ROMANS 13:1-14 Living Sacrifices Serving In Society

 

In Romans 12 Paul taught how the believer should respond to God’s mercy and focused on that response as it related to the church. In chapter 13 we see how the believer is a living sacrifice in secular society.

 

Living Sacrifices Are Good Citizens Who Submit to Government

 

Romans 13:1-7 – “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”  [1]

Living sacrifices are to be good citizens who submit to government. We may find it difficult to comprehend, by according to Paul’s inspired words, all governments are “appointed by God.” (13:1). The Christian is to subject themselves to the governmental system ordained by God. Paul wrote this when the corrupt Roman government was in power. There are corrupt governments in all periods of history and none of them are in place against God’s permissive will. God permits governments to rule and to come to power. He has a purpose that we may not be able to comprehend. But if at all possible, we are to subject ourselves to the civil authorities.

Those who resist the governmental authority are resisting God who allowed that power to come to be (13:2). To resist civil authorities leads to putting yourself in a position to be judged (13:2). Governing authorities are put in place ideally to promote and uphold God’s good purposes (13:3-4). To rise up against a government authority, knowing that God has allowed that government to rise to power, creates a crisis of conscience  (13:6). Government officials are “ministers” or servants of God for which you pay taxes to support (13:7). We are to pay our taxes and respect government authority (13:8).

Without civil authority anarchy would reign. The 1992 riots in Los Angeles over the Rodney King case showed just how important civil authority is. We need government to keep the peace and perpetuate the society.  The order of government creates a safe environment to live in.

Submit To Government But Serve God Supremely

These verses seem to indicate that believers should not take up arms to overthrow a government. The ballot box and prayer is the right means to overthrow corrupt governments. Indeed the Bible teaches that every person should submit to government as we see in the following verses:

  • Titus 3:1 – “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,”   [2]
  • 1 Peter 2:13 – “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme,”   [3]

Believers are to submit to their governments and even contribute to them and this is “for the Lord’s sake.” In other words it is a good witness to be a good citizen.

The believer’s subjection to the state is not absolute however. When Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon ordered everyone to bow down to his idol, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego refused saying:

  • Daniel 3:14-18 – ‘Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up?15 “Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.17 “If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.18 “But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”    [4]    (See Daniel 3).

We know how that situation concluded, Jesus appeared in a Christophany along side of the three faithful witnesses and He protected them in the fiery furnace and Nebuchadnezzar came to see the glory of the LORD and bore witness to the supremacy of God.

Another example of holding to God’s higher authority over that implemented by the state is found in the book of Daniel. Corrupt government officials, (who were jealous of Daniel’s high position and integrity) sought to overthrow him by concocting a plan against him and tricking king Darius of Persia into enacting a law that forbade prayer (Daniel 6). The law stated that for a period of 30 days no prayer could be offered to any other than to Darius himself. The penalty for breaking this decree was to be cast into the lion’s den. The enemies of Daniel knew he was a fervent man of prayer and they saw this as his weak link and tried to exploit it. Little did they know that Daniel’s prayer life was his strength!

The evil strategy went according to their plan as far as Daniel’s consistency in prayer. And the decree enacted by Darius could not, under Persian law, be rescinded. Daniel was caught praying and was indeed thrown into the lion’s den. But what the enemies didn’t plan on was God sending an angel to shut the lion’s mouth and preserving Daniel while he was in the den.

The next morning king Darius rushed to the den to see if Daniel was okay. Then the account in Daniel records the conversation between the king and Daniel:

  • Daniel 6:19-23 – “Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions.20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever!22 “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”23 Then the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.”  [5]

What follows is that those who sought to destroy Daniel were thrown into the lion’s den and destroyed with their families.

Notice Daniel’s continued respect for king Darius, the one whom God had put in authority. Daniel remained faithful to God but still respectful to governing authority. That is the attitude we must have.

In the early church the apostles were presented with a situation where they had to choose to obey the local governing religious leaders or God. This is what they said:

  • Acts 5:29 – “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.”   [6]

In the early church millions were commanded to bow in worship of Caesar and refused to contradict the word of God and were martyred for their faith. We are to obey civil authority to the extent that it does not demand that we contradict God’s word and rule. We are to submit to governments as long as they do not require that we disobey God. We are to serve God supremely in all things.

Governments and God

Rarely do governments recognize that their power and authority comes from God. But America is a country a history of leaders who have recognized god’s place in the affairs of men. Abraham Lincoln was just such a leader and his view is the right view that governments should have Abraham Lincoln stated:

 

“It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to owe their dependence upon the

overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble            sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and

pardon. And to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures--and

proven by all history--that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord. We

know that by His divine law, nations like individuals are subject to punishments

and chastisements in this world. May we not justify the fear that the awful calamity of Civil War, which now desolates the land, may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins--to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.  But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us. And we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace--too proud to pray to the God that made us. It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”

 

Our nation has gotten far away from such a spiritual perspective of our government.

 

Pray for Governing Leadership

 

Every Christians should be in earnest prayer that our nation returns to a view that recognizes God’s hand in the affairs of men. We really have no right to criticize our governing officials unless we are first praying for them. Prayer brings us into the proper perspective too. Prayer gives us a burden or interest in those we pray for. We are exhorted in the Bible to pray for those in authority. This is what Paul states when he is inspired to write:

 

  • 1 Timothy 2:1-7 – “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men,2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,7 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”  [7]

Pray for a revival to take place in our nation.

The Coming One World Government

 

Romans 13 concludes with an exhortation by Paul to get ready and put on Christ for we’re closer to the return of Jesus than ever before. What can we expect as we come closer and closer to such a time? The Bible foretells a future one world government that will be a reviving of the Roman Empire. In the book of Daniel we read:

 

  • Daniel 7:23-24 - “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, Which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces.24 The ten horns are ten kings Who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, And shall subdue three kings.”  [8]

These verses tell of a government that is, different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth.” This one world government will be headed by the Antichrist and be Satan’s attempt to imitate the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.

In Revelation the scope of Antichrist’s governing authority is shown to be world wide when it says:

  • Revelation 13:7 – “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.”  [9]

At some point in the prophetic future, a man who is the Antichrist will rise to power and be in a position to rule over the world. Christians will be raptured before this happens, but we are seeing the vestiges and beginnings of this world rule right now in our day.

How Will This Government Come to Be?

How would such a government come to be? One scenario that seems likely to this author is found in Ezekiel 38-39 where a major battle is predicted that will likely be led by Russia and a group of Middle Eastern nations. This battle will quite possibly occur at the beginning of the Tribulation and be instrumental in the rise of Antichrist. In these chapters an attack on the Middle East is foretold that will certainly challenge the balance of power in the world. Russia and her allies will swoop down on Israel and the Middle East only to be defeated dramatically. It is the defeat of these powers in this battle that will probably create a vacuum that will open the door for the one world government to be established which will also be headed by one world leader, the antichrist.

 

Why Would Anyone Want One World Government?

 

What would be the motivation for such a world government? Peace and safety would be the motive. During the first Romans Empire which existed about 2000 years ago a citizen of the Empire could travel a thousand miles on well kept roads from Spain to Syria in relative safety. There was one language and one set of laws to abide by. This was called the Pax Romana or “The Peace of Rome.”

 

A world government that instituted a global currency or some other means of trade (e.g. a mark on the body – see Revelation 13), would help to enhance international trade that could be seen as a means to relieve some of the problems of world hunger and poverty. If a cashless society was created it would reduce crime dramatically.

 

The Roman Empire lost its world influence after its armies were defeated in 476 A.D. by the barbarian armies of the Goths and Vandals. This led to the dark ages. Nation states arose to replace the Empire but throughout history men have attempted to repeatedly resurrect the Roman Empire. Charlemagne (800 A.D.), Napoleon, Mussolini, and Hitler to name a few, all tired to establish a one-world rule but failed.

 

Signs of the One World Government Today

 

In light of the terror attacks and numerous reports of war and instability in the world, people are yearning for peace. A one world government would appear to offer peaceful stability. And there are many groups seeking to establish such a world rule. The United Nations, The Council on Foreign Relations, The Trilateral Commission, The World Bank and International Monetary Fund, The North American Free Trade Agreement, The European Union and a host of other entities are all aimed at a world government and signs that it is becoming more and more feasible.

 

An article in the September 29th, 1999 issue of Religion News Today reports that Secular Humanists continue to call for a one world economic and religious system:

 

SECULAR HUMANISTS CALL FOR WORLD GOVERNMENT

September 29, 1999Religion News Today reported: "The world's foremost secular humanists are calling for a world government. The International Academy of Humanism's Humanist Manifesto 2000, signed by more than 100 academics and intellectuals, calls for the formation of a World Parliament to regulate environmental, economic, and population concerns, Religion News Service said. It is the fifth such declaration issued by humanists since 1933...The World Parliament should have more power than the United Nations, the group said. National boundaries and cultural and religious differences should slowly be eliminated, it said. New agencies are needed to oversee and regulate worldwide environmental conditions, transnational taxation to distribute more money to poorer nations, and population control, it said...The document criticizes religious beliefs. 'Theological moral doctrines often reflect inherited, prescientific conceptions of nature and human nature,' and are outdated, it said. 'We do not deny that religionists have done much good; what we deny is that religious piety is the sole guarantee of moral virtue.' Document signers include philosopher Paul Kurtz, entertainer Steve Allen, anthropologist Paul Leakey, former California Sen. Alan Cranston, and nine Nobel laureates."

 

Those who reject and turn against God have to fill the void that results. Some, such as the secular humanists turn to government to maintain order in the world.

More recently comments were made regarding the need for a one world government in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 terror attacks. The article is as follows:

Illinois U.N. official predicts new world order - Says there may be universal peace in the next 10 years - Wednesday, December 5, 2001 - By Rex Robinson Staff writer

On a day when war raged in Afghanistan and the strained relationship between the Israelis and Palestinians worsened, a U.N. official predicted there could be world peace within 10 years. Edward Widmer, president of the Illinois Division of the United Nations Association of the United States, told the Bolingbrook Rotary Club that despite the chaos in the world today, he anticipated there will eventually be a major shift. "Within 10 years time, you're going to see the beginnings of an embryonic world order," Widmer said. Speaking at the Bolingbrook Holiday Inn, Widmer focused on the intimate connection between the U.N. and the Rotary, but also touched on the problems the U.S. has had with the United Nations.

 

For example, before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., the U.S. was the only country out of 180 to not sign a U.N. protocol against chemical warfare and bioterrorism, Widmer said. The so-called "world legislation" laid out opposition to bio-terrorism and chemical warfare, he said. "Yet now we are the first to be faced with the threat of anthrax," Widmer said. After the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush sent the legislation back to Congress, he said. "In a sense, we are a little bit out of step with the rest of the world," Widmer said. The U.S. needs to get in sync with the U.N., and an important step toward that is for the U.S. to pay the more than $2 billion it owes in past dues to the U.N., Widmer said. A new "world order" will be achieved through the globalization of industries like banking and finance, he said. "There is $1.5 trillion in foreign currency changing hands throughout the world everyday," he said. There also is 55,000 corporations doing business all over the world, he said. What will be most significant, Widmer said, is non-governmental organizations focusing on world problems. "These are grassroots organizations just like your Rotary Club here in Bolingbrook," Widmer said. . . . .

 

These articles demonstrate vividly the reasoning that will usher in a one world government. But will it be successful?

 

Peace and Safety?

 

The Bible warns that just when people are saying “peace and safety” are gained, it is at that point that sudden destruction shall come upon them. Paul states this clearly to the Thessalonians when he is inspired to write:

 

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 – “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” [10] (See also Jeremiah 6:14 and 8:11).

“Peace and safety,” are words reminiscent of a slogan used by the Roman Empire of old. When Antichrist rises to power he will confirm a 7 year covenant with Israel (Daniel 9:24-27). Midway through that covenant, when everyone is thinking “peace and safety” he will break the covenant by going into the Tribulation Temple and proclaiming himself to be “God” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). This will start a domino effect that will bring the entire world to the brink of destruction and Israel in particular. Antichrist’s blasphemous act will lead to the outpoured wrath on the Christ-rejecting world during the Tribulation period (Revelation 6-19). Israel will be saved at the last possible moment by the 2nd Coming of Jesus (see Matthew 24). Notice that Paul does not include himself or the Thessalonians amongst “them” or those who would experience sudden destruction. That is because all true believers will have been removed from the world by this time at the Rapture (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

While we will  not likely be around for the rise of Antichrist, we may see the beginnings of the world government that will be put in place during the End Times. How should this all effect us?

Living Sacrifices Are Good Citizens Who Love Their Neighbor

Romans 13:8-10 – “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”  [11]

In light of the coming world government we ought to adopt the attitude stated in these verses. The living sacrifice believer is a good citizen who is known for their love of God and neighbor. If there is one thing that should epitomize a living sacrifice believer, it is love. We are to love our neighbor as ourselves as Jesus called His disciples to do. Jesus said love would be our evidence of discipleship and that we belonged to Him. He said:

 

  • Matthew 5:43-48 - “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,45 “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?47 “And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?48 “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  [12]

The closing word of Jesus that we should be “perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” should be understand in two ways. First there is a sense in which we cannot be absolutely perfect as God is and that convicts us of our sin and drives us to God for forgiveness and strength in the Spirit to overcome our shortcomings. But there is a sense here of being complete in terms of the role we play. Just as God is complete and perfect being God, we are to be complete, perfect, mature being His disciples, good citizens who love those around us with His love. This involves even loving our enemies and while that may be costly at times, it brings glory to God as people see us relying on God to protect us and provide for us rather than being enslaved to political correctness and the provisions of this world.

Jesus also said:

 

  • John 13:34-35 - “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”   [13]
  • John 15:12-14 -  “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.14 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”  [14]

 

Those who are followers of Jesus are to be known by His love in and through them. To be a good citizen and bring glory to Jesus is to be one known for their love of neighbor. Do you love your neighbor? Do you perform random acts of love to those around you? That is one of the best ways to perplex your neighbor and reveal God’s love in you and ultimately make a good witness for God and bring glory to Him.

 

To “owe no man anything,” doesn’t mean we can’t buy things on credit, it simply means pay the bills when they come due (13:8). Loving one’s neighbor is the fulfillment of the law because no one who loves another would commit adultery against them, murder them, steal from them, bear false witness against them, or covet against them (13:9). Love doesn’t do anything to bring harm against anyone and therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (13:10).

 

Where Does Such Love Come From?

 

We need to remember that the love with which we are called by God to love others is not a love that is inherent in us or anyone else. The love in us and the ability to love others comes from our personal saving relationship with God in Christ and the resultant indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Remember what we studied earlier in Romans about God’s love and His love in us. Let’s recall a few verses that will jog our memories:

 

  • Romans 5:5,8 – “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. . . . But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  [15]
  • Romans 8:28,35-39 – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. . . . .35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written: 1 “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [16]

When we are saved from and forgiven our sin through faith in Jesus Christ by God’s gracious gospel plan, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8) who brings God’s love into our hearts. That love in our hearts assures us of our loving relationship with God in Christ and also becomes the nature of our new being with which we relate to others.

Living Sacrifices Are Spiritually Awake and Alert Knowing The Time of the End is Near

 

Romans 13:11-14 – “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  [17]

Paul’s words warn us to live in the world mindful of how close we are to the end and Jesus’ return. Don’t let the world lull you to sleep, don’t get caught up in the works of darkness and drunkenness, lewdness and lust, strife and envy (13:11-13). But rather put on Jesus Christ and make no allowance for your fleshly desires (13:14). Living sacrifices are spiritually awake and alert knowing the time of the end is near when one’s destiny regarding salvation will be decided.

In the parable of the virgins, Jesus assumed that the church would be sleeping as He said:

  • Matthew 25:1-13 - “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.2 “Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.3 “Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,4 “but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.5 “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’7 “Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.8 “And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’9 “But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’10 “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’12 “But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”  [18]

Don’t let your lamp get too low in the Spirit (i.e. oil), or you may find yourself unprepared for the coming of Jesus.

 

As mentioned earlier but now we read in its context, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 – “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”  [19]

Don’t let yourself be lulled to sleep by the world. Don’t let the world take over the world around you. But take a stand and let your faith in Christ be known. Awake from your sleep! Sober up from worldly intoxications. Put on the love of the Spirit in faith and hope and proceed in the Spirit.

Don’t Fall Asleep - Make No Provision for the Flesh

Paul says, “and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:14). The word “provision” is an interesting one and is translated from the Greek term PRONOIA (Strong’s # 4307 - provnoia proánoáia, pron´-oy-ah) meaning to give, “ forethought, provident care or supply; providence, provision.” [20] In other words, don’t supply your flesh with that which will fuel its fires. Don’t put yourself in a position where your flesh will thrive. Rather put on Christ, concern and cover yourself with that which pertains to Jesus. Then you will be a good citizen and serve the greatest purpose of leading others to Christ as Savior.

Making no provision for the flesh is all the more important when we consider the immediate context in which Paul exhorts us to this end. Paul is speaking about the necessity for all believers to be prepared, “for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand.” (Romans 13:11-12).  In other words he believed they were living in the End Times, those times leading up to the final culmination of history and the Second Coming of Jesus. Paul exhorts us to not fall asleep because Jesus is coming back soon. If that was Paul’s view 2000 years ago, how much more true is it today? Advancements in technology and knowledge are not only a sign of the End Times (Daniel 12:4), but it has created an environment in which for the first time in all of history, God’s Biblical prophecies can now literally be fulfilled. Nuclear weaponry, the mass media, computers and computer chips and a host of other advancements have created the potential for literal fulfillment of prophecies relating to the End Times. Most importantly, the resurrection of Israel as a nation on May 15th, 1948 is the primary sign of the Fig Tree which states that the generation that sees this event will not pass away before the culmination of all God’s prophetic plans, including the Rapture and 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:32-35).

Therefore, what can we expect to happen in these last days? What signs are there that these times are upon us? Let’s look into this for a moment.

A Time Like Never Before

The first thing we need to understand is that the signs of the End Times spoken of by Jesus and elsewhere in the Bible have occurred throughout history. There have always been wars and rumors of wars, false christs and the like, but what will tip us off that we are living in the End Times (besides the rebirth of Israel) is the intensity of the signs and events. Jesus said this in His End Times Olivet Discourse:

  • Matthew 24:21 - “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.   [21]

The events of these last days are going to be unprecedented historically. They will be unprecedented in terms of their intensity and frequency. In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, we also see this intensity referred to when it states:

  • Revelation 16:18 – “And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.” [22]

The events in the End Times will be unprecedented. Not only this, but the opening verses of the Revelation of Jesus further make this emphasis by way of the choice of words.

Soon and Very Soon

Andre Crouch popularized a song when I was first a believer that was called Soon and Very Soon. It was a worship song about the soon return of Jesus Christ to the earth as promised in Biblical prophecy. Such a song urges us to be alert and circumspect (Ephesians 5:15). This is a major emphasis of the last book of the Bible.

 

The book of Revelation is a call to be spiritually alert and attuned to the fact that Jesus is coming back and we need to be ready for His return.  Some may chide such a statement of purpose by commenting, “The church has always been looking for the return of Jesus, why should we, it doesn’t look like He’s coming back anytime soon.” But such a statement only serves to fulfill Scripture (2 Peter 3:9-10). Jesus is coming back, and what we see in the world today indicates He is closer to coming back today than at any other time in history.

 

That Revelation is a call to readiness is also seen in other portions of this book where it sates:

 

  • Revelation 1:3 – “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”  [23]

·         Revelation 2:5,16 - “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.16 ‘Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.”    [24]

·         Revelation 3:11 - “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”  [25]

·         Revelation 22:6 - “Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.”  [26]

·         Revelation 22:7,10,12,20 - “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” . . . 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.  . . . 12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. . . . 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”  [27]

A word used which conveys the imminence of Jesus’ return is the word, “shortly.” The word “shortly” is translated from the Greek phrase EN TACHAI (Strong’s # 5034 TACHOS - τάχος [tachos /takh·os/]) which seven times in the New Testament (Luke 18:8; Acts 12:7; 22:18; 25:4; Romans 16:20; and Revelation 1:1; 22:6). The meaning of this word is, “shortly; quickly; speedily; quickness, speed.”  [28]

 

Interestingly, from this word we get the English term “tachometer.” Like in an automobile with a tachometer, the tach or tachometer tells the driver the revolutions per minute of the engine. On the tach is a “redline” indicating a danger zone. If the driver revs the engine past the redline there is a danger that the engine will blow or explode. In Revelation EN TACHEI conveys the idea of an ever-increasing frequency and intensity of events until a final explosion and culmination.  While the book of Revelation was received by the apostle John around 96 A.D., the events depicted therein will occur “shortly” in that as time passes we are coming nearer the redline of God’s ordained plan. Signs will occur with greater rapidity until the end (Mt. 24:21). We also know that “with the LORD one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”  (2 Peter 3:8).

What are some of these signs and events that we can expect to see on the rise more and more as we approach the End Times and Rapture and  2nd Coming of Jesus?

What Can The World Expect To Experience Toward The End of The Age?

 

While true believers will be raptured before the events of the Tribulation take place, it is likely that we will see the beginnings of these events. In His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21) Jesus told His disciples what things would be like toward the end of the age. He said:

 

  • Matthew 24:4-14 – “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.6 “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.8 “All these are the beginning of sorrows.9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.10 “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.11 “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.12 “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.13 “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  [29]

As we draw closer and closer to the end of the age, what will the world look like? What can the world expect to experience as we approach the end of the age? As we answer these questions, keep in mind that we disciples will see many of these things as we are in the deteriorating world prior to being raptured out of the world before the Tribulation period.

 

First, false messiahs (24:4-5). Jesus said:

 

·         Matthew 24:4-5 – “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.5 “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”  [30]

 It’s interesting that there were no claims to messiahship prior to Jesus. Why? Think of it this way, have you ever seen a counterfeit $3 dollar bill? $30 dollar bill? $300 dollar bill? No. Why not? Because there is no such thing. A counterfeit can only be made if an authentic original exists. In the same way, until Jesus the authentic Messiah came, there was no Messiah to counterfeit.

 

Secondly, wars and rumors of wars (24:6-7a). Jesus said:

 

·         Matthew 24:6-7 - “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. . . .”    [31]

Is such a sign applicable to our world today? The War Atlas,  (a publication of The Club of Rome which is a part of the European Economic Community) reports:

 

·         Since WW II there has not been a single day of peace on the planet.

·         There are 32 million soldiers on active duty (570 million in reserve).

·         50% of world’s scientists are working on weapons

·         40% of all money spent in the field of science is to research and develop weapons.

·         USS Pennsylvania, (an atomic submarine costing 3 billion dollars) carries 24 missiles each with 15 separate warheads (each can be individually targeted) and has 40 times more killing power than all combined weapons detonated in World War II.

·         For every person on earth there is 40 tons of TNT.

 

In the January 2002 issue of Whistleblower magazine, David Kupelian, in an article entitled Preparing for the Next War,” writes the following:

 

“Americans have been conditioned somehow to go into denial about the nuclear threat. Perhaps it’s the standard Hollywood depiction of a nuclear detonation as causing the annihilation of everything – the end of the world – that causes most Americans reflexively to roll their eyes.

 

The truth is: 1) There are currently thousands of nuclear weapons in the world; 2) They are coveted by dictators, jihad madmen and would-be superpowers; and 3) they are constantly under development (or their acquisition is being negotiated) by unstable regimes run by megalomaniacal leaders.

 

If we’re going to face the fact that evil people are striving mightily to obtain, and use on Americans, the most devastating weapons possible – and after Sept. 11, who could doubt their willingness to do so – we must also understand that their favorite, and ultimate, weapon is the nuclear bomb. Nothing else will do.

 

A nuclear bomb is what turns a psychopath into a superpower leader. Not smallpox, not anthrax, not sarin gas, not jet fuel. A nuclear bomb is to a hate-filled, charismatic figure like bin Laden what a 12-gauge shotgun is in the hands of a 15-year old girl facing an attacker: It’s the great equalizer.” [32]   

 

In the same issue of Whistleblower, Brian T. Kennedy, in an article entitled, The Urgent Need For Ballistic Missile Defense, writes:

 

“We should also note that ballistic missiles can be used not only to kill and destroy, but to commit geopolitical blackmail. IN February of 1996, during a confrontation between Mainland China and our democratic ally on Taiwan, Lt. General Xiong Guang Kai, a senior Chinese official, made an implicit nuclear threat against the U.S., warning our government not to interfere because Americans “care more about Los Angeles than they do Taipei.” With a minimum of 20 Chinese intercontinental ballistic missiles currently aimed at the U.S., such threats must be taken seriously. . . .

 

China possesses the DF-5 ballistic missile with a single, four-megaton warhead. Such a warhead could destroy an area of 87.5 square miles, or roughly all of Manhattan, with its daily population of three million people. Even more devastating is the Russian SS-18, which has a range of 7,500 miles and is capable of carrying a single, 24-megaton warhead or multiple warheads ranging from 550 to 750 kilotons.

 

Imagine a ballistic missile attack on New York or Los Angeles, resulting in the death of three to eight million Americans. Beyond the staggering loss of human life, this would take a devastating political and economic toll. Americans’ faith in their government – a government that allowed such an attack – would be shaken to its core. As for the economic shock, consider that damages from the Sept. 11 attack, minor by comparison, are estimated by some economists to be nearly 1.3 trillion dollars, roughly one-fifth of the GNP.”[33]

 

In light of this information and articles, it seems clear that we are living in an age of wars and rumors of wars.

 

Third, famines (24:7). Jesus said:

 

·         Matthew 24:7 - “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”  [34]

Studies of the global environment show that deserts increase 14.8 million square miles per year which leads to less and less land to produce the food necessary to feed an ever growing world population. In the U.S., topsoil measures 3 inches. Topsoil in the U.S. used to be like it is in Canada, 10 feet. Globally there is less food in storage than there was in 1920. The world is constantly experiencing a state of famine in various areas of the world. We are living in an age of famine.

 

Fourth, pertilences (24:7). Jesus said, “And there will be . . . , pestilences . . . .”  As of January 15, 1997 the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/Aids reported that there are 21.8 million people worldwide living with HIV/Aids (1 million adults and 830,000 children).

 

Fifth, earthquakes (24:7). Jesus said, “And there will be . . .  earthquakes in various places.”  “In 1980 the eruption of Mt. St. Helens was equivalent to 500 atomic bombs and 400 million cubic tons of dust shot up into the air. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes are on the rise.

 

Sixth, persecution (24:8-10). Jesus said:

 

·         Matthew 24:8-10 - “All these are the beginning of sorrows.9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.10 “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”   [35]

Are Christians and Jews persecuted today? Persecution of Jews and Christians is growing worldwide. On February 1, 2002 this writer received an e-mail from the International Christian Concern organization which ministers on behalf of persecuted Christians worldwide.  The e-mail contained a letter from three Christians being persecuted in Saudi Arabia. The letter in part said the following:

 

SAUDI ARABIA TORTURES CHRISTIAN PRISONERS

 

Detained Christians fear for their lives: Reports of torture follow statement from Saudi Embassy in Washington saying, "You release our prisoners here and we will release yours there."

 

THE FOLLOWING IS A SUMMARY FROM EXCERPTS TRANSLATED AND PARAPHRASED FROM A LETTER ICC RECEIVED FROM 3 ETHIOPIAN CHRISTIANS DESCRIBING THE HORRENDOUS ORDEAL OF TORTURE, TERROR, AND TORMENT THEY HAVE BEEN THROUGH AT THE HANDS OF AN OFFICIAL AT THE BREMEN DEPORTATION PRISON IN JEDDAH[36]

 

"On January 28, 2002 by order of the Bremen Prison Commander Major Bender Sultan Shabani and with no hearing, trial, or process of law, we were illegally subjected to severe punishment and physical abuse. Being suspended with chains, each of us were flogged 80 times with a flexible metal cable, and also severely kicked and beaten with anything that came into their hands. This was witnessed by over 1,000 deportees.

 

"Our bodies are wounded, swollen, terribly bruised, and with great pain.  Baharu’s kidney may have been damaged and he is passing blood with his urine.  When we reported to the prison hospital for treatment, we were slapped and told to come back after we were dead.  It seems as if we were brought to Bremen Deportation Prison to be tortured and tormented to death.

 

"One Ethiopian-Yemeni named Ahmed is the primary instigator of all of this.   He is an extortionist who has for a long time been intimidating and threatening Ethiopian Christians working in Jeddah.  If they will not pay him blackmail money, he invents serious false charges such as having blasphemed Islam, and reports it to his connections with the Saudi authorities.

"Ahmed . . .  has been continually threatening us, and anyone who comes to visit us.  He tells visitors that he will put them in prison also the way he did us. . . .  We have now been imprisoned for 6 months for being followers of the Christian faith, having never been formally charged with anything. . . . .

 

"The room we are in is only 11.5 X 30 meters, with at times up to 1,800 men of all nationalities crammed into this tiny space.  There is no furniture – no space to lie down except for short naps taken in shifts on the floor. About 80% of the inmates including us have been infected with contagious diseases.  Some have AIDS.  The toilets are overflowing.  The food is not clean.  When we complain, we are chained and handcuffed as punishment . . .. [37]

 

Persecution is often covered up for political expediency by governments. Jesus said,

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10). [38] We need to pray for the persecuted brethren throughout the world. Israel at present is experiencing terror attacks on almost a daily basis. We live in a world rampant with persecution of Christians and Jews. [39]

 

Seventh, deceptive false prophets (24:11). Jesus said:

 

·         Matthew 24:11 - “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”  [40]

Jesus actually mentions the rise of false prophets twice (24:5,11). If He mentioned false prophets and deception twice, he must have felt we needed to be doubly aware of the danger such false prophets hold.

 

When leaving the Ephesian church the apostle Paul gave the following warning:

 

·         Acts 20:29 - “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.” [41] (See 2 Peter 2).

This warning is just as pertinent in our day and age. This is exactly what the Spirit foretold as he inspired the apostle Paul to write:

·         1 Timothy 4:1-2 – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,”  [42]

False ministers of religion are proliferating at a rapid rate. One reason for this is the use of the Internet. In an article posted on Sun Sentinal.com we see the cheapening of ministry and the absence of any consideration for the calling of God. The article is entitled Web sites offering 'instant ordination' in mail-order ministries By Mitch Lipka and Marian Dozier (Staff Writers) who write:

“ Ready to move up from member of the flock to shepherd? Enticed by the privilege of being called minister, reverend, rabbi or even doctor of divinity? If you hear God calling, it's never been easier to answer. Just rev up your computer and decide how much of a commitment you want to make. Thanks to the miracle of e-mail, you can become a minister by simply hitting the "send" button. You might also have to mail $200 or more -- but you're saving on all that pesky religious training. A growing number of Web sites offer instant ordination, with many promising that, in no time, you can be providing absolution, presiding over funerals or even starting your own church. The perks, they say, include clergy discounts, special parking access and press credentials.”  [43]

In June of 2001, an article in the New York Daily News exposed a minister who appears to have been in ministry for personal gain. The article, entitled, Tax Rap vs. Bronx Cleric - Minister received $5.5M refund, but bank smelled rat, stated the following:

“A Bronx minister with champagne tastes who alternately listed Trump Tower and a Bronx housing project as his home address persuaded state tax officials to give him an astounding $5.5 million tax refund in June.

Within hours of obtaining the refund, the Rev. Clayton Harris authorized Independence Community Bank of Brooklyn to electronically pay for a Corvette convertible, a second luxury car and North Carolina property worth $750,000, according to those close to the case.           Authorities said the free-spending minister also wrote out a check for $1 million for Clayton Harris Ministries and deposited it into a separate account at Chase Manhattan Bank. Harris' free run was abruptly ended when officials at Independence Community Bank became suspicious and notified authorities. The electronic transfers were quickly blocked, and the $1 million check was frozen; the actual loss is said to be about $13,000.

Harris, 43, is being held pending arraignment in Manhattan tomorrow on a 33-count indictment charging him with grand larceny and filing false income tax returns and other documents. The court appearance for Harris — once affiliated with a Brooklyn church but who presently has no known affiliation — was delayed because he was unable to find a lawyer quickly. Red-faced officials at the New York Department of Taxation and Finance declined to explain how such a large check could have been issued — especially to a minister.[44]

This minister wasn’t a very good citizen and he has brought much disgrace to himself and God. It is no wonder that there is a growing disrespect for the ministers that God does actually call. We are living in an age of deceptive false prophets.

Eight, cold-heartedness (24:12). Jesus said:

·         Matthew 24:12 - “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”  [45]

We live in a society where the law is continually weakened to pander to the lusts of people’s selfish fleshly desires. The laws of men are more and more in opposition to the Law of God. Laws legalizing such activities as abortion are leading to the dehumanizing and cheapening of human life. The sanctity of human life is steadily declining. The result is the understanding of what love is being lost and love is in the deep freeze.

There will be “love” during the end times, but it will be an obsessive self-love. Paul speaks of this when he is inspired to write:

·         2 Timothy 3:1-7 – “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts,7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” [46]

In the End Times love toward God will grow very cold, but love of self will become passionately hot.

When the Church, (through who the Spirit is serving to restrain all out evil in the world – 2 Thessalonians 2:7)) is removed in the rapture, all hell will break loose. We see a bit of this hell breaking loose today. In June of 1998, Luke Woodham, age 17, a teenager accused in a school shooting spree and having killed his mother earlier in the day by repeatedly stabbing her and then beating her with a baseball bat proclaimed, “I’m going to heaven now” as he was handcuffed and shackled and being led to the courthouse, “Everything happens for a reason. It’s God’s will.” (Newsday, June 6th, 1998).

Who could forget the tragic story of Andrea Yates who systematically and robotically murdered her five small children by drowning them one by one in her bathtub? One article described this horrific story in the following way:

HOUSTON – Andrea Yates told police she began thinking several months ago about killing her five kids, and finally did it this week because she believed she was a bad mother and they were hopelessly damaged.

Without emotion, Mrs. Yates also described how she methodically drowned the children Wednesday morning in her Clearlake home, chasing down her oldest son Noah after he saw his baby sister floating lifeless in the bathtub and tried to get away, said a police official familiar with the case.

She told police she had already drowned her three middle sons and carried their bodies to a back bedroom when her seven-year-old son walked into the open doorway of the bathroom and saw the full tub where six-month-old Mary lay, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. [47]

The Andrea Yates story is still ongoing. No matter the reasons for Ms. Yates actions, whether it be mental breakdown or not, it is still an example of, “the love of many will grow cold” (24:12).

Ninth, the gospel will be spread throughout the world (24:14). Jesus said:

 

·         Matthew 24:14 -  “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  [48]

This is a verse that has been often misinterpreted and greatly abused. The return of Christ is not dependent on our  preaching of the Gospel throughout the world today. The return of Christ will occur according to the Father’s set time. Many use Matthew 24:14 as a call to missions, but the Gospel will be preached throughout the world during the Tribulation by 144,000 apostle Paul-like messianic evangelists (Revelation 7), two witnesses (Revelation 11), Tribulation saints  (Revelation 12) and angels who fly throughout the world warning against the antichrist (Revelation 14:6-7).

 

There is evidence that the criteria for spreading the gospel throughout the world has already occurred. In Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, he made the following comment in the opening lines of his letter:

 

·         Colossians 1:3-6 – “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints;5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel,6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;”  [49]

Here we see that Paul was able to say that the gospel had been heard “in all the world.” This means that there is no outstanding activity that needs to be accomplished in order to usher in the return of Jesus. If there was, then Christ’s return could not be said to be imminent. It is misinterpretation of scripture to say that the rapture cannot occur for any reason. Jesus could come back at any time, even before you finish reading this study. Are you ready disciple?

What do we do now?

When we look at the world today in light of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24, it seems clear that we are closer to the end today, than ever before in the history of mankind. If that is so, what should we do? Jesus tells us:

·         Matthew 24:13 - “But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”   [50]

Jesus instructs us to “endure to the end.” What does it mean to “endure”?

Enduring to the end

 

In Matthew 24:13, Jesus speaks of endurance. The word “endure” is translated from the Greek term HUPOMENO (Strong’s #5278) meaning, “to stay under; remain under; have fortitude; persevere; endure patiently; abide; endure; and suffer.”  We get a clearer sense of the word by examining it more closely. HUPOMONE is a word formed by joining the prefix HUPO to the term MENO. The preposition HUPO (Strong’s #5229) can mean, “by” or “under.” The word MENO is translated, “abide.” To “abide” (Strong’s #3306 – MENO) means, “to continue; abide; stay; dwell; be present; remain.” Therefore when you add the prefix HUPO to the term MENO you have the idea of continuing-under/by; abiding-under/by; staying-under/by; dwelling-under/by; remaining-under/by.

 

Other verses which use this term give us further insight and a few of them are as follows:

 

·         Matthew 10:22 -  “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures [HUPOMONE] to the end will be saved.”  [51]

·         1 Corinthians 13:7 – “[Love] bears [HUPOMONE] all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  [52]

·         2 Timothy 2:10 – “Therefore I endure [HUPOMONE] all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”  [53]

Jesus connected ongoing salvation with an enduring faith (Matthew 10:22). So important is endurance that it is used to characterize the greatest attribute of God ‘s love (1 Corinthians 13:7). This last verse quoted shows that the apostle Paul was motivated to endure by the calling and commission of Christ. It also shows us that Paul had a handle on Christ likeness because Jesus exemplified to the utmost what endurance is all about.

Jesus is our Model of Endurance

Jesus is our ultimate example of endurance as He endured suffering and shame for the sake of the gospel as it says in Hebrews:

  • Hebrews 12:2-3 – “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured [HUPOMONE] the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured [HUPOMONE] such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”  [54]

As we see the endurance of our blessed Savior it moves our heart in the Spirit. As we look at Jesus we are reminded of our great personal saving relationship with Him. Jesus referred to enduring by relying on Him in this personal relationship when He used the word “abide.”

Enduring means Abiding

 

Jesus used this word to instruct the disciple on how to endure and persevere when He stated: 

 

·         John 8:31-32 – “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.32 “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [55]

Abiding in Christ is not something we do with discipline, intestinal fortitude or our own strength. No, abiding is done by relying on Jesus, staying by Him, continuing by Him, dwelling by Him, abiding by Him in the personal saving relationship He has blessed you with. Jesus explains this when He says:

·         John 15:4-8 - Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.8 “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”  [56]

Abiding in Jesus is simply living by the Spirit in close relationship and communication with Him. Abiding in Jesus is an ongoing, moment by moment process by which we endure to the end of this life. In this sense, Jesus must become our all in all. The apostle Paul expressed this well when he said:

 

·         Acts 17:28a -  “for in Him we live and move and have our being, . . . ”  [57]

Jesus is our all in all, He is our reason for living and that ultimately is what abiding in Him is all about. Abiding in Jesus is staying so close to Him that we stick to Him like glue. Abiding in Jesus means we are with Him and He with us at all times everywhere we go.  It is the Holy Spirit that enables us to endure in Christ (see Romans 8). There is one other way this is expressed.

Blessed Endurance

We need to understand that this endurance of abiding in Jesus is not a hardship but a blessing! It isn’t as though we abide in Jesus kicking and dragging our feet. There is no better way to live than to endure and live abiding in Jesus. James the half-brother of Jesus speaks of the blessedness of enduring in our faith when he is inspired to write:

·         James 1:12 – “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  [58]

·         James 5:11 – “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”  [59]

James goes so far as to say that even though Job experienced suffering, in the end endurance was well worth it and blessed. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, no matter of hell begins to break loose around us, in His strength, we will endure.

A first century Biblical “saying” is appropriate here which states:

·         2 Timothy 2:11-13 – “This is a faithful saying: 1 For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”  [60]

We may falter in our abiding, but Jesus will always be there for us to help us onward and through hard times. Abiding in Jesus is a blessed way to live one’s live, no matter the circumstances.

 

Seven Spiritual Safety Steps for the End Times

 

Throughout the Bible we are exhorted to be ready for the End Times period that is coming. While true believers will be raptured before the seven year period of Tribulation, we will still see the beginning of the signs and deception that will be on the rise in the world. Below are seven safety steps to take to prepare the believer to not only remain safe during such times, but to be a productive instrument in the hands of God during this time. What are these seven safety steps

 

First, Don’t Be Deluded Away from the Simplicity of a Personal Gospel

 

The first we need to guard against getting away from the simplicity of God’s word. Paul specifically mentioned and warned against getting away from “the simplicity of Christ,” saying:

 

  • 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 – “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” [61]

Notice that Paul mentions “another Jesus,” “a different spirit,” and “a different gospel.” These alternatives to the simplicity of salvation by grace through faith alone in Christ alone are all from “the serpent.” There is a segment of the “Church” that has anathematized those who hold to the simple gospel of grace in Christ. But those who depart from the simple gospel of Christ are the one’s anathematized according to Paul who states:

  • Galatians 1:3-8 – “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”  [62]

There is “a different gospel,” one that is by no means good news or effective in saving the lost from their sins. You don’t want to get caught up in that other gospel. Indeed Paul warns us in his letter to the Colossian church that we should not allow ourselves to be “cheated” or sidetracked away from the simple gospel of Christ. Paul was inspired by God to write this:

  • Colossians 2:6-10 – “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”  [63]

Don’t complicate what God has revealed in simplicity. Beware of those who would add to the simplicity of the gospel as stated in God’s word. It is foolish to elevate human tradition to the same status or authority as God’s inspired revealed word. God has given us His word and His word is our authority. There has never been a time in history where this has been challenged with such fervor by the enemy. Satan knows the end is near and his primary strategy to undermine God’s salvation plan is to first undermine His word. Just as he said when he first tempted Eve, he still deceives and destroys by first saying, Has God indeed said . . . ?” (Genesis 3:1).

Remember, Jesus said the right way was a narrow” way, the wrong way was a “broad” (tolerant and politically correct?) way. He said:

  • Matthew 7:13-14 - “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.14 “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  [64]

I think we often interpret “narrow” as difficult and hard to pass through. But “narrow” could also mean uncomplicated and to the point, simple. The broad way is a way filled with various alternatives to the way of God in Christ. Don’t stray form Christ’s narrow way. Walk the straight and narrow in the Spirit.

The gospel has been made simple so that as many as possible can understand it and be saved. When we complicate the gospel it creates a barrier between God and His salvation that He never intended to be there. The acronym KISS is applicable here which stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. I don’t mean to sound coarse, but human beings are “stupid.” The Bible doesn’t refer to people, in particular believers,  as “sheep” by accident. Sheep are amongst the dullest of animals. A sheep will graze on grass and be so un-alert to its surroundings that it will go right off a cliff following the good grass. In the same way, people are by nature unalert to their spiritual needs and God’s revelation and so we need to be in step with the Spirit to discern the times in which we live. This starts by sticking to the simplicity of the gospel.

Second, Understand There Will Be A Falling Away That Precedes Antichrist’s Rise

 

Paul states to the Thessalonians church:

 

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4,9-11 – “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. . . . 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth,[See John 17:17]that they might be saved.11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,”  [65]

The believer will be raptured to Christ before the revealing of antichrist, but we will likely begin to see some of these signs that precede him start to crop up. There will be apostasy in the church, a moving away from Biblically based doctrine. People will begin to focus on signs and wonders, on experiential based religion, on human traditions and “higher learning,” on the philosophies of this world rather than a faith based on and built on the truth of God’s word.

The result of turning away from God’s truth like those who,  “did not receive the love of the truth” is that, “god will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie.” Notice that rejecting God’s truth automatically predisposes you to being deluded by “the lie.” This is a particular lie referred to here.

“The Lie”

“The lie” points us back again to the first lie told to Eve by Satan in the Garden of Eden. That lie (found in Genesis 3) basically purported that God is not essential to life, you don’t have to obey Him, He is not out for your best interests, you can be your own lord and god. Look at the account of the temptation:

  • Genesis 3:1-8 – “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;3 “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.5 “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”  [66]

“The lie,” is two pronged. First by saying, “has God said,” Satan begins by undermining the authority of God’s word. Once he has undermined God’s word he coaxes Eve to outright disobey God, the second prong of the deception. This is the lie that those who rebel against God’s truth will succumb to. The lie is that God’s word is not true and that you can disobey it and do your own thing.

Also to be mentioned here is that Satan’s plays on the pride of Eve by saying, “you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Godhood, being a god is the carrot held out in front of Eve and all humanity. Interestingly, the human potential of being deified is the teaching of the New Age movement, and most other false religious movements. Beware such deceptions and get back to God’s word. God’s word is true, it is reliable, and it does hold the truth about God and His simple plan of salvation and sanctification in Christ by the Spirit. Don’t disobey; continue on God’s way, in His word by the Spirit.

Third, Examine Yourself

 

Paul was inspired to write to the Corinthians:

 

  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 – “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”  [67]

All people should examine themselves regularly to check where they’re at with the Lord. We need to keep up to date with the Lord making sure we are not making provisions for our flesh or being deluded by the enemy in some way.

Fourth, Beware the Enemy

 

Both Paul and Peter warned believers against the tactics and strategies of Satan who is relentless in his pursuit to destroy believers. They said:

 

  • Ephesians 6:10-12 –Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  [68]
  • 1 Peter 5:8-9 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”  [69]

Be aware of your enemy and his desire to eat you alive! That problem you have with that other person or situation is not simply an issue with them, it is likely fueled and backed by a strategy of Satan to get at you in some way. Beware of Satan and keep things in spiritual perspective.

Fifth, Be Alert

 

Pay attention to these wise words of Jesus:

 

  • Luke 21:34-36 - “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.35 “For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.36 “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  [70]

Jesus tells us to be alert and avoid being weighed down with things in this world which will prevent us from being ready when Jesus returns. Jesus tells us to be prayerful, especially prayerful of being “counted worthy to escape all these things.” The way we can escape all of these things is by way of the rapture and Jesus would not have told us to pray to escape unless it were possible. This is evidence for a pre-Tribulation Rapture.

Sixth, Contend For The Faith, Stand on God’s Word

When a football team gains a lead on its opponent, sometimes they go into what is called a “prevent defense,” they lay back and try to protect their lead. A wise aficionado of football knows that all a “prevent defense” prevents against is that team using it from winning the game. In the same way, once we have received Jesus as our Savior we shouldn’t go into hiding from the world. To do that would only cause our spiritual muscles to atrophy. We need to flex our spiritual muscles in the Spirit. We need to go for the jugular of Satan when in the Spirit we have him down.

The time left before Jesus’ return is very short, we shouldn’t be hiding in our homes, but out contending earnestly for the truth of God. This is what the Bible tells us when it states:

  • Jude 3 – “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”  [71]
  • Ezekiel 3:17-19 - “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:18 “When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.19 “Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”  [72]

That worth contending for is the truth contained in the word of God. The word of God is our revelation from God to us. It is a love letter from God’s heart to our heart. God’s word is what we need to focus on so that we can know Whom we believe and follow Him. Paul exhorted pastor Timothy to this end saying:

  • 2 Timothy 2:15,24-26 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. . . 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”  [73]

God’s word is sufficient for our mission in these last days. Study it, take it to heart. Prayerfully ask the Spirit to illuminate it to you and equip you with it. Look at the all-encompassing nature of God’s word for ministry as stated by the inspired words of Paul who said:

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  [74]

The word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:10-18), let’s weald it in the Spirit and be used by the Lord. Let’s go on the attack and take as many people to heaven with us as we can.

Seventh, Speak the Truth in Love

 

There was once a disciple of Jesus who when His betrayer came to take Jesus into custody, drew his sword and chopped off the ear of one of those who came for Jesus. The scene and Jesus’ response are recording thusly:

 

  • Matthew 26:50-56 – “But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.53 “Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?54 “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.56 “But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.”  [75]

There is a lesson to be learned here. We are not to hack away at people with the word of God which is the sword of the Spirit. Instead we are to use it in love, we are to speak God’s truth in love, in a way that brings them lovingly to Jesus and treats there sinful disease in love. Paul stated it this way:

 

  • Ephesians 4:11-15 – “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”  [76]

In all that we do as believers, we are to be moved and motivated by the love of God He has put in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Paul was inspired to say this in the following way.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-16 – “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died;15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.”  [77]

These are the seven spiritual safety steps we should seek to have the Spirit put into place in our lives.

Conclusion

Those who are God’s living sacrifices are to submit to government but serve God supremely. This will become more and more difficult as we get further and further into the end of the age because submitting to government and serving the Lord supremely will clash and cause us to make decisions that may lead to persecution or problems. But the final outcome for those who do endure will be a mighty blessing as they enter into the glory of the Lord. We need to remember and let the Spirit burn into our hearts and minds the words of Paul which say:

·         Romans 13:11-14 – “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”  [78]

If some 2000 years ago Paul was making this statement to the Romans, how much more is it true for us today? Disciple, endure in the abiding presence of Jesus! Put Jesus on like a garment that is part of you and press on. Put on Christ and do not give your flesh any room in your life then you will be a good citizen, good witness who is ready and unashamed before God.

 



[1]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[2]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[3]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[4]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[5]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[6]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[7]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[8]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[9]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[10]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[11]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[12]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[13]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[14]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[15]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[16]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[17]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[18]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[19]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[20]James Strong, New Strong’s dictionary of Hebrew and Greek words [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1996.

[21]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[22]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[23]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[24]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[25]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[26]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[27]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[28]Strong, J. 1996. Enhanced Strong's Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship: Ontario

[29]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[30]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[31]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[32] David Kupelian, Whistleblower Magazine, January 2002 issue. Volume 11, No. 1. p. 6

[33] Brian T. Kennedy, Ibid., p. 9-10

[34]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[35]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[36] THE 3 ETHIOPIANS ARE BAHARU MENGISTU, TINSAE GEZACHEW, AND GEBEYEHU TEFERA.  THE TORTUROUS TREATMENT WAS IN RETALIATION FOR A PETITION SENT TO THE ETHIOPIAN CONSULATE IN JEDDAH DESCRIBING THEIR SITUATION IN THE BREMEN DEPORTATION PRISON IN JEDDAH. THE 3 CHRISTIANS WERE NEVER CHARGED BUT SOURCES SAY THEY WERE ARRESTED DUE TO THEIR CHRISTIAN FAITH.

 

[37] For further information please contact: International Christian Concern (ICC) 2020 Pennsylvania Avenue  Suite 941 Washington DC 20006-1846 Office: 1.800.ICC.5441 or 301.989.1708 E-Mail:  icc@persecution.org

 

[38]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[39] The following article is further proof that persecution is alive and ongoing in the world today. The article states:  Christians in Laos are forced to drink blood and renounce faith By Alex Spillius in Bangkok (Filed: 15/07/2001) CHRISTIANS in the isolated communist state of Laos are being rounded up, imprisoned and forced at gunpoint to renounce their faith as part of a widening crackdown on their religion. In some villages, Christians have been coerced into proving the renunciation of their beliefs by practicing animist rituals, including sacrificing animals, drinking blood, rice wine and whisky and speaking to the spirits. Accounts of persecution that have reached Christian activists in neighboring Thailand, have described how seven Church leaders and a lay member were recently released after a month in prison in the southern province of Savannakhet. They said they were denied full rations, placed in stocks or made to wear handcuffs and pulled into the prison yard to sign a declaration that they had given up their beliefs by police officers pointing guns at their heads. The detainees, some too weak to walk, are recovering at their homes in Paksong. Their evangelical church, like 58 others in the past 18 months, has been closed down. (Christian Solidarity Worldwide – of London).

 

[40]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[41]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[42]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[43] Sun-Sentinal.com May 7, 2001 posted article.

[44] By BARBARA ROSS, GREG WILSON and OWEN MORITZ Daily News Staff Writers

 

[45]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[46]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[47] Dallasnews.com. Houston mother said kids were damaged , 06/22/2001  , By Lee Hancock / The Dallas Morning News

 

[48]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[49]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[50]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[51]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[52]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[53]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[54]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[55]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[56]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[57]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[58]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[59]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[60]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[61]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[62]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[63]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[64]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[65]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[66]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[67]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[68]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[69]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[70]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[71]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[72]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[73]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[74]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[75]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[76]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[77]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

[78]The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.