Encouragement on the eve of our suffering standing firm till the end

Paul Baars
Written by: Paul Baars
26 min read

On the eve of His suffering on the cross, Jesus took time to encourage and comfort His disciples. He knew that hard times were coming for them too, that they would be scattered, hated, mocked, persecuted, tortured, killed... But Jesus comforted them with the promise of the Holy Spirit, with the promise of answered prayer, and with the promise of our blessed hope, which lies in seeing Christ Jesus again on that great day.

In these, our days, the world is going from bad to worse at breakneck speed, and into ever increasing evil. Christians who want to live godly lives are having to endure more and more suffering, while their hearts are tormented daily, by the sheer evil all around them.

It’s becoming more and more certain that we too will have to suffer for our faith in Jesus and for the sake of the steadfastness that leads to eternal life, just like our brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world, who are at this very moment suffering to the extent of giving their lives for the Name of Jesus, in places like Afghanistan and North Korea, in the Sudan and in China, in Canada and in Israel and in many other places.

A certain suffering is coming

Now that we see the time of our suffering approaching, and since it is clear that escaping this suffering by hiding, moving, or emigrating is impossible, since the same persecution is breaking out simultaneously all over the world, and because of the power of modern technology from which no one can hide, it is important that we start making choices now, and prepare ourselves for two certainties.

  1. We will suffer

  2. Christ will support us and comfort us in the midst of that suffering.

As it is written: A wise man sees evil and hides himself, but unwise ones go on and will pay for it (Proverbs 27:12)

Lies and deception

Since the first reports of the Corona virus reached us early 2020, the powers that be of this earth, in ever more extreme forms, have used a whole arsenal of lies, deceit, coercion, deprivation of liberty, house arrest, curfews, indoctrination and re-education to achieve one single, global goal: A Jab for every man, woman and child on the planet.

By means of a myriad of instruments, such as: useless mouth guards; destructive lockdowns;  unreliable PCR tests and so on, a route has been set in motion worldwide that can have only one outcome: “cooperate, or experience oppression”.

Until now, these instruments have been enforced more or less equally for all people on the entire planet.

However, now that the majority of people have succumbed to the increasing pressure, and because they love this world, and have therefor gone along with the deceit, because they crave the liberties that have been taken from them more than they care for the truth, they have allowed themselves to be enslaved, by accepting the injection, causing the world to be split into two camps: those who go along with the government and their ever increasing oppression and those who oppose and fight against it in various ways.

The great divide

The created divide between the jabbed and un-jabbed is deepening fast and the call for exclusion of the unvaccinated is growing exponentially.

This segregation, empowered by media and governmental propaganda, which falsely and demonically stigmatises a specific group as the cause of all the problems, can only lead to one outcome, persecution.

All of this however is not a new phenomenon. It is eerily similar to the developments we saw in Europe of the 1930’s, when step by step a stigmatized group of men, women and children were set apart, isolated, disowned, ostracised, used as scapegoats, beaten, taken from their homes, locked up, transported, tortured, slaughtered.... Just like in the late 1930’s, we can see the contours of persecution forming on the horizon, the coming suffering of all those who want to live godly lives is certain.

In the Netherlands, where I live, the effects of the "measures" have so far been less extreme than in other parts of the world. In Australia, people are already locked up in special "quarantine" facilities. In New Zealand, because of one positive test, the entire country went into lockdown and in France, just like in Israel and Greece, the pass sanitaire was introduced that puts people without the jab outside of society, for the moment causing major protests and unrest among the population.

If we think we can escape, because it will not go that far in the Netherlands, we are wrong.

As of September 25th, restaurants, hotels, theatres and cinemas will be off-limits to all people who cannot show a QR code, because they have not been vaccinated, have not been tested or cannot prove that they were infected less than six months ago. Two weeks prior, on September 13th, similar measures will go into effect in several other countries and regions, among which Hawaï.

A de facto medical apartheid system is thus formalized and although the promise of lifting the measures in November has been mentioned, every right-thinking person knows with certainty that, with the upcoming flu season, these measures will not disappear but rather be increased, to catch as many people as possible in this anti-Christian trap.

Obvious lies

All these rules and "temporary" measures and coercive legislation and indoctrination under the guise of healthcare are not aimed at stopping the virus, that should be clear to every person by now. The applied measures are highly destructive, but proven ineffective against the virus. Prolonged use of mouth guards can cause health problems, lockdowns have destroyed countless lives and the vaccine itself does not even prevent contagion and you can still get sick.

In Israel, forerunner in the vaccination roll-out, a fourth “booster shot” is already being discussed as is the possibility of continued yearly booster shots FOREVER. All that, while the virus has a very low mortality rate (less than 99%) and has an effect on your health which is similar to the flu. Despite the governments assigning A status to this virus, it has proven to be anything but a killer virus.

Possible start of a popular revolt ?

Many citizens see and hear the lies and are starting to take notice. They are becoming fed up.

There are daily protests around the world with larger and larger numbers of people attending. As I write this article we look back on a great march for freedom just yesterday in our nation’s capital Amsterdam.

250.000 people of all levels of society and from the very young to the very old, walked peacefully and in protest… The media manipulated the story saying only a couple hundred and then a couple thousand were in attendance, giving it only a limited media coverage and framing it to be a far right demonstration of weirdo’s.

But those present were a cross-section of society ! A cross section of all walks of life, who have had enough, who are suffering, who do not find a listening ear in the ones democratic government…

It is my fear that it is only a matter of time before groups of people or even a lone wolf with nothing to lose will start taking the law into their own hands, from which terrible things will follow, for violence will give evil an excuse to tighten the noose even further.

Suffering is coming, what can we do ?

From the Bible we learn that, especially in times like these, we need to go back to our foundation. Our foundation is Christ Jesus. He is the Rock on which our faith rests.

When Daniel's friends were thrown into the fiery furnace because they refused to go along with the lie of the world, it was Jesus who was in the furnace with them and rescued them from it. (Daniel 3:16:28)

In John 16:33, Jesus says, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but have good courage: I have overcome the world."

Two chapters earlier Jesus said:  "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give it to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor be afraid." (John 14:27)

Jesus gave these promises of peace to His followers, knowing that in the following decades severe persecution would come. The Gospel would sail across the world on a wave of suffering, pain and death. However, Jesus promised that in the midst of all that suffering there would be a deep peace, given to us from God, which would make the burden light, and He promised us that those who persevere to the end shall gain eternal life.

the promise of the Holy Spirit

Jesus called the Holy Spirit: “the Comforter”. It is He who convicts us of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. (John 16:8). It is also He who brings to mind the promises of Jesus and points us again and again to our blessed hope, so that we may find comfort in our oppression.

It is the Holy Spirit who counsels us, showing us the way we should go, as it is written, “The Lord will give you bread of distress and water of affliction, but your teachers shall no longer hide: your eyes shall see your teachers. With your own ears you will hear a word from behind you: this is the way, walk in it, This in case you should go to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:20-21).

So when we suffer, we can turn to God and ask Him for His Spirit, to bring us comfort. For He gives us faith as a shield and His Word as a sword, to repel the attacks of the devil.

the promise of answered prayer

Jesus promised in John 16, that we have direct access to the Father when we pray in the Name of Jesus. He said: "Hitherto you have prayed nothing in My Name; pray, and you shall receive, that your joy may be complete... On that day you shall pray in My Name, and I do not say to you that I shall ask the Father for you, for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and believed that I came from God."(John 16:24,26-27)

When we believe in Jesus, we may pray to the Father in the Name of Jesus and He will hear us in accordance with His will.

the promise of our blessed hope

We must be aware, in the face of impending suffering, that the light and temporary suffering we must go through (light compared to the horrors of hell and temporary compared to eternity) is bearable because we have a promise of an Almighty and Omniscient God, who does not lie. A promise of eternal life and peace in His presence.

Paul wrote about this: “Therefore we do not lose heart; on the contrary, even though our outward man perishes, yet the inward man is renewed from day to day. For our light affliction, which is of short duration, brings about in us an all surpassing eternal weight of glory. For we keep our eyes fixed, not on the things which are seen, but on the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

If we keep our eyes on the prize, which awaits us after the finish line, namely the upward call of God in Jesus Christ, then the suffering of the present time is bearable. (Philippians 3:14)

The Rapture

We should also note here that we are given a very specific and enormous comfort in the blessed hope that God will take us away from the earth, before He pours out the wrath of His indignation on the nations of the world. This Rapture, as it has come to be known, can happen at any moment, but will most definitely happen at the appointed time of God the Father, because God has not appointed us to suffer wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1Thes 5:9)

That does however not mean that God will keep His children from trials, tribulation and affliction, which things are promised us throughout holy Writ, as instruments of our sanctification.

Suffering is given to us for a reason

We should not be surprised, when we are tried by the fire of tribulation, as if something strange happened to us. No, on the contrary, we should rejoice that we may share in the sufferings of Jesus, so that we may also rejoice and rejoice in the revelation of Jesus Christ at His coming. (1 Peter 4:12-13) For, the sufferings we must endure are given to us by God because trial of faith produces perseverance, and we know that persevering faith is saving faith. God is working to save you when you suffer ! (James 1:2-3)

Yes ! against our human nature we can and should rejoice, when we find ourselves in tribulations, because we know that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance produces experience, and experience produces hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 5:3-5)

Remember… Paul  and Silas sang praises to God at midnight, while in prison, with hands and feet in the stocks… and God delivered them from their trials. (Acts 16:25)

Suffering serves, for our benefit, so that we may have the assurance of our assumption as children of God and that we will have part in the resurrection of the dead to eternal life.

Indeed, God works all things for the good of those who love Him, for those who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) especially in affliction and persecution.

It is war, be a good soldier and prepare yourself

We must be well aware that we are soldiers of God, however, we are not fighting against flesh and blood. We battle not against people, but against the powers, against the world rulers of darkness of this age, against the spiritual powers of evil. We are in a fight with the devil and his armies. (Ephesians 6:12)

Since we are fighting a war against these invisible powers, using weapons and fighting according to human standards makes no sense. Indeed, by using force, we are using the enemy's weapons and doing his work. We cannot win this battle with knifes and staves, with guns and bombs. We can only win this spiritual war with spiritual weapons.

Therefore, put on your own armour so that you are not overcome by the enemy, but overcome him by the power of Jesus in you. (Ephesians 6:11)

Put on your combat uniform

Put on the belt of truth and wear the bulletproof vest of righteousness. Put on the shoes of readiness to share the Gospel and wear the shield of faith, with which you can repel the attacks of the devil. Put on the helmet of the blissful hope we have, so that your thoughts will not be clouded by fear or sorrow. And take up the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God, the Bible. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

The belt of truth

As we said before, the world is entangled in lies and deceit. The devil is lord of this world and father of the deceitful. He is also known by the title: “the father of lies”. (John 8:44)  Therefore, we must put on the belt of truth so that in the midst of our struggle, our pants do not fall off and we are unable to fight and are literally embarrassed.

For us, who follow Christ, the truth in all things must come first. The truth of Christ Jesus who said of Himself, "I am the Way the Truth and the Life," but also the truth between people (not lying) and the love of truth in all things. Therefore, we do not go along with the testing for access and the fear of the world. Because all these are lies, but we are of the truth. And we should not participate in the dark deeds of satan’s servants.

Bulletproof vest of righteousness

The devil hates us and will, as far as God allows it, daily and increasingly ore, shoot at us with the bullets of: fear, sadness, anger, depression shame and what other negative emotions there be. All these things target our heart, our feelings. The goal of the enemy is to make us afraid and unstable and thus useless to the cause of Jesus Christ. We must protect ourselves by righteousness.

However, since we are all sinners, it is not our own righteousness that can protect us, but the righteousness of Jesus that is imputed to us on the basis of faith. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

We know that we are justified by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is what protects us from the devil's attacks on our hearts. The bullet hits are felt, oh how they can hurt ! And they may knock us out for a moment. But by faith in Christ’s righteousness imputed to us by God, we stand up to continue the fight. As is written in the Proverbs: “For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again.” (Proverbs 24:16-18)

Shoes of Gospel readiness

As a good servant and soldier of Jesus Christ, we must be ready and prepared at all times, to give an account to anyone who asks us where our hope comes from that carries us. (1 Peter 3:15)

That boldness in testifying begins with understanding how and why we are saved. We must be prepared to witness; in season and out of season, and to do so with patience and instruction.

Corrie ten Boom as an example

A good example is the story of Corrie ten Boom, who along with her sister Betsie suffered greatly in the camps of Nazi Germany. Yet, amidst the suffering they preached to the fellow prisoners and they sang and witnessed. The two sisters smuggled a Bible into the camp from which they testified to the other women in the camp and many were stolen away from the devil's hold and from the threshold of hell, and were added to the number of the saved.

Shield of faith

Faith in the promises of God is the absolute best way to stop the attacks of the devil. Jesus preceded us in doing this by parrying the devil's attacks at His temptation in the desert by quoting Bible texts that exposed the devil's lies.

We must train ourselves to wield the shield of faith, by filling our spiritual pockets with Bible verses. We must imprint them in our minds so that, when we are caught and imprisoned and we do not have a Bible in our hands, we are not found without a shield and fall into despair.

Let us agree with each other that we will imprint these fighter verses on our minds so that we can recite them in the middle of the night and lift them up as a shield against the attacks of the evil one.

Richard Wurmbrand as an example

We can take an example from Richard Wurmbrand, who was tortured for Christ, because of his stance for Christ and His Word and against the atheist socialist powers in Romania. He held prayer gatherings and taught small groups from the Bible.

For 14 years, while he was in prison and beaten often, He drew strength from remembering that God says “do not fear” 366 times in the Bible, one time for each day, including a leap year. Richard Wurmbrand exercised and thus knew how to use, the shield of faith.

Helmet of Blessed Hope

If the devil cannot touch us in the heart, he targets our head, our thoughts and our reservations. He causes us to doubt ourselves, our faith, and the promises of God toward us. However, we have the blissful hope that lies ahead. We know where we are going and that this suffering is only temporary. This assurance keeps our feet firmly on the Rock of Christ Jesus our hope, and protects us from doubt. We keep our senses and do not sink into the slough of despond, because He who does not lie has given us promises. And we have placed our hope on the promises of the Almighty God of Abraham.

Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God

The whole armour so far has been defensive, it is there to protect us from the attacks of the evil one and keep us in the protection of God. However, we have also received the sword of the Spirit, which is a defensive and offensive weapon. Which means that it is not only there to defend, but also to attack.

In our battles, we repel attacks with the shield of faith in the promises of God and with the Word of God as the sword of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwelling in us reveals to us the truth of the Bible. When we experience an attack, whether spiritual or physical, we repel with the shield of faith in the promises of God and then we strike back with a word from God in the Bible.

Again, we find an example in the temptation of Christ in the desert, where Jesus uses Bible texts as a Shield of Hope but also as a sword to repel the attacks of the devil.

Just like the use of the shield of faith needs to be trained, by imprinting the promises of God into our minds, so too we must train ourselves in the use of the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.

My fellow soldiers, know the Word of God intimately and apply it daily to all aspects of your life and you will be a useful soldier in the army of Christ, worthy to receive that highest commendation: “well done, My good and faithful servant”(Matthew 25:21)

Train yourselves, and do not be slothful

The spiritual armour is your personal battle gear, which protects you as well as you train yourself in the use of it.

For an untrained person, who puts on his armour and goes into battle, but has slothfully neglected his training, should not think that he will leave the battlefield alive !

Therefore, train yourselves so that you are familiar with the use of your weaponry, so that you may live and be useful to your Captain.

Prayer, the primary weapon of the Christian

If the armour is your personal responsibility, then prayer is like calling in an air raid, or like the blowing of a trumpet, to bring in a greater power. If we are overrun, because of lack of training, because of overwhelming enemy forces or because we need to advance, we must fall on our knees and ask God for help and He will answer !

After all, “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15)

For we know that when we pray according to the will of God, in the Name of Jesus, that we are speaking directly to the Father, who is Almighty and Omniscient and for whom nothing is too difficult.

So when, in our fight, we can go no further, because we have not trained enough, or because the supremacy seems too great to us, we must pray to God and He will destroy your enemies.