It seems to me many people are confused, about the difference between persecution and judgment.
Believers are promised persecution and it has been so since the dawn of the Church age. However, judgment (God’s Judgment) is only for unbelievers. What do you think?
As Jesus told us in John 16:33 the Church will always face persecution of one form or another.
Persecution has been the world’s response to any movement it fears and doesn’t understand and Christianity is no exception. (Of course the real force behind the persecution of the Church is Satan who understands it all too well and is preying on man’s fear.) And judgment is reserved for unbelievers.
In the west we mostly face unfair and restrictive legislation today. Maybe that’s because Satan no longer considers the western church a legitimate threat and so maintains only a harassment strategy here while turning his attention elsewhere. Most of what we call church growth here is really migration, as we move from building to building without really adding to our numbers.
But in the third world, it’s estimated that as many as 175,000 new believers are added to the heavenly roles every day, so the real persecution the Church is experiencing today is in countries like China, Africa and India.
That’s where Pastors are being imprisoned and tortured, buildings are being burned down, and believers are being attacked and raped in record numbers. Whole villages of African Christians have disappeared. In Jericho and Bethlehem, 4 out of the 5 Christians who used to live there have fled for their lives since they came under Palestinian control. Hindus broke into a Christian orphanage in India and terrorized 150 young girls living there. Similar things can be said about the Muslim response to Christianity in Indonesia with rapes, torture, and beheading. And China allows only state approved churches who agree not to preach about salvation or Heaven. Violation brings prison terms and torture. In the time it takes you to read this, about 60 seconds, two more believers will have died for their faith somewhere in the world.
What’s my point? We don’t have to wait for the Great Tribulation for the Church to experience persecution.
Just because we’re not experiencing persecution personally doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.