The Apostle John in the book of Revelation tells us that the “testimony of Jesus is the spirit of Prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). And, in second Timothy the Apostle Paul notes that, “indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” (2 Tim. 3:12).
What do these two statements have in common? At first they may seem to not be connected in any way. But in reality they have everything in common!
Jesus name means “Savior or Salvation”. All throughout the Old Testament runs a “prophetic thread” regarding this. And it starts in the Garden of Eden with two people, Adam and Eve. Paul says, “for Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (1 Tim. 2:13-15). A very mysterious verse right? Yet a verse which explains how Jesus fulfills this prophecy is, “for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). You see, when Eve, (or the World), gave into sin, the Savior, (Adam), Her Husband, Head, the one who was to intervene, the first born of God (or in other words a type of “Jesus”) CHOSE to join Her in her sin and become sin for her. Did Adam love His wife enough to become sin with Her. Did he know what he was doing? Well, right after that begins another mystery, two children born (Cain and Abel) and a third, Seth. Seth was a “child born of the Woman, of Her Seed, who was to bring a picture of “hope and Salvation and who would eventually “Crush the Serpents head, through Salvation (Jesus). And so we have the meaning of this verse… “Yet she will be saved [through a Savior] through childbearing“… in other words, Jesus who was born of Mary.
Next we have Cain and Abel. Cain killed or (persecuted/martyred) Abel because Abel was “righteous” and offered a sacrifice from his flock, being a type of Jesus. Now regarding Cain, the Apostle John goes on to say, “we should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you” (1 John 3:12-14). Cain, being a picture, or “type” of the World.
After Cain and Abel there are many other “Jesus” figures throughout the Old Testament. One major picture is Joseph who was in Egypt. Joseph who was betrayed by his brothers, sold as a slave, being a righteous man, was falsely accused, sent to the pit of prison, then at just the right time, was raised to honor at the place of the right hand of Pharaoh. Jesus was betrayed by His brothers, crucified, went into the pit and then rose to the right hand of the throne of God. Samson was another prophetic picture, though NOT perfect! Ultimately he sacrificed his own life for the righteous cause of God at the end of the book. And the prophecy made to Samson’s parents, before he was born, should sound very familiar! There are very many “prophetic types” throughout the scriptures but another major one is Daniel. Who was a very righteous man, and was trapped by false accusations, sent into a pit of lions, but rose to power again, basically to the right hand of power, and even had a great influence among the Gentile world for God. And I have to share something else amazing here. If you follow the lives of the two “perfect” men, who no bad thing was written about in the Old Testament. One was the pre picture of Jesus first coming. That was Joseph from Egypt “who brought salvation to the world at that time” If you read the story. The second is Daniel, who testified in his visions of the Christ, or of Jesus title, the Messiah (Christ) who would reign supreme and fill the whole earth as Lord and King. Though both Joseph and Daniel live out the picture of the Savior to come. Daniel had a unique prophetic message which not only spoke to the Jews but also spoke the the Gentiles. Of course, I must say Joseph’s salvation picture also included saving the whole world. But as I learned at one time, Joseph’s life is a picture of Jesus life while He was here on earth up to one hundred different parallels!
Since the beginning of time there have been “Jesus” figures. They are called “types” or prophetic pictures of the role of the Savior to come, who ultimately was Jesus. But also after Jesus, until the end of time there will be pictures of Jesus Christ. For instance, the Church, or individually, the Christian, is meant to reflect Jesus and be a picture of Him on earth by the anointing of the Holy Spirit. And the more an individual considers themselves dead to the flesh and to the world, and exchanges it for the image of the Son of God, the more they will reflect Jesus. Same with corporately. The more the Body-of-Christ loves God and one another (other Believers) the more we will reflect Jesus to the World.
Finally, back to the start, “indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,” (2 Tim. 3:12). As we walk in alignment with, and obedience to, the Holy Spirit in our lives we WILL be persecuted by the World! So, if you are a Christian, living like Jesus, and walking in the power of the “Holy Spirit”, meaning there is also an unholy spirit, being the spirit of the world, according to scripture. You will be treated like Jesus, or like Daniel or Joseph, or as is also very clearly seen in the prophets of the Old Testament. All the true prophets of God were treated badly and rejected by their own culture. All these were pictures of Jesus. And in the twenty first century, where the standards of a God of morality is clearly being increasingly rejected, you will stand out like a sore thumb to all those you encounter who oppose Jesus Christ. And, surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, you will find yourself persecuted by other so called Christian’s or believers in Jesus who are not walking in the way of Jesus, but are presently unaware. But, lets not forget that Daniel and Joseph and according to a statement made by Jesus in the New Testament, the prophets also, were all exalted and honored by God for their faithfulness! Regarding this Paul says, “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory”(1 Tim 3:16). Notice Paul does not say this is JUST the mystery of Jesus Christ, but this is the mystery of GODLINESS. Meaning, this is the pattern of those who live godly lives. If we are persecuted for the name of Jesus Christ, we will also be exalted for the name of Jesus Christ!
So, take a look at your life, are you hated by the world for the sake of Christ, or does the world regard you as one of its own?