Monday, May 9, 2016

Men in the Girls Room and the Mark of the Beast

This blog post is about the Federal Government using strong arm tactics to try to force North Carolina (and every other state) to allow men who feel like women to share bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers with our daughters and granddaughters.  Specifically, I will relate this to the “mark of the beast” in the book of Revelation.  Have I lost my mind?  Please read to the end of the post to find out.

If you keep reading after that introduction, here is what you will find:

1.  Some brief thoughts about how to understand the book of Revelation.
2.  A brief review of what is happening related to “transgenders”, the State of NC, and the Federal Government.
3.  An explanation of how the first two points relate to each other.
4.  The main point.

Understanding Revelation

When it comes to details about how the prophecies found in Revelation will be fulfilled (pretrib?, posttrib?, premellinnial?, amellinnial?) I practice “epistemological humility”.  That’s a fancy way of saying “I don’t know”.

Does that mean I don’t understand the message of Revelation?  Of course I do not understand it fully or perfectly, but by God’s grace I feel I actually have a profound understanding of the last book in the Bible.

I don’t know who said it first, but there is a lot of truth in the statement that “the purpose of prophecy is motivation, not speculation.”

The book of Revelation contains a special application of one of the main purposes of all Scripture. Namely, it is designed to give Christians encouragement, endurance, and hope (Romans 15:4).  Specifically, Revelation gives us encouragement, endurance, and hope when we are facing the following painful realities in this dark world:

1.  Government that is supposed to do us good and to punish evil, instead is twisted into an instrument to promote evil and persecute those who do good.
2.  Religion which is supposed to lead people towards God’s truth, instead is hijacked by evil forces and used to deceive and confuse.

The book of Revelation helps us face these two monsters (which appear in John’s vision as “the beast” and “the false prophet”) with courage and strength.  Revelation helps us by:

1.  Reminding us that these two manifestations of evil are temporary.  They will soon be utterly destroyed by God.
2.  Reminding us that we who persevere through dark days will be rewarded beyond what we can imagine.
3.  Warning us that those who give in to the darkness will suffer God’s wrath.
4.  Showing us the way to win the fight:

NIV  Revelation 12:11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

If you read the book of Revelation, you’ll be blessed (Revelation 1:3).

Bathroom Battles

Most of you are probably already aware of the battle between the NC State Government and the Federal Government.  It’s a top story in the news ( you can read a CNN article here, a similar Fox News article here, and a helpful article in the Christian Post here).  Very briefly:

After liberal lawmakers in Charlotte, NC passed a law requiring public restrooms to allow men who claim to feel like women to use women’s bathrooms, the NC State government passed a law which basically says that businesses can make their own bathroom rules and in government public bathrooms biological males have to use the men’s room.

The Federal Government is trying to force NC to repeal this very common sense law.  The Federal government is threatening to withdraw potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in education money if NC keeps and enforces this righteous law.

Many people have rightly noted that allowing biological males to use women’s bathrooms, changing rooms, locker rooms, and showers endangers our daughters and granddaughters.  There are a lot of twisted perverts out there.

The Mark of Beast

The Book of Revelation includes images and visions where government authority is being wrongly used to persecute Christians and to spread evil.  The most dramatic method used is cutting off people’s heads (Revelation 20:4).  But, evil governments have another weapon they use which is less severe, but nevertheless effective:  economic penalties.  In John’s vision he sees an example of this:

Revelation 13: 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads,  17 so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.

In a similar way, the Federal Government is using economic threats and pressure to try to force NC to do something that is wrong.

Is it legitimate to compare the examples of extreme evil government in Revelation to the less severe examples in our lives today?

I don’t think it is helpful to call Obama, Hillary, or Trump “the Antichrist”.  But, the Bible does teach that something similar to what the “capital A” Antichrist will do is already occurring on a smaller scale in our lives:

NIV  1 John 2:18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.

So, no, I don’t believe Obama is “the Antichirst”.  But, yes, I do believe that the book of Revelation (and the rest of the Bible) can give us the encouragement, endurance, and hope that we need when facing a government which is increasingly misusing its authority by promoting evil and punishing good.

The Main Point

We have been blessed in American to have a situation where, relatively speaking, the government has fulfilled (imperfectly) it’s God given responsibility to promote good and punish evil (Romans 13:4).  Compared to most human governments throughout history, our government is still doing well.  But we are seeing more and more examples of the abuse and misuse of government power.

This trend might get worse.  One possible scenario is that due to deep divisions in the conservative movement, liberal Democrats will win the Presidency again and also make major gains in the House and Senate.  Despite the weaknesses of our current Congress, the Republican majority have acted as a significant check on the liberal agenda.  The liberal agenda includes very aggressively advancing the radical homosexual agenda.  If a Democrat is President and the Republicans lose the House and/or Senate, what we’ve been seeing recently is likely to continue and to get worse.

Because of our blessings, American Christians have not been accustomed to significant, wide spread suffering for righteousness and the gospel.  This might change.  I hope it doesn’t, but it might.  So what should we do?  How should we prepare?

What we need is God given courage, wisdom, comfort, peace, and strength to endure.  How do we get these things? The key is to be close to Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit. Practically speaking, what can we “do”?  We can experience more of God through His appointed means of grace (also called the “Spiritual Disciplines”).  Very simply put, we should:

1.  Read the Bible a lot. We should memorize it, study it, talk about, and meditate on it.
2.  Pray a lot.  We should pray by ourselves in our prayer closets and together with other Christians.  We should pray for ourselves and for others.  Pray especially for Joy’s generation, as they are likely to bear the brunt of any coming storm (our daughter Joy is 17).
3.  Go to church.  Be active in church and in small group fellowships and in ministries where you use your God given gifts to build up the Church.

So am I saying that since the Federal Government is trying to force NC to let men who claim to feel like women into the bathroom with our daughters that we should read the Bible, pray, and go to church more?  Yes, you got it!

Grace and Peace,
Mark (with Hope and Joy!)

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others . . .

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