The Clashing of Kingdoms
I was very heartened to see that Newsweek Magazine has exposed the growing hatred against Christians in the Muslim world. Ayaan Hirsi Ali calls it “a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.” Those of us who are representatives of The Voice of the Martyrs have been very aware that most people in the West just do not know about the persecution of Christians in the world, and our job has been to tell their stories and ask for prayer and much needed help. I am thankful that Ayaan Ali has put together such an informative article detailing this largely under-reported violence so many may learn who otherwise would never know. I am horrified right along with him as he recounts the atrocities country by country. And I agree wholeheartedly that our country needs to begin using the billions of dollars in aid it gives to the offending countries as leverage, and to make aid and trade relationships conditional on the protection of the freedom of conscience and worship for all citizens in those countries. But where he properly noted that this global war against Christians isn’t a traditional war at all, but appears to be a spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus–I think I have some insight from God’s Word about that.
I am sure that what we are seeing is a clash of kingdoms. The kingdom of the world and the Kingdom of God are at war! Wherever Christians go they carry the message of the gospel of Christ, and Christ is building his church, and has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. In Matthew Henry’s Commentary, he says “the gates of hell are the powers and policies of the devil’s kingdom. These fight against the church by opposing gospel truths, corrupting gospel ordinances, persecuting good ministers and good Christians, drawing or driving, persuading by craft or forcing by cruelty, to that which is inconsistent with the purity of religion; this is the design of the gates of hell, to root out the name of Christianity.”
Paul knew the war was from hell when he told the Christians in Ephesus that their struggle would not be against flesh and blood, but against the “rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
So from the stepped up violence in the Muslim world to the attacks on Christian institutions here in America, the war is raging, but the war would not be raging if God’s Kingdom were not being established in so many hearts. There would not be so many Christians being murdered, crosses banned, churches bombed and Bibles burned if there were not such a great increase in the numbers of Christians, crosses, churches, and Bibles. It has been said and shown that, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church”, so the bloody holocaust we are seeing is prelude to the greater establishment of the rule of Christ and the kingdom of God here on the earth.
This clashing–this advancement of God’s Kingdom on earth– is inevitable, and has been going on since Christ came announcing that the Kingdom of God is at hand. And it will continue until, according to Revelation 11:15-16, the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, and loud voices in heaven say, “The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever.” God’s Kingdom will suffer violence until then.
Therefore, an accordance with Psalm 2, let us ask and pray for the nations to become God’s inheritance, and the ends of the earth his possession. And may all be blessed who take refuge in him!