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“History Doesn’t Repeat Itself, But it Often Rhymes”
This statement, attributed to the popular humorist Mark Twain, summarizes the dark forces gathering together to come against the Lord’s church in these last days. In other words, what we see on our horizon is like what the church has suffered in the past. And the ways and methods of church persecution revealed in the book of Acts are the same that are being used against the church and faithful Christians today.
But there is one difference. In times past, the church was on fire as it lived under fire. But today, not so much.
Today we will look at Acts 3 and 4 and clearly see the methods of intimidation, deplatforming, cancel culture, and raw threats of asset forfeiture and imprisonment that were hurled against the first century church are the same being thrown at the church today. The situations and circumstances of the persecution may differ, but everything else is the same.
So what are we to do? Great question. And Hal Lindsey has a great answer. I have posted below an email I received from Hal that will help us, in the face of prophetic adversity, keep looking up so we as His church can learn how to remain “on fire” as we live “under fire.”
By Hal Lindsey
Wars are always packed with tragedy and pain. But these days we see these things in a unique way. According to the CIA Factbook, Ukraine has almost as many cell phones per capita as the United States. Cell phones double as motion picture cameras and audio recorders. Those mechanical eyes and ears connect to the internet.
All wars are tragic, but this time we can see war’s tragedies in a more personal way than at any other time in history. And what we see— the sights and sounds from those Ukrainian cell phones— breaks our hearts.
We see the cruelty, the anguish, the fear, and the pain. There may have been times when you were so overwhelmed that you had to stop watching. I understand. It doesn’t mean you’re hardhearted. Just the opposite. It means you are able to empathize, and sometimes that becomes too much to bear.
Sadly, Ukraine is not the only place of cruelty and pain on planet earth just now. Many Christians in Africa, for instance, face unspeakable brutality. The Uyghurs in China are experiencing a level of persecution that some say approaches genocide. And don’t forget the “little” atrocities committed against vulnerable people even in affluent circumstances. All over the world, people suffer the aftereffects of their own and other people’s sin.
As the days pass, more Christians find themselves praying with John in Revelation 22:20, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!.” We long for the millennium, for a world made right by the rule of God the Son, the Prince of Peace. Those of us who know Him, know that we can trust His will. And where He reigns, His will prevails.
But the Bible doesn’t just speak of a future kingdom of God. It also speaks of God’s kingdom in the present tense. Mark 1:15 reveals the message with which Jesus began His preaching ministry. “The kingdom of God is at hand.”
Colossians 1:12-14 says, “Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
When we come to Christ, God transfers us into His kingdom. If you are in Christ, you are part of His kingdom right now! That means He’s your King. He reigns in you. Where He reigns, His will prevails. And where His will prevails, His power flows!
We need that power now. We need to speak His words with His authority. We need the confidence that comes from knowing we stand safely in the center of His will. May we be circumspect in our thoughts, disciplined in our actions, diligent in our work, and faithful to learn His will by studying His word and going to Him in prayer. In times like these, may we consistently behave as commissioned representatives of His Kingdom— for our loved ones and for a desperate world.
Join us as we learn from the example of the early church how to stand strong in the face of persecution and threats by keeping Jesus in the center of all we do. And in doing so, we will continue to learn how to Leave Laodicea behind.