I recently saw a short film on YouTube called "It's Friday." Apparently there are several versions, but they all depict the powerful metamorphosis that took place in just three days nearly two thousand years ago. The film might be summarized by saying that Friday represents the day Christ was crucified, when the world rejoiced and the Devil danced in victory, only to become terrified the following Sunday. The narrator does an awesome job and throughout the three minute film, he keeps reminding all who will hear that it is only Friday; Sunday is coming! The Church Age is like Friday, its only Friday, Jesus is Coming!
No one knows how many years will have passed between the two events, but not a day passes without the world demonstrating its hatred for our God and for us. God's children have been tortured and killed throughout the entire Church Age for having faith in Jesus Christ, and today is no different. We seldom hear of the atrocities that occur in many nations around the world, but there has been a consistent effort made to rid the world of both Jews and Christians. Genocide and ethnic cleansing are very common in many parts of Africa, but occur to a smaller degree all over the world. Don't you wonder why so little is mentioned of these slaughters in the media? Even when the media does tell of hundreds and thousands being hacked to death or starved, nothing is said about who is doing it, and the identity of the victims doesn't seem important to them either. Just a hint: our President says that Muslims are a people of peace; that ought to tell you as much about his knowledge as it does about his Christianity.
None of this comes as a surprise to Christians who study the Word of God. Jesus repeatedly spoke of persecution that was ahead for His followers. It boggles my mind that they thought He had come to take over the world and establish peace forever, even after the Resurrection (Acts 1:6), but that doesn't occur until "His Coming - The Sequel." In the mean time (pun intended), the persecution of believers has been "as advertised." John 15:18-19 teaches us that the same hatred that motivated the slaughter of our Lord would be aimed at His disciples. In His prayer just before going to the cross, Jesus prayed for His Father to protect us from evil. I had always thought that He meant to protect us from harm, but after studying the History of the Church, and after hearing of the atrocities that are occurring on a daily basis around the world, I have come to a new understanding of the meaning of His prayer. He wasn't asking God to physically protect us, but to protect us from becoming like those that hated us, to protect us from evil itself. In Matthew 6:13, Jesus is not teaching us to ask God for a hedge of protection, but that we won't be tempted to respond in kind! He had just taught them to love their enemies and go the extra mile (5:37-48). WOW! How could I have gone through Bible College, Seminary, and heard forty years of preaching and never seen this? We should pray for God's protection from our nature when we face trials and persecution from the world. Jesus said those would come (John 16:33). The victory we need is over ourselves, not our enemies. Lord help us to live in unity that together we can show forth Christ until He comes!