- Biblical Principles
Matthew 24:9 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.
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
News of the fourth murder of a Christian in Iraq this week has still not garnered barely any mainstream media attention. Whether one supported the war in Iraq or not, our troops are there and deserve our support and prayers. But we must not also forget the rampant Christian persecution that has been taking place since the war started. In Iraq and many other countries around the world, there is an open war against Christians. This is spiritual at its core. The forces of darkness don’t want the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to spread across this world. Whether it’s church bombings, denial of basic rights, being jailed, beaten or killed, the persecution against the followers of Jesus Christ is growing to an all-time high. For men like Basil Mati Koriya Kaktoma, life as a follower of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ became a nightmare. As he stated: “What I saw was so horrible that I can’t even look at a map of my own country.” 1
Kaktoma, a retired oil company employee, was abducted by Muslim gunmen in May 2006. During the eight days of his captivity, he was physically abused, including the breaking of his right leg which has become permanently discolored. He was released because relatives in the United States and Canada paid the ransom. And all of this was just for being a Christian. Christians, who make up just 3% of the Iraqi population, have comprised 50% of the refugees leaving the country. An estimated 250,000 – 500,000 Christians have fled the country since the war commenced.
The end-time persecution of our brothers and sisters in the faith was prophesied by Jesus. Living in America. The 5th Seal of Revelation Chapter 6 shows us the souls of martyrs who “were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:” (Revelation 6:10). When they cry out for vengeance to God, He assures that they should wait “until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Revelation 6:11). Persecution was not only prophesied, it’s going to be the final straw that brings God into action to judge those who have persecuted His saints.
Living in the United States it’s difficult to perceive at times how widespread the brutal attacks, harassment and killing of Christians is worldwide. We have no one trying to stop us from worshiping and many still have a hard time getting up on Sunday to do what others are being killed for. Stay on top of these issues. There are some great websites like persecution.com which provide updates and prayer requests for persecuted saints who are overseas. Learn their stories. Share their testimonies and support ministries that seek to spread the Gospel to the nations. We must continue to pray for Christians overseas who live in countries that permit persecution. In all of this sad news, the church is still growing exponentially! Nations like China are seeing tens of thousands of new Christians each month. Underground churches are spreading throughout the Middle East and Asia. Christ is indeed building His church!
Pray for these nations. Pray for the leaders of these nations to provide equal protection under the law for Christians. Pray for the people who are doing these attacks, that they can find Jesus and be forgiven for their sins. And pray for the faith of the Christians who are being victimized. That they can stand strong in the face of persecution. Pray that they respond in a Christ-like manner, blessing those who cruse them and praying for those who persecute them. And pray that they always remember Christ’s promise to all believers:
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)