Slaughter, Savagery and God’s Glory

martyrsFor years Christians have been routinely slaughtered around the world but with the coming of the Islamic State of Iraq it’s finally front page news. The focus on it and graphic awareness that news coverage brings is causing Christians to get discouraged, frightened, angry, saddened and confused. Undoubtedly there has been “a great disturbance in the force” but could it be that the disturbance is one of rejoicing?

Scripture says “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15). Wherever the church has gone martyrdom has always followed. As Tertullian stated, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

In fact, we get our word “martyr” from the Greek word translated “witness”. So, when Jesus said, you shall be my witnesses, the first disciples heard, “you shall be my martyrs”. A martyr is simply one who testifies to the truth of his message by his willingness to sacrifice his very life rather than deny the message.

As we see the horrific pictures of butchered Christians we are repulsed and can easily wonder, “where is God, where is our government, where is hope in the midst of this mess?” But there is another level which sees that each of those who bowed their head rather than bow their knee was screaming with their own blood, “Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”

The first martyr of the church, Stephen, proclaimed forgiveness and witnessed to the truth of his message in a way that surely impacted the future apostle Paul. In the early apologetic story, Octavius points out that Romans praise to high heaven men who suffered great agonies for the cause of Rome but among Christians even the women and young boys “treat with contempt” the tortures heaped upon them rather than deny their faith. In the same way, the death of each of these in Iraq and around the globe –men, women and children – screams to the executioner that Jesus Christ is Lord and worthy of their very lives.

We can be certain that with each death a roar of applause goes up from that “great cloud of witnesses” as these runners cross the finish line and are triumphantly welcomed home by their Lord and Saviour. “Well done. Race well run. Enter in to the joy of your salvation.”

I am not saying we should do nothing to oppose the evil. We are still called to “do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” but we must see this world from a higher plane. The news media will not give us this exalted perspective. We must get it from the Word and from God’s messengers to the church, its leaders.

Pastors, we must draw back the curtain and allow Christians to see a higher, a more glorious picture of what is happening around us. Our response was laid out by Paul in his letter to another church familiar with martyrdom.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:14, 15, 21 NIV

Any institution is only as solid as the foundation upon which it is laid. The foundation of this new Caliphate is being laid upon the “seeds of the church” – the death of God’s saints.

Yes, we pray the Lord will “deliver us from evil”. Yes we pray for God to forgive those guilty of these horrors. Yes we take what actions we can righteously take to put a stop to it. But we must never forget God is still at the helm of the universe. These and even greater evils to come were all foretold thousands of years ago but just as surely as these prophetic nightmares are being fulfilled, so will the glorious prophecies of a coming kingdom of peace, justice and righteousness.

Look up saints. Lift your head. Your Deliverer is coming.

 

7 thoughts on “Slaughter, Savagery and God’s Glory

  1. Very well written! Can see it is plainly written from your heart. Thank you!

    Dr. Bob was just asking last Saturday how we felt in regard of end time prophesies being fulfilled. My reply was that I was happy about it because that means Jesus is coming soon.

    Then all this week seeing everything that is currently happening in Iraq and Gaza. And last night for some reason I decided to actually see graphically the truth of this because it still felt so unreal and distant to me because of my geographical placement compared to where these atrocities are taking place. You know, a safe distance from the reality from it… What I found was nothing less than horrific!!!

    Yesterday afternoon after reading another article about the children being beheaded, I heard in my deeps read of where the souls under the alter cried out to God for justice. So, that lead me to Revelation 6 where the fifth seal was opened.

    9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.

    What I read while it surprised me in one way, in another it didn’t. Just before that when the fourth seal is opened where the one on the pale horse (look at the color of the tanks IS (former ISIS) is using. That he was given power to kill with sword, with hunger, with death and by the beasts of the earth. In my mind that describes exactly what I have been reading.

    Then, what really brought it home for me was what happens when the sixth seal is opened. The moon becomes like blood. And what is happening next month on September 28th? A blood moon!

    Whether or not this is truly “THE” end time prophesies coming to pass or not, only God knows for sure. I can help but believe it is. But if for some reason it is not, I pray for all of those who are suffering and for those who are causing the suffering. Because after what I saw last night, something evil has definitely entered their hearts to cause one human to do things like that to another. I pray that before their life is gone from them that that the witness of those they are killing with speak louder to them than that which is in them. That God will send His Holy Spirit to convict them and lead them to salvation through The Blood of Jesus. That the blood they are shedding in such horrific ways is not what will get them into Heaven as they believe but, only The Blood of Jesus who has already been slain will do that for them.

    Lord, I pray that you wake up all of your Saints and that our prayers reach Your nostrils. That Your will will be done on this earth as it is in Heaven and that You will deliver us from the evil one.

    Thank you for being a man after God’s own heart and for being a voice in the darkness of these times. May the Lord bless you!

    Cheryl

  2. Amen Rick 🙂 Truly inspiring and on the mark!!
    We can only love one another as our Savior has taught and fill heaven with our prayers for mercy!!

  3. Thank you Pastor Rick for drawing back the curtain for this much higher perspective. my husband and I were very Blessed very Blessed by this. Blessings

  4. Thanks Sharon. As Ecclesiastes says, life “under the sun” is vanity, useless and pointless. Thank God that we aren’t limited to living under the sun but get to live in the Son.

  5. Maraming salamat po. Praying for our brothers and sisters to feel our Lord’s embrace
    -deeply in love with JESUS with heads bowed… sacrificing lives for HIM …

  6. Pingback: A Dimension of Peace | Rick Malm

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