I am sure that the first time hurt extremely bad, in fact, I am quite sure that every time the pain was more than intense, agonizing beyond what most will ever experience, and then repeated. “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.” (2 Cor. 11:24) Think here on the mentality it takes for a man to do this to another man, what extreme hatred it must entail, what lack of compassion must be involved, what did the third, fourth, or fifth one think, when they tore the shirt off of Paul’s back and saw the scars, deep, speaking of a man who was well acquainted with pain. Was there laughter, were there thoughts that this man was not going to live through it this time, were the strokes given with more force, was there the desire to teach this man a lesson that he would not soon forget.
Our Lord went through the same thing, pain inflicted by men for one simple reason, they did not like the message. Truth will do that to some individuals, it will drive them to furious actions, sometimes well thought out, well planned to inflict as much pain as possible. It is based on two thoughts most generally, to attempt to force the recipient of the pain to modify his ways, and to teach all who see and hear of the deed done that this is the punishment that will be inflicted if the rules and laws they have set up are not adhered to, and many times, in fact most of the time, it works quite well.
If those who are following the same path of the one that the pain was being inflicted upon do not obey, they will find themselves in the same predicament, but there is a problem when the followers do not care about the pain, when the cause is greater than the personal sacrifice. “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” (Romans 5:7)
Every revolution throughout history has proven one fact, it is not those who are willing to inflict the most pain, not those who have the most swords, the most weapons, the cruelest people that prevail, it is those that persevere, those who will not stop in their cause until there is not one person left to defend it, if that is what it takes.
No nation, no organization, no man has ruled men for any real length of time throughout the history of men, they show up, they rule for a relatively short period of time, then they fade away. We live in a time where there are nations that have been cohesive, if you will, for centuries, the base core is kept in place, each most generally with their own language, their one main set of traditions and order, the world has never been today as it was in the past, but that is coming to a close, the one world order is at the doorstep, and it is being led by the same individuals that whipped Paul, that punished our Lord for loving them. They are mean, angry, violent, filled with pride, emboldened by temporary power, and they know no compassion. Their intent is to dominate, to control the entire planet, through coercion, force, and fear, and they will prevail, for about seven years.
Great suffering is coming, and they are more than willing to bring it, their lust is unquenchable, their pride is elevated beyond any of their peers. There will arise at the end only ten nations, all others will be either destroyed or folded into these ten, and they will rule under one called Satan, the antichrist will be their visible leader.
What is inside of a man that he can inflict pain upon another human being and feel no compassion, no remorse, nothing affects him unless it furthers his cause. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9) This did not change after the flood, it did not change when Israel became a nation, and it did not change at the cross. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10) Paul was beaten because he spoke of an eternal love, our Lord received the cross, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” (Isaiah 52:10)
Untold numbers of martyrs have come before us, those who understood that the life of one person is not as great as the life that was sacrificed for us. Our cause is worth dying for, Christ is worth every moment of our lives, He is worth our lives itself. Many in the days ahead may need to realize the truth of Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Everything in this area outside of this verse is irrelevant.