|The Land of Refuge ....||Bob Moore|
Europe was initially settled by descendants of Gomer. They congregated around the Mediterranean Sea. Only a few of them migrated north because the land and climate there were less hospitable. Some archaeologists suggest that the flood in the days of Noah increased the humidity so that the ensuing cloudiness shielded the planet from the warmth of the sun. This cooled all but the most moderate areas. Central Europe remained too cold for agriculture until more modern times.
During and after the reign of the Roman Empire Scythian clans migrated north of the Black Sea into Central and Northwestern Europe. Their nation had once ruled an area north and east of Assyria and Babylon, but migrating bands of nomads from China forced them in groups toward the west. Some of them invaded the crumbling empire. By the time of Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire, these Scythian clans had settled Northwestern Europe, dividing it into kingdoms. Increasing population forced some, especially the Scandinavian countries, to spread into the islands. Iceland and Greenland were eventually settled and America explored by them.
As Europe was being populated, its inhabitants were being Christianized. Beginning with Cornelius in 40 AD the Gentiles were gradually converted to Christ. The church Jesus built grew until Christendom reigned from the British Isles to the Indus River. The development of Islam quickly reduced its territory until, by the time of Charlemagne, only Europe accepted Jesus as Lord.
With Europe both settled and Christianized, its inhabitants were forced to compete with each other for survival. Before, when invasion or tyranny threatened, the Scythians were able to migrate to new territory. Now they were bounded on the east and south by hostile Moslems and on the west by a vast ocean. They had no where to go. People impoverished or oppressed could no longer migrate to deserted areas. Willingly or reluctantly, they became prisoners of the governments controlling the land.
Although different monarchs ruled different lands, every inhabitant of Europe was subject to the same spiritual authority. As Christians, they were all vassals of the church. The influence of the church grew over them until its power became absolute. The domination it acquired eventually corrupted church leaders. They oppressed any whom they thought challenged their authority, even those only trying to worship according to scriptural commands.
When the Waldenesses and Albigensens tried to practice a more Biblical Christianity, the church retaliated by executing thousands of them and denying the Bible to lay members. Such excesses led to the Reformation, but its success became dependent of the military protection local monarchs provided. These rulers seized the opportunity to free themselves from Vatican control by sheltering and supporting reformers. While the Reformation improved Christianity, it did not liberate those wanting to serve Christ according to their individual consciences. They were still subject to whatever alliance between church and state developed in their vicinity, which alliance controlled their economic, political and religious life.
The discovery of America restored opportunity for people fleeing poverty or oppression to migrate to new lands. Those seeking freedom to worship according to their conscience came to America. It became a refuge for the politically and religiously oppressed. There, among other things, the faithful worked to purify the church. Pre-revolutionary Americans believed that one purpose of the founding Puritans was for "a fuller and better reformation of the Church of God, than it hath yet appeared in the world." They also wanted to build up the holy city in the new land. Because reformers in America were freed from the threat of political or ecclesiastical repercussions, many of them offered new and insightful Biblical interpretations that exceeded the improvements the Reformation could have achieved in the Old World.
Today, America is settled. No new frontiers await colonization. Americans are subject to political, economic and religious forces that are interested in amassing position and power. While some freedom remains for devout and genuine expressions, more selfish, even sinister, ideologies are competing for mastery and control. In their effort to persuade the majority to accept their interpretations and domination they broadcast their agendas into theaters, businesses, schools, and homes. Usually with veiled, but sometimes with obvious temptations, they entice people to abandon the independence that made America great. Some even attack the discipline and liberty prominent in our past. Such assaults seem principally directed at our Anglo-Christian heritage. Gradually, devout followers of Christ are feeling increasingly estranged in a land that from its inception has been a refuge for the religiously oppressed.
With oppression apparently increasing, those threatened by its possible triumph have no place to go. Should America loose its liberty and Christians face persecution, the faithful have no unsettled land to which they could flee. Their only refuge is God. Some suppose that when tyranny reaches its heavy hand toward believers, God will rapture the faithful into the sky where He will provide them refuge. We believe that in the day of tribulation God will restore America to its divine purpose. America will remain a land of refuge.
God will destroy the conspiracy designed to pervert the nation and with divine miracles gather the faithful under its banner so they can flourish into His holy kingdom. Before punishing the oppressors, He will invite all Christians to separate themselves from the falsehoods and immorality now spreading in our country. He has already said, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Rev 18:4). Eventually, God will rescue His people. He called Abraham out of Ur, freed the Hebrews from Egypt, settled the Scythians, the majority of whom were Israelites, into Northwestern Europe, and led those seeking religious liberty to America. He will deliver those trusting Him in a day when tyranny threatens to oppress again. Until then, let the faithful remain pilgrims in a wicked world, so that when the refuge from their pilgrimage appears, they will be ready to enter its gates.