Copyright © July 1, 2009 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
A New Golden Age or a New Dark Age?
All rights reserved and all rights protected under international copyright law.
At the current time there are a lot of people all over the world who are unhappy with their existing government.
Many of these unhappy people would like to immediately replace their current government officials.
May I humbly suggest that you be careful what you wish for.
You may get it and then wish you hadn't.
The Role of Government
In order for a society to function smoothly it must have some form of government. The reason is simple. Governments perform functions that can't be performed by individuals or by private enterprise. For example,
The above are just a few of the functions that a government should provide for its citizens. Other functions might include firemen, maintenance of old cemeteries, border patrols, immigration policies, and so on.
- Public Work Projects: Roads must be constructed and maintained. Without good quality roads a society will be severely limited in its mobility. The transfer of goods and services will also become more difficult, more time consuming, and much more expensive.
- Laws and Law Enforcement: There must be a fair system of laws that protect the nation's citizens. Thefts will occur but there needs to be a system in place to discourage those thefts and to punish the individuals who are guilty of stealing. This means there must be a local sheriff and a local jail.
- Courts and Judges.: All societies need some method of peacefully resolving the disputes within that society. These disputes are inevitable. There needs to be a method for resolving these disputes in a fair and equitable manner that is binding on all the parties in the dispute.
- An Honest Currency: The citizens within a nation need to be able to engage in commerce with one another using an honest currency that is backed by something of true value, such as gold or silver. The citizens will know if their currency is honest if they are allowed to exchange it at any time for something of value, such as gold or silver. Whenever a nation's currency represents nothing more than the paper on which it is printed, then the value of that currency will eventually drop to its true value which is the value of the raw paper on which it is printed. This is not an educated opinion. This is the truth and it has been proven over and over and over again during the history of our world.
Taxes: The government that performs the above services must be supported by taxes. Taxes are not evil if the tax is modest and uniform. People have always complained about paying taxes and they always will. However, it is only when the tax burden becomes excessive or unequally distributed that the taxes themselves become a hindrance to the prosperity and growth of that society.
The Different Types of Government
At the current time there are at least six major types of government:
Regardless of the type of government, the results of that leadership may be either positive or negative. This was clearly demonstrated in the distant past when monarchs (kings and queens) ruled a province. Some monarchs were very ethical moral individuals and their nation prospered under their leadership. Other monarchs were unethical greedy scoundrels and their nation collapsed under their leadership. Therefore it is not the type of government that results in success or failure but the individual(s) in the top position(s) that determines the success or failure of that nation. The same principal applies today regardless of the type of government a nation may "theoretically" have.
- Democracy: A very, very small number of political decisions are made by a majority vote of the people being governed. However, the vast majority of the political decisions are made by a very small group (or council) of individuals who are elected to their office by a majority vote of the people being governed. It is this very small group of individuals who control the destiny of their nation and not the common people who voted for them.
- Republic: A nation theoretically ruled by its people. These people elect a representative to lead them. This is in contrast to a nation that is ruled by a monarch who inherits the throne by birth or by divine right. This head of state is normally called a president. In a theoretical republic all the people have equal rights plus the right to select a person to the office of president.
The state owns the factories and it administers the production and distribution of goods and services. A socialist republic is theoretically based on the best interests of the common people or the working class. However, the government decides what is best for the common people. The common people have no voice in this decision making process.
- Communism: A totalitarian society in which the government owns everything and the government decides how everything will be distributed to its people. The ruling party permits no opposition to its policies. Censorship, fear, and terror are used to control the people and keep the ruling party in power. Theoretically all people are considered equal and there are not supposed to be any class distinctions between different groups of people. However, most government officials are usually treated far better than the common people under their authority.
- Dictatorship: One person assumes control of the government through military superiority. Anyone who opposes the rule of the dictator is immediately dealt with (either by death or lifetime imprisonment). The common people have no voice in political decisions.
- Monarchy: The ruling family consists of a king and a queen and their future offspring. Their word is law. Period. Whatever they decree must be done. The common people have no voice in political decisions.
Even though a government may have one person in the top leadership position, it is extremely rare for that individual to have absolute power to do whatever he or she chooses. In almost every case that person has a variety of individuals (a council of advisors) who suggest specific courses of action for the chief executive to approve and then implement. And in almost all cases the chief executive follows the general advice of his or her advisors, with only a few exceptions when he adamantly disagrees with a specific course of action. This disagreement cannot happen too often nor can it be over a critical issue because the chief executive knows that his or her life could be easily forfeited by an assassination, or a convenient accident, or an unexpected illness or disease. (Historical Note: This is what happened to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. After his tragic death, when he could no longer defend himself, he was systematically slandered in the news media as being a sexual pervert who did not deserve to be mourned by the people who voted for him.)
Therefore, in all forms of government, the most important decisions are typically made by powerful, wealthy, influential groups of people who control the inner council of advisors, who advise and control the chief executive. After he or she has been in office for a short period of time the chief executive becomes painfully aware of how little power he or she actually has to make decisions based solely on his or her own preferences. On the other hand, the chief executive is almost always above the law that governs the common people but that is of little consequence because he or she is just a "puppet" for the real decision makers within the nation. The real decision makers always remain anonymous in order to avoid any type of publicity or pressure that could influence them in any way, or which might eventually result in some form of punishment for a course of action that was later discovered to be both illegal and unethical.
Therefore instead of wishing for a "change of government" perhaps it would be better to wish for a "change of heart" in the leaders of your government. The reason is simple. A new government may not be any better than the previous government if it is controlled by the same set of unscrupulous individuals who make all the really important decisions behind the scenes. However, if a government is led by an ethical moral individual who truly wants the common people to prosper then he or she will do everything humanly possible to lead that nation forward into a new "golden age." But a greedy unethical scoundrel will lead his or her nation into a new "dark age." Therefore please pray for your existing leaders, regardless of who they may be or what type of government you may currently be subject to.
There are two types of people I have learned not to trust during my life. These are people who make either one of the following two statements:
If a person is trustworthy then he or she will have a long history of ethical honest behavior and neither of the above statements would be necessary. The above statements are usually made by an individual who has a questionable history of integrity and he or she has to justify his or her current behavior in an effort to gain your trust.
- I am a good honest God-fearing person. You can trust me.
- I am telling the truth. You can trust me.
All honest, ethical, moral, law-abiding people occasionally make a mistake. That includes both you and me. No one can live a life that is 100% pure and spotless. Therefore, if a person has a record of 99% ethical behavior and his or her very few minor mistakes are of a trivial nature with trivial consequences, then that person is a good person. We should not expect our leaders to be any better than we are. Our leaders are human beings just like we are and we should be tolerant of the occasional trivial mistakes they make, just like we want to be forgiven for our own trivial errors in judgment. The problem is that the news media "sometimes" wants to crucify public officials when they make a simple error in judgment.
I have found it interesting that as a nation we don't become upset when a national celebrity has a variety of affairs with members of the same sex or the opposite sex. Even after one of our previous Presidents forcibly raped one of his female aids, he was allowed to stay in office and complete his term as President of the United States. But if a mayor or a governor has an extra-marital affair with a willing member of the opposite sex then he is asked to immediately resign from his office. What kind of nation have we become when we have two different standards that we apply arbitrarily for the same basic offense?
The Collapse of Governments
Some of the reasons why governments have collapsed in the past include the following:
- It is conquered by another nation and destroyed.
- Its own citizens rise up in a revolution and destroy it.
- It ceases to have the necessary number of citizens to support its existence. For example, a devastating plague could kill 90% of the people within a nation and the people that survive would be too few to need or support the government they previously had.
- The government persecutes and executes large numbers of its honest law-abiding citizens simply because of their political or religious beliefs. The threat of persecution and death inevitably drives many of its remaining highly-productive highly-intelligent honest citizens into voluntary exile as they try to protect their lives and whatever possessions they can take with them. The nation is then composed of: (1) a limited number of honest laborers who do not publicly disagree with the government, and (2) all the government officials, and (3) all the criminals within the nation. Guess which small group of people has to support the other two groups.
- The government collapses due to financial mismanagement. The government no longer uses silver or gold as a currency and its paper currency becomes worthless worldwide, including within its own borders.
- The government collapses due to internal corruption and greed.
- The government incorrectly estimates the loyalty of its armed forces and those military forces turn on the government when it ceases to perform its original legitimate functions.
- The government grows too big to be supported by the surplus production of its citizens. During a prolonged recession or a depression the government tries to maintain itself at its previous level even though its tax revenues may have decreased by 20% to 80%. It tries to maintain its former level by confiscating the property of its citizens, or by increasing taxes, or by issuing more currency which leads to hyper-inflation.
The Rise of New Governments
Revolutions and wars are expensive, destructive, and bloody. Lives are lost, personal property is destroyed, and the infrastructure is badly damaged or destroyed. Infrastructure refers to roads, buildings, factories, utility networks, government buildings, prisons, and courthouses.
During wars and revolutions a "scorched earth" policy is almost always used. Homes are burned down. Cities are bombed into rubble or burned down. Fruit and nut trees are cut down. Crops are destroyed. Farm animals are killed. Water sources are poisoned or polluted. Bridges are blown up. When the revolution or war is over in many cases it really doesn't matter who won. Life for everyone becomes a day-to-day struggle for survival.
Repopulating and rebuilding from scratch is time consuming and extremely expensive. And there is no guarantee that the new government that eventually emerges will be an improvement over the old government.
It usually takes several decades for a nation to completely recover from the war and during this time there is no surplus or very little surplus being produced. There is usually just barely enough to keep the current citizens alive from day-to-day.
Therefore, in most situations (but not all), a revolution or war is a mistake and the end result is a situation that is far worse than the original nightmare in which the nation's citizens were somehow surviving.
How Governments Expand
Governments can expand slowly or quickly depending on the circumstances:
- Governments can slowly and systematically expand by passing new laws or new taxes that are "theoretically" for the benefit of their citizens but which really do one of two things:
- the new law or new tax benefits a special interest group (a kickback for a campaign contribution), or
- the new law allows the government to create a new agency which will be responsible for the enforcement of the new law. This expands the government and creates new government jobs and it is used as a justification to increase taxes.
Therefore the power of the government to pass new laws needs to be limited by the people they govern. Any and all new laws should be submitted to the people for a majority vote. The impact of each proposed new law should be explained to the people and the cost of enforcing that law should also be very clearly stated with the stipulation that the cost will not be exceeded for any reason. The source of funding (taxes) should also be clearly outlined in the proposal. Regardless of what our government leaders may believe, we the common people are capable of understanding which new laws are really for our own benefit and which ones are just an excuse to increase government control over our private lives. If the government thinks they can easily make it too complicated for us to understand (500 pages), then we the common people can simply vote "No."
The power of the government to add new taxes or to change existing taxes should also be subject to a majority vote of the people being governed. Otherwise governments can expand by simply increasing taxes.
- Governments can also expand extremely fast when their citizens throw up their hands in despair and start screaming for their government to do something ... anything ... just do something. At the people's request the government does just that. Later the people who begged the government to do something would give almost anything in they had kept their mouth shut, and instead they had diligently tried to work their own way out of the previous mess.
The Problem with Government Expansion
Governments only provide a service to their citizens and they don't actually produce anything.
Government leaders don't do any real work, other than managing the resources under their control. And in most nations they are constantly trying to bring more, and more, and more of the nation's resources under their control. But they don't actually produce those resources. They simply want to have control over them. The resources are actually produced by the honest, law-abiding citizens who live within the government's jurisdiction.
This is why socialist and communist governments assume ownership of all the production facilities within their borders. The government leaders then consume a disproportionate share of that production and the small amount that remains is inadequate to meet the needs of its citizens. This is also what happens when a country "nationalizes" the free industries within its borders, or when a government takes control of those industries by buying the assets of a company with "digital dollars" that are not supported by gold or silver.
After a government has control of the production facilities within its borders, it then allocates jobs to its citizens and it decides how much each citizen should be paid. When that happens, its citizens become less productive. There is no incentive to work hard when the results of your extra work are not given to you but instead are given to a government official, or to some other individual who "deserves" to be supported by your efforts. (Note: When charity is no longer voluntary then the number of individuals who require charity quickly escalates beyond the carrying capacity of the nation in which they live.)
Unfortunately this is the current state of affairs in the United States of America and it will probably not be much longer before our free Republic becomes a Socialist Republic. The federal government will own and control the social welfare system, the banking system, the major insurance companies, the major manufacturing companies, and maybe even several state governments. As this transition continues its current downward economic spiral the living conditions for a large number of us will eventually fall below the minimum level that is necessary to sustain our lives. When that happens the events that will follow are not pleasant ones to contemplate.
Reasonable Limitations on Government Expansion
Empires that try to expand beyond their natural geographical and cultural boundaries eventually collapse. The reason for the expansion is to bring more wealth under the control of a few already extremely wealthy individuals. However, the cost of obtaining and trying to manage those foreign resources in most cases far exceeds the amount of money generated by the expansion effort. Therefore most nations would be better advised to focus on improving the efficiency within their own borders instead of trying to expand into new territories.
A good example of this strategy would be the nation of Japan. Although they are a relatively small nation with very few natural resources they have achieved remarkable economic success by becoming extremely productive at making high quality products. This prosperity did not require a war or the loss of freedom for anyone. It was the natural consequence of the diligent application of the labors of the citizens within its own borders because they knew they could keep the benefit of their excess production and use it in any manner they so desired. Not only did the common people benefit, but the owners of the factories earned higher profits, and the government received more tax revenues.
What Governments Should Do and Not Do
If the government takes over in any of these other areas then the common people will no longer have a voice in the quality or the cost of these products or services and they will have to accept whatever quality the government gives to them. And the cost of that lower quality product or service will usually be far higher than what would have been paid if the free market had been allowed to operate in its normal fashion.
- Governments are necessary because there are certain specific services they can and should perform for the citizens within their nation. These services were briefly discussed above (public work projects, laws and law enforcement, courts and jails, an honest currency, and several other important functions such as providing firemen and enforcing immigration policies).
- The nation's religious system and other charitable organizations (food pantries, United Way, etc.) should be responsible for charity (social welfare). They should be responsible for the collection of voluntary contributions and for the distribution of those gifts to the needy individuals within their geographical area. Each geographical area can only support a certain level of charity and this becomes a self-correcting limit on the charity within that area. If an area becomes severely economically depressed then some of its unemployed residents will need to make the decision to relocate to a more prosperous economic area where there are more jobs.
- The free market system within a nation should control the factories, the banking system, the insurance system, the retirement system, the health care system, the real estate system, and the agricultural system. The reason for this is simple. The common people will buy the best quality products and services they can afford. Inefficient organizations will gradually go out of business. New more productive organizations will gradually form and capture some of the existing market. This is a healthy process because the common people are the ones who are supporting this change when they purchase, or don't purchase, a product or a service from a specific organization.
Almost nothing in life is free. Anyone who believes that the government will always provide them with high quality free food, free housing, and free medical care is not a very smart person. With the passage of time the food, housing, and medical care that is eventually offered free to the common people usually has two major shortcomings: (1) the quantity is trivial, and (2) the quality is terrible. Imagine a nation where five or six people live together in one small room inside a large run-down vermin infested apartment building, without heat or fresh water, and where they each receive a food ration that consists of 300 calories of moldy poor quality food once per day, and where they have to wait in line for several days to see a medical practitioner who looks at them for one-minute and then gives them one aspirin tablet and immediately sends them back home. If this is your idea of the "good life" then please forgive me if I would prefer to live somewhere else where I at least have the opportunity to try and find honest work where I am paid an honest day's wage and where I have the right to buy whatever I can afford with my meager wages.
The Three Basic Necessities for Economic Prosperity
As previously mentioned, in order for a society to prosper it must have all three of the following:
The major problem within most unsuccessful societies is that they do not equally encourage all three of the above.
- An Honest Government: Without some form of honest government a society will not have a dependable infrastructure, or a fair and just set of laws, or a system for the enforcement of those laws, or an honest currency.
- Religious Freedom: A society must have complete religious freedom. The government cannot create or support a state mandated religion. Any and all religions practiced by its citizens must be voluntary and those religions must be separate from the government of the nation in which they exist. Freedom of religion is one of the keys to economic prosperity. Freedom of religion means that the citizens of a nation may practice, or not practice, any peaceful religion they wish without being persecuted by the government or by other religions. This means all peaceful religions should have the freedom to pray in public and they should also be free to explain their faith to anyone who asks about it. Individuals should not be rewarded or punished if they voluntarily chose to practice or not practice a specific religion. If a government forces a specific religion on its citizens, or if it prohibits a specific religion, then that government is meddling in an area in which it has never, ever been successful since the beginning of recorded history. Man-made rules and regulations will never be an adequate substitute for a faith based voluntary religious system. A peaceful faith based religion encourages its members to support the government, to obey the law, to pay their taxes, and to do an honest day's work. This provides a solid foundation of honest, law-abiding citizens upon which a society and a government can grow and prosper. (Note: As a government gradually grows more corrupt it first discredits, and then persecutes, any form of honest religion because the corrupt government officials do not wish to be held accountable to a higher standard of moral behavior.)
- Financial Freedom: The citizens within a society must be allowed to pursue the path that each one believes is in his or her own best interests. Some of these decisions will be good ones but some will not be good ones. But the freedom to choose is a key principle of true economic prosperity. The opportunity and possibility of earning and enjoying a fair profit is the motivation needed by honest, law-abiding citizens to put forth their very best efforts to be more productive and to try to succeed.
For example, a society may attempt to have the biggest, grandest, most magnificent government the world has ever seen. The obvious problem with this is that a government only manages resources and it doesn't actually produce those resources. The real work is done by the common people within that nation. When a government grows beyond its natural limits then the common people suffer because the government officials confiscate a significant portion of the production of that society and the little that remains is inadequate to meet the basic needs of its citizens. When a government takes advantage of its citizens, those citizens become less productive and the government eventually collapses under its own weight.
As another example, if a society tries to create the most exalted religion the world has ever seen, then the common people will suffer for the same reason mentioned above. The religion will attempt to bring more and more of the nation's resources under its control but the religion does not produce those resources. Once again, the powerful religious leaders will confiscate a disproportionate share of the nation's resources and what remains will be inadequate to support the common people. Poverty will be widespread and living conditions will be substandard for almost everyone except the religious leaders.
Finally, a free market society cannot function smoothly without an efficient infrastructure and just laws (government). A free market society also needs for the majority of the citizens within that society to be moral, ethical, hard-working individuals who try to earn an honest living and an honest profit. Regardless of what you may believe, the vast majority of people will not practice ethical behavior unless there is a strong religious presence within that nation, plus a fair and just set of laws that punish thieves and criminals.
It may seem from the previous discussion that there is very little that you or I can do to prevent a devastating political and financial collapse of the world's economy. This is probably a valid conclusion if you choose to rely on man-made solutions to our current economic and political mess. If you believe that man can somehow solve these problems, then a new "dark age" most likely awaits us in the very near future.
On the other hand, if you turn this matter over to God and you earnestly pray every day that He intervene, and that His will be done regardless of what that might be, then there is a very good chance that a new "golden age" is just around the corner.
I fully realize that this is not a "politically correct" solution in most nations of the world, including the United States of America. But may I please remind you that the vast majority of the founding forefathers of the United States of America were Christians and they did believe in God. In fact, fifty-four of the fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence were Christians and twenty-seven of those had seminary degrees.
The real reason our nation has prospered for the best part of the past 200 years has been our faith in God. If you choose to ignore God then you do so at your own peril, both in this life and in the next life. Regardless of what you believe, each one of us will live forever. The only difference will be where we will spend eternity. (Note: The truth is still the truth regardless of whether or not you choose to personally believe it.)
Therefore, my humble solution to our current economic and political problems is really a very simple one:
- To the extent morally possible, please support your existing government.
- Please pay your taxes without complaining.
- Regardless of who your government leaders are, please pray for them every day in a sincere manner from the depths of your heart.
- Do not be too eager to replace your existing government. You may get something much worse than you already have.
Supporting Reference Scripture Verses
Obey Your Government:
1 Peter 2:13-17: - Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
Titus 3:1-2 - Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
Pay Your Taxes:
Mark 12:13-17 - Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn't we?" But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. "Why are you trying to trap me?" he asked. "Bring me a denarius and let me look at it." They brought the coin, and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?" "Caesar's," they replied. Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him.
Obey Your Government and Pay Your Taxes:
Romans 13:1-7: - Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
When Government Laws Prohibit Peaceful Religious Beliefs:
Mark 7:6-8 - Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: " 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."
Acts 4:19 - But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God."
Acts 5:29 - Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!"
2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Peter 1:21 - For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
James 1:22 - Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
The Result of Prayer:
2 Chronicles 7:14 - if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
The Last Days:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 - But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God -- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
Matthew 10:23 - When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.
Paul flees Damascus:
2 Corinthians 11:32-33 - In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.
Peter flees Jerusalem:
Acts 12:5-10 - So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists. Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
Acts 12:16-17 - But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. "Tell James and the brothers about this," he said, and then he left for another place.
Christians flee Jerusalem:
Acts 7:59 to 8:4 - While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
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