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A Study in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5


Persecution


As we continue our study, we will look into the subject of persecution and how it relates to the Church.  In the book of John, Jesus said:
 

"If the world hates you, keep this in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as it's own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember, the words I spoke to you: ' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.

 

John 15:18 NIV

In essence, we know that Jesus was persecuted and rejected all the way to the cross. He said "If they persecute Me, they will persecute you." This happened to Jesus and is still happening to His church. In the early days, persecution was a way of life for His apostles and His church. Most of the apostles were put to death by cruel and violent means.  Jesus also said "No servant is greater than his master." He never said He suffered and died so we won't have to. In America, that's what many  TV "faith teachers" have been saying. Many believers equate hard times with "lack of faith," or "lack of obedience." Things like this are so easy to say when they don't realize in other countries persecution is the norm. And they don't study the bible  to see what the scriptures  mean. Jesus was persecuted. He died a death He didn't deserve. Was this because of His lack of faith or disobedience? No, He was perfect and He was obedient to His Father even  unto death on the cross!  Remember, no servant  is above His master! Should we expect anything else?
 

If there is persecution now, what's in store for us during the tribulation. John wrote in Revelation concerning the beast:

 

And it was given to him (the beast--verse 2) to make war with the saints and to overcome them...

 

Revelation 13:7a

John clearly writes the beast was given to him to make war with the saints (as the beast has rule for three and one half years). And he will  overcome them by persecution.  As we look for a moment on the tribulation, The Greek word for tribulation is "thlipsis" or thilibu," which means "pressure" or "affliction." In The King James Bible, the word "distress" is used for the Great Tribulation in Luke 21:27. The Greek word for distress is "thilipsis."
 

The tribulation is a period of affliction, pressure and distress upon the earth. If there has been persecution on Christians throughout history, then why should  we expect anything different during the tribulation? Many professors of pre-trib agree about persecution, but they insist it won't happen to the church during the tribulation because we are not "destined for wrath" and we'll be gone.  Can they come to this conclusion if they thoroughly examined scripture just to see if it was so? Paul said in his second letter to the Thessalonian Church:
 

 
"...among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.

All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. they will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and of the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who believed. This includes you because of our testimony to you."

                                                          

2 Thessalonians 1:4-10 NIV

Their perseverance and faith endures in all the persecutions and trials. And this was something for God's churches were boasting about it. As a result of their afflictions, they will be counted worthy for the kingdom, which they are suffering for. And God is just and he will repay those who persecuted the church with affliction and give relief to the church along with the other churches when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. So we can conclude that the church is relieved of their persecution at the same time God will repay their afflicters, after the tribulation.

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Articles in this study

Not Destined For Wrath

The Day of the Lord

Like A Thief

Wrath (of God)

 

Twinkling of an Eye

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