What About Persecution?

Usually, for our Sunday article, it is my practice to quote a passage from a message or book written within the past 100 years or so, and then to make commentary as to its relevance for today. Today however, it is the constant reminder, by way of the media, of stories dealing with Christian persecution which has caused me to write. Because of much unbiblical teaching, emanating from many pulpits, in “churches” which have compromised on the Word of God and are now preaching “another gospel” I felt it necessary to put forward this brief excursus on persecution.

Words of Grace for Strength

From the very beginning, the true Church of Jesus Christ has faced persecution. Acts chapters 4 and 5 speak of the very beginning of that persecution in the ministry of the apostles Peter and John, and we find at the end of chapter 5 these words:

Acts 5:34-35
Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.

Act 5:38-42
And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

It is estimated that between 100 million and 150 million Christians worldwide face some type of persecution on a yearly basis, and depending upon whose report you believe to be most accurate there are between 55,000 and 100,000 Christians martyred each year. Some have even estimated that more Christians have been martyred in the first 15 years of this century than all of the previous 20 combined.

Christian persecution is found on every continent, and in every country, and is perpetrated by many religions as well as atheistic and intolerant totalitarian governments. In some places the persecution is subtle while in others it is horrifically overt. Christian persecution is found in many forms; such as slander and libel, confiscation of property, false accusations, imprisonment, kidnapping, slavery, beatings, dismemberment, torture, rape, and in varying degrees of severity up to and including murder by means of shooting, stoning, and beheading, burning, and even crucifixion.

Beginning with John and Peter’s first persecution, and with Steven’s death as the church’s first martyr, the church age has been marked by suffering, persecution, and martyrdom of the followers of Jesus Christ. All of the apostles, with the exception of John, were martyred as were most of the New Testament disciples named in the books written by Luke, Peter, John, and Paul.

Throughout the successive centuries the persecution has only grown, and as we live in these last days, awaiting the return of Jesus Christ to Rapture His Church, we can expect its intensity and frequency to grow exponentially. Jesus Christ was Himself our suffering Savior, and He was persecuted even unto death. We who are His followers, should at no time be surprised when we too are persecuted. Jesus promised us; “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:20a

Looking back to our text in Acts 5, we find that those who are persecuting the apostles are the Sanhedrin. Later in the book of Acts we find the followers of Christ being persecuted by differing groups of Gentiles and most especially the Romans. Throughout the succeeding centuries Christians have faced persecution from many different religions, ideologies, and governments.

Today Christian persecution comes at the hands of Islamists and various other religions; from communists, socialists, progressives, and other political ideologies; from atheists and agnostics; and from the radical LGBT community as well as other social activists such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU. In fact, I’m certain many of you would agree with me when I say, active Christian persecution emanates from our own White House and the administration which now occupies it.

But, I believe we who are followers of Christ, His True Church, have actually forgotten who our enemy really is. In John 14:30 he is called “the ruler of this world,” in Ephesians 2:2 he is called “the prince of the power the air,” and Paul names him as the devil in Ephesians 6:11. In fact, in Ephesians 6:11-12 Paul warns us to; “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Whether it be religions, governments, or ideologies, these and the mere mortals who lead them, are no more than pawns in this great spiritual war.

Today the True Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Christ, is involved in this spiritual war for the universe. Satan’s goal is to corrupt, marginalize, render ineffective, and destroy the Church of Jesus Christ. It is also his goal to destroy God’s chosen people, the Jews and their nation of Israel. Ultimately, Christ Himself will win the war. But, until we are relieved of our duty by either death (which the apostle Paul calls “gain.” Philippians1:21) or Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), we are to equip ourselves with the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and make a stand for the cause of Christ.

Once again as we look back to Acts 5:41, we note that John and Peter rejoiced that they were found worthy to suffer for Christ. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:14 that if we suffer for righteousness sake we are blessed. And James writes in James 1:2 that we should count it all joy when we face trials. Contrary to what is taught in many “churches” today, this is the normal Christian life, to be continually facing persecution for our obedience and fidelity to the cause of Christ. Like so many saints before us, who had also counted the cost, we must be willing not only to suffer, but to lay down our life in the service of the cross.

There is an old gospel song titled “I came here to stay.” I don’t know who the author is, but I believe this song should be on the lips of every Christian as we are involved in this spiritual battle. The chorus of the song says;

Run if you want to, run if you will,
But I came here to stay.
If I fall down I’m gonna get right up.
Because I didn’t start out to play.
It’s a battlefield, brother,
not a recreation room.
It’s a fight, and not a game.
Run if you want to, run if you will,
but I came here to stay.

Know your enemy, know the battlefield, face persecution without fear, rejoice, and having done all to stand, stand therefore!

Mr. Kerry’s False Hope

“What is the greatest problem in the Middle East?” If you were a multi-millionaire with a degree from Yale University and another degree from Boston College Law School with an annual salary—close to $200,000, and you worked for the President of the United States, and you supervised about 12,000 people, and you had years of government experience, do you think you could come close to the right answer?

Would your answer be the greatest problem in the Middle East is the Islamic State? They have attacked Iraq, Syria, and the Kurds; threatened Israel, Saudi Arabia and Jordan; captured cities, robbed banks, burned churches; raped women and young girls; beheaded people, crucified people, buried people alive; sold women and children into slavery; forced people to pay for protection and starved people to death. They have practiced ethnic cleansing, religious cleansing, forced women into second class citizenship and more.

Would your answer be the greatest problem in the Middle East is the civil war in Syria? As of September 2014, the death toll surpassed 200,000 people. Nine and one-half million people have been forcefully displaced. Three million people have fled the country. Hundreds of thousands live in the squalor of cold tents and go to bed hungry.

Thousands have been tortured, thousands have disappeared, thousands of women have been raped, many men and women have been chained naked to walls and beds, many don’t have enough food or medicine. Chemical weapons have been used and one UN official, Paulo Sergio Pinhero, said, “I have run out of words to depict the gravity of the crimes depicted inside Syria.”

Would your answer be the greatest problem in the Middle East is Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons? Iran calls Israel a one-bomb nation because Iran believes one nuclear bomb is all that is needed to wipe Israel off the map. Iran says if we can make a nuclear bomb, will use it on Israel (and some say Saudi Arabia too).

Israel says she won’t let Iran get a nuclear bomb; Israel budgeted money two years in a row for a war with Iran; Israel increased her military spending to upgrade her air force in 2015. Russia says an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be considered an attack on Moscow, it would heighten the prospect of WW III, and it could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.

Would your answer be the greatest problem in the Middle East is the religious conflict the different groups of Muslims: Sunnis against Alawites; Sunnis against Shiites; Sunnis against Kurds; Sunnis against Yazidis, etc? The civil war in Syria is a war between the majority Sunni population and the minority Alawite population. The Islamic State’s war with Iraq is primarily a war between Sunnis and Shiites, but the Sunnis are also killing the Yazidis and Kurds.

You see, every one of these Muslim sects believes their sect is the only true sect and every one of them believes all of the other sects are pagans. All of them believe they have a religious responsibility to kill pagans and they believe the sect that follows the true Islamic religion will be the last one standing. So even though all of them have people that kill Christians, Jews and others it is a fact that Muslims kill more Muslims than anyone else.

More could be said, but it is time to get to the point. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was recently asked about the greatest problem in the Middle East and according to him it is not the Islamic State, Syria’s civil war, Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons or the religious conflict between Muslims. Mr. Kerry believes the greatest problem in the Middle East is the conflict between Israel and the PA. He even seems to believe that all of the problems in the Middle East can be solved if Israel will just agree to a peace treaty on the PA’s terms.

This is the real Jayvee team in action. Mr. Kerry actually believes the conflict between Israel and the PA is worse than the 200,000 killed in Syria, the nine and one-half million displaced there; the Islamic State beheadings, slavery, rape of women, killing of children; the Russian threat of WW III and the use of nuclear weapons; the multitudes killed in the Islamic religious wars, etc. It is incredible, but he believes that all of these wars, killings, murders, rapes and starvations are directly related to Israel’s refusal to sign a peace treaty on the PA’s terms despite the fact that the roots of these conflicts precede the existence of Israel and the PA.

According to what I have read, Mr. Kerry is probably worth somewhere between 200 and 300 million dollars and his wife Teresa is probably worth somewhere between 165 million and 3.2 billion dollars. So Mr. Kerry doesn’t need a refund on his education at Yale or the Boston College Law School, but his total lack of common sense and his incredible inability to understand the situation indicates that he wasted his money.

His false hope that all of the problems in the Middle East can be solved by forcing Israel to accept a peace treaty on the PA’s terms is misguided. If that treaty gets confirmed while Mr. Kerry is still alive, he will probably shout “peace and safety.” But when those famous words are shouted the problems in the Middle East will make the current situation seem like child’s play.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck

Showdown In The Land Of Babylon

From Genesis to Revelation, the land of Babylon and the city of Babylon (Iraq) occupy a prominent place in Scripture. Together, the land and the city are mentioned almost 300 times in the Bible. Without question, many of these references are about ancient Babylon, but also without question many other references are about Babylon’s future just prior to and during the Tribulation Period (Isa. 13:6-16). Also, it is important to separate the prophecies about the land from the prophecies about the city.

Some verses of Scripture tie the city of Babylon to false worship. Nimrod built a ziggurat near there called the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9). I don’t know what was on top of the Tower of Babel, but later ziggurats had temples or altars on top of them and they were used for astrology, human sacrifice, the worship of Marduk and things like that. False worship and slaying people for religious reasons are an ancient Babylonian custom that still exists today.

King Nebuchadnezzar built a statue near the city of Babylon and ordered Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to worship it or die (Dan. 3:1-30). Slaying people who won’t convert is another ancient Babylonian custom. Zechariah had a vision of a wicked woman (the opposite of the Bride of Christ; a harlot religion) that will be carried to Babylon in an ephah (a symbol of commerce and trade) in the future (Zech. 5:5-11). Some believe this means that the city of Babylon will be the future home of a global false religion and economic system. The Book of Revelation speaks of Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots (false worship) and Abominations of the Earth that is also a city loved by the merchants of the earth (Rev. 17-18).

Some verses of Scripture tie Babylon to demonic activity. Many writers think the Garden of Eden was in Babylon and Satan went there (Gen. 2:14; 3:1-5). Sorcerers practiced in the city (Dan. 2:2; 3:5). Daniel was in Babylon when the prince of Persia (a fallen angel) hindered the answer to one of his prayers (Dan. 10:13). Isaiah said satyrs (demons) will dance on the site of the burned city and the Book of Revelation confirms it (Isa. 13:19-22; Rev. 18:2).

Some verses of Scripture teach that the destruction of the land (not the city) of Babylon will start before the Tribulation Period and continue on into the Tribulation Period. God will assemble a multi-national force in the mountains of Babylon to move against the evil in the land with the weapons of His indignation (a name for the Tribulation Period) when the day of the Lord (the Tribulation Period) is near (Isa. 13:3-6). God will lay the land of Babylon desolate when the day of the Lord is coming (Isa. 13:9). Then, He will punish the world in the day of his fierce anger (Isa. 13:11-13). So the beginning of the destruction of the land of Babylon (Iraq) is a sign that the Tribulation Period with its seal, trumpet and bowl judgments is drawing near.

Some verses say the city (not the land) will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah (Isa. 13:19). The city must be rebuilt because it hasn’t burned yet, but it will burn during the Tribulation Period (Rev. 18:8) between the seventh bowl (Rev. 16:17) and the Second Coming of Jesus (Rev. 19:11-16). God said the city of Babylon will be destroyed suddenly (Jer. 51:8) and in the Book of Revelation, He said her plagues will come in one day (Rev. 18:8) and her riches will be destroyed in one hour (Rev. 18:10, 17, 19). He also linked several verses in Isa. 13 and Jer. 50-51 to Rev. 17-18 (Isa. 13:21 to Rev. 18:2; Jer. 50:15 to Rev. 18:6; 51:7 to 17:4 and 18:3; 51:8 to 18:2; 51:9 to 18:4; 51:13 to 17:1, etc.).

Jeremiah tied the destruction of the city (not the land) of Babylon to the salvation of the Jews. He said the Jews will weep and seek the Lord, their God and join themselves to Him in a perpetual covenant at the time of Babylon’s (the city’s) destruction (Jer. 50:4-5). Zechariah tied Israel’s weeping to the Second Coming of Jesus, the Battle of Armageddon and His outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Zech. 12:7-14). So the city’s destruction will occur instantly at the end of the Tribulation Period after the everlasting gospel has been preached all over the world (Rev. 14:6-8).

Some verses of Scripture teach that the Medes (Kurds) will play a dominant role in the future destruction of both the land, and later, the city of Babylon. God called on the nations to prepare their multi-national forces to join the Medes (Kurds) to make the land of Babylon desolate (Jer. 51:28-29). God said He will stir up the Medes (Kurds) against the men in the city of Babylon (Isa. 13:17). He said He will use the Medes (Kurds) to destroy the city of Babylon (Jer. 51:11). [Editor’s note: See more of Daymond Duck’s views on the Medes in his earlier post here.]

It is possible that the genocidal actions of the Islamic State (IS) have started the ball rolling on the fulfillment of these prophecies. Demonic describes those who behead, crucify or bury alive other human beings. It describes those who refuse food and drink to children who are dying of hunger and thirst and those who make sex-slaves out of young girls. It describes those who make mothers watch while their babies are cut in two and their husbands are slaughtered. It describes those who kill for religious purposes and those who demand that people convert or die. It describes the Islamic State and also the satanically inspired False Prophet who will behead people during the Tribulation Period (Rev. 13:15; 20:4).

In recent years, most of the nations in the world have been reluctant to sell weapons to the Kurds (Medes), but the demonic actions and gruesome videos of the Islamic State have profoundly altered the thinking of world leaders. The UN Security Council now recognizes the dangers of radical Islam. The UN Security Council has met and demanded that the Islamic State stop their attacks, disarm and disband; and the UN Security Council did it under a section of its Charter that allows the UN to militarily enforce their demand.

God said He will gather a group of mighty nations with the weapons of His indignation in the mountains of Babylon to destroy the land (Isa. 13:3-4). Several nations have now shipped or are preparing to ship modern weapons to the Kurds who occupy the mountains of Babylon (Iraq). Some are sending troops and this could be a clear indication that the Tribulation Period is close (Isa. 13:5; Jer. 50:3, 9-10, 15, 25-26, 41, 46). It could mean that God is ready to move decisively against those in the land of Babylon (Iraq) who are robbing, killing and raping His people and destroying His churches.

Obviously, the Kurds and their UN supporters can’t use these weapons against the city of Babylon at this time, but UN involvement is setting the stage for the city to be rebuilt and its destruction won’t be many years behind. In the last two weeks, Pres. Obama has called for a multi-national force to join the U.S. and the Kurds; since Aug. 8, 2014, the U.S. Air Force has destroyed dozens of Islamic State targets; the Kurds have recaptured the Mosul Dam; the EU has met and authorized member nations to help; England has announced that it is sending troops; the U.S. has announced that it may send more troops to join several hundred that are already there; and the prophetic picture of the Bible is starting to unfold.

In closing, I am not a prophet, but as I understand the Scriptures, this is just the beginning of a showdown in Babylon that will shake the world. As we approach the Tribulation Period, I expect the Islamic State to be brutally crushed and the land of Babylon to be seized and secured by the Globalists with the help of the Kurds (Medes). Then, I expect the Globalists to quickly rebuild the ancient city of Babylon to house their Global religion and economic system. Finally, at the end of the Tribulation Period, I expect the Kurds to use some of their modern weapons to destroy that city suddenly.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck