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So then, faithful born again Christians are not supposed to be struggling with why we would suffer persecution even to the death for being followers of Jesus Christ! Christ being our example in everything led me beginning November 27, 2022 to write consecutive posts through January 8, 2023 holding up His willingness in attitude from eternity to suffer persecution to the death and His experience of it for God’s cause of salvation. Completely identifying with Christ, our cause in profound gratitude to be saved and love for Him is to be willing to suffer persecution to the death if called upon as a witness to the world of the Gospel’s power to save and for the glory of God (Revelation 12:11)!1
Many of the professed Christians struggling with the biblically taught, prophetically foretold, historically demonstrated and currently ongoing reality of persecution for the faith to the death are sadly, impostors. Others are superficial and weak in the faith for various reasons including not being properly taught in the churches they attend. They are ready to fall away at the least bit of persecution related suffering “because of the word.” Still others are distracted and preoccupied with “the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.” Not a few such as religionists who have their own “form” of Christianity are in fearful denial (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23; 2 Timothy 3:1-12, NKJV).
Nevertheless, when the Lord granted and announced to His persecutors bent on killing Him ‘“this is your hour, and the power of darkness,’” this period of hatred driven persecution He foretold that began with Him commenced and has continued for His followers nearly two millennia (Luke 21:17, 22:53; John 15:18-19, NKJV). It will not end until His Second Coming (2 Thessalonians 1:3-10)! While the extent and severity of persecution has ebbed and flowed over the centuries, some observers suggest the uptick of martyrdoms in the 20th century was more than all of the previous centuries together!2 A number believe all forms of persecution this 21st century are the worst ever.3
However bad it is now, Bible prophecy assures us that even more hate-filled, intensely oppressive, violent, murderous and widespread persecution is coming upon the saints from among all nations (Matthew 24:9) and finally the Antichrist (Daniel 7:15-25; 8:23-25, 11:31; Matthew 24:15-22).4 Indeed, wherever Christians have been persecuted “for” His “name’s sake,” most frequently over the centuries up to now, it has involved various governing and religious authorities to include professed Christians just as the Lord warned (Luke 21:12, NKJV).5 Such times, He instructs, are an opportunity to testify with the Holy Spirit’s help requiring no need to worry about what to say (Luke 21:13-15).
Perhaps the most mentally and emotionally disturbing thing to consider is the Lord’s warning too, of being persecuted and betrayed to the death by family and friends (Luke 21:16). As I wrote in a previous post in this series, the Lord was persecuted by His brothers and betrayed to His death by a friend.6 I understand betrayal by friends to the death since most of us will have very few in a lifetime that are of the depth and caliber of Jonathan to David (1 Samuel 19-20). I have had my share of even professed Christian friends betray me for whatever motives. And while troubling to contemplate, having had family strife over Christ as He warns, I know betrayal is possible too (Matthew 10:34-39)!7
The faithful are to understand and take comfort in the fact evil mankind and the devil have been permitted their hour to persecute first our Lord Jesus and us afterward by God! So, we are to endure it as testing knowing that there is good that comes out of it for us including divine blessing and reward (Matthew 5:10-12; Luke 6:22-23; Romans 5:1-5, 8:18-39; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; James 1:1-8; 1 Peter 1:1-12, 2:18-25, 3:13-17, 4:12-19; Revelation 2:25-29, 14:9-13). They are all taking their best shot, but in the end, we remain standing even in spite of death because Christ who died and rose again immortal, enables us to do the same (1 Corinthians 6:14, 15:50-57; 2 Timothy 1:8-12)! Thus, if it must be, let us go out like and for Him as many of our brethren have done, are doing and will do.8
1 This is precisely the heart of every aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. It
is available at your favorite internet bookseller or brick and mortar bookstore and the Strong Man Store.
2 Read the 2010 Christianity.com article by Dan Wooding, Modern Christianity.
3 See the 2023 World Watch List produced by Open Doors International and cited in a Christianity Today article. Also, read the November 29, 2020 post the Lord led me to
write discussing the rising persecution of Christians in our own nation entitled, Persecution Of American Christians Intensifying, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
4 Let it sink down into our hearts: this hour granted to evil men and demons to persecute the saints is moving toward its foretold climax (Revelation 13)!
5 Professed Christians among Catholics and Protestants in history have violently persecuted the Lord’s saints and prophets and martyred many as heretics wickedly going far
beyond the authority of Scripture (Revelation 17:1-6).
6 Read the January 8, 2023 post, Christ Persecuted To The Death, under the category, Instruction.
7 See the two-part post beginning May 24, 2020, Persecution, Hatred And Betrayal, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
8 Christ with humble submission to God and resolute determination after prayer went to the cross and expects His faithful to follow His example in the face of our own cross
(Mark 8:31-38, 14:32-50).
Joseph, the husband of Mary and surrogate father to the Lord Jesus Christ, is the person I spoke of in the last post that inspires this one.1 He is often treated as only a background prop in the Christmas narrative generally and to Mary in particular as the only essential character besides Christ. But nothing could be more corrupting of the narrative than to disrespect and treat Joseph’s roles as non-essential as do feminists with men in our times. God so makes Joseph in character and deeds a vital part of the birth circumstances as well as early life of His Son that he greatly merits the recognition this post gives him as an example of family headship God designed and has not changed!
To be clear, the virgin, Mary of Nazareth, is the undisputed central figure of the Christmas narrative behind the Son she was told by the angel she would by God’s grace miraculously conceive (Luke 1:26-35). Her centrality, of course, is due to this foretold miracle of being the virgin who conceives “Immanuel,” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23, NKJV). She is and ought to be “blessed” by all for being of such humility and faith in character God chose Mary to bear His Son (Luke 1:36-48, NKJV). With total devotion, character is the prominent feature that causes God to graciously elect all of the godly personages that appear in the birth narrative of His Son; Joseph being no exception.
Of the royal line of David through Solomon, we are introduced to Joseph as the “husband of Mary” who was “betrothed” to him when he discovers she is “with child of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 1:6-18, NKJV). As I write in the post dealing with this, because he was a righteous man, he struggled with what to rightly do about the situation.2 From the text, Joseph was also merciful since he did not want to see Mary harmed in any way (Matthew 1:19). That he could be reached in a dream shows he was a man of faith and discernment too, who may have had previous heavenly visits due to his calm reaction. Moreover, Joseph was obedient as seen in his responses (Matthew 1:20-21).3
His initial obedient response to the directives of an angel was to take “to him his wife” without any further struggle in the matter recorded in Scripture. He also continued to honor his and Mary’s betrothal pledge to abstain from sex until after “she had brought forth her firstborn Son.” Finally, in obedience to the angel and agreement with Mary, he took his right of family headship and naming her Son, “he called His name JESUS,” (Matthew 1:24-25, NKJV). This right of headship a man has to name anything much more his children is expressly of God from creation (Genesis 2:19-20a, 3:20). God had already named His Son, but gave Joseph the respect of headship as His stand in.
That God would give Joseph any respect at all is a tribute to His character and perpetually firm commitment to His design of the human family. His design involves the roles and responsibilities He assigned to male and female in marriage that is the starting point of a family and its order. As educated and sophisticated as moderns are to interpret the pictographs on cave walls of ancient people’s long vanished, it is amazing that many including professed Christians cannot rightly interpret the picture of Adam being created first as God’s assignment of male headship in the family (Genesis 2:7-8)! This is because they willfully refuse in rebellion to do so and invent many false justifications.
One of the wickedly false justifications some Bible teachers and their devotees make is that male headship did not begin until after the fall of man and is a punishment from God. Are you kidding me? This demonically inspired line of reasoning corrupts even the supreme Headship of God since His is the original pattern for human male headship and from which Christ’s is assigned (Genesis 1:26; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 15:27-28; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:15-18)! This false justification arises from a corruptly subjective reading into Genesis 3:16b which the proper objectively read instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles easily refutes (Matthew 19:1-10; 1 Corinthians 11:4-12, 14:34-40; Ephesians 5:22-6:4; Colossians 3:18-21; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 1 Peter 3:1-7).4, 5
Not only was Joseph given the right of headship to name Jesus, he led out as family leader under God fulfilling this and his other responsibilities (Luke 2:1-5, 21). He provided; securing lodging, food and the required sacrifice for Christ’s dedication to God at the Temple (Luke 2:6-7, 22-38). He protected (Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23) and taught his family out of the customary male head of household duties in God’s Word (Deuteronomy 6:1-9, 16:16-17; Luke 2:39-52). Joseph would have also taught his sons his “carpenter” trade as part of their preparation for manhood (Matthew 13:53-56; Mark 6:3, NKJV).6 Woe to the professed Christian pastors and leaders who have nullified God’s teaching on male headship in the home and churches by replacing it with your own (Mark 7:1-13)!7
1 See the January 15, 2023 post, Rachel’s Children Live!, under the category, Instruction.
2 Read the December 4, 2022 post, Christ Persecuted Before Birth, under the category, Instruction.
3 See the December 11, 2022 Post, Christ Persecuted To His Birth and the one following on December 18th titled, Christ Persecuted As A Child, both under the category,
Instruction, to track how Joseph was obedient to God in all of the directives he was given.
4 Another related and equally ludicrous false justification some professed Christians make for rebelling against God’s ordained headship of men in the family and
churches is it undermines the Gospel message and Christian witness because the world no longer honors it. In actuality, professed Christians making this false justifi-
cation are undermining the Gospel and witness of the faith by their rank disobedience to the Word of the God they want the unsaved to believe in contrary to even com-
mon sense (Titus 2:1-10)! They do this seeking to please people rather than God building their churches.
5 Learn how to objectively interpret and apply God’s Word for yourself through our layman’s Fruitful Bible Study Self-Paced Video Course the Lord led me to develop to
help. Get an overview of the course in the First Session at https://youtu.be/uufAkc3aYSc on our Strong Man Virtual Institute YouTube Channel.
6 In the mission to restore men, I write about God’s design of the family, its order, roles and responsibilities beginning with male headship in many posts (type “headship”
into the Blog search engine) and my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics available at your favorite internet bookseller or brick and mortar bookstore and the
Strong Man Store.
7 Pastors, elders and any other ecclesiastical leaders having the authority to put women in authority over men in the local church is yet another false justification for side-
stepping what God’s Word objectively interpreted and applied says about male headship in the home and churches. Leaders are nowhere given permission or authori-
ty in Scripture to usurp Christ or disobey God’s Word. Or is the New Covenant a license to commit transgression, sin and iniquity? The guilty are doing so consistent
with the lying tongue of their true head, Satan (John 8:44), and what Scripture foretells about them (Acts 20:29-31; 2 Peter 2:1-3)! Without repentance, their suffering
and deaths in these times of trouble and persecution are not praiseworthy or rewarded, but punishment as was also the case for the lying prophets and elders of Judah
as well as priests of Israel (Proverbs 15:10; Jeremiah 14:10-15; Ezekiel 8-9; Hosea 6:4-7:3; Matthew 5:17-20)! And just as He judges the corrupt teachers of His Word,
God will also hold their followers accountable for greater loyalty to men and their doctrines than to Him and His unchanging Word (Jeremiah 14:16; Jude 5-11)!
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