Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Persecuted, Put to Death, and Hated

Right after Jesus said, "All these are the beginning of birth pains," in Matthew 24:8, verse 9 starts with "Then…" and tells us what will happen next:

"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me." (Matthew 24:9)

I don't know if this is happening quite yet here in the United States because things could be so much worse. But I do believe we are seeing the beginning stages of this persecution. (Tweet that!

If we remember what the Nazis under Adolf Hitler's leadership did to the Jewish people in World War II, and also to the Christians who supported and protected them and others Hitler wanted to get rid of such as homosexuals, we are nowhere near that level of persecution today.

Later, in verse 21, Jesus says all these events leading up to His return will be greater than ever before (Tweet that!) : greater wars, greater famines, greater earthquakes, greater roaring and tossing of the seas in hurricanes and tsunamis, greater pestilences…etc. And greater persecution. He said:

21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. (Matthew 24:21)

In light of the torture and abuse of individuals in Hitler's Nazi Germany, that's pretty scary.

While those of living in the United States may not be seeing this kind of persecution, today we are seeing horrible persecution of Christians in other countries. (Tweet that!) Recent stories that come to mind are:

In the United States and probably other western countries, Christians are currently feeling the pressure to hush up and keep Christian principles to themselves. Recent stories within the U.S. that come to mind are:

  • The outrage over the company Hobby Lobby refusing to pay, based on their Christian principles, for contraceptives through Obama-mandated health insurance. "Hobby Lobby law firm plays role in faith cases" The Columbian, July 21, 2014 

Wikipedia Fair Use

If movies in America are any indications of the undercurrents of what people are thinking and feeling, last Friday a new movie released called "Persecuted," a fictional story about a Christian who is framed for crimes he didn't commit because he stands in the way of sweeping religious reform in the United States.

Jesus said, "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me."

The good news is we will not stand alone. Jesus Christ will help us, strengthen us, and will tell us what to say when our time comes. (Tweet that!) Here’s his promise:

11 “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” (Luke 12:11-12)

How will you, as a Christian, now prepare and pray for your future self and those you love to stand firm in your faith as you are persecuted, put to death, and hated? (Tweet that!

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