Persecution in America is nothing like in other parts of the world. If you are at all aware, you know that in the Middle East, i.e. Islamic nations; in China, a Communist/atheist nation; in Hindu; Buddhist; and pagan nations, persecution is so much worse than anything we know. In these places, Christian believers are beaten, tortured, raped, and killed. Jesus is a forbidden Name, and having possession of a Bible can lead to severe punishment, even as great as death. We don’t see these things happening in America. Yet.
Two recent incidents I’m aware of tell me that there is a gathering storm.
The first came from PJ Media and the American Family Association as they reported on a disturbing incident. A pastor by the name of Ramin Parsa fled Iran for America to escape persecution. He and two other Christians were at the Mall of America in Minneapolis. He struck up a conversation with two Somali-American Muslim women, not at first talking about the gospel. They asked him if he was Muslim. He replied he was a Christian. They asked him about his conversion from Islam, and he began telling them his story.
Another Muslim woman overheard the conversation. This woman was not a part of it in any way. Regardless, she summoned a security guard who told Parsa no soliciting was allowed in the mall. He explained he wasn’t soliciting, simply having a discussion and answering interested questions. But he stopped at the guard’s request.
Parsa and friends went to a nearby coffee shop in the mall thinking that was the end of it. They came out of the shop where now three security guards were waiting. They arrested him, saying, “You cannot talk religion here.”
The two Somali women he had been speaking with saw this and argued with the guards, saying they wanted to hear what Parsa had to say. It made no difference. They handcuffed him to a metal chair in the basement of the mall. They refused to give him water. They refused to allow him to go to the bathroom.
The police finally came after four hours of this kind of treatment. They took mugshots and fingerprints. Then they charged him with criminal trespassing.
He had to pay $78 to bail himself out at 2 AM, when his friends were at last allowed to pick him up. Parsa said, “I’ve been through this in Muslim countries for passing out a Bible. I didn’t expect it to happen in America.”
There’s another incident I’m personally aware of that I want to relate. A lay pastor in our church got a job that was perfect for him at the time while he continued to send applications for a pastoral position. On one of his first days at work, he had the opportunity to speak with a woman who was having difficulties. I believe this had something to do with a homosexual issue in her family. He spoke lovingly and plainly about God’s plan for us as His creation.
Another woman, not a part of the conversation, overheard it and complained to the boss about the discussion. As a direct result of this interaction, he was immediately fired. Oh, yes, one more element in the account: The place of employment was a Christian nursing home.
Here we have people not even involved in a discussion who complain to authorities and drastic measures are then taken against them because they’re Christians. In America.
Unfortunately, this is only the beginning
Jesus tells us in Luke 6:22 the following:
Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man.
Paul in 2 Timothy 3:12 assures us:
In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Although we’re very comfortable in America, Scripture tells us this is not the norm as we follow Jesus. It will continue to get much worse from here as we go deeper into these end times.
Once the world enters the 7-year Tribulation following the Rapture of the true Church, persecution will very much be the norm for those who choose to follow Christ during that horrendous period of lawlessness.
The Apostle John reveals in Revelation 6:9 how people who turn to Jesus will end up:
“I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained.”
The Bible doesn’t tell us to look for the Antichrist. We are to look for the coming of Jesus for His Church, His virgin bride, those who are true believers and followers of Him. As importantly, we’re to be aware and ready so that He doesn’t come for us like a thief in the night.
Open your eyes. Watch what’s going on around us in the world. Notice those living in darkness and rescue them if you can. This dramatic increase in tribulation tells us that time in this age is drawing to a close.
Maranatha – Come, Lord Jesus!