‘Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered.’ Daniel 11:33
This passage speaks of the end time. Many Christians think that ‘the end time’ means the destruction of the world or something like that, but that is not meant by the word translated with ‘end’. Its meaning is rather: fulfillment or completion.
There will be an end to this era, to the time of God’s grace. After that, there will be a time of God’s righteousness. But before the completion of this period, terrible calamities will come over the whole earth, which will cause people to either call upon God for help, or to be hardened.
All the things that already happen in the world, are these signs of the end or mere forerunners to that? In any case, we see quite clearly that the time of God’s grace to people is drawing to an end, and therefore we must take into account that persecution will come.
Amnesty International tells us how many are already being persecuted all over the world. Must it get even worse? I think that the persecutions that are coming will be more specifically aimed at people who have devoted their entire life to Christ. It will be more a clear persecution of faith, of which Jesus too speaks in this passage.
Then those who have concealed themselves in outward religion will become the worst enemies of those who have come to love Jesus. They will act violently and ‘hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison,’ says Jesus. It may seem strange, but throughout the ages the clergy always has had those imprisoned who did not submit themselves to its power.
Jesus comforts us with the words that - in spite of this - we will win life if we stand firm…