CSB (1 Peter 2:21) 21 For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps.
. (All quotations from the New King James translation)
Why must we prove that we are good disciples under tribulation and persecution?
Aren’t we already showing, that we are of good will?
Christians might reason that way, but it is much more complicated.
With Satan, a pernicious set of ideas has begun and the great battle question.
Theme: Why Christians follow in Jesus’ footsteps in answer to the battle question
In this article we first want to explain something about Christian baptism.
Some Christians think a bit too limited about baptism.
Because baptism is not something procedural, but is a destiny-connection with Jesus:
(Galatians 3:27) 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Whoever is a baptized disciple of Jesus and faithful, will be hated just like Jesus:
(Luke 21:17) 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.
The connection through Christian baptism
When a Christian consciously puts faith in Jesus’ words, baptism usually follows:
(Mark 16:16) 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved….
A baptized Christian is aware of his exceptional position as a disciple of Jesus.
For Christians, their Creator and their High Priest Jesus are ‘like an anchor of hope’:
(Hebrews 6: 19-20) 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Baptized Christians have ‘a new life’ after baptism:
CSB (Romans 6: 3-4) 3 Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?4 Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life.
(Romans 12: 2) 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
After baptism, the old worldly life is replaced by the new Christian life.
The big battle question between Satan and God
It was God’s purpose for people to remain in the beautiful paradise eternally.
However, the first humans were not allowed to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17), the only thing that allowed them to demonstrate unconditional loyalty.
Because of the sins and disobedience of the first humans, Satan got mankind in his power. Because they had believed him.
Ultimately, this concerned the question of whether God as Creator has the right to demand ‘unconditional obedience’ from all his creatures (with all their freedom).
All angelic sons witnessed this, it was an important question, a battle question.
(For further explanation of this, see: The ruler of the world and The opponent of God)
From then on there was enmity between Satan’s seed and the seed of God’s children:
(Genesis 3:15) 15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed….
Satan then ‘enforced’ to have the dominion to prove, that people would not voluntarily choose to obey God and His Son:
(Luke 4: 6) 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
(John 14:30) 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming….
<God YHWH has renounced the rightful Kingship in paradise>
In the book of Job we read about the great trial of the righteous Job by Satan.
In the case of Job (Job 1: 11-12) Satan said: ‘Take everything from Job and see how he curses You.’
And about the Christians, Satan will most likely say: ‘And what about those Christians?
Let them share in the tribulation and persecution and see how they will curse You.’
Are there any Christians who will remain unconditionally faithful purely through obedience to God (YHWH) and to His Son?
Christians love their heavenly Father and His Son, and it is for that reason that Satan wants to root out Christianity. If Satan succeeds in averting all Christians from Christianity into idolatry, all mankind will be lost.
God is the almighty God YHWH, nobody can match Him
It is written about Almighty God YHWH, that as the Creator He is the rightful King, the King of Kings:
(1 Timothy 6: 15-16) 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
Are there gods to be found that can even stand in the shadow of YHWH?
(Isaiah 44: 6-8) 6 “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. 7 And who can proclaim as I do? Then let him declare it and set it in order for Me, Since I appointed the ancient people. And the things that are coming and shall come, Let them show these to them. 8 Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.‘ “
Or as James wrote about the Divine wisdom:
(James 3:17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
The next important question God asks His children:
(Proverbs 27:11) 11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, That I may answer him who reproaches me.
God’s children will prove their loyalty:
(2 Corinthians 6: 4) 4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses….
(1 Peter 4:19) 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good….
The announcement of a Son of Man as the Messiah
God does not simply leave believing and obedient people to the idolatry of Satan.
A Messiah was announced by God as Savior for all people of good will.
The promised Son of Man was already very clearly foretold to the Jews in Isaiah and Daniel:
(Isaiah 9: 6) 6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Daniel 7: 13-14) 13 “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
Óne thing is certain; Satan may now be the ruler of the world, but that will soon end. The present world of Satan is already shaking on its foundations. He will never be able to prove that all people will choose independence from their Creator.
All Christians together form the body of Christ
Jesus is the Head of the body of Christians, the Christian community:
(Colossians 1:18) 18 And He (Jesus) is the head of the body, the church….
Together Christians form the body of Christ, every Christian is a part of this:
(1 Corinthians 12: 12,27) 12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ…. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (see also Romans 12: 5)
Baptized Christians have ‘consciously’ chosen to be disciples or students of Jesus. Because they want to learn from His love for our fellow humans and want to worship the Father. That is why Christians suffer and endure injustice, because their example Jesus also suffered and endured injustice.
A well-known saying goes: ‘In need, you learn your true friends to know’
The same goes for a true Christian:
Faithful Christian are you hungry, I will feed you.
Faithful Christian are you thirsty, I will give you a drink.
Faithful Christian do you have no shelter, I will take you in with hospitality.
Faithful Christian are you naked, I will clothe you.
Faithful Christian are you sick, I will take care of you.
Faithful Christian have you been captured, I will visit you.
(Matthew 25: 31-36, James 2:16)
(Matthew 25: 37-40) 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Righteous Job was mocked by his three friends during his ordeal:
(Job 16:20) 20 My (three) friends scorn me; My eyes pour out tears to God.
Especially in times of need one gets to know his true friends and brothers:
(Proverbs 17:17) 17 A friend loves at all times….
Christians enhance their way of life by pursuing peace and mutual love, especially under tribulation:
(Romans 14: 17-19) 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
Jesus showed Himself ‘of good will’ and has suffered for us
Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice as a sacrifice of grace for us, for sinful humans.
He knew what awaited Him, but Jesus has completed His torture for us:
(Luke 12:50) 50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!
(Luke 22:44) 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Jesus spoke to His disciples about what He had to suffer (Matt. 16:21), about all the prophecies in Isaiah that needed to be fully fulfilled:
(Isaiah 53: 3-5) 3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Christians want to follow in Jesus’s footsteps and be just as tolerant as Jesus:
(1 Peter 2: 22-23) 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;….
Christians want to remain faithful to their Creator and His Son
The situation of Christians during the tribulation and that of Jesus during his torture has much in common.
Jesus’ disciples are also hated because they are not of this world:
(John 15:19) 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
(Matthew 24: 9) 9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
Christians are children of God and when we (as the body of Christ) suffer just as Christ did, we will also be glorified just like Jesus:
(Romans 8:17) 17 and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
(2 Corinthians 1: 7) 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.
We need not fear what we are about to suffer because we will be strengthened and receive the crown of life with certainty:
(1 Peter 5: 9-10) 9 Resist him (the devil), steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
(Revelation 2:10) 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
It remains ‘a choice’ to want to belong to the good seed or to belong to Satan’s seed.
Paul was aware of his struggle to remain belonging to the good seed:
CSB (Romans 7: 18-21) 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. 19 For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. 21 So I discover this principle: when I want to do good, evil is with me.
Christians live according to the fruit of the Spirit. They tolerate a lot with self-control:
(Galatians 5: 22-26) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Show self-control when you see injustice
Seeing so much injustice in the world, Christians can become angry.
About all recent crises, such as the current corona crisis, has been thought for a long time and preparations have been made to influence the media, health authorities, politics, police and the judiciary.
By blackmailing, perverting, bribing, intimidating and by propaganda.
The peoples of the world are consciously made terrified with incorrect information.
The economic system must fall down for the interests and power of some rich.
The current situation shows the bad characteristics of the children (seed) of Satan.
These are godless and unrighteous people who have made these decisions in secret encounters (Ephesians 5: 11-12). Be angry, but do not sin:
(Psalm 4: 4-5) 4 Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the Lord.
If you experience injustice, pray and help those who have been wronged with Christian love.
Remember that for us, our almighty God YHWH takes revenge: 14. Vengeance is Mine!
The God of Peace will eternally reward people of good will
Jesus asks His disciples the same as what His Father asked Him to do:
(John 20:21) 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
Jesus disciples of peace seek people who also pursue peace:
(Luke 10: 5-6) 5 But whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house.‘ 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on it; if not, it will return to you.
(Romans 10:15) 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
Those who experience the peace of God, will be amazed:
(Philippians 4: 7) 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
<God YHWH takes up the Kingship again together with His Son>
Fortunately, it is written in Revelation that God in the last days will take up the kingship again, after the blowing of the 7th trumpet:
(Revelation 11:15) 15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!“
After the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24), God takes up the Kingship again, along with His Messiah. Then, God’s Kingdom has finally come:
CSB (Revelation 11: 16-17) 16 The 24 elders, who were seated before God on their thrones, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: We thank You, Lord God, the Almighty, who is and who was, because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign.
The big battle question is then answered. All Christians and angels in heaven are witnesses.
Satan has failed in every way with his world of idolatry and injustice.
Christians have then clearly proved – in complete freedom – to remain faithful to the righteous God of love and peace and to His Son.
The end of Satan’s children or seed, the wicked ones
Always remember that Satan wants to be worshiped:
(Luke 4: 6-7) 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
The Antichrist or false prophet will compel Christians to worship ‘the image’ or Satan:
(Revelation 13: 14-15) 14….telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15…. and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
That seed, the wicked ones and Antichrist, will be destroyed after the second coming of Jesus.
At Jesus’ return, the books will be opened and judgment will be made:
(Matthew 16:27) 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
(Matthew 13:40) 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.
(2 Peter 3: 7) 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
(Revelation 19:20) 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet…. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
(Revelation 20:15) 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Christians remain faithful – out of their own choice – to the Prince of Peace and worship their Creator out of their own choice. They make the choice ‘in freedom’ to follow the Christ in his footsteps.
To show God (YHWH), to continue to serve God under difficult circumstances.
At the end of the tribulation, the evidence will be irrefutable provided.
That will be the answer once and for all to Satan and to his seed.
After God (YHWH) has taken up the Kingship, Jesus (My Servant David) will remain Prince or Viceroy on the new earth forever:
(Ezekiel 37:25) 25 Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My Servant David shall be their prince forever.
After Satan’s destruction (Rev. 20: 7-10) the last enemy of man, death, will finally be destroyed through mediation of Jesus on the new earth:
(1Corinthians 15: 24-26) 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.
People of good will be able to stay eternally in the new beautiful paradise.