Revelation 12; Esther 2; Psalm 105:26-45
We see it happening far too often in certain parts of the world – especially those areas ruled by ISIS. The captive Christians are marched out to some predefined area and then they are martyred for their faith. They have all had chances to recant. They have all had chances to deny their faith. Yet, the last words on many of their lips are testimonies of faith in Jesus. In many of those same areas, other Christians are killed for their faith without the benefit of a video recording.
They have died, but they have overcome. They are now sitting in heaven, worshiping their Lord Jesus Christ. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelation 12:11) They are following in the tradition of those who have followed Jesus Christ since the resurrection. True followers of Christ, rather than deny their faith, would rather die.
There are many who look at the American church and note that the number of members is declining. They have proclaimed the church to be on its deathbed. Have no false conception. The church is not dead. Many who are leaving are those who joined a church not out of true faith, but out of the idea that being a member of a church was good for business. As our society becomes more secularized, that no longer applies. Those who are left are those who do not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
I have no doubt that hard times are ahead for the church. We see apostasy as so called religious leaders call upon God to bless what He calls sin. We see the falling away of those who were Christians of convenience. God’s people have always thrived in hard times, though. When others who don’t have faith in Christ see our true faith shown in difficult circumstances they have sought Christ. The message from Revelation is a reminder to stay firm, even till death. Face the future with joy, because Christ reigns!