The question that always comes up at any prophecy conference or bible study - is what will Christians have to face on this side of the 'gathering up'?
It is a highly pertinent question - one that is difficult to answer. Clearly we will be gone prior to God's judgment upon an unrepentant world - also known as the Tribulation, but what we may face prior to that period is anyone's guess.
It may be worth looking at some scripture.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you" (Deuteronomy 31:6)
"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (Deuteronomy 31:8)
"No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Joshua 1:5)
"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come." (Matthew 24:6)
The first story below is just one of many such stories that you read on a daily basis.
One can simply go to the link for Voice Of The Martyrs for daily updates on the growing persecution around the world. The stories are heartbreaking and we need to include these Christians in our daily prayers.
“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” (Mark 10:14b–15, NKJV).
Previous popes always came to the West Bank after first arriving in Tel Aviv, Israel. Francis, however, landed at a Bethlehem helipad from Jordan aboard a Jordanian helicopter and immediately headed into an official welcoming ceremony and meeting with Abbas.
Standing alongside Abbas, Francis declared: "The time has come to put an end to this situation which has become increasingly unacceptable." He said both sides needed to make sacrifices to create two states, with internationally recognized borders, based on mutual security and rights for everyone. "The time has come for everyone to find the courage to be generous and creative in the service of the common good," he said.
Although the Pope had insisted his visit was religious, his comments show he is clearly not afraid to step into the political realm.
As Pope Francis heads to the Holy Land this weekend to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Paul VI’s historic 1964 trip, he does so amidst increasing violence against the dwindling Christian population in the region.
It seems that popular culture in the West is only nominally aware of this global epidemic. According to the Vatican, over 100,000 Christians are murdered by some relation to their faith every year. And just last week, a Sudanese woman was sentenced to death for marrying a Christian.
Let’s hope the West is affected by his message and awakens to the uncomfortable reality that it is actually Christians who are the most persecuted group in contemporary society.