Monday, September 9, 2013

Nero's Persecution and Pray for brothers and sisters in Christ in China!


The First Persecution, Under Nero, A.D. 67

Fox's Book of Martyrs
The first persecution of the Church took place in the year 67, under Nero, the sixth emperor of Rome. This monarch reigned for the space of five years, with tolerable credit to himself, but then gave way to the greatest extravagancy of temper, and to the most atrocious barbarities. Among other diabolical whims, he ordered that the city of Rome should be set on fire, which order was executed by his officers, guards, and servants. While the imperial city was in flames,
he went up to the tower of Macaenas, played upon his harp, sung the song of the burning of Troy, and openly declared that 'he wished the ruin of all things before his death.' Besides the noble pile, called the Circus, many other palaces and houses were consumed; several thousands perished in the flames, were smothered in the smoke, or buried beneath the ruins. This dreadful conflagration continued nine days; when Nero, finding that his conduct was greatly blamed, and a severe odium cast upon him, determined to lay the whole upon the Christians, at once to excuse himself, and have an opportunity of glutting his sight with new cruelties. This was the occasion of the first persecution; and the barbarities exercised on the Christians were such as even excited the commiseration of the Romans themselves. Nero even refined upon cruelty, and contrived all manner of punishments for the Christians that the most infernal imagination could design. In particular, he had some sewed up in skins of wild beasts, and then worried by dogs until they expired; and others dressed in shirts made stiff with wax, fixed to axletrees, and set on fire in his gardens, in order to illuminate them. This persecution was general throughout the whole Roman Empire; but it rather increased than diminished the spirit of Christianity. In the course of it, St. Paul and St. Peter were martyred. To their names may be added, Erastus, chamberlain of Corinth; Aristarchus, the Macedonian, and Trophimus, an Ephesians, converted by St. Paul, and fellow-laborer with him, Joseph, commonly called Barnabas, and Ananias, bishop of Damascus; each of the Seventy.


I have noticed of late that this blog is being read by persons from China.  I want you to know that I pray for you often.  There are people who read this blog from all over the world, some live in countries in which the persecution is intense, others may be persecuted by being mocked, ostracized and/or losing their jobs.
You are a great example to us!  Remember that were ever you are, if you know Christ then you have access to the Father through the Son, being guided by the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,   through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand ; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.   And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:1-3).

Pray for China

China Aid learned from Brother Zhang of the China House Church Union, that brother Liang Zhongxin and sisters Liu Guilin, Yu Qingming, and Cao Ling were arrested by Xinjiang Region police on August 31, 2013. The house church members were arrested for organizing a Sunday school. As a result, their families are now in danger of being arrested as well. Brother Zhang reported that even the children of these four Christians were interrogated. Police have yet to release these Christians.  China Aid will continue to monitor and report the situation. We ask that the Christian community in China and the rest of the world lift up a prayer of safety for these brothers and sisters and their families.

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