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February 26, 2018
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February 26, 2018
Nikolas Cruz And Parkland, Florida Mass Shooting, A Raging Debate, Second Amendment And Right To Keep And Bear Arms, Resistance Is Misguided, God Alone Raises Up And Casts Down Leaders, Gun Owners' Fear Of Tyrannical American Government, Beast And The New World Order Belief, Murderous Dictators From The Past, Take Away Firearms First, Fear And Paranoia Tactics, Rebellion Leads To God's Chastisements, Ancient Israel's Sins, The Prophets Warned Israelites To Submit To Invading Powers, God Does Not Take Pleasure In Chastisement Or Do It Willingly, Why Will Ye Die?, King Nebuchadnezzar's Patience With Israel, Jerusalem And Temple Both Destroyed By Babylonians And Romans, We Should Learn From Past Mistakes, God's Chastisements Arrive Sooner Or Later, Submit To God's Chastisements Or Suffer For It, Don't Fight Back, Sufferings Of Apostle Paul, Submit To Higher Powers, Nebuchadnezzar Was God's Servant, Contradiction In Gun Advocates' Thinking, What If God's Will Is Chastisement For America, America Is Ripe For Judgment, Submit And Live Or Die, Pride, Closing Remarks
As I was sitting here working on an update to one of my old articles, I was also reflecting on the events of the past two weeks, since the tragic school shooting which took place on February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. As most of you will already know, a young shooter -- nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz -- killed seventeen people before he was apprehended by the authorities. Since that day, a huge debate has raged both online and offline in the United States. The students themselves at the school have in fact gone on the offense, and are organizing themselves, and demanding that the government do something to prevent any further school shootings in the future. People from a number of other countries have also participated in the many online discussions which have flooded the social networks.
At the center of the current debate, and based on the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, is the right of all American citizens to keep and bear arms, in light of the many shooting tragedies which have occurred over the past thirty years in the United States. People from all walks of life, who possess different political leanings, as well as different religious leanings -- that is, if they possess any -- have made their voices heard during the past two weeks. However, being as I myself am a Christian, as I was just pondering this issue, my attention was primarily drawn to all of the online reactions, attitudes and behavior I have seen coming from my own fellow Christian brethren.
It was at that point that I suddenly realized that many of my Christian brethren are so involved in the current debate, and also so determined to keep their firearms, that they are overlooking something very important. That realization is what motivated me to write this current article. What I am about to share with my readers I have stated in my articles a number of times before. However, maybe some of you need to be reminded again, because you seem to have forgotten what God's Word says regarding certain issues. Either that, or you are just purposely ignoring it. I hope that it is the former, and not the latter.
Now, I know that no matter how I present this, and no matter how diplomatic I try to be, and no matter how much I pack this article with Scriptures, some of you are just not going to accept what I have to say, because you are so entrenched in your current position regarding your right to keep and bear arms. So, I will just dispense with the niceties, and I tell it to you straight. Quite frankly, I am convinced by my personal knowledge of the Scriptures that the very staunch resistance which is currently on display by many Christian gun owners in the United States is totally misguided. Let me also add that I notice a real contradiction in what many of you are saying, which I don't think even you yourselves realize. Let me explain.
Like myself, I know that many of you who are reading this are in agreement that God alone is the one who raises up and also removes national leaders. Some people may be deceived by the belief that electoral results lie in the power of the vote. However, as Bible-believing Christians, you and I know that this is not actually true. It is God who determines who will ascend to power, in order to fulfill His Will and purposes, whatever they happen to be. Now, when I visit your Facebook timelines, and other social networks where you participate, I see your comments where you state this very thing. Some of you even post a few Bible verses to support your belief. For those of you who may not be familiar with the Biblical basis for this belief, please consider the following verses:
"Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another."
Psalm 75:5-7, KJV
"Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:"
Daniel 2:20-21, KJV
"This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men."
Daniel 4:17, KJV
"I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me."
Jeremiah 27:5, KJV
"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will."
Proverbs 21:1, KJV
"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel."
1 Samuel 15:23-26, KJV
So it is because of verses such as the previous ones, that a lot of you are convinced that against all odds, and without any political experience, Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016. Yet at the same time, if we believe that, then as much as we Christians may not have liked him, God also permitted Barack H. Obama to ascend to power as well. As I explain in other articles, whether for good or for evil, it is still God who places that person in a position of power, and we dare not question His wisdom. In short, we cannot play favorites. We cannot say that a candidate who we like was permitted to win the vote by God's Will, while a candidate who we do not like won because he did something illegal or underhanded. Do you see my point? Either God raises up all leaders, or else He raises up none of them. There is no middle ground here.
But this is not the contradiction to which I was referring in the previous paragraph. The contradiction is actually in the following. In the many online comments I have read on various social networks in recent weeks, one issue which I have seen mentioned repeatedly is American gun owners' fears that a tyrannical, totalitarian government will somehow come to power in the United States sometime in the near future. Some gun owners -- Christian ones at least -- believe that the alleged leader of this oppressive government will be the prophesied Beast -- or Antichrist as some people prefer to call him -- who will usher in an ungodly New World Order, or One World Government, along with the infamous Mark of the Beast system, or 666.
Personally, I am not in agreement with this theological perspective -- although I was at one time until a few years ago -- because I have a very different understanding when it comes to the field of eschatology. But that is beside the point, and it is not really related to this present article. The main point to consider here is that as a result of this fear, these gun owners are convinced -- and they endeavor to convince us as well -- that they should be allowed to keep their firearms. In other words, they want to be prepared for the day when this tyrannical government arrives to wipe out their remaining freedoms.
One way in which they have been trying to win us over to their position, is by reminding us of the cruel, murderous dictators of the past. Some of their favorite ones seem to include Mao Zedong with his alleged sixty million victims; Joseph Stalin with his alleged forty million victims; and their most favorite of all, Adolf Hitler with his alleged thirty million victims. These pro-Second Amendment advocates constantly remind us that before they were able to commit their horrible atrocities, these former dictators first had to eliminate firearms out of the hands of the public. And that is basically their argument. "We lose our guns, and we are dead meat."
Now, I am not disputing what is commonly believed to be established history; although I do question the accuracy of the stated death tolls. After all, history is written by the victors, and they will frequently paint their former enemies blacker than black. However, what I find a bit hypocritical, is the fact that while some of these gun-toting critics are quick to accuse the American government of using fear and paranoia tactics -- consider George W. Bush and his famous mushroom clouds over America statement -- in essence, they are doing the very same thing when they warn us about these historical monsters. In other words, they too are using fear and paranoia tactics in their attempt to convince us that they must be allowed to keep their weapons.
But I still haven't made the contradiction in their position clear to you yet. As I point out in other articles such as "The Fruits of Disobedience", if there is one lesson which the Bible makes very clear to us, it is that if we stray too far from the Lord, if we insist on being rebellious against Him, and if we are so foolish as to openly defy Him and try to stick our finger in His eye, He will eventually lower the rod of His chastisement, and we won't like it one single bit. As I explain in "Don't Ever Underestimate Our Spiritual Enemy", delayed chastisement does not necessarily equate to no chastisement. It simply means that God is still extending His Mercy to us, in the hope that we will soon come to our senses.
As I explain in the aforementioned series, the ancient nation of Israel was constantly and repeatedly judged for her sins by way of foreign invasions and oppressive governments. It was a vicious and never-ending cycle. Periods of peace would eventually be followed by decades of war. Those Israelites would be obedient to the Lord for some time, but then once again they would fall into deep apostasy, worship the foreign gods and commit other serious sins, and God would once again be forced to lower the rod.
When this happened, when they found themselves oppressed by their enemies, what did God expect of the Israelites? In a word, He required submission from them. He expected them to take the punishment which He was doling out, because if they chose to resist, they would just make the situation worse for themselves. As I explain in articles such as "Oh Israel, Why Will Ye Die?", this is the very same warning message that the Prophet Jeremiah gave to the Jews in the Book of Jeremiah. He faithfully warned Judah and Israel for forty years to bow the knee, and to not resist the forces of the Babylonians. He, along with the Prophet Ezekiel, told them rather clearly that if they did resist, they would surely die.
For example, as you can see by the following verses, the Lord literally pleaded with Zedekiah -- the last king of Judah -- through the mouth of His faithful Prophet, Jeremiah, to not rebel against King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Lord warned Zedekiah to submit himself along with his people, and to just accept the invasion and the ensuing bondage. They were told to recognize the invasion as a Divine Chastisement from God due to their waywardness in following after the pagan gods of the heathen, and committing other horrendous sins such as child sacrifice. Consider the following strong warning from God's Prophet:
"And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish. But the nations that bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, those will I let remain still in their own land, saith the LORD; and they shall till it, and dwell therein. I spake also to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live. Why will ye die, thou and thy people, by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence, as the LORD hath spoken against the nation that will not serve the king of Babylon?"
Jeremiah 27:8-13, KJV
As I mentioned earlier, the Prophet Ezekiel preached the very same message to those rebellious Jews. However, unlike Jeremiah, whose main ministry occurred prior to the actual captivity, Ezekiel's primary calling was to the Jews who had already been carried off as slaves to Babylon. Consider this example that is found in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel:
"Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."
Ezekiel 18:30-32, KJV
The Lord repeats this very same urgent message of repentance to the rebellious Jews in the thirty-third chapter, where He likewise says the following through the Prophet Ezekiel:
"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
Ezekiel 33:11, KJV
Clearly the Lord does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. His desire for us is that we repent of our sins, and that we return unto Him. The Prophet Jeremiah said the very same thing when he warned his own Jewish brethren with the following message. God does not afflict us willingly, but sometimes we really leave Him with no choice, due to our own stubbornness. The Apostle Peter likewise informs us in his second Epistle, that God's ultimate goal when He is forced to deal with us, is repentance. Consider the following verses:
"For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men."
Lamentations 3:31-33, KJV
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, KJV
Can you clearly see the message that is common in all of the warnings from God's two Prophets, Jeremiah and Ezekiel? It is screaming off the page. If not, let me emphasize it for you below:
"WHY WILL YE DIE?"
"WHY WILL YE DIE? . . . TURN YOURSELVES AND LIVE YE."
"TURN YE, TURN YE . . . FOR WHY WILL YE DIE?"
It is interesting to note that King Nebuchadnezzar gave the Jews three opportunities to submit to him. He laid siege to Jerusalem three times, and he even installed his own puppet kings. That is all the Jews had to do; become a vassal state to the Babylonians and pay tribute. Sadly, those stubborn Jews did not listen to the Prophet Jeremiah. Thus, Israel was overrun by the Babylonians, and Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed. Furthermore, as I explain in other articles, many thousands of Jews were carried away captive to Babylon for a period of seventy years. Why? Because they did not listen to God's Prophet.
Just think of how much agony, suffering and death they could have avoided, if they had just humbled themselves, and done as the Prophet Jeremiah had instructed them to do. Sadly, it becomes evident from Biblical history that they just never learned that important lesson. About six hundred and fifty years later, basically the same thing happened again. During the First Century, Jerusalem and Israel was once again being oppressed by her foreign enemy: Rome. Why? The same reason as always: sin in the camp. Just as Nebuchadnezzar had installed his puppet kings, the Romans had likewise installed puppet kings in the form of the Herods.
But did those foolish Jews fully submit? No they did not. They thought that they knew better. Both Jesus and John the Baptist clearly warned them of what was to come if they did not repent of their sins, and both of them lost their lives, just like so many Prophets of the Old Testament period. So what happened? Well, for one thing, the Zealots, the Sicarii and other radicals who embraced the misguided notion that they could liberate Israel from Roman occupation. As we all know, it didn't work out so well, and in 70 AD, once again the city of Jerusalem and the Temple were left in ruins. Why? Because those Jews did not want to submit themselves to God's Divine Chastisement. I discuss this subject in quite a few other articles which you will find on the Bill's Bible Basics website.
By now, I am confident that most of you are seeing the very clear message that is present in the previous paragraphs. The Apostle Paul wisely wrote the following to the Church at Corinth, while dealing with some very serious sins which were being committed in that backslidden Church. As you may know, Corinth was notorious for its sexual perversions. He also stated something similar in his Epistle to the Roman brethren, as we see here:
"Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come."
1 Corinthians 10:11, KJV
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:"
Romans 15:4 KJV
In a word, we are supposed to learn from the mistakes of the past; not only from the mistakes we have made in our personal lives, but as Christians, also from the grievous mistakes we find mentioned in the Scriptures. The obvious lesson we are seeing in this article is actually twofold. First, we better keep our lives -- and by extension, our nation -- in line with God's Will, or else expect serious judgment to fall upon us sooner or later. As I mention in "Don't Ever Underestimate Our Spiritual Enemy", it may take years -- or even decades -- in coming, but it will eventually come. Second, if the Lord does see fit to chastise us, either through foreign invasion, or drought, or famine, or flood, or hurricane, or typhoon, or earthquake, or an oppressive national government, or through any other agent, our duty is to submit to His chastisement, and to repent of our sins.
In the case of foreign invasion, or an oppressive national government, we are NOT supposed to fight back. As I explain in other recent articles, there is absolutely no precedent for doing so to be found anywhere in the Scriptures of the New Testament, and that is the only blueprint for the New Testament Church. Nowhere are we Christians told to take up arms against an oppressive government. Nowhere, my friends. I want you to think about something. The Apostle Paul was a Roman citizen who lived during the First Century under that very same Roman oppression. Furthermore, once he turned to Christ, he was targeted by both Jews and Romans alike. In his second Epistle to the Corinthians he wrote the following:
"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."
2 Corinthians 11:23-27, KJV
Yet, despite his own situation -- which included all of the aforementioned persecution -- what did Paul say when it came to obedience to government authorities? I am sure that many of you already know the answer to this question, but here it is for those of you who may not know:
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."
Romans 13:1-5, KJV
"These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men."
Titus 2:15-3:2, KJV
Of all people, Paul had good reason to hate both his own Jewish brethren, and the Romans who constantly persecuted him. Yet, his advice to the followers of Christ was still the previous verses. Jesus and the Apostle Peter taught the very same thing: Submit. Consider the following verses as well:
"Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing."
Matthew 5:25-26, KJV
"They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."
Matthew 22:21, KJV
"And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him."
Mark 12:17, KJV
"And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."
Luke 20:25, KJV
Please notice that in none of the previous verses do Jesus, Paul or Peter say "Submit to the authorities, only as long as it is a good government that you like and agree with." No, not at all. As we have already seen, all governmental leaders are put in place by the Lord Himself to fulfill His purposes, regardless of whether they happen to be good or evil. I have mentioned before that as evil as King Nebuchadnezzar was, God still referred to him as "my servant", because that pagan king was fulfilling God's Will by invading and chastising the Jews. Here again is that verse, as it is found in the Book of Jeremiah:
"And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him."
Jeremiah 27:6, KJV
By now, I hope that you the reader are beginning to realize what the contradiction is, of which I spoke earlier in this article. If not, let me state it plainly for you. Many of these pro-Second Amendment gun owners talk very loudly about their right to keep and bear arms. They inform us that they must be prepared to protect themselves, in the event that an oppressive government someday comes to power in the United States. They must be prepared to fight against it. Yet, out of the other corner of their same mouth, they claim to be in agreement with the Scriptures when they plainly say that God raises up leaders according to His Will, both good and evil. Obviously, they cannot believe the latter, and yet still embrace the former. Do you follow me?
So to those of you who are still resisting the clear truths I have presented in this article, let me ask you a few things. What about God's Will for America? What if serious judgment is in His plan? What if the oppressive government you so fear is God's tool to judge us for our rebellion and sins against Him? Many of us -- including many of you Christian gun owners -- know that America is more than ripe for judgment. She has repeatedly spit in God's face and defied His Laws, and it is only by God's Grace and Mercy that judgment has not already fallen upon us. You know this, and I know this.
In summation, if the US government does become oppressive at some point in the future, it will apparently be God's divine judgments against us for our own sins. As such, we should submit ourselves to that authority, and not fight against it. We should not resist the powers that be, but rather submit to the higher powers, whether they be good or evil. Stocking up on firearms in order to be able to fight against such an evil government, is contrary to the lessons we are supposed to learn from ancient Israel. They tried, and they perished, or were enslaved, or starved to death.
So, my friends, for those of you who embrace the misguided attitude which I have explained in this article, let me say this: You've got it wrong! Submit and live! Or, if you really want to be that proud and stubborn, and if you really want to cling to your weapons until they pull them out of your cold, dead hands, then go ahead and fight if you will. Just keep in mind that you are fighting against the very Will of God for the nation, which is judgment for her many sins. If you fight against God's chastisement, you could very well die in the process. This was the message of the Prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel to ancient Israel, and it is my message to you today as well. Let me leave you with a few final verses for your consideration:
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18, KJV
"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."
Ezekiel 3:17-19, KJV
With these thoughts I will bring this article to a close. I trust that you have enjoyed it, learned something from it, and I pray that it has been a blessing in your life. If you are a gun owner, I also hope that it has brought you to your senses before it is too late. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or with any other social network, I would really appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thank you so very much! May God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which contain topics which are related to this article. All of these articles are likewise located on the Bill's Bible Basics website:
Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution
Divine Protection: Do You Have Fear or Faith?
Don't Ever Underestimate Our Spiritual Enemy
Killing and the Phinehas Priesthood
Killing, Murder and Military Duty
Oh Israel, Why Will Ye Die?
Owning Guns: What Saith the Scriptures?
School Shootings: The Second Amendment Controversy
The Fruits of Disobedience