“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
(2 Timothy 3:12)
I recently viewed the movie The Promise, an historical romance based on the facts surrounding the Armenian Genocide in Turkey during the First World War.
During the years 1915 to 1918, Armenians were systematically removed from the Muslim majority society in the Ottoman Empire; they were put into camps or killed, simply because of their cultural and racial heritage. They were Christians.
Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political or cultural group (Miriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Miriam-Webster Incorporated, Springfield, Mass USA, 2008), such as was undertaken in Nazi Germany against the Jews and homosexuals during WWII, and in Turkey against the Armenian Christians, after they allied with the Germans in WWI.
Until I met and became friends with an Armenian a year or two ago, I had never heard of the Armenian genocide. I hadn’t realised that in the early 20th century Christians had faced persecution on a large — national and international — level. Now, as I look at the present day, such as when ISIS terrorists beheaded men at the waterside, for example, I realise persecution of Christians has been on the rise for some time. This is further evidence that we are in the Last Days before Jesus’ return (see 2 Timothy 3).
Last Days are Perilous Times
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3: 1-4) Does this also not describe the times we are in?
The persecution does not always begin with expulsion and death. Whether you are a baker in Belfast, N Ireland or in Oregon in America, you can be persecuted for your faith.
And those who speak on behalf of Christians or their values can also experience persecution. Never has a United States president had such hate thrust upon him, until President Trump. His inauguration speech called for unity and hope, citing Psalm 133 and that the unity of brethren pull together. He asked the citizens of America to stand in solidarity with one another, regardless of colour or economic situation. When a child of poverty, black, white or brown skin goes to bed at night in America, he looks up at the same sky as a child in wealth, black, white or brown skin, he said.
Attack on Trump
But his detractors inspired and continue to insight protest. Then, people raged and carried signs saying, “Not My President”. To my mind their behaviour was reminiscent of the brownshirts’ uprising in fascist Nazi Germany. And yet, they protest, accusing Trump of such sympathies.
Today, while Donald J Trump does himself no favours with his confrontational style and tweets, giving loads of ammunition to his enemies to use against him, he nevertheless has been vilified on a scale never before seen by a US president.
Why is this happening?
I believe at the heart of it is satan, working his way through the minds of those who dislike Trump, using them to attack so he can’t get on with government.
Why would satan take an interest?
Because Jesus is elevated by those who surround the president and Judeo-Christian values are at the heart of his policies.
There is persecution, there is a war going on. We are not to fear. We need to be aware and to be ready.
With persecution comes hope. Jesus will come “in the night”, and he will call us to himself.
We must be sure we have our lamps when he comes, and that they are fully prepped with the oil of the Holy Spirit. We must be dressed as the bride, ready for his call.
As we witness the signs: the deterioration of society and the persecution of Christians to name only two, we must see that the End is near. Jesus will come and he’ll call us to him. We need not to fear but to be ready.