Upon Jesus calling His disciples, He soon sends them out to the towns and cities of Israel so as to gather her “lost sheep” (Matthew 10:6). He instructs the men to proclaim the Good News by telling everyone that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7). Jesus gives them the power and authority of God in this task as they are able to demonstrate this truth through healings, casting out evil spirits, and raising of the dead (Matthew 10:8). Yet, Jesus knows that there will be many who will not believe despite the evidence of God moving directly in their midst. His prophetic Words bode a dire warning for all who reject Him: “Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town” (Matthew 10:15).
That’s an awful pronouncement. What do we know about Sodom and Gomorrah? They were such wicked places that not even ten righteous men could be found in them (Genesis 18:32). Abraham had negotiated with the Angel of the Lord all the way down from fifty righteous, but the evil was so pervasive that it had consumed those cities.
In the highways and byways of Israel, the same dynamic of wickedness was present. Jesus knew the hearts of men and their deceitfulness. He knew that in the rejection of His Word, men would come against those who brought it. Man wants what he wants. When something keeps him from his own desires, he will act in his own selfish interests. If the Spirit of the Lord does not convict men’s hearts, they will act in their carnal nature. What does that fleshly response produce? In Jesus’ Words: “You will be hated by all for My Name’s sake” (Matthew 10:22). And that hatred toward God brings persecution to His followers.
The majority of the people of Israel were well down that path because of their religious leaders. The Pharisees previously in Matthew 10:34 had accused Jesus of being in league with Satan: “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”
Jesus accentuates this warning in Matthew 10:25 in speaking of those who hate God:
“If they have called the master of the house Beelezebul, how much more will they malign those of His household?”
It is this attitude and belief about Jesus that is the grieving of the Holy Spirit. Just two chapters later Jesus declares in Matthew 12:31-32 that:
“ the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven…Whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
Hating Jesus is hating God. It is the unforgivable sin. One who hates true followers of Jesus likewise hates God. That has eternal consequences. For the nation of Israel that heart condition caused the people to continually fall away from Him to worship other gods. God will only completely deal with that with Israel at the end of the Tribulation when ⅔ of Israel perishes and only ⅓ remain alive and are saved (Zechariah 13:8), but it’s a difficult outcome.
What lesson can we as Christians draw from this? Jesus never promises us an easy life. In fact, He promises that we will face trials and tribulations because the world hates Him. Thus, it hates us.
In America we have had minimal opposition to the Christian faith since our founding as a nation. That has changed. Even as Jesus prophesied, darkness and lawlessness are coming upon the earth (Matthew 24). It is already upon us, but will grow much worse. Our nation has fallen. It is no longer “one nation under God.” What was once a Constitutional Republic has turned into a banana republic. From the 2020 presidential election with its treason and fraud, Christians should no longer expect safety as encapsulated in the First Amendment.
A purge has begun that will expose and weed out all conservatives and Christians. In every other tyrannical nation on earth, their turning to the ways of Satan has always meant persecution for God’s people. We simply have to read the Old Testament to see how God’s curse upon those who reject Him plays out. The Word of God is clear: judgment comes when people grieve the Holy Spirit.
The Good News for we who believe and don’t follow the antichrist spirit of the age is that God will deliver us from the wrath to come. He promised that to the Philadelphia church in Revelation 3:10:
“Because you have kept my Word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.”
That is the Word of Promise to the faithful, remnant church. That is the promise of the pre-Tribulation Rapture. Will we be found faithful? Yes, but only if we double down in these perilous times and cling to God, His Word, and His righteousness.