Closing Your Church is Neither Loving Your Neighbhour Nor is it a Good Witness to the Community

First, to dispense with the second point in the title. Yes, Christian leaders are to be well thought of by outsiders (1 Timothy 3:7). By extension, this command applies to all Christians at all times (1 Timothy 2:2, Titus 3:2, Romans 12:8).

This command does not, however, cover the message of the Gospel, which will be despised by outsiders, along with the man delivering it. If the Gospel is preached, God’s Law must be preached first. The penalty for sin must be stated, and the righteous wrath of God, poured out on sinners, must be fully explained. The love of God in sending Christ as a propitiation for our sins must be stated fully. Romans 3:19-26. Men will hate this, and count it foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18). If leaders wish to always be well thought of by outsiders, they would need to be in full accordance with the powers, principalities, and authorities who are against Christ.

What needs to be said is that being thought well of by outsiders is to not be a hypocrite. Romans 2:24, quoting Isaiah 53:5, says, “For, as it is written, “‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you'” (English Standard Version). When Christians condemn sin, yet sin in the same manner, they act hypocritically and will spoil their witness to the watching world. But the world is not who we must please—it is Christ, and we must honour His word. When we obey Christ, we will bring scorn and dishonour upon ourselves. This is the history of the church in Acts and the experience of Christians at all times and in all places.

When we follow government edicts, made over the church where the government has no rightful rule, we declare to the community that the civil government is lord of the Church, not Christ. The civil government has declared Christ’s church gathered to be nonessential, and thousands of churches agreed! That was our witness! Churches that have done so must repent, and so witness to the community that they have failed and resolve not to fail again.

It is also said that closing churches in a time of pandemic is “loving your neighbour.” This is curious for a people who believe that the Lord’s Supper, remembered weekly, is of utmost importance. This is odd for a people who believe that without the Gospel, men and women must enter Hell. This is strange thinking for a Christians who have decried the cheapening of faith by televangelists, only to become televangelists en masse in one week!

By misreading Romans 13:1-7 and submitting to the lockdowns we have taken up the cause, (in the name of neighbourly love), of those who turned long-term care centres into death camps; sacrificed the spiritual well-being of children under the misguided attempt to keep vulnerable people safe; ruined careers and hopes; left many elderly to die alone and heartbroken. There is much more. But we did that, Christians, when we out of fear of overwrought obedience, denied Christ’s lordship over His church. If we had affirmed Christ’s Lordship, Canada would be a different place today.

This is pressing upon me because we are about to go around again, this time over the issue of vaccines. I have no interest in discussing the efficacy of vaccines at this time. But the medical ethics of a civil government demanding a medical procedure on an unwilling populace is at the same depth of depravity as Nazi Germany or modern China.

If a pastor, elder, or congregation will demand proof of a medical procedure, such as a vaccine, to worship Christ in His peoples’ gathering, in person, they  must be condemned as anti-Christian. In such cases, safety and compliance have become gods. Christians must refuse such idolatry.

Contrary to Paul Carter of the Gospel Coalition Canada , there is a command in Hebrews 10:24-25: 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (ESV). Carter does not deal with verse 24. The subjunctive (let us consider) can serve as an imperative (a command). “Let us consider” is the main verb, not “to meet together” in verse 25. Verse 24 is the command, and what no one seems to ask is, “How can verse 24 be obeyed if the church is not meeting?” It cannot. Failing to meet together is a failure to “stir up one another to love and good works.”

But we have Zoom! Facebook! YouTube. Yes we do. But one of the foundations of Biblical interpretation is that the interpreter must understand a Biblical text as it was understood by the first hearers! How could the readers of Hebrews understand these verses in any way except as meeting together face-to-face? They had no way to encourage, teach, exhort, or discipline one another unless they could see and hear each other.

The first readers did not have Zoom, or any other technology. God meant for the Christian life to be lived in-person, in a real time and a real place.

Meeting together is a necessary condition to obey verse 24 and failing to meet together is to disobey the command. This is why neglecting to meet together is such a serious problem, and can lead to the consequences in verse 26!

This current wave of oppression and outright persecution is going to continue as long as the Lord permits. He is looking for His people to call upon His name and repent from their fear and their idolatry of safety and compliance to the state.

Why the Vaccine is not the Mark of the Beast.

But this doesn’t mean it is a good idea! I need to state at the outset that I do not think the vaccine is a good idea, and the way it is being mandated casts much suspicion on the science behind it. This is a serious case of state overreach and if authority is granted to the civil government here it will become very difficult to pull it back.

Please do not think that my view that the vaccine is not the Mark of the Beast means that it meets my approval. It is certainly in the spirit of the Mark of Beast, but I don’t believe it qualifies as such.

  1. The rules surrounding Covid-19 vaccines have a strong similarity to the Mark of the Beast (Revelation 13:16-19).
    1. As vaccine mandates become more widespread it seems that employment is nearly impossible, and access to many marketplaces may be denied. So without the vaccine, one cannot buy and sell.
    2. This similarity is a strong one.
  2. If we are to understand the mark of the beast to be literal, it must be literal all the way down. It is not a good idea to take it literally (a mark) and not follow through consistently: 666 on the right hand or the forehead.
    1. The vaccines are not administered, nor do they leave a mark, on the right hand or on the forehead.
    2. The number 666 is not three sixes, but six hundred and sixty-six.
    3. There is no connection between the vaccine and this number.
  3. Worship: along with receiving the actual number, the Beast must be worshipped.

    1. Revelation 14:9 (ESV) 9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,
    2. It is not clear that receiving the Mark of the Beast is an act of worship. Worshipping the Beast is accompanied by receiving the Mark, but they are not synonymous.
    3. It is also not clear who is worshipped by those who receive the vaccine, so it is hard to say that they worship the Beast.
      1. Receiving a vaccine does not entail worship, although it may involve worship of medicine, safety, security, or the State.
  4. The identity of the Beast: if the Beast is to be worshipped, then the identity must be known to the worshipper. The connection between the Beast and 666 is intentional, not an accident. I would go so far as to say that receiving the Mark of the Beast is an act of worship of the Beast.
    Again, the issue is one of literal or figurative interpretation.
    1. Is the Beast an identifiable entity?
    2. It must not be automatically assumed that the Beast “the Antichrist,” since that name only occurs in the letters of John and never in Revelation.
    3. The identity of the Beast and the Mark of the Beast would have to be something that Christians in the 1st century as well as today can understand. First Century Christians would have no understanding of vaccines and would be unable to discern the Mark of the Beast, as they were commanded to do (Revelation 1:1 and Revelation 13:18).
  5. Voluntary: The Mark of the Beast seems to be voluntary and received by those who are willing participants in worshipping the Beast.
    1. This vaccine does not fit this qualification for:
      1. Many are vaccinated involuntarily. Not only under duress (such as to keep a job or to maintain custody of a minor child), but it is given to the impaired, frail, and mentally handicapped people are vaccinated without informed consent.
  6. Understanding the Mark of the Beast
    1. To understand the Mark of the Beast of Revelation 13:16, Revelation 14:1 should be read as its context: 14 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads (see also Ezekiel 9:4, Revelation 7:3, 9:4, 22:4).
      1. The Mark on the forehead indicates ownership. All mankind is divided into two groups—those owned by the Beast and those owned by God.
      2. God does the marking of His people by His sovereign act. (Revelation 7:3)
    2. The Mark of the Beast and the worship of the Beast is in antithesis to the Worship of Yahweh.
      1. Deuteronomy 6:8 (ESV) 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
        1. Hand and forehead: thought and work (deeds)
        2. The Beast demands his mark hand or forehead
    3. It is very possible that the Mark of the Beast (666) refers to the name, “Nero” because the numbers six hundred, sixty-six in Hebrew spell the name “Nero.” Hebrew uses letters for numbers. The alternate reading of the text, 616, does the same thing using Latin numbers for letters.
    4. Emperor worship was a widespread demand by Nero by the early Christians. The emperors presented themselves as gods.
  7. Having said this, it should be remembered that:
    1. A government-mandated vaccine is a violation of the autonomy of the human body, and obedience to it forever changes the relationship between the government and the governed.
      1. This is an extreme example of government overreach.
    2. The current vaccines may be among the worst medical disasters unleashed on mankind.
    3. The Christian has an obligation to think critically and act accordingly.
    4. The conscience of the Christian must not be set aside for a government mandate.
    5. No Christian, pastor, or church should enable vaccine mandates.

Some Encouragement for Home Educators


Tax time can be a very discouraging time for homeschooling parents. I have no children in public school, yet I’ve spent thousands over the past few decades to finance the schooling of other peoples’ children. I know the argument—we pay for police, fire, and paramedics whether or not we require their services. This is true, and there are other civic services that I pay taxes toward without complaint.

But the state of public education is such that, if the comparisons to other civic services were taken to heart, we would have fire department arsonists, police criminals, and paramedics that euthanized their patients. In short, public education as currently practised, is a grave danger to children, and to the taxpayers who must pay the salaries of the teachers, administrators, and the properties and their upkeep.

Public education is a place where Christian values are forbidden, but where the secular left feels free to teach children that sexual perversion is normal, that skin colour determines status of victimhood or oppressor, and that the ultimate determiner of all that is right and good is government. But enough about that—that’s clear to anyone who has eyes to see.

As a homeschooling parent, you may resent the fact that you are paying for schooling that you must never participate in, while financing your own schooling at home.

All that is money gone.

But here’s the encouraging thing: you win, and those who took your money only have that. They do not have your children. Your children win. They will learn truths that will not be contradicted by a LGBTQpedo. Your kids won’t have their sexuality questioned. In fact, they won’t learn the lie that gender is a social construct which has nothing to do with the child’s sex. Your kids will not be a target for nonsense. Your kids will learn actual things with which they can grow into adults who honour the Lord with their work. Your kids will not wait until forty to have children, but will likely have larger families. That is a win.

Your kids will win because they won’t be so foolish as to sign up for “studies” –religious studies, feminist studies, indigenous studies, LGBTQ studies, or anything like it. If they do go to university it will likely be for the hard sciences and they will know how to digest knowledge and spit out the husk.

No matter the cost, if you keep your kids close to you, you will have won.