Rev. 13:14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
Barnabas Piper writes on the Aquila Report that it is a mistake to support Chick-fil-A today. He is concerned that this shows a hostility on the part of Christians toward homosexuals, which he says is a mistake. I agree- that would be a mistake. But I think he fundamentally misunderstands what this is about.
This isn’t anti-homosexual day. That’s not the reason for this movement. Chick-fil-A has been a vocal Christian organization for a long time. There is no reason for surprise or outrage at their views, which are well-known. I find it interesting that this attack on Chick-fil-A comes just a few months after Obama publicly reversed his stance on gay marriage- were they perhaps paving the way for just this kind of attack? Because the whole thing certainly wasn’t spontaneous. It was planned. But this isn’t even about gay marriage. The big issue has nothing at all even to do with homosexuality.
The attack on Chick-fil-A is a shot across the bow of every Christian in this country. It is a message that our political views, even those driven by our religious views, are going to have to be subordinated to the needs of the statists. They picked a big, public, known Christian organization and threatened them with economic destruction because of their faith. It is persecution of Christianity, and it is overt. In the book of Revelation, the kingdom of the mark of the beast is characterized by economic persecution to all who do not bow down to the image of the beast. That is what is going on here. The statists, those who look to the state as the savior of man, the solution to all our problems, have made it clear that unless we submit to the statist agenda, we will not be permitted to buy or sell. The statists don’t even care about gay marriage. They’re fine allying themselves with others who are against gay marriage, but who support the statist agenda. It’s not even about “religion” against the state per se- as the last link shows, religions which believe in the Messianic state are just fine with them. This is about Christianity. Gay marriage is only a pretext to attack Christians.
I don’t believe this indicates the eminent return of Christ, necessarily. I am an amillenialist, and as such I see this persecution as an element of the Christian life, that has been present on and off throughout the history of the church age. “All those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Our salvation is not found in stamping out such persecution wherever it is found. It is found in patiently enduring that persecution until Christ comes again and frees us from it.
Early in the history of the church, during the time of the Roman Empire, in order to practice most trades and professions you had to be a member of a guild. That guild was also a temple to a pagan god. Being a member of the guild required worshiping the god. Becoming a Christian, therefore, meant leaving the guild and being barred from practicing your profession. That kind of economic persecution led some to say that it was acceptable to practice the guild rituals in an outward way in order to maintain one’s standing in the guild, as long as you worshiped Jesus in your heart. This is the error of the Nicolaitans, most likely, so roundly denounced in the book of Revelation. Even today, many professions are being closed to Bible-believing Christians, more and more- medicine, politics, law, science- many of these fields are becoming harder and harder for believing Christians to practice, especially at higher levels. The statists would love to add business to that list.
Knuckling under to that persecution is not quietly enduring it. It is not quietly enduring to throw to the wolves those that the beast targets. It is therefore not truly anti-homosexual to support Chick-fil-A. But the homosexual groups have allied themselves, by and large, to the statists, because ultimately all those who hate God worship the beast.
Christians should absolutely be loving to homosexuals, just as we should be loving to anyone trapped in any other sin. But it’s not loving to say sin isn’t sin. And it’s not loving to abandon our fellow Christians when they’re under persecution, in order to maintain a relationship with those responsible for the persecution. Christians were a witness to the Roman soldiers who were persecuting them by staying faithful to the Lord (which means staying faithful to the Lord’s people) even in the midst of torture, not by distancing themselves from the persecuted in order to maintain good relationships with the Roman soldiers.
The beast is the power of the kingdoms of the earth, seeking to replace the true Messiah and supplant His kingdom on earth. He will always fail, for Christ has won the victory. The only way the beast can defeat you is by tricking you into thinking that he is alive, that he has power, that he can bring you security and prosperity. He will try to terrify you into thinking that you need to at least soften your allegiance to Christ a little bit, in order to avoid the persecution of the world. Stay strong, endure, don’t compromise the faith. Support your brothers and sisters who are under attack for their Christianity, because you are next. Homosexuality has nothing at all to do with this discussion, and everything to do with the hatred of the world for the kingdom of Christ. Chick-fil-A has taken a stand for the kingdom of Christ. We should support them.