Since the beginning of time, war has been waged against God and all those who believe in Him. Satan has made every allowable attempt to rid the world of believers and those who profess God as their one true Lord and Savior. Satan’s conquest to seek out believers forces us to consider that the battle is no figment of our imagination; it exists, and if it exists, then God exists.
“Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12
The Scripture above promises every believe will suffer persecution. It doesn’t say it ‘might’ happen, no, it says it ‘will’ happen. Unfortunately, Christian persecution has become an all too common part of our dramatic history. Many people throughout time have died martyred deaths for their religious beliefs. Including the twelve disciples. They went to their death defending their faith. All but one of them died a gruesome death for their belief in Christ; including being stoned to death, beheaded, crucified, dragged, hanged, and beaten, among other things. According to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, the remaining disciple, John, was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil, where he escaped miraculously without injury and was then banished to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.
“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19
Despite the horrible deaths of the disciples, Christianity continued to flourish throughout the Roman Empire. Persecution, however, still existed and war and violence in the name of Christ had become the frequency of history. Debates and conflicts within the church arose and battles against religion took place. Countries started to view religion and belief in God as a threat to their power and authority because believing in God meant removing power from those in power here on earth. Churches began to focus on legalities and not the essentials of Christ and Christians were either tolerated or persecuted throughout various time frames within history. Which sounds alot like our churches and politicians today!
Check out this excerpt from Wikipedia:
Christian Persecution – A religious persecution that Christians sometimes undergo as a consequence of professing their faith, both historically and in the current era. In the two thousand years of the Christian faith, about 70 million believers have been killed for their faith, of whom 45.5 million or 65% were in the twentieth century according to “The New Persecuted.”
Persecution still remains a present day problem. Even though we may not be in the midst of the trials, they are still happening around us. In fact, America currently has a system in tact that monitors religious freedom around the world, called Countries of Particular Concern (The CPC list), under the IRFA (International Religious Freedom Act). This executive summary places countries around the world into categories of concern. The countries contained in this list experience religious freedom restrictions of some sort. Currently sixteen countries have been recommended for the CPC designation by the commission in 2012:
1- Burma – According to the CPC list, they have some of the world’s worst human rights abuses, including rape, torture, ethnic cleansing, conscription of child soldiers, and particularly severe religious freedom violations. Restrictions are placed on certain religious practices. Religious groups, including Christians, Muslims, and Buddhist monks are often faced with intrusive monitoring, arrest, mistreatment, destruction of property, severe restrictions on worship, education, and religious activities, and are targeted for violence. Click here to read more on Burma.
2- China – The government restricts religious practices to government-sanctioned organizations. Unregistered groups experience harassment, imprisonment or can be put into labor camps. Click here to read more on China.
3. Egypt- There are serious problems of discrimination, intolerance, and other violations against religious minorities. Military and security forces are known to use excessive force and live ammunition targeting Coptic Christian demonstrators and places of worship resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries. The government also continues to prosecute, convict, and imprison Egyptian citizens charged with blasphemy. Click here to read more on Egypt.
4- Eritrea – They engage in systematic religious freedom violations. This includes torture, ill-treatment of people, arrests, and detentions. Hundreds of members of unregistered churches are said to be detained without charge, mistreated and tortured. Click here to read more on Eritrea.
5- Iran – Islam is the main religion. There are ongoing severe violations of religious freedom including torture and executions. There is also prolonged detention based solely on the religion of the accused. They also discriminate their citizens based off their religion. Click here to read more on Iran.
6- Iraq – Severe abuse of religious freedom exists. Minority religious groups are targeted, violated and intimidated, as well as a large number of religious-motivated killings. Many people are leaving the country due to their violent stand on their Islamic beliefs. Click here to read more on Iraq.
7- Nigeria – Persistent religious violations occur. The government takes little or no intervention on acts of religious violence. In fact they go as far as to permit religious violence. Click here to read more on Nigeria.
8- North Korea – Government has strict control over their people, including their religious freedoms. Citizens are forced in a certain belief system and if they do not follow it, they can be tortured, publicly executed, imprisoned, and more. Many believers are put into labor camps. They have one of the words worst repressive regimes. Click here to read more on North Korea.
9- Pakistan – Religious motivated violence persists. Laws against blasphemy remain, which stipulate life imprisonment for defamation of the Koran and a death sentence for blasphemy against Muhammad. Click here to read more on Pakistan.
10- Saudi Arabia – No religious freedom exists, all citizens must adhere to Sunni Islam. Others are imprisoned, tortured, detained, etc. for engaging in other religious activities. Click here to read more on Saudi Arabia.
11- Sudan – The government considers itself an Islamic government, which severely restricts religious practice of all other types of religion. They have violations of apostasy that could ultimately end up in the death penalty. Their restrictive Shari’ah law (Islamic law) attacks and threatens the Christian community. Acts of genocide have been known to take place. Click here to read more on Sudan.
12- Tajikistan – There are many violations on religious freedoms. The state suppresses and punishes all religious activity and imprisons individuals on unproven criminal allegations linked to religious affiliation. Click here to read more on Tajikistan.
14- Turkmenistan – Religious groups must be registered by the government. Many denominations, whether registered or not, often can’t rent places to worship and if they meet in an unapproved area, such as a private home, they are subject to police raids or court-imposed fines. Click here to read more on Turkmenistan.
15- Uzbekistan – Strict laws on religion limit the ability of religious communities to function. Thousands are imprisoned and continue to be beaten or tortured in detention. Click here to read more on Uzbekistan.
16- Vietnam – They restrict and penalize independent religious activity. The government continues to force renunciation of faith, harass, detain and discriminate religious communities. Click here to read more on Vietnam.
Not only are these thirteen countries a concern, but the CPC has a watch list containing the following countries: Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Laos, Russia, Somalia, and Venezuela. These countries are considered borderline and many eventually end up with aggressive religious persecution. Please note that persecution is not limited only to the above countries. In fact, more than 40 nations around the world experience some sort of Christian persecution.
All this to say, that persecution is happening, and just because we do not live in a country with a hostile environment, does not mean that we should be blind to the fact that these events are occurring. As people with religious freedoms, it is hard to grasp the concept of a mere alternative. Christ is unquestionably here and his presence is seen through the on-going battles that exist.
Whether you want to believe these events are happening or just push them under the rug is up to you, however, these events did occur and unfortunately are still occurring today. For we are getting close to the day that here in American we will suffer extreme persecution. It is at the door! Executive orders have been signed by our President, labor camps have been setup, our government has stockpiled guns and ammo, Christians have been put on the terrorist list. For the Bible tells us in the last days…
“They will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.” Luke 21:12
Be ready, for the day is at hand!
We might not have to go through tribulation, but there are events leading up to it that we will have to go through. We must remember to put our faith, hope, and trust in the Lord. We must be willing to give up everything for an undeniable God whose reality has been relevant since the beginning of time and whose existence we can’t deny. Be ready! Be ready! For extreme persecution is coming to America!
Love you all!