Meaning of persecution in Easy English – The time when enemies of God hurt people because they believe in Jesus. Examples in the Old Testament include Abel, who offered a better sacrifice than Cain ( Gen 4:4-10 ; Heb 11:4 ); Lot, also a "righteous man who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men" ( 2 Peter 2:7 ) who rejected him and who "kept bringing pressure on [him] and moved forward to break down the door" of his house in Sodom ( Gen 19:9 ); Elijah, who spoke against the prophets of Baal ( 1 Kings 18:25-40 ) and against the idolatry of Israel ( 1 Kings 18:16-21 ), and was persecuted by Jezebel for his godly stand ( 1 Kings 19:1-3 ); David, who conducted himself in a godly manner despite the machinations and pursuit of Saul ( 1 Sam 9-27:1 ); Jeremiah, who spoke God's message of condemnation against Judah for her sins and the coming judgment against her to be brought by the Babylonians ( Jeremiah 9:11 Jeremiah 9:13-16 ; 21:3-7 ; 25:1-14 ), had his message rejected (Jer. Christians are forbidden to seek the propagation of the gospel by force ( Matthew 7:1 ; Luke 9:54-56 ; Romans 14:4 ; James 4:11 James 4:12 ). The Scriptures are also full of examples of evil persons persecuting the good and righteous persons for various reasons, such as jealousy for a godly sacrifice ( Gen 4:2-10 ); revenge for a godly humanitarian deed done ( 1 Sam 21:1-19 ); vengeance for action against heathen worship ( 1 Kings 19:2, ; Jezebel against Elijah ); vengeance for warnings against idolatry and ungodly living, as exemplified by opposition to the messages of Jeremiah and John the Baptist ( Jer 37 ; Matt 4:1-12 ); vengeance against preaching the gospel and condemnation of rebellion against God ( Acts 7:54-60 ); opposition to the Jerusalem church for its stand for Jesus ( Acts 8:1 ; 11:19 ), to the Thessalonian Christians for their stand for Christ ( 1 Thess 3:3-4 ) to Paul for his faithfulness to the Lord Jesus ( 2 Cor 11:16-33 ; cf. Men and women and even children were among the martyrs whom no cruelties, however refined and protracted, could terrify into denial of their Lord. In the case of Christ Himself, persecution took the form of attempts to entrap Him in His speech (Matthew 22:15); the questioning of His authority (Mark 11:28); illegal arrest; the heaping of every insult upon Him as a prisoner; false accusation; and a violent and most cruel death. But this crime spreading, as is usually the case, while it was actually under legal prosecution, several cases occurred. The number 50 derives its meaning from its relationship to the coming of God's Holy Spirit. If this person begins to share what they’ve seen, we call this “bearing witness.” It’s a simple word, but being a witness carries a lot of responsibility! trs. Bible Verses About Persecution Bible verses related to Persecution from the King James Version (KJV) by Relevance - Sort By Book Order . At Pergamum, persecution has already resulted in Antipas, Christ's faithful martyr, being slain (Revelation 2:13). The high-priesthood was then in the hands of the Sadducees, and one reason which moved them to take action of this kind was their `sore trouble,' because the apostles "proclaimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead" (Acts 4:2; 5:17). διώκω, G1503. It was the necessary consequence of the principles embodied in the heathen Roman government, when these came into contact and into conflict with the essential principles of the Christian faith. The persecution inaugurated by the emperor Decius in 250 AD was particularly severe. It is to these that reference is made in the words "had been beheaded," decapitation being reserved as the most honorable form of execution, for Roman citizens only. Both of these important ends, and others too, were secured by the severity of the means employed by the persecuting power of the Roman empire. Tribulation definition is - distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution; also : a trying experience. The fact that persecution helps overthrow the faith of the weak is the reason why Christians in Smyrna were admonished to remain faithful in the face of persecution: “ Do not fear what you are about … https://www.opendoorsusa.org/.../stories/4-powerful-persecution-stories-bible Under Valerian the persecution was again very severe, but his successor, Gallienus, issued an edict of toleration, in which he guaranteed freedom of worship to the Christians. I asked them whether they were Christians. God lets iniquity do what it pleases, according to its own designs; but in permitting it to move on one side, rather than on another, He overrules it and makes it enter into the order of His providence. However, in contrast, the Scriptures teach that we are to love our enemies, "because he [God] is kind to the ungrateful and wicked" ( Matt 5:44 ; Luke 6:35 ), and to exercise forbearance and mercy, because "It is mine to avenge; I will repay, ' says the Lord" ( Rom 12:19 ; Deut 32:35 ). Serious persecution of the Christian church began with the case of Stephen (Acts 7:1-60); and his lawless execution was followed by "a great persecution" directed against the Christians in Jerusalem. When the apostolic period is left, persecution becomes almost the normal state in which the church is found. The claim which the Christian faith made to the absolute and exclusive loyalty of all who obeyed Christ was such that it admitted of no compromise with heathenism. Of subsequent centuries in our own and in other lands the same sad record may be made. Coming now to New Testament times, persecution was frequently foretold by Christ, as certain to come to those who were His true disciples and followers. Love: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" ( Matt 5:44 ). .... Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator.". "Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a demon?" John 15:18 - If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before [it hated] you. Definition: Persecution. when this minimum of compliance would save life itself. Article Images Copyright © 2021 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. At Smyrna, there is suffering, imprisonment and prolonged tribulation; but the sufferers are cheered when they are told that if they are faithful unto death, Christ will give them the crown of life (Revelation 2:10). The Bible gives special attention to Israel's fate in Egypt (Exodus 1-3) and in the Exile (Psalm 137:1). Physical persecution includes taking another's life ( Gen 4 , Cain murdering Abel) or maiming the body ( Exod 22 , 23 ). At the best Hadrian's regime was only that of unauthorized toleration. There were others also, possessed with the same infatuation, whom, because they were Roman citizens, I ordered to be sent to Rome. If ye are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are ye; because the Spirit of glory and the Spirit of God resteth upon you. The First Epistle of Peter is one of the parts of the New Testament which seem to make direct reference to the Neronic persecution, and he uses words (1 Peter 4:12) which may be compared with the narrative of Tacitus: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial among you, which cometh upon you to prove you, as though a strange thing happened unto you: but insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, rejoice. Study the Bible, learn about Jesus Christ, get Christian living advice online. As the book proceeds, evidences of persecution are multiplied. There had been in the interval a complete change in the policy toward Christianity of the Roman government. ", In Trajan's reply to Pliny he writes, "They (the Christians) ought not to be searched for. At Ephesus and at Thyatira the Christians are commended for their patience, evidently indicating that there had been persecution (Revelation 2:2,19). The martyrdom of Peter is also implied in John 21:18,19, and in 2 Peter 1:14. He said that He Himself must suffer it (Matthew 16:21; 17:22,23; Mark 8:31). In all ages, in one form or another, the people of God have had to suffer persecution. Tacitus uses the strange expression "the persons commonly called Christians who were hated for their enormities." Forbearance: Turn the other cheek ( Matt 5:38-42 ). They all worshipped your statue and the images of the gods. However, it is up to the individual to "prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good" (I Thessalonians 5:21). Reaction to Persecution. But Pliny had endeavored to stem the tide of the advancing Christian faith, and he tells the emperor how he had succeeded in bringing back to the heathen worship many professing Christians. It was in the Decian persecution that the great theologian Origen, who was then in his 68th year, suffered the cruel torture of the rack; and from the effects of what he then suffered he died at Tyre in 254. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. What, in a word, could be more divine than to curb and restrain and overrule evil itself and change it into good ? Not only have I always continued sacrificing to the gods, but now also in your presence, in accordance with the decrees, I have sacrificed and poured libations and tasted the offerings, and I request you to countersign my statement. persecution definition bible. Job isn’t a story that we think of as “persecution” story, but when you consider the book’s context it absolutely is. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.' 10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. This legality of the Christian faith was illustrated and enforced by the fact that when Paul's case was heard and decided by the supreme court of appeal at Rome, he was set free and resumed his missionary labors, as these are recorded or referred to in the Pastoral Epistles "One thing, however, is clear from a comparison of Philippians with 2 Timothy. Persecution definition from the Bible Dictionary. It would take different forms, ranging through every possible variety, from false accusation to the infliction of death, beyond which, He pointed out (Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:4), persecutors are unable to go. Patriotism demanded that every citizen should united in the worship of the emperor, but Christians refused to take pat in the worship on any terms, and so they continually lived under the shadow of a great hatred, which always slumbered, and might break out at any time. Hence, to relieve himself of this infamy he falsely accused the Christians of being guilty of the crime of setting the city on fire. In the parable of the Sower, He mentions this as one of the causes of defection among those who are Christians in outward appearance only. The Christians in the Roman legions formed no inconsiderable proportion of "the noble army of martyrs," it being easier for the persecuting authorities to detect a Christian in the ranks of the army than elsewhere. Many of the martyrs bore witness, even when in the midst of the most cruel torments, that they felt no pain, but that Christ was with them. It would be a sure means of gaining a blessing, whenever it came to His loyal followers when they were in the way of well-doing; and He thus speaks of it in two of the Beatitudes, "Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"; "Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you .... for my sake" (Matthew 5:10,11; see also Matthew 5:12). Persecution glossary term meaning as seen in the King James Bible. From the time of Abraham, God's people were a misunderstood minority and should expect to face hostility because they live under King Jesus' rule. Salem Media Group. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. The abiding. Christians are persecuted because their belief inJesus Christ as Savior does not conform to the godlessness of asinful world. "For 200 years, to become a Christian meant the great renunciation, the joining a despised and persecuted sect, the swimming against the tide of popular prejudice, the coming under the ban of the Empire, the possibility at any moment of imprisonment and death under its most fearful forms. 45 Bible Verses on Persecution, Tribulation, Trials, Troubles and Afflictions “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” —James 1:2. Mercy: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. The Meaning of Persecution. Abel. 2" ( equals June 25, 250 AD). Learn more. Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. In its earliest history the Christian church passed through many bloody persecutions. It's Not Hard to Learn About tribulation 36-37), was beaten ( Jer 37:15 ), and finally dropped into a muddy cistern ( Jer 38:6-13 ). A firm stand with Paul and other saints: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (3) Persecution became, to a large extent, an important means of preserving the true doctrines of the person and of the work of Christ. The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 10. What Is Persecution in the Bible? When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Shrines in honor of Mithra were erected through the entire breadth of the Roman empire, from Dacia and Pannonia to the Cheviot Hills in Britain. The meaning is that there is not yet to be an end of suffering for Christ's sake; persecution may continue to be as severe as ever. Salem Media Group. God allowed this tyranny to exist for 300 years, and the blood of His children was shed like water. Christianus sum was almost the one plea for which there was Persecution no forgiveness, in itself all that was necessary as a `title' on the back of the condemned. Persecution made Christ very near and very precious to those who suffered. All suffering is not, for instance, a product of our own foolishness, self-induced misery, or sin. The Scriptures are also full of examples of evil persons persecuting the good and righteous persons for various reasons, such as jealousy for a godly sacrifice ( Gen 4:2-10 ); revenge for a godly humanitarian deed done ( 1 Sam 21:1-19 ); vengeance for action against heathen worship ( 1 Kings 19:2, ; Jezebel against Elijah ); vengeance for warnings against idolatry and ungodly living, as exemplified by opposition to the messages of Jeremiah and John the Baptist ( Jer 37 ; Matt 4:1-12 ); vengeance against preaching the gospel and condemnation of rebellion against God ( Acts 7:54-60 ); opposition to the Jerusalem church for its stand for Jesus ( Acts 8:1 ; 11:19 ), to the Thessalonian Christians for their stand for Christ ( 1 Thess 3:3-4 ) to Paul for his faithfulness to the Lord Jesus ( 2 Cor 11:16-33 ; cf. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.' The sufferings and tribulation predicted in Revelation 2:10, and in many other passages, had indeed come to pass. The number 10 is seen as a complete and perfect number, and it is used 242 times throughout the Bible. Although the term 'rapture' is not found in the Bible, the theory is based on Scripture. "The method I have observed toward those who have been brought before me as Christians is this. It is made up of 4, the number of the physical creation, and 6, the number of man. If they admitted it, I repeated the question a second and a third time, and threatened them with punishment. After our Lord's resurrection the first attacks against His disciples came from the high priest and his party. I, Aurelius Diogenes, have made this request. The Bible is rich with accounts of people who suffered for their faith in different ways. Definition: Religious Persecution. If they had been of the world, the world would love its own, but because Christ had chosen them out of the world, therefore the world hated them. And persecution, instead of abolishing the name of Christ, as the persecutors vainly imagined they had succeeded in doing, became the means of the growth of the Christian church and of its purity. (John 8:48); "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household!" The Lord, too, in his righteous indignation, raised up adversaries against his backsliding people, against Abimelech for his murder of his seventy brothers, sons of Gideon ( Judges 9:22-25 ); against Solomon for his sin ( 1 Kings 11:14 1 Kings 11:23 ); against rebellious Israel ( 2 Kings 17:7-20 ); and against Judah ( Jer 20:4 ) and Babylon for their wicked, ungodly Acts ( Jer 25:12-14 ). For the time is come for judgment to begin at the house of God. It was in order to convince the world that though the kings of the earth gather themselves against the Lord and against His Christ, yet all that they can do is vain. 1:13: “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” Note two things: They are the objects of vile slanders (1 Peter 2:12,15; 3:14-16; 4:4,15), as well as of considerable zeal on the part of officials (1 Peter 5:8 (Greek 3:15)). "This important epistle proves a general persecution (1 Peter 1:6; 4:12,16) in Asia Minor North of the Taurus (1 Peter 1:1; note especially Bithynia) and elsewhere (1 Peter 5:9). Let’s look at the Greek meaning of “righteousness”: equity, specifically justification. BELOW. Workman, Persecution in the Early Church. The reasons for the persecution of the Christian church by the Roman empire were. To every loyal follower of Christ compromise with other faiths was an impossibility. Concentration on Jesus: "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith" ( Heb 12:2 ). The public feeling of resentment broke out against the emperor to such a degree that, to avoid the stigma, just or unjust, of being himself guilty of setting the city on fire, he made the Christians the scapegoats which he thought he needed. The meaning of Persecution in the Bible (From Easton's Bible Dictionary) The first great persecution for religious opinion of which we have any record was that which broke out against the worshippers of God among the Jews in the days of Ahab, when that king, at the instigation of his wife Jezebel, "a woman in whom, with the reckless and licentious habits of an Oriental … 1 Thess. "The second race" was the Jews; while "the third race" was the Christian. impression made by these times of persecution upon the mind of the apostle John is also seen in the defiance of the world found throughout his First Epistle (1John 2:17; 5:19), and in the rejoicing over the fall of Babylon, the great persecuting power, as that fall is described in such passages as Revelation 14:8; 15:2,3; 17:14; 18:24. Religious Persecution Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. At the time Paul was away from Rome, but steps were instantly taken for his arrest. The Word 'Rapture' Is Not in the Bible The English word 'rapture' derives from the Latin verb 'Rapere,' meaning 'to carry off,' or 'to catch up.' The same stroke which crushed the straw--such is a saying of Augustine's--separated the pure grain which the Lord had chosen. “When” can also be translated “whenever.” This means that believers will not always be persecuted. The Bible teaches that those who follow Christ and God's Word and who practice his commandments will be persecuted. But the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and disgraceful flow from all quarters as to a common sink, and where they are encouraged. 37-38), tortured (v. 35), sawed in two (v. 37), jailed ( Acts 5:18 ; 16:23 ), flogged ( Heb 11:36 ), chained (v. 36), "shut the mouths of lions" (v. 33), "put to death by the sword" (v. 37), "quenched the fury of the flames" (v. 34), and stone (v. 37; Acts 7:59 ). 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