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Christ-Like Response to Persecution

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SYNOPSIS  -  When Christians react in kind to hostility, whether from government, society or individuals, Satan triumphs  –  Matthew 5:12 .  According to many news reports, the persecution of Christians is on the rise in many countries. This raises some basic questions; for example -  How should Christians react to persecution , especially when implemented by governing authorities? Ought they to respond with indignation, civil disobedience, and public protests? Do they not have the “right” to do so, at least in western-style democracies? Or should disciples of Jesus follow his example and that of the Apostles and early church? - [ Photo by Yannick Pulver on Unsplash ].

To Follow Jesus

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 SYNOPSIS  - To follow Jesus “wherever he goes” means a life of self-denial and sacrificial service for others – Matthew 20:20-28 .  When he dispatched his disciples to announce the “ good news ” of the Kingdom to the “ lost sheep of Israel ,” Jesus warned they would find themselves as “ sheep among wolves .” Hostile men would haul them before “ councils and whip them in their synagogues .” Even “ brother would deliver up brother to death ,” for his disciples would be “ hated by all men for his sake; however, only he that endured to the end ” would be saved. After all, a disciple is “ not above his master, nor a servant above his lord ” ( Photo by Jussara Romão on Unsplash ):

Budding Fig Tree

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SYNOPSIS  -  The parable of the budding fig tree pointed to the destruction of the Temple predicted by Jesus  –  Mark 13:28-29 .  Next, Jesus gave his parable of a “ budding fig tree .” The illustration was the first part of the answer to the disciples’ original question – “ When will these things come to pass? ” The image of a fig tree sprouting foliage provided the clue for the “ when ” of the predicted events – Its sprouting foliage would signal the arrival of “ summer ,” the time of the fulfillment of “ all these things .”

Coming on the Clouds

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  SYNOPSIS  –  The whole earth will witness the “Son of Man” arriving on the clouds to gather his “elect” to himself  –  Mark 13:21-27 .  The narrative now takes us beyond the “ abomination of desolation ,” the destruction of Jerusalem, and the horrific “ tribulation ” to the return of the “ Son of Man ” to gather this “ elect .” How much time will pass between the “ tribulation ” and the arrival of Jesus is not stated. However, during the interim, the church must beware of “ false prophets ” who will disseminate false information about his coming, employing impressive “ signs and wonders ” to validate their claims.

Appointed to Tribulation

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SYNOPSIS – According to Paul, disciples of Jesus escape “ wrath ” but endure “ tribulation ” - To which they have been “ appointed ” – 1 Thessalonians 3:1-4 .  In the New Testament, the terms “ tribulation ” and “ wrath ” are NOT synonymous. “ Tribulation ” is what disciples of Jesus endure for his sake and the Kingdom. Most often, “ wrath ” refers to the fate of the wicked at the “ end of the age ” – “Wrath” is what unrepentant sinners endure as the just punishment for their rebellion and iniquities.

Dream of the King

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SYNOPSIS   –  Only Daniel was able to reveal and interpret the troubling dream of King Nebuchadnezzar  -  Daniel 2:1-49 .  The second and third chapters of  Daniel  present a single story told in two parts. In the first one, King Nebuchadnezzar dreams of an enormous image composed of several materials. In the second part, he attempts to implement the image from his dream but according to his concept of political power. The interpretation of his dream provided by Daniel highlights the key theme of the book -  God rules over the World-Power and gives it to whomever He pleases .