“Consider it joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
This verse is becoming more relevant as we see the “end times” events outlined by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse (see verses below), Paul and the O.T. prophets playing out in our time. Christians will be persecuted for holding to the truth of God’s Word.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:9-14
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the authorities and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” Luke 21:10-15
“So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His purpose, He guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Priest and King).” Hebrews 6:17-20
French President Emmanuel Macron denounced the violence in a tweet. “More than 50 people have been beheaded, women kidnapped, villages looted and then set on fire. Islamist terrorism is an international threat that calls for an international response.”
Reports of more than 50 beheadings by Mozambique’s Islamic extremist rebels have raised international alarm over the new level of violence in the country’s north. The killings mark a bloody turn in the three-year insurgency in Cabo Delgado province, prompting condemnations from the United Nations secretary-general and the presidents of France and Zimbabwe. In the past two weeks, the extremists have seized nine towns in the Muidumbe district of Cabo Delgado, extending their range from the port of Mocimboa da Praia, which they have held since August, according to reports in local media. Capturing the town of Muatide, the insurgents established a centre on a soccer pitch where they beheaded more than 50 people, according to Pinnacle News, which has correspondents throughout the province.
Further proof, if any is needed, that Islam is the widespread malevolent Antichrist spirit that would be intent on killing Christians in the Biblical end times prior to Jesus return.
“Christians are the eye of the target and they are coming after them,” warned Dede Laugesen with Save the Persecuted Christians. The numbers are staggering. Leading human rights groups say what’s going on in Nigeria is a genocide. “Over the last 20 years, there have been massive attacks against Christians,” Jeff King, president of International Christian Concern (ICC) said. “50 to 70 thousand have been murdered.” For years, the main terror group was Boko Haram, which seeks to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state. “They go after Christians and moderate Muslims, they push a hard-line Muslim agenda and it is their intention to establish a caliphate and to rid all of Nigeria and West Africa of any Western influence whatsoever,” Laugesen said. Now, there’s a new actor on the scene.
In Nigeria’s “Middle Belt” region, where the Muslim North meets the Christian South a terror group made up of Muslim Fulani herders are killing thousands of Christians. More than 1,400 Christians were hacked to death in just the first seven months of 2020 by Fulani herders.
Nigeria’s Muslim president has so far done very little to stop the bloodshed. His police and army are also mostly Muslims. “The attackers are never captured, they are not prosecuted, the security services respond very slowly, a full day can go on with attacks happening and no security shows up and frequently the government officials will provide cover,” explained Laugesen.
Read what Jesus said we can expect in the “end times” before He returns to earth to rule and reign with a rod of iron. We need to start living our lives with an eternal focus now.
“But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance, you will gain your lives.” Luke 21:12-17
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
The Journal of Theoretical Biology (JTB) editors apparently feel that scientists with “creationist” connections should be required to reveal this whenever they submit a paper. People who lived under the Soviet Union had similar experiences. Under Communism, members of disfavored groups were theoretically free to work and live as they wished. Yet to have “Jew,” for example, stamped on your passport was a guarantee of punishing discrimination.
Just read the disclaimer that the editors of the Journal of Theoretical Biology (JTB) appended to the recent peer-reviewed paper they published on Intelligent Design. This important paper, argues for intelligent design in the context of biological fine-tuning. It seems that the censors got hold of the editors, who backed down and repented, claiming they were quite surprised to discover what they themselves had approved and published. Here’s the relevant language from the disclaimer:
Since the publication of the paper, it has now become evident that the authors are connected to a creationist group (although their addresses are given on the paper as departments in bona fide universities). We were unaware of this fact while the paper was being reviewed.
Much as Jews in lands occupied by Nazi Germany were required to wear a yellow star identifying themselves, JTB’s editors apparently feel that scientists with “creationist” connections should be required to reveal this whenever they submit a paper.
As “end times” prophesied persecution steps up and we move into the last three and a half years of great tribulation prior to Jesus return, God’s Word tells us the reverse will be true, all that follow the Antichrist will carry his mark, the mark of the Beast. Christians will face death rather than take the Antichrist’s mark.
“Also it (Antichrist) causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.” Revelation 13:16-18
“I would rather see millions of [Iranians] come to Jesus than have freedom and democracy. If freedom was such a great thing for the Kingdom, then why is America and Europe in the state it is now?” —Leader in the Iranian underground church
This is why the West will see more persecution before Jesus returns. God wants more people to start living there life in the light of eternity not for a better life here.
Listen to this video and learn from Iranian Christians on how to live life.
Spiked Online Editor, Brendan O’Neill says the fallout from the death of George Floyd has transcended into “a kind of explosion of political correctness” in Britain.
“There is a politically correct mob running around the country who are expressing all sorts of dangerous, backward, strange ideas.” He said protesters who are now smashing statues “looked to me like the woke-Taliban”. “This idea that we must cleanse the public sphere of every bad person, every bad idea, every bad way way of thinking”. “I think that’s incredibly intolerant, it’s not progressive and it certainly has nothing to do with the awful killing of George Floyd”
Because “racism” is the rationale of the Woke Taliban’s lawlessness and those who applaud and defend them, then nothing is safe from this lawlessness. Any monument to our Founding Fathers is eventually doomed to these mobs and vandals . . . and then they will come for the Christian Church — a Church the media and left have spent decades smearing as racist and homophobic.
Those Christians who know that persecution is coming and that we will not be “raptured out of here before the bad things begin” are not fretting over this. We expect this and thus our posture is one of soberness and humbleness to be counted worthy to suffer for Christ.
The temptation to apostatise is real. The majority of the Evangelical church is folding like dominoes at this time. But you brother and sister stand firm and have endurance to weather the spiritual storm that is upon us and will only continue. The world hates us, but only because they hate Jesus. It will be difficult to endure, as there will be no recourse, except for the ultimate reward of Jesus that awaits us.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13
The following incident clearly demonstrates that if you share God’s truth with others in your workplace you risk losing your job. John Piper does an excellent job of unpacking “Corona virus and Christ”. You might want to consider getting his book.
Well known and respected Reformed theologian John Piper clarified his stance on whether the coronavirus is God’s judgement of sin and what the Bible says about homosexuality after a legal group called for an Army chaplain to be court- martialed just for sharing Piper’s new book, Coronavirus and Christ with 35 other chaplains.
John Piper responded to claims made by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and its founder, Mikey Weinstein, in a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of Defence Mark Esper last month.
Weinstein claimed rightly that Piper’s new book “pushes the belief that the coronavirus is God’s judgement” and could even be judgement for homosexuality.
MRFF called for Senior Chaplain Col. Moon H. Kim, the command chaplain of U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in South Korea, to be court-martialed for sharing a PDF copy of Piper’s new book with 35 other chaplains via email.
Piper’s book does rightly declare that Romans 5:16 states that all death is the result of God’s judgement on the human race because sin entered the world. Piper further notes that God is “sovereign over the coronavirus, and sends it and ends it when He wills.” Piper added that “homosexual intercourse is a sin” and “that the coronavirus is a call for repentance to all of us to bring our lives into alignment with the infinite worth of Jesus.”
In an interview with Christian Post, Piper was asked if he thought Weinstein and MRFF’s criticism of his new book is fair.
“Well, some of it is. I think it would be fair to say that some of my views about what the Bible teaches, even rightly understood, the author of that letter hates. He hates what I think,” Piper said.
“‘They are,’ he says, ‘incendiary,’ ‘bigoted,’ ‘vulgar’ — not just because he misunderstands, but, in part, because he does understand, and that’s how he thinks and feels about some of what the Bible teaches.”
Piper said there are three areas where Weinstein seems to misrepresent his stance in either the letter to Esper or an earlier interview with The Christian Post.
“For example, when I say that ‘some people will be infected with the coronavirus as a specific judgment from God because of their sinful attitudes and actions,’ he assumes that I know who those people are, or at least what kind of people they are,” Piper said.
“But here’s what I write on page 72. … The coronavirus is … never a clear and simple punishment on any person. The most loving, spirit-filled Christian, whose sins are forgiven through Christ, may die of the coronavirus disease. But it is fitting that every one of us search our own heart to discern if our suffering is God’s judgement on the way we live.”
Piper explained that God “does judge people with sickness.”
“That’s very clear from 1 Corinthians 11:32, and there it’s even talking about Christians,” Piper said. “But John Piper or you or anybody else can’t determine from outside who is experiencing the coronavirus as a judgement in a punitive sense, and who’s experiencing it, say, as purification or who’s experiencing it for other reasons that God may have.”
Piper said his point is that God does many things for many reasons and people should “do sober-minded self-assessment to discern” what “God’s purposes are in all that happens to us.”
Piper also underlined that he is not saying “every person who engages in homosexual acts and who gets the coronavirus is being punished by God for those acts.”
“In Romans 1:27 the Bible says that living in homosexual behavior is sometimes punished by God with a ‘due penalty,’ which could be a disease, but not always,” Piper said. “And sometimes disease comes not as punishment, but as a merciful wake-up call that results in repentance and reconciliation and hope. God’s ways are simply more complex than the letter acknowledges.”
“I suspect though, that this clarification won’t even come close to satisfying the author of this letter since he considers it drivel and vulgar to even suggest that God controls this disease and would judge anyone with it,” Piper added.
Weinstein told CP that MRFF and the 22 Christian clients it’s representing in the chaplain case do not have a misunderstanding of Piper’s book. Weinstein doubled down on his disdain for Piper’s Christian views.
“Piper’s despicable assertion of ‘misunderstanding’ is a wretched insult to those 22 Christian armed forces chaplains who desperately came to MRFF for civil rights advocacy help to engage this superior military officer,” Weinstein added in an emailed response to Christian Post.
“As for ‘not liking’ Piper’s declaration that the coronavirus is God’s judgment on sinners, and particularly for the ‘sin’ of ‘homosexual intercourse,’ [darn] right MRFF doesn’t like it! Nor should ANY thinking, compassionate and caring human being ‘like’ such blatant and brazen prejudice, bigotry and bullying!”
In the interview, Piper also responded to Weinstein’s claim in the letter that there is no “pastoral care and comfort” in Piper’s beliefs about the coronavirus.
“My response is Sir, no. You are profoundly wrong. We have the best news in the world for the hardest moments in the world — the best care, the best comfort,” Piper said. “The very heart of Christianity is that, through Christ, God rescues guilty sinners. That’s me and you and all of us. Through Christ, God rescues guilty sinners from his own wrath.”
Piper then cited Romans 5:9: “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by [Christ’s] blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
“That’s what God sent Christ to do: rescue us from his own righteous punishment,” Piper added.
Biblical prophecy is accurate, God has told us how events will unfold prior to His return to rule and reign from Jerusalem.
PSALM 2 gives us an accurate picture of the nations today, the rulers have taken counsel together against God and His people. They have cast away God’s values and commands. We can make up our own rules about sex, marriage and gender.
Look what God says and what He will do. They will face His wrath and Jesus will rule and reign from Zion’s Hill (Jerusalem). Notice what Jesus will do to the nations “break them with a rod of iron and dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel”.
Fortunately, Christians have been given a detailed picture of the “last days” and know that God is going to first refine His church with tribulation. Sadly, Jesus told us that many church goers will fall away from the true faith and compromise with the world and its values. This is already happening as gay marriage and homosexual pastors are being accepted in some denominational churches.
“Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree: the Lord has said to Me, you are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.” PSALM 2
“Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” Acts 8:4
We can see it played out in the death of Stephen. The religious communities’ rejection of Stephen, to the point of stoning him, caused the believers to run for their lives. If not for this rejection, Philip would never have ended up in Samaria. And what happened there? Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there.
“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralysed and lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.” Acts 8:5-8
A great revival broke out.The more the believers were persecuted, the more they spread out, fulfilling the words of Yeshua to start in Jerusalem, and then go to the ends of the Earth .
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (Acts 8:4).
And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt. 24:14)
Of course, we can see it played out in the Middle East and Africa where the church is under intense persecution by the greatest antichrist spirit of all, Islam. On this website, on a recent post, “Church Grows Under Persecution” I record the story of the rapidly growing church in Iran. Check it out if you haven’t already done so.
May we be like Paul who said:
“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:8-11
Jesus taught explicitly that one of the ways you will know His return is imminent is you will see the Antichrist claiming to be God in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem.
“So when you see the abomination of desolation–spoken about by Daniel the prophet—standing in the holy place. . . For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)
Paul confirms that the Antichrist will come before Jesus returns to Rapture the Saints:
“Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).
John records numerous instances in the Book of Revelation of Jesus warning the saints to become Overcomers of the beast’s system (e.g. Revelation 14:9–12).
In the light of all these Scriptures, why do so many hold on to the Pretribulation Rapture position? Could it be, because we don’t want to believe that God would put us through the intense persecution that the Bible tells us Christians will endure during the last seven years before Jesus returns? It is described as a time of tribulation and great tribulation after the midpoint when the Antichrist “takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God”.
None of us like the thought that we may have to die for our Christian faith under the regime of the Antichrist. But it is God’s will that ultimately matters. He knows better than us, therefore we need to trust His will because it is all-wise, all-good, all-sovereign.
I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways”, says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts your thoughts.”
It may be God’s will that we confront the Antichrist system. We need to trust God, as have many martyrs before us, that He will be with us in the ordeal. What an honour it would be; to be a witness for the true God of the universe, to give glory to Him and to receive a martyrs crown. Pray God will give us the strength to stand up boldly for Him.
God may very well call us to be a Daniel and stand up to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden idol. Or Daniel’s companions, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-Nego) confined to the fiery furnace. Or to be a David and stand up to Goliath when he mocked and blasphemed his God.
Many churches in America and many in Australia stay away from the subject of “end times” altogether, but many also preach the Pretribulation Rapture position, in both cases they are not preparing their congregations for the coming tribulation. Even worse they are not challenging their congregations about the urgency of the hour and the need to get about our Father’s business and obey Jesus command to preach the Gospel and make disciples.