April 25th, 2014
This week on ‘The Hal Lindsey Report’
A couple of weeks ago, on the eve of Passover, a 73 year-old man who hates Jews pulled into the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas.
It was a target-rich environment. All around him, teenagers were arriving for a talent competition and a rehearsal for a stage play.
So he stepped out of his car with his handgun and his shotgun and started firing. He killed two: a grandfather with his grandson.
Then, the killer drove to Village Shalom Retirement Community in nearby Leawood. There, he shot and killed a woman arriving to visit her mother.
Shortly after, he was arrested outside an elementary school a short distance away.
Frazier Glenn Cross, who is charged with the murders, is a notorious white supremacist. He has served time in prison and written a book about his views. He even ran for public office twice — once on each ticket!
Cross, paradoxically named, is not a Christian. He practices “Odinism,” a neo-pagan cult. In fact, he apparently hates Christianity because it was invented by Jews. And Jesus was a Jew.
His neighbors back in Aurora, Missouri, liked him, but said he thought all Jews should be killed. On Sunday, April 13, Cross tried to make good on that demented belief. Ironically, Frazier Glenn Cross killed three Christians.
Halfway across the world, antisemitism also raised its head in Donetsk, Ukraine. Leaflets were passed out to Jews attending a local synagogue ordering them to register as Jews and pay a $50 fee — or leave the area. They were also instructed to identify what properties they owned.
In a subsequent press conference, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry denounced the distribution of the leaflets.
Fortunately, it appears the entire episode, while true, was the isolated work of masked Russian thugs who were seeking to sow dissent in the area. And the tactic might work because during World War II, Ukrainians rounded up Jews and handed them over to the German Nazis. As you can guess, that’s a memory that runs deep in the Jewish community in Ukraine.
It’s undeniable that antisemitism is once again on the rise across the world, but the seeds of that demonic attitude predate God’s covenant with Abraham. In fact, it extends all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Satan challenged God’s word. He asked Eve, “Has God really said….?”
In Satan’s ferocious, desperate attack on God’s Word, he spawns antisemitism by asking, “Has God REALLY made those promises to Abraham, his seed, and the nation of Israel?”
Of course, Satan’s attack on God’s Word affects more than just Abraham’s descendants. Reuters News Service recently reported that the number of Christian martyrs doubled from 2012 to 2013. DOUBLED, in just one year.
Though you won’t read about it in the mainstream media or hear about it from our President, across the world Christians are being taunted and scorned, hunted down, terrorized, tortured, and murdered. They’re driven from their ancestral homes, their churches are burned, and they’re stripped of the money and properties they’ve spent lifetimes accumulating.
Some are sitting — hungry, miserable, beaten — in dank prisons. Sometimes for years. Sometimes facing impending execution. Mostly forgotten.
Though the heinousness of the persecution of Christians has not yet reached the levels it reached during the first century (or for many Jews during the Holocaust), it is nonetheless real. And who’s to say it won’t eventually come to the point where Christians will be flayed (have one’s skin ripped off while still alive to experience it)? That was the fate of the Apostle Bartholomew. And the Holocaust instructs us that man remains capable of unbelievable cruelty toward those he hates.
Jesus Himself warned us that we will be HATED for His name’s sake.
So how should we then live? In fear? No. More than one hundred times, the Bible tells us to “fear not.” In despair? Again, no. The Apostle Paul encourages us: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9, NASB)
Time and time again, Paul reminds us that God wants our lives to be filled with “grace” and “peace.” How can our lives be filled with grace and peace if we are facing persecution? Well, the first step is to look at our problems from “The Divine Viewpoint” rather than “The Human Viewpoint.” That simply means that we must trust what God has promised more than we trust what Satan has promised.
For the believer, that should be a no-brainer. And the good news is that if we take the leap of faith and actually believe what God has said and trust Him to be faithful to His Word, we can live with His grace, peace, and joy in the midst of the raging storms around us.
And trust me, folks, we’re going to need all of God’s grace, peace, and joy that we can hold in the coming days and years. Satan’s war on the cross of Christ and the validity of God’s Word is just heating up. If you’re a sports fan, you could say that we’re heading into the home stretch.
Just last week, al-Qaeda’s second-in-command told the leaders of that resurgent group that their number one goal is to “eliminate the cross…. The bearer of the cross is America!”
I believe that will be the battle cry of the forces of darkness as we approach the end of this Age of Grace. The war for the hearts and minds of humanity will center on the Word of God. That’s why governments and other religions desperately try to intimidate Christians into silence — because they represent the Word of God and the presence of God.
And the Word of God teaches that the hope of salvation rests on the brutal cross of Christ. If Satan cannot convince men that there is no Almighty Creator God, no Jesus Christ, no cross, no sacrifice, no resurrection, no heaven, or no hell, then he must persuade them that they can achieve eternal happiness in heaven by their own merit and good works. One is as damning as the other.
But we can also take great joy in noting that, in spite of the doubling of Christian martyrs in the last year, millions are coming to Jesus around the world. London’s newspaper, The Telegraph, recently reported that experts predict that by 2030, China will have the largest concentration of Christians in the world — despite the Communist Party’s efforts to stamp it out. China!
Even as His enemies rage against Him, God uses it for good. It’s always been that way. It was the persecution of the first Christians that caused them to scatter and carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
Remember, in both the good and the bad, the Lord wants us to have a good attitude. He doesn’t want anger, fear, or frustration to have power over us. Yes, there are times to grieve, times to mourn, times to feel angry, but Nehemiah said, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 6:10 NASB).
Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.” (John 13:35 NASB)
That means we are empowered by joy and characterized by love. Even in dark times, we can live in a bright and glorious place.