As Christians, there are times when the news can be discouraging and troubling. For instance, I recently heard a prominent U.S. elected official encourage the American people to "Put trust and faith in our government." My wife and I instantly had the same reaction when we heard that statement. While it's a good thing to have confidence in our government, ultimately, our faith and trust should be in God. In fact, our U.S. currency is even stamped with "In God we trust."
Now, let's take this discussion a step further. On today's Footsteps, Mei describes what's happening in her home country. (You'll hear all about it when you listen to the program.) She explains in broken English, "Before, the church were able to sing hymns freely. Now, they have to sing a red song ... which is praise the government." Wow. In this particular country, Christians are required to sing worship songs to their government!
In reality, this type of government mandate is not new. Let's go back to the book of Daniel.
"King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its breadth six cubits. He set it up on the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. ... And the herald proclaimed aloud, 'You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace.'" (Daniel 3:1, 4-6, ESV)
So, we've looked at both the present and the past. Now, let's get a glimpse of the future. In 2 Thessalonians, we read,
"Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God." (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, ESV)
Every day, we are taking a step closer to that day when "the man of lawlessness is revealed," and at the same time, we are one day closer to "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." In the meantime, how are we to deal with both the dread of increasing government persecution and the excitement of the Lord's return? It's simple. As believers in Christ, we must urgently proclaim the truth of the Gospel--that eternal salvation is found in Christ alone. He must be the object of our faith and trust, for He is our only hope now and forever. And, that is Good News! "Amen. Come Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20b, ESV)
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(Photo of Mei in TWR's Studio One with Andy Napier)