Prepare For Tribulation
and the coming persecution
This site is dedicated to encourage and help Christians prepare for tribulation: through persecution, affliction and hardship which will test our faith in Jesus Christ. In particular this is intended for Christians in the West who have not had to endure persecution for over 500 years. This is a work in progress and I intend to expand and update it regularly.
While the focus here will be on preparing for persecution, we can also expect, as the end of the ages draws closer, for natural disasters, epidemics and national conflicts to increase in frequency and intensity. Christians will also have to endure these (many have died as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic) and in such times our faith and hope in God and Christ needs to be strong.
From the earliest days of the Church – from the time of the first Christian martyr Stephen, Christians have experienced persecution. The Roman empire of the first two centuries persecuted Christians who refused to make sacrifices to the Roman gods. Since that time persecution has occurred under many different regimes but for the same basic reason: our refusal to bow to the gods of this world.
Today Christians are experiencing unprecedented tribulation through persecution, discrimination, political pressure and temptation to conform to the world’s mould: politically, religiously, socially and morally. Tens of thousands of Christians have perished for no other reason than for their faith in and loyalty to Christ. This has become particularly evident in Islamic societies with the rise of a puritanical and militant Islam. 10’s of thousands of Christians in Africa have perished at the hands of militant Islamists over the last 10 years. In India, there has arisen a militant Hinduism which seeks, first to prevent Hindus from leaving their religion and secondly to purge non-Hindu faiths from the nation. In communist regimes, such as China and Vietnam, Christians are increasingly under pressure to conform to the ruling government’s ideology.
In Western countries, where for five centuries we have enjoyed relative peace and security, Christians are now experiencing greater antipathy as society becomes increasingly secular as it abandons its Christian heritage. This is evident in the media, on Internet platforms, in educational and scientific institutions and by governments which no longer uphold or are sympathetic to Christian values.
This should not surprise or alarm us for Jesus warned us 2000 years ago: these are warning signs of coming tribulation which will only increase in frequency and intensity, like birth pangs, as the time of the end draws closer (Matthew 24:8), culminating in a time of great tribulation. Jesus said we would be hated by all nations (Matthew 24:9). The temptation to compromise our faith in Jesus and the truth of God’s word for the sake of peace, acceptance and our own security will be great. So we need to be aware, prepared and take to heart the many warnings given to us in the Bible of such times.
When we see signs that a storm, a hurricane or cyclone (as they are known in the southern hemisphere) is approaching we prepare – by securing, strengthening and ensuring we have essential supplies to see us through. If we wait until the storm is on us, it will be too late. The signs of coming tribulation are evident and so we need to prepare now.
The Bible speaks of two times of tribulation: tribulation generally, which we can expect as followers of Christ at any time, and the time which Jesus forewarned us of as the Great Tribulation (as revealed in Matthew 24 and Mark 13). It will be a relatively brief time but one of unprecedented and intense persecution, trouble and spiritual deception (which I believe presents the greatest danger) such that many will fall away from the faith. Though Jesus and the apostles warned of this time, many today believe true Christians, the Church, will be secretly raptured, or caught up, to be with Christ before the Great Tribulation and before His visible coming to earth. This will examined more closely in ‘Will the Church Go Through the Great Tribulation?’. Never-the-less, whatever you believe, it is evident that tribulation for Christians – by persecution and through spiritual deception, is increasing world-wide on multiple fronts.
Tribulation through persecution of Christians in the past and in recent history is well documented and there are many resources and websites dedicated to this. While Western Christians have been spared persecution for some 500 years, our brothers and sisters in Asia, Africa and the Middle East have in recent decades not been. We would be wise to learn from their experiences (see Resources).
Yet Western Christians need to take note and prepare for the tide is beginning to turn. There have been many instances recently of Christians finding themselves on the wrong side of the law through coming into conflict with ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’ laws because they have spoken what the Bible plainly teaches or practised what they believe Christ would have them do. The Internet is increasingly becoming a battle ground for the truth.
We will need to face the fact that, despite seeking justice, we will increasingly not obtain it from the secular justice system. Our hope and trust must always be in God and in Him alone.
There are increasing instances of Christians who have fled persecution in their home countries and then experienced persecution at the hands of other citizens of those nations in the Western country of refuge.
Most Western countries are as a consequence now in a ‘post-Christian’ era. The foundations of Christianity are being attacked: the truth and authority of the Bible as God’s word; its moral code from secular humanism and what is known as ‘woke’ politics; and most troubling from within the Church by revisionist theology.
False Teachers and Prophets
The greatest and most insidious danger will be (and is now) spiritual deception from within the church by false prophets and teachers. These have caused and will cause many to depart from the way of the Faith as taught by Jesus, the prophets and apostles, unsettle others by questioning and doubting the Scriptures (to conform with popular opinion) or by novel interpretations contrary to sound historical understanding.
False teachers typically find receptive ears by telling what is comforting to our own desires, by compromising with the world’s consensus on morality so as to be ‘inclusive’ and avoid censure, by minimising or denying the need to take up our cross, to live a holy life and to suffer, if needs be, for Christ’s sake. Such teachers and false shepherds are described in the Bible as wolves in sheep’s clothing who have crept in unnoticed (Matthew 7:15, Jude 1:4). The battle within the professing church will be one of the most difficult to contend with.
While we might lament the moral decline and antipathy towards Christianity in western culture and our lack of power to influence it we need to see that that, in part at least, it is because western culture has infiltrated the church. At one time the Bible, as God’s authoritative word, was the basis of western society. This has, by and large, been abandoned and replaced with human wisdom, ‘reason’ and ‘enlightenment’, effectively another religion: secular humanism. Marriage and gender, for example, are no longer what God’s word plainly teaches, but now just whatever someone feels is right for them.
Secular humanism denies the existence of God and holds that man is accountable to no one except himself. As a consequence of this ideology man effectively becomes his own ‘god’ believing the age-old lie ‘you will be like God (or ‘as gods‘)’ (Genesis 3:5) deciding for himself what is right or wrong.
Tragically within many churches this worldly wisdom has been mixed with or supplanted God’s wisdom as revealed in the Scriptures. In particular the foundational book of Genesis is not considered as actual history. The importance of Genesis and the impact of not taking it as real history will be examined.
We should not think we will escape tribulation. It is in fact promised (Acts 14:22, 2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus said Christians ‘will be hated by all nations‘ (Matthew 24:9). However, it is how we prepare and respond to tribulation that is most important. While we who are living now may not face the Great Tribulation, for the time is in God’s hands, we can expect before that time for our faith to be tested. Jesus and Paul forewarned us there would be a time of great apostasy when many will fall away and depart from the faith. Such warnings need to be heeded and the reasons why many will fall away so we can be prepared to stand firm. Jesus specifically warns us with these words:
Don’t be led astray; don’t be alarmed; don’t be anxious (Mark 13:5,7,11 ESV) and…
But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand. (Mark 13:23 ESV).
If we take Jesus’ words to heart and are prepared we need not fear or be discouraged in tribulation but always have hope and peace. As He also said:
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Unless otherwise indicated Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible, Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission (www.Lockman.org).
Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.