Jesus warned of persecution that would come as the end nears.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” – Matt. 24:9-13
Persecution and martyrdom is increasing around the world. Much of it is being done by Islamic forces in nations of the Mideast but other nations are also high on the list; India, North Korea, China and Indonesia to name a few. When I visited Israel in the 1970’s Bethlehem was full of Christians but now the PLO has driven all of them out. North Korea punishes anyone daring to have a Bible and China bulldozes down Christian Churches and sends Christians underground, making them 2nd class citizens.
In 2016, 90,000 Christians were killed around the world and persecution is increasing in the west as well. In England you can get jailed for preaching the Bible in public venues and in
Canada you can be arrested for declaring what the Bible says about the homosexual lifestyle. Persecution is on the rise in the United States as well. Army chaplains are being disciplined for refusing to marry same sex couples and in California billboards advertising a Christian Crusade are removed for being “vulgar or offensive” – they showed a picture of Pastor Greg Laurie holding a Bible! And a Pennsylvania town orders a farmer to ‘Cease and Desist’ from holding Bible studies in his home.
Jesus said “because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold”. We can see the direction the world is going – towards anarchy. It is as Psalm 2 declares –
“Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” – Ps. 2:1-3
First they remove prayer from the schools, then the 10 Commandments, then they substitute evolution for the Creation Account, then they legalize homosexual lifestyles, then gay marriage, then transgender-ism, then they attack the Constitution and the rule of law. Next, they attack our Republican form of government and substitute Socialism. Finally they will eliminate all Christian teaching from public view. This is the Antichrist’s strategy. What is sad, is to see so many who call themselves Christian going along with it. The voice of outrage and defiance from the Church is largely silent. I believe that is because the Church has forgotten the power it has in prayer and the Word of God to overcome the devil and his attacks. As the forces of Antichrist attack Christian outreach and businesses the love of many grows cold and they withdraw from the fight. The prophet Daniel described the Antichrist and his attack against believers –
“He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute (literally wear out) the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.” – Dan. 7:25
Recent heavenly signs highlight the nearness of these events and the Blood Red Moons of 2014, 15 and the fulfillment of the Revelation 12 signs remind us of the 3½ years and the 7 year time period the Antichrist will be on the scene.
The rise in Christian persecution also reminds us of the nearness of these end-time events. I challenge you to separate yourself from the world and watch and pray that you may be ready for the coming of the Lord.