Will We Be Caught in the Crossfire? :: by Joe Southerland

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Based on my article titled, “Our Lord God and Our Nation” I was asked the following:

I’m stuck here until the Rapture. I just don’t want to be caught in the crossfire, of God’s righteous anger. Will God punish this nation, and in so doing, punish His few children who live here? I don’t want to suffer for what others have done. Will God remember me and my family or will He consign me to suffer with the wicked?

Today, many of us likely share these deep and troubling concerns.

Will the Church Age born-again believers face the righteous anger/wrath of God, and will we be consigned to suffer with the wicked by God unless we are first raptured by Jesus Christ?

These questions can be best answered by reviewing the yet to be accomplished, near term portion of God’s plan, and then examining our Lord God’s Church Age plan.

The Lord God’s Coming Righteous Wrath

“As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us, they said, ‘When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’” (Matthew 24:3).

In Matthew 24 Christ answered the apostles by telling them the future would be similar to a woman’s birth pains; there would be periods of relative calm sandwiched between natural and manmade calamities which will quicken in pace and intensity the nearer we draw to His return.

With the greatest prophecy in recent times fulfilled in Israel’s rebirth as a nation in 1948, God will soon complete the Church Age portion of His plan.

We await one final prophecy to be fulfilled, the salvation of the very last soul in this age to be saved from the Gentiles nations, and that soul may very well be a just conceived baby in the warmth of a mother’s womb (Romans 11:25; Psalm 139:14). At that point Christ will Rapture all Church Age Believers both dead and alive and the Church Age will close (1Thess. 4:16-17; Matthew 24:15).

Soon thereafter, with his Bride secure, Jesus Christ the Lamb of God will open one of the great seven sealed scrolls of judgment and the wrath of God will begin (Rev. 6:1). These scroll judgments take place over what is commonly called the seven-year Tribulation (Daniel’s Seventieth Week) and is the time of God’s righteous wrath against rebellious man, and Satan and his followers.

In this horrific time of escalating judgments, billions will die and countless multitudes will call on name of the Lord, be saved, and become martyrs (Rev. 6:9). In the latter half of this period, which Christ described as a time like no other since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall be, Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet are in control and evil shall reign upon the earth (Matt.24:21; Rev. 13:12; Rev. 20:4).

So here is the good news, if you are a born-again Believer you will be taken up in the Rapture, and will not face God’s righteous wrath, which is reserved for the seven-year Tribulation (Rev. 6:16-17).

However, that does not mean born-again Believers are free from suffering at all. In fact, history shows us suffering for the name of Jesus Christ has been very common for His Believers.

Jesus tells us himself that during this period of birth pains, many Christians will suffer. “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another” (Matthew 24:9-10).

The Lord God’s Church Age Plan

As children of the Church Age, we are born into a titanic spiritual struggle for the souls of mankind which God has been shaping for nearly 2,000 years (Eph. 6:12).

Our Lord God’s overarching will is to give mankind’s masses the greatest chance to seek out and find Him, and God is executing His plan to achieve that purpose (Acts 17:27; 1 Tim. 2:4). Throughout the Church Age our Lord God develops fields for the harvest by setting up kings and removing them, and by blessing and removing His blessing from nations (Daniel 2:21; 5:21, Psalm 47:8 and 99:1-2; Proverbs 8:15; Isaiah 40:23; Matt. 9:37-38; Matt. 24:7).

Now with over seven billion souls, the Lord God’s fields are ripe; stretching their biologically sustainable limits, nearly ready for His final harvest (Matt. 13:30).

But there is an old adversary who attempts to defeat God’s plan.

Satan was embarrassed and enraged by Christ’s resurrection and the birth of the Church, both of which caught him off guard (Col. 2:15; Eph. 3:10). Having failed to devour Christ, he had to adjust his strategy to counter God’s new creation, the Church (Rev. 12:4). From that point forward, Satan directed his power and anger into two key goals: through any means possible, internally or externally, Satan works to destroy both the Christians and the Jews, in order to prevent Christ’s return.

A Critical Point! During this age any suffering Christians endure comes not from God, but instead originates from Satan’s persecution of us due to our belief in God and his Son, Jesus Christ.

Believers – Born into Satan’s Persecution

Since the Church Age dawned at Pentecost, Satan battles feverously to maintain hold of his spiritually dark realms in this world. As first nearly all was darkness, and as the Believers executed the Great Commission and expanded the Light into Satan’s strongholds the price was often persecution and martyrdom for the saints.

Similarly, as the Lord God creates new harvest fields among the nations by removing his hedge of blessings from rebellious nations, the dark powers of Lucifer advance to fill the void. When that happens, any Christians caught in the tide of darkness and will suffer tribulation, persecution or even martyrdom under Satan’s forces.

Believers – Still Persecuted by Satan Today

Today’s birth pains are readily evident as we witness Satan’s continuing assault upon Christians and Jews. He has yet again loosed his demons that are vomiting forth their raw, unfiltered evil on the world stage, this time under the guise of ISIS.

The bloody headlines from the spiritually darkened Middle East and Northern Africa scream with the ongoing, savage, in-your-face persecution and martyrdom of Christians which is occurring amongst the slaughter of Gentiles. Satan’s henchmen proudly tape for replay the bloody and brutal murders of men and boys, and openly boast of their rape, pedophilia, and sex enslavement of wives and daughters.

Those who fail to see this as pure evil have been brain-washed by the moral relativists, or desensitized by the digital carnage coming out of Hollywood.

Make no mistake; these martyred Christians were in Satan’s crosshairs, as he provides us a glimpse of what he is planning for anyone who claims Christ during his Great Tribulation reign.

And know this, if any Christians, including those reading this article, were caught in this part of the world wearing even a small cross around your neck, let alone holding a Bible, ISIS would not hesitate a second to slice your head from your body, because of your belief in Jesus Christ.

And it is not just ISIS persecuting Christians; look at what is occurring in China and Sub-Sahara Africa. We are witnessing now more than any time in my lifetime, Satan’s bold and open escalation of Christian persecution.

But Jesus Christ told us it would be so, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:18-20a).

Despite what you may have heard, Christ never guaranteed any special protection for our earthly bodies, only our eternal souls. Tribulation, persecution, and martyrdom are part of the Christian past, are occurring in the present, and as we see from Scripture will occur in the future.

Of the Apostles, only the apostle John escaped a martyr’s death at the hands of the world. Christ’s Church was build upon his blood, but was grown through the blood of the martyrs as spiritual warfare poured over into the flesh and bone, physical world.

Our Nation’s Unique Bubble

As we see today, Satan is now shifting his greatest energies in the spiritual battlefields of the Middle East, Africa and Asia, because most churches in the Western world have spiritually faded and are transitioning to the Laodicean church. Of this church Christ said, “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17). Satan rejoices for now he only needs to nudge America toward open rebellion.

Yet this nation has been blessed beyond measure by the Lord God in the past, and is still living in a historically unique bubble, where most have never known hunger, or mass violence, or plague, and tend to believe that is the norm. However, it is only by God’s providence and blessing that this nation continues to live in the calm before the storm of the next great birth pain.

Most are unaware the Lord God has but to move his little finger and the protective hedge this nation has long enjoyed will wilt away and leave her to her continued slow slide, or violent plunge into the full darkness and wickedness of Satan’s world. From Scripture we know sometime before Christ’s Second Coming this nation will be just one of many Gentile nations facing end-time judgment.

So, Will This Nation’s Believers Face Persecution?

That my fellow Believers is a matter of our Lord God’s timing. He alone answers that question.

Some say the Lord God is presently staying his hand and will use the Rapture to trigger our nation’s financial fall, which will then plunge the world into end-time chaos. If so, this nation’s born-again Believers will have been one of the most blessed people of all time, for they have not known persecution, nor lacked God’s material blessing.

However, if the Lord God removes his hedge of blessings from this nation prior to the Rapture, Christians may be caught up in the advance of Satan’s forces and suffer tribulation, persecution, and martyrdom, just like many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have endured since the Church began. God’s time will tell.

Take Heart, Fear Not and Pray for the Saints

I know this is hard teaching, but take heart brothers and sisters. God loves you and if you are a born-again Believer he has, “set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor. 1:22). Rest assured knowing He alone can provide the “peace that surpasses all understanding,” and that “no one can pluck you from our Lord God’s hand” (Philippians 4:7; John 10:28).

Also, do not live in fear. Satan often attacks us through fear in the hopes of paralyzing us to the point we fail to bear fruit for Christ’s Kingdom. Don’t let him. God has work for us to do. Remember always, the Holy Spirit that is in you is “greater than he that is in the world” and that “…God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (1 John 4:4; 2 Tim. 1:7).

Pray for peace of God to envelop and comfort those who are undergoing severe persecution. May they fully know the eternal power, peace and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Come Lord Jesus, Come!

J&J Ranch Ministries