“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” (Matthew 24: 9, NIV 1984)
My Musings – Most are familiar with the persecution of the early church, which lasted until the 4th century AD when Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity and declared the Roman Empire to be a Christian Empire. So, this part of Christ’s Olivet prophecy did in fact play out within a generation’s time. But what about today as we move ever so closer to the end of the age? Who are the most persecuted people in the world today?
According to the International Society for Human Rights, a secular group with members in 38 states worldwide, 80 per cent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians. The Centre for the Study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that 100,000 Christians die every year, targeted because of their faith in Christ. This works out to approximately eleven an hour. The Pew Research Center says that hostility to religion reached a new high in 2012, when Christians faced some form of discrimination in 139 countries, or in almost three-quarters of the world’s nations.
All this seems counter-intuitive here in the West where the history of Christianity has been one of cultural dominance and control. Yet even here, over the years, this has been slowly eroding. Like soil erosion, it may start out subtly and not all that noticeable in the beginning. But as it progresses and accelerates, as it has in recent years, it becomes more and more obvious. And closer to home.
I think we are all beginning to feel the hate. Because of our faith in Him. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 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. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:18–20, NIV 1984).
My Advice – When persecuted and abused one’s natural reaction is to respond in like manner. Natural, as in the natural man. But we have been supernaturally redeemed out of the world. So we should not respond as the world does. “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7, NIV 1984).
One thought on “Lambs To Slaughter”
These statistics are shocking, especially to Americans who freely worship Jesus. But you’re right. Things are changing, even here. There is great pressure in our society to be ecumenical and tolerant of other beliefs – and not just other religions, but doctrines of demons such as gender ideology and CRT. Great post, Steve. Blessings, Brother!
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