When I look at what is going on around us, these days, I find something quite peculiar about who the victims of these horrific tragedies often tend to be. Very often the targets of these deadly outbursts bysick and deranged individuals are children or churches. It makes you wonder, “Why would that be? These are not people who pose a threat to anyone.” So I pondered this quite a bit, over the last week or so, and I think I have settled on a likely reason why the innocent and non-threatening ones among us, so often are targeted by those who are neither. To set the tone for what I am going to be talking about today, I am going to start out by sharing a famous quote from the Bible, specifically the words of Jesus Christ, Himself:
“Let the little children come to me, and don’t stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” [Luke 18:16 CSB]
If you know anything about the Bible or God at all, even very little…maybe just as stories from Sunday School when you were a child, yourself, or even things you may have seen from the movies or on TV…you are probably well aware that, at least according to religious teachings, God has an enemy. And the implications are that this enemy, who is called by many names (the devil, the serpent, Lucifer, Satan…or my personal favorite “smutface”), is alive and very active in the world today. His primary goal on the earth is to keep as many human beings (the creatures God created to “show him up”…as he sees it) from entering the Kingdom of God as possible.
Imagine that. Jesus says, “the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” So, would it be a surprise to learn that the little ones He called “such as these” have been elevated to high priority targets in the eyes of God’s enemy? Shouldn’t be. And my guess would be, that as the Kingdom of God draws nearer and nearer, the attacks on “such as these” will increase.
It is my belief, based on many years of reading the Bible and Bible-related books, and listening to countless sermons from many pastors who know a lot more about these things than I do, that over the last seventy years, things have been accelerating rapidly on two key fronts; 1) the increase of evil in the world….and 2) the increase of the grace of God to oppose it. And it just so happens that these are also among the things that Jesus pointed to, quite precisely, that He said would happen in the days and years leading up to His second and final appearance on Earth. And this time, He will be coming back to defeat those who are “against Him” and redeem those who are, by choice, “for Him.” In fact, He actually said these words, “Those who are not for Me, are against Me.” Sounds pretty clear to me.
The year, 1948, is one of great importance in the eyes of many who study the Bible, because it is the year that, after 2000 years of exile, Israel officially became a nation again. And Jesus hinted that when that happened, it would mark the beginning of the last generation before His return. Now, there are a number of theories as to what the length of a generation might be (biblically-speaking). I have heard 40 years, 70 years, 80 years and 120 years, for example, and each of these have some logic attached to it. But, at least for this discussion, we can toss out the 40-year argument since we are 30 years beyond that, here in 2018.
And in that time, we have seen things like the removal of organized prayer in schools, a decision that reading the Bible in schools is unconstitutional, the legalization of abortion (60 million babies terminated since 1973…and isn’t it interesting that when Jesus said those words from Luke 18, the people had brought some babies to Him, and that was his response….”bring them to Me”). There have also been increases in kidnappings and child abductions, the rise of the sex slave industry (which feeds on children) and big spikes in drug addiction, overdoses and child suicide. And, of course, I did not mention school-shootings, which are certainly part of the attacks of “the enemy”, I believe, albeit a very small part (while nonetheless horrific and gut-wrenching) in comparison with the others.
Ok, so I guess it makes sense. If God’s enemy, Satan, perceives children to be possible future “kingdom-dwellers” and Jesus is calling them to Himself, of course they would likely become primary targets. Eliminate them while they are young, or even babies still in their mother’s womb. But, the young and the unborn are not just primary targets, they are also easy targets. So yeah, if you are trying to spoil God’s “big resurrection party in Heaven” (you know He is making plans for a huge “marriage feast”, once all those who have put their trust in Him are set free from their earthly bodies and the sin that so easily entangles us), increasing the number of invited guests (we are all invited) who will be not be in attendance would be a priority, no doubt.
So, yes, while it may be true that the reason (at least part of it) that it always seems to be a school full of young people or a church full of good and decent folks who love God and have chosen to align themselves with Him that become the victims in these senseless crimes against humanity is that schools and churches are “soft targets” and not very well protected against these types of attacks. And most of them are “gun-free zones,” which make our children, grandchildren and people of faith “sitting ducks” for the these maniacs. But, I believe there is a spiritual aspect to all of this, as well, and I do not think these tragic events are anywhere near as random as most people think. No, I believe it is a well-defined strategy by the chief enemy of God to create as many “no shows” to that marriage supper the Bible talks about as he can.
Let’s take a look at what some of men who knew Jesus best had to say about this:
“Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” [1 Peter 5:8 NASB]
The use of a lion, by the Apostle Peter, as a way of describing the devil is certainly an interesting one. Isn’t Jesus Christ also described as a lion numerous times in Scripture? Yes He is. Seems a little strange, then, that Jesus and Satan would both be painted as the same predatory animal, does it not? I agree, but there is a difference in how the term “lion” is used. Satan is described as a very imposing adversary, one that very few creatures would stand a chance against, even those much bigger. He is painted as the aggressor who attacks and devours whatever defenseless creature it chooses. He is clever, cunning and quick. Many times, the victim does not even see the attack coming and in the blink of eye…it’s over.
Jesus, on the other hand, is described as having a kingly nature, a “king of the jungle,” if you will. He is given more of a defensive posture than an aggressive one. Very few would even think of attacking this lion, but the ones who are silly or bold enough to try, they will quickly discover what a fatal mistake they have made. It will not end well for them.
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you…If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you…But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. [John 15:18,20-21 NASB]
When Jesus came to earth the first time, He came directly to His own people…the Jews…the descendants of Father Abraham. Certainly, they would “roll out the red carpet” for Him and welcome His long-awaited arrival as Messiah with open arms. They, of course, did nothing of the sort. In fact, Herod even tried have the baby Jesus killed, by ordering that every male, Jewish child two years of age and under should be put to death. Sound familiar? Even two thousand years ago, Satan’s strategy was the same…eliminate them while they are young. Don’t allow them to grow up to become a problem….”nip it in the bud.”
So, what Jesus was telling His disciples (and you and I, indirectly) is that if the enemy was silly and bold enough to try to silence the “king of the jungle” (aka…the Lion of Judah) at a tender young…..you can be pretty sure, even today, that if you see anyone willing to put innocent children to death (whether inside the womb or outside of it), they are doing the devil’s dirty work. Plus, if you see those who have survived the enemy’s attack on children being put to death for their faith…or murdered in a house of worship…think of it as Satan’s “clean-up crew,” coming around to finish the job by taking out the ones who “slipped through the cracks” the first time, and hung around long enough to sign-up for the opposing team and become a problem. I can almost hear ol’ smutface saying, “They know too much…they must be eliminated.”
“Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.” [Matthew 5:5 NKJV]
We have all heard that a million times, I’m sure. And my guess is that you have also heard the twisted version of it a million times, “The weak shall inherit the earth.” Let me make this real clear…meek does not mean weak. The word “meek” means one who is mild-mannered, gentle in spirit and displays humility. Jesus was a perfect example of all those traits. One thing Jesus was not…is weak. And He certainly would never suggest that those who follow Him should be weak, either….or that the weak would be blessed by God (not talking about those who are sickly or weak in body….that is quite a different thing and I do think God blesses people who are hurting or afflicted). We are told many times in Scripture that we are to be bold, courageous and strong as children of God….and to “fear not.” Last time I looked…weakness was not one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
So to sum this all up…children and babies are both “easy targets” and “high-value targets” for that slimy “serpent of old” that it talks about in both Genesis and Revelation (hey, if you are mentioned in the first and last books of the Bible…you must be pretty high up on God’s “watch list”).
And the same goes for the meek…they also tend to be “easy targets” and people that Satan feels threatened by, not because they might physically fight back…but more because they’ve got the goods on him and can warn other potential victims and woo them over to the good side. And his goal is to stop that before it happens…i.e….”kill the messengers.”
So, the answer to the question, “Why Children and Churches”, seems quite obvious to me.
Satan knows his days are numbered and he wants to take as many souls along with him on that free vacation to somewhere “really warm”….for all of eternity.
Therefore, whenever you see someone who is willing to put an innocent child to death or persecute a person for their faith in God…be not surprised. Whether they know it or not, they are taking their orders from the one who the Bible says comes to “steal, kill and destroy,” the evil one….Satan…himself.
And the closer we get to the triumphant return of the “Lion of Judah,” this “cowardly lion” will be shakin’ in his boots all the more…and acting a little more out of desperation.
Rest assured..the ultimate price he will pay for taking the lives of the ones who are precious in God’s sight will be both great…and permanent.
(Author of “Unlocking Creation” and “The Red Letter Parables”)