Deep Truths banner
Articles from David Berg and the Family International - www.deeptruths.com

Persecution of the followers of Jesus Christ

1. Persecution promised to all followers of Jesus:

2Tim.3:12 - Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution
Phi.1:29 - Given not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer
Mat.10:17 - Beware of men: they will deliver you up...scourge
Mat.24:9 - Deliver you up...ye shall be hated of all nations
Mk.10:30 - Shall receive 100-fold now... with persecutions
Lk.21:12 - They shall lay their hands on you and persecute you
Jn.15:20 - If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you
Jn.16:33 - In the World ye shall have tribulation
(See also Mat.23:34; 1Jn.3:13.)

2. Benefits of persecution:

A. Heavenly rewards for enduring persecution:

Mat.5:10 - Blessed are...persecuted...for theirs is the Kingdom
Rom.8:17b,18 - Sufferings...not worthy to be compared with the glory
2Cor.4:17 - Affliction...worketh for us...eternal weight of glory
2Tim.2:12a - If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him
Heb.11:25,26 - Choosing to suffer affliction...respect unto reward
Heb.11:35b - Tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection
1Pet.4:12,13 - Fiery trial...when His glory revealed, ye may be glad

B. The Lord is with and helps those in persecution:

Psa.37:32,33 - The Lord will not leave him (the righteous) in his (the wicked's) hand
Psa.46:1 - God is...a very present help in trouble
Isa.50:7-9a - The Lord God will help me...Who is mine adversary?
Mat.10:18-20 - Brought before governors...it shall be given you what ye shall speak...(God's) Spirit speaketh in you
Acts 7:55 - (Stephen) saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing
Rom.8:35-39 - Persecution...(can't) separate us from the love of God
2Cor.4:8-11 - Persecuted, but not forsaken
Heb.13:5b,6 - The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me
1Pet.4:14 - If ye be reproached for Christ...Spirit of glory and God resteth upon you

C. God allows it to spread His message and messengers:

Mat.10:23 - When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another
Acts 8:1,4 - Scattered...went everywhere preaching the Word
Acts 11:19 - Scattered...travelled as far as Cyprus, preaching

D. When condemning God's messengers, enemies often broadcast God's message thus arousing interest in it:

Jn.19:4-8 - The Jews answered, "(Jesus) ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God"
Acts 17:5-7 - These (say) there is another king, one Jesus
Acts 19:23-26 - This Paul persuaded...saying that [idols] be no gods
Acts 24:14 - This I confess...the way which they call heresy, so worship I God
Acts 25:18,19 - (Paul's) accusers...had questions against him of Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive
Acts 28:22 - Everywhere (this sect) is spoken against...but we desire to hear of thee, what thou thinkest
Phi.1:15-18 - Notwithstanding...Christ is preached

E. It sifts out those who are not whole-hearted:

Mat.13:21 - When persecution ariseth because of Word, by and by he is offended

F. The Word preached even in imprisonment:

Jer.38:13-18 - [King Zedekiah consulted with imprisoned Jeremiah]
Mat.10:18-20 - Brought before governors and kings for a testimony
Acts 16:23-31 - [Philippian jailor converted after earthquake]
Acts 28:16 - [In bonds, Paul preached<+> in Rome See vs. 30,31]
Phi.1:12-14 - [In bonds, Paul converts Caesar's household See also Phi.4:22]

G. God gets good out of seeming bad:

Gen.50:20 - Ye thought evil...but God meant it to good
Exo.14:1-28 - [God hardened Pharaoh's heart to pursue the Hebrews, so that his entire army drowned and empire collapsed]
Psa.76:10 - Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee

3. Attitude to have during persecution:

A. Be fearless and unmovable:

Mat.10:28 - Fear not them which kill the body
Jer.1:17-19 - Be not dismayed...they shall fight...but I am with thee
Ezk.3:8,9 - Fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks
Acts 20:24 - None of these...move me, neither count I my life dear
1Thes.3:3 - That no man should be moved by these afflictions...we are appointed thereunto
1Pet.2:20 - When ye do well, and suffer for it...take it patiently
Rev.12:11b - And they loved not their lives unto the death
(See also Phi.1:14)

B. Have joy in persecution:

Mat.5:12 - Rejoice and be exceeding glad...for so persecuted
Lk.6:22,23 - When men hate you...rejoice...leap for joy
Acts 5:40,41 - Rejoicing they were counted worthy to suffer shame
Rom.5:3 - We glory in tribulations also
2Thes.1:4 - We glory in you for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure
1Pet.3:14 - If ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye
1Pet.4:12-14 - If ye be reproached for...Christ, happy are ye

C. Do not be ashamed:

1Pet.4:16 - If any suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed
Isa.50:7 - I set my face like a flint...I shall not be ashamed

D. Suffer willingly for a righteous cause:

Jer.15:15b - For Thy sake I have suffered rebuke
Mat.5:10 - Blessed are they...persecuted for righteousness' sake
2Cor.12:10 - I take pleasure in persecutions...for Christ's sake
2Thes.1:5 - Counted worthy of Kingdom of God, for which ye suffer
1Pet.2:19 - For conscience toward God...suffering wrongfully

E. Examples of enduring persecution courageously:

Jeremiah(Jer.26:11-15); Paul and his companions(1Cor.4:12b); Paul(2Cor.6:4,5,8-10; 2Cor.11:23-27); Timothy(2Tim.1:8); Early Christians(Heb.10:32,33); Moses(Heb.11:25); Old and New Testament saints(Heb.11:35-40).

F. Faithfulness to truth, despite persecution:

Psa.119:51 - Proud have me...in derision, yet have I not declined
Psa.119:86b,87 - They persecute me wrongfully; they almost consumed me...but I forsook not Thy precepts
Psa.119:157 - Many are my persecutors...yet I do not decline
Rev.2:13 - Thou holdest fast...and hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein...My martyr was slain

G. Endure persecution because of love for the lost:

2Tim.2:10 - I endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may obtain salvation (See also Jn.10:11)
Heb.5:7-9 - He suffered...became the author of eternal salvation
1Pet.2:21 - Christ suffered for us...ye should follow His steps

H. Examples of men of God imprisoned for their faith:

Old Testament saints:(Heb.11:36); Samson:(Judg.16:21); Micaiah:(1Ki.22:26,27); Hanani:(2Chr.16:10); Jeremiah:(Jer.37:11-16); Daniel:(Dan.6:16,17); John the baptist:(Mat.14:3,4); Peter and John:(Acts 4:1-3); Apostles:(Acts 5:16-18); Men and women Christians in Jerusalem:(Acts 8:3; 9:1,2,14; 22:4,5;19, 26:10); Peter:(Acts 12:1-4); Paul and Silas:(Acts 16:22-24); Paul's imprisonments:(2Cor.11:23b); Paul's final imprisonment:(Acts 24:27; 26:29; 28:16).

4. Reasons why persecutors attack Christians:

A. Their goal is to stop the witness:

Jer.11:21 - Prophesy not...that thou die not by our hand
Jn.11:47,48,53 - If we let Him alone, all men will believe on Him. Then they took counsel to put Him to death
Acts 4:17 - That it spread no further...let us threaten them
(See also Rev.6:9; 11:7)

B. Wicked, carnal men hate the righteous:

Gal.4:29 - He that was born after the flesh persecuted him
Psa.38:20 - They are adversaries; because I follow...good
Pro.29:27 - He that is upright is abomination to the wicked
Isa.59:15a - He that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey
Acts 7:52a - Which of prophets have not your fathers persecuted?
1Pet.4:3,4 - [Righteous despised for not joining drunken parties]
1Jn.3:12 - Cain slew (Abel)...because his own works were evil

C. Because truth is a witness against evil:

Jn.7:7 - It (the world) hateth Me (Jesus), because I testify of it
1Ki.22:17-27 - [Micaiah imprisoned for prophesying the truth]
2Chr.16:7-10 - [Asa imprisons Hanani for prophesying against him]
2Chr.24:20,21 - [King has Zechariah stoned for rebuking the people]
Jer.32:2,3 - [Jeremiah imprisoned for prophesying the truth]
Amos 5:10 - They abhor him that speaketh uprightly
Acts 6:10-15 - [Stephen stoned for rebuking Jews. Acts 7:51-60]
Rev.1:9 - [John exiled to Patmos for preaching the Word]
(See also Rev.12:17; 20:4.)

D. Ignorance of the truth:

Acts 3:13,14 - I wot that through ignorance ye did it (Also vs. 17)
1Tim.1:13 - (I) was a persecutor...I did it ignorantly in unbelief

E. Do not truly know God:

Jn.5:18,38,42 - Ye have not His Word...ye have not the love of God
Jn.8:37 - Ye seek to kill Me, because My Word hath no place
Jn.15:21 - They (persecutors) know not Him (God) that sent Me
Jn.15:24b - Now have they... hated both Me and My Father
Jn.16:3 - Because they have not known the Father, nor Me
Acts 13:27,28 - They knew Him not...nor yet the voices of prophets

F. Self-righteous, misguided religious zeal:

Jn.16:2 - Whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service (See also Isa.66:5)
Acts 13:50 - Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women
Acts 21:27-32 - Men of Israel, help: This is the man that teacheth
Acts 22:3,4 - Zealous...I persecuted this way unto the death
Acts 23:12-14 - [40 men vowed and conspired to kill Paul]
Acts 26:9-11 - I thought I ought to do many things contrary to Jesus
Gal.1:13,14 - Persecuted...being exceedingly zealous of traditions
Phi.3:6 - Concerning zeal, persecuting the church

G. For breaking religious traditions and doctrines:

Mat.12:10-14 - Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days?
Jn.5:16 - [Angry Jews seek to kill Jesus for healing on Sabbath]
Jn.9:16a - This man is not of God, because He keepeth not
Jn.10:31-33 - For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy

H. Religious jealousy and fear of competition:

Mat.27:18 - For He knew that for envy they had delivered Him
Mk.11:18 - Feared Him, because people astonished at His doctrine
Acts 13:44,45 - When the Jews saw the multitudes...filled with envy
Acts 17:5 - Jews which believed not, moved with envy...assaulted

I. Because we do not belong to this world:

Jn.15:19 - Because ye are not of world...the world hateth you
Jn.17:14 - World hated them, because they are not of the world
1Jn.4:5,6 - They are of the world...we are of God

J. Persecution by corrupt rich:

Acts 19:23-27 - By this craft we have our wealth...but Paul persuaded
Jam.2:6b,7 - Rich men oppress, draw you before judgment seat
Rev.17:1-6,18 - That great city...drunken with the blood of saints

K. Wickedness, pride:

Psa.10:2 - The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor
Psa.74:22 - The foolish man reproacheth Thee daily
Psa.119:69a - The proud have forged a lie against me

L. For refusing to compromise faith:

Dan.3:14-20 - We will not serve thy gods, nor worship the...image
Dan.6:4,5 - [Jealous princes accuse Daniel regarding his faith]

M. For refusing to worship the Antichrist and his image:

Rev.13:14-17 - As many as would not worship the image...be killed
Rev.20:4 - Beheaded...had not worshipped the beast

N. For no valid reason at all:

Psa.119:86b - They persecute me wrongfully
Psa.119:161 - Princes have persecuted me without a cause
Jn.15:25 - They hated Me without a cause (See also Psa.69:4)

5. How: Persecutors usually begin with verbal attacks:

A. Slander, infamy, lies:

Psa.69:9-12 - I became a proverb to them...they speak against me
Psa.119:51a - The proud have had me greatly in derision
Mat.5:11 - Men shall revile you...and say all manner of evil
Lk.6:22 - Men shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil
Lk.22:63-65 - Men that held Jesus mocked Him...blasphemously spake
Acts 14:2 - Made their minds evil affected against the brethren
Acts 28:22b - This sect...everywhere it is spoken against
1Cor.4:13 - Defamed...we are made as the filth of the world
(See also Psa.35:16,21)

B. Persecutors twist words to defame:

Isa.29:21 - Make a man an offender for a word...lay a snare
Isa.56:5 - Every day they wrest My Words...their thoughts evil
Mat.22:15 - Took counsel how they might entangle Him in His talk
Mk.12:13 - They send Pharisees...to catch Him in His words
Lk.11:53,54 - Seeking to catch something out of His mouth, that they might accuse Him
Lk.20:20 - Take hold of His Words...deliver Him to the governor

C. Lying accusations and false charges:

Psa.35:11 - False witnesses...laid to my charge things I knew not
Mat.26:59-61 - Chief priests...sought false witness against Jesus
Lk.23:2 - We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute (pay taxes)
Lk.23:5 - [Sedition] He stirreth up the people
Jer.38:4 - [Treason] Seeketh not the welfare...but the hurt
Acts 6:11-13 - We have heard him speak blasphemous words
Acts 16:19-21 - These men exceedingly trouble city...teach customs
Acts 17:5-7 - These...do contrary to the decrees of Caesar
Acts 18:12,13 - Persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law
Acts 24:5 - Pestilent, mover of sedition, ringleader of sect
2Tim.2:8,9 - I suffer trouble as an evil doer, even unto bonds
(See also Psa.94:20)

D. Character assassination:

Lk.7:34 - Behold a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber
Jn.7:12 - Nay; but He deceiveth the people
Jn.9:24b - We know that this man (Jesus) is a sinner

E. Accusations of being "of the devil":

Mat.10:24,25 - They called(Jesus) "Beelzebub", how much more (us)
Mat.9:34 - He casteth out devils through the prince of devils
Mk.3:22 - He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils
Jn.8:48 - Say we not well that Thou...hast a devil?
Jn.10:20 - Many said, He hath a devil...why hear ye Him?

F. Charges of religious insanity:

Mk.3:21 - Went to lay hold on Him: Said, He is beside Himself
Jn.10:20 - He...is mad: why hear ye Him?
Acts 26:24 - Much learning [of the Scriptures] doth make thee mad

G. Persecution through fear of society's disapproval:

Jn.9:22 - Parents feared Jews: for Jews had agreed that if any
Jn.12:42 - [Some believing] chief rulers...did not confess Him, lest they be put out of the synagogue

6. Persecution from family and friends:

Jer.12:6 - Thy brethren...have called a multitude after thee
Mat.10:21 - Brother shall deliver up the brother to death
Mat.10:35,36 - A man's foes shall be they of his own household
Mk.3:21 - Friends...went out to to lay hold on Him
Lk.12:51-53 - There shall be five in one house divided
Lk.21:16 - Ye shall be betrayed by parents, brethren, friends
Jn.7:1-5 - [Jesus' brothers taunt Him to go endanger His life]
1Thes.2:14-16 - Ye also have suffered...of your own countrymen
Mk.6:4 - Prophet is...without honour among kin, and in own house
(See also Mic.7:2; Jn.1:11.)

7. The world persecuted and rejected Jesus:

A. Evil plots and persecution against Jesus:

Mat.12:14 - Held council against Him, how they might destroy Him
Mat.26:3,4 - Consulted that they might take Him by subtilty and kill
Lk.4:28,29 - Led Him unto the hill...that they might cast Him down
Lk.6:11 - Filled with madness; and communed what they might do
Lk.19:47 - Chief priests and scribes...sought to destroy Him
Jn.5:16 - Therefore did Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay
Jn.11:57 - Given commandment, if any man knew where He were
(See also Lk.20:20)

B. Look to Jesus ' example of suffering persecution:

Heb.12:2-4 - Consider Him Who endured such contradiction
Isa.53:3,7,8 - Despised and rejected of men...afflicted...cut off
Jn.15:18 - The world...hated Me before it hated you
Jn.15:20 - If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you
Heb.13:13 - Let us go forth unto Him...bearing His reproach
1Pet.2:21-23 - Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example
1Pet.4:1 - Christ suffered...arm yourselves with the same mind

C. When persecuting Christians, they persecute Jesus:

Mat.25:40 - Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these...ye have done it unto Me
Acts 9:1-5 - Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?
Zech.2:8b - He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye
Acts 5:38,39 - Refrain from these men...lest ye fight against God

8. Compromising, fleeing and avoiding persecution:

A. Bad examples of compromising to avoid persecution:

2Ki.5:15a, [Naaman believed in God, but to save his position and
17b,18 - life, bowed down to the pagan idol of Rimmon]
Lk.6:26 - Woe unto you, when all men speak well of you
Jn.12:42 - Rulers...did not confess Him, lest they be put out
Gal.6:12 - Lest they suffer persecution for cross of Christ

B. Fleeing from persecution (discretion, not cowardice):

Mat.10:23 - When they persecute you in this city, flee ye to
1Ki.19:2,3 - [Elijah fled from the wicked queen Jezebel]
Jer.26:20,21 - [Urijah fled from king Jehoiakim to Egypt]
Jer.36:19,26 - Go, hide thee...and let no man know where ye be
Mat.2:13,14 - Arise, and take the young child...and flee into Egypt
Mat.12:14,15a - When Jesus knew it, He withdrew Himself from thence
Jn.7:1 - He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews
Jn.10:39,40 - They sought again to take Him: but He escaped
Jn.11:53,54 - He walked no more openly among the Jews; but went
Acts 9:23-25 - Took (Paul) by night, and let him down in a basket
Acts 14:5,6 - An assault made...they were ware of it, and fled
Acts 17:5,10 - Assaulted...brethren sent away Paul and Silas by night
Acts 17:13,14 - Jews...stirred up people...brethren sent away Paul
Acts 23:12-35 - [470 Roman soldiers helped Paul flee a conspiracy]

C. Pray to avoid persecution, if possible:

2Thes.3:1,2 - Pray...that we may be delivered from wicked men
1Tim.2:1,2 - Prayers...that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life

D. Use wisdom to avoid stirring up unnecessary persecution:

Mat.5:25 - Agree with thine adversary quickly...lest he deliver thee to the judge...and thou be cast into prison
Pro.15:1 - A soft answer turneth away wrath
Pro.16:7 - When a man's ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him
Rom.12:18-21 - If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men...overcome evil with good

9. God will judge your persecutors:

A. The Psalmist's prayers and curses against his enemies and for the Lord to protect His people from them:

Psa.3:all; 5:8-12; 6:7-10; 7:all; 9:3-6,9,10,13-20; 10:all; 11:all; 12:all; 13:all; 17:4-15; 18:37-50; 21:7-13; 23:5; 27:1-6,11-14; 28:all; 31:all; 34:1-7; 35:all; 37:all; 38:12-22; 40:13-17; 41:5-11; 43:all; 52:all; 53:1-5; 54:all; 55:1-9,18,23; 56:all; 57:1-6; 58:all; 59:all; 62:1-8; 63:8-11; 68:1-3; 69:4,22-30; 70:all; 71:4,10-13; 82:3,4; 83:1-4,12-18; 94:1-7,16,21-23; 105:12-15; 109:all; 118:5-14; 119:84; 124:all; 125:3-5; 129:1-6; 139:19-22; 140:all; 143:3,4,9-12; 144:6-11; 149:5-9. (Other prayers: Jer.15:15a; 17:18; 18:18-23; Lam.3:59-66; Rev.6:9,10) Prayers for God to stop their evil devices: Psa.10:2; 17:13; 21:11,12; 27:2,12; 31:4; 33:10; 64:all; 70:2,3; 71:13; 119:126; 120:2.

B. God's judgment on persecutors:

Deut.30:7 - Lord put curses on enemies which persecuted thee
2Chr.36:16 - Wrath of the Lord arose...till there was no remedy
Psa.7:11-16 - He ordaineth His arrows against the persecutors
Psa.11:2,5,6 - Upon the wicked He shall rain fire and brimstone
Psa.37:12-15,17 - The Lord shall laugh at him, for He seeth that his day is coming
Psa.105:14,15 - Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm
Isa.54:15 - Whosoever shall gather against thee shall fall
Jer.20:2-6 - [Pashur persecuted Jeremiah, then Jeremiah prophesied God's judgments against him]
Lk.11:49-51 - Blood of prophets...be required of this generation
1Thes.2:15,16 - Forbidding us to speak...wrath is come upon them
2Thes.1:6-9 - Recompense tribulation to them that trouble you
(See also Rev.16:1-6; 18:2,4-8.)

10. Endtime persecution:

A. Suffering persecution in last days:

Mat.24:9,10 - Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted
Mk.13:12,13 - Brother shall betray brother to death
Lk.21:12,16,17 - They shall lay their hands on you, and persecute
2Tim.3:1-3 - In the last days...despisers of them that are good

B. Persecution during the great tribulation:

Mat.24:21,22 - Then shall be great tribulation...except those days
Mk.13:19 - In those days shall be affliction, such as was not
Dan.11:33-35 - They shall fall by sword, flame, captivity, spoil... they shall be helped
Rev.12:12,13,17 - Dragon persecuted the woman (church)...war with remnant
Rev.13:7 - It was given unto him to make war with the saints
Rev.13:15 - As many as would not worship the image...killed
Rev.20:4 - Beheaded for witness...had not worshipped the beast
Deut.4:30,31 - When thou art in tribulation...in the latter days

C. Tribulation saints greatly rewarded:

Rev.7:13-17 - Came out of great tribulation...before throne of God
Rev.20:4 - Beheaded...reigned with Christ a thousand years

(Back to top)
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family International

The Word of God is free, but the time it took to pipe it to you ... isn't. If this page was a blessing to you, please consider a small gift of even $1.00 to keep this site going. If you have a Paypal account, you can send a donation to: james.arendt@deeptruths.com
Print this pageSwitch to a printer friendly page. / Switch back to formatted page.


Comments

No comments yet.

Add Comment

* Required information
(never displayed)
Type the numbers for four hundred seventy-two.
 
Enter answer:
 
Notify me of new comments via email.
 
Remember my form inputs on this computer.
 
 
Powered by Commentics

Activated MagazineIf you'd like more inspirational material,
subscribe to Activated! Each issue deals with topics that count, such as:

- Faith
- Love
- Prayer
- Success with People
- The Future
- Marriage
- Parenting

...and much more--all in terms that are relatable and easy to follow. Personal accounts from active Christians around the world confirm that God is still alive and working just as wonderfully as ever on behalf of those who love Him.

Put that power to work for you! Connect with the source of love, happiness, peace, freedom, contentment, and the rest of the best life has to offer--God, who the Bible says is love. Change your life! Change your world! Get activated!

Visit www.activated.org

Email E-mail this link to your friend! Email
Enter recipient's e-mail:


Did this page make you either mad, sad, or glad? Please tell me about it! E-mail: webmaster@deeptruths.com


[ More Bible Basics ]   [ Deep Truths Home ]
Valid HTML 4.01!