There is a coming great persecution upon Christianity in the west and other protected pockets in the world. In places where the has been a protected Gospel witness, there will come such a sweeping persecution that even if it were told before of what would happen no one would believe it. You might ask how do you know that this is going to happen? I do not claim to have a vision, revelation or any special spiritual knowledge to say these things rather as I have read through Matthew 24 and other clear prophetic passages in the bible, it is very clear there will be a world-wide hatred of Christians in the end times.
Our Lords words are painfully clear and poignant as they were written 2000 years ago: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people (Matthew 24:9-11). As we read the Scriptures carefully and slowly we will be shocked to find truths that modern preachers, ignore and with dispensational theologies confuse the masses by stating these words do not apply to us as Christians. Yet the truth is that these words do apply to Christians of all ages and they more readily apply to us whom these Scriptures could see their fulfilment.
The one particular phrase "you will be hated by all nations because of me" sheds light into the awful occurrences that will prevail in the end times. Notice our Lord Jesus states "all nations", not some nations or not even america and Israel will be exempt. They will all be haters of those who follow Jesus Christ and will put to death these out of hatred of all that true Christianity stands for. America persecuting and hating those who name the name of Christ? Yes, it will surely happen.
Yet our Lord further speaks of something even ore controversial with our modern evangelical mind: "many will turn away from the faith..." In the earlier ministry of Jesus Christ at one point in John 6 there is a very large crowd following Him. Perhaps even the largest crowd that followed the master in those days. It is very interesting to see Jesus's repines to such interest in His claims and power. His response was to preach a hard saying, " Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.'" (John 6:53). He basically said "its all in or nothing" either you are fully committed to me or you have no part with me. Such a radical Gospel and discipleship was not in their plans of incorporating Jesus into their lives. And the sad response John gives in his Gospel: "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him." (John 6:66). They stopped following Him. They gave up on the road to discipleship and went back to fashioning a god of their own making in their own likeness. And such is what the Lord says: "many" (more then just a few), will "turn away." They will deny the Lord that bought them and go back to an life of living for self.
Do you believe this is possible for yourself? When the pressures of persecution for the Name of Christ and an unwarranted hatred comes against you simply because you adore and worship Jesus Christ. Will you be able to stand in that day? It will be easy to follow the multitudes, the "many" who will be turning away from the faith. Yet our Lord desires we stay true to His calling and Name by His grace. He states to the church of Philadelphia "I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." (Revelation 3:8) Also in the city of Pergamum: "Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives." (Revelation 2;13). May God find us with these faithful churches that happily and with hope endured much for the kingdom of God and do not allow compromise and lukewarmness to allow them to drift away from being bold for the Lord.
This falling away is shown in (2 Thessalonians 2:3) "Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction." May God preserve us in that day and allow us to ruthlessly cling to Jesus Christ as our hope and salvation and be willing to bear the lose of all things for His name sake. Our great security in Christ is never at jeopardy as we continue to abide with Him daily. Sitting at His feet and learning of Him, the great Shepard of the sheep will keep them. Let us stay close to our Master and none of these things will befall us. But let these words bring fear to our souls also to pray for strength for these coming days and to do the will of the Father and live.
"Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you." (1 John 3:13). Now 2000 years later let us not either be surprised that the entire world system will hate us who call ourselves after the Name of Christ. Be valiant for His testimony, suffering and martyrdom will soon be not abstract theology but practical reality. May we learn of the Lord now how to endure for that time ahead. His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9). And He will bear us up in that day for His glory sake. Amen.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon