Hated of the Nations
December 27, 2021
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake (Matthew 24:9).
When Jesus described the days leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, He also described the days leading up to the future age that would end in the destruction of the world. Both eras would see the escalation of persecution toward those who are God’s people - the Jews and Christians prior to A.D. 70, and the Jews and Christians in the 7-year Tribulation.
Who are ‘they’? In the age that saw the end of Israel as a nation ‘they’ referred to the Romans. In the age yet to come that will see the end of the word, ‘they’ refers to non-Christian Jews and Gentiles. Who, then, are ‘you’? In both periods the recipients of the persecution are Jews and Christians. Jews are persecuted by Gentiles, and Christians are persecuted by non-Christian Jews and Gentiles.
Josephus (remember him? the Jewish historian who recorded the events of the Roman conquest of Jerusalem and Judea?) recorded that over 1 million Jews were killed in and around Jerusalem when Rome laid siege to the city, then finally breached the walls and burned the place down. And that was just in and around Jerusalem! Millions more died in the total conquest of Judea and Galilee.
What about the coming Tribulation (Revelation 6 - 19)? In Revelation 7:1-8 the Holy Spirit will call 144,000 Jewish males to faith in Jesus Christ. They will be saved, sealed, and sent by the Holy Spirit to evangelize the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not one of them will die in the Tribulation because they will be sealed by the Holy Spirit. A great multitude of people will be saved in those days, including the nation of Israel. Many of those professed Christians will be martyred during the 7 years of Tribulation.
In Revelation 11:1-14 God will raise up 2 great witnesses who will preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations. They will lead many people to faith in Jesus. The Antichrist will kill the 2 witnesses, but they will be resurrected and will ascend to heaven. Many of those who will be led to faith in Jesus Christ will be martyred in the Tribulation.
Some call the 7 years of Tribulation as the greatest period of evangelization the world will ever see, and that more people will come to faith in Jesus Christ than has ever come to faith in Him. But it will also be the greatest period of persecution against the people of God that the world has ever seen. In Revelation 6:9-11 the Apostle John is permitted to see and hear those who will be martyred for their faith in Jesus. In Revelation 7:9-17 John is told that the great numberless multitude that stands around the throne of God in heaven and praises the name of Jesus for His great salvation are those who are martyred for their faith in Jesus Christ.
“Even so, Lord Jesus, may we be faithful to Your Gospel today so that we may add to that great throng of people who lift up Your name in praise around the throne. Amen.”