This is the continuation of our discourse on The Church and Politics. Last week we looked at how God allocates power. To read Parts 1-5 of The Church and Politics, please go to www.myilluminare.com/the -church-and-politics/
The antecedent of Satan as someone who cannot be trusted with power is very well established in scriptures. He’s always abused trust and power. He instigated a rebellion in Heaven. (Revelation 12:7-9) Satan was corrupt – traded favour and access. He was the originator of what we now refer to as “pay for play” in political circles: “But sin after sin, by your corrupt ways of doing business, you defiled your holy places of worship.” (Ezekiel 28:15-16 MSG) Consequently, Satan was exiled from Heaven: “Through the abundance of your commerce you were internally filled with lawlessness and violence, and you sinned. Therefore I cast you out as a profane and unholy thing from the mountain of God.” (Ezekiel 28:16 AMP)
Since Satan ideologically positioned himself as God’s adversary, it is quite logical that his son, the Antichrist would function as the antithesis to the thesis, Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God: “Let no one in any way deceive or entrap you, for that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction – the Antichrist who is destined to be destroyed, who opposes and exalts himself so proudly and insolently above every so-called god or object of worship so he takes his seat in the temple of God, publicly proclaiming that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) You need to understand that power to Satan is not just a means to an end, it is an end: “I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High,” he said. (Isaiah 14:14)
When Satan went after the first Adam in the Garden of Eden, God prophetically declared war between the Christ and the Antichrist. This is how he cursed the Serpent: “And I will put enmity (open hostility) between you and the woman, and between your seed (offspring) and her Seed.” (Jesus is the “Seed” of the Woman). The Message translation confirms the nature of this hostility: “I am declaring WAR between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers.” (Genesis 3:15 MSG) There is thus, war between the Christ and Antichrist, the Antichrist being the offspring of the Serpent. The spirit of the Antichrist is already here. (1 John 4:3) So every time Satan hijacks the levers of political power, he seeks to annihilate the Church. In brutalist fashion, Satan deploys state power against the Church, seeking to lock the Church out of geographic spaces. He wants the rights of Christians curtailed and restrictions imposed. Note that there are nations where conversion to Christianity carries the death penalty or prison term. Satan is fanatically focused on political power and political power is the ultimate power on earth.
Seeing that Satan deploys political power to fulfil his agenda and mission, it is monumentally irresponsible of Christians not to participate in the political process. Satan has always used political proxies to fulfil his agenda. One of such proxies was Emperor Julian the Apostate. Emperor Julian, armed with the might of the Roman Empire did incalculable damage to Christianity in the space of the two years he reigned. He reigned 361-363 AD. He died young, at the age of 32.
Emperor Constantine had promulgated the famous Edict of Toleration in AD 313. That edict officially ended persecution of the Church by Rome. When Constantine died in AD 337, his kingdom fell to his three young sons aged 21, 20 and 17. Each of Emperor Constantine’s sons ruled over a portion of the empire but they soon ignited a regime of bloodletting, eliminating potential rivals to the throne. They murdered uncles and cousins but spared two young boys, Julian and his sickly step brother, Gallus. Julian would invariably end up in Constantinople where he studied under philosopher Nicoles, a pagan. He exhibited intellectual brilliance and was soon sent to Nicomedia to study. He devoted himself to the mixture of magic, mysteries and neo-Platonic philosophy. (Neo-Platonism is a spiritualistic philosophy tending towards mysticism. It drew inspiration from Plato’s doctrines). In Nicomedia, the neo-Platonist Maximus of Ephesus dazzled Julian with his fantastic teachings. And he prophesied his calling and destiny – the restoration of paganism. Julian later visited schools in Athens. In Athens he was initiated into Eleusinian mysteries.
All Julian’s knowledge and intellect were put to strategic use by Satan. Julian harboured hatred for Christianity. He was bitter because of the massacre of his family by those who professed to be Christians. When he became emperor, he had two primary goals: eliminate Christianity, enthrone paganism. Here are the six strategies he deployed:
He issued a prohibition against Christian schools. Christian schools were broken up. The children of Christians were denied access to education except in the schools of idolaters. And he forbade the appointment of Christians as teachers of rhetoric and grammar.
- He instigated and abetted strife among Christians. He brought back from exile certain antagonistic bishops and restored them to their offices.
- He sought to have Christians removed from places of public positions and places of influence.
- He sought to silence preachers by removing certain immunities they enjoyed. These immunities had been granted by Constantine. He issued a decree revoking rights to titles of lands and ordered the church to refund monies granted from the revenues of state.
- He encouraged violence against Christians. As noted by John Hurst, he did not “punish his heathen subjects for acts of violence committed against Christians” but he “went to extremes to make sure Christians were punished for the slightest offense.” He simply manipulated the law to accomplish this.
- Then he launched a literary attack against Christian doctrine. In furtherance of this, he produced a three-volume work titled Adversus Christianos. (From the title of his book Julian clearly saw himself as the adversary of Christ. He operated in the spirit of the Antichrist).
Do all these sound familiar – the six strategies deployed against Christianity by Emperor Julian? Satan still uses the template.
Emperor Julian died in the war against Persia. He is said to have uttered the following words as he died: “Nenikakas Galilaie” – Thou hast conquered, O Galilean. (The Galilean is Jesus).
From Emperor Julian’s and other stories, we see that the Adversary (Satan) comes against Christians using the instrumentality of state power. Through participation in the democratic process, Christians get to blunt his attack and limit his access to state power. Christians must participate in the political process, or Satan will oppress the Church using the power of the state.
We will continue the series next week. To read the full version of The Church and Politics Part 6: Power Of The State, please go to www.myilluminare.com/the-church-and-politics
If you’ll like to receive Jesus into your life please pray this prayer: “Father I acknowledge that I am a sinner, that Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. Father, please forgive me. I accept Jesus today as my Lord and my Saviour. Amen.”
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