PERSECUTION

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10 ESV)”

Leslie M John

Persecutions exist not only in the New Testament period but they existed in the Old Testament period as well. The greatest persecution found in the Old Testament period was of the killing of prophets by the Jezebel, who was the wicked wife, of King Ahab.

“For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water”  (1 Kings 18:4)

“Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of the LORD, how I hid an hundred men of the LORD’S prophets by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water?” (1 Kings 18:13)

King Manasseh did evil in the sight of the LORD.

“And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: (2 Kings 21:6-7)

“And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon” (2 Kings 24:4)

Lord Jesus Christ said…

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10)

When John came neither eating nor drinking people said he has a devil, and when the Son of man came eating and drinking they said He was “gluttonous, and winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners”. Man has tongue and he talks; evil man condemns the righteous either way.

“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children” (Matthew 11:18-19)

Jesus never said the lives of the children of God will be pleasant and rid of troubles, trials and persecutions; rather He said that those who would not endure tribulations and persecutions have no root in themselves and, therefore, they are offended.  He said blessed are those who suffer persecution for righteousness’ sake. 

“Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended” (Matthew 13:21)

A great deal of the nature of persecutions Christians suffer and the blessings they received/or will receive by suffering is found in Mark 10:30 Acts 8:1; Acts 13:50; Romans 8:35 2; Corinthians 12:10 2; Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Timothy 3:11; Matthew 7:1; Luke 9:54-56; Romans 14:4; James 4:11, 12.

Saul, who persecuted the Church and later was known by the name “Paul”, said…

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:35)

Jesus spoke to Pharisees and Scribes and said to them that their fathers persecuted prophets and they were no better than them.  He said that they were getting ready to slay the Messiah and His messengers and to reap the punishment by doing so. Surely as He said their enemies overtook them later as the history reveals. They have upon their heads the curse of killing Abel unto the blood of Zacharias.

“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” (Matthew 23:35)

Jesus said to His disciples that if the world hated Him and persecuted Him, they will not be reluctant to persecute them as well.

“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” (John 15:20)


AMID PERSECUTIONS CHURCH GREWAMID PERSECUTIONS: THE CHURCH GREW STRONG

Keeping in view the various forms of persecutions not only of Christians of New Testament period but also of those who suffered during Old Testament period, this book encourages with the words of Lord Jesus Christ, who said “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28)

Nevertheless, persecutions, in the lives of Christians, are a part of life and God does not promise to remove the persecutions from among us but promises to deliver from them.

Persecutions may be of lesser intensity, like inflicting constant fear in the minds of people, or trying to subjugating them, or may be of slaying. In spite of the indisputable fact that the world has witnessed persecutions of Christians in various forms, it is also true that the Church grew in the midst of persecutions.

Jesus said “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10)

In the light of the clear consolation Lord Jesus Christ gave that a Christian does not need to fear persecutions, but fear the one who is able to destroy soul and body. No man can destroy the soul of a believer no matter how intense persecutions may be. Fear the Lord, who can destroy not only body but the soul of a person.