The earth has always had a major flaw, a fissure, a crack but for millennia it was hard to spot. The crack is the division between Satan’s kingdom and God’s kingdom and between those who have pledged allegiance to either side.
Since Eden, and even more so since the days of Noah, the world has stumbled on regardless, ignoring the presence of God’s people. Mingling the two kingdoms led to some conflict of course, notably in Israel, but it has taken us until the end of history to see that crack forcibly strained, so that it begins to pop open.
Widening The Gap
Take a large block of stone destined for a building. The mason uses his expertise and knowledge to exert just the right pressure on an existing weak point, slowly prising it open with wedges, a tap here, a tap there, until suddenly the block falls into two pieces before him.
This present world is like the builder’s stone. Both God and Satan know where the weak point lies – the essential and irrevocable differences between those who belong to God, and those who do not. Some have the invisible seal of God upon them, as bought and paid for by the precious blood of Jesus the Saviour – these have willingly received the Holy Spirit of God as a down-payment, a guarantee of the eventual full redemption. They are MARKED, and Satan knows it!
Ezekiel 9:3-5 Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose loins was the writing case. The LORD said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst. But to the others He said in my hearing, “Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare”.
The devil also will mark his own – physically, in all probability – to ensure he takes them with him to his own doom. So we have a world that is, as I say, dividing along a line of demarcation that is about allegiance to God or the devil. That is the crack that will be steadily widened until the “building block” falls apart.
It matters little what people say and do. THAT is not the division between us. The real test (increasingly so) is “to whom do I belong?” It is certain that our mode of life, morals, faith and actions WILL come under pressure. But they are not the deciding factor at the end. The single choice facing us all – no matter what our behaviour – is our faithfulness to God and his eternal word. Jesus said
Revelation 2:26 “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:”
Now I want to point out more particularly that the masons’ hammers appear to have begun to widen that crack that runs across the globe.
What is happening right now, in both the attack of extremism and the counter-reaction to it, is an alignment of ideals. Three million demonstrated in Paris in solidarity with the slain and to deplore violence in the name of religion. They probably did not ask themselves any searching questions about their motives, but reacted in sympathy with the suffering.
The next day in Germany there were demonstrations against militant Islam – from the underbelly of which has come the terrorist groups now at work across the world doing unspeakable atrocities. Organised by Pegida (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West), it was panned in the press, denounced by leaders, and drowned out by the voices of multiculturalism, tolerance and religious unity. [Source] Other anti-immigrant movements spoke up too, and some attacks on mosques took place, all of which we naturally deplore.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced Pergida and warned Germans not to participate. [Source]
“Germany was plunged into darkness last night as the authorities switched off the lights at some of the country’s most famous landmarks in a mark of disapproval at protests against the so-called ‘Islamisation of Europe’. Protesters from the mounting right-wing group the Patriotic Europeans Against Islamisation of the West marched through the streets of several German cities in the latest round of demonstrations against what they say is the growing influence of Islam on the country. But campaigners in Cologne, Berlin and Dresden were met with darkness as opponents staged a silent coordinated campaign to switch off the power at a number of buildings. In Cologne, where the PEGIDA campaigners were heavily outnumbered, the square around Cologne Cathedral – one of Germany’s most famous landmarks – was plunged into darkness.”
So protests are met with DARKNESS? Cologne Cathedral turned off its lights and stands dark and oppressive amid the lights of the city. [Source]
I hadn’t heard of this group before today, but I searched for information on them after reading the news reports. What does Pergida stand for? You can read their position paper here Amongst other things it calls for the protection of Germany’s Judeo-Christian culture, opposes hate-speech of any kind regardless of religion and “any radicalism whether religious or politically motivated.”
Pegida probably voiced the unspoken concerns of many in the West, BUT they are now universally condemned as being on “the wrong side of the crack”. Do you see where this is leading? Right and wrong, truth and lie do not matter any more, but only your allegiance. You as a Christian WILL be seen as a far-right extremist whether you like it or not, simply for being on the wrong side of the debate.
Jesus was crucified alongside a robber and a political activist!
Fascism will undoubtedly raise its head amidst all this turmoil, perhaps intentionally, to provoke conflict. We as Christians are as quick as anyone else to denounce any hate groups that will inevitably try to benefit from recent events. But that point will be lost on the people who want to lump us all into one “extremism” pile! This mounting conflict is so helpful to world policies, as it is forcing people to expose their opinions, for or against. We may not choose to travel on the same road as the far-right but now we are unfortunately being pushed there on purpose.
All Reasonable People in Agreement
In a televised address on January 9th, 2015, French President Francois Hollande said ‘our best weapon is our UNITY’ and that those behind the recent Paris assaults were “fanatics who have nothing to do with Islam.” In an earlier address he said “Nothing must separate us or drive us apart“. [Source] Nonetheless Hollande asked Israel’s leader Netanyahu not to attend the Paris memorial march! After Netanyahu insisted on coming, Hollande made it clear Abbas would be invited as well. [Source]
What has been the world’s response to Islamic Jihad?
David Cameron plans to resurrect the detested “snoopers’ charter” that will watch every citizen of the UK. [Source] The White House plans to convene a global “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.” [Source] The announcement carefully omitted any mention of Islam or the ideology of the Paris terrorists. It said “anti-extremist efforts are even more imperative in light of recent terrorist attacks. The administration’s strategy includes confronting the threat of extremism within individual neighborhoods, with the help of social services providers, educators, mental health professionals, religious leaders, and law enforcement agencies.”
This sounds like a domestic problem they are trying to tackle, with no mention at all of Islam.
The Pope spoke up against “religious fundamentalism” [Source] and received a standing ovation. In his annual speech to diplomats accredited with the Holy See, the Pope called on Muslim leaders in particular to denounce an ‘extremist interpretation’ of their religion that attempts to justify acts of violence, and asked the international community to denounce fundamentalism. [Source] thus linking the two ideas in the public’s mind. He sees himself as a unifying force, visiting Israel and Muslim countries as well as trying to unite catholicism with protestantism [Source].
The world applauds them all! Incredibly, the attack on the Charlie Hebdo journalists, who also frequently maligned and mocked the God the Pope professes to represent, has become a major unifying force to undergird these interdenominational and multicultural demonstrations.
An attack to avenge Mohammed has become the very impetus to support Islam itself! We feel that we should support the intentions; we feel that human forgiveness, acceptance, solidarity with the suffering, is a noble and healing thing that we ought to emulate. But have we thought this through? Where will this lead us, and what will it demand of us in the fulness of time?
The Chasm Opens Beneath our Feet
Don’t forget that dividing line, that crack. Is this present move like the steady tap, tap, tap of the mason’s hammer that is causing a breach to appear? On which side do we stand (and there are only two!). Do we stand for the principle of harmony, unity, co-existence, acceptance and the respect of all world religions, or for the Christian gospel as the ONLY way to God? THAT alone is our “fundamental faith” and we refuse to apologise for the truth.
Can we commend the good in all mankind, or do we believe that Adam’s fall requires redemption before we can return to the Father? Here we have the division that will eventually test every single one of us.
It may not feel like we are standing across a major fissure right now. For sure, we have watched as the free expression of opinion and speech closed down all around us, making disagreement dangerous and near impossible; objecting to homosexuality, abortion, immorality and much else was made a kind of Shiboleth of our position. But for the majority of the time it didn’t touch close enough to unsettle us.
We continue our lives as before, adapting to the world situation without too much difficulty or persecution. We don’t feel threatened as we watch the Paris marches and listen to world leaders spouting their rhetoric. Yet something is happening that WILL require a choice in time. How many Christians realise that they will be forced to stand one side of this chasm, or the other?
Only Two Sides
One one side stands the world. They yearn for peace and security. They detest divisive religions that “cause wars and separate mankind”. They call for strong measures against all “fundmentalism” and “extremism” because of increasing violence by (mostly) Islamic terrorist groups. In their minds the answer is simple: outlaw ALL extreme forms of religion, and enforce conformity!
How fine that sounds! They link arms and hold their banners high! Arabs and Europeans, black and white, Christians and Muslims and Jews UNITED in agreement that the fundamentals must be sacrificed in the name of world peace.
On the other side of the crack, we are obliged to take our stand. No, we do not plant bombs and knife blasphemers in the neck. No, we do not wage war to create a Christian “caliphate” across the world. NO, we do not applaud senseless slaughter. Nor do we teach hatred, bigotry, ignorance and violence in the name of a narrowly-defined sub-version of the scriptures (or if some do, we should be seen to condemn them.)
No, the fundamentals of OUR faith have always been the same, and they threaten nobody – far from it, they offer the ONLY viable way of peace, peace in God. The threat is felt by those who hate God. Jesus Christ felt the full force of that hatred when his loving, truthful, holy life was brought into question regardless of his motives.
The threat of Christianity is felt by those who are motivated by their kingdom’s dictator, who is terrified of losing ground to the Father.
So yes, we ARE fundamentalists. We cannot deny that Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven. We cannot offer a bland love-gospel and water down the truth. However, the fact that we – as a consequence of our faith – do NOT force the world to “convert or die” is entirely lost on the masses. Simply by our lack of solidarity with the braying masses, we are condemned as being EXTREME, like our Lord before us.
Unfortunately, we are also increasingly condemned by what is supposedly “The Church”. Those who ought to speak out are more concerned for popularity. Surely these are the “cowardly” (Revelation 21:8) that the bible predicts will deny the Lord in the endtimes? It will become safer for them to stand on the world’s side of the crack, even though they must abandon the truth.
This, brothers and sisters, is the crack that will open wider and wider under our feet, possibly picking up speed throughout this year and in the years to come. If we believe in God and follow his word, we cannot avoid being “extreme” and thus being seen as a dangerous element in society. This has always been the case, but only now is making us sit up and consider our options.
1 Cor 16:13 Watch, stand fast in the faith, be men, be strong!