Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
July 26, 1997
Last Updated :
February 15, 2018
The Old Testament Prophets Were Persecuted And Murdered, Rebellious Jewish Leadership Killed Christ, We Are Tools Of God's Judgment And Salvation, Persecution Of First Century Church, God Will Judge Our Persecutors, Persecution May Be Coming For Modern Christians, Modern False Church, Will The False Church Persecute God's True Church?, We Are All Born In Sin, No Room To Brag, God Will Complete His Work In Us, We Are God's Watchmen, Light Of The Word, God's Word Exposes Sin, Condemnation For Rejecting The Light, We Are Messengers Of God's Word, Judged Or Cleansed By God's Word, We Are Made Accountable By God's Word, Judge Righteously, Fight The Good Fight Of Faith, Members Of God's Royal Household, We Are The Children Of Light, Closing Remarks, Suggested Reading List
As I point out in other articles, many of God's Prophets were persecuted, and even martyred, because by the Word of the Lord, they righteously judged those false shepherds who claimed to be God's leadership. For example, Jeremiah was imprisoned and thrown into a mud pit. The Prophet Isaiah is said to have been cut in half after being stretched out on the racks. Elijah was forced to flee from evil King Ahab and wicked Queen Jezebel. There are many other examples. All of these treacherous acts were performed by both the political and the religious leadership of the day. So being a Prophet of the Lord was not an easy or popular task. The following verses bear full record of their heinous sins which were committed against the Lord's servants:
"Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD."
Jeremiah 29:19, KJV
"I have sent also unto you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Return ye now every man from his evil way, and amend your doings, and go not after other gods to serve them, and ye shall dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your fathers: but ye have not inclined your ear, nor hearkened unto me."
Jeremiah 35:15, KJV
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Matthew 23:29-39, KJV
"Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres. Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation."
Luke 11:47-51, KJV
"And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy."
Revelation 16:5-6, KJV
"Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."
Revelation 18:20-24, KJV
As I explained earlier in this series, this rebellious attitude on the part of both the political and spiritual leadership of Israel continued right up to Jesus' day. Even as He set about to accomplish His Father's Will, the Jews rebelled against it, and exposed their own hypocrisy through their unrighteous judgment of Him. Their unrighteousness was epitomized when they finally managed to get the Lord strung up on a Roman cross, and they, along with the Romans, then continued to persecute the Lord's children after that as well.
Today, almost two thousand years later, it is we modern-day Christians who have been delegated the responsibility of helping to fulfill God's Will on Earth. This we each do by preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, in the face of mounting opposition, and criticism from an unbelieving world. Every time we open our mouths to preach the Gospel, or to expose the sins of this current generation, we are in effect serving as both God's tools of Judgment and Salvation. Why? Because by sharing His Word, we are forcing people to make a decision either for or against God and His Kingdom. People must either repent, or else harden their hearts even more against the truth.
As I explain in the series "Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution", just as the Prophets, Apostles and Disciples of the past were persecuted for standing up for God's Truth, so too, we should expect the same kind of behavior today from those people who refuse to hear our message and repent. Consider the following verses where Jesus and the Apostle Paul warn the Disciples of what was to befall them during the First Century:
"And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you."
Matthew 10:18-20, KJV
"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another."
Matthew 24:9-10, KJV
"But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them."
Mark 13:9, KJV
"But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls."
Luke 21:12-19, KJV
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me."
John 15:18-21, KJV
"They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service."
John 16:2, KJV
"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:"
2 Timothy 2:12, KJV
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
2 Timothy 3:12, KJV
There are two important things I would like to point out in these verses. First of all, while such people may criticize us, and accuse us of being judgmental, or self-righteous, or label us as homophobes, or whatever they may say, what they fail to realize is that, as Jesus points out in the previous verses, it will be "for a testimony against them and the Gentiles". In other words, they can say whatever they want about us, but it is God who will be judging them according to how they react to our message. After all, you reap what you sow.
Notice also what John writes in his Gospel. In so many words, he is saying "The time will come when whoever kills you, will think that by doing so, he is serving God." Wow! What deception! But isn't that exactly what Saul of Tarsus thought before God struck him blind for three days? We all know that some of our Christian brethren are already being persecuted, imprisoned, and sometimes even killed in some countries around the world, such as in the Muslim countries. Exactly how bad, or to what magnitude such persecution will eventually grow, I honestly don't know. We will just have to wait and see.
Another important fact worth pointing out is that prior to his conversion, Paul belonged to the established religious order of his day. As I explain in other articles, he was a very dedicated Pharisee. Now, we all know that the modern church is filled with sin and compromise. I won't go into great detail here, being as I already discuss this subject in considerable detail in other articles. But you know how disgusting it has already become in some churches. Clearly, such churches represent the false church. They certainly do not preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But my point is this: Is it possible that someday the modern false church will also begin to persecute God's true children? We have seen it happen before when the false religionists self-righteously persecuted the true Christians during the Inquisition. They too believed that they were doing God's Will.
So then, if we sweep away the smokescreen of all of this shouting and yelling of "Judge not!" and finger-pointing by the enemies of the Word of God, what are we left with? Well, first of all, as humble and honest Christians, we need to recognize that we are no better than anyone else. We are all partakers of the sinful nature. We are all wretched sinners who were once lost, and who even now are only saved by the Grace of God through faith in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. So the only difference is that we have accepted God's Love, Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness through Jesus' atoning Blood on the Cross at Calvary, while many of our critics and accusers have not. We're still human. We still make mistakes. We still sin. In short, we have absolutely nothing to brag about. It is not our own righteousness, but only the righteousness of Christ. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He began this work in us, and He alone shall complete it to the end, as we see by the following verses:
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Hebrews 12:2, KJV
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:"
Philippians 1:6, KJV
But just like the Prophets, Apostles and Disciples of old, despite our own sinful condition, as the Lord's current representatives on Earth, we have a job to do; and it isn't always a pleasant one or a popular one. To tell someone that they are going in the wrong direction; to inform them that they are in fact a sinner; to tell them that they are doing something which is not pleasing to the Lord; is not an easy task. Yet, as emissaries of our King, it is something which we are called to do. It is our responsibility. In the Old Testament, the Prophet Ezekiel received the following word from the Lord, which I believe applies to us today as well:
"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."
Ezekiel 3:17-19, KJV
In order to bring a person into the Kingdom of Light, we must first help them to understand that they are dwelling in darkness. As you will already know, the way to do this is by sharing the Word of God with them. That is, if they are at all willing to receive it. After all, as King David wrote so long ago, God's Word is a light unto our feet, and a lamp unto our path -- Psalm 119:105. But that is not all. As we learned in part one, God's Word is also a piercing two-edged sword which exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. As we all know, some people obviously don't like this. It makes them feel very uncomfortable to have their sins exposed, so they go on the attack, as many of us Christians have already experienced. As Jesus himself said in the Gospel of John:
"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."
John 15:22, KJV
You will recall from our discussion in part two that this is in fact the condemnation that is in the world, because some people purposely choose to hide in the dark, because they do not want to come to the Light of Jesus Christ. They do not want their sins revealed. But regardless of how people react to God's Word, we all need to realize that we have already been judged and found wanting by the Lord through His Word. Therefore, when a Christian quotes Scriptures from the Bible, he or she is merely delivering the Word of the Lord, much like the Prophets of old. He or she is simply telling that person what the Bible says so that they are made aware of the Truth.
In other words, there is really no judgment on the part of the messenger. Do you understand? It is through their own acceptance or rejection of that Word that a person is in effect judging themselves. We have merely served as their ministers of Judgment or Salvation. If a person accepts the Word of Truth into their heart, then they are cleansed and justified by it. Hopefully, it will lead to their Salvation. As Jesus said in the Gospel of John:
"Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
John 15:3, KJV
On the other hand, if a person rejects the Word, then as we have already seen, he or she will be judged by that very same Truth. This is why Jesus said that the Jewish Elders no longer had a cloak for their sins. Once a person hears the Truth, they are accountable for their actions. Up until that point, the Lord remains very merciful and very patient. It is very similar to being a parent. Until we make the rules known to our children, we can't very well punish them for breaking them. The Lord treats us the same way. That is why His judgments are always righteous; much more so than our own.
In conclusion, as the servants of the Lord, as members of His royal household of faith, as soldiers in His spiritual army, we must fight the good fight of faith despite all that our enemies might do or say. We must endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. If they want to accuse us of being judgmental or self-righteous, or if they want to call us homophobes, or whatever, so be it. Who cares. Just make sure that your judgment is righteous judgment according to God's Word. Also, remember that if we raise our Shields of Faith, their words cannot do anything to us. They are like puffs of smoke which vanish away. Following is a final selection of verses for your consideration which validate the previous points:
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
1 Timothy 6:12, KJV
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
2 Timothy 2:3-4, KJV
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."
Romans 13:12, KJV
"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
2 Corinthians 4:6, KJV
"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light . . . And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
Ephesians 5:8, 11, KJV
"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:"
Colossians 1:13, KJV
"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
1 Thessalonians 5:4-5, KJV
"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:"
1 John 1:6, KJV
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
1 Peter 2:9, KJV
"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."
Galatians 6:10, KJV
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"
Ephesians 2:19, KJV
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
Isaiah 52:7, KJV
"His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
Matthew 25:21, KJV
With these inspiring verses, I will bring this series to a close. It is my hope that you have found it informative and enlightening, and I pray that it has been a blessing in your life as well. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter or Google+, I would really appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thanks so much, and may God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this series, or which are related to this series, and which are likewise located on the Bill's Bible Basics web server.
All Are Given a Chance, But . .
Beholding the Evil and the Good
Civil Disobedience and Christian Persecution
Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?
Free Will and Personal Choice
God's Mercy, Judgment and Fallen Angels
Is the Message of Salvation Meant for All Men?
Judgment of Azazel: Scapegoat of the High Priest
Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Chastisement
Not Everyone is a Child of God
The Children of God and Politics
The Children of Light: Are You One of Us?
The Judgement of Angels, Demons and Men
To Pray or Not to Pray? That is the Question