Open War is Upon You

army of God888

Through adversity we are born. And we are born to face and overcome adversity (a little snippet from my upcoming book “The Father’s Heart and Purpose for the End Times).

Don’t let the enemy steal from or lie to you about your purpose. One of your primary roles is to overcome him! “And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” ~Revelation 12:11 (NIV)

I love this little clip from LOTR. Gandalf is encouraging the King in his duty to fight the enemy. “Ride out and meet him head on!” But he didn’t want to take the risk of open war. Aragorn responds, “Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not!”( See the video clip > Here)

How true…do we not see this happening all around us? It is increasing all over the world! What should we do?

Let’s put on the full armor of God and fulfill our duty. Let’s ride out and meet it head on! Let’s fulfill our destinies as true soldiers of Christ.

The Armor of God

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” ~Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

“For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), Being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.” ~II Corinthians 10:3-6 (AMP)

Facing the Real Possibility of Persecution and Martyrdom

persecution

Today, let us seriously consider the reality of persecution and even the real possibility of dying for our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus laid down His life for His Bride. What does He expect of us in return? Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, NIV). Jesus also said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:10-12, NIV)


“Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” ~John 15:20 (NIV)

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” ~2 Timothy 3:12 (NIV)

Historical accounts tell us that eleven out of the twelve disciples were martyred. It is also reported that they attempted to kill John the Apostle, but he wouldn’t die. Although these things are hard to keep track of, it is estimated that from when Jesus walked the earth until now, there have been as many as 70 million Christian martyrs. Some believe that 40 million of those have come just in the 20th century alone. The number of martyrs for Christ that we see now every year could very well be the highest number in history.

What about us? Persecution is one thing. But will we again risk the same fate as the disciples did in their day? How many of us will actually face martyrdom? Let us consider the scriptures concerning this subject.

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. 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. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.’” ~Matthew 24:3-13 (NIV)


“The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time. ‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’” ~Daniel 7:24-27 (NIV)

“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” ~Daniel 11:31-35 (NIV)

“The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, ‘It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.’” ~Daniel 12:7 (NIV)

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. Immediately after the distress of those days

‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.” ~Matthew 24:15-31 (NIV)

“The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach. Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman and sweep her away with the torrent. But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring—those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.” ~Revelation 12:14-17 (NIV)


“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.” ~Revelation 2:10 (NIV)

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.” ~Revelation 9:6-11 (NIV)

“The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. Whoever has ears, let them hear. ‘If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.’ This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” ~Revelation 13:5-10 (NIV)

“A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: ‘If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.’ This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ’Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’” ~Revelation 14:9-13 (NIV)


“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands… Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’ I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.’’” ~Revelation 7:9,13-16 (NIV)

“They triumphed over him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” ~Revelation 12:11 (NIV)


“I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” ~Revelation 20:4-6 (NIV)

As persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ increases across the earth right through the end of the age, what should our response be? Let us look to the word of God.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” ~Romans 12:12-21 (NIV)

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For,

‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’

And,

‘But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.’

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”
~Hebrews 10:32-39 (NIV)

Watch and Pray

watch and pray

Have you ever noticed that in the Bible it says that when Jesus returns, He will come as a thief specifically to those who are asleep and are careless? Consider the following passages of scripture:

“Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.” ~Revelation 3:3 (NIV)

But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.” ~Matthew 24:48-50 (NIV)

Interestingly, in the parable of the ten virgins described in Matthew 25:1-1…ALL of the virgins were asleep and were alarmed at the coming of the bridegroom! However, by comparison, the five that were considered wise were the ones that were at least better prepared for His coming.

Paul aptly makes the differentiation between those who are asleep and those who are not in I Thessalonians 5:1-5 (NIV):

“Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.”<br>

So, what should we be doing? Part of the answer we see in the Bible is that we should watch and pray. Jesus instructs us to watch and pray during these perilous times–just as He instructed the disciples during the perilous hours just before His death, “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” ~Matthew 26:41 (NIV). It is interesting that He was asking for watchfulness and prayer during this hour of great travail before His death, and also during the hour of great travail of His return. “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able [or strengthened] to escape [or flee away from] all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” ~Luke 21:36 (NIV). The prophet Zephaniah speaks of the Day of the Lord, “Gather together, gather yourselves together…seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.” ~Zephaniah 2:1,3 (NIV). Paul continues his instructions above by saying, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” ~I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

Jesus warns us about how difficult those days will be–he says, “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” Thankfully, He warned us ahead of time, told us what we should be doing and also shortened those days for our benefit! I like the simplicity of what He says in Matthew 24:25, “See, I have told you ahead of time.” But are we listening? How will we respond? Will we remain watchful? Or will we grow drowsy and careless?

I have heard someone refer recently to the house of prayer as the “house of the watchful and the wise”. I couldn’t agree more! Interestingly, in what appears to be a sign of the times, thousands of 24/7 houses of prayer have been popping up all around the world over the last 20 years! But, whatever the format or location we meet in, let us encourage each other to stay the course and continue to watch and pray!

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” ~Luke 18:7-8 (NIV)

Darkness is increasing! Why? And who are you?

Return to Pigeon Point Lighthouse - 138th Anniversary

We can look around us and see that darkness is increasing–especially if we watch the news! Jesus warned us that this increase in wickedness would happen. However, He also said that He would let the “wheat and the tares” grow up together, and that in these perilous times there would also be an amazing outpouring of His Spirit! Joel 2:28-32. This also means that the darkness and the light will increase together. At the end of times, there will be two harvests: 1) The Weeds (or Tares) and 2) the Wheat. In Matthew 13:41-43, Jesus explains, “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Why does the darkness increase with the light for a time? Jesus says He allows this because He does not want the “wheat” to be uprooted with the “weeds.” My guess is that this has to do with His mercy. But, we know that this is only temporary–and is during this period of grace. Personally, this seems like a very deep subject that requires much wisdom and revelation; perhaps we will pursue this further in another post.

So, what remains in our discussion is “who are you?” Also, what can I do? I have come of up with a simple acronym, “DARK.” It is something to remind us how we can respond to darkness.

Destroy it.

Yes, overcome the darkness. But how?…

Arise and Shine.

Stand up to it! “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Isaiah 60:1-3 says, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” Remember that in the parable of the talents, Jesus told us not to crawl into a hole in fear and wait for Him to come back (my paraphrase). We must stand up and shine!

Resist and rebuke it.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
James 4:7. That seems simple enough. Perhaps it is not easy, but simple. But it’s not enough just to resist…

Kick it out and overcome it!

In the Garden of Eden, mankind made a decision to give his authority over to the devil, plunging us into darkness. Bad idea. Now, it’s our job to kick the devil back out!

The Bible predicted this overthrow of darkness in Genesis–the plan was revealed right away! Father God spoke of Adam’s offspring, that “he [Adam’s offspring] will your crush [Satan’s] head, and you [Satan] will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15.

First of all, this means that Jesus would come and defeat death and the grave on the cross! Jesus said that He came to destroy the works of Satan. Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth; then He told us to GO! He said He will be with us always, even until the end of the age. He told us to bring the Kingdom and disciple the nations!

So, secondly, this also means that we will bruise our heel kicking Satan out! Romans 16:20, Paul says, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” I John 3:8. Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” One thing that Jesus says over and over again in Revelation, especially in regards to the end times: “Overcome–overcome–overcome–overcome!” There are many rewards He lists for those who overcome! (I highly recommend you read them in Revelation 2, 3 & 22). Let us not be like that generation of complaining Israelites that were afraid to go into the promised land and kick the enemy out! After that, there was another generation that got it–and did it! Today, in regards to the end times, I think that generation is you! Your children and babies are part of the plan too! Jesus reminded us in the book of Matthew of Psalm 8:2, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”

In summary, our Father God prophesied in Genesis that we would defeat Satan. He then encourages us over and over again to overcome Satan. Finally He prophesied that His prophesy will come true! Revelation 12:11 says, “They triumphed over him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” He is saying that we WILL become His Light and Love in the world; and we WILL overcome!

The only thing that will remain on this earth after this whole thing goes down is God’s Kingdom of Light and Love. Everything else will have been assimilated (by Love) or will have been destroyed.

Yes, darkness is increasing on the earth–but it is quite temporary. Light and Love will overcome it and will be permanent. So, who are you?

The Burning Ones

burninglion

Billions have likely prayed, “…let Your Kingdom come, Your will be done…on earth as it is in heaven.” But I wonder sometimes if we really consider what we are asking for? Well, Daniel saw “as it is” in heaven. In Daniel 7:9-10 (NIV) he describes what he saw,

“As I looked,

…thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.”

What an awesome sight! It can be presumed from this scene, that one thing we are asking for when we pray the Lord’s prayer, is for the Ancient of Days to come to earth, and for Him to bring His throne of flaming fire, and river of fire with Him!

Many might say, “How will we survive this?” As the prophet Isaiah foretold, “The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: ‘Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?’” (Isaiah 33:14, NIV)

It is only by the blood of the Lamb, that a way has been made for us! He made a way for us to invite the Burning One into our very hearts! When we do this…it sets our hearts ablaze and burns out anything that is not of Him! We, then, also become burning ones for Him!

Remember the two that walked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, but didn’t know at first that it was Him? They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Just being close to Him set their hearts ablaze! Jesus wants the same thing for us! Remember also what happened later in the upper room? “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.” They went out from there, and with signs following, they led thousands to the Lord! His desire is for our hearts to be set on fire…and for that fire to spread to others!

During his revelation, John saw the fire in Jesus’ eyes. It is the fire of his love! This love is described in Song of Songs 8:6-7, “Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the Lord. “Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it…”

Let us, therefore, receive the consuming fire of His love into our hearts…and let us spread it to others and increase His Kingdom…and reduce the number of souls ultimately consumed as enemies of God by the fire of His jealous anger!

Something Worth Fighting (and Dying) For

book_home

I recently received a small book in the mail a few days ago and began to read it. The book is called “Tortured for Christ” by Rev. Richard Wurmbrand. This book was first published on the year I was born (1967) and it actually sat in my home as I grew up. I remember my father telling me about it when I was young, but I can’t remember for sure if I read it back then or not. Rev. Wurmbrand grew up as an atheist in Romania. By the grace and power of God, he became a Christian and then even a Pastor. When the Nazis took over in World War II, he suffered much persecution by their hands. Then, when the Russians kicked the Nazis out, Communism was implemented in Romania and the persecution became far worse (in the West, many of us forget that our country signed off on this travesty…that our agreement as a nation with Russia after World War II resulted in the persecution and martyrdom of countless Christians). Rev. Wurmbrand suffered a total of 14 years of torture in prison for his faith in Jesus Christ under the Communists. However, during that time, he loved his Communist persecutors with the love of Christ, winning many souls for the Lamb! Eventually, his plight became well known in the West, and his release was negotiated. He moved to the United States to raise awareness, prayer and support for the persecuted church. Although he passed away in 2001, his ministry, “Voice of the Martyrs” continues today (the ministry is actually located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, which is about 45 minutes north of Tulsa).

I highly recommend this book, it is so powerful! I believe it will change your life. Yes, I believe that something deep will happen when you read it, although I’m not even sure I can describe it. It is a deep work of the Holy Spirit that happens in the heart. At the end of this article I will put a link that will allow you to receive a free copy of the book, and to order a few more for your friends (as well as learn more about this ministry).

I believe that the timing of when I picked up this book and began to read it is a God thing. We have seen persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ for over 2,000 years. John the Baptist was beheaded. Jesus Christ hung on a cross. Stephen was stoned to death. Yes, eleven out of the twelve disciples followed Jesus in pouring out their lives and dying as martyrs! History even tells us that they also attempted to kill John, but could not kill him. Since the time of Christ, an estimated 40-70 million Christians have been martyred for their faith. Does this still happen today? Yes! As I read the news just today, one headline tells of Islamic military groups demanding of Christians in Syria, “Either convert to Islam, or you will be beheaded.” This is not an isolated incident. Open Doors (another great ministry that supports the persecuted church) states that about 100,000,000 Christians in 60 countries currently face persecution! It is estimated now that there are approximately 200,000 Christian martyrs each year…and the rate of martyrdom continues to increase!

You may ask, “Will this ever happen in my country?” The answer, no matter what country you live in, is YES. Persecution will continue to increase until it reaches ever tribe, people and nation. It will continue to increase until the God’s appointed number of martyrs is reached (Revelation 6:9-11). All of this has already been prophesied in the Bible. It is written there as a warning to prepare us, but also points to great and powerful promises and opportunities for the believer! Let’s take a look at what the Bible says:

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God. ~Revelation 7:9-11 (NKJV)

Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat” ~Revelation 7:13-16 (NKJV)

In these verses, we see the end result. We see the good news, and actually more good news. First, we see that “a great multitude” of Jesus worshippers were gathered from “all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues.” How is that possible? Right now about 40% of the world, almost 3 billion souls, have yet to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ! Yet, these verses show that what Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:14 will come true, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” How far away can this be? Well, we don’t know. However, many major missions organization predict that every tribe and tongue can be reached with the gospel by 2020-2025 (and for the first time I can remember, these estimates are staying put, or growing shorter, instead of growing longer!)

The “more” good news may not seem so good at first. But as with Jesus, the disciples, or any follower of Christ (John 15:20), one of the results of all these people of all these tribes and tongues receiving the gospel, will be a backlash of great persecution. It will be the largest harvest of believers in human history, and also the greatest resulting backlash of persecution in human history. You may ask, “What is good about that?” I would respond: Purification, refining and rewards:

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. ~Revelation 20:4 (NKJV)

This verse refers to the “image” which is the “Abomination that Causes Desolation” that will be set up in the Temple (yet to be rebuilt), that will cause the great tribulation, the most difficult time in the world’s history. Yes, those beheaded for holding on to Christ, and not worshipping the image of the beast, are promised thrones. This time, described in both the Old and New Testament, will last 3 ½ years. Jesus says that the time is kept short for the sake of the believers. There will be much wrath poured out during this time on the Antichrist and his followers, fueled by the prayers of the believers. As the Antichrist and his followers are experiencing God’s wrath, believers will be experiencing God’s protection, but at times will also experience persecution and some will experience martyrdom. We have seen many pictures and types of this throughout history. Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Nero, Hitler, Stalin, the current North Korean regime…just to name a few. In North Korea today, it you do not bow down to worship the images of three of Kim Jong-un’s ancestors, which must hang on the “best” wall of each person’s home, you can be thrown into prison indefinitely. Neglecting proper care of these portraits is a capital crime. Beloved, these are all examples of the antichrist spirit. The difference is, when we see the final version of this unfold, it will be the biggest and most powerful occurrance in human history. Jesus warns of the severity of these times:

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” ~Matthew 14:14-21 (NKJV)

But all of this sounds scary! Shouldn’t this mean that we should all run and hide? Jesus does give some allowance for taking cover (at least for those living in Judea at the time). However, our work will not yet be complete! In the scriptures it is revealed that this time will also be the church’s greatest hour! In Daniel we see, as we do in Joel, that the believers will still be working in great power during the most difficult of circumstances. I believe that the “greater things” Jesus said would happen, will take place in the time of the greatest need in human history! Matthew 10:7-8 will have no greater meaning than in the end times, for the kingdom will surely be near…and there will be many struck with fear for us to love, many sick with plagues (that baffle science) for us to heal, many demonized for us to deliver and scores of (emotionally, spiritually and physically) dead people to raise!

And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. ~Daniel 11:31-35 (NKJV)

“And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.” ~Joel 2:28-32 (NKJV)

In summary, I have written this today both as a warning and also as encouragement. In the Garden of Eden, humanity was given the choice of life or death in the tree of knowledge or the tree of life. God presented the choice and then provided encouragement to Adam and Eve to make the right choice. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve choose death and Satan. However, God in His mercy has made a way for us through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross…and by His great grace we get to choose life once again! During the times we are entering, like the times of many of those who have suffered before us, we must hold fast to Jesus. Ultimately the choice will be between keeping the seal of God on our foreheads versus rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ and choosing the mark of the beast.

In the beginning, man chose incorrectly and let Satan have dominion in the earth. However, Jesus is encouraging us to hold fast to the seal of God, endure, overcome, finish strong and labor alongside Him to reverse the curse! This time, we may lose our lives in the process, but we will prevail in kicking Satan off of the earth, and gain everlasting life! Read these words of Jesus on this topic and also the prophets. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His Truth to your heart! Follow Jesus! Don’t ever quit, don’t give up, don’t stop, and don’t ever look back!

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” ~Mark 8:35 (NKJV)

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ~Revelation 2:7 (NKJV)

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ~Revelation 2:11 (NKJV)

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ~Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)

“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations. ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.” ~Revelation 2:26-28 (NKJV)

“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” ~Revelation 3:5 (NKJV)

“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.” ~Revelation 3:12 (NKJV)

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” ~Revelation 3:21 (NKJV)

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” ~Revelation 21:7 (NKJV)

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” ~Revelation 12:11 (NKJV)

With Love in Christ,

Stu

Receive a free copy of “Tortured for Christ” by Rev. Richard Wurmbrand here: https://etools.ncol.com/a/tfc/bg_vomtfc_persecutioncom-tfc-flash_346.html