I just can’t get away from the God’s Game of Thrones thing.
Yeah, and dragons. Dragons are pretty awesome in fantasy stories. You know, like Smaug in The Hobbit, Draco in Dragonheart, and the dragons in Reign of Fire?
There’s one last aspect to this whole thing that I want to share with you. (Well, maybe not the last, because the whole topic of humanity’s dominion on earth is immense. Okay! Okay! I’ll write more later. Stop twisting my arm!)
So now that you’ve read both previous articles (Don’t lie now. There will be a quiz later. Just kidding), we Christians can all breathe a sigh of relief! Even though Satan is futilely trying to stop God’s plan to return this world to His original design and order, we’re safe, aren’t we?
After all, this whole thing is only about God, His plan, and the Jewish people encircling the hub of God’s plan, Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, so we have nothing to worry about. We’re off the hook, right?
As the late Paul Harvey said, “And now… the rest of the story.” (Some of you actually read that in his voice, didn’t you?)
We’re not waiting for God’s kingdom to arrive. It’s already here. It’s always existed and it always will. Long live the King! It’s the subjects who defected from His kingdom.
When Jesus proclaimed at the start of His ministry, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near,” (Matthew 3:2) He wasn’t talking about God’s kingdom coming near earth. He was addressing the defectors. He was announcing a new form of His Father’s realm coming to humanity in a new way. It would break into our world through the spiritual transformation of the individual and the implanting of the King’s laws within every man or woman who swore allegiance to the One and Only Sovereign King.
After Jesus paved the way for the spiritual transformation under the New Covenant (Luke 22:20; Jeremiah 31:31), the Holy Spirit arrived on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2, the biblical Feast of Shavu’ot, “Weeks”) establishing the connection between the King and His newly-reclaimed, beloved subjects.
The life of God and His kingdom now flows through Jesus’ followers and they’re able to live and obey the “law of the land.” Where the King’s will is done, there is His kingdom. That’s the way it was in the beginning. That’s the way it is now. That’s the way it will be at the end and into eternity.
No, God’s kingdom is not on earth in a geopolitical form. Not now. Not yet. God’s kingdom on earth is embedded in a born-again believer’s form, a person who is truly changed by the indwelling Holy Spirit with God’s commands firmly on their heart with a will to obey. That’s how God’s kingdom manifests!
God’s kingdom in us.
That, therefore, makes us the advance team for God’s approaching messianic kingdom on earth.
No, we won’t take over the world to establish God’s kingdom. We are God’s kingdom on earth. God’s kingdom rests not in any one place on earth. It walks around all over the earth!
Satan hates God’s reign. The Adversary likes his gig as ruler of the earth through humanity, albeit temporary as it is. Anyone who is seen as a threat to his tyrannical dictatorship will be attacked, whether it’s the Jewish people who are playing their role in God’s coming earthly reign through Messiah, or others who also have their role to play – Christians.
In the book of Revelation, we find a very curious event involving a dragon. But this isn’t a fictional story with a dragon. It’s an allegory revealing a truth about a creature depicted as a dragon.
There’s “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in labor and agony as she was about to give birth…There was a great fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven crowns…And the dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she did give birth it might devour her child. She gave birth to a Son, a male who is going to rule all nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and to his throne” (Revelation 12:1-6). So, what does this funky allegory reveal?
The woman is Israel, the Child is Jesus, the Messiah, and the Dragon is… well, you guessed it. Satan (Revelation 12:9). Satan’s plan was to kill the Son as a baby (Matthew 2:16), the “male who is going to rule all nations.” That’s the Jewish side of God’s Game of Thrones.
But Revelation goes on. Since Satan can’t touch the ascended Son, he’ll persecute and try to destroy the Son’s mother, the Jewish people (Revelation 12:13). But she’ll escape with God’s help even though Satan unleashes a “flood” (of persecution?) to destroy her (Revelation 12:15).
Here’s where we Christians come into play.
Frustrated that he can’t overcome the Jewish people, the Dragon turns to wage war with her offspring, described as “those who keep the commands of God and hold firmly to the testimony about Jesus.” These are Jesus’ followers, the assembly of believers that obey the King and affirm Jesus as Messiah. This is the Christian side of God’s Game of Thrones.
Why persecute and attack Christians, “those who keep the commands of God and hold firmly to the testimony about Jesus?”
Simple. They are those who testify that Jesus is the King and the only way to the Father (John 14:6) and keep the King’s commands, thus exerting the influence of God’s kingdom upon the world.
We are the walking embodiment of God’s kingdom, in word and deed. We speak His words, we obey His commands, and we exercise His power under His authority. Satan’s not a big fan of that!
A little aside here? God’s kingdom is not in what we think or just believe. It’s what we do. God’s kingdom isn’t thinking we’re His subjects, it’s being His subjects. Let this sink in. Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say?” (Luke 6:46, italics mine). If you’re not doing what He says, can you say He’s really your King? Food for thought…or conviction.
But there are other reasons why Satan persecutes Jesus’ followers in this Game of Thrones.
First, Satan persecutes Christians because we’ve been grafted into Israel (Romans 11:17). Therefore, we have been made partners with the Jewish people as their part of God’s plan. Yes, Jesus is returning to His people, the Jews to be their King, fulfilling all prophecy. But He’s also returning to complete the restoration process for all people who belong to Him.
Second, because we’re grafted into Israel, we share in the Commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2:12-13). As a community of God’s people, we stand shoulder to shoulder with our “elder brother” community, the Jewish people, as God’s adopted children (Ephesians 1:5). We get a share of Israel’s commonwealth in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Don’t think that just applies to the goodies. It applies to their sufferings (persecution) as well.
Third, Satan persecutes Christians because we’re also an integral part of God’s plan. Satan hates God, he hates His Game of Thrones, and he hates all who are on God’s side. Satan has followers who unwittingly play their part on Satan’s side of the game. Satan influences his followers – the lost and blind of the world – to hate the Jews (antisemitism) and born-again followers of Jesus (Christian persecution).
But persecution is mostly because we’re family and subjects of the King.
Jesus said it plainly, “If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). Satan and the “world” hate Christians because we’re connected to Jesus.
The world hates Jesus because His standard of right and wrong exposes the evil they do (John 7:7). The world hates true Christians when they live according to Jesus’ moral standard.
Congratulations, Christian! You have a target on you because you are a representative target, a target by affiliation and imitation.
But fear not! Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33)! God will deal with Satan and his demons. God will also deal with Satan’s human followers. God extends a gracious offer to all people who will surrender and defect to His side: TOTAL AMNESTY! But it’s not without responsibility. Once you’re in God’s kingdom, you must refuse to live as your own little king and follow the example, guidance, and commands of your Sovereign King!
So, what should be our response? Jesus tells us to,
Bless your persecutors, “Bless those who persecute you” (Romans 12:14).
Pray for your persecutors, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Endure persecution, “… when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it” (1 Corinthians 4:12).
And we are to love and do good despite persecution, “But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).
If we’re living for the King and we start acting like the King, we will be persecuted. It will come eventually because of whom we serve. Paul warned Timothy, “In fact, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).
No one is above persecution. If they persecuted Jesus, His followers (us) will be persecuted as well (John 15:20). The persecuted church around the world knows this all too well. Check out The Voice of the Martyrs to see how bad it’s getting and how you can help our suffering brothers and sisters. (Source)
You don’t think it can happen in the U.S.? Oh, are you kidding yourself! Even now, Christians and Christian ministries are being harassed, reviled, demonized, and de-platformed by those in power. (Gee, if they’re attacking us for our Christian views and values, might that be a clue to who is the source behind their persecution?)
But don’t be discouraged! The ever-living, all-powerful King stands behind you! Even if we face death, what are we being threatened with – HEAVEN?
We are blessed if we’re persecuted for Jesus' sake (Luke 6:22). But let it not be for obnoxiousness, though. Jesus will see us through as we stay faithful, “…we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:9). Apostle Paul would know!
Not only will you be blessed, but the very thing Satan is trying to stop, God’s kingdom, is your reward for being persecuted. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).
Amid God’s Game of Thrones, a mighty battle rages! It’s the Dragon versus the King, a satanic momentary kingdom versus God’s eternal kingdom, and God’s people are a key part of His plan as the focus of His redeeming and restoring love.
It was because of us that this whole match got started to begin with. As God’s kingdom advances toward its climactic appearance on earth, antisemitism and Christian persecution will continue and likely intensify. Satan will continue to attack the woman (the Jewish people) and persecute her offspring (Jesus-followers) until we reach the finale of God’s Game of Thrones.
Take heart, dear reader. Recall Jesus’ promise, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Hang in there and live for the King!
Pastor Jay Christianson
The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts