WILL YOU ENDURE PERSECUTION DURING THE COMING TRIBULATION

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.Philippians 4:13

Philippians 4:13 is likely one of the most misquoted, misapplied, and misunderstood passages within the New Testament. Suffice it to say, it is not about how one can literally do anything you put your mind to simply because you are in Christ. Paul has a specific context in mind here—and it is not about attaining your personal goals and aspirations, developing a healthy conception of self-worth, nor is it designed to be a coping mechanism to deal with the hardships of life. The passage isn’t even about finding the secret of contentment in all things, despite insistence from many that this is the focal point of this passage. This interpretation has more validity due to the previous verses:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Philippians 4:11-12

Paul undoubtedly affirms learning contentment in all circumstances. However, the overarching point of Paul to the Philippians in this passage is not contentment, but one of enduring through suffering, particularly, a suffering brought on through no fault of their own.

Brutal execution of 11 blindfolded Christians in Nigeria, the day after Christmas

The thing that is rather sad about focusing on both the ability to do “all things” and “contentment” is that we don’t focus properly on the message of Paul, which is Christ Himself. Not only does emphasizing the “all things” profoundly miss the point of the passage, but it just doesn’t stand the test of basic logic. It isn’t even an adequate application of this passage, because all things” to Paul here has a specific context, and that context is enduring through suffering for the prize gained through the glorious gospel of our Lord. Even more clearly, they stand to be glorified with Christ, as they too share in His sufferings. Yet equally as sad, though perhaps in a less heinous way, is the focus on learning contentment that is often also presented as the point of this passage. Again, it must be restated: contentment is the fruit, not the root. The root is Jesus Christ

A rather large focus in Philippians surrounds the idea that the knowledge of Christ and His great work is the means by which the Christian is able to endure persecution. What that means is that a true knowledge of Christ leads to us seeing Him as greater than everything else—even our suffering. A true knowledge of Christ will produce in us the heart attitude that believes all else is to be considered as loss, and that to live is Christ. The one who sees Christ as the preeminent One will actually remain stable in the midst of either incredible prosperity or incredible duress, because their eyes are fixated on the risen Christ Himself (Hebrews 12:1-2). They are not lured away to treasure or trust in wealth, yet neither are they acting as if the sky is falling in the midst of even the most horrendous of circumstances. They are able to say with Paul that they may be, “…hard pressed on all sides, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Why? Because it is invariably through weakness that the Lord is pleased to show His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9). They are content, yet their contentment is born exclusively out of seeing that their light and momentary” afflictions produces an eternal glory, which is the hope of the resurrection that the gospel of Christ brings (2 Corinthians 4:1-5:10).

Taken from article by Grayson Gilbert (Patheos) “Philippians 4:13 is not about your life goals”. Grayson completed his Masters of Divinity degree at Moody Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing church planting under the umbrella of his home church.

THE LAST DAYS REMNANT CHURCH

“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17

John tells us here that the church remnant in the “last days” will keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ and he repeats it just two chapters on with a reminder of the deadly tribulation facing Christians in the last seven years before Jesus return.

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ”
“Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours, and their works follow them.” Revelation 14:12-13

The good news is that Jesus reveals in Matthew 24:14 that the remnant (keeping His commandments, walking in holiness) will be active and achieving great things for Him,And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in ALL the world as a witness to ALL nations, and then the end will come.” NOTE BOTH ALL’S

God is in the process of restoring all things, and we are going to be the generation that finally gets things right.  The greatest move of God of all time is going to happen right before the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and we are going to become the kind of bride that He deserves.  On our own, this is impossible, but with Him all things are possible.

 

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.