Persecution has been part of the DNA in Christians since the founder of the faith Jesus Christ was executed for being a threat to the influence of the Jewish Sanhedrin and a potential troublemaker to the Roman Empire. Jesus declared to His followers, “if they persecute Me, they will persecute you”.
Many Christians of the early church were scattered as a consequence to being a Gentile religion to the Jews and competitive ideology to the polytheistic Roman empire that presented the Roman Caesars as their gods.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Christians
Stephen was the first individual Christian martyred according to the account in the Acts of the Apostles and was the first of 70 million Christians martyred since the time of Christ according to researcher David B. Barrett.
Skeptics may question the numbers, however when one inspects the number of Christians killed this passed century by atheistic and Islamic dominated regimes, the number appears quite plausible.
The Martyr Number will move God’s hand
A particular point of interest needs to be focused on Revelation 6:11 which will move the hand of God against the forces murdering Christians;
“And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their follow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
There appears to be a literal number that will move God to act on behalf of the martyred saints of the past and those martyred up to the very moment at a designated future point. God gave a similar declaration to Abraham when God said in Genesis; “the iniquity of the Ammorites is not yet full”. One can interpret “the full measure” as a moment in time or a number.
There has been a tremendous upsurge in Christians being martyred more than any other time in history with the indiscriminate killing of Christians by ISIS and other radical extremist groups. Atheistic regimes of North Korea, Red China, and the USSR have killed millions of Christians and continue to persecute Orthodox Christians. Religious bigotry is a motive for the current contention in the Ukraine.http://www.serfes.org/orthodox/memoryof.htm
During the mid-20th century two million Sudanese Christians were murdered for their beliefs. http://www.meforum.org/22/sudan-civil-war-and-genocide
At the beginning of the 20th century 2.5 million Christians were martyred during the end of the Ottoman Empire as Assyrians and Armenian Christians were killed by Turkish troops and Kurdish supporters during the rule of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assyrian_genocide
There have been a multitude of smaller scaled actions directed towards Christians in Mexico, Uganda, and Spain that resulted in the carnage of Christian followers during the past century. Germany was responsible for a government campaign against the Christian church that liquidated a million followers of Christ which accompanied the Holocaust of Jewish believers and many other groups deemed “unnecessary”.http://www.ukemonde.com/holocaust/victims.html
In spite of all the horrors of the past, there is coming another persecution that will be the most bloody in recorded history according to the warnings in the Holy Scriptures, and unless those days are cut short, no flesh will be alive.