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Thursday, March 2 2017
Persecution: The Manure That Makes The Gospel Grow Strong And More Fruitful
"At that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad ... Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the Word"
Many have tried, and always failed (because Satan is a loser and the father of losers), to silence the true Gospel by opposition and persecution. The Messiah commanded His people about how to thrive from the dead-end fools that oppose the Truth (see also The Shake The Dust From Your Feet Lessons).
"10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:14-16 KJV)
The Messiah wasn't telling His people to just run from trouble. They were to move on from wherever they had completed their task ("hear your words"). Thereafter ("when ye depart out of that house or city"), any opposition was merely a productive incentive to take the Truth to even more places. Persecution becomes like the manure that causes plants to grow strong and very fruitful - without becoming manure themselves.
The first great persecution of Christians happened at the time of the martydom of Stephen (see The Stoning Of Stephen - Why Are Witnesses Called Martyrs?). The result was not a death of the Gospel, but causing it to be scattered, like seed, in all directions throughout the world. They obeyed the LORD's command to become far greater any time you become less.
"8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death.
Konya (the Turkish pronunciation), recorded in the Bible as Iconium (from the Greek and Latin pronunciations) was the ancient capital of Lycaonia, in "Asia Minor" (i.e. Turkey; see the Fact Finder question below). It is located about 195 kilometers / 120 miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea to the south. In the time of the apostle Paul, who was also born in Turkey (see also The Return Of The Home Town Apostles), it was one of the major cities of the Roman province of Galatia.
Iconium's location on a major road that led to Ephesus (see also Why Were The Seven Churches Listed In That Order?) and Rome to the west, made it a natural part of the Gospel's westward journey. It was visited by Paul and his various associates during all three of his major missionary journeys (see Paul, The Apostle To The World).
Paul first arrived in Iconium as the result of being driven forward by persecution i.e. they "raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium" (see also The Meeting Of Paul And Barnabas and The Ministry Of Paul And Barnabas).
"13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
"14:1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
Fact Finder: How did Turkey become a center of Bible history and prophecy?
This Day In History, March 2
537: The Ostrogoth army (the Ostrogoths were a Germanic tribe) under King Vitiges began the Siege of Rome. Germany later became the Roman Empire (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1127: Charles (known as "Charles the Good"), Count of Flanders, was assassinated.
1461: The Lancastrians defeated the Yorkists at the second Battle of St. Albans'.
1509: The Portuguese, led by Francisco de Almeida, destroyed the Muslim fleet in the Battle of Diu, establishing Portuguese control of Indian waters.
1536: Spanish explorer Pedro de Mendoza founded Buenos Aires.
1556: The world's worst earthquake, in China's Shaanxi, Shansi and Henan provinces, killed an estimated 830,000 people.
1619: Queen Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I of England (after whom the King James Version of the Bible is named) died at age 45.
1626: Charles I was crowned king of England.
1653: The Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam became a city. It is known today as New York City.
1797: The Bank of England issued the first one and two Pound banknotes.
1801: The War of The Oranges between Spain and Portugal began. French troops fought alongside the Spanish after Portugal refused Napoleon's demand to cede much of the country to him.
1807: The U.S. Congress passed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves, disallowing the importation of new slaves into the country (the Act did little to decrease slavery because there was already sufficient "breeding stock" in the U.S. to supply slave holders).
1808: French invasion forces under Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Rome and arrested Pope Pius VII, holding the head of the Roman Catholic Church in prison for over 6 years. While Pius had traveled to Paris to preside over Napoleon's coronation as Emperor in 1804, he later excommunicated Napoleon for threatening and looting the Papacy (including removing some of the jewels in the Pope's crown and placing them in the Napoleon Tiara) - thereby causing Napoleon to fulfill the threats (that he said he didn't make) and declare the Pope illegitimate and having no authority. Just like some modern-day politicians who are masters of character assassination of others to give themselves the illusion of being good, Napoleon was also very skilled at invalidating and demeaning absolutely anyone who opposed him (see also The Character Assassins).
1848: The war between the U.S. and Mexico ended after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The conflict resulted in a massive loss of territory for Mexico (see also The Mexican Border Wall).
1943: The Battle of the Bismark Sea began. 12 Japanese ships carrying reinforcements to New Guinea were sunk by Allied airplanes, killing nearly 4,000 troops and sailors.
1945: During the Second World War (1939-1945), 1,200 British Royal Air Force planes bombed Wiesbaden and Karlsruhe in Germany.
1965: During the Vietnam Civil War (of which first France, and then the U.S. became involved), the U.S. began "Operation Rolling Thunder," a sustained heavy bombing campaign of North Vietnam.
1974: A grand jury in Washington concluded that President Richard Nixon was criminally involved in the Watergate cover-up.
1983: The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) resumed in Geneva.
1998: Scientific data from the Galileo spacecraft indicated that Jupiter's moon Europa has a liquid ocean under a thick crust of ice.
2002: The U.S. invaded Afghanistan under the pretext of a response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks. All of the 9-11 terrorists were actually from Saudi Arabia (as was Osama bin Laden himself) and Pakistan - two countries (Saudi Arabia, with a major U.S. oil supply that no one wanted to bomb, and Pakistan, that has nuclear weapons to defend itself from any invader) that were instead declared to be "partners in the war against terrorism." All of the 9-11 terrorists were legally allowed into the U.S., directly on flights from the Middle East, with official U.S. tourist or student visas (some of them even learned to fly airliners at U.S. flight schools). As well, none of the terrorists entered through Canada, despite a convenient "blame everyone else" propaganda myth that they did.