By Dr. Patrick Jonston
November 30, 2011
Revelation 13, a Metaphor for Today
The Bible speaks of a government in the last days that “makes war with the Lamb” (Rev. 13). This totalitarian state demands worship of its image – “the beast.” This government mandates a “mark” on the forehead or back of the hand in order to buy or sell. This government slays many martyrs. “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man…” The mark represents the worship of man.
Throughout the book of Revelation, there is a distinction between those who “worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark” and those who “had gotten victory over the beast and his image, and his mark.” The former are judged and condemned to the lake of fire; the latter are received into heaven’s glory to rule and to reign with Christ forever.
What’s so evil about receiving a government-mandated mark in order to buy or sell? One must take care of his family, right? One must obey the “higher powers”, right? (Romans 13:1-4) “Obey those that have rule over you,” right? Receiving the “mark” is evil because one must violate God’s law and worship the image of the state in order to receive it. To worship the state is to commit idolatry, to rebel against God Almighty. God is the “highest power”, and disobeying God’s law to submit to man’s evil mandates is to receive a “mark” that brings condemnation.
The State Demands, “Render Unto Caesar That Which Is God’s”
The Roman pagans asked the church patriarch Polycarp, “What harm is it to say ‘Lord Caesar’ and sacrifice, and save yourself?”
As documented in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Polycarp responded, “Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never once wronged me. How then shall I blaspheme my king, who hath saved me?”
They would have let Polycarp continue to worship Jesus Christ, as long as He paid homage to Caesar. But God did not give Polycarp the option of serving two masters (Matt. 6:24). God did not give Polycarp the option of being a friend of the world and a friend of God (James 4:4). God did not give Polycarp the option of worshiping the state and the Creator, of yielding to sin and to righteousness (Rom. 6:16). Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and to God that which is God’s.” Polycarp refused to render unto Caesar that which belonged only to God and was burnt at the stake for it.
Comparatively, what little cost there appears to be today to sacrifice to the state, to spurn God’s Word and will for the word and will of government. The greatest cost, however, is losing the blessing of God.
The Pro-Life Movement Prefers Man’s Word and Will to God’s
How does the pro-life movement worship the state over God?
Let’s contrast God’s word and will with the government’s word and will. God’s Word says, “Do no murder” (Sixth Commandment, Exod. 20). God’s Word further mandates the state to protect the innocent through enforcing a penalty sufficient to discourage the crime (Exod. 21, Rom. 13:3-4). God’s Word says that justice is a local matter (Deut. 21). God’s Word says that life begins in the womb. With regard to the killing of innocent children: “It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matt. 18:14). Not one.
In permitting innocent children of God to be slaughtered unjustly, our government is “at war with the Lamb” and in defiance of Almighty God. Our government is also at war with our U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court declares that it is unconstitutional for states to prohibit abortion, including the abortion of healthy babies mature enough to survive outside the womb. Don’t they know that the 14th Amendment says “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”? Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall, in 1803, said, “A law repugnant [or repulsive] to the Constitution is void.” Would you cash a check with words “VOID” across the front of it? Well, then why do you respect Supreme Court decisions that are by their very nature just as null and void?
When the federal government rules contrary to the law of God and the U.S. Constitution, states should not obey them. Those who disobey God to submit to the evil commands of evil government, those who “sacrifice to Caesar” to protect and preserve their lives and positions are condemned by God. It is those who disobey the evil commands of evil government - even unto death - that are received into heaven to rule and reign with Christ. This was the understanding of both Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin when they both said, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” This was the Apostle Peter’s understanding when he said, “We ought to obey God rather than man” (Acts 5:29).
As the federal judiciary consistently rules contrary to the U.S. Constitution and contrary to the law of God, much of the pro-life movement can be relied upon to tread the word of God and the U.S. Constitution underfoot in their submission to the High Court’s lawless rule.
Striking evidence can be seen in how several large pro-life groups responded to the Mississippi Personhood Amendment (which would have ended abortion in Mississippi, and yet failed to pass on November 8). Shirley Henderson, the director of communications for the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, said this in early November:
“The stance of the Diocese of Biloxi is that the push for a state amendment could ultimately harm the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
The Catholic Diocese of Jackson, which presides over Catholic churches in the upper half of Mississippi, said this in October,
“While we sincerely respect the goal to amend the Mississippi Constitution so as to acknowledge full human rights for every human being, after careful consideration, it is our opinion and that of the legal experts with whom we have consulted that passage of this amendment would not achieve the goal of overturning Roe v. Wade. If such an amendment were to pass, we are convinced that a federal district court would strike it down based on Roe. This decision would undoubtedly be affirmed by an appellate court, and the case would either not be granted further review by today’s U.S. Supreme Court, or worse, would lead to a reaffirmation of Roe. The unintended effect would very likely jeopardize current protections in state law and cause a loss of momentum in the ultimate goal of establishing full legal protection of the unborn from the moment of conception.”
Both Catholic Dioceses in Mississippi opposed or would not support the Mississippi Personhood Amendment because they feared the Supreme Court would strike it down. National Right to Life opposes statewide abortion bans and personhood amendments in state after state for the same reason. In 2006, Denise Mackura, the president of Ohio Right to Life bashed House Bill 228 - the Ohio Abortion Ban – as she testified before the Health Committee of the Ohio state legislature on the same grounds: it wouldn’t survive the judiciary. Americans United for Life, who did not support the Mississippi Personhood Amendment, said that it “would not have led to the overturn of Roe vs. Wade.”
We see a pattern. Some of the largest and well-funded pro-life groups in America would not support a simple amendment that declares life begins at fertilization – a fact with which they all agree – because of their respect for the lawless decisions of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s word trumped God’s Word and the U.S. Constitution in their mind, and they bowed to the Supreme Court’s word and will in defiance of God Almighty’s word and will. They’ve taken “the mark.”
The Supreme Court’s rule is not supreme: God and the U.S. Constitution are both supreme over the Supreme Court. The High Court’s jurisdiction is limited. Ohio shouldn’t respect the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion any more than we should respect the Supreme Court’s decision to worship a man and take a literal “mark.” Ohio is obligated by God to protect the innocent within our jurisdiction through law and penalty, even if we must defy the Supreme Court in doing so.
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