BY Pastor Mike Taylor
“ Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12)
21”And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
When I was growing up, I never occurred to me of all the persecution that goes on in the world. To me it was just history and really didn't concern a growing boy in the Midwest. I often wondered, “why would anyone persecute another person, just because they believed in Jesus Christ”. It was very puzzling to me.
It wasn't because these new “Christians” as they were come to be called, were introducing a new god to their already many pagan gods that they worshiped. They knew about many gods that came and were borrowed from the Greeks. They just changed the names that were more popular to their own culture. Most of the time, the Romans were happy to add more gods to their pantheon of religious observances. The more the merrier. They adapted from other cultures including Greek art and literature, and historical myths.
So to the pagan Romans, another god, just didn't make much difference, as the Romans extended their rule throughout the Mediterranean and policy was just to absorb the local deities and cults of other people they conquered, rather than eradicate them.
Rome never felt obligated to promote one pagan god over another, or accept one particular cult. They were a very religious people, although blind to the truth, they were tolerant of other people's beliefs. They actually believed that their devotion to these gods, were the reason why they were able to conquer most of the known world. They based their religion on knowledge, prayer to these gods, and ritual sacrifices, rather than faith and doctrine.
So why did the Roman Empire turn against those who proclaimed Jesus Christ as their only God? Because Christians were not like the rest of religious Rome. They promoted the belief in One True God that provided them all things. And that is where the problem AROSE from. If Jehovah God was the One True God, that meant that the rest of their gods were false. They didn't have rituals, but relied on prayer and faith.
Jesus claimed He was the only God, and that “No man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”
It logically follows then, that the Roman polytheist was doomed, according to Christian theology. The population in those days found that sort of doctrine threatening, even hateful. In fact, that was the charge under which they were persecuted -- they called it a hate crime. Hmmm...where have I heard that before?
Now how could this be? The fact is, the claims of any Christian in the time period made it the enemy of every other belief structure promoted on earth.
Why is that? Because, according to Jesus, any worship of any other god, idol, or anything in creation was in fact, worshiping of the devil. Satan was the cause of the persecution that resulted from those who embraced and made Jesus Christ the center of their religion and we know Satan hates anything to do with Jesus Christ.
Remember what Jesus said concerning pagan worship, and the worship of false gods?
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." (Matthew 10:34-36)
ROME MAKES A QUICK DRESS CHANGE
When the Roman Empire imploded and was taken over by the new Caesars who renamed themselves “popes” and changed their soldier uniform for a robe and fish hat known as the miter, modeled after the fish god Dagon, persecution continued unabated and surpassed the level of persecution that the Roman Empire committed by millions. The amount of those who died at the hands of the “holy” Roman Empire, known then as the so called “church” has flucuated from 50 million on up, but you will find the priest of today who attempt to minimize the amount of carnage and try and justify the amount slain as insignificant. When is even one life killed out of desire for complete control and power, a minimal incident? Not to mention that one person was over 50 million people or more. This carnage continued to include the Protestant Reformation when many of their priest and followers became fed up with their “terrorism” of the population who would not follow the letter of their “law”.
FALL OF THE “HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE”
The fall of this Gnostic religion came at the hands of a general in Napolean Bonapartes siege of Rome, including the Vatican when in 1809, Pope Pius VII was held prisoner at Castle Savona at Genoa, and was taken to France in the cold winter and left outside for days outside its gates. Thus the papacy was broken.
Not until the United States Constitution First enumerated freedom under the Bill of Rights, protecting freedom of religion, did persecution take a downward trend. As those who came to this country were looking for religious freedome and ability to worship God however they chose.
America had not known religious persecution during my years of growing up, but all that is slowing changing in our modern times as Christianity is numbered along with terrorist groups, especially Fundamental Christianity as a hate crime group. IN the past, Christianity was the default religion of this nation, so no protection was needed, because our Constitution guaranteed those rights, but all of that is changing.
We see Christian businesses that refuse to lower their Christian beliefs to accommodate unbiblical behavior, whether it be same sex marriage, homosexuality, or anything that goes against a Christian's beliefs. Was a time that no one thought of marriage as anything but one man, one woman for life. But as the divorce rate has sky rocketed, and life of anyone from the womb to the grave was not deemed sacred, then the nation, this nation has gone further down the road to political and religious ruin.
In this last election, the Christian of this nation finally woke up and saw the peril this nation was in, and their choices were limited to two candidates, one who was an obvious criminal and not fit to be voted as POTUS, and another who although not perfect, as he had many things in his past that the liberal left has tried to sway the opinion of America, as they just could not believe that their democrat darling would not be elected and continue the past administration slide to a one world government and our abdicating our sovereignty for a one world coalition through the United Nations. But thank the Lord, the right man got into the White House....Love him, or hate him, he has a vision to make American Great Again, and no one can say that he hasn't begun just that in the last year and the first year of his presidency. May God give him 7 more.
I truly believe, that POTUS Trump slowed the downhill slide of this nation, at least temporarily and has become a staunch friend of our only ally in the Middle East that is a democratic government. I remember what God said to Abraham when He made him promises concerning his coming offspring who would become as numerous as the stars of heaven.
2 “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3, And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3)
Because of our becoming a friend of Israel, the blessing will come to this nation, if and I say if, Trump steers clear of dividing Isreal for any reason. God will bless us, if we bless Israel. Anytime that Israel was put into a corner, or action taken trying to take land away from God's people, which is God's land, catastrophe hit these shores. It's high time that we treat Israel for what she is. Many ask me why I support Trump. I believe even though he is flawed, (but aren't we all) God may use him to further benefits to Israel and defend her. He may even be a modern day King Cyrus for the near future benefit of God's people and His land. That is until God pulls everyone out of the way for the Gog-Magog war, but I believe that happens in the coming Tribulation.
THE COMING PERSECUTION IN THE TRIBULATION
As we wind down this age, called in the religious community, “the Age of Grace, or the Age of the Church”, the return of Jesus Christ becomes more apparent, but as we don't know the exact time of His return things could get rather dangerous in the coming years. The label of being a Christian Fundamentalist could be the most dangerous label to affix to any person having the misfortune of living through the horrific time known as the Tribulation.
But what is a Christian Fundamentalist? It is a person or persons who stand for the fundamental doctrines found in your Bible and are believed by faith.
By the turn of the 20th century, American theological conservatives had identified five basic Christian fundamentals which most of you will recognize from the my basic statement of faith:
- The Divine Authorship, inspiration and authority of Scripture.
- The Virgin Birth of Christ.
- The Atoning Work of the Cross.
- The historical reality of Jesus Christ and His earthly ministry.
- The historical
reality of Jesus' bodily resurrection and ascension.
They have believed the promises of God when speaking of Israel and supports Israel's right to exist and to defend herself. To the Christian community this belief exist in their doctrine as well as in their politics. And as we know, the world hates us for that.
This position will not be tolerated in the coming Tribulation, as the horrors that abounded in the Middle Ages will return on steroids headed by a man they call the False Prophet. As Jesus told His apostles in Matthew 24.
15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-24)
Here Jesus was speaking to Jewish men relating what will happen to their nation in the end of days. In this chapter, the focus is on Israel, not on any other people, but this terror will spread to all other religions who do not bow the knee to the same Gnostic Church that inhabited the Middle Ages, and will come to power once again, all but for a brief flash of their former glory, which will end in flames.
2 “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”(Revelation 15:2-3)
“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”(Revelation 14:1-4)
There are many verses in this apocalyptic book that gives an impression of mass executions, although the last two passage quoted remind me of those who are Jewish by birth, but there are others that speak of worldwide persecution of all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, "A servant is not greater than his master." If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” (John 15:18-21)
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (Revelation20:4)
But as we learned in the past series of the study of Revelation, the True Church of the Living God who believes by faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ will not be on this earth to see the culmination of the most horrific time in all of man's evil history. The Bible is full of verses that support that even though we have tribulation on this earth every day, we have to put our faith and trust in the only Way, the Truth and the Life, back to God our Father in heaven. Let us quote just a few, that says that the coming persecution of the Christians and Jews during this coming Tribulation of 7 years will not touch us.
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ”, (1st Thessalonians 5:9)
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:7-10)
“19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:19-21)
Jesus proclaimed our coming reward and a companion verse, I believe of the above passage.....
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
What is the way? I will tell you in a moment........
And a big one, in just a short verse tells us that the True Church of the Living God will NOT see the coming wrath of God that starts in chapter 6 of Revelation when Jesus opens the first seal for the title deed of all Creation.
“10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:10-11)
The above verses giving a Divine promise from our Lord and Redeemer that the church will not see any portion of God's Wrath. As I have mentioned in the past, the phrase in Revelation 3:10, “Keep thee from” is a Greek word “EK” is translated “out of being separated from the event by time and space” not through the Tribulation as some believe, but removed from its having anything to do with God's Church.
Sadly, on earth, tribulation has overcome those who still live. They either take the “mark of the beast” whenever it is foisted upon the people, or reject it and pay their rejection with their lives. How do I know that the church is not on earth, besides the obvious verses above? Jesus told us,
33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Each person on this earth that belongs to Jesus Christ, has a deposit, an earnest of the Holy Spirit residing within himself, or herself. Satan cannot overcome the Holy Spirit, so this side of the Tribulation, the Church who follows after Jesus Christ cannot be overcome by Satan . But wait a minute, the coming of the Anti-Christ says he will overcome the saints?
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelation 13:7)
If Satan cannot overcome the saints while they are indwelt by God's Holy Spirit, then the only explanation, is that the Tribulation saints have no such guarantee. They are not sealed as the Church is and has been. They must guard their salvation at every event that comes against them. But on the flip, if God allows us to overcome within the church, then how can Satan overcome us, or has the Holy Spirit been removed and left us defenseless as Paul told us?
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,” (2nd Thessalonians 2:6-9)
Since Jesus only spoke truth, then He will not leave us defenseless and if the AC can't overcome those with God's Holy Spirit seal on their lives, then it further proves, the church is not on this earth. Only those who accept Jesus as Savior, after the Holy Spirit is pulled back to Pre-Pentecostal times will allowed to be overcome by the Anti-Christ and Satan. Pre-Trib Christians cannot be overcome.
TRIBULATION ON THE HORIZON
Make no mistake about it, reader. Tribulation and its persecution is coming. It will make what that Gnostic Church did in the Middle Ages pale in comparison. Not to mention all the plagues, and destruction from God's wrath raining down on the nations who are in rebellion against a Holy God. At that time, God has been most patient, but the judgments grow stronger and stronger in an ever crescendo type of judgment, as God attempts to turn men to repentance and give Him glory. But sadly, millions will not and will swim in their idolatry and unrighteousness. When it becomes clear that the remnant of mankind that is left on the earth cannot be redeemed, Jesus will come and finish wiping this planet clean of all human life that are in rebellion against Him. (Revelation 19:11-15)...
Will you escape what is coming upon the earth? Will you be able to claim VICTORY in Jesus?? Frankly, you will not with the coming judgments of God's wrath and the depravity of sinful men who take human life indiscriminately, unless you repent and turn to Jesus. How can a person get this victory? By believing on the One whom God hath sent.
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:28-29)
That's the key, my friend. Jesus has already come to this earth. He has already paid the price for your salvation. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father now, just waiting for the go ahead and come to bring God's Children home, and His own bride. Will you be among them? Or will you succumb to the wrath and worldwide death that men will bring upon humanity, and the wrath of God who slays rebellious mankind as grapes are crushed in the winepress? I would say that it is an easy choice, if you know your destination. That destination would be heaven in acceptance or hell in rebellion. I call on those who believe that this world is headed for sure destruction, to come to Jesus while you have the chance in this life, as there is NO OTHER chance once death sweeps over your face. How do you receive Jesus in this life? Glad you asked?
16 “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:16-19)
Then out of sheer joy, you wish to tell others. Tell your loved ones, tell your friends, tell your co-workers, or anyone you happen to meet. Jesus said, “if you Me deny before men, I will deny you before my Father in heaven”....Tell everyone.
8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
The END of this age is right in front of you...you only have a short time left, should you live, to make a decision for Jesus Christ, as you, and none of us are promised even tomorrow. Jesus could come tonight, so we must be ready all times. I ask you......ARE YOU READY? Persecution during the tribulation is just over the horizon or right around the corner. It's close, very close.
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying for your salvation. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com, God bless you all,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET