Rejoice When Persecuted

Blessing are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

Blessed are you when  men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.

Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were  before you–Matthew 5:10-12

The word translated revile is the word oneidizo which means to taunt, upbraid, chide, rail at, defame. the word translated persecute is the word dioko to pursue, to persecute, follow after, cause to suffer. I have known several people who claimed they were being persecuted.

When I compared their belief that they were persecuted with this verse, I had my doubts to whether they were actually being persecuted with the conditions stated in these verses. First of all, the persecution had to be false. Too often, we are not really being persecuted, we are being prosecuted. In other words, we are reaping what we sewed. We are being paid back for our own indiscretions.  I have know self-professing Christians who treated others unkindly and when those other people did not treat them with respect, the Christians claimed that they were being persecuted. That’s not being persecuted, that is being treated in the same manner that those professing Christians treated others.

These verses do not refer to them. What these verses are talking about is the type of persecution like Daniel endured. (Daniel 6:14-24) Daniel defied the law so that he could worship his God and was placed in the lions den for his tenacity. He didn’t mistreat anyone. Instead he simply and quietly stood up for what he believed. With integrity he refused to worship no other god but the one true God.

This is the kind of persecution we will be rewarded for. This kind of prosecution might not lead to the kind of deliverance that Daniel faced. Many people have died in their faith, but as these verses state, he has given us promise of blessings in Heaven. As we continue our studies of Matthew, we will discover more about the Kingdom of Heaven.

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