Revelation 13; Esther 3-4; Psalm 106:1-23
C.S. Lewis has a wonderful fantasy world called Narnia. In this world, which is an alternate reality where time moves in a different way from life on earth four children, two brothers and two sisters, become rulers in Narnia under the leadership of Aslan – who is that reality’s representation of Christ. The adventure continues through seven books with others taking the lead in the story, but Aslan is always present in some way. In the story of the end of times, “The Last Battle,” followers of Aslan are herded into a stable meant as punishment. It is there that they discover that this is the pathway to the new Narnia. In this “stable” are any enemies of the bad leaders of Narnia – including the dwarves. The dwarves, however, won’t be fooled and believe any of this religious stuff.
Where the followers of Aslan saw light, they saw dark. Where the children saw flowers, they saw stable litter. They were so blind, they couldn’t see the truth. It was a “dwarves for the dwarves” movement. They weren’t going to be fooled. As the end times come to this world, John recorded the story of the two beasts. They would rule over the world and, while they did that, people would worship them. The first beast was the main one, and he was waging war on God’s people. Most of those who didn’t follow God were perfectly happy with that situation. Thus, they worshiped the beast. “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8)
Remember that part of the reason that Christians were being persecuted was that they refused to offer any semblance of worship to Caesar. All they had to do was give thirty seconds (or less) a year to join with the crowd and make a small offering and say a few meaningless words that nobody believed anyway. They refused to do that because they knew that God alone was worthy of worship. They lived and died because of their belief that Jesus is Lord. There’s a problem when people become obstinate like that and they don’t follow the crowd – the crowd strikes back. This brought about the persecution and the lines were drawn. You either paid homage to Caesar or you died. It wasn’t that everyone really believed that Caesar was THE god. Not that another god in the pantheon mattered to those who lived in Rome. What mattered was that everybody who was anybody was going along to get along and these Christians took their beliefs to heart and refused to join with everyone else.
Those Christians sought to share their beliefs in Jesus. The problem was when Christians talked about the love of Jesus, they saw separation from their old way of life; when Christians talked about joy, they saw the persecution Christians were suffering when Christians talked about the fellowship of believers, they saw people who wouldn’t join their lifestyles. They weren’t going to be fooled by all of this. We’ve got people today who have seen some sides of Christianity that may not be the best. They’ve seen a materialistic Christianity that focuses on stuff and money. They’ve seen dates set by people claiming to know when the end begins come and go. They’ve seen that Christians don’t necessarily interact well with the culture. They’ve seen a fake Christianity and, after having been burned by that, they aren’t going to be fooled again. When the lines are drawn, they’d worship a beast they don’t believe in rather than believe in a Jesus that’s been misrepresented. This is why it’s so important that those of us who know and follow Jesus are good representatives of His grace and mercy. We must live God’s love and grace every day, showing others, many who have been fooled before, the true love of God.
Lord, so many have been fooled by misrepresentations of Christianity. Help me to show Your true love.