There’s something in the air. You can’t see it, you can’t smell it, but you can feel it. It’s not necessarily tangible but you can sense its impending approach.
It is persecution. And not just “they-laughed-at-me-because-I-go-to-church” persecution that we’ve all come to consider as persecution here in America, but an intense, relentless, horrifying persecution. A persecution of the likes of which we have never seen.
I’ve pondered posting the following thoughts earlier but I did not want to sound like an alarmist, a conspiracy theorist or jump to any conclusions. However, I just viewed the short video at the bottom of this post and realized that I am not the only one who can see the thunder clouds on the horizon. The video encouraged me to pen my thoughts on this matter to share with those who also hear the clapping of the distant thunder.
The tide is changing, the pendulum is swinging, and the winds are shifting. Although the American government, legal system, churches, and mindset of the masses have been changing for quite some time now, it seems like lately those changes have been increasing in speed.
Intolerance, antagonism, opposition, and hostility against Christians are growing not only from outside the Church, but even more so from within.
This coming persecution will not affect those merely professing Christianity (like the average Emergent or mega-church attendee for example). Instead this persecution will be waged against those who tenaciously hold to the exclusivity of the Gospel; that salvation is found only in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).
I once believed that the coming inevitable persecution would be against all who claim Jesus as their Savior, but I’ve come to realize that this is not true. Those who are merely professing Christians who just go to church need not fear. The persecution will be directed at those whose lives and doctrine actually reflect and bear the mark that God has called them out of this world because all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).
We are warned of the great Falling Away from the Faith (2 Thessalonians 2:3) and that the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12) and that Christians will betray one another (Matthew 24:10). Those who are secreted within the true Shepherd’s flock that are currently among us but have never been of us (1 John 2:19) are the ones that will give us over to whatever persecuting body comes down the pike. It’s those who we once counted as brethren–those whose books we purchased, those whose sermons we listened to, and those sitting next to us in the pew–that will eventually deliver us up with a Judas kiss.
* We’ve seen many who claim the name of Christ—who fully believe they are bound for Heaven—fall under the charming spell of a political leader who is responsible for the bloodshed of countless children. These professing Christians cast their ballots for this king to rule over them and they justified it!
* We’re seeing laws being proposed to squelch any speech the government deems as “intolerant” or “hateful.”
* We’re seeing sinful lifestyles being given a protective status while anyone who disagrees is deemed an enemy and their right to free speech is being revoked.
* We’re seeing false teachers rise up from the floorboards like cockroaches at such an alarming rate that they’ve deluged our churches with their diseased false doctrines and have sickened the Body of Christ.
* We’re seeing those who’ve stood along side us (nodding their heads in agreement when we take on cults like Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses), only to turn on us with a savage bloodlust when we hold their favorite “evangelical” leaders to the same Biblical standards and doctrinal integrity we hold the cults to.
* We’re seeing once respected men in the Faith begin holding hands with the enemy and push for a religious ecumenicalism that will eventually try to stamp out all those who believe Jesus meant what He said when He said He was the only way to the Father (John 14:6).
These and many other signs are coming together to create the perfect storm. When things begin heating up and moving forward, expect to see sites like DefCon taken down for violating some fairness or tolerance law. Expect to see pastors (who take a stand for the purity and exclusivity of the Gospel) removed from the pulpit and jailed as is already happening. And as things get worse, expect to lose your job, your home, your family, your friends, and even your very life as those who call themselves Christians pick up stones to kill you, thinking they’re doing God a service (John 16:2).
Those who have come to cherish the fellowship and encouragement of fellow believers on blogs such as this (because they’re outcasts at their local church), and those who rely on sound Biblical teaching from sermons on the internet (because their pastors are doing yet another “sermon” series on sex) will suffer as this once thriving venue dries up under hate crime laws.
It won’t be long before the true believers of Jesus Christ will be forced to go underground, not because of a lack of churches, but because of persecution and the fact that leaven has infected almost every church in America and those who resist will not be permitted to exist.
The blood of the martyr is the seed of the Church. It was in times of prosperity that Israel turned her back on God and it is with us as well. It wasn’t until Israel suffered greatly that they returned to their Creator. Whatever is soon to happen–no matter how terrifying it may be–we must remember that God has ordained it to accomplish His purposes.
History testifies this is going to take place, current trends indicate this is about to take place, and Scripture reveals this will take place.
We must be ready and prepared. We must do everything possible to make our families ready and prepared. We must remain steadfast and we must trust that God is sovereign in the storm as much as he is in the calm.
It seems to me that persecution never hurts the Church and prosperity always does.
See also: John MacArthur’s sermon A Nation Abandoned by God.