"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Pergamum - Satan's Throne - Government as God

"When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” Mark Twain


We have a generation of blissful young Americans ignorant of history and theology. This is one of the reasons they wrongly believe that any opposition of older folks' to government mandates and the removal of personal liberties is purely political. 

Nothing is further from the truth. My principled opposition to the intrusion of government into individual and personal medical choices is based on my knowledge of ancient history and biblical theology. 

Pergamum Where Satan Lives

Jesus, a few years after His ascension, sent a message to His followers who lived in Pergamum (Pergamon, Turkey), a message recorded in the book of Revelation.
"I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in Me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witnesswho was put to death in your citywhere Satan lives." (Revelation 2:13). 

Jesus makes four statements in his message about the city of Pergamum and the Christians who lived there:

1. Satan had his throne in Pergamum during the first century A.D.
2. The Christians in Pergamum were faithful to Jesus Christ.
3. Antipas, a Christian living Pergamum, stayed faithful even when dying a martyr's death.
4. Satan lived in Pergamum during these difficult days.

Jesus' statements are not from a conspiracist; they come from the Creator of the world.  The only way you'll understand the impact of Jesus' words is to know the history of Pergamum, and thus, to understand the meaning of Satan's throne, who Antipas was, and why Antipas lost his life as a Christian martyr in Pergamum. 

The Throne of Satan

The throne of Satan in Pergamum was a literal throne that figuratively represented the seat of Satan's influence in the ancient world.

The throne of Satan, excavated in Pergamum in 1878 AD, now sits in the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin, Germany. 

This throne was the Temple of Zeus Soter (Savior) in Pergamum, and it was the center of Emperor worship during the days of Jesus.

What is Emperor worship?  

It is the belief that the state or the head of state (e.g., Emperor, King, President, Dictator, etc.) should be obeyed, revered, and even worshiped. 

At the Temple of Zeus Soter in Pergamum, the people express their allegiance to the Emperor, believing that the state was their source of prosperity, security, and safety. 

Ancient Pergamum and the Throne of Satan
Near the "throne of Satan" in Pergamum was the asclepeion or "the healing center" for the people. The peoples' worship of Asclepius, the god of medicine, was as crucial as their state worship.  Citizens flocked to Pergamum to express their obedience to the state and receive an opportunity to be healed of their diseases at the Asclepieia.

Here's how it worked.

After the sick and diseased visited the Temple of Zeus Soter and expressed their trust in the Emperor, they moved to the healing center to receive their treatment. 

Ritual purifications would be followed by offerings to Asclepius according to one's income.

The supplicant would then spend the night in the asclepeion. A particular type of non-venomous snake was often used in the Asclepius' healing rituals. These snakes— the Aesculapian snakes — slithered around freely on the floor in the dormitories while the sick and injured slept. 

Today, the Aesculapian snake is often represented in medical logos, including the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization

The people of Pergamum were not stupid. They had a massive library in the city, second only to the great library in Alexandria, Egypt. They were wealthy, educated, and at peace. The "throne of Satan" was where the people expressed their belief that their security, prosperity, and safety were due to the Emperor and the state. 

Photo of Satan's throne before removal to Berlin
There was a physician in Pergamum, however, who believed differently. His name was Antipas. He spread his belief that Jesus alone is the Savior of the world and that everyone's trust should be placed in Him for their security, prosperity, and safety. Antipas practiced medicine, but he believed one's trust should be in God, not the state or even the medical treatment at the Aesculapian. 

The cult of Aesculapians, who formed the members of the medical establishment, accused Antipas of disloyalty to Caesar. Upon being asked to deny Jesus and express his belief in the state's power to heal and protect the people, Antipas refused. The medical establishment condemned Antipas to death, believing him to be a danger to the state. 

State officials placed Antipas alive inside a hollow brass container shaped in the form of the bull. They filled the brass bull with water and set it over a blazing fire, boiling Antipas to death. 

The beliefs held by the Pergamum people have as much popularity today as they did in Jesus' day. Citizens depend on the state. The state demands obedience from citizens, especially in communist states like China or the Soviet Union. The founders of these collective states, Mao and Lenin respectively, were each elevated to godlike status by citizens, similar to the veneration of ancient emperors by the citizens of the Roman Empire

More and more Americans are expressing their trust in, and dependence upon, the government. In pseudo-intellectualism, American citizens ridicule the ancients for their belief in the "gods," but these same American citizens adhere to similar beliefs. Acquiescence to forced injections by government mandate is similar to the ancient worship of the Emperor and Asclepius. In our day, anyone who expressed a belief that the state or state health departments do not know best is persecuted. In some cases in the Chinese and Russian collectivist states, dissidents are treated like Antipas in Pergamum. 

In Marx and Satan, a short book by Richard Wurmbrand, the author shows how Lenin's Tomb expresses a denial of the existence of God and encourages faith in the state, just like at Pergamum. Wurmbrand writes: 

"Architect Stjusev, who built Lenin’s tomb, took the Pergamos altar as the project prototype. This was in 1924. It’s a known fact that Stjusev received all the needed information from Frederic Paulsen – an acknowledged authority in archaeology." (Richard Wurmbrand, Marx and Satan).

 

Lenin's Tomb in Red Square, Moscow, an intentional replica of the Throne of Satan, Pergamum. 

Billy Graham once called communism "The religion of the devil."

He's correct. The throne of Satan - or the seat of Satan - is figuratively any city, state, or country where citizens believe the government is the source of their security, safety, and prosperity.

My principled opposition to forced therapeutic shots for Covid-19 is based on the history of Pergamum, the faithful witness of Antipas, as he sought to remind people that only Jesus Christ is Savior and Protector of this world.

I'm not against medicine or vaccines, and any rational person who says I am is lying to advance their agenda.

I am against any medication that the government mandates all its citizens to take. I'm against it because I will never let the government become God in my life, and I will warn people of the dangers of allowing the government to believe they are God.

If you don't think a powerful state will one day put people to death for failure to comply with their mandates, you need to study history. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Do as you please in making personal medical decisions. Take any shot or medicine that you desire for the benefit of yourself and your family. However, trust the faithful Savior and not the totalitarian state. Place your faith in the protection of God and not the provision of the government.

Please respect that some of us have a principled opposition to government-mandated forced injections because we know a great deal about Antipas and Pergamum.

Jesus has risen from the dead. He is Savior and Lord, the King of kings.

Lenin remains in his tomb. Satan's throne loses in the end. Never trust the state. Never give an inch. Do as you please, but respect those who resist the throne of Satan for the good of the world.





Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Work, Government Checks, Socialism, and Idleness

"For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat." We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat." (II Thess. 3:10-12)


The Bible is amazingly practical. Though the apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel in the Old Testament can seem at first obscure and complex, by the time you come to the ageless principles of Paul in the New Testament, the Bible leaps off the page with wisdom for individuals and societies

Let's take a look at the concept of work or labor from the Bible's perspective and compare it to what "We the People" have allowed our government to do in violation of biblical principles. 

Restaurants like this pizzeria in Chicago are closing due to a shortage of help. National supply lines are choked for a lack of truck drivers (80,000 are needed). Unemployment is low because people are choosing not to work because they don't have to work. The United States government has created a massive problem by ignoring one of the basic principles in God's Word. 

If a man will not work, he should not eat. 

The United States government is giving people money so that they can eat without working. 

If you feel the government should be giving people monthly income, then maybe your ears have grown as soft to the LORD'S Word as the hands of men have grown soft to laborious work.  When a nation removes God from its governance, chaos comes to its culture. 

Three examples: 

1. Last week I met with a sweet, Christian grandmother who needed help with the Department of Human Services. She was caring for her grandchildren. "Where are their parents?" I asked. She explained that the mom and dad are living in a tent, smoking dope and meth, drinking alcohol, and playing games on their phones. "What?" I said. "Are they drug dealers?" No, explained the grandmother. They don't need to work because the government gives them "child tax credits every month" as well as "unemployment checks." They spend the money on their addictions. I was stunned. I live in the heart of conservative Oklahoma. If that's happening in our city, I guarantee you it is happening all over the United States. 

2. The non-profit where I work is looking to hire cooks for our kitchen. We have had over 20 people apply, but nobody hired. I asked our management staff, "Why?" They explained to me that at the end of the interview, the interviewee that they  "sign this government form to prove that I came in for this interview." My staff could tell I was puzzled by this explanation, so they continued. "They don't really want a job. They just want to continue receiving unemployment. The government says as long as they go in for an interview and turn in the documentation that proves it, they'll continue to receive unemployment. It doesn't make any difference if they get a job or not, the government keeps paying them because 'They are trying to get a job.'" Unbelievable. 

3. Forbes magazine says that the United States is on the fast road to 50 TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT. That is an incomprehensible number. It is not repayable. The United States is bankrupt and will default on its obligations. It's not a matter of IF, but only WHEN. We are like the family who doesn't care how much they spend, they intend to charge the credit cards to the max and then commit suicide. It's shocking how little "We the People" care about the financial suicide of our country. All because we ignore the biblical principles - "If a man will not work, he will not eat."

Don't get me wrong. We should all desire to help the poor. We should work to provide shelter for the needy. We ought to do all we can to make our city a better place. But everyone who benefits from the food and shelter provided should work for it. Pick up trash. Paint a building. Move some dirt. Deliver some supplies. Do something, don't just sit there and smoke weed. 

Maybe you'll remember the biblical principle "If a man will not work, he should not eat" with a visual of our nation's debt.

One hundred dollars


One Million dollars


One Billion dollars




Wednesday, October 13, 2021

#LastTrainToWuhan and My Resistance to Tyranny

Perspective is personal. When someone loses a loved one to the nasty disease called Covid-19, that someone is offended when I speak out against mandatory vaccines. "Why?" they ask. "Why do you show such a lack of compassion for those families who've lost family members? Just take the shot! That's the Christian thing to do."

Perspective. 

This post is my perspective. It serves as an explanation to my friends, family members, and acquaintances for why I write against forced mandatory vaccinations. 

Our world is descending into tyranny. Governments, led by China, including Australia, Canada, and the United States, are beginning to oppress their citizens. 

Tyranny is defined as "the cruel or oppressive rule of governments." Tyranny is evil. People of courage and conviction must stand up and speak up. 

I've acquired immunity against Covid-19 naturally. I was infected with the highly transmissible Sars Cov-2 virus in 2020.  My infection resulted in the illness called Covid-19. I recovered nicely, and my disease recovered immunity is sufficient.  Even when American government authorities mandate or coerce, I will not take a therapeutic shot for Covid-19. 

I object to taking any Covid-19 shot for both scientific and political reasons. 

First, I refuse the shot because of a potential dysfunctional response within my now robust immune system. The potential dysfunctional response is called a cytokine storm. The scientific data on how often a cytokine storm is created after receiving a Covid-19 shot is limited, but when the body's immune system enters a cytokine storm state - induced either naturally by contracting Covid-19 or artificially by vaccination - the body is at risk of severe lung inflammation, stroke, heart attack, and blood-brain membrane breaches. The scientific risk/benefit ratio of taking a Covid-19 therapeutic shot for someone who has recovered from Covid-19 is high risk and low benefit.  I know of what I speak

Second, I refuse to take the Covid-19 shot to fight against America's descent into tyranny. I refuse for my grandchildren's sake. It is best for future generations of Americans if they receive a country from their forefathers where people are free to make their own informed medical decisions and not a country where the government makes those decisions for its citizens.

For those who object and say, "But you're killing Americans!" I respond, "On the contrary, I am saving America."

Perspective.
 
In Isaiah 54, God's people had spent years of enslavement under the tyrannical and oppressive rule of the Babylonians. This chapter, a poem of hope in the Hebrew language, contains a promise from the LORD regarding the future of His people after He delivers them from their captivity (see Isaiah 54:13-14).
"Then all your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be your children’s prosperity. In righteousness you’ll be established;

You will be far from tyranny, for you won’t be afraid You will be far from terror, for it won’t come near you.

Watch! If anyone does attack you, it will not be from Me; whoever may attack you will fall because of you."

For two generations, America's children have not been taught of the LORD. Our culture celebrates sexual immorality instead of following God's commands of morality. We talk more about those things that entertain us than we do God's Word that should constrain us. As a result, the government has become our God, our comfort has turned from our Savior to our sins, and we take for granted individual liberty and are blind to government tyranny. 

What Really Happened in Wuhan

Australian award-winning investigative journalist Sharri Markson recently published her book What Really Happened in Wuhan. There is no question mark in the title. She proves how Sars-Cov-2 came from a Chinese Communist Party biological warfare laboratory in Wuhan, China, one of only two such laboratories in the People's Republic of China. The United States has one such laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland

Research conducted in the Wuhan Institute of Virology by Chinese scientists - research funded by American government grant dollars - sought information about animal coronaviruses and "gain of function." In other words, Chinese scientists sought to turn animal coronaviruses into highly transmissible human coronaviruses. Sars-Cov-2 is evidence that they succeeded. Whether the release of Sars-Cov-2 from Wuhan, China was intentional or accidental has yet to be determined by investigators. 

When Covid-19 broke out in China in November of 2019, the Chinese government began covering up the accumulating death toll in Wuhan. The tyrannical and oppressive Communist government of China (CCP) began lying to the world. "This new virus cannot be spread by human contact. We have this under control." 

The Chinese Communist government was lying. All the while crying, "Peace, peace!" the CCP sent planes worldwide, full of infected Chinese citizens from Wuhan. Furthermore, the CCP kidnapped and removed from society any Chinese person who dared to stand up and speak out about what was happening in Wuhan. 

Over 1,000 Chinese attorneys, journalists, scientists, and citizens who spoke out against their government's lies and Chairman Xi Jinping's attempt to cover up the biological catastrophe in Wuhan have "disappeared."

The Last Train to Wuhan

In Chapter 6, entitled The Last Train to Wuhan, investigative journalist Sharri Markson describes what happened to a young attorney named Chen Quishi. On January 24, 2020, Chen caught the last (empty) train TO Wuhan (not away from Wuhan) in an attempt to reveal to the world what was really happening in that city.

The 34-year old arrived in Wuhan on the night of January 24, 2020, after the five-hour train ride. He immediately began going to the hospitals and documenting (filming) with his iPhone the Chinese dead and dying in emergency rooms and surrounding streets. At that time, the Chinese government said they had "everything under control," and nobody was dying. In reality, thousands were dying and the hospital system was on the verge of collapse. 

Attorney Chen Quish went back to his hotel to upload the video to YouTube. Over 300,000 people had FLED Wuhan by January 24.2020.  Chen Quish, by himself, went INTO Wuhan on January 24, 2020. He stared into the camera as he explained why he was doing what he was doing. 

"Why do I come here? I took the last high-speed train to Wuhan so that you could know the truth. If, unfortunately, I become infected, I will accept my fate. I'd rather die in the city than flee... it is the cover-up of the truth and the block of information that leads to outbreaks. We can and should allow the news and information to be spoken out and spread. If we spread the news and information faster than the virus, then we can win this war." 

Chen Quish's original video has been viewed more than 2 million times. 

Chen continued his work in Wuhan, giving as much information to the world as possible. He believed that China's existential quality of life is freedom from government tyrannical attempts to control the narrative. 

Unfortunately, after his first 41-minute video on January 25, 2020, the Chinese police began looking for Chen Quish. 

In his last video, an emotional Chen Quishi sits on a bed in a small hotel room, with ruffled hair and sunlight streaming in. He stares at the camera and says: 

"I'm scared. I have the virus in front of me. Behind me is China's law enforcement. If I am still alive in this city, I will continue reporting." 

Fighting back the tears, Quishi clenches his fist and points one finger at the camera. 

"I'm not scared of death. You think I'm scared of you, Chinese Communist Party?" 

One week later, Quish disappears. For over 600 days, he has been missing. The Chinese government captured him, imprisoned him, and tortured him. In late September 2021, in response to Chapter 6 of What Really Happened in Wuhan, the CCP released a report that Chen Quish was alive - but in government CCP custody.  Australia's investigative journalist Shari Markson may have saved Quish's life with her book because it forced the CCP to "save face."  Other Chinese citizens may not be as fortunate as Chen Quish.

Chinese Journalist Li Zehua 

A Chinese reporter named Li Zehua watched the YouTube videos of Chen Quish. He traveled to Wuhan, risking his own life, to find Chen Quish. 

In one of the videos that Li Zehua posted on YouTube,  he says, "I'm more scared filming in Wuhan than I was reporting from North Korea."

Zuhua sets out with his GoPro and Sony camera, traveling the deserted streets of Wuhan, China, looking for Chen Quish. He goes to the Wuhan Institute of Virology to ask some questions. That trip sealed his fate.

On February 26, 2020, while filming LIVE on YouTube, he posted an "SOS" video, capturing Chinese police chasing him. He manages to escape and shuts off the LIVE stream, only to begin filming in a dark hotel room. With lights off and cameras rolling, reporter Li Zehua describes the danger from Chinese government forces. 

Suddenly, you can hear the bang, bang of police knocking on the hotel door. Zuhua is silent. The banging continues. Eventually, the police gain entrance to the room. Zuhua is taken. The LIVE stream stops. 

Reporter Li Zehua has been missing for nearly two years. 

Chinese Businessman Fang Bin


Like attorney Chen Quishi and reporter Li Zehua, Chinese textile businessman Fang Bin made his way to Wuhan to tell the world what was happening. 

Wearing just a mask, Fang Bin bravely enters hospitals and overcrowded wards, filming coronavirus victims in January 2020, the very time that the Chinese and American health officials were all saying, "There is nothing to worry about."

On February 2, 2020, Chinese police confiscated Bin's laptop and took him in for interrogation. After being released, Mr. Bin records his last LIVE video for YouTube. His video lasts just 12 seconds and it is difficult to watch. 

Mr. Bin shows a roll of paper with eight Chinese characters that translate into English: 

"Let all citizens resist! Power to the people." 

Chinese businessman Fang Bin disappeared and has not been heard from since. 

These are three of over 1,000 stories that could be told of those resisting the tyranny of the Chinese government. Resistance to tyranny comes at a heavy cost, but the collective payment from brave, courageous men and women purchases the priceless product of individual liberty for their children.

The American Government and Tyranny


I am a follower of Jesus the Anointed One. I belong to the Kingdom that will never end and cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:18-29). I am a citizen of the United States of America, but my allegiance is to Christ first. My country comes second, after the LORD. 

I will resist the incredible overreach of the government of the United States of America with all my power. I will never accept tyranny over liberty. I owe it to Christ who sets people free and to my fellow citizens who must remain free. 

My resistance to tyranny and my willingness to speak up and speak out is inspired by people like Chen Quish, Li Zehua, and Fang Bin, not to mention the hundreds of others who have "disappeared" for opposing the Chinese Communist Party's official narrative.

The United States government is becoming more and more like the CCP. I am neither afraid of death nor the government. 

You may not understand how I think, but LORD willing, you will one day thank me for writing what I write, doing what I do, and feeling what I feel.

If you begin someday to understand, it will mean that tyranny is being defeated. 

Soli Deo Gloria.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Your Core Identity Illustrated by a Matryoshka Doll

My mother has been in a conversation with a friend about "dying to self" and what it practically means in the Christian's life. She sent me an email this morning that sparked some thoughts on this excellent subject.  

The concept of dying to self is based on the teachings of Jesus and the early Apostles. Here are three examples of what they said:
"For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?" (Luke 9:24-25)

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24).

Paul wrote, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

In order to understand the very important concept of "dying to self," the definition of "self" is critical. 

Think of yourself and your identity in terms of a Russian matryoshka doll. This doll is also known as a "nesting doll." It is a set of hand-painted wooden dolls that fit inside one another, each one inside the other until you come to the inner-most matryoshka doll that is completely whole and cannot be broken. 

This inner-most doll could be compared to your true personhood. It is "who I am by the grace of God."

 This is the "you" that is eternal. This is is your identity as God sees you in Christ (accepted by Him, loved by Him, cherished by Him, forgiven by Him, rewarded by Him, etc.). This is your true self. This is who the Father has made you by His work through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of your Savior and Lord, Jesus the Anointed One.

You don't die to this self. Your goal is to discover this inner-most person. This is your identity through God's grace. To discover this person, you must continually "grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). 

All of us must die to the outer shells of self for this discovery to occur. The outer matryoshka dolls hide what is whole and complete about us. The outer shells must either be broken, or removed, or separated for us to discover our true identity. We could call those outer matryoshka dolls ego shells. To discover my true self - that is, who I am by the grace of God - these outer "ego shell dolls" must die. For example:

1. My Facebook outer shell of self. This is the person I want to project. This is the part of me that is more concerned with how others perceive me than what God says about me. Until I die to controlling what others say about me, think about me, or perceive me, I'll never discover my true self that the Father has created for me. In other words, resting in the nesting of the inner-person God has made can't happen if I'm always concerned with the paint of my outer shell.

2. My Friends inner shell of self. This is person I want to protect. Friends are those who know you better than acquaintances. These are the ones who get a peek into the struggles of my life, and they remain my friend. Treasured friendships are therefore protected, because in a way, friendships protect me. But in time, I must be willing to die even to my friendships to discover my true identity. For example, Jesus warned us that when He begins to transform us, sometimes even our friends will turn against us. Friends want someone like them, and if our friends aren't in tune with Christ the way that we are becoming, then they won't be in tune with us. One of the most remarkable ways to measure our comprehension of who we are by the grace of God is to see how much our closest friends love, respect, and honor Christ. If they don't, we must set them aside as an impediment to discovering our true self.

3.  My Family deeper shell of self. This is the person I want to respect. We so badly want our family of origin to be whole and complete. All of us want family happiness and wholeness. Our family of origin is important because it gives us our first memories, our first relationships, our first formations of person. Unfortunately, family trust in our families of origin is often broken.  The wounds on this shell of self are deep and difficult to repair. When events occur that lead to "family secrets," things that nobody else knows and must never know, we find this shell of ego fragile and broken. But to uncover and discover my true personhood - who I am by the grace of God - I must die to the need for my family of origin to be perfect and whole. God is always teaching His children that personal and eternal identity never is derived from divorce, abuse, addictions, or familial relational failures. That shell is real, but it is temporary. Who I am is deeper. 

4. My Father's handiwork of grace.  This is the person I must learn to accept. This is my true self. Or as the song says, "This is me." This who I am in Christ by the grace of God. I am forgiven, loved, accepted, guided, protected, blessed, and cherished by HIM who is my very life. This is my true self, my true identity.  No matter what others say of me, do to me, or think of me. It is who I am as a person, and it is all the doing of God in His love for me through His Son, my Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  
Only when the outer dolls are opened, or in a sense, broken, can this inner doll be discovered. In this analogy, until I die to the shells of ego, the person that is whole, perfect, and complete will never be discovered.  My true self is not on God’s agenda to be broken, put to death, or extinguished. Who I am by God's grace is to be uncovered and revealed.

So next time you find yourself going through a deep and hurtful family problem, or the next time you find yourself losing a friendship, or the next time you discover some pretty bad things that were said about you on Facebook, social media, or through gossip at a church dinner party, remember this:

God is in the business of removing our outer matryoshkas to reveal the inner beauty of who He has made us by His grace, for His glory, and our eternal good. 



Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Why a Prophet Is Not Welcome in His Home Town

A prophet is a person who "speaks on behalf of the LORD." 

The LORD's message throughout time has been simple and clear. He will exalt the humble who depend on Him and strike down the proud who trust in themselves (Proverbs 16:18). 

God sends prophets to a nation, a civilization, a city, and a family where there are people refusing to depend on Him. However, people resist the prophets, and by their resistance, they exhibit their rebellion toward God (Jeremiah 25:4). 

The Bible tells us the prophets were rejected and ridiculed because the people determined the prophets unremarkable and deemed their proclamations uncomfortable. 

If someone is from your hometown, you're familiar with them. That familiarity often brings contempt. When a prophet sent from God is from your hometown, it is difficult to listen to the prophet because you're thinking, "Wait a minute! Isn't this Joseph the carpenter's boy?"

God uses the prophets to jolt His people awake.
I will again jolt this people awake...
And the wisdom of their wise ones will fail,
and the intelligent know-it-alls will have no explanations.

                    Isaiah 29:14 - The Passion Translation

God throws a monkey wrench into the plans of men that have no blueprint for trusting in God. But rather than hear the message and repent, people turn on the prophets and persecute them. 

How were the prophets in the Bible persecuted by the people? They were persecuted through ridicule (2 Kings 2:23, Luke 22:64, Jer 20:7); by being told to be quiet (Amos 2:12, 7:13); by unpleasant looks (Jer 1:8,17, 5:3); through accusations and having their message reported back to the authorities (Jer 18:19, 37:13, Amos 7:10, Jer 20:10); by being debarred from attending God's house (Jer 36:5); and by having their prophetic words, both spoken and written, rejected (Isa 30:10, Micah 2:6, Amos 7:12,16, Jer 36:23).

Physical violence to their persons took various forms: they were placed in the stocks (Jer 20:2); they were kept in chains (Jer 40:1); they were slapped in the face (1 Kings 22:24); they were imprisoned in cells, dungeons, and cisterns (Jer 37:15-16 & 38:6) in some cases just on bread and water (1 Kings 22:27); they were threatened with death (1 Kings 19:1) while others were actually put to death (2 Chron 24:21, Jer 26:20-23).

Others were killed whose names are not recorded. Jesus gives us reason to believe there were many who made the ultimate sacrifice (Luke 11:50-51).

The modern equivalent of prophets is those Christians who speak up and speak out on behalf of God's Word and the veracity of its claims. 

People may disrespect you, call you names, assign conspiracy theories to you, and do a host of other things that are unhealthy and unprofitable for the Kingdom. 

Take heart. If the prophets of old were deemed worthy of persecution for their belief in the Word of God, you should deem it no strange thing to be persecuted for believing God's Word in 2021.

The crowds greeted Jesus by saying, "A great prophet has appeared among us" (Luke 7:16). The two disciples walking to Emmaus with Jesus would later say of Him, "He was a prophet powerful in word and deed before God and all the people" (Luke 24:19). 

Like all the prophets, Jesus was persecuted. He was ridiculed, opposed in his teaching, had his miracles attributed to the devil, was handed over to the authorities, and suffered at the hands of violent men. Finally, he was crucified and demonstrated (as men thought) to be a false messiah.

In our day of easy-believism, comfortable Christianity, and theology that turns God into a Divine Santa Clause instead of King of kings, our Boss, and the LORD of our common salvation,  we often fall into the temptation of fashioning God into an image of our own making. 

It's time for prophets to stand and proclaim the truth. The Kingdom of God is upon us, and today is "the acceptable day of deliverance." 

For those of you with  Divine convictions and the boldness necessary to convey those convictions to the world, get busy! You may not be welcome in your hometown, but you'll have hundreds if not thousands that you will welcome into your eternal home.