Concerning Hatred for Christians, We Can Catch a Glimpse of the Future
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INTRODUCTION: Jesus instructed His disciples, as they prepared to spread the Gospel into the world (Matthew 10:16-18, 21-22a, 28): "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as testimony to them and to the Gentiles.... Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake.... And do not fear those who will kill the body but cannot kill the soul.... But rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell." [my underlining]
I present a few Internet reference sites. Please click on issues of interest to you. We are at the end of time, and anti-Christian harassment, persecution, and martyrdom are escalating.
BACKGROUND: A very brief synopsis of hatred against Christians follows:
Martyrdom of Stephen: The first recorded Christian martyr was Stephen, an exemplary believer (Acts, chapters 6 and 7). Stephen was martyred in AD 34 because of his faith in Jesus (Acts 7:54-60). Note one remarkable statement in this passage. Jesus was usually described as seated at the right hand of God, but Stephen saw Jesus standing (Acts 7:56). No reason is given, but I like to think that Jesus stood out of appreciation and respect for Stephen and all martyrs who would follow him.
Martyrs who followed Stephen: Many believers did indeed follow Stephen. Used as scapegoats by Roman emperors, many were put to death in inhumane, painful ways. Sixteenth century English historian John Foxe recorded some of the deaths in his Book of Martyrs. This classic book, which has inspired and shaped the thoughts of many persons, may be read online. One inspiring impression gained from this book is that Christian martyrs throughout the centuries have gone to their deaths joyfully, serenely, and expectantly. Roman guards could not understand these unusual people, who faced certain death with such hopeful anticipation.
Current martyrdom: Christian martyrdom is not just an act of deranged, evil Roman emperors. Italian journalist Antonio Socci estimates that 70-million believers have been killed solely because of their faith. Of these, 45.5-million were martyred in the Twentieth Century. That is, of every three Christian martyrs, two were killed in the last century. There are, of course, more people living now than in previous centuries, but this high number shows that Christians are still being martyred at a shocking rate.
Future martyrdom: Please use your own Bible to read selected Scriptures about future martyrdom (BR= before Rapture. T=during Tribulation)
FIGHT BACK AGAINST ANTI-CHRISTIAN DISCRIMINATION: Nations and the world are in the present weak, apostate condition because of the passive mindset of the majority of pastors and church members.
It is comforting to think of the gentle Jesus, who came two-thousand years ago to heal, comfort, and teach us about love. Beautiful hymns and children's stories are told of this gentle Jesus. But, this Jesus was not as passive as many think. Even during His ministry as a Lamb, Jesus showed toughness against evil. For example, He came not to bring peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34ff); He indignantly overturned the moneychangers' tables and cast them out of the Temple (Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15); and He told His followers to sell their possessions and purchase swords (Luke 22:35-36).
At His second coming (at the end of the Tribulation), Jesus is depicted as the King of kings and Lord of lords; mounted on a white stallion, with His robe drenched in blood and holding a rod of iron; ready to make war against evil; treading on the winepress of the fury of God Almighty (Revelation 19:11-21).
Jewish rabbis have never grasped this dual nature of Messiah. Old Testament Scriptures clearly described a Person the rabbis call HaMashiach ben Yosef (Messiah, Son of Joseph— Joseph the patriarch) and HaMashiach ben David (Messiah, Son of David), holding that two Messiahs must come. Christians recognize one Messiah, coming twice with dual missions and approaches. The indignation of God the Father and Jesus against man's sin and the persecution of His children should not be candy-coated. We Christians are in a war— a war for the souls of our family, friends, and neighbors. Christians in some parts of the world are even in a war to preserve their lives.
GOD HAS PREPARED YOU TO BE A WARRIOR: There has always been a battle between God and Satan for the souls of mankind. Why God, the superior Being, would allow this battle to be waged by Satan, the inferior being, is a mystery. God has prepared us to engage in this struggle as His warriors, though. Examples of our preparations include:
HOW ARE SOME WAYS YOU CAN FIGHT AGAINST ANTI-CHRISTIAN ACTIVITIES? I will give a few examples, but many more could be added. I will include only legal, non-violent examples. (A Christian should not be involved in illegal, violent activities.)
APOLOGY: Subscribers to this newsletter live in all continents (except Antarctica, of course). I live in the United States, as do the majority of my subscribers. I apologize that my examples are American in nature. I cannot include contact information for citizens in all nations. If you are not an American, there are similar opportunities for you in your country, but you will need to find email addresses on your own.
Government officials: In my opinion, the federal government is spiraling out of control and its activities are often at variance with God's word. However, we should always present our views to two of the three branches of our government— the Executive and Legislative Branches. I omit the third branch, the Judicial Branch, because justices/ judges will likely disregard comments from the public.
Political parties: Political parties are influential in shaping political dialog. The two major parties are:
Network television programming: There is frequently programming that is offensive to Christians. A spectrum of behavior that might affect Christians may start out rather blandly, and eventually progress to much more serious activities. This spectrum may be: mockery >> discrimination >> harassment >> persecution >> martyrdom.
Recall a statement apparently made by Martin Niemoller, a Christian pastor who survived the hell of Nazi Germany:
"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didnít speak up because I wasnít a Communist; and then they came for the trade unionists, and I didnít speak up because I wasnít a trade unionist; and then they came for the Jews, and I didnít speak up because I wasnít a Jew; and then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up."
Complain— and enlist complaints from your friends and fellow church members— about anti-Christian and immoral statements and programming:
Local television programming: Contact your local television station by telephone (listed in your local telephone directory) or by email (obtain contact information through a search engine, e.g., Google).
Cable/ satellite television programming: There are too many of these channels to list them all. Obtain contact information through a search engine, e.g., Google.
Advertisers: The most effective way to protest offensive programming may be by a complaint lodged with the program's sponsor(s). A sponsor wishes to sell you a product or service, not offend you and possibly drive you to a competitor. Complain to the sponsor(s) of an offensive program. Find the contact information for a sponsor through a search engine, e.g., Google. An exceptionally useful Website to reach major corporations is All My Faves. Dozens of corporations' logos appear on this site's home page. Click on any logo, and you will be routed to that corporation's Website.
Newspapers/ magazines: Again, there are too many print media products to list them all. Obtain contact information through a search engine, e.g., Google.
A standard to watch: You probably have observed that many media reports and programs exclusively target Christians, but not persons of other faiths. People curse in the Christian God's name, but not in the name of Allah or gods of other faiths. People mock Jesus, but not Mohammad. People denigrate The Holy Bible, but not the Koran. And so forth. Muslims, for example, will not tolerate mockery of Allah or Mohammad, but Christians snicker or overlook jokes about or diatribes against our God and Jesus. We receive, what we allow.
Pray: James wrote (James 5:16b): The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
CONCLUSION: I have only scratched the surface of this subject, but certain truths should be apparent to you:
WORLDWIDE PERSECUTION: As previously explained, I have written mostly about anti-Christian problems in America, but these problems pale in comparison to problems in other countries.