The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

PRESSURES AND PERSECUTION

In examining a host of web sites, news articles, and journalistic tendencies, it becomes increasingly obvious that the world is undergoing a significant change concerning religious belief and toleration. Some conclude that it is a result of terrorism. However, there appears to be a different source of trouble.

Widespread persecution of believers is occurring in many places around the world – not all of it connected to the historical conflict between Islam and Jewish people or Islam and Christianity, etc. The increase in “pressure” in the United States of America (once the bastion of religious freedom) against those who have strong convictions of faith and moral values has been increasing at an alarming rate. Verbal attacks have become common place. The so-called “hate” laws have become almost hypocritical in that religious bigotry and “smear tactics” toward Bible-believing Christians (especially) have become commonplace.

Some have described the current “pressures” and “persecution” as a religious and cultural war against the Bible itself. The standards of morality that governed the United States (and Europe) and that dominated its legal system for years have been stripped of their impact and respect. The desire for “freedom” to do whatever one wants to do – no matter who suffers or is hurt in the process – has grown to epidemic proportions. Biblical standards of morality are mocked and treated as “culturally insignificant” or just plain “stupid” and “childless.” The nation (and the world) is heading for moral disaster and collapse!

What is behind all of this? For one thing, the Bible teaches that God has an eternal plan that is being worked out in human history according to what He desires – NOT what we think, feel, or do! The God of the Bible has warned that “iniquity shall abound” and that the “love of many shall wax cold.” It predicts that “perilous times” will come (II Timothy 3) and that demonic influence and deception (I Timothy 4) will accelerate in the last days of planet earth.

The Bible also warns us about the influence, hatred, and evil doings of the Devil – Satan himself and his vast network of fallen angels (evil spirits or demons) who are accelerating their efforts against God’s people and God’s final plans for human history.

The Bible warns believers about coming persecution and the growth of verbal and physical attacks against Bible believers. Jesus said in John 15:20: “If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” In John 15:18 He said: “If the world (referring to non-believers) hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.”

The words of Matthew 24:9-12 are especially powerful in the light of what is taking place all around the world: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for My Name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
Truer words have never been spoken! It is happening in our time!

Peter wrote in I Peter 4:12-14: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the Name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part – HE IS GLORIFIED!”

Peter ends his argument in I Peter 4:19 with these words – “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

Today – why don’t we all PRAY for our brothers and sisters in the Lord around the world who are facing persecution and death? And, as for ourselves – remember the admonition of our Lord not to fear those who can kill the body, but rather fear Him Who can cast both body and soul into hell! Paul wrote in Romans 8:18 – “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed” – WE HAVE READ THE LAST CHAPTER, AND WE WIN!

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