“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but . . . a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7
Have you heard the analogy of the person asking God to rescue him during a flood? He first receives a warning to evacuate and the neighbors offer to take him in their car. He decides to stay, believing that God will save him. When the water begins to rise, a man comes by in his canoe and calls to him to get in. But the man says, “No thanks, God will save me.” As the water rises higher, a police motorboat comes by and later a helicopter. He also refuses their help and dies by drowning.
When in Heaven, the man stood before God and asked, “I put all of my faith in You. Why didn’t You come and save me?”
And God said, “Son, I sent you a warning. I sent you a car. I sent you a canoe. I sent you a motorboat. I sent you a helicopter. What more were you looking for?”
I’m not sure how many years ago it was when I heard that story in church. It seemed like a silly story. Why wouldn’t he accept such obvious help?
The man died because of his idea of faith. His faith was in God, not in people and their manmade things. He expected God to miraculously save him by circumventing human involvement, forgetting that God works through people to fulfill His purposes.
Some Christians claim they do not need to social distance or wear masks. We’ve been told that we don’t have faith if we wear masks. They add that “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear.” This is true, however, the entire verse says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). We see taking precautions and preventative measures as biblical (see my post: A Faith-Based Approach to the Coronavirus) and the use of that “sound mind.” Faith is obeying God’s word, so we do what is right even if it’s difficult.
Some are skeptical about getting vaccinated. We believe the vaccine is an answer to prayer. Some are concerned because it was manufactured so quickly. However, we believe that has been an answer to prayer too. The statistics also bear witness to its effectiveness. In July it was reported that with 58% of America fully vaccinated, over 99% of those who were dying from Covid-19 were unvaccinated people and that less than 1% of vaccinated people were dying (Business Standard, 2021, July 5)
, 2021, July 5.
God gives humans the ability to make boats and helicopters which can save people from floods. He also gives humans the ability to develop medicines and vaccines to save lives.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one (John 10:28-30 NIV).
All people, everywhere, experience revelation from God about Himself. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). Some receive clearer revelation than others. Jesus said, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin” (John 15:22). Sadly, because people are sinful, they tend to marginalize God or completely negate Him, suppressing what He reveals (Rom. 1:18-20).
Some people experience a dramatic encounter with God on their life’s journey that brings them to salvation. Consequently, it is easy for them to know the moment that they have become a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). For many others, salvation is not a clearly identifiable point in time. However, even though they cannot pinpoint when it happened (and may even misidentify the timing), the miracle of their behavioural change makes them know that at some point they must have been “born again” (John 3:16). They might not even know these terms, but, if explained to them, they will identify with them.
Many other people who have believed in God and His Son, have ended up falling away. This is because they never fully understood. Instead, they believed in their own notion about God and His salvation. Consequently, they had never come to be justified by God and born again.
Paul told the members of the Corinthian church, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5). From his words, we can deduce that merely thinking that you’re in the faith is no real evidence of actually being in it. However, being spiritually joined to Christ, so that He lives within you, is Paul’s definition of whether or not someone is truly in the faith.
Evidence of Salvation
God’s word has a range of evidence that can help a person identify whether or not they been saved from spiritual death to eternal life. Here are just three of them:
An inner witness. One evidence that you’re actually in the faith, with Christ dwelling within you, is an inner knowing. Paul writes, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Rom. 8:16).
A supernaturally changed life. Another witness to true salvation is a supernaturally changed life. This is because Love Himself has joined Himself to that person. Jesus said, “…whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
A witnessing life. There’s an overflow about God and His goodness that comes from the mouths of those who are saved. This is because God, and what He has done to save us, really is good news. After all, Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:38).
Caveats Concerning Salvation
Not all Christians excel in all of the above evidence. That said, to live their new life to the full, they ought to grow in each of them. Also, although the fruit of a person’s life is usually the clearest evidence of salvation (or the lack thereof), many loving, generous, and pleasant people are unsaved. Conversely, there are many saved folk who are caught up in selfishness, worldliness, and sin. Consequently, we don’t always know who has been saved, therefore, we must not simply assume that someone is or isn’t.
On another note, not everyone who has been saved has understood that biblical faith gives assurance of salvation. Consequently, despite being justified by God, these folk may, at times, because of sin and feelings of unworthiness, feel unsaved.
Assurance of Salvation
God has gone to great lengths to lead people to a faith that saves and to assure them of their salvation. For example, the apostle John says in his gospel, “…these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). Then, in a letter to believers, John says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). God clearly wanted people to believe and, having believed, be assured of their salvation.
Assurance of one’s salvation is often found on the journey of discipleship. For, even after someone is saved, they will continue to receive revelation about their salvation. Consider what Paul had prayed for the Christians in Ephesus: “[I always pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may grant you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation [that gives you a deep and personal and intimate insight] into the true knowledge of Him [for we know the Father through the Son]. And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people), and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe” (Eph. 1:17-19a, Amplified Bible).
Are You Saved?
All people have sinned against God, nevertheless, because of His great love for the world, He offers salvation as a free gift to everyone who repents and receives Jesus as Lord of their life. For He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life and take our sins upon Himself so that we could be acquitted. Having risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, Jesus offers mercy and new life to all who humble themselves and come to Him.
Since 2016, to justify supporting Trump, many Christians peddled the idea that he was like King Cyrus, a foreign king that God used to help Israel. For argument’s sake, I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and concede that is perhaps, in some ways, what happened. However, by them also condoning Trump’s behavior throughout his Presidency rather than rebuking his evil ways, they ended up helping refashion a “man of lawlessness” too.
Did God Reverse the 2016 Results in 2020?
As I see it, God’s disapproval of Trump and Trumpism is reflected in the 2020 election results. Consequently, Christians will now have to suffer under the sins of the Democrats rather than have the nation suffer under the evil that they disregarded in Trump. Furthermore, if Trump was put in by God as a “King Cyrus,” then is it possible that the reversal of his 306-232 winning margin in 2016 to exactly 232-306 in 2020 is a sign that God has reversed His decision and is disciplining Christians for serving the creature rather than the Creator? Do you need to repent of that?
Warning of a Trump Resurrection
Finally, a word of warning! If Trump’s behavior in his first term of office has been bad, His behavior is likely to be far worse if he is elected in 2024! For, the consequences then could be far worse than tolerating his endless lies, his Ukraine call cover-up and impeachment, his bungling of the coronavirus pandemic, and his administration’s low regard for Black lives and migrants. Also, if he is re-elected in 2024, he will have no more need of Christians and may turn on them just as the beasts Nero and Domitian did on the early Christians.
More Posts on President Trump, the Coronavirus, and God’s Judgment
In 2016, highly influential evangelical leader, Jerry Falwell Jr., endorsed Donald Trump’s candidacy despite the candidate’s gross shortcomings in character. He said, “We’re not choosing the pastor-in-chief, we’re choosing the President of the United States.” In doing this he broke rank with God, for this is not how the Almighty taught us when He chose David to be king. For, in choosing David, God found a man after His own heart.
Trump, “the best doctor”
The irony is that Falwell said that he saw in Trump a man who loved people and went on to say, “if you had a young child who was ill you would want to choose the best doctor.” With 250 000 Americans dead, largely because of Trump’s politicking and despite his confessed early knowledge of the danger of the coronavirus, it seems that he has loved himself, power, and the dollar more than the American people.
Church Leaders Follow Evil and the People Follow Suit
If America is in a mess today, it’s because evangelicals sidestepped serious character flaws in Trump and then went on to excuse his behavior throughout his term of office. In their blind zeal for God, they endorsed a “fox” rather than a man after God’s own heart or even just a good man like God found in king Cyrus of Persia.
Consequently, America’s evangelical leaders are not unlike the prophets and priests in the days of Judah. For Jeremiah writes, “The prophets follow an evil course and use their power unjustly. ‘Both prophet and priest…I find their wickedness,’ declares the Lord” (Jer. 23:10-11 NIV).
Church leaders like Falwell, Franklin Graham, Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, and countless others must repent of endorsing evil and for helping to lead the church and the nation into the idolatry of Trumpism. Furthermore, the church must repent of making super-gurus out of church leaders, for this idolatry causes Christians to be led by people rather than God.
Jesus does not take kindly to false teaching and idolatry. For, to the church of Pergamum, He says, “I have a few things against you: There are some among you…who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth” (Rev. 2:14-16 NIV).
The church in America must repent of their Trumpism or they risk losing so much more than their country’s God-given democracy that so many have laid down their lives for.
You Have Ignored Bad Character at Your Peril
Repent for ignoring Trump’s character and making a deal with an ungodly man.
Repent for supporting the President regardless of his behavior.
Repent for never showing your displeasure at his evil ways.
Repent for helping to fuel national division so that debate has fallen apart and people are led by lies.
Your failure to be God’s prophetic voice is helping to destroy the country.
Repent for dishonouring the President-elect and fuelling division.
The Man of Lawlessness Is in the Temple
Repent, Church leaders, for leading people to think that God was somehow especially behind Trump. Because you have called evil good, you have been and will continue to be played as the beast’s false prophet. Repent, therefore!
Repent every pastor and church leader that initially helped the church to elect a man of lawlessness into office, and, worse, into the hearts of God’s people (the temple of God), so that he reigns from there.
Repent for not holding the President accountable for his evil ways after you helped him become elected.
Trump is America’s very own beast that you have aided by playing the part of the false prophet.
Repent for every false prophecy spoken about the President.
Repent or You Will Lose Your Light
Repent, for you have profaned God’s name by endorsing evil so that reasonable people won’t want to hear the gospel from you. For, already, to the extent that this has happened, you have lost your light!
Finally, the next time the devil wants to make a deal with you, do what Jesus did when He was offered the kingdoms, or it will cost you dearly as it already has.
“Think how far you have fallen! Turn from your sins and do what you did at first. If you don’t turn from your sins, I will come to you and take your lampstand from its place” (Rev. 2:5 GNB).
Therefore, repent! For God’s word says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).
[This word has been an application of the following texts: Matt. 4:8-10; Rev. 13; 2 Thess. 2:1-12; Isaiah 5:20; Rev. 2:5; 2 Chron. 7:14].
More Posts on President Trump and the Coronavirus Judgment:
Are you wanting your prayers to be more effective? James 5:16 says that a righteous person’s prayers are powerful and effective. That’s a wonderful promise! The requirement for powerful and effective prayers is living righteously. All it takes is a willingness to follow God by loving and obeying Him.
Sometimes, your prayers can be made more effective by fasting. The main purpose of fasting is to draw near to God, usually by giving up food and drink (other than water). When you’re fasting, you become more reliant on God and allow His presence to sustain you.
A Privilege, Not a Burden
Fasting should be considered a privilege and not a burden. The moment you feel that it’s a burden is the moment that you begin resenting God and the things of God. When you understand that it’s a privilege, then your suffering will turn to joy.
The Apostle Paul fasted often. Sometimes it wasn’t by choice, but he knew that nothing happened to him without God’s knowledge, so he would have taken the opportunity to commit those times to prayer as well. He understood how weak the flesh could be. He even boasted in his weaknesses, because he understood that it was an opportunity to lean on God’s strength and not his own. God even spoke to him directly and told him that power is perfected in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9‑10).
Fasting is your opportunity to connect with God on a deeper level. The desire for food is a huge drive in life, so when you lay that aside, you are driven towards God. It’s a time of you becoming less and God becoming more.
It’s harder to fast when you have to be around food. I remember the few times I fasted while serving as a missionary on board Operation Mobilization’s ship the Doulos. Those times weren’t easy, because I was a “pantry girl” and part of my job included serving food. Ironically, it happened more than once that the times I chose to fast ended up being days when there were leftover pastries from a conference being held on the ship. One time I gave in to the nice-looking food and broke my fast. Afterward, I realized that it wasn’t worth it and regretted my weakness. The next time I resisted and held to my fast, but then resentment toward God and fasting crept in. At this point, I realized that my attitude needed readjusting.
Is it okay for people to know that you’re fasting? Sometimes people might find out or need to be told that you’re fasting. There are also times when people choose to fast together. There’s nothing wrong with people knowing. People noted that Anna the prophetess fasted and prayed for many years during her widowhood in the house of the Lord (Luke 2:36‑37). The scripture that speaks about fasting in secret is about not trying to parade around to get credit from others (Matt. 6:16‑18). It’s your attitude and motive that’s important.
Reasons to Fast
There are different reasons to fast. Often people decide on doing a biblical fast with their hearts in the wrong place. They might with the desire to lose weight, gain worldly praise, or out of a sense of obligation due to social pressure. Losing weight might be an outcome of fasting but should not be your motivation. However, don’t make losing weight the reason for biblical fasting. It might be an outcome of your time fasting but should not be your motivation. There are also times in your life when you might feel more of a need to fast and other times less so. It’s best to be led by God and not by a feeling of I ought to.
In Isaiah Chapter 58, God rebuked the people because they fasted with hardened hearts. They wanted God to bless them, but they didn’t want to obey Him and do what’s right. While they fasted, they did as they pleased. They exploited their workers and they argued with one another, which came to blows. God told them that the kind of fasting He wanted was to end oppression and arguing and to feed the hungry.
It’s not a time to be selfish. My youngest daughter, Amanda, suggested that the money not spent on food during fasting could go to a feeding scheme. Such a simple and practical thing is doable. Just to be clear, I don’t expect children to fast and I don’t recommend it, but it’s certainly a topic that parents can discuss with their kids.
One reason people fast is to return to God. In the Book of Joel, God asked the people to return to Him with fasting, weeping, and mourning. He wanted them to tear their hearts instead of the outward tearing of their clothes (Joel 2:12‑13). In Isaiah, God told His people that if they obeyed Him with their whole hearts, then they would be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings (Is. 58:12). Unfortunately, it was not realized in their time, but we have been given the same calling as God’s children. How cool is that?
If there’s a need for returning to God after backsliding, then confessing our sins and being repentant is a good way to restore a broken relationship with God. The Israelites did so in Nehemiah Chapter 9 and the people of Nineveh in Jonah Chapter 3 during their fast.
Another reason to fast is for healing. King David fasted for his infant son’s health. It was also a time of grieving and repentance (2 Sam. 12:1‑23). This is reflected in Psalm 51, which he wrote during this heart-wrenching time.
Sometimes people fast for God’s protection or intervention. Esther and the people fasted for 3 days for protection (for Esther) and intervention (for the Jews). It was dangerous to approach the king unannounced, but Esther needed to petition him on behalf of her people (Est. 4).
Fasting can also be done when needing guidance from God. The believers in Acts were led by the Holy Spirit to set apart Barnabas and Saul (the Apostle Paul) for missionary work while they were worshiping and fasting. It seems like they were given guidance without even asking, but it happened while worshipping and fasting. After they had fasted and prayed, they sent them off (Acts 13:1‑3).
Another reason to fast is when asking God for help. During their missionary work, Paul and Barnabas chose elders and committed them to the Lord with prayer and fasting (Acts 14:23). They wanted God to assist the new elders in the work that they would be doing.
Ways to Fast
Just like there are different reasons to fast, there are different ways to fast. You might be in a situation where giving up all food and only drinking water is not good for you. No rule says you must fast, so first be sure that it’s something you should be doing before you start. If you do choose to fast, then you should decide how long and what you will fast.
Have you heard of the Daniel Fast? It’s a partial fast based on 2 accounts in Daniel. In Chapter 1 it says that Daniel and his 3 companions only ate vegetables and only drank water for 10 days. Daniel’s reason for this partial fast wasn’t to lose weight but to avoid being defiled by the king’s food. Afterward, it became their diet while in training at the palace. In Chapter 10 it says that for 3 weeks he gave up all choice food, including meat and wine. He was mourning over an upcoming great war that he had seen in a vision. Something less well known is that he also forewent all body lotions in those 3 weeks.
Christians today who choose to do the Daniel Fast usually decide on 3 weeks or, similarly, the 40 days of Lent. A partial fast is a good option for anyone who wants to fast for an extended time and also for anyone whose health would be adversely affected if they gave up all food.
Fasting isn’t only about giving up food. There are creature comforts that people can also forego while fasting. In several biblical accounts, people chose to put on sackcloth and ashes (or dust) while they fasted. Usually, this was done to humble oneself or for mourning. Daniel and Mordecai did so when seeking intervention from God for the future of their nation. Both of these occasions were a prelude to great change (Dan. 9:3 and Est. 4:1). Daniel also forewent body lotions in his 3-week fast (Dan. 10:3). King Darius gave up sleep and his evening entertainments while fasting for Daniel’s life to be spared (Dan 6:18). King David gave up sleeping in a comfortable bed and chose to lie on the ground in sackcloth while he fasted for his infant son’s life (2 Sam. 12:16). A married couple may choose to give up sex and devote their time to prayer, but only for an agreed amount of time, so they’re not tempted to sin (1 Cor.7:5).
E.M. Bounds understood the need to pray diligently because he believed in the power of prayer. He stated, “Our praying, however, needs to be pressed and pursued with an energy that never tires, a persistency which will not be denied, and a courage which never fails.” The more effective our prayers are, the more victorious we’ll be!
You can know that you’re going to heaven if you are trusting in God’s way to get you there. The Bible tells us that God has made a way for us to get eternal life and go to heaven. This good news is so certain that the Bible says we can actually know that we have eternal life.
But, what exactly is this good news?
God is offering salvation as a free gift to all who have sinned. Jesus, who lived a perfect life, took our sins upon Himself. Having risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, He offers mercy and new life to all who come to Him.
How do we get eternal life?
Each of us needs to realize that we have sinned and need God’s forgiveness. The Bible says that we have all sinned. Also, we must believe God’s word that says that our sins separate us from God, which results in death and permanent separation from Him. Then, we need to trust God’s way to save us.
When you believe God’s good news for you in Jesus, you are immediately made right with God and given a new life. That is how you can know you’re going to heaven. Our confidence about going to heaven is not based upon our works or on our goodness, but only on God’s promise of mercy and eternal life to all who turn away from their sin and who come to Him to be forgiven.
Dispensationalism has made many Americans clueless to the fact that they have been living with the beast, the false prophet and a biblical plague, and that God’s comfort for them is found in a proper understanding of the book of Revelation.
A false prophet flirts with a beast who is in love with a prostitute and the result is that 100,000 die in a plague in just 3 months. And, that’s just the beginning!
The Characters in America’s Version of Revelation:
President Trump plays ‘the beast,’ an evil and power hungry leader.
The evangelical church plays ‘the false prophet,’ a spiritual leader that endorses the beast.
The “almighty dollar” plays ‘the great prostitute,’ an economic system based on greed that uses governmental power to that end, even at the expense of human dignity and life.
Vice President Pence plays a ‘witness’ that has lost his witness because he has become ‘lukewarm.’
COVID-19, a ‘plague’ sent by Jesus Christ, exposes each of the characters for what they are.
A proper interpretation of the book of Revelation makes it abundantly clear that President Donald J. Trump is America’s very own manifestation of ‘the beast’ of Revelation 13. Furthermore, the current economic spirit behind the “almighty dollar” is ‘the great whore’ of Revelation. And, sadly, America’s evangelicals have been the ‘false prophet’ in this tragedy. A plague, which, according to Revelation 6:8, is one of many forms of judgement that are sent by Jesus (see Rev. 6:1).
Here is a brief breakdown:
Just as the beast of Revelation is ridden by the prostitute, President Trump is driven by the need to have a successful economy in order to stay in power, even at the expense of people. Rather than being submitted to Almighty God or even the rationality of science in the face of a pandemic, President Trump is driven by the “almighty dollar.” Nothing can curb him to care for people ahead of power.
Just as the beast is endorsed by the false prophet, President Trump is endorsed by many evangelicals who love him more than truth, justice and morality. He has been so enthusiastically embraced by so many in the Church that he essentially sits in the Temple speaking as though he is God. Rather than addressing his waywardness, as any true prophet would, these religious leaders and their flock defend him and prophesy sweet lies about him and the future of America.
Just as the beast is empowered by Satan, the father of lies, President Trump is notorious for his constant and flagrant lying.
Just as the beast has a lust for power that knows no bounds, Trump has lied and cheated to hold onto power, even to the point of being impeached.
Just as the beast is full of pride, President Trump never admits to his errors. All is “perfect.”
Just as the beast blasphemes God, President Trump does so by claiming allegiance to God and His people, yet living contrary to God and refusing to repent.
Vice President Pence has been the “picture perfect example” of the good American evangelical as he reinforces their God-sent leader’s views. He is the evangelical’s ideal political Ken-doll who supports and excuses the beast despite his immoral, in-humane and illogical political stances. Like the false prophet that he also represents, Pence looks ‘like a lamb,’ but speaks ‘like a dragon.’ Actions speak louder than words and not wearing a mask shows his allegiance.
COVID-19 enters America and sets up the true makers of Fake News to be exposed for downplaying the virus.
COVID-19 sets up the President to make a choice, which he says at one point is “the biggest decision I’ve ever had to make.’ And, over the course of time, he has chosen to dismiss science and instead risks people’s lives, promoting his sentiment on issues because he doesn’t like the cost to the economy.
COVID-19 sets up lukewarm and deceived Christians, who are supposed to be “the light of the world,” to look foolish because they continue to blindly back Trump.
Blind Evangelical Church
If you are an American evangelical, then it is very unlikely that you will recognize the correlation that I have made between the book of Revelation and your current experience. This is, in part, because of the false teaching of dispensationalism that has dominated evangelical thinking over the years. It is so removed in its misinterpretation of Revelation that it has made the prophecy completely useless to Christians who are adherents of this false doctrine. While the Bible explains men like President Trump as being ‘the beast,’ most Christians in America have been robbed of the understanding and comfort that Revelation has for them in the face of such a person. This lack is a judgment on their churches for not testing this doctrine that has been so forcefully espoused by so many over the years.
100 000 Die Under the Beast
As beasts go, President Trump may appear tame. However, 100,000 Americans have died in three months and most of the deaths are due to his bungling of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is directly attributable to his pride and lust for economic success and power instead of having a heart for the American people. What’s more, in the face of these numbers, he continues with his childish pride by not wearing a mask, when wearing a mask protects others from what we might unknowingly have and inadvertently spread. It is an example for others to follow as a way of caring for one another.
Clearly, God has been busy using this beast, who is full of pride, as a means of judgement on a nation full of pride. Yet, still, many remain persistent and even belligerent in their unmasked pride (pun intended). In the process, He is also judging His own people for the choice that they made in Trump, and, having made him their choice, for their reluctance to hold him accountable. Instead, they have excused him at every turn and, as a result, he has become the nation’s nightmare. He might have been less brazen had he not had the kind of undivided loyalty that he has received from the evangelicals from the get go.
How Should Christians Respond?
Toward the Beast:
Repent! Jesus must be your first love, not a politician. Also, repent on behalf of your brothers and sisters in Christ and those of your nation that have unswervingly embraced him. And, pray for all your leaders, especially President Trump, for God’s mercy is able to reach him, even as it reached Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Then, when elections come, don’t disregard the character of the candidates, for, in so doing, you have already been bitten once.
Toward the Prostitute:
Americans love the “almighty dollar” and many American Christians love it too. Revelation has this to say to them, ‘I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of [the great prostitute], my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues”’ (Rev. 18:4 ESV). You need to repent of the love of money, for the word says, ‘Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”’ (Heb. 13:5). Also, ‘For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs’ (1 Tim. 6:10).
Toward the False Prophet:
Like the Bereans in Acts, test all ministers of the Word of God by the Word of God. For, it is as a result of a lack of this that many false teachers and false teachings have crept in. And, having become established, they have led this generation to embrace a beast who has led them into a full-blown plague.
Learn from these words of Jesus in Revelation to the church in Pergamum: ‘But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth’ (Rev. 2:14‑16).
What have your spiritual leaders taught you to think and practice that is contrary to God? Do you constantly excuse President Trump? Do you love money at the expense of people’s lives? Do you wear a mask out of reverence to God, who has given sanctity to life and who commands us to love our neighbour? Whether you follow the beast or the Lord Jesus Christ will be seen by how you think and what you do. You might need to repent of allowing yourself to be marked with ‘the name of the beast,’ which, in Revelation, symbolically indicates who your allegiance is with in both thought and action.
Toward the Plague:
Do not be presumptuous like good King Josiah was by getting in the way of God’s judgement. Wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance until the plague is over. If you contract the virus, realise that you are not necessarily being judged. As a Christian, this is a test of your faith. If you are lacking faith then ask God and He will give you the faith and grace needed for the experience. He will carry you through it to the other side, whether to be with Him, which is far better, or with your family, which, God willing, He may consider to be better for now.
Toward the Lukewarm Witness:
Let’s begin by looking to see to what extent we are lukewarm witnesses. Let’s also realise that we don’t all have the same pressures. Then, let’s pray for our own needs and for grace for our brother. That said, my word for Vice President Pence is, ‘Do not be deceived, “Bad company corrupts good character”‘ (1 Cor. 15:33 NIV). Love your neighbour and wear a mask! If you are a witness for Jesus Christ, ‘Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould’ (Rom. 12:2 PHILLIPS). And, that can often include the Christian world. Be a Daniel or a Shadrach and put your neck on the line for your faith.
May we all soberly look at what God is doing in our own nations and all around the world at this time. And, let’s keep praying for grace for one another so that we can represent Him well as His ambassadors on earth.
I find it shocking that so many churches advocate a very narrow concept about the tithe. If we would simply do some good Bible study, we would easily see that it was so much more. Alarmingly, too often the truth about the tithe has been twisted. Many pastors and church leaders have, for the most part, unknowingly hoodwinked their members regarding tithing. Unfortunately, they insist on receiving ten percent from their members, not realizing that it’s to the detriment of their members and of God’s work being fully implemented.
Tithing Was so Much More
What they fail to mention is that tithing in the Old Testament supported a social system that was carried out by the Levites. The Levites held many different offices of service that were for the benefit of the people. Among them were lawyers and judges who handled cases of dispute and assault. This included maintaining cities of refuge, which were places of safety for people who were innocent of murder. Others were teachers, social workers, temple workers, gatekeepers, craftsmen, singers, song writers, musicians, spiritual leaders, and even health inspectors. Some of these offices included a range of services. For example, health inspectors advised on skin issues and mold in people’s homes.
How often do churches place their worship teams on the payroll? How often do churches offer their members free legal advice or medical care? When our governments offer these services, then don’t our taxes form part of what was intended by the tithe in the Old Testament? Clearly, our modern concept of the biblical tithe falls short of what God intended it for.
Interestingly, there was also a tithe of a good harvest that was to be enjoyed by the whole assembly. In other words, not every tithe was exclusively for the Levites. The people brought the good harvest tithe to eat before the Lord. If they couldn’t carry their tithe portion, then they were instructed to sell it and bring the money before the Lord and there buy any kind of food they wanted, including wine or other alcoholic drink. You can check it out for yourself in Deuteronomy 14:24-27!
Certainly, many churches are doing more than just paying for their building’s upkeep and the pastor’s salary. Churches that are evangelizing, discipling, and doing acts of service are carrying out the Lord’s mandate to see God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. They need their members’ support.
So, who should we give our tithe to? Firstly, the tithe is not a New Testament concept. As New Testament believers, we should be thinking beyond that ten percent that was required in the Old Testament. Giving financially is just one of the many ways that we can be involved in bringing His kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. Nevertheless, the principle of giving by way of love offerings continues.
What about that Bible verse on giving that so many people like to quote at collection time, the one that says to give and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38)? If we look at verses 27 to 42, we see that the focus of the passage is more about our attitude than about our money. These verses are telling us how to treat people. We are instructed to love our enemies, to not judge, to forgive, and to lend without expecting anything in return. However, at collection time, we keep being reminded of giving money to the church, so that God will bless us. What about giving money to others? This passage is not about giving to the church per se. The theme of this passage is about giving to others in a Christ-like way and God will bless us in return.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. (2 Cor. 9:6-11 NIV).
To be a generous person doesn’t require a substantial bank balance. It’s an attitude, a lifestyle. Jesus said that He’ll reward the person who gives a cup of water in His name (Mark 9:14). This promise is reflected in another verse found in the Old Testament:
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Prov. 11:25 NIV).
As I’ve stated before, it’s often the little things that count. Moreover, what motivates you to give is important to God. There’s no joy or freedom attached to guilt. There’s no reward for pride. We are to be motivated by love and compassion, not by any other unhelpful feelings.
Remember, God loves a cheerful giver. So, continue giving to your churches, where you are fed spiritually, but also give to missionaries, nonprofits, and wherever God leads you to give. We should be good stewards of the money and talents that God has entrusted to us by putting them to work.