Enduring unto the End
Matthew 24:9-13 NKJV: Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Here, the scripture describes a great universal persecution that is about to come against the church.
I call this the tribulation of the church, as distinguished from the great tribulation of the world, which will take place after the perfect church is raptured or “caught up” (Rev. 12.5, 1 Thess. 4. 17), to heaven. This great tribulation of the world is described in Matt. 24. 15-31).
The great persecution of the church has not yet begun but will begin anytime now. It is true we have some degree of persecution today, but it is neither great nor universal: in all nations. What we are experiencing today is simply the beginning of sorrows:
Matthew 24:7-9 NKJV: For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
We see this daily in the news: wars, like in Iraq and the Middle East; earthquakes, like the Tsunami of last December, famines like the ones right now in Sudan and Niger; pestilences like AIDS; terrorism the like the recent bombings in the London underground and buses.
However, these things are neither the great persecution nor the great tribulation.
Since we, the church of Jesus Christ, are not being killed, at present, for our faith and hated in all nations for His name’s sake: His character of love, righteousness and justice.
However, the time is fast approaching for this great persecution to begin.
What then will trigger off this great persecution?
The manifestation of the sons of God: the manifestation of a company of Christians, who have developed the love of God in their lives and are manifesting the character and power of God in a spectacular and consistent manner like it was in the life and ministry of Jesus:
John 14:12 NKJV: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
This manifestation of the sons of God will provoke great persecution both from the political and religious leaders and people of the world, because it will show up their corruption and unrighteousness.
We see this pattern in the Acts of the Apostles when the early church, when manifesting the glory and power of God, was persecuted by the religious leaders: the Pharisees and Sadducees and the political leaders: Herod.
Acts 5:17-18 NKJV: Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. 19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” 21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught.
Acts 5:33 NKJV: When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them. NKJV
Acts 12:1-3 NKJV: Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also.
We are told that this great persecution will cause many Christians to depart from the faith, betray and hate other Christians and the love of many will wax cold:
Matt 24:10-12 NIV: At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
So we are exhorted by the Lord Jesus to endure unto the end of this great persecution.
Matt 24:13 NKJV: But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
Yes, this great persecution will come to an end.
How will it end?
It will end by God using His power through the church to subdue the nations and so preach and demonstrate the gospel of the Kingdom to all nations for a witness:
Psalms 2:1-11 NKJV: Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The LORD shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: 6 “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” 7 “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” 10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear,
Matthew 24:13-14 NKJV: And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
As the nations are being subdued by the power of God: ‘broken with a rod of iron’, the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached and demonstrated to allnations: geopolitical (like the United Kingdom) and tribal (like England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland: having the same language) for a witness. When a company of people in all nations have been discipled and are a witness to their own people the end: the rapture or catching away of the perfect church will take place.
How then do we endure to the end of this great persecution?
By seeing Him who is invisible:
Hebrews 11:26-27 NKJV: By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
How can you see what is invisible? By faith by daily reading the Word, praying in the spirit, and walking in love.
Your mind is like a television set: the praying in the spirit supplies the power to make you able to ‘see’ God in your mind by faith and revelation (Jude 1.20-21) ; the written Word is what the Holy Spirit uses to create pictures or understanding of the reality of God and spiritual things in your mind (Ps. 119.130) and the attitude of love is what purifies your motive causing your spiritual ‘antenna’ to be properly aligned to ‘see’ God (Matt. 5.8).
As we keep our minds stayed on Him, seeing Him that is invisible in our minds by faith, He will keep us in perfect peace (Is. 26.3), enabling us to endure unto the end.
These same principles can be used to endure to the end of any personal tribulation or trial you may be facing:
Galatians 6:9 KJV: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Hebrews 6:12 KJV: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.