“…the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood…”, and that flood has never been deeper than it is now.
If the great red dragon could destroy all that is good, all that is full of light, all that is lawful according to the laws of God . . . he would. The flood has spewed forth. The lies, the treachery, the false accusations . . . are so numerous and constant that the barrage of filth which is rising like a tidal wave has the good men and women of this world scrambling into life boats, desperate for safety from the flood.
And still, the serpent’s mouth is open wide, the flood gushing forth with all its might.
In this battle for the souls of men, who will rise above the flood by recognizing their own dependence on He who has provided the life boats of safety? Who will succumb to the depths of darkness either through their own arrogance, or because they are too weighed down by the chains of their own sin and guilt?
What is this war all about? Is it really about government shutdowns, bankrupt entitlements, United Nations treaties, or food stamp cards with no limits? Is it about improving education, giving amnesty to illegal aliens, or giving special protections to vocal interest groups?
I don’t think so. These are just minor battles, and all of them symptoms of a much greater problem. A much larger war.
It’s really quite simple. This war is about agency.
AGENCY: “The quality of moving or of exerting power; the state of being in action; action; operation; instrumentality; as, the agency of providence in the natural world.” Websters Dictionary, 1828 Edition
Am I an agent unto myself? Do I have the right to choose my own path–to move, to exert power, to be in action–as long as it doesn’t interfere with the liberties of anyone else? Do I have freedom? Do I recognize that my agency, or my power to choose, comes from Providence?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (Preamble, Declaration of Independence)
Do we believe these words? Was our agency . . . and our Liberty . . . an unalienable right, endowed by our Creator?
This is a serious question . . . can I act for myself? Do I really have agency?
Or do I believe that the Government must make everything fair, according to whatever standard they come up with, so that nobody feels underprivileged?
Can my government force me to do something that takes away my own liberty and freedom to choose? Can my government force me to eat? Force me to work? Force me to live in a certain city or neighborhood? Can it force me to buy a product I don’t want? Can it force me to learn a language I have no desire learning? Can it give special privileges to one group while suppressing the free speech of another?
“Where there is force, there can be no choice.” –definition for Choice, Websters Dictionary, 1828 Edition
This is the whole problem. We live in a day when agency, the power to choose and act for ourselves, is under attack. The great red dragon who fought against Michael . . . both of whom had their own “angels” . . . is still attacking.
Agency is the prize.
Will we retain the freedom to choose, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States, or will we lose our individual sovereignty and forfeit our liberty to a nanny-state government that will tell us everything that we must do, should do, and cannot do, all under the guise of progress, when in reality the policies being implemented are the precursors to totalitarianism?
Do we sit back and take it? Do we turn the other cheek, taking great care to never offend our neighbor so that we might all just get along under the umbrella of all this progress? Or do we fight? What would the Lord do, if He were here? Would He fight?
“To deprive an intelligent human being of his free agency is to commit the crime of the ages. . . So fundamental in man’s eternal progress is his inherent right to choose, that the Lord would defend it even at the price of war.” (David O. McKay, Conference Report, 1942.)
Where are we in this war? Are we engaged, or are we sitting on the sideline watching? Which team have we chosen in this conflict? Will we stand up and defend agency, freedom, liberty?
“The scriptures make clear that there was a great war in heaven, a struggle over the principle of freedom the right of choice. In the war in heaven, what would have been your reaction if someone had told you just to do what is right—there’s no need to get involved in the fight for freedom? Of course, the war in heaven over free agency is now being waged here on earth, and there are those today who are saying ‘Look, don’t get involved in the fight for freedom. Just live the gospel.’ That counsel is dangerous, self-contradictory, unsound.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1966.)
Let’s remember that we were there during the great war in heaven. We fought in that war. And the tactics of the great red dragon on today’s battlefields have not changed:
“[The war in heaven], so bitter, so intense, has never ceased. It is the war between truth and error, between agency and compulsion . . . His enemies have used every stratagem in that conflict. They’ve indulged in lying and deceit. They’ve employed money and wealth. They’ve tricked the minds of men. They’ve murdered and destroyed and engaged in every kind of evil practice to thwart the work of Christ.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, An Unending Conflict, a Victory Assured, Ensign, June 2007.)
Is our participation in this war justified? Are we able to engage in this conflict, and do our best to set things right . . . to shout truth from housetops?
I say, “YES!” We must fight. We must protect our families from the evils of this world and teach them so that they also can keep their own agency. Liberty must be protected. We must remain free from bondage!
“(The) most universal subjugation in our day, as it has been throughout history, is ideology or political beliefs that are inconsistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Substituting the philosophies of men for gospel truth can lead us away from the simplicity of the Savior’s message. When the Apostle Paul visited Athens, he tried to teach of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of this effort we read in Acts, “For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” When the crowd realized the simple religious nature of Paul’s message, which was not new, they rejected it. This is emblematic of our own day, where gospel truths are often rejected or distorted to make them intellectually more appealing or compatible with current cultural trends and intellectual philosophies. If we are not careful, we can be captured by these trends and place ourselves in intellectual bondage.” (Quentin L. Cook, Lamentations of Jeremiah: Beware of Bondage, Conference Report, October 2013.)
Look at the world and behold the great red dragon who is deceiving with the philosophies of men!
Be wise! Beware of bondage!
That is our clarion call. The horns are sounding. Will you answer?
“…the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood…”–The Revelation of St. John 12:15
Liberty: (Websters Dictionary, 1828 Edition)
1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty, when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty, when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty, when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.
2. Natural liberty, consists in the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It is a state of exemption from the control of others, and from positive laws and the institutions of social life. This liberty is abridged by the establishment of government.
3. Civil liberty, is the liberty of men in a state of society, or natural liberty, so far only abridged and restrained, as is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. A restraint of natural liberty, not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. civil liberty is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty.
The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others.
In this sentence, the latter word liberty denotes natural liberty.
4. Political liberty, is sometimes used as synonymous with civil liberty. But it more properly designates the liberty of a nation, the freedom of a nation or state from all unjust abridgment of its rights and independence by another nation. Hence we often speak of the political liberties of Europe, or the nations of Europe.
5. Religious liberty, is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control.
6. Liberty, in metaphysics, as opposed to necessity, is the power of an agent to do or forbear any particular action, according to the determination or thought of the mind, by which either is preferred to the other.
Freedom of the will; exemption from compulsion or restraint in willing or volition.
7. Privilege; exemption; immunity enjoyed by prescription or by grant; with a plural. Thus we speak of the liberties of the commercial cities of Europe.
8. Leave; permission granted. The witness obtained liberty to leave the court.
9. A space in which one is permitted to pass without restraint, and beyond which he may not lawfully pass; with a plural; as the liberties of a prison.
10. Freedom of action or speech beyond the ordinary bounds of civility or decorum. Females should repel all improper liberties.
To take the liberty to do or say any thing, to use freedom not specially granted.
To set at liberty, to deliver from confinement; to release from restraint.
To be at liberty, to be free from restraint.
Liberty of the press, is freedom from any restriction on the power to publish books; the free power of publishing what one pleases, subject only to punishment for abusing the privilege, or publishing what is mischievous to the public or injurious to individuals.