|(I took this photo of ground zero when I visited N.Y. in 2008)|
Recently I heard my friend and colleague Pastor Rodlie Ortiz who pastors in Tampa, FL, preach a sermon that is related to the above mentioned issues (specifically the mosque). I asked him to guest post here at Bathos. It certainly is fitting since he was the one who helped me get started blogging. Thanks Rodlie!
I know that you will be blessed by his post and sermon below. They will certainly make you go Bathos-Deeper with Jesus!
The last few weeks has been a perfect example of real life intersecting with prophecy. It's certainly been a foretaste of it anyway. Allow me to explain.
If you've been reading and watching the news in the last few weeks, then you've certainly heard about the mosque controversy. In case you haven't, there's a group that's been wanting to build a mosque relatively close to ground zero. As a result, there's a whole segment of society that has risen up and vowed to not allow this. Politicians as well as lay people have been speaking against it, and many have been crusading to stop mosques from being built in other states and cities as well.
Note some of what's being said in the printed media.
The August 19 issues of Time magazine asked the following question: "Does America Have A Muslim Problem?" In the article, the author notes what many people have been saying and thinking concerning Islam:
"The arguments marshaled by Islam's detractors have been familiar: 'Since most terrorist attacks are conducted by Muslims and in the name of their faith, Islam must be a violent creed. Passages of the Koran taken out of context are brandished as evidence that Islam required believers to kill or convert all others. Shari'a laws requiring the stoning of adulterers or other gruesome punishments serve as proof that Muslims are savage and backward. The conclusion of this line of reasoning is that Islam is a death cult, not a religion, so constitutional freedoms don't apply to it."Here's another powerful quote form that same article:
"Although the American strain of Islamophobia lacks some of the traditional elements of religious persecution--there's no sign that violence against Muslims is on the rise for instance--there's plenty of anecdotal evidence that hate speech against Muslims and Islam is growing both more widespread and more heated. 'Islamophobia has become the accepted form of racism in America.'"And in a recent article from the New York Times, a Muslim Chaplain at Duke that studied the holocaust noted that "Some of what of people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s...it's very scary."
For most people, this is nothing more than a social disturbance. At worst, it's outright racism. At best, it's been political grandstanding. But I believe there's a little more than meets the eye here. I'd like to take a moment, then, to show how this Muslim controversy may be a foreshadowing of what takes place in Revelation 13. In the video below I expound in a lot more detail.
In Revelation 13 we note the existence of two different beasts. In the first few verses we note a beast who is "speaking arrogant words and blasphemies," and who was given authority to act for 42 months. After this prophetic time period of 42 months has passed, we note in verse 11 that another, and different beast, has arrived on the scene.
"Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed."Do you notice what the major issue is in these verses? Worship. This second beast is seemingly making the entire world worship the first beast. And if you notice in v. 16, you'll see that this beast will try to compel all to receive a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. So there will be some kind of distinctive mark that the followers of the beast will show. It is a mark that points to the worship of the first beast.
Now, let's jump over to Revelation 14 and see something else. In Revelation 14:9, 12 heavenly messengers, in the form of angels, make reference to this "mark of the beast."
"Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, 'If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives the mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God...Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus."
Notice what's happening. A juxtapose is made with those that receive the mark of the beast on one side, and those that are keeping the commandments of God on the other side. So again, we notice that in some way, this is about those that are worshiping the beast, verses those that are worshiping the creator God.
So what does all of this have to do with the mosques?
This country was founded on the principles of freedom of religion and separation of church and state. That's why the earliest people from Europe came here; to escape religious persecution. And yet when we see people and politicians in America trying to inhibit people's ability to worship freely, and trying to get the government involved in such actions, America begins to look eerily similar to this beast power of Revelation 13.
I believe that our job as Christians is to strongly support the American principle of separation of church and state. So as long as someone is not doing anything illegal, their ability to gather and worship freely should not be hindered.
The time will come, no doubt, in which the ability of people to worship the creator God will be limited completely. The book of Revelation makes that clear. But until that day comes, we must strive to stand up for the minority that wants to worship freely, even if it means that some people feel uncomfortable.
For a complete walk through of Revelation 13 and how it intersects with the mosque controversy, see the sermon below.
Sermon- Stanger Danger. Rodlie Ortiz from Carrollwood SDA Church on Vimeo.