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TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN: PART VI — FOR PUBLIC SAFETY

AND SO IT BEGINS…

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”[1]

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles…As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.  Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”

A DISTURBING STORY COMES OUT OF FLORIDA, concerning a pastor who had a church service during Florida’s Coronavirus Shelter at Home order…

The pastor of a Tampa megachurch is facing charges after refusing to close its doors despite a ‘safer at home’ order in effect in Hillsborough County, meant to stop the spread of COVID-19. The sheriff says up to 500 people were in attendance at Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne’s Sunday services.

“Howard-Browne, 58, turned himself in Monday afternoon after Sheriff Chad Chronister and State Attorney Andrew Warren on Monday announced an arrest warrant had been issued for charges of unlawful assembly and violating public health emergency rules of isolation and quarantine. Howard-Browne was released 40 minutes later after posting a $500 bond…”

This was followed by a second pastor being charged similarly in Louisiana…

On Tuesday police in suburban Baton Rouge, Louisiana, issued Pastor Tony Spell of Life Tabernacle Church a misdemeanor summons for six counts of violating the governor’s executive order barring large gatherings.

“‘Instead of showing the strength and resilience of our community during this difficult time, Mr. Spell has chosen to embarrass us for his own self-promotion,’ said Central Police Chief Roger Corcoran Tuesday in a statement.

“‘Mr. Spell will have his day in court where he will be held responsible for his reckless and irresponsible decisions that endangered the health of his congregation and our community,’ Corcoran added.

“Spell, in a Facebook Live video after being served the summons at his church by two police officers, maintained his defiant stance.

“‘We have not broken any law. We will not break any law,’ Spell said.

In a previous article, the question was asked, “The Church of Jesus Christ, in her entirety, has basically knuckled under and gone along with the orders from various states to cease in gathering in their respective sanctuaries.  How did the Church of Jesus Christ in the USA come to this point?”  With these two arrests, a similar question can be asked:  How is it that two pastors can be arrested for holding church services in the United States of America?

CHANGING TIMES AND LAWS — The explanation by the two law enforcement officers for the arrests of the pastors in question are a bit telling…

“‘Last night, I made the decision to seek an arrest warrant for the pastor of a local church who intentionally and repeatedly chose to disregard the orders set in place by our president, our governor, the CDC and the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group,’ [Hillsborough Country] Sheriff [Chad] Chronister said.”

“Pastor Tony Spell, head of Life Tabernacle Church in Central, carried on with a scheduled service Tuesday despite being issued a misdemeanor summons for ignoring a state-wide order barring large gatherings just hours earlier, police say. Authorities charged Spell with six counts of rule violations — one for each of the six services he’s held at his Central campus these last two weeks.”

And yet, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states this…

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

It would appear that these two law enforcement officers, on arresting the respective pastors, have done so unconstitutionally, abrogating two freedoms in this Amendment:  prohibition of the freedom of religious expression, and denial of the right of peaceable assembly.  Despite the declaration of National Emergency over the spread of the Coronavirus, no martial law has been issued; neither has habeas corpus been suspended.  Could it be that these law enforcement officers are taking this upon themselves…?

“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”

Similarly is written elsewhere…

“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.”

“And she hath changed my judgments into wickedness more than the nations, and my statutes more than the countries that are round about her: for they have refused my judgments and my statutes, they have not walked in them.”

“Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel…”

Friends, we see this happening before our very eyes.  The First Amendment to the Constitution of the USA has been abrogated, suspended by writ of council and edict of government executives.  If pastors can be jailed for holding in-person church services, what could be next?

WHOSOEVER KILLETH YOU WILL THINK THAT HE DOETH GOD A SERVICE These arrests are simply the beginning…

“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended.  They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.  And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.”

“All these are the beginning of sorrows.  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.  And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

“And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.  But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.  And the gospel must first be published among all nations.  But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.  Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death.  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

“But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.  And it shall turn to you for a testimony.  Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:  For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.  And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.  But there shall not an hair of your head perish.  In your patience possess ye your souls.”

Friends, we were warned by the LORD himself that we would be hated, persecuted, arrested, brought before kings and rulers, and eventually killed.  And where does this all start?  It’s already started in the USA…

“‘This is not an issue over religious liberty, and it’s not about politics,’ Corcoran added. ‘We are facing a public health crisis and expect our community’s leaders to set a positive example and follow the law.’

“‘This is a government overreach. They are asking us as a government to stop practicing our freedom of religion. We have a mandate from God to assemble and to gather together and to keep doing what we are doing,’ Spell said… ‘I will continue to do what I am doing. Don’t fight us, pray for us.”

“After Spell’s blatant disregard for the governor’s order, an online petition surfaced calling for the pastor’s arrest and prosecution. To date, the petition that states Spell should be charged ‘for the countless lives he will be brutalizing and even ending with this selfishness and ignorance,’ has more than 10,000 signatures.”

“Chronister said the sheriff’s office had received an anonymous tip that the pastor ‘refused requests to temporarily stop holding large gatherings at his church and instead he was encouraging his large congregation to meet at his church,’ he said.”

This is happening, despite the fact that thousands of Spring Break Partiers gathered at beaches in Florida, and nobody has yet to be arrested for such gatherings.  There WERE arrests…

Roughly seven people were arrested along Ocean Drive on Wednesday as police got into altercations with Spring Breakers. 

 “Six of those people were charged with resisting an officer without violence.

“Shocking video showed one officer and a woman colliding into each other in the commotion, only for the cop to then choke the woman and kick her down before arresting her.”

Note, that nobody at the Spring Break gathering were arrested for the gathering, or promoting the gathering.  And yet, two pastors are arrested, booked, mug-shot, and charged for breaking the law.  We have yet to see store managers and owners, post office officials, and government leaders arrested for their failure to restrict gatherings of ten or less people.

IT’S FOR PUBLIC SAFETY!  Take a look at Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister’s statements concerning Rev. Howard-Browne’s arrest…

“‘Because of the reckless disregard of public safety and after repeated requests and warnings, I worked with our state attorney, Andrew Warren, to obtain a warrant for unlawful assembly and violation of public health emergency rules, both of which are second degree misdemeanors.  Our goal here is not to stop anyone from worshipping, but the safety and well-being of our community must always come first.’”

State Attorney Andrew Warren stated something even more chilling…

“‘I think it’s unfortunate that the pastor here is hiding behind the First Amendment.  One, it’s absolutely clear that emergency orders like this are constitutional and valid. Second of all, leaders from our faith-based community across this country have embraced the importance of social distancing.”

Are we seeing what’s being stated here, by elected officials, charged with upholding and enforcing the law?  “It’s for public safety!” and “Everyone else is doing so!” are two statements that have aided and abetted the literal destruction of nations of the past, let alone persecution after persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ throughout the ages!  Even more chilling are the statements by pastors in support of arresting Rev. Howard-Browne

“During Chronister’s announcement of the arrest warrant, other leaders from local churches also joined him. Pastor Ken Whitten from Idlewild Baptist Church pointed out that quarantining is mentioned in the Bible.[2]

“‘It was practiced by people,’ he said. ‘The issue here is not religious freedom. Churches are not the ones being singled out. Everything is shut down. There is no basketball. There is no hockey. All of us our doing our part. I’m a pastor that believes God heals…this is not a faith issue. This is a responsible friend issue.’

“Reverend Thomas Scott of 34th Street Church, a former chairman of the Board of County Commissioners and Tampa City Council member, said his church began streaming online and on Facebook.  

“‘We value the importance of the laws of the land and we value the importance of social distancing, and more importantly, protecting our parishioners — make sure they are not in harm’s way and spreading this deadly disease throughout the community,’ he said. ‘To us, COVID-19 and social distancing is very important. It’s also important for the religious community to govern themselves, according to the laws of the land.’”

Here we see two pastors lending support to arresting a fellow pastor, parroting the narrative of the Hillsborough County Sheriff and the State’s Attorney[3].  Here is something even more disturbing and chilling…

“Chronister was asked at the news conference about social media rumors that the church had an arsenal of weapons, and whether officials were concerned. The sheriff said that in addition to weapons, Howard-Browne ‘has a vast security force he has deployed.’  Concern for safety, he said, was the reason the pastor wasn’t arrested at the crowded church service, and instead officials talked to his attorneys about Howard-Browne turning himself in.”

Again, friends, this is all for “public safety”.  The law enforcement officials are parroting “peace” and “safety”.  Another interesting passage comes to mind…

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.  For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety;’ then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

And yet, the mantra continues:

“Corcoran said the pastor will have his day in court ‘where he will be held responsible for his reckless and irresponsible decisions that endangered the health of his congregation and our community.’”

THE BOTTOM LINE:  IT’S ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE!  Friends, we are seeing the beginning of persecution in the USA by the government upon the church.  While both pastors have promised to continue holding services, it is likely that they, and any other church daring to hold in-person services at this time, will likely fare just as badly, or worse.  Friends, this COVID-19 virus panic is simply all about control and keeping people in fear.  Time and time and time again, in his press conferences, President Trump is offering hope, offering a light at the end of this tunnel.  The media, however, continues to feed the fire of fear, panic, and pandemonium — all of which have cause governments to go into this lock-down.  Christ Jesus reminds us that all of this was prophesied two thousand years ago…

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  Remember the word that I said unto you, ‘The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you;’ if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.  If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.  He that hateth me hateth my Father also.  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

Friends, we saw this coming.  The Bible is perfectly clear that days like this would arrive, and come in interesting ways…

“But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

CONCLUSION:  GOD IS WITH US!  Friend, maybe you are discouraged by stories such as this.  Perhaps you, like many, are wishing to be gathered together with your home church.  Remember that, if you have accepted the forgiveness that only comes through Jesus the Messiah, you are not alone:  GOD is with you, with us…

“…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Friends, GOD has not, and will not, leave us alone!

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

Be ye encouraged today!!!

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

PRAYER — Heavenly Father, Holy LORD, we thank Thee that you are always with us.  Will you be with us, again, in this time of fear and trembling?  Would you bless the two pastors who are now charged with crimes, and their churches and congregations?  We praise Thy Name, O LORD, and we pray these things in Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen!

THE LAST WORD — “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”  (2nd Timothy iii. 12–13)

NOTES — 1. All Scripture is taken from THE AUTHORIZED KING JAMES VERSION OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE.  London, England, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  Initial Publication 1611AD.

2. AUTHOR’S NOTE:  While the Pastor of Idlewild Baptist is partially correct, his inferences couldn’t be more misdirected.  While chapters in the Books of Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy speak towards separating people who were plagued with leprosy, to seriously equate leprosy with the Coronavirus is ludicrous at best.  To use such to support the idea of everyone separating and sheltering in place by order of the government at any level is flat-out dishonest.  Shame on Pastor Ken Whitten!

3. AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Mr. Steve Allen, of Think About It News and Think About It Online, has produced an excellent video on his YouTube Channel that spells out the direction all this is going with regards to Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne’s arrest.  This video and his channels and their content are worth reading and taking into consideration.  Anthony Brian Logan, as well, breaks down this arrest and its unconstitutionality, in a video on his channel (again, great content on a great YouTube Channel; certainly worth consideration)…

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Eugene Quintus Whipplewart

Written by Eugene Quintus Whipplewart

Simply One Transient Beggar just passin' through on His Way Home, trying to let other Beggars and Transients know where to find the Living Bread and Water of Life...

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