If you study church history, about this time, there were many such persecutions often resulting in Christians being burned at the stake, thrown to lions, tortured and killed in many ways. Much of Foxes book of Martyrs was written concerning this time.
But you will also notice that this was the time when the church was the strongest.
In the years that followed when the persecutions ended, so did spiritual increase. In fact except for the occasional revival, there was a great time of spiritual decline.
Persecution always throughout history has brought the church together. Hard times always gets peoples minds on the Lord.
Remember the Gulf War, 9/11? Many people flooded in. When the war was over, they slowly left. I wonder if the church will see an influx due to Afghanistan.
Jesus says that these people about to be in prison, were going so they could be tested.
One commentary said that this testing will show themselves and their captors where their true loyalty lies and another ones says this will try them but not destroy them, but to improve their patience their faith and courage.
In either case, their faith will be put to the test.
Warren Wiersbe says: “A Faith that cannot be tested is a faith that cannot be trusted.”
In this country, where everyone almost claims to be a Christian, I believe that one day, God is going to put us to the test, to see where our loyalty lies.