“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Rev. 12:11)
During the Tribulation period, the seven years of Jacob’s Troubles, those who give their lives to Jesus Christ will be hunted down and killed. Most will be beheaded as mentioned in Revelation 20:4. Today in China, North Korea, parts of the Middle East and other nations Christians are hunted down and killed, many of them tortured first. Most nations do not interfere with other nations when these crimes against God are committed, they do not consider it their business, and this has worked quite well into the plans of Satan for these last days we are in.
Someone has to take the blame, there must always be a scapegoat, no different than the one the priest would lay his hands on and then send out into the wilderness. (Lev. 16:21) These brothers and sisters of ours do not yet realize who they are, no different than the 144,000 that will serve Christ at that time. There is only one truth that I believe we can know about them today; they will be more like the first century Christians than most born-again believers are today.
When they are found out, they will run and hide, if they are captured, they will look for an opportunity to escape, but not to save their own lives just for the sake of staying alive, but so they can continue to stand against the evil that will be upon the earth in those days, so they can continue to witness for the Lord. Those who will be beheaded will fear, at least their flesh will, but they will not love their lives to the end, they will go home when they are called, and they will do so with joy and willingness.
It is an easy verse to repeat, Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” It’s not so easy to envision it until you’re the next one in line on execution day.
It is said of many of those that were tortured and killed in the colosseums of the first century that they sang songs glorifying God as they died, Jesus Christ was real to them. He was not visited on Sunday morning at a set time for a set length of time, He was not replaced with the world and selfish desires the rest of the week, He was worthy to suffer for if so called to do so. “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim. 3:12)
I cannot comprehend the faith that those who serve the Lord Jesus in places where if it is found out and they are captured they will be tortured and killed. I read about them, my wife reads about them, but I cannot comprehend the faith that they have been blessed with. They have not just memorized that verse in Philippians, they live it, every moment of everyday. To imagine what it must be like to have a heart filled with the desire to tell others about the Savior that we love so much but having to choose every word so carefully is beyond me.
It is one thing to stand against evil in a safe environment, it is quite another when it burst into your house and demands that you deny Him or you and your entire family will be put to death immediately.
To these brothers and sisters in Christ of ours today and for those who will suffer through the Tribulation period Philippians 3:10 stands as much more than simple frustration, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” will mean pain and death. I hope you’re not one who profess’ Christ with your lips only, I hope you’re not embarrassed to speak His name in public, I hope you don’t think that the assembling of ourselves together is the proof of our salvation.
I pray that if you’re reading this and the Tribulation period has started that you will gain strength from it, and trust in the Lord with all your heart, not loving your life even to the end, for His glory.