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(Zephaniah 3:17 paraphrased) The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing [he will spin round in a violent motion with gladness, shouting and triumph]!  

Bible Doctrine

Persecution             Dead in Christ            Hebrews 8:10

Persecution (2 Timothy 3:12)

Have you ever experienced persecution and wondered why God was allowing it?  Did it ever seem that he was using his “sovereignty” to somehow allow your character to be built as a result of it?  A common mistake that many Christians make is to overlook the verse in the Bible that promises we will suffer persecution.  What’s that you’re saying?  Promising persecution?  Sure does. 
Read along here in 2 Timothy 3:12:  “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

We see that persecution arises for the word’s sake (Matt 13:21; Mark 4:17) and for righteousness’ sake (Matt 5:10).  One thing that God did not promise to deliver us from is persecution.  That’s what Paul was talking about when he referred to his thorn in the flesh

(2 Cor 12:7-9)  Paul sought God three times to deliver him from Satan’s buffeting, and God said his grace was sufficient for him (Paul).  Satan was working through people to hinder and harass Paul because of “the abundance of the revelations” he was receiving.   So, persecution from people was Paul’s thorn in the flesh that arose in his life for the sake of the gospel. 

God doesn’t deliver us out of persecution.  In order to do so, he would have to override the free will of those who are doing the persecuting; and he can’t because he is bound to his word (Psa 89:34).  David suffered persecution, but in every situation God saw him through.  The Jews persecuted Jesus, and Jesus said we’d be persecuted as well.  “If they have  persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20)  Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:15, “. . . not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”  You can be assured that if the Father didn’t remove persecution from his own Son, then he would be a respecter of persons if he removed persecution from our lives.  And he isn’t, so he won’t.

When we look to Jesus as our example, we can see he had much persecution.  Yet he continued to abide in the words of his Father, so that the pressures and cares of the world could not steal away his purpose.  The light is always greater than the darkness, regardless of other people and their actions.  God isn’t trying to hurt us or even teach us a good lesson by letting us be persecuted.  Deliverance from persecution wasn’t part of the atonement.  You can be persecuted, but you will never be forsaken (2 Cor 4:9). 

The above article is an excerpt from A Sound Word, Volume 1, written by Mark & Denise Abernethy. Order your copy today.

Q  I am wondering about 1 Thessalonians 4:15.  How can the ‘dead in Christ’ rise first.  Since Jesus while on the cross told the man beside him that ‘today you will be with me in paradise’.  I always believed that once a person died, he immediately went into heaven or hell.  Or do they remain in the grave till the second coming?

A.  We don’t think that anyone remains in the grave till the second coming.  Once we die when the spirit (breath) leaves the mortal body, the body ceases to function or exist at all.  Therefore, nothing but a bag of bones remains in the grave after the death.

Q.   I have a question regarding Heb 8:10 and Heb 10:16.  I know it’s in Jeremiah 31:33.  What is the significance with changing the words around.  I was told by someone that it just means the same thing.  Is this true?

A.  Regarding your question, the short answer is that the two verses essentially mean the same thing.  To try and extract a deep spiritual significance out of the differing order of words is not necessary to understand the thought that the Holy Spirit through the writer is trying to convey.  8:10 says I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: or 10:16 says I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them. 

However, if you like to study scripture, it might interest you to know that the original quote from Jer 31:33 was written in a poetical structure, in the same style as the Book of Psalms.  The dominant characteristic of Hebrew poetry was what is known as ‘parallelism’.  That is, the second clause of a verse often repeats the same thought in a different way, just as in these verses. Another example of this would be in Habakkuk 3:18:  ‘I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”  The same thought expressed two times in different words.

Undoubtedly, the writer of the Book of Hebrews not only knew the scriptures, but also knew the type of poetry used so frequently int he writings of the prophets.  So it is well within reason that
he could have been engaging in a little poetic license of his own under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.  Because, whether God ‘puts’ his laws into our hearts or ‘writes’ them there, whether he ‘puts’ his laws into our minds or ‘writes’ them there, they are in there!  Because He is in there!  That’s the whole point of the new covenant anyway.

We hope this helps you see it more clearly.  Personally knowing a bit about Hebrew poetry increased our understanding when we read the psalms.  Obviously, there’s way more to say about it than what is mentioned above, so check it out!

ONLY Believe,

Mark & Denise, your Bible Answer Team

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