The Everlasting Hatred
“Are you Christian or Muslim?” That was the question Sudan’s Muslim government asked men and women captured in the upper Nile region of the country in 2002. If a woman responded “Muslim,” her captors set her free. But if she answered “Christian,” they gang-raped her, cut off her breasts, and left her to die “as an example to others.”1
Although the situation in Sudan supposedly has improved, it is no secret that in many countries, faith in Jesus brings torture and death. In fact, more Christians were killed for their faith in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined. And the situation is getting worse.
Why do unbelievers despise Christians so? How can some people hate so intensely that they devise vicious, diabolical tortures with which to inflict others and then laugh at the pain and ultimate death they have caused?
In July 2006 anti-Semites damaged the Jewish monument erected in 1991 near Kiev in the Ukraine to memorialize the 100,000 Jewish people whom the Nazis lined up at the edge of the Babi Yar ravine in 1941 and shot. The following month, anti-Semitic slogans were again found in a bustling Ukrainian city. Anti-Semitism, in fact, is rising so rapidly around the world that many Jewish college students even here in America are afraid.
Persecution is a real part of the 21st-century world. It is the result of unchecked, unmitigated hatred that began with Satan (Lucifer) and will not end until he is banished to the Lake of Fire for all eternity (Rev. 20:10).
He is the author of lies and the source of hatred, evil, murder, and deceit (Jn. 8:44). In the Garden of Eden, he declared war on the Lord by enticing the first man and woman to turn away from God and follow him. And though he despises all humanity, he reserves his most venomous hate for Jewish people and born-again Christians because they obstruct his proud, selfish plan to dethrone Almighty God (Isa. 14:13). For him to succeed, he must exterminate them both. And torture and persecution are his tools of choice.
Satan vs. Israel
Lucifer was created an angelic cherub (Ezek. 28:14). Cherubs are associated with God’s holiness and surround His throne. They each have six wings and are “full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Rev. 4:8).
Lucifer was probably the highest-ranking angel because he was “the anointed cherub who covers” (Ezek. 28:14). His position of covering God’s throne from the back would have given him a unique perspective on God and all His creative work.
Rather than serve God, however, Satan wanted to become God. His prideful rebellion led him to the Garden of Eden where he deceived Eve and caused her and Adam to sin (Gen. 3:1–13). God then promised to send a Redeemer who ultimately will destroy Satan (Gen. 3:15; Isa. 14:15). So Satan has been trying to kill the Redeemer’s brethren (the Jewish people) and those who follow Him (born-again Christians) ever since.
Scripture reveals the Redeemer would (1) come from the “seed” of a woman, implying that His conception would not involve a man (Gen. 3:15); and (2) descend from Noah’s son Shem, Shem’s descendant Abraham, Abraham’s son Isaac, Isaac’s son Jacob, Jacob’s son Judah, and Judah’s descendant David (9:26; 12:3; 26:4; 28:14; 49:10; Jer. 33:17).
As the promise of the Redeemer solidified, Satan intensified his attacks on the Jewish people and often on the Messianic line itself, hoping to eradicate Abraham’s seed and thus secure victory over God. Before Moses was born in Egypt, Pharaoh ordered the murder of every newborn Hebrew male in an attempt to destroy the Jewish people: “If it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live” (Ex. 1:16).
After being delivered from annihilation in Egypt, Israel had many close calls on its journey to the Promised Land. A major satanic obstacle was the counsel of Balaam, a prophet for hire, which caused the Israelites to sin and led God to judge them with a plague (Num. 25:1–18; 31:16). Hundreds of years later, Satan attacked the Messianic line by having all the heirs to David’s throne killed, except for an infant son who was hidden in the Temple until he could be crowned king at age seven (2 Chr. 22:12). God’s promise to send a Redeemer from the line of David rested on this lone, young boy.
Satan vs. the Church
Since the Redeemer’s death and resurrection, Satan has been fighting on two fronts: against the Jewish people, hoping to destroy them so that Jesus will be unable to reestablish the promised Davidic Kingdom, and against all who are truly born again because they love the Lord and follow Jesus (Jn. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:23; 1 Jn. 5:3).
Despite Satan’s everlasting hatred, however, God gives a strong and resounding promise of eternal security to Israel and a warning to any who would attempt to annihilate it:
Thus says the Lᴏʀᴅ, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night. “If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the Lᴏʀᴅ, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever” (Jer. 31:35–36; cf. Ps. 89:36–37).
Then the Lᴏʀᴅ will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle. And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives. And this shall be the plague with which the Lᴏʀᴅ will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths (Zech. 14:3–4, 12).
Victory in Jesus
Nor will Satan’s everlasting hatred of Christians prevent our ultimate victory: “I will build My church,” Jesus said, “and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18).
Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). “And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 Jn. 5:4–5).
Today American Christians do not face torture and death for their faith, as do the brethren in Islamic regions and countries like Sudan. But a far worse day is coming. In fact, several Jewish news agencies have attempted to sound a clarion call regarding the plight of Christians. They are appalled the U.S. government does nothing to avert the atrocities abroad.
In America Christians are publicly maligned, disparagingly identified as the “religious right,” and mocked on television and in the movies and press. Christian views of morality, honesty, and biblical values are rejected and spurned.
We believe in creation as taught in the book of Genesis; the world endorses evolution. We teach that life begins at conception; the world supports murdering the unborn. We uphold traditional family values; the world sees us as backward, uninformed, intellectual buffoons. Soon the time will come when we will face far greater struggles, as Satan’s influence continues to expand.
But ultimately, Satan and his dominion shall not succeed. He is a doomed foe. His attempt to usurp God’s position will fail. The church will reign and rule with Messiah Jesus and will be with Him forever: “In My Father’s house are many mansions….that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:2–3).
And the nation of Israel can look forward to a literal 1,000-year reign of King Messiah over all the earth from Jerusalem, Israel (Ezek. 43:6–7; Rev. 20:1–6). In that day, Jerusalem will be the jewel of the entire world, and Satan’s everlasting hatred will be unable to harm either Israel or the church anymore.
- Art Moore, “Sudan jihad forces Islam on Christians: Women refusing to convert gang-raped, mutilated, says relief worker,” March 4, 2002 <worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID =26672>.