The Terrorist Attack at Pulse in Orlando Signals Open Season on Christians
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18
In 64 A.D., Nero accused Christians of setting fire to the city of Rome. Christians, of course, had nothing to do with the fire. That inconvenient truth didn’t stop the ensuing Roman anger from snowballing into a time of intense persecution of Christians.
In a prescient video from 2008, Paul Washer pointed out that the persecution of Christians has most often been grounded in political reasons. That’s not to say that the persecution of Christians has been devoid of theological or religious reasons; as King Jesus pointed out, the world hates us because the world hates him. More directly, the world hates King Jesus’ authority and doesn’t want to submit to his rule and kingdom. The persecution of Christians has always been a manifestation of the war between King Jesus and the Serpent. In that sense, it is both political and theological (not that the two can ultimately be separated).
The Psalms are a vivid picture of the clashes of the two kingdoms – the kingdom of man that is ultimately ruled by the Serpent and his seed versus the kingdom of God. Throughout the book, the poets lament the persecution and suffering heaped upon the heads of God’s children. Their pain and confusion is palpable as they cry out to God wondering why He has seemingly turned his back on them and why the wicked rulers of the world, who are the seed of the Serpent, appear to prosper. But, and thankfully, throughout their pain, the Psalmists return to the glorious hope of a conquering and holy king who will one day come to reward the righteous and punish the wicked. The interim period is beautifully described in Psalm 110:1 as the poet writes, “The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Historically, for followers of King Jesus living in the United States, the persecution of Christians has been an abstract concept that happens in faraway places. For reasons that only God knows, Christians living in America have been spared from the kind of pushback, societal rejection, and even torture that brothers and sisters in Christ have suffered and are currently suffering around the world. Unfortunately, that is a reality that may soon only belong to history.