I am beginning to wonder if Satan is hijacking our political outrage as a scheme to take our eyes off the Lord, the coming Kingdom of Heaven, and what Scripture warns us about end-time deceptions.
Thanks to social media, I am seeing some of my minister friends getting obsessed with the current political situation in Washington and sounding almost exclusively like politicians on a campaign trail and not like gospel workers in a lost world.
Some of these ministers have been mostly silent on political issues for the last four years, but suddenly found the need to go on record against the US President, and with posts blaming and shaming him as if they’re sulky neighborhood boys fighting over their street baseball game.
Others of these ministers have been active in voicing their policy views all along but have, for whatever reason, responded to the Capital Hill fiasco with accusations and theories like political journalist, absent of regard or reference to God’s Word.
We usually think of entertainment or the excesses easily ours by our American way of life as the tools used by Satan to distract us from the things of God, but could it be that our politics is the most damning tool in the devil’s arsenal?
Please don’t misunderstand the point that I am trying to articulate here. I am not about to suggest that Christians should exempt themselves from voting, helping in campaigns, voicing support for godly policies, becoming a government professionals, or even being actively involved in the advocacy of political policy as lobbyist or even as peaceful protesters.
Political involvement is something that I think each Christian must individually decide and discern for their own level of involvement, according to their own conviction, personality, and mission. I don’t even think I can suggest a point at which too much is too much. I can only encourage against having an obsession that outshines your involvement with the things of God.
An obsession is something that preoccupies your thoughts and intrudes into your mind and conversations even when it is not appropriate. Satan would be completely happy with us being more involved in fighting for the future of an earthly kingdom than in preparing for our future in an eternal Kingdom.
There is a perspective on this from the life of Christ that is found in the account of Jesus’ trial before Pilate. In this account Pilate asks Jesus, “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” then Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:35-36 NIV).
Jesus choose to answer in a way that let Pilate know that the Kingdom of God was not a threat to his earthly kingdom and His disciples don’t fight like earthly kingdoms. One could probably argue that His disciples also don’t fight for earthly kingdoms, but that is a kind of “in the world but not of the world” debate.
When Jesus said His followers wouldn’t fight, I think the point is that we are part of His Kingdom and our fights are in faith, not in aggression but in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:12). Nor is Jesus saying that we should ignore the political world we are within, or that we are not to participate in literal military fighting, but He is saying that our focus is to be on the eternal Kingdom of Heaven.
Of course, the risk of being obsessed with our political world is that you become focused on man’s temporary fix rather than God’s permanent fix — the coming Kingdom of Heaven. You also risk an increase is despair, depression, fear, and other unhealthy states of mind that do not resemble “the fruits of the Spirit” which is “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV).
Injustice and corruption in Washington may leave us feeling repulsed, compelled to do something or say something, which is fine for any who wish to respond as such, but I am questioning if in these last days, if fighting for political causes merely hand more fuel to Satan’s work.
Satan’s work is “to steal and kill and destroy” but the work of Christ is that we may “have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV). Yes, we ought to vote and stand for leaders who promote life and are closest to Christ’s work than to Satan’s work.
We get more details on Satan’s work when we come to Revelation 12, and see an eschatological snapshot of Satan’s casting to earth in the beginning along with a prophetic unfolding of how he will seek to counteract Christ by implement his attempt “to steal and kill and destroy.”
Revelation 12 tells us that Satan seeks to “deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9), it points to his attempt to stop the bride of Christ through persecution, and then it speaks to him being “enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus” (Revelation 12:17 NIV).
We are living in a time when Satan has failed at stopping the Messiah by attempting to kill the Christ-child before He could get to Calvary, he has failed at stopping the bride of Christ through 1260 years of violent persecution, and now he has waiting out these 200+ years until these end-times to deceive us into rejecting “God’s commands and…Jesus.”
We are living in the time when Satan is concerned about deceiving the church, because he could not destroy the church. He tried to destroy the church, but he “went off to wage war” through his plan of deception instead and “He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short” (Revelation 12:12).
These are the days that Jesus warned the church of the deception of “false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24 NIV).
Don’t forget that Matthew 7:15-23 paints the picture of deceived followers of Christ who will hear the Lord say, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” rather than hearing the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23 NIV)
Paul warned that the terrible times of the last days, will be terrible because “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” but these are those who are seen as church people “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5 NIV).
While Revelation 12:9 tells us that Satan is focused on global control, his target is to deceive the church, the bride of Christ, those who seek to obey the commands of Scripture and have genuine faith in Christ. In the subsequent prophecies of Revelation we find Satan’s end-time plan to deceive the church into rejecting their conviction to “keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus” (Revelation 12:17 NIV).
I mention this prophecy in because I want you to get a big picture of what is really happening in the political world and why Satan is stirring the USA to speak “like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11). The USA is the most effective nation on earth when it comes to global influence, and Satan needs us to catapult his anti-Christ into global control. (I’ve written a little more about this in my article at my personal blog “Revelation 13:11 and The United States of America” if you’re interested.)
I probably should mention that many prophecy teachers see Revelation 12-13 as happening during the seven-year tribulation, but if I’m confusing you on that, just focus on the principles of Satan’s work that are also pointed out elsewhere in Scripture.
Lately I have been considering the long-term worst case scenarios of what lies ahead in America and the choice that we may have now to one day be labeled as “political opposition” or “religious opposition.” For me, if it comes down to having to choose to be a “political” dissident or a “religious” dissident, I will choose religion. I will choose persecution or death for my faith in Jesus Christ but not persecution or death over a political party or politician.
Nehemiah, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are all examples from Scripture of faithful followers of the Creator God who drew the line in their sand at “religious opposition” rather than “political opposition.” In fact they all served within some very ungodly political administrations and all were in positions high enough to know the evil going on behind the scenes, yet we only see them fight for their belief in God.
Having said all this, I am of the opinion that we should do all that we are able to do by our ability and conscience as citizens of our nation like voting and being informed, and what activity is beyond us is that which we should take to God in prayer so He can work it all out to His glory.
This Sunday I am thinking of back tracking in our Matthew series to chapter 6 and sharing with you some biblical principles on how we can process next week’s hand over the American presidency.
We, as American citizens, are facing uncharted territory, but God has counseled us in Romans 15:4 that “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (NIV).