I’m not a big fan of Biblical apocalyptic writings. It’s less that I find them true or untrue and more that I see them as irrelevant. If Jesus is coming back, he said clearly that no one knows the day or time when he’ll reappear. Thus, all the speculation about this sign or that “proving” the Lord’s return, something that’s been going on for over 1900 years is, to my mind, pointless at best.
Still, there was this free magazine in one of those newspaper boxes called Signs of the Times®, which “encourages readers to lead joyful Christian lives as they await the soon return of Jesus.” The cover story of the September 2010 issue was Is the United States in Bible prophecy? by Marvin Moore.
The article concludes that the United States is the “land beast” mentioned in the books of Daniel and Revelation (read the article if you want to know what that means). The land beast is a global, end-time superpower and a Christian nation. I know others seem to think the land beast is the UN, BTW.
But here’s the stuff that piqued my interest:
if the land beast…is the United States, we can conclude that this nation’s historic separation between government and religion will end someday, because the land beast will enforce a particular form of worship…[it] will enforce its false worship with an iron fist. Anyone who refuses to receive the mark of the beast will be barred from carrying out any economic activity—he or she will not be allowed to buy or sell…
America has been a land of religious freedom. To many people, it seems impossible that this country could ever be anything but a defender of liberty in matters of faith.
That actually is a very dangerous view because it easily leads to complacency, assuming that what has been always will be… If we fail in our vigilance, the United States could very well turn on its historical principle of religious freedom.
Indeed, there is evidence that this is happening even now. I am frankly troubled by the profound hostility some Christians in America hold toward the principle of church-state separation, which is the foundation of religious freedom. Church-state separation simply means that government and religion operate in distinctive spheres, each recognizing the unique responsibilities of the other. They are separate in the sense that neither should ever control the other.
Should the United States ever abandon its commitment to the principle of church-state separation, persecution of dissenters will inevitably follow… we should defend, for as long as possible, the principle that government and religion operate in separate spheres, neither dictating the laws that govern the other.
So while I don’t necessarily subscribe to the apocalyptic premise of the piece, the conclusion that church-state separation is a good thing is a position with which I can firmly agree.
This is from The Onion, but I’d swear it’s true: God Angrily Clarifies ‘Don’t Kill’ Rule