One of the great evils of the Tribulation will be the persecution and martyrdom of many believers—those who have come to faith with the aid of the two witnesses, the 144,000 witnesses and the angels (Rev. 7, 11, and 14). This evil is not as bad now as it will be during the Tribulation, however, we know that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12). And we also know that as time goes on persecution and even martyrdom will get worse, just as evil grows from bad to worse (2 Tim. 3:13).
Those living in the U. S. and other free countries don’t often hear about or experience persecution, but in counties like North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan, persecution is extreme and getting worse. In fact more Christians were martyred in the 20th century than all other centuries combined.[i]