Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Opus 2021-269: You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet

One of the worries the remaining free and thinking Americans have is that the federal government will mandate everyone be vaccinated.  This, of course, could become a reality by simply having the grocery stores refuse to sell you food unless you had The Passport.  I am sure I am not the only one who has been watching this develop ever since they started requiring masks and the threat that no one should be able to buy or sell if they did not have a mask.  I wrote about it.  Others wrote about it.  This kind of talk brought to mind the Biblical concept of the Mark of the Beast.

Many of you will be familiar with the Bible verse,

(Rev 13:17 KJV)  And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Add to that the idea of how the mark will be issued,
(Rev 13:16 KJV)  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
Prophecy is funny that way.  It predicts the most unusual things.

For a number of reasons I am not convinced this is the Mark of the Beast.  It could be but there are certain requirements involved.  What is on my mind at this point is the persecution that is coming.

Americans have funny ideas about persecution.  We think we are going through hard times when the power goes out for a day.  We think we are going to die when toilet paper gets cleaned off the shelves.  We wonder if Satan is out to get us when our property taxes are raised.

We have a lot to learn about persecution and I am afraid that the lessons are on the way.  One of the books I am reading is Ecclesiastical History by a man named Eusebius Pamphilus.  He wrote in the fourth Century A.D.  Although the book is not specifically about persecution he cannot tell the history of the early church without talking about the martyrs.  These were Christians who were arrested and persecuted simply because they refused to bow down to Caesar and say a simple prayer to him.  

Most people have heard about Nero feeding Christians to the lions.  I have seen it dealt with in movies and there are a lot of political cartoons that follow the meme.  As many popular ideas about history, this picture comes far from the whole truth.  It seems that the encounters with the lions were after assorted other tortures and that often the animals were not fatal so there was more that came after.  One victim, Blandina, went through this,
“And thus, after scourging, after exposure to the beasts, after roasting, she was finally thrown into a net and cast before a bull, and when she had been well tossed by the animal and had now no longer any sense of what was done to her by reason of her firm hope, confidence, faith and her communion with Christ, she too was dispatched.” p. 179
And this was after she watched her two children tortured and killed.  

You say this could not happen to us today.  Really?  I think you have a higher opinion of your fellow man than is being demonstrated by the videos on You Tube.  The mob had a place then.  Take the case of Pothinus who was over 90 and sickly.  I won’t go through the torture aspect, but get a feel for the mob.
“After this, he was unmercifully dragged away and endured many stripes, whilst those that were near abused him with their hands and feet in every possible way, not even regarding his age.  But those at a distance, whatsoever they had at hand, every one hurled at him, all thinking it would be a great sin and impiety if they fell short of wanton abuse against him.  For they supposed they would thus avenge their own gods.” p. 174
Here was an old man, being manhandled by the police, already beaten and the mob was getting their jollies by kicking, slapping and throwing things.  If you can’t see that happening in modern America then you have not been watching.  Notice that they were avenging their gods.  Christians today are at odds with the gods of our culture, so expect the worst.

Two outcomes I wish for.  First, that the violence and persecution that seem to be coming would not happen, and second, that when it does I would stand tall for truth and righteousness.  Both are tall orders.

Eusebius.  Ecclesiastical History.  Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, Reprinted 1989.

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.