LAST DAYS PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IS ESCALATING

GOD”S WORD TELLS US CHRISTIANS WILL BE PERSECUTED IN THE LAST DAYS

If you are being used by God to bring many to Christ then you can expect to be the focus of Satan’s minions to stop you and discredit your efforts.

What has happened to Torben Sondergaad of The Last Reformation movement is stark evidence of the extent of the persecution coming our way. You need to watch this video. The following short summary by Torben should get your attention.

I have waited many months to share this with you. This is somehow the hardest and most emotional video I have ever done. But it is also a big relief to finally get this out. Yes, we are seeking Asylum in America, and I would like to share some of the crazy things that have happened in the last six months. We have experienced a crazy and organised persecution from many sides – a persecution that ended up with us leaving Denmark with 8 suitcases, in order to not go to jail, or lose our kids. Later, even going through a spiritual battle like never before, ending up in a hospital, thinking I was going to die. But it has also been a time with fasting and a closeness to Christ that I have never experienced before… How God has come to us, again and again, when we couldn’t take any more… How a man I didn’t know gave me a lot of money in an airport, and how we saw very strong miracles!

HOW GOD USES CATASTROPHES FOR HIS PURPOSE

MUSLIM SYRIANS WHO SUFFERED UNDER ISIS NOW TURNING TO CHRISTIANITY

Image: Church of the Brethren in Kobane, Syria

Syrians gather outside the Church of the Brethren in Kobani, Syria.NBC News

In 2015, Kobani was the centre in the battle against ISIS.  It was also there that US-led forces beat back ISIS terrorists and liberated the city before finally ending the group’s hold over Iraq and Syria.  Many of the new converts to Christ say the violence ISIS brought to their region left them disillusioned with Islam.  Many Muslims became agnostic or atheist, others turned to Jesus and opened up Kobani’s first church in decades called “Church of the Brethren.”  It is the only evangelical church in Kobani.  “After the war with ISIS people were looking for the right path, and distancing themselves from Islam,”  church founder Omar Firas said. “People were scared and felt lost.”

Firas said approximately 80 to 100 people in Kobani now worship at the evangelical church. “We meet on Tuesdays and hold a service on Fridays.  It is open to anyone who wants to join,” he said.  Firas founded the church while a new representative form of government in northeast Syria called the “Self Administration of Syria” (SANES) was emerging.  The SANES controls a third of Syria between the Tigris and Euphrates River and guarantees freedom of religion to all of the 4 million people within its borders.  Firas told CBN News his church would never have been allowed under ISIS. “We can express our rituals with complete freedom,” he said.

 

PROPHESIED END TIMES GENOCIDE OF CHRISTIANS

Christian persecution ‘at near genocide levels,’ was the title of a May 3rd BBC report citing a lengthy interim study ordered by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and led by Rev. Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro.

According to the BBC report, one in three people around the world suffer from religious persecution, with Christians being “the most persecuted religious group.”

“Christianity‘is at risk of disappearing’ in some parts of the world,” it noted, and “In some regions, the level and nature of persecution is arguably coming close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”

The BBC report highlights “political correctness” as being especially responsible for the West’s indifference. However, the truth is, Jesus said in the “last days”, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by the nations for My name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9. Satan knows his end is near, so it is all out spiritual warfare against Christians and Jews.

Jesus principal warning for the “end of the age” was “Take heed that no one deceives you” Matthew 24:4. Deception will be rife with many false prophets and teachers. Is this not what we are seeing in our day?

Although the BBC report has an entire heading titled and devoted to the impact of “political correctness,” ironically, it too succumbs to this contemporary Western malady. For while it did a fair job in highlighting the problem, it said nothing about its causes — not one word about who is persecuting Christians, or why.

The overwhelming majority of Christian persecution, however, occurs in Muslim majority nations. According to Open Doors’ World Watch List 2019 [WWL], which surveys the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted, “Islamic oppression continues to impact millions of Christians.”

In seven of the absolute worst 10 nations, “Islamic oppression” is the cause of persecution. For millions of Christians—particularly those who grew up Muslim or were born into Muslim families—openly following Jesus can have painful consequences,” including death.

Among the worst persecutors are those that rule according to Islamic law, or Sharia — which academics such as Georgetown University’s John Esposito insist is equitable and just. Once again, Scripture tells us that in the last days they will call evil good and good evil.

As I have suggested in previous posts, the Final Empire of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 is a revived but divided fourth Empire (Ottoman Empire) – an Islamic Caliphate which the Antichrist will rule, partially overcoming the Sunni/Shia divide. Also, confirmation is given to Daniel with the terrifying Beast of Daniel 7 with teeth of iron and claws of bronze that devoured everything. Out of the beast grow ten horns – is a revived Islamic Caliphate.

‘Christianity is not permitted to exist’

In Afghanistan (ranked #2) , “Christianity is not permitted to exist,” says the WWL 2019, because it “is an Islamic state by constitution, which means government officials, ethnic group leaders, religious officials and citizens are hostile toward” Christians.

Similarly, in Somalia, (#3), “The Christian community is small and under constant threat of attack. Sharia law and Islam are enshrined in the country’s constitution, and the persecution of Christians almost always involves violence.”

In Iran (#9), “society is governed by Islamic law, which means the rights and professional possibilities for Christians are heavily restricted.”

Equally telling is that 38 of the 50 nations making the WWL 2019 are Muslim majority.

Here are a few of the more significant quotes from the Bishop of Truro’s report:

– “The persecution of Christians is perhaps at its most virulent in the region of the birthplace of Christianity—the Middle East & North Africa.”

“In countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia the situation of Christians and other minorities has reached an alarming stage.”

– “The eradication of Christians and other minorities on pain of ‘the sword’ or other violent means was revealed to be the specific and stated objective of [Islamic] extremist groups in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, north-east Nigeria and the Philippines.”

– “There is mass violence which regularly expresses itself through the bombing of churches, as has been the case in countries such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia.”

– “The single-greatest threat to Christians [in Nigeria] … came from Islamist militant group Boko Haram, with US intelligence reports in 2015 suggesting that 200,000 Christians were at risk of being killed… Those worst affected included Christian women and girls ‘abducted, and forced to convert, enter forced marriages, sexual abuse and torture.’”

“An intent to erase all evidence of the Christian presence [in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, north-east Nigeria and the Philippines] was made plain by the removal of crosses, the destruction of Church buildings and other Church symbols. The killing and abduction of clergy represented a direct attack on the Church’s structure and leadership.”

– “Christianity now faces the possibility of being wiped-out in parts of the Middle East where its roots go back furthest. In Palestine, Christian numbers are below 1.5 percent; in Syria the Christian population has declined from 1.7 million in 2011 to below 450,000 and in Iraq, Christian numbers have slumped from 1.5 million before 2003 to below 120,000 today. Christianity is at risk of disappearing, representing a massive setback for plurality in the region.”

Fortunately, the BBC has stopped trying to minimise the spectre of Christian persecution as it did in 2013, when this situation was just starting to reach the boiling point.

PASTORS: READ WHAT CORRIE TEN BOOM HAD TO SAY ABOUT A PRETRIBULATION RAPTURE

How much we can learn from the saints that have gone before us, who lived through intense persecution. Corrie Ten Boom is one such saint. She wrote this letter in 1974.

“The world is deathly ill. It is dying. The Great Physician has already signed the death certificate. Yet there is still a great work for Christians to do. They are to be streams of living water, channels of mercy to those who are still in the world. It is possible for them to do this because they are overcomers. Christians are ambassadors for Christ. They are representatives from Heaven to this dying world. And because of our presence here, things will change. My sister, Betsy, and I were in the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck because we committed the crime of loving Jews. Seven hundred of us from Holland, France, Russia, Poland and Belgium were herded into a room built for two hundred. As far as I knew, Betsy and I were the only two representatives of Heaven in that room. We may have been the Lord’s only representatives in that place of hatred, yet because of our presence there, things changed. Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33) We too, are to be overcomers – bringing the light of Jesus into a world filled with darkness and hate.

Sometimes I get frightened as I read the Bible, and as I look in this world and see all of the tribulation and persecution promised by the Bible coming true. Now I can tell you, though, if you too are afraid, that I have just read the last pages. I can now come to shouting “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” for I have found where it is written that Jesus said, “He that overcomes shall inherit all things: and I will be His God, and he shall be My son.” (Revelation 21:7) This is the future and hope of this world. Not that the world will survive – but that we shall be overcomers in the midst of a dying world.

A Prisoner And Yet... By Corrie Ten Boom

Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick. “Yes, the Lord will heal me,” Betsy said with confidence. She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day. It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that. Yet because of Betsy’s death, today I am travelling all over the world telling people about Jesus. There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution.

In China, the Christians were told, “Don’t worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured.” Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, “We failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution, rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes, to stand and not faint.”

I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next. Since I have already gone through prison for Jesus’ sake, and since I met the Bishop in China, now every time I read a good Bible text I think, “Hey, I can use that in the time of tribulation.” Then I write it down and learn it by heart. When I was in the concentration camp, a camp where only twenty percent of the women came out alive, we tried to cheer each other up by saying, “Nothing could be any worse than today.” But we would find the next day was even worse. During this time a Bible verse that I had committed to memory gave me great hope and joy. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. (1 Peter 4:14-15) I found myself saying, “Hallelujah! Because I am suffering (for the name of Christ), Jesus is glorified!” In America, the churches sing, “Let the congregation escape tribulation”, but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred in Africa. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation.

Several years ago I was in Africa in a nation where a new government had come into power. The first night I was there some of the Christians were commanded to come to the police station to register. When they arrived they were arrested and that same night they were executed. The next day the same thing happened with other Christians. The third day it was the same. All the Christians in the district were being systematically murdered. The fourth day I was to speak in a little church. The people came, but they were filled with fear and tension. All during the service they were looking at each other, their eyes asking, “Will this one I am sitting beside be the next one killed? Will I be the next one?” The room was hot and stuffy with insects that came through the screen less windows and swirled around the naked bulbs over the bare wooden benches. I told them a story out of my childhood. “When I was a little girl, I went to my father and said, “Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.” “Tell me,” said Father, “When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?” “No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.” “That is right,” my father said, “and so it is with God’s strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need, just in time.” My African friends were nodding and smiling. Suddenly a spirit of joy descended upon that church and the people began singing, “In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.” Later that week, half the congregation of that church was executed. I heard later that the other half was killed some months ago. But I must tell you something. I was so happy that the Lord used me to encourage these people, for unlike many of their leaders, I had the word of God. I had been to the Bible and discovered that Jesus said He had not only overcome the world, but to all those who remained faithful to the end, He would give a crown of life. How can we get ready for the persecution? First we need to feed on the Word of God, digest it, and make it a part of our being. This will mean disciplined Bible study each day as we not only memorise long passages of scripture, but put the principles to work in our lives. Next we need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just the Jesus of yesterday, the Jesus of History, but the life-changing Jesus of today who is still alive and sitting at the right hand of God. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is not an optional command of the Bible, it is absolutely necessary. Those earthly disciples could never have stood up under the persecution of the Jews and Romans had they not waited for Pentecost. Each of us needs our own personal Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We will never be able to stand in the tribulation without it.

In the coming tribulation we must be ready to help each other and encourage each other. But we must not wait until the persecution comes before starting. The fruit of the Spirit should be the dominant force of every Christian’s life. Many are fearful of the coming tribulation. They want to run. I, too, am a little bit afraid when I think that after all my eighty years, including the horrible Nazi  concentration camp that I might have to go through the tribulation also. But then I read the Bible and I am glad. When I am weak, then I shall be strong, the Bible says. Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord, we were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us. That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through. No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes. Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you. For seventy-six years I have known the Lord Jesus and not once has He ever left me, or let me down. Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. (Job 13:15) I know that to all who overcome, He shall give the crown of life. Hallelujah! ” – Corrie Ten Boom – 1974

 

 

 

PASTORS – PREPARE FOR THE COMING TRIBULATION

There are thousands of pastors out there that should be preparing the bride of Christ for the coming tribulation, but instead they are taking the easy road.  Since most American and many Australian Christians have embraced the Pre Tribulation position due to best selling books such as The Left Behind Series it is comforting for them to get confirmation from their pastors that they won’t face the Antichrist nor the great tribulation spoken of in Revelation. And yet Scripture is replete with warnings such as Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  2 Timothy 3:12

Moreover, Matthew 24:29-31, Mark 13:24-27 Luke 21:25-28 clearly teach that the Rapture takes place “immediately after the tribulation of those days

Paul confirms itLet no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one anotherThen many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. Matt. 24: 9-12

It was granted to him (Antichrist) to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. Revelation 13:7

All of the apostles were killed for their faith.  Some early Christian leaders were stoned, others were killed by sword or spear, and some were even reportedly crucified upside down. Later on, the Roman Empire invented even more sadistic ways to kill Christians.  Entire families were fed to lions, and one emperor even lit the roads with the burning bodies of Christians that he had killed. During the Dark Ages, the popes of Roman Catholicism tortured and killed millions that did not submit to their authority.  Great men of God were burned at the stake for “crimes” such as translating the Bible into English and preaching a gospel of salvation by faith. Even today, Christians are being raped, tortured, beheaded and crucified by radical Islamic groups in the Middle East such as ISIS. Once again, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.2 Timothy 3:10-12

Paul to the church at Thessalonica: “and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow labourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.” 1 Thessalonians 3:2-4

It is sad to contemplate that many Christians will be faced with horrors that they have never been prepared for.  Perhaps many will deeply question their faith or give in to despair and depression. Even of more concern, some may commit suicide so that they can get the “escape” that they were promised.

Ultimately, it really will come down to whether you will trust God regardless of your circumstances, knowing He is in control and will be with you every step of the way, just as He was with the early martyrs. Be encouraged, read some of their stories in Foxe’s Book of the Martyrs (updated 2006).

In fact, knowing Jesus return is not too far off we should be excited and committed to making sure we are in the centre of His will for the short time we have left on this planet and prior to meeting Him at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb – Revelation 19:7.

 

 

WE NEED MORE ISRAEL FOLAU’S : COURAGEOUS FOR CHRIST

Thank goodness for articles like this one from Alan Jones in THE AUSTRALIAN.

“The issue around Folau is really quite simple. You either believe in God or you don’t. You are either a Christian or you are not.

But if you are a Christian, or claim to be a Christian and you do believe in heaven and hell, and the word of Jesus Christ, then you should be living according to God’s word.

Or are some people pretending to be Christians and picking and choosing which doctrines they will adhere to?

Israel Folau with his wife Maria at Kenthurst Uniting Church after a Sunday service. Picture: Hollie Adams

Israel Folau with his wife Maria at Kenthurst Uniting Church after a Sunday service

If you are a Christian, what Folau posted is truth. You might think it is out of date or not relevant or not contemporary, but a committed Christian believes in that so could not in any way be offended.

And if you are not a Christian, then there is no such thing as hell. So what is the kerfuffle?

Thank goodness for social media.

As I have said, it is clear Rugby Australia either can’t read or do not care about their constituency, or both. Or are they comforted by the fact that everyone on the payroll has toed the party line.

How extraordinary that not one single person on the payroll of Rugby Australia has dared to step out of line and say simply that this Folau issue is a heap of crock.

I was asked to write two pieces for The Australian last week. It is a matter of public record that they were viewed by more than 2.3 million people on my Facebook page. There were more than 10,000 individual comments.

On The Australian’s website, where you can only comment if you are a subscriber, there were 1900 further individual comments.

The overwhelming majority of these comments support Folau and his right to basic freedoms.

Rugby Australia argue that one of their values is “inclusiveness”, but they don’t want to “include” Folau; more importantly, they obviously don’t want to “include” the supporters of the game.

There is a golden rule in life. When you are digging a hole for yourself and getting deeper and deeper into trouble, it is a good idea to stop digging.

Yet here are Rugby Australia, on the wrong side of their constituency on almost every other issue, now isolating thousands of fans by prosecuting Folau for expressing his religious beliefs. The public comments are telling:

Carolyn: “Thank you Alan for such a well-written article. May God richly bless you for standing up and supporting this young man and the right of all Christians to share our faith.”

That is a touch indulgent, but Carolyn is surely entitled to her view.

Or, when Rugby talks “diversity”, does it really mean “uniformity”?

Fred: “If they drop Folau, I’ll drop rugby. No support, no going to games, no watching it on TV.”

Susan: “This is discrimination and humiliation of an individual on the basis of his religious beliefs. The only victim here is Israel Folau.”

Adam: “I spend $1500 a year on tickets to watch the Wallabies. This year I won’t be spending a cent. Leave Israel alone Rugby Australia.”

Cassie: “Why was Alan Joyce allowed to use his platform as Qantas CEO to push his agenda and Folau not?”

Maria: “Goodbye rugby union. I have been a fan of the Wallabies since I was young. You have lost me forever.”

Andrew: “I’m out. I’m done with rugby. I’ll never watch it again.”

John: “The RA Board needs to go and so does the CEO of Qantas.”

Corey: “Political correctness has infected all media and sports codes. Rugby Australia are scared to offend a 2 per cent minority.”

George: “The Folau incident is forcing us to ponder … are we still a Christian country?”

Gerrard: “It is amazing how politicians are praised for respecting our Christian traditions by not campaigning at Easter but Israel Folau loses his job for upholding the same traditions. Perhaps we need rugby sponsors who believe and uphold our western Judaeo-Christian values.”

At least Kent put a smile on our faces when he wrote: “My experience of hell is watching the Wallabies play.”

There are simple fundamental questions at work here. Can a sponsor include any conditions it likes to control the activities of all the employees of the organisation it is sponsoring?

Yet the same sponsor can enter a commercial partnership with countries that openly commit atrocities against gay people.

This has all reached farcical proportions. I see one headline which says: “If Rugby Australia doesn’t successfully expel Folau, World Rugby will have to.”

Are these people on something? This is brewing as a massive and expensive legal issue. There are tens of thousands of people signing petitions in support of a world-class player.

Rugby Australia seem to be driving the process as an employment contract breach. Folau and his supporters see this as an infringement of civil liberties; that citizens of this so-called free country should be entitled to share their religious beliefs.

All Folau has done is quote 2000-year-old scripture.

As Thomas Jefferson said in relation to the US constitutional right to the freedom of speech, expressing one’s own beliefs, is “neither picking my pocket nor breaking my leg”.

The politically correct do-gooders do not have to listen to or agree with Folau.

But if Folau was offering a Christian warning to so-called sinners, and he managed to rope us all in, I was made aware of a more significant warning only this week by someone who read what I had written.

I was reminded that Martin Niemöller, a German theologian, had been a prominent pastor of an influential parish in Berlin-Dahlem from 1931 until his arrest in July 1937.

His incarceration, first in Moabit Prison, then in Sachsenhausen and finally in Dachau in 1945 brought feelings of shame and guilt for some of his positions since 1933.

And it prompted his famous confession: “First, they came for the socialists and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

What an incongruity on this matter that some speak out because money speaks; and some are frightened to speak out because money speaks.

If Folau is wrong, then do we burn the Bible?

The German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine once declared: “Wherever books are burnt, humans are destined to be burnt too.”

Folau now faces a code of conduct panel. His post was on April 10.

The hearing is on May 4. What does that say about justice delayed? And what anyway is the panel about?

Rugby Australia has ignored its own processes and protocols. Before any chance was given for Folau to defend himself, he has been punished, condemned, defamed and humiliated.

After all, NSW played last week. He was not picked. The Australian coach says he won’t be picked for the Wallabies.

The captain of Australia and NSW says he won’t play in the same team as Folau. Will selectors tell that young man that he doesn’t pick the team? Or has the whole show gone completely mad?

Do the professionally offended believe they have won? If Folau is finished, I am sorry but Rugby Australia is finished too.

The administrative changes that I have argued for, for months now, must immediately occur.

But on this issue, there can be only one result; and how the phalanx of people advising Rugby Australia don’t see it is unbelievable. Stop digging the hole. Stop further damaging the game. Stop dragging this mess out any further. Have the decency to practice the “inclusiveness” you boast about.

We need a leader to bring all parties together and start again. Rugby Australia and Qantas cannot win. If they win, Australia loses.

One final point. Please tell the volunteers and the battlers out there in clubland that Qantas should be made to pay for all the costs involved. Without their involvement, we would not be in this space. And if Qantas have not put the gun to the head of Rugby Australia, say so and I am happy to report it.

But back to where we began. Can someone in Rugby Australia read the judgment of the Federal Court in Brisbane 10 days ago in relation to the distinguished James Cook University professor Peter Ridd.

He too was sacked for expressing sincerely held scientific views.

The Federal court found the university’s treatment of this eminent professor was unlawful. Termination became vindication.

I suspect a similar outcome awaits Folau.

PREPARE FOR JESUS COMING RETURN

This following testimony is from Cody Archer. Cody Archer, along with his wife, Liat, help lead the youth group at Ahavat Yeshua and work together in Revive Israel’s international department.

In preparation for the coming prophesied persecution, it is important you read Cody’s testimony now to help you prepare for what lies ahead.

The following verses from Revelation reveal how believers are to overcome Satan in the “end times” just prior to Jesus return, first to rapture the saints, and then to return to earth with the saints to rule and reign in the Millennium.

“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” Revelation 12:11

We all want to be in the centre of God’s will for our lives as we approach the time of Jesus return, so it is important we understand what is ahead, remembering that even Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, agonised over what was ahead of Him.

According to global statistics, over 200 million followers of Yeshua are undergoing high levels of persecution today—primarily in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. But, I believe the Scriptures teach that the time is coming when such persecution will be the norm in every country of the earth.

“When I was a new believer in my early 20s, a leader in my life spoke prophetically over me: “Cody, go deep in God’s Word now, because there will be a time in the future where it will be taken away from you, probably because you will be put in prison for your faith.” What an encouraging word for a new believer, right? I took that word seriously and have continued to devote much time to meditating in God’s Word almost daily for the past decade.

Heart Training

As I study the end times, one of the themes that continues to catch my attention is that of persecution. More and more in my quiet times, I have been picturing myself being arrested, beaten, put in prison and even martyred for my faith. I am training my heart now to walk in love for Yeshua and stand up for my faith when those times of extreme pressure come.

My sense is that this heart posture is almost nonexistent in most of the Western church today. Even If you and I don’t end up facing high levels of persecution, I believe it is wise to prepare our hearts, and the next generation, for what is coming.

What Is Coming?

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So what should we be preparing for? Here are some Scriptures I have been meditating on:

  • “But before all these things [read the preceding verses: false Messiahs, wars, great earthquakes, famines, pestilences, fearful sights], they will seize and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons” (Luke 21:12a). If you think you will get raptured out before persecution and trouble come, you will be in for a big shock.
  • Luke 21:16 warns us that biological and spiritual family and friends will betray us and put some to death.
  • “You will be hated by all for My name’s sake” (Luke 21:17). Consider this word: “all.” Atheists, people of other religions and humanistic, secular society may tolerate us at some level today, but this tolerance won’t last forever. Are you ready to be hated by all?
  • “They will put you out of the synagogues. Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he is offering a service to God” (John 16:2). The deception will be so deep that people will think they are doing God’s will by killing us.
  • Before Yeshua returns, new laws will be passed against believers, rendering us criminals in the eyes of the world. Calling the nations to turn from their sins and not budging on Yeshua being the only way to God will be seen as major obstacles to global peace. Because lawlessness will abound and the love of many will grow cold, we should not expect human help or mercy when attacked, but instead the plundering of our possessions, major lies and attacks through media, lawsuits, fines and imprisonments (Isaiah 24:5-6, Matt 24:12, Heb 10:34).
  • The Antichrist will be granted to make war with the saints and overcome (Daniel 8:23-25, Rev. 13: 7). I believe prophetic patterns in Scripture like in Esther 3 and Daniel 3 where laws were passed forcing people into false worship and the destruction of the Jewish people will emerge again before Yeshua returns.
  • “As it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so it will be also be in the days of the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26; see Luke 17:26-30). The wickedness, violence and sexual perversion seen in the days of Noah and Lots are rampant again today and will continue to be directed against believers in an ever-increasing way (Gen. 6, 19).

One day, Jews and Christians will be the most hated people on the earth. But do not despair about the future; there is good news! The greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit and harvest of souls will be happening simultaneously with this global persecution (Acts 2:17). There will be a remnant of faithful believers in every nation who will obey God over man (Acts 5:29) and not love their lives unto death (Rev. 12:11).

Lord, help us to apply Yeshua’s exhortation to watch and pray always, that we would be strengthened to resist compromise, sin and fear (Luke 21:36).”

UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES CONCERNING JEWS, ARABS AND THE MIDDLE EAST

Avner and Jonathan provide wonderful testimonies of growing up as Jews and how they came to learn about Jesus as their Messiah. Two very different accounts which is helpful in understanding Jews and how we can reach out to them.

Avner Boskey of Final Frontiers Ministries was raised in an Orthodox Jewish home. Since coming to faith in Yeshua (Jesus), he has lived in Israel for more than 20 years, where he has become an expert on the Middle East. He joins Rabbi Jonathan Bernis for a discussion about Israel today, the Palestinians and how God’s passion for the Jewish people and Israel affects all Believers. Avner is the author of a great book: Jews, Arabs and the Middle East: A Messianic Perspective.

“And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written” – Romans 11 what do we do with that Scripture?

What is God is calling us to do with regard to prophesied increased persecution coming to Jews in the last days. Please pray for wisdom in this regard.

PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IS INCREASING RAPIDLY

 As the nonpartisan Pew Centre records, Christians are the most persecuted religious minority in the world. And there is in the West an appalling reluctance to discuss this issue or take any action in connection with it.

The scale of the persecution is enormous. According to Mike Gore, chief executive of Open Doors, the leading Protestant non-governmental organisation working in this area, persecution of Christians is now worse than it has been at any period since biblical times. “I would say the persecution of Christians is increasing rapidly,” he says.

Bernard Toutounji, head of the equivalent Catholic body, Aid to the Church in Need, makes a similar judgement: “The situation is continuing to get worse, especially in Pakistan, China and across the Middle East. The Western world in general is asleep at the wheel.”

Open Doors estimates about 215 million Christians in different parts of the world face serious, ongoing persecution. The true figure, Gore thinks, is higher as this encompasses only the 100 biggest nations. Another widely held estimate is that about 250 Christians are killed for their beliefs every month. These estimates are naturally ­imprecise but no one really disputes them.

Pakistani hardliners call for Asai Bibi’s execution. Picture: AFP

The fate of Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian woman condemned to death on a ludicrous charge of blasphemy, could be decided as early as this month.

In 2009 she made the awful mistake of drinking water from a well. For this she was abused and told that as a Christian she was unclean and could not therefore share anyone else’s drinking cup. There was an argument, and she and her family were badly beaten.

During the beating, she confessed to blasphemy. A long and tortuous legal process ensued and she was subsequently sentenced to death. After nine years in jail, Bibi was finally acquitted on appeal last October. Her confession under torture could not be relied on.

Her suffering didn’t end there. Huge mobs demonstrated against her in the streets, demanding her death. An Islamist group appealed against her acquittal, and this could be determined this month.

For a time after she was released, Bibi had to move from house to house in fear of her life. She is now, with her husband, in a protected situation at an undisclosed location.

Hers is one of very few cases of the persecution of Christians to pierce the determined Western indifference to Christian suffering in many parts of the world.

Yet Bibi’s plight has not produced the response from governments you might expect. Britain and the US have not offered her asylum. But all the leading Western nations are in active discussion about her fate. I am pleased to report that Australia is taking a strong stand against persecution of Christians

Canada has been the most forward, suggesting it will take Bibi and her family and offer them a safe life. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton of Australia has said: “If the discussions with Canada fall through, we will facilitate bringing Asia Bibi to Australia.”

Foreign Minister of Australia, Marise Payne tells The Weekend Australian: “Australia is deeply concerned about restrictions on Christian communities imposed by some governments and non-state actors around the world.

“Bringing attention to restrictions on religious freedom is a key priority of our current membership of the UN Human Rights Council. We will continue to use every possible avenue to express Australia’s opposition to the targeting of Christian communities internationally.

 

CHRISTIAN MARTYRS ARE GROWING THE CHURCH IN NIGERIA

The death toll for Christians in Nigeria continues to rise to catastrophic proportions as the nation seems helpless or unwilling to stop bloodthirsty Islamic radicals targeting Christians in the region. Despite the Islamic terrorists group’s violence, thousands are coming to Christ according to Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs.

“Thousands of Fulani are following Jesus Christ. So this traditionally Muslim tribal group, ethnic group, thousands of them have left Islam behind and are now following Jesus Christ. So the church sees that and that tends to bridge some of these gaps, Nettleton said.

I have previously reported how the vicious Fulani Herdsmen reportedly marauded through Christian villages wearing camouflage and brandishing AK-47s, and burned down as many as 160 homes, leaving a trail of at least 39 murdered Christians in their wake.

Nigerian President Muhammed Buhari condemned the massacre of Christians on Twitter, calling them “vile, evil and satanic” and agreeing that the attacks seemed “clearly calculated” against Christians.

But despite President Buhari’s words, it appears the government has done little to stem the violence against Christians. Local religious leaders have even called for the president to resign, accusing him of leniency on the terrorists.

Another jihadist group Boko Haram—the vicious Nigerian jihadist army pledged to ISIS—orchestrated a deadly attack by disguising themselves as “preachers” and inviting Christian villagers to a service where they then massacred 45 congregants.

Earlier this year, Boko Haram violently abducted 110 schoolgirls from their village. Of those, five girls were killed while captive before 104 were ultimately released. Fifteen-year-old Leah Sharibu is still their prisoner because she refuses to bend to her captors’ demands that she renounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam.

The violence against Africa’s Christians is spreading beyond the borders of Nigeria, and if no action is taken, will likely continue to sweep across the continent. In the natural this looks catastrophic which it is, but rest assured God is using it for His purposes.

In a recent deadly bus attack in Kenya the Al-Shabaab terrorists forced passengers to recite an Islamic oath and those who identified as Christian were mercilessly executed. Do these terrorists think this does the cause of Allah any good? Is this the God you would want to serve?

American Centre for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has gone directly to the United Nations, delivering a critical written submission asking for intervention for Nigeria’s Christians and warning of the grim outlook if action isn’t taken.

The least we can do is get our churches praying for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ in both the Middle East and Africa. Pray that they may understand what God is doing in each of these countries and cooperate with Him, to accomplish His purposes.