Biblical Audio Commentary – Coming Persecution: I Might Be Wrong

Biblical Audio Commentary – Coming Persecution: I Might Be Wrong




It wasn’t long after coming to the Lord that I learned about martyrs of the faith.  I don’t think I even knew what the word martyr meant, but in a small group study our hosts pointed me to Foxes Book of Martyrs and a little book about the amazing, humble man of faith in China named Watchman Nee.

From there I learned about Voice of the Martyrs, and a couple years after that began volunteering with them.  I spoke about VOM at various churches and helped out at many of their yearly regional conferences near where I lived.  Through this exposure, I met a number of remarkable people of faith who had suffered for the Name of Christ in different places around the world.

I can truly say that it was this introduction to persecution in my Christian walk that strengthened my faith immensely.  Once I began studying Bible prophecy, I began to understand the connection of belief in Christ with how the end-times would see immense hatred toward Jesus and intense persecution of His followers.

In contemplating these coming times, I made the assumption that the persecution which has been present throughout history, and more recently in most places around the world except in America, would eventually make its way here.  In large measure – looking at our current circumstances – it seems, for the most part, that I may have been wrong – please note my qualifier.

The extent of persecution elsewhere than America is literally off the charts.  It’s said that there was more persecution around the world in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined.  I think it’s fair to say that our 21st century – were it to continue to its conclusion some 80 years from now – would eclipse the prior record.  Of course, as an imminent pre-Tribulation Rapture believer – and as someone who is convinced God must soon judge this wicked world – I don’t think our planet will get anywhere near that time milestone, since the world as we know it won’t be around that long.

We have only to peruse the Open Doors World Watch List to understand how awful persecution is around most of this planet.  Christians are being maimed, tortured, and killed at an alarming rate.  One of the difficult – and frankly, disgusting – lessons I learned when speaking for VOM is that a great majority of Christians simply don’t want to hear about persecution, because it upsets them so much.  They’d rather be ignorant of the truth than learn about the dire plight of our brothers and sisters in the faith.  Over time, the opportunities to speak for VOM and the persecuted church dried up.  Nobody wanted speakers to come tell them about the harm that much of the world was inflicting upon believers in the 10/40 Window and elsewhere.  That friends, families, and State actors were stealing, killing, and destroying the lives of those whom we should care about, simply wasn’t a concern for churches in these United States.  In the few remaining venues I could speak, I began warning that such persecution was likely coming here, so we’d better prepare for it.

In that, I think in one respect I was incorrect.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  We are experiencing some level of persecution in our country.  It’s coming at us in the form of bakers and florists being sued for not wishing to lend their skills to ungodly homosexual or trans marriage celebrations.  It’s taking the form of raids and lawsuits against those who protest and pray against the evils of abortion.  Many of us are being cancelled from various social media formats for declaring Christian doctrines that point toward righteousness and call out sin for what it is.  In the most egregious example, we have the January 6 prisoners – a combination of political and religious individuals – who have been held for over two years in abhorrent conditions without proper due process of the law.  For a supposedly free nation with our Bill of Rights, this is a significant sign of the lawlessness that is the hallmark of the last days.

But let’s compare the levels of persecution.  In 2022 according to Open Doors, 5,621 Christians were murdered for their faith worldwide.  How many of them died here in America?  Additionally, it’s reported that 2,110 churches were destroyed by anti-Christian marauders.  How many churches here in the US were burned to the ground by Muslim or Hindu radicals?  Do we have to meet in secret, underground churches – cautious not to sing above a whisper like our brethren in China – who are hunted down by the Communist government for their faith in Christ?

Given where we are in these final days so near to the pre-Trib Rapture – in relation to intense persecution – is there time for it to ramp up to the levels we see in other nations?  I don’t think so.

If that’s the case, will we directly see in our lives what Jesus warned about such as in Mark 13:9-13?

“You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Surely, some of these things are currently happening in one form or another here in our country.  But, let’s get real.  It’s nothing like what is going on in places like Nigeria or North Korea.

So, the question must be asked: Since Jesus said we’ll be persecuted, what will we as pre-Tribulation Rapture believers experience?

I think our “persecution” is of another form altogether.  In fact, Jesus told the Apostle John about it in His letter to the Revelation churches.  I believe our type of persecution actually has to do with the apathy, agnosticism, and even apostasy, of the Laodicean church.

What’s a greater threat to faith and to the church of Jesus Christ at large?  Is it persecution or is it apathy?  It’s clear from history that when persecution comes against the church, it goes underground and grows.  As the early church father Tertullian said: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

What about when people simply don’t care?

What is it here in America that causes this attitude?  What do we have that the rest of the world doesn’t?  Wealth, riches, comfort.  In fact, most people have it so good that for them to accept they are sinful and in need of repentance is repugnant to them.  They think they’re good people because they haven’t murdered anyone or committed adultery – at least in their physical body.  When confronted with Jesus’ Words that if they did these things in their heart, to God it’s as though they did them in the natural, they don’t want to hear it.  The attitude is similar to what I mentioned before with people not desiring to know more about persecution.  That knowledge is too uncomfortable, so they dismiss it.

The laxity toward faith in our nation must be distressing to God.  Might there be serious consequences because of it?  I think the Lord is giving this Christian generation the opportunity to truly serve Him, but time is running out.  If those of us who eagerly seek the return of Jesus are, in effect, the Philadelphia church; what of those who would rather enjoy the world?  Are they effectively the Laodicean church?  And if so, might Christ’s warning to it today be the same as it was then?  If the saved in Christ who are lukewarm are also “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17), and they do not take Jesus’ counsel, rather they ignore it; might there be some repercussions?  He does say that because He loves them, He will “rebuke and discipline” them for their disobedience (Revelation 3:19).  What might that look like in these last days?

Regardless of my thesis here that believers generally may not suffer persecution because of the pre-Tribulation Rapture, is there a case to be made that some number of Western Christians – because they live in Laodicea, so to speak – will endure persecution?

We live far from the Lord in heart and deed at our own peril.  If Jesus promised persecution, does that only apply to the 10/40 Window?  Could it be that persecution will follow a church that ignores God’s counsel because He must break them to change their earthly desires for heavenly ones?

I think there’s a lot more to this subject than most of us consider.  Bottom line: If we seek God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and remain awake for His soon return, we have nothing to be concerned about.  He is faithful.  Let us be faithful as well.

12 Responses to “Biblical Audio Commentary – Coming Persecution: I Might Be Wrong”

  1. Reply Suzanne Swift

    Our churches were shut down here in the states by the Covid 19 crap by willing pastors but also by the government. Isn’t that a type of persectuion? I was so glad to see some Pastors stand strong against that. I mentioned the word prayer to someone one day and I was told to never call her again. I know Christians who have essentially shut down their own business by talking about Jesus… isn’t that a type of persecution? A Christian family, the Grenons, was picked by the Deep State without a warrant and put in prison. They preach the Gospel and use MMS for healing. We have persecution but it is different.

  2. Reply Jim Eastman

    Having been to India many times I can tell you that we are blessed in America beyond belief and do not endure persecution like I saw over there. I remember meeting with a Christian Pastor who had a church of 300 people. He gave shelter to 6 Hindus on a rainy night. They stabbed him in the back many times. I have the pictures of the wounds. His wifes finger nails were pulled off. Most of his church members left him for fear of being hurt. His attendance slumped to a handful. He refused to give up and is back on the rise. He said they will have to kill me before I stop preaching the word. I never forgot this mans bravery. Oh we of little faith!

    On a side bar. I heard that Michael Heiser passed away of cancer. I enjoyed his commentary on the unseem realm. He will be missed.

  3. Reply Pamela P.

    Thank you Gary. My husband and I have been involved with Open Doors ministry for several years now. It is a hard ministry to be a part of. I must confess that most of my praying for others goes towards our precious brothers and sisters in these countries where persecution is horrific. Many of their stories are heartbreaking. I find it interesting your take on the possible future of persecution here in the western world ramping up to anywhere near the level is is in these other countries. And I think you are quite likely right. It won’t. And as you say, our type of persecution is of another sort: apathy, indifference, hostility, rejection, but not torture and killing. I do believe that what we see here in these end days are both the Philadelphia and Laodicea churches in operation. The objective of Satan in using persecution has always been to snuff out Christian witness. He uses it effectively by killing, torture and imprisonment “over there” but equally as effectively by apathy, distraction, indifference and deception here.

    • Reply Gary Ritter

      Persecution will descend upon the world – America, too – like a guillotine blade, but not until the Tribulation begins. Then, watch out!

  4. Reply Dennis Lam

    Dear Gary,

    Please be careful of Watchman Nee’s teachings. I used to read his books in my younger days and found it hard to understand due to English language is not my mother tongue.

    The critique is found here:

    I lived in a moderate Muslim majority country and do experience some soft persecutions here. I can’t say for the future since we know end times are dangerous.

    I am unable to post any Rumble comments due to verification issue. My country is not listed for Rumble to verify my account for posting.

    God bless.

    • Reply Gary Ritter

      Thank you, Dennis. From reading that critique, it feels to me like many of the false criticisms that were leveled by many people in order to essentially take him down – on the order of the Communist accusations that were later used to smear him. The critique tries to portray Nee as learning everything he knew from the two influential women of God in his life. Yes, they were influential, but a man of God who read the Bible to the extent Nee did, would surely have God-given discernment.

      You’re correct that we always have to be careful not to elevate any man. On the other hand, there are many “discernment” ministries that tear down people simply for minor things and more because they disagree with someone’s Biblical position.

      Be blessed.

      • Reply Danna

        Completely agree. We did not choose our life era, geographic circles of influence, God-tasks, or spiritual-gift-callings. The Lord did…Acts 17:26, Ephesians 2:10. We, while under our allotted version of persecution, can yet share the pain (dividing the sorrows) of our 10-40 brothers and sisters by fervently, constantly lifting them in prayer and pleading for Yahweh to raise more and more faithful for intercession. We can pray that He will strengthen them and meet their needs as Jehovah Jireh, Philippians 4:19…that He will comfort them and alert them in their spirits that brethren are praying and sharing in their pain as best as we are able to try to empathize. They and the lost head my prayer list non-negotiably. As for us, we can be as bold for Christ no matter which circumstances we find ourselves in. It is the hourglass of His “kairos” that will likely keep the forms distinct…time running out…but if we honor what He puts on our plate wherever we are, He is glorified! The lack of physical persecution allows us the window to get the word out…in person, by writing, podcasts, online…in this critical hour…and from all observation, the Western watchmen and women are working overtime to do just this. Living for Him can genuinely be as costly as dying for Him…but oh, what a privilege either truly is. Thank you, Gary. Maranatha!

  5. Reply Robin McCann

    Gary, thank you for clearing that up. I understand that Christians have been martyred ever since the day Jesus rose from the grave and have always wondered when this will start in America while at the same time, ‘The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church’ ringing in my head. Weird, I know. And while it is good to know that because America was founded on the precepts of God and still has the largest Christian base is the reason for no martyrdom here, I still have in the back of my mind that should a guillotine on wheels come rolling down my street, my intention is to go running out the door, yelling… Me first, Me first! Lol. Suffice to say, I have been ready to take death by any means, but the group flight does sound much more fun.

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