Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego vs the World
Isn’t it interesting that when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were confronted with government agents demanding to be worshipped (or else), they didn’t have a committee about the matter. They didn’t look through the Torah to see if, when God gave the first commandment, there was enough of a loophole to bow down, but not worship.
And it is interesting that they did not bring up the concept of “this is ok at this point because we are not in the tribulation yet.” I enjoy a good sermon, but there is something that is lacking in almost every one I hear: valid application to the people listening. Unfortunately, not every church is as nice as the one my wife and I go to, so I can’t just raise my hand and say, “hey, wait! This doesn’t just apply to a future you erroneously think we will never see!!” So, instead of shouting witty one-liners from my seat in the back row (where all good Baptists should be sitting), I break out my mobile study room and start comparing what the pastor says to what the Bible says.
And while a pastor might use such a passage to tie into “persecution coming to America,” or the loss of religious freedoms that may happen “someday,” I realize his preaching has a large error. This is because there is no freedom in America, let alone freedom of religion. Like China, there is only one acceptable religion: the religion of the State. Sure, there are churches, and temple halls, and mosques every other block, but these institutions are only acceptable so long as their preaching does not disrupt the agenda of the State. Almost every one of these are run by leaders who may be republican, democrat, or apolitical, but almost none will speak out against the institution of the State as immoral. None will speak about taxation being glorified theft. Most probably have never considered the idea that the State itself may be immoral. And many are taught that God himself established the State (Its not in the Bible, but people say it is).
And so, with the mindset that the State was and is, the Bible must be twisted to support this idea. And this twisted State supporting version of the Scripture is taught and believed by so many that any persecution is not obvious to them. They have an idea that they live under religious freedom simply because they observe a religion allowed by the State, but religious beliefs that do not support the idea of the State is de-facto prohibited in America, and socially unacceptable in almost any church.
Try not standing for a piece of cloth when “all kinds of music” is played. When it was commanded that they bow before a statue of the king, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego did not. But in America, most Christians expect their brothers to stand before a cloth, the symbol of the State, and pledge their allegiance to it, and show reverence while the national anthem (or hymn, same difference), is played. You may not be thrown into a fiery furnace yet, but you will face difficulties because of it.
Try living as the Amish, who live by their convictions regardless of what the State commands them. They still sell raw milk, which the State has declared to be illegal. They build homes without electricity, which the State has declared to be illegal. They will not allow themselves to be used as soldiers for the State. They have been persecuted by the State for refusing to believe the State is God, or that the State is the mediator between God and man.
Christians that try to live according to the Bible will face persecution in America. Its not going to be the kind that you hear in your Sunday School class. Its not going to be a door slamming in your face or someone spitting on you, but a strong retaliation from the world system, the State. Christians, and others that choose to live a moral life, have been getting arrested, beaten or killed for some time now. Most choose to ignore it, labeling them extremists, or telling themselves that following God somehow would make them immune to a backlash from the State.
Perhaps we don’t want to think that persecution is active in America because that would mean that we might have to face it. If there is little to no persecution in America, then we are living a perfectly normal life if we never face difficulties. So we acknowledge it occurs elsewhere, and live in fear of “when it does come,” thinking we can still control the world system and make it not attack us. Fact is, persecution is pretty much universal, and you will always be faced with making difficult decisions. Well, unless you subscribe to the State religion.