When Jesus was addressing his disciples questions about His second coming, Jesus said, “the days of Noah would be like the days of His coming.”
“For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:37-39
Jesus therefore tells us that most people will be living their lives as if life is normal, nothing unusual is happening for them. However, we know for Christians this time will be a time of get distress, even great tribulation, when they reject the Mark of the Beast/Antichrist.
“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.” Matthew 24:9-12
Jesus attests to the fact that the Flood narrative is an Old Testament account that parallels the return of Jesus. Does this even include parallels between the number of days of the Flood and the final Wrath? Does God’s Word tell us plainly how long the Wrath of God lasts, and will it be a surprise to almost everyone?
Nelson does a great job of answering all these questions and more.
Persecution of Christian women worldwide has risen dramatically in the last year as a new study released by Open Doors International (ODI) found that forced marriages have increased by 16%, and physical violence against women has increased 31%.
Gender Specific Religious Persecution (GSRP) has risen to the highest level recorded in the three years since the report was first issued in 2018, as women face a higher potential risk of religious persecution than men. The report’s data comes from the top 50 countries on the group’s annual World Watch List between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sep. 30, 2020.
Helene Fisher, a global gender persecution specialist for Open Doors International and one of the authors of the report, told The Christian Post that the increased threat to women is often because women have fewer rights in most of the top 50 countries for religious persecution. “Because [women] have fewer rights and fewer protections, they’re just an easier target,” Fisher said. “They can also be targeted with impunity, which means that if there is a population that doesn’t want the Christians to thrive, they can go after the women and girls and there aren’t consequences for those aggressors. So, it is a question of the women and girls having fewer rights for legal protections. [Women] are more vulnerable in the society, and they are just the easiest way to disable the Christian population.”
The five most common “pressure points” among women in the top 50 countries on the World Watch List for religious persecution are forced marriage, sexual violence, physical violence, psychological violence and forced divorce. Each category increased since last year’s study.
Ninety percent of the top 50 countries where Christians are most persecuted report forced marriage as a pressure point, and 86% of countries report sexual violence.
Targeting women, the child bearers, and forcing them to convert is a tactic used to destabilize the future generation of the Church, the development of families and the raising of Christian children.
Trafficking women as a form of religious persecution is on the rise, particularly in Asia and Africa, the report finds. Christian refugees or internally displaced peoples are especially vulnerable to this.
“Trafficking as a form of religious persecution continues to pose a threat in all regions on the World Watch List and it is rising, particularly in Africa and Asia. Globally, 17 countries (up from 10 the previous year) reported incidents of trafficked women and girls,” the report adds. “Countries engaged in conflict were most likely to report instances of sexual violence and trafficking.”
Research from the World Watch List shows more than 340 million Christians globally endure high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith, which amounts to one in eight Christians around the world.
Jesus told us that persecution of Christians will increase in the last days before His return. It is just one of the end times signs He has given us. Israel, apostasy in the church, Covid and increased lawlessness are other very significant signs.
This is a must see video to really understand what is happening in the USA. Juan Riesco grew Nini’s Deli from its humble origins to #1 in Chicago on Yelp before the Black Lives Matter movement cancelled it in early June 2020. His parents, immigrants from Cuba and Mexico, started the small business. Juan took the reigns during a transitional period in his life, in which he converted to Christianity, after living as a homosexual in San Francisco. After the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement promoted posting a black square on social media to show solidarity with the cause. When Juan failed to take this step, hundreds of people went online to accuse him of racism. Juan gently responded to each individual by explaining that he was a Christian and could not endorse the anti-Christian beliefs of the Black Lives Matter organization, but that he did believe black people, as well as all people, mattered to God. The next day hundreds of protestors showed up to protest Nini’s Deli. Juan preached the gospel to them. The next day thousands of people showed up. Juan received thousands of death threats and had to flee the city in the middle of the night to escape. Juan lost his corporate contracts and Nini’s Deli closed. Even as he lost his business and experienced betrayal by friends, Juan’s faith in Christ and resolve grew. Juan considers the story of Nini’s to be a victory story as many have come to Christ and been inspired by his courage.
YouTube bans LifeSiteNews, removes all of the website’s Pro-Life Videos
Amazon has removed a conservative author’s book, Ryan T. Anderson’s, “When Harry Became Sally from the web store. The best-selling book about the transgender movement was removed without offering Anderson any notice or explanation.
Ryan T. Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, discovered Sunday his book, “When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement,” had been removed from the web store.
Target removes Abigail Shrier’s book critical of Transgender Agenda: Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters
As Big Tech continues its efforts to censor conservative voices, YouTube has banned the website LifeSiteNews from its popular video-sharing platform and removed all of its pro-life videos.
This isn’t a temporary ban; every single one of our videos is completely gone,” the website’s staff wrote. “Thankfully, we have backups of all our videos, but this means hundreds of thousands of people have lost access to our truth-telling content.”
LifeSite tells CBN News, “We have faced increasing censorship from YouTube in the last three months. They flagged several of our factual videos on the COVID-19 vaccine as violations of their Terms of Service. As a result, we were given two strikes and suspended for multiple weeks, unable to post any new content. We were informed at that time that if another violation occurred within 90 days, we would be removed permanently.”
YouTube suspended the website over a video titled “Catholic Christmas traditions to instill faith in your kids.” The video also was also tagged with a “medical misinformation” stamp before YouTube removed the video.
In a statement to CBN News, LifeSite’s Marketing Director Rebekah Roberts said, “The truth is, we’ve been anticipating this for some time. YouTube and other tech titans are simply not interested in allowing anyone to dissent from their state-approved, liberal, totalitarian ideology. Fortunately, we’ve already taken pre-emptive measures to ensure the truth will continue to reach the ears of those most in need of it in these dictatorial times. We are active on various other platforms like Gab, Telegram, and Rumble, and encourage others to join us there.”
Jesus gave us due warning as to what is ahead as the world increasingly rejects God and all He commands. The wrath of God will be poured out on an unbelieving world prior to Jesus second coming to rule and reign on this earth for 1000 years.
“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
What an entire generation of Christians do not understand is that refusing to align your language, choices, and actions with scripture is a blatant denial of Christ Jesus. Attacks on the doctrine of scripture are attacks on the Kingdom of God. Likewise, if we deny His word, we also deny Him. We cannot claim Jesus as our own and also continue to endorse the world’s philosophies. As the years continue to pile up in our postmodern society, so do the excuses Christians make about why they are willing to deny Jesus and His doctrine.
We would all do well to meditate on Jesus’ warning in Luke 9:62. He says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Here, Jesus is reminding us all not to “look back” at the worldly life we left behind. In doing so, we err like Lot’s wife did in Sodom – not trusting God’s provision. When we take our eyes off the prize and look back at the world we left behind, we declare ourselves unfit for the kingdom of God.
Christians, a day is coming when you will be forced to make this very decision: plow forward or look back.
“But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” 2 Peter 2:1
“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
God’s word warns us of many last days false prophets and teachers and apostasy in the church, all evident now and proof we are living in the last days. Prepare your heart now, you will be tempted to deny your Lord and Saviour. You need to consider the cost of following Christ but also the cost if you turn your back on Him. Your eternal destiny is at stake. We need to be prepared to lay down our lives for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Remember, that it is “He who endures to the end that shall be saved” Matthew 24:13
Let us meditate on the apostle’s words. “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” Philippians 3:8-10
While our current persecution might be light, in comparison to what other brothers and sisters are experiencing in the world, it is still persecution. The doctrine and truth of God’s Word is being put to shame in our culture. It is time for you to decide if you will heed the call. Will you follow Christ or is the cost too much for you to bear? Far too long has the church been idle, ignoring this question. Will you take the yoke and plow the field for the Kingdom of God? Yes, there will be a cost for following Christ. But in such work, you will find joys and wonders of which you never dreamed. Pray that when you are forced to decide between plowing forward or looking back, you will choose the yoke of Christ. Pray that you will be a faithful slave of Christ. It is time for Christians to start owning that title.
Much of this post is taken from the article entitled Doubling-Down on Christian Persecution: The Cost of Following Jesus JANUARY 19, 2021 by Jack Lee http://www.patheos .com
The watchdog organization Open Doors USA says levels of Christian persecution are at a record high around the world, revealing that the number of Christians murdered for their faith rose 60 percent in 2020. Biblical prophecy of the end times prior to Jesus return predicts increased persecution of this magnitude along with pestilences, famine and increased earthquakes in “divers” places. All of which are taking place in our time.
Open Doors announced the 2021 World Watch List this week, ranking the top 50 countries where it is the most dangerous to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Their latest data indicates one-in-eight Christians now suffer for their religious beliefs worldwide.
In a broadcast carried on CBN News YouTube, Open Doors USA’s CEO David Curry said, “A shocking number this year is that 340 million Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination.” The top 10 countries on the World Watch List include North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria, and India. “The big surprise on the World Watch List 2021 is that extremists and governments are using COVID-19 as a justification to increase persecution against Christians and we see this in several places,” Curry told CBN News.
“In India, where local governments are using pressure on Christians to withhold food and medical care – over 115,000 incidents of this that we can document,” explained Curry. “It’s also extremists like in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram which is attacking Christian villages, knowing that there is nowhere for them to go and they’re taking food and medical supplies. We’ve documented this. This is happening more and more and that’s on top of the other incidents of persecution. So, there’s this level of intensity that’s been added to because of COVID.”
Curry explained, “There’s 100 million Christians right now in China, and they (the regime) are using their technology to surveil the church. They’re watching their every move. They’re seeing when they go into church. They’re using facial recognition. They’re looking at their searches online. They have a massive surveillance system which is monitoring religious practice in China and it is absolutely chilling, and I think it poses the greatest threat to human rights.” Also, according to the report, extremist attacks spread further throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, from Nigeria and Cameroon to Burkina Faso, Mali, and beyond. In Nigeria alone, 10 Christians a day are murdered on average due to their religious beliefs.
The rise of violent extremist groups throughout Africa, as well as the constant attacks against Christian communities in the continent’s most populated country, has religious leaders fearful that “the next jihad” is underway.
“I know one thing has never really changed: No one gives a damn about Africa except for their natural resources or if there is going to be a big party because there is a peace treaty being signed,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, director of the global social action agenda of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization with over 400,000 family members.
Cooper teamed up with Rev. Johnnie Moore, a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and president of the Congress of Christian Leaders, to author the new book The Next Jihad: Stop the Christian Genocide in Africa. The book was written after the unlikely duo traveled together to Nigeria earlier this year to meet with dozens of Christian victims of terrorism from five different regions. “After our journey there, we want the world to know that you haven’t heard half of it,” the faith leaders said in a joint statement. “The terrorists’ aim is to ethnically cleanse northern Nigeria of its Christians and to kill every Muslim who stands in their way.”
Their trip came as thousands have been killed by Boko Haram (an Islamic militant group in Nigeria’s northeast with a splinter faction that has claimed allegiance to the Islamic State) and radical Fulani herdsmen who have in recent years increasingly raided predominantly Christian farming villages in the country’s Middle Belt.
In the natural this genocide is horrific and fearful but for Christians who truly understand God is working out His plans and purposes in His world and want to be in the centre of His will for their lives understand the truth of this Scripture.
“And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles“ Matthew 10:16-18
“As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.” Matthew 13:20-21, Mark 4:16-17
“strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, andsaying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22
“For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know. For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.” 1 Thessalonians 3:4-5
Here is the BUT
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” NO, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39
Peter explained how Christians should respond when they suffer because of their beliefs. Called the “apostle of hope,” Peter’s primary message is to trust the Lord, live obediently no matter what your circumstances, and keep your hope fixed on God’s ultimate promise of deliverance. Suffering is to be expected, but it is temporary and yields great blessings for those who remain steadfast. Peter probably wrote 1 & 2 Peter in the mid-60s A.D.
God ordains, or appoints genuine believers to suffer, with the explicit purpose of bringing us to final glorification. It tests our faith, removes the impurities thereof, and produces perseverance in us so that we might behold Him face to face and enter the Kingdom of God. Naturally then, it must be restated that those who do not endure cannot obtain the crown of life. Suffering then not only waves a banner for us to see Christ more clearly and behold Him in faith, it separates the sheep from the goats (Matthew 13:20-21).
Juan Riesco and his brother, Jose, were heirs to a flourishing family business — Nini’s Deli — in downtown Chicago. But it all came crashing down in early June, when the beloved eatery, owned by their foreign-born parents, found itself in the crosshairs of the increasingly progressive Black Lives Matter movement.
Having since left Chicago in the wake of the restaurant’s forced, permanent closure, Riesco told Faithwire he and his brother are focusing on ministry.
“If they’re gonna protest,” he said, “we’re gonna preach.”
Riesco, whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Cuba and Mexico, was once lauded by numerous publications as an up-and-coming entrepreneur with a knack for viral branding. He had enjoyed so much success with the deli and his personal business, Chicago Native, that brands like Nike and Adidas launched collaborations with him. But when Riesco refused to wholly endorse the official Black Lives Matter movement, he and his family were made villains on blogs and news outlets, many of which labeled them as “racist” and “homophobic.”
Rather than kowtow to the demands of a movement with which they harbor many disagreements, the Riescos stood firmly by their convictions. In early June, after being asked if they “believe Black Lives Matter,” Riesco published an official statement on the deli’s since-shuttered Instagram account. In it, he wrote he and his family believe “all people were created equal in the image of God.” The lengthy statement continued, “We believe that all black lives matter and we know that only God can bring about justice that is deserved.”
Riesco told Faithwire that, because of the success of Nini’s Deli, which had a five star rating on Yelp, locals were eager to see the restaurant throw its weight behind the Black Lives Matter campaign. Rather than totally embrace the movement, though, Riesco said it was important to use his platform to share his faith.
“I had felt in my spirit that I needed to, yes, take a stand [against] injustice, but also take a stand, most importantly, for Christ,” Riesco explained. “Because my business was so successful, by God’s grace, we had a lot of eyes waiting on us to make a statement about what was happening.”
“We used that platform — all those eyes on us, waiting to make a statement — to say, ‘We believe black lives matter, but we believe that because they’re made in the image of God,” he added.
However, by distancing themselves from the overarching Black Lives Matter movement, as other Christians have done, the Riescos drew the ire of many progressive protesters. After posting a statement to the restaurant’s Instagram handle on June 3, Riesco said “all hell essentially broke loose.
The Christian entrepreneur recalled receiving an onslaught of threats and promises to protest his family’s restaurant as a result of his statement on racial injustice. On Friday, June 5, just two days after the initial post to Instagram, Nini’s Deli shut down permanently as liberal protesters descended on the once-popular eatery.
Tensions only rose when Riesco’s brother Jose began brashly preaching during the raucous protest outside the deli, calling out many of the protesters for their “wicked agenda.” With his at times confrontational style, he talked about how his brother once identified as gay but “Jesus fixed him, straightened him
He also spoke out against the Black Lives Matter campaign’s affiliations with Planned Parenthood, the LGBT movement, and calls to defund the police.
Ultimately, the social pressure proved to be too much: the constant protests, the endless stream of social media posts slandering the restaurant, and the cancelled partnerships with big-name brands resulted in Nini’s Deli having to permanently closed its doors after a decade of business.
The pain of what they’ve lost remains fresh. Through tears, Riesco said he and his family “poured our hearts into loving our community, despite gender, despite sex, despite whatever you want to identify as.”
Nevertheless, even though the family company is gone, the Riesco brothers — both of whom became Christians at the deli — said they are “blessed.”
“I was just sharing with our team yesterday that my circumstances have changed, but my identity in whom I trust hasn’t,” Riesco said, adding he is still in “a position of gratitude toward our God.”
Moving forward, Juan and Jose Riesco plan to dedicate themselves to ministry.
“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.
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” afflictionsproducesan 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.