I was sitting in my living room in the early morning for my prayer time. The lights were out. It was quite dark outside.
I began thinking about my brothers and sisters in Christ who are regularly persecuted in many countries around the world. This includes the Middle East in Muslim nations, China which is communist and atheist, Southeast Asia where they are communist and Buddhist, India with Hindu persecution, and Russia which is communist. There are others.
There are generally two types of persecution. One is where the governments outlaw Christianity. It is a threat because Christians worship God and not the state. The second is where family, friends, and neighbors come against Christians because they are different—Christianity is a different religion to the prevailing culture or it is against their pagan traditions.
It is not unusual in these places for Christians to be privately at home or gathering secretly to worship and their enemies learn of their beliefs. Once they do, it’s not long before they harass or outright attack them.
Think about this. You’re at home like I was, praying, and reading your Bible. Suddenly, in the dark your door is broken open and armed men rush in. They’re shouting, cursing, and they roust your family from their beds. Immediately they search your house looking for forbidden materials. They seize your Bible.
You and your family are taken to jail where you sit for days undergoing intense questioning. The interrogation may continue for weeks. You may be tortured.
Why do they treat you like this? The authorities want names of other believers. Christianity cannot be tolerated because these people and governments see it as a threat to their existence, regardless of how passive or non-evangelical someone might be. For those who work actively for the Lord’s purposes, they are an even greater peril to the prevailing culture.
Some of our brothers and sisters are imprisoned like this for years. They have no trial. They undergo regular beatings. Torture may be a daily occurrence. Some are put to death. Their families may be threatened with death unless the Christians divulge the names of others who follow Jesus Christ.
What would you do in such a situation? What would I do?
For us in America, this scenario is inconceivable. But others face it every day. Persecution to them is as normal as the sun rising daily in the east.
In the coming 7-year Tribulation with the rise of the Harlot world religion and the Antichrist, incredibly, many will choose to follow Jesus rather than take the mark of the Beast. They will be hunted and severely persecuted. What I described earlier will become the norm for all those who decide the One true God is worth their very lives.
Most newly minted Christians in the Tribulation, in fact, will pay with their lives. Why do I frame it this way? Because all true followers of Jesus Christ will be Raptured from the earth by Jesus before the Tribulation when God pours His wrath and judgment upon an unbelieving world. Unbelieving is the key. Thus, the only Christians during that time will be those who come to the Lord following the Rapture; these will be “newly minted.”
These new believers will face severe persecution and death. They will also know what they’re getting into, just as Muslims today who convert from Islam. Apostasy warrants the death penalty for them. True faith in Christ during the Tribulation will warrant it for these new Christians. Here is Revelation 20:4 giving us insight into this:
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Aren’t you glad you’re a true follower of Jesus Christ? That you won’t have to endure the incredible suffering that will soon come upon this world? And if you’re not a believer, don’t wait until it’s too late—make that decision today!—because great deception will come upon the earth during the Tribulation ,and you may not even be able to choose Christ as your Savior because of the overwhelming spiritual darkness.
Rejoice in the Lord and be thankful for His mercy!