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        Gen 1:27,28 says, "God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." There is religion and politics in the words "dominion" and "subdue." The relation between God and man is religion, and the dominion God gave to man involves politics. At the time it was a theocracy.

        1) Due to the intrusion of sin, the religion and politics among men has become complex, am I right?

        Answer: Yes. Under Satan's influence man lost control over himself and his respect for God. Man became deceived into violating God's commands. In this way the dominion that God gave Adam was usurped by Satan. As this serious condition came into being, God implemented His remedy: and said to the serpent that was possessed by Satan, "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." Gen 3:15. Though man had acted at Satan's suggestion to break God's law, God would not permit Satan to have full possession of man. If so, man would have come completely under Satan's control. Now God's plan is to give man a chance to be born again of the Holy Spirit, thus delivering man from slavery to Satan. The Holy Spirit leads man to hate and overcome sin, just as Christ overcame. In the end Christ the Seed of the woman will bruise the serpent's head.

        2) The earliest form of government was a theocracy. But since man's dominion has been usurped by Satan, the devil has formulated his own kind of rulership, am I right?

        Answer: Yes. But in a revolted world God keeps His fortress, which is His church. Up to a certain time Christ called Satan "prince of this world," and once stated, "Now is the judgment of this world, now the ruler of this world will be cast out." For He said, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." John 8:31,32. God would first win people's hearts with love, by having the crucified Savior draw all peoples to Himself, thus isolating the devil, who enslaves the human race by force. Then the time will come to cast him out. In this way Christ reclaims by His own blood the dominion God gave to man, gaining complete victory over Satan.

        3) You have touched on religion and politics. Aside from a theocracy, there is still the monarchy, the constitutional monarcy, the democratic republic, etc. Can you address these topics too?

        Answer: We are mainly studying the Bible, and will not talk much politics, but are interested in the influence of politics on religion. At mount Sinai God instituted a theocracy, with Moses as His agent to rule over Israel. Egypt and Babylon were pagan theocracies. But most of the Israelites were not "born again," did not truly love God, so the government of Moses and his successors could not fully implement God's principles of government. For instance, in matters like divorce, Jesus said, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." Matt. 19:8. In practical matters.God often made allowances for the unregenerate heart. Moses' successors Joshua and the judges ruled the people as patriarchs, with prophets revealing God's will to them. In the days of Samuel the people wanted to be like the nations around them, so they asked him for a king. "So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, 'Heed the voice of the people in all that they say unto you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day when I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day---with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods---so they are doing to you also. Now therefore, heed their voice. However, you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them. 1 Sam 8:6-9. So Samuel forewarned them, explaining how their king would oppress and exploit them.

        4) Rev 17:2 speaks of a harlot "with whom the kings of the earth commit fornication." Is this speaking of a union of church and state, forming a pagan theocracy?

        Answer: Yes. But strictly speaking, that is not a theocracy. It was the church using the state to reach her religious aims. In the Middle Ages the Vatican ruled over the nations of Europe for 1260 years, fulfilling the prophecy of Rev. 13:5. In substance it is the church using the courts, prisons and armed forces to arrest, imprison, torture and kill all who refuse to comply with her beliefs and practices. A conservative estimate places the figure of those killed by the church during the 1260 years of her ascendancy, at 50 million souls. This form of church-state union constitutes a great threat to the the religious freedom of the people. Persection against those who refuse to comply with the tenets of the church was not confined to nations under Catholic rulers, such as Germany, France, Italy Spain and Portugal. Great Britain, which had broken with the papacy, had her own despotic theocracy. Love of religious freedom caused many Puritans to flee Europe for the American colonies.

        5) Does that mean that the American people enjoy religious liberty in their country?

        Answer: The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." But Rev 13:11-17 prophesies that the U.S. will follow the example of the papacy in establishing a union of church and state and enact a law enforcing Sunday observance, thus abrogating the religious freedom of the people. {Cf Dialogue 34) Then all who persist in keeping the law of God will be filled with the Holy Spirit to boldly proclaim the Sabbath truth.

        "The Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions. Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority, the inroads of spiritualism, the stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power---all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven. As the people go to their former teachers with the eager inquiry, Are these things so? the ministers present fables, prophesy smooth things, to soothe their fears and quiet the awakened conscience. But since many refuse to be satisfied with the mere authority of men and demand a plain 'thus saith the Lord,' the popular ministry, like Pharisees of old, filled with anger as their authority is questioned, will denounce the message as of Satan and stir up the sin-loving multitudes to revile and persecute those who proclaim it." The Great Controversy, pp 606,607..

        6) Is it true that Rev 13:11-17 foretells that Protestant churches will unite with the Catholic church to oppose those who preach the Sabbath truth?

        Answer: Yes. The first beast in Rev 13:1-10 is the papacy. Rev 1311-17 refers the union of Protestant churches in America. They make an image of the first beast by imitating her union of church-state and by enforcing Sunday legislation. "As the controversy extends into new fields and the minds of the people are called to God's downtrodden law, Satan is astir. The power attending the message will only madden those who oppose it. The clergy will put forth almost superhuman efforts to shut away the light lest it should shine upon their flocks. By every means at their command they will endeavor to suppress the discussion of these vital questions. The church appeals to the strong arm of the civil power, and, in this work, papists and Protestants unite. As the movement for Sunday enforcement becomes more bold and decided, the law will be invoked against commandment-keepers. They will be threatened with fines and imprisonment, and some will be offered positions of influence, and other rewards and advantages, as inducements to renounce their faith. But their stedfast answer is: 'Show us from the word of God our error.'---the same plea that was made by Luther under similar circumstances. Those who are arraigned before the courts make a strong vindication of the truth, and some who hear them are led to take their stand to keep all the commandments of God. Thus light will be brought before thousands who otherwise would know nothing of these truths." Op cit. p 607.

        7) You talk of Catholics and Protestants. What does it have to do with adherents of other faiths and those who don't have a religion? Could Jesus bring on the grand finale without giving them a chance to know the truth?

        Answer: The Lord said long ago, "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached to all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." Matt 24:14. The first angel who preaches the "everlating gospel" will proclaim it to "every nation, tribe, tongue and people." Rev. 14:6. After the mark of the beast is enforced in the U.S., it will also be enforced in other parts of the world. Rev. 13:8 says that "all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Christ warns us that "False Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Matt. 24:24.

        "As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Savior's advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. Rev 1:13-15. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: 'Christ has come! Christ has come!" Op cit. p 624.

        Before this, people have spread the notion that Christ of the Bible is the Sakyamuni of the Buddhists, Muhammad of the Muslims, and also Krishna of the Yoga devotees. In this way they can make all who do not keep God's law go worship the beast.and receive his mark, thus setting them apart from God's people.

        8) Will God's people have opportunity to preach the gospel when the religious bodies of the world use the secular arm to enforce Sunday as a holy day?

        Answer: Yes, but with much difficulty. After Christ's resurrection, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. They went out to preach the gospel despite the prohibitions of the Jewish leaders. King Herod exercised the power of Rome to kill James the apostle, and arrested Peter. (See Acts 12:1-19) When the nations of the world under the instigation of religious authorities enforce the Sunday law, the work of spreading the Sabbath truth "will be similar to that of the Day of Pentecost. As the 'former rain' was given, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the gospel, to cause the upspringing of the precious seed, so the 'latter rain' will be given at its close for the ripening of the harvest. 'Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.' Hos 6:3. . . .

        "The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. . . Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers. Satan also works with lying wonders, even bringing down fire from heaven in the sight of men. Rev 13:13. Thus the inhabitants of the earth will be brought to take their stand.

        "The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep convictions of the Spirit of God. The arguments have been presented. The seed has been sown, and now it will spring up and bear fruit. The publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence, yet many whose minds were impressed have been prevented from fully comprehending the truth or from yielding obedience. Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides. Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord's side." Op cit. pp 641,642.

        9) In the face of this crisis, what should be the attitude of one who fears God? Should he let things develop, or should he do his utmost to prevent conditions from deteriorating?

        Answer: One should do his best to present the truth to those in responsible government positions, helping them to take their stand on the side of truth, not on the side of error. They should see that in order to protect the religious liberty of the people, a country should not force people to keep a religious day against their convictions.

        Satan's work will intensify. "While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to be more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon man and beast. . .

        And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God's commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday Sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity." Op cit. p. 590.

        10) This effort of religious bodies to enforce Sunday through political means could very well lead up to the death sentence for those who refuse to comply, as foretold in Rev 13:15.

        Answer: Yes. "Under the rule of Rome, those who suffered death for their fidelity to the gospel were denounced as evildoers; they were declared to be in league with Satan; and every possible means was employed to cover them with reproach, to cause them to appear in the eyes of the people and even to themselves as the vilest of criminals. So it will be now. . . . Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law, as breaking down the moral restraints of society, causing anarchy and corruption, and calling down the judgments of God. Their conscientious scruples will be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness and contempt of authority. They will be accused of disaffection toward the government. Ministers who deny the obligation of the divine law will present from the pulpit the duty of yielding obedience to the civil authorities as ordained of God." Op cit. pp.591,592.

        God's people reply, When man-made laws conflict with God's law, "We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29

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