there being an actual, future escape, they caution that perhaps this escape is something else entirely, and not what we commonly think when we connect it to the Rapture.
They say that this verse could simply mean that when the Tribulation begins and the Saints are persecuted worldwide for their faith, the escape could simply be God providing His supernatural protection over us by giving us a way out of even the most hopeless situations that we'll encounter (think of Paul and Silas shackled in prison, the earthquake, and their miraculous release that we read about in Acts 16).
All that is to say that I don't think believing in an "escape" (whatever form that escape takes) and believing that the Body of Christ (as it exists today) will have to face brutal persecution soon are mutually exclusive. You can certainly hold to both positions -- and should -- because both are Biblical.
So, in my follow-up study to this entire issue of the appropriate response by Christians to tyranny (see "Defiance Or Disillusionment?"), I came across a commentary written just a few weeks ago in late August by
What We're Praying/Talking About
Our faith in action, or our small contribution in trying to apply what we're taught in Hebrews 5-6 and James 2:17-26 for the benefit of our dear brothers and sisters within the Body of Christ...
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