Friday, July 2, 2010

The Coming Persecution

It is well known that converts to Christianity are not tolerated in Islamic nations. These are among the darkest places on earth with the Bible being banned and missionaries being barred from preaching God’s Word under threat of death. Yet despite this, people even in these countries are turning to Jesus for salvation even by direct revelation because God is sovereign and, as Jesus said, “all that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37, NKJ).

Jesus warned us to expect persecution as a result of following Him; He said, “a servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). This persecution will reach a climax during the last half of the Tribulation. Speaking of the Antichrist, Daniel 7:25 says, “he shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.” Persecuting Christians is a symptom of the spirit of Antichrist.

The United States has been a beacon of religious freedom in the world. That is the reason we were founded and why people want to come here more than anywhere else in the world. But as we get closer to the end of the Age of Grace, there is growing discrimination against Christians in this country. This is how persecution begins, by excluding a group of people on the basis of some characteristic, in this case a belief. The conviction that a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven can not be tolerated in this postmodern era where all opinions must have equal value.

Every day there is more evidence that Christians are being excluded from the religious freedom upon which this nation was founded. A Florida school has banned the free distribution of donated Bibles during off-hours on Religious Freedom Day claiming they have no educational value. I can’t imagine them doing the same thing regarding the Koran. In an even more consequential case, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a ruling by a lower court that the Hastings College of the Law (part of the University of California) may deny recognition of the Christian Legal Society student group because it required accepting a statement of faith to be a member. CLS has been the only group ever denied recognition by the school.

A lot of people will dismiss these developments as minor but they are significant for the discerning with a biblical worldview. Christians are under increasing assault in the country that has been the primary impetus for religious freedom on earth. I thank God for the freedoms we still have in this country and incidents such as these only encourage me to step up my efforts to help people to know Jesus while I can. As Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).

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