About four months ago my wife and I were at the local Social Security office getting new Social Security cards so that we could renew our passports. We took our number and sat to wait our turn. While we were waiting another gentleman with a child of probably less than one year old came in. We were close enough to him to hear his conversation with the clerk. He was seeking to get a Social Security card for his child. After the gentleman made his request the the clerk asked if he had vaccination records for his child. “No”, he replied, “but I have his birth certificate.” The clerk responded that she could not issue a Social Security card unless the child had vaccination records. Looking quite disappointed, the man turned to walk away, depositing the paper the clerk had given him in the trash as he left the building without saying a word. Where was his freedom of choice? Where was his liberty of conscience?
Webster’s dictionary defines liberty as “the state or condition of people who are able to act and speak freely”, and “the power to do or choose what you want to do.” Conscience is defined as “the part of the mind that makes you aware of your actions as being either morally right or wrong.” The man with his child was not free to choose what he felt was morally right or wrong for his child. If he wanted that card, he must give up his convictions. This is not liberty of conscience!
Is this new? Hardly! It seems to me that the lamb is speaking more and more like a dragon these days. Our constitutional rights are being violated more and more and it seems very few are protesting. Is the protest over? We have been methodically dumbed down with the foods we eat, the “pseudo-news” blasted across the airwaves, the selfish lifestyles that are being promoted, and the medications pushed on the uninformed public. We are so distracted and disabled that blatant violations of what conscience remains are going unnoticed or with an “ignore it and it will go away” attitude. The deadly wound is being healed, and all the world is wondering!
It may seem to many in the world that Pope Francis could hardly be the anti-christ of the Bible. He is very well favored and is gaining much popularity with his apparent “relaxing” of Catholic doctrines and supreme interest of the well- being of mankind. Have we misinterpreted scripture? I would like you to remember that Pope Francis is the first Jesuit Pope. Remember too that we are told in The Great Controversy, page 234 that, “There was no crime too great for them to commit, no deception too base for them to practice, no disguise too difficult for them to assume. Vowed to perpetual poverty and humility, it was their studied aim to secure wealth and power, to be devoted to the overthrow of Protestantism, and the re-establishment of the papal supremacy.”
Can we imagine that Pope Francis has now recanted on his vow? It is said best by Bishop O’Conner. “Religious liberty is merely endured until the opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic world.” Great Controversy, page 565. It is because she does not yet have the power to rule as she pleases that we are not seeing greater abuses of liberty of conscience. But this is fast changing!
Revelation 13 tells us how God’s people suffered under the reign of the Papal beast for 1260 years before it received its deadly wound. We know that the Papacy will again regain the power it once had through the help of the United States of America. We see this unfolding before our eyes today. Liberty of conscience will again be taken away. “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: 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. that no man may buy or sell accept those that receive the mark of the beast.” Revelation 13:16,17. This is unfolding every day! Do you see it? Are you ready? Are you preparing others to be ready?
“When God has given us light showing the dangers before us, how can we stand clear in His sight if we neglect to put forth every effort in our power to bring it before the people? Can we be content to leave them to meet this momentous issue unwarned?” 5 Testimony, page 712.2. We as Seventh-day Adventists have been given much light and have a great responsibility to warn the world of what is about to come upon it.
Satan’s government is ruled by cruel force trying to usurp the worship of God. This evidence is found in Isaiah 14:13,14: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
Satan was not interested in God’s character! He wanted His position and His power! It was the worship of man that was due God that Satan wanted from the beginning and is still striving for today. He wants control of the minds of the people, and he is using the church of his invention to accomplish his purposes. Comparing Satan’s government of force with God’s government we see that, “The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world’s dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, “with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2.” Desire of Ages 22. Which government do you want to be under?
Patrick Henry was known for quoting the words “give me liberty or give me death”. The people of this great nation were at one time willing to give their lives for the hope of liberty. But now most don’t even realize or even seem to care that they are losing and have already lost many of their liberties. And those who do realize it, those who will be found faithful, will very soon feel wrath of that apostate power as never before. The lamb-like beast is gone and the voice of the Dragon is becoming clearer and clearer.
We as Bible believing Christians should neither be surprised nor discouraged by these events because we have the hope that Jesus is coming soon! This thought brings more and more comfort to me as I view the situation of the world. Our focus should not be on the issues of the world, even though they are signs for us, but on the joy of the soon return of the Son of God. How exciting that we shall soon see the blessed face of our elder Brother! The thought of his soon return should lift our thoughts above the corruption and violence that is everywhere-even in our churches.
Brothers and Sisters we need to be drawing nearer to God and to one another, we need to be earnestly seeking God in prayer and searching His Word. We need the out pouring of the Holy Spirit. We need to be sharing with our neighbors, friends and families, the good news of His soon return. There is little time left. Let us be laboring diligently; it is time to awake. Our liberties may be taken away but they cannot stop our voices as long as God has a message for us to share. Be faithful and encouraged and be in prayer for one another. Truth will triumph in the end!