Signs of the Times

Persecution

PROPHETIC SIGNIFICANCE:

The Bible shows that there have always been persecutions, especially of those who try to live godly lives. TheJewish people were persecuted for their faith. The Early Church was also persecuted and a great number of believerswere killed because of their belief in Jesus Christ. Even in more recent times persecution has been common. Mostof the early colonists in the United States came here to escape persecution from their European neighbors!

Wars are usually persecution taken to its next dreadful level. Jesus said that persecution will increase, especiallyduring the Tribulation in the future.

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.- Matthew 24:9

Most of the terrifying events of the Tribulation are building up during this present time, which Jesus called"The beginning of birth pains." Ethnic wars, terrorism and anti-Christian philosophies contribute to an ever-growingtoll of suffering and death.

Experts estimate that that between 100 and 200 million Christians around the globe are currently suffering for their faith,especially in communistic and Islamic countries. This persecution takes many forms: imprisonment, abuse, hostilities, and even death.

Key Scriptures
Current Events
Links about Persecution
Insight from 2012: The Year the World Didn't End
Insights from 2009 In Prophecy: The Year In Review
Insights from 2008 In Prophecy: The Year In Review
Ron's Blog: Persecution
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Key Scriptures

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Persecution
Matthew 24:9 Further Study
Mark 13:9,11-13 Further Study
Luke 21:12-19Further Study

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Current Events

Prophetic Significance of Persecution

Notice: Sources often remove their news links after a period of time. Some of them move older stories to a subscription-only section. Even if the story is no longer on line, our summary will still be available on this page.

WORLD WATCH LIST


PERSECUTION NEWS
World Watch Monitor
Morning Star News
Christian Persecution Magazine


See also:
Revival



See more recent articles: After December 31, 2014


Happy 2015? Newsweek hit piece smears Bible, Christians

Dec. 31, 2014 - Newsweek and Time magazines are known for taking swipes against the Bible and Christianity during the holy seasonsof Easter and Christmas. Newsweek's new management intensified their attack with an issue about the Bible. Their articles arepredictably skeptical of the Bible and are especially disdainful of evangelical Christians.

Read Newsweek to get a feel for the spirit of persecution that permeates the globe and is now coming to the U.S. Then read the reviews of thisissue by Christian leaders.

Source: Fox
The Bible — So Misunderstood It’s a Sin - Newsweek
Newsweek on the Bible — So Misrepresented It’s a Sin - Albert Mohler
A hopelessly biased screed against alleged bias - David Limbaugh - Human Events
'Newsweek's' Stunning Arrogance - Bill Donohue - Christian News Wire

Prophetic Significance of Persecution


ISIS reportedly selling Christian artifacts, turning churches into torture chambers

Dec. 20, 2014 -
The Islamic State is turning Christian churches in Iraq and Syria into dungeons and torture chambers after stripping them of priceless artifacts to sell on the black market, according to reports.
Source: Fox



Why did Disney block God?

Dec. 1, 2014 - When 10-year-old Lilly Anderson tried to answer a question on the Disney Channel's website, she received adisappointing response.
The Disney Channel wanted to know what she was thankful for. So Lilly typed in her answer. “God, my family, my church and my friends.”
. . . A message written in red popped up on the screen. “Please be nice!” the message read.
When contacted by the girl's mother, Disney Channel employees said they were not sure why the word "God" is blocked, but a team ofpeople were looking into the problem.
Source: Fox

Pope Francis: Christian Persecution, Prohibition of Worship Signs of the End Times

Nov. 29, 2014 - Preaching on Jesus' Olivet Discourse in Luke 21, Pope Francis said that Christian persecution and the cultural fear of public expressions of faith are signs of the end times.
"Worship is prohibited – this is at the center of the end of time." Once we "reach the fullness of this pagan attitude truly the Son of Man will come in a cloud with great power and glory."
Source: Christian Post
Editor's Note: The Catholic Church does not believe in the Rapture or the thousand year Millennium, but they do believe that things will get much worse before His return. See our blog: Understanding the Future

Is This the End for Mideast Christianity?

Nov. 5, 2014 -
"For Christians in the Middle East, 2014 has been a catastrophe. The most wrenching stories have come from Iraq, where the nascent Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL ...) has savagely persecuted ancient Christian communities, including Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Syrian Orthodox."
Ever since the seventh century, when Islam conquered the Middle East, Christianity has been subdued, but even as late as 1914, the Christian population of the whole region from Egypt to Persia (Iran)was still 10%. The percentage has declined greatly in Iraq since the first Gulf War in 1991, but Christians still maintained a strong presence in Mosul, where the church was founded in the early days of Christianity.

Now observers say that the end of Christianity in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East is in sight. Only Egypt and Lebanon have a sizeable Christian population, and they too are being persecuted.

The article explores the history of persecution and the question about why God allows it. Examples are given of persecution resulting in Christian growth,especially in the case of China. The author concludes, "Suffering, Yes. Extinction, No."

Source: Philip Jenkins - Christianity Today

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted - Nov. 2

Oct. 28, 2014 - Webcasts will set the tone for intercessory prayer
Open Doors USA is inviting the public to join a live interactive webcast on Saturday (November 1), while churches are invited tojoin a special webcast designed for their Sunday night services on November 2.
Source: OneNewsNow
Also to be observed on Nov. 9 Don't Stand in Silence - International Day of Prayer - World Evangelical Alliance
Prayer Alert: 2 Years on- Remembering astor Saeed Abadini - International Day of Prayer

Let me see your sermons: Lesbian mayor subpoenas the First Amendment

Oct. 15, 2014 - Houston's city council recently passed an ordinance, a "bathroom bill" that gave protection to homosexuals and lesbians.Since then, a petition to obtain the citizens' vote on the matter was rejected by the City of Houston.
Alliance Defending Freedom is now reporting that the City of Houston, fighting a lawsuit related to the ordinance, is demanding thatfive pastors turn over sermon notes and private communications with church members.
Source: OneNewsNow
Example: Subpoena to Pastor Steve Riggle
Houston demands oversight of sermons - WND
Houston City Government Demands Pastors Turn Over Sermons Referencing Homosexuality, Mayor - Christian Post

ISIS Baghdad March: Islamic State 1 Mile Away From Iraqi Capital

Oct. 1, 2014 - Canon Andrew White, representing Iraq’s only Anglican church in Baghdad, warned that the ISIS group is only about one mile away from Baghdad, and Iraq's own army is not able to stop the attack.
The advance by ISIS toward Baghdad shows that the group isn't weakening despite U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq. ISIS executed 300 Iraqisoldiers last week during their march toward the Iraqi capital and attempted to break into a prison in northern Baghdad.
Source: International Business Times
Reports: ISIS Within a Mile of Baghdad - NewsMax
Gen. Hayden: Obama's Lack of Participation on Intel Problematic - NewsMax
ISIS Continues Gains Despite Air Strikes, Threatens Turkey - NewsMax
Isis Threat to Crucify Lebanon's Christians as Islamic State Prepare to Cross Syria Border - International Business Times

Vatican calls on Muslim leaders to condemn Christian persecution in Iraq

Aug. 13, 2014 -
The Vatican has called on Muslim leaders to denounce unambiguously the persecution of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq – and hinted that it is consideringbreaking off dialogue with Islamic representatives if they fail to do so.
Some 100,000 Christians have reportedly fled their homes in Iraq because of death-threats by ISIS. The statement said that ISIS was slaughtering peoplesolely for religious reasons and were committing "the execrable practice[s] of decapitation, crucifixion and hanging of corpses in public places."

The Vatican's Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue said that all religious leaders, including those espousing Islam, must condemn these crimes if they want to continue dialogue with the Catholic Church.

Source: The Guardian
Vatican Approves U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq in Rare Exception to Peace Policy - Breitbart

US air strikes in Iraq will have minimal impact on Isis – Pentagon

Aug. 12, 2014 - Army Lt Gen William Mayville, a senior Pentagon planning officer says that the current air strikes will not stop ISIS (ISIL).
"So I in no way want to suggest that we have effectivelycontained or that we are somehow breaking the momentum of the threat posed by Isil.”
He believes that ISIS will "look for other things to do, to pick up and move elsewhere."

Maryville did say that the US strikes have given US-backed Kurdish irregular forces, known as Peshmerga, “time to fortify their defensive positions.”

Source: The Guardian
ISIS Swallowing Iraq: 'They're Beheading Children' - CBN
Wahhabi preacher teaches ‘beheading with pleasure’ - InSerbia

Iraq Christians flee as Islamic State takes Qaraqosh

Aug. 7, 2014 -
Up to a quarter of Iraq's Christians are reported to be fleeing after Islamic militants seized the minority's biggest town in the country.
The Islamic State (IS) group captured Qaraqosh in Nineveh province overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces.
It is believed that some 100,000 displaced Christians are fleeing into the autonomous Kurdistan Region.
Source: BBC
Pope Francis calls for action as Iraqi Christians forced to flee - Reuters

ISIS to Iraqi Christians in Mosul: Convert or Die

July 18, 2014 - Leaflets were distributed to Christians in Mosul, Iraq, requiring them to convert to Islam or pay extra taxes to the Islamic Sharia courts.
According to a message from ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, non-complying Christians were permitted to "evacuate themselves only from the caliphate state" by 12 p.m. local time on Saturday or their "only option is the sword."
Meanwhile ISIS has reportedly turned parts of Mosul over to another Sunni militant group, the Naqshbandi Army (also referred to as JRTN - led by Saddam Hussein-era Baathists). ISIS has gone on to fight Iraqi armed forces in Tikrit
Source: Breitbart
Facing fines, conversion or death, Christian families flee Mosul - Breitbart
After 2,000 Years, the Last Christian is Forced to Leave Mosul - Breitbart
ISIS torches 1800 year-old church in mosul priest says city is now empty of christians - Christian Post
US, UN Denounce ISIL Persecution of Iraqi Minorities - Voice of America

Iraqi leaders seen as desperate as Kerry arrives in Baghdad

Jun. 23, 2014 - As Iraqi towns continued to fall to the advancing Sunni insurgents, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew into Baghdad for aseries of meetings with Iraqi leaders. During this trip the U.S. team switched their terminology for the ISIS rebels. Initially they were calling them "a highly capable and sophisticated terrorist organization [that] is also essentially a criminal syndicate." They now refer to the attackers as an "army."
Source: Fox
Convert to Islam or face the sword: Iraqi Christians flee cities captured by extremists known to kill non-Muslims - National Post
Major U.S. city next target for Islamic terror - F. Michael Maloof - WND

Islamist takeover may be 'death knell' for Iraq's Christians

Jun. 16, 2014 - The Islamist militants that are rampaging through Iraq have already left a trail of intense persecution of Christians in Syria.
Earlier this year, Christians in Raqqa were threatened with death unless they converted to Islam. . . The militants are imposing strict sharia rules andcarrying out brutal penalties, including beheadings and crucifixions.
Source: Christian Today
Terrorists sing of slaughtering Jews, Christians - WND
Chilling photos 'show executions in Iraq' - WND

UN, Britain Urge Sudan to Overturn Christian Woman's Death Sentence

May 20, 2014 - U.N. rights experts and Britain objected to the decision of a Sudanese court to hang a pregnant Christian woman for marrying aChristian man. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a 27-year-old who is eight months pregnant with her second child, was born to a Christian mother and Muslim father. She never professed belief in Islam, but according to the country's sharia law, her actions constitute an illegal conversion from the Muslim faith.
The U.N. experts said that the right to marry and found a family was a fundamental human right, and voiced particular concern that Ishag was being held with her 20-month-old son in "harsh conditions" at the Omdurman's Women Prison near Khartoum.
Source:

The Middle East War on Christians

Apr. 18, 2014 - The latest report from Open Doors revealed that 9 of the 10 most oppressive countries for Christians are Muslim-majority states like Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. At the beginning of the 20th century 26% of the residents of the Middle East were Christians.
Today, that figure has dwindled to less than 10%. Intolerant and extremist governments are driving away the Christian communities that have livedin the Middle East since their faith was born.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East with a growing Christian population(from 34,000 in 1948 to 140,000 today).

Source: Ron Proser, Israeli Ambassador to the UN - The Wall Street Journal
World Watch List - Open Doors
Muslim violence surges for Easter week - WND

Egyptian Islamists Murder Young Christian, After Dragging Her From Car

Apr. 1, 2014 -
Eyewitnesses have given a harrowing account of the murder in Cairo of a young Coptic Christian woman, hauled out of her car and beaten and stabbed todeath by a Muslim mob, apparently targeted because of a cross hanging from her rear-view mirror.
The victim, 25-year-old Mary Sameh George was planning to deliver medicine to an ill and elderly woman. The incident was barely reported by Egyptian news,but an Interior Ministry spokesman told one wire service that the Muslim Brotherhood was to blame.
Source: CNS News

At issue: Just how much does gov't respect religious beliefs?

Mar. 26, 2014 - The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday about the right of two companies (Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties)to not provide the "morning after" pill, a drug thatterminates the growth of a just-conceived embryo. Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice told One News Now that he hopes the publicis aware of the importance of the case;
"It's the top case when it comes to the healthcare law and it's the top case when it comes to the life issue and abortion."
Attorney Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council reported that the court heard a "startling" admission by the government attorney."... When Justice Kennedy asked the government's attorney whether he believes family businesses could be forced to pay for abortion even over theirreligious objections, the government attorney said yes."

Source: One News Now
Pin drop! Obama lawyer stuns Supreme justice - WND
Company owners refuse to 'sacrifice our obedience to God' - WND
Sotomayor, Kagan: Hobby Lobby Should Drop Insurance, Pay Penalty and Let Employees Use Exchange - CNS

At Supreme Court today: Health-law cases mix questions of religious freedom, worker rights

Mar. 25, 2014 - The Supreme Court will hear two cases involving companies that claim they cannot conform to the Obamacare mandateto provide abortifacient contraceptives to their workers. The health law requires them “to do precisely what their religion forbids them or face draconian consequences — including millions in fines, private lawsuits and government enforcement actions.”

One [case] was brought by the owners of Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts chain of more than 500 stores. Their founder, David Green, said the company is run onbiblical principles.

The second case concerns Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Pennsylvania cabinet-making company owned by a Mennonite family. They also say that they cannot complywith the contraceptive mandate.

The cases ask a question the court has never confronted: whether or not the Constitution or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that protects an individual’sexercise of religion extends to secular, for-profit corporations and their owners.

Source: Washington Post

Hobby Lobby & the war on religious liberty - Rich Lowry - New York Post

Church in Russia Closed for Holding “Unregistered” Sunday School Classes

Mar. 20, 2014 -In St. Petersburg, Russia the government abruptly disolved the Harvest Church without warning.
Government officials reported that the church was conducting unregistered educational activities, namely holding Sunday school classes during the week without explicit permission.
Source: Christian Headlines

Number of Christians killed for their faith doubled in 2013

Jan. 9, 2013 -
Open Doors, a non-denominational group supporting persecuted Christians worldwide, said on Wednesday it had documented 2,123 “martyr” killings, compared with 1,201 in 2012. There were 1,213 such deaths in Syria alone last year, it said.
Open Doors, a ministry to persecuted Christians has published a list of the 50 countries that are the worst persecutors of Christians. North Korea is at the top of its list. Radical Muslims are the main source of persecution in 36 of the countries on the list.

The persecution watchdog group estimates that last year about 100 million Christians around the world suffered persecution for their faith.

Source: Globe and Mail
Top 50 list of Christian persecutors - WND
World Watch List - Open Doors
Update 1/22/14 - The U.S. and Christian Persecution - Obama does nothing to protect Christians and other minorities in the Muslim world. - National Review


Go to: Articles before Jan. 1, 2014


Links About Persecution

WORLD WATCH LIST


PERSECUTION NEWS
Legalize Jesus
Morning Star News
Religious Freedom - Christian Post
World Watch Monitor
Worthy Network
ARTICLES
Persecution of Christians - Wikipedia
Ayaan Hirsi Ali:The Global War on Christians in the Muslim World - Newsweek
ORGANIZATIONS
Amnesty International
Bible League
Christian Freedom International
Christians In Crisis
Compas Direct
Defend Christians
Hudson Institute's Center For Religious Freedom
Human Rights Watch
International Christian Concern
International Day of Prayer For The Persecuted Church
Open Doors International - Brother Andrew
Persecution Project
World Watch List
The Rutherford Institute
The Thomas More Law Center




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