Matthew 24:9 (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.
Jesus says, “for My name’s sake.” He is addressing His followers, NOT adherents of Judaism. The verse begins with “Then,” or “At that time.” As earth approaches its final hour Christians will be increasingly looked upon with disdain. Having Christians living and walking among non-believers is like having salt rubbed into an open wound. It exposes their deviant, pernicious ways and tweaks their consciences (Romans 1-2).
Christians are despised by both Jew and Gentile. The Jews in Christ’s day rejected Him as their King and Messiah and resented Jewish converts to Christianity. Saul of Tarsus stood by while the Sanhedrin stoned Stephen for his testimony (Acts 7) and then began a campaign to hunt down and eradicate Christians. Later generations of Jews hate Christians because of the endless, relentless persecution they received from the church “in the name of Christ.” The Gentile Nations hate Christians simply because they…the unbelievers… are unrepentant idolators wallowing in the mire of their sins.
After the destruction of Jerusalem, persecution of the new Christian faith accelerated. Worshiping only God, Christians refused to bow a knee in homage to Caesar or the pantheon of Roman gods. The persecution continued until 313 A.D. when Emperor Constantine issued the “Edict of Milan,” legalizing Christianity in his empire.
Intending to unify the empire under one universal religion, Constantine forged a blending of paganism and Christianity forming a hybrid religion acceptable to most of his subjects. The clergy was appointed by the state and salaried, so they voiced little or no objection.
Over the centuries the persecution of those holding fast to the teachings of Jesus Christ continued. Many dissenters were tortured and martyred, others were exiled. Christendom produced some of the darkest, bloodiest days in human history. The horrendous treatment of believers is well documented. One source of these atrocities is Fox’s book of Martyrs (https://www.ccel.org/f/foxe/martyrs/home.html).
Tribulation is the neighborhood believers live in. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” John 16:33 (KJV). The blood of Church Age Saints continues to be liberally spilled by Islamists, communists, those on the far-left, and other God-haters throughout the earth. They are irrationally, demonically outraged that Christianity continues to survive even after two-thousand years of intense, relentless, attack.
“Behind the witness of today’s martyrs lies the stark reality of their numbers. More Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined…The trend has not abated in this century.” www.americamagazine.org/issue/modern-martyrs#
The nineteenth-century writer H. L. Hastings noted:
“When the French monarch proposed the persecution of Christians in his dominion, an old statesman and warrior said to him, ‘Sire, the church of God is an anvil that has worn out many hammers.’ So the hammers of infidels have been pecking away at this book for ages, but the hammers are worn out, and the anvil still endures. If this book had not been the book of God, men would have destroyed it long ago. Emperors and popes, kings and priests, princes and rulers have all tried their hand at it; they die, and the book still lives.”
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