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Persecution and Martyrdom

Source: Art Sadlier, Saturday September 1st 2012

Jesus warned His disciples that they would be treated by the world, the way He was treated by the world. History tells us that all of the twelve disciples, with the possible exception of John, were martyred because of their identification with Jesus. Fox, in his, “Book of Martyrs” catalogues the story of the martyrdom of the saints down over the long age of the church.

Trials and tribulations are the constant experience of God’s people. We cannot expect to escape persecution. Jesus warned that if they hated Him they will hate His disciples. We, in our culture, have been an exception for many years now. We have escaped real persecution, however a drastic change has taken place in recent years and the horizon is dark with threats to the one who will stand for Christ.

The Purpose Driven Church and New Evangelicalism have desperately sought to be as much like the world as possible. Their philosophy is, “We must cause the world to like us; we do not want the world to condemn us or reject us”. Those who take this approach will never be persecuted by the world. However, this approach is foreign to the history, purpose and calling of the Church.

The Voice of the Martyrs has estimated that since the death of Christ Jesus 2000 years ago, 43,000,000 Christians have been martyred. Over 50% of these were in the last century alone. More than 200,000,000 Christians face persecution each day, 60% are children. Every day over 300 believers are killed for their faith in Jesus Christ.

Persecution is also on the rise in America as court rulings take away the rights of Christians. It seems to be a mindset that in order to promote multiculturalism, Christianity must be suppressed. It seems that in order to promote the homosexual agenda Christianity must be attacked. In order to permit libertine lifestyles, Christianity must be set aside by whatever means possible. In Canada, the same drive is taking place; the human rights commission is bullying and pressuring men and women into abandoning their moral convictions and their opposition to homosexuality.

A new 140-page report released by the Family Research Council and Liberty Institute reveals a pattern of hostility toward Christians and Christianity in the US.

The report was released earlier this week and includes over 600 incidents over a 10-year period.

The attacks range from rulings from the judiciary branch to an elementary school student who was physically lifted from his seat and reprimanded for praying before eating his lunch.

Around the world it seems that Muslims and Hindus are on a rampage to kill as many Christians as possible. This appears to be the setting of the stage for the great slaughter of tribulation saints during the tribulation period.

We read about this rampage of killing tribulation saints in Revelation 7.

In verse 9 we read, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” This is the scene in heaven as the tribulation period is taking place on the earth. This is a great multitude which no man can number, a tremendous multitude of people.

In verse 13 we have the identity of these people questioned. “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” The question is raised; Who are these people? Where did they come from?

In verse 14 we have the answer, “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” The answer is that this innumerable host of men and women are those who have been saved during the tribulation period. The persecution and martyrdom of the church age will come to climax during the tribulation period.

For some years now Satan has been moving in the wings while the stage is being set for that final great attempt to eliminate God’s people by putting to death those who identify with God’s Son. We have lived our lives without fear of martyrdom but now that assurance is being stripped away. If the Lord should tarry we may be called upon to give our lives for our identification with Him.