Matthew 24:9..."Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me."
Regarding the scripture above, there was a time when I thought it likely referred to the secular world…that THEY would be the primary force persecuting the Christian church in the end times. After all, the world has been moving away from the basics and the truth…’the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord’…and ‘there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end, it leads to death’. Though I still believe that thought has merit, now I’m not so sure that secularism will be the ‘primary’ source of persecution. From what I am seeing happening in the middle east, from what I’ve learned about islam over the years, I’m beginning to consider (more seriously) that it could well be islam that ends up being the primary source of persecution regarding the Christian church. Of course, we all know that extreme muslim sects have always persecuted Christians. What is noteworthy, though, is they also persecute and kill fellow muslims that believe slightly differently. What ultimately sets them apart is that they want to take over the world by force (in the name of allah). If THAT is your goal, and if you are convinced that dying for that cause only ushers you into heaven all that quicker…well…what a formula for disaster!