Kingdom Proclaimers Report
True Christians Will Be Persecuted
SINCE the days of Abel, many of Jehovah’s servants have endured religious persecution. (Luke 11:49-51) And no wonder, for the Bible warns that “all those desiring to live with godly devotion in association with Christ Jesus will also be persecuted”! (2 Timothy 3:12) Accordingly, today in more than 25 countries, Jehovah’s Witnesses are under ban and endure persecution.
In a country where Jehovah’s Witnesses are not only banned but also persecuted by religious elements, more than 12,000 publishers of the good news continue to work zealously, studying the Bible with over 15,000 people. Of course, their preaching work is done with discretion. For the most part, they hold their Christian meetings in private homes, and they are cautious when inviting interested persons to such meetings.
Recently the government has adopted a more lenient attitude toward the Witnesses, who now do much of their work without aggressive interference. However, various religious groups have used their influence to stir up trouble.
In one city an angry mob of some 200 religious fanatics marched toward a house where about 50 of Jehovah’s Witnesses were holding a congregation meeting. Some in the mob were carrying rocks and shouting religious slogans. Their obvious intent was to attack the Witnesses and vandalize the house. The religious leaders had apparently been watching the meeting activities for some time and waited for the right moment to attack. The mob was just about to enter the house when 15 policemen arrived and ordered the crowd to disperse. This was a surprise to the Witnesses, since none of them had even had time to call the police.
On other occasions, though, the opposers have been more successful. Several Witnesses have been brought to trial and sentenced to imprisonment. One court case had been pending for several years, and apparently the prosecutors had lost interest in it. However, at the instigation of the local clergy, the matter was brought back to the court, and the Witness was given a prison sentence.
In another place a group of Witnesses met in a private home to commemorate the Lord’s Evening Meal. Later that evening several policemen arrested the householder and the elder who had conducted the meeting. At the police station, they were severely beaten. A brutal interrogation lasted for several hours. One of the Witnesses also endured the torture of being confined in a cold well.
Why were the police carrying out such an attack? Again, a group of religious fanatics, with the help of the local clergy, was behind the police action. Later the chief of police revealed that the arrests were made without his consent. An apology was issued, and the individuals responsible for the beatings were disciplined.
Throughout the world Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to preach the good news of God’s Kingdom, even in the face of violent opposition. They follow Jesus’ advice: “Look! I am sending you forth as sheep amidst wolves; therefore prove yourselves cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves.”—Matthew 10:16.
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Abel was the first to be persecuted