Q: What do you think of the measures that U.S. President Donald Trump has taken against Muslims? The United States has a democratic tradition and has never closed their doors to people just because of their nationality. Is the lamb speaking like a dragon? — Francesco, from Italy
A: Francesco, our hearts go out to all displaced persons and refugees around the world. As Christians, we are called to minister to those in need — feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and providing relief in a number of ways — regardless of their religion or political viewpoint.
One way that we do that is through the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), and its international network in 134 local offices. ADRA does a wonderful work in bringing help to millions of suffering people around the world — including the Middle East.
In Syria, for example, ADRA is helping people who are surviving under very difficult circumstances. One such person is Rita, along with her grandchildren. You can read Rita’s Story here.
You can partner with ADRA and help bring relief to a refugee child now by choosing Gift #12, “Care for a Young Refugee,” in the ADRA gift catalog. Your gift will help to provide food, warmth, education and comfort to a young refugee.
ADRA is deliberately a non-political organization, offering assistance to whomever is in need. This philosophy is explained well in ADRA’s organizational documents presented to the Church’s Annual Council in October 1983. It states:
“Christianity acts as a catalyst in social and political change, yet the Church does not seek political involvement or economic advantage through its ministry and mission: John 18:36, Acts 4:34, Amos 8:4.”
Jesus said clearly, “My kingdom is not of this world,” (John 18:36), and so our primary focus in ministry and mission is not only to relieve the suffering caused by various political situations in this world, but to point people to Jesus and His kingdom, which, in the end, is the only kingdom that will last.
In the book “The Desire of Ages,” Ellen White explains how Jesus related to politics while on earth:
“The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses, — extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Saviour attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart” (p. 509).
Regarding the “lamb-like beast” speaking “like a dragon” (Revelation 13), a close study of this passage reveals that the context is worship: “he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (Rev. 13:12).
The Bible reveals to us that when this lamb-like beast speaks like a dragon it is at a time when it is using its political might to coerce people into false worship. You can read more about this in an excellent Bible study available free on the It Is Written website.