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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)

"10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." (Matthew 10:23 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.

Paul

"8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death.

And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." (Acts 8:1-4 KJV)

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.

13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 13:47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. 13:49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. 13:51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost." (Acts 13:45-52 KJV)

Iconium
And what eventually happened in Iconium? After Paul had done what he was sent there to do, persecution (logically, persecution would not have happened if Paul hadn't accomplished what he had been sent there to do) - that drove him from Iconium to many more places where the Truth was made known. More dirty "fertilizer" to produce more clean, good fruit.

"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.

14:2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.

14:3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 14:4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 14:5 And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, 14:6 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: 14:7 And there they preached the gospel." (Acts 14:1-7 KJV)

Fact Finder: How did Turkey become a center of Bible history and prophecy?
See Turkey In History And Prophecy


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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).

German
986: Louis V became King of the Franks.

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.

New Amsterdam
1709: British sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued after being marooned on a desert island for 5 years. His story was the inspiration of Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe."

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).

Napoleon
1836: Texas declared independence from Mexico.

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).

Mexico
1882: Queen Victoria narrowly escaped an assassination attempt by Roderick McLean in Windsor.

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.

Vietnam
1969: In Toulouse, France, the first test flight of the Anglo-French Concorde is completed.

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.


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