(image:AP: Minya Governorate Media Office)
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours, and their works follow them.” Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. (Revelations 14:13-16)
Whether they be the lone wolf attacks by Islamic radicals, or organised strikes by ISIS or affiliated groups, on usually unarmed civilians in the West (such a London, Manchester, Paris, or Nice), or the Middle East (such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq), or South East Asia (Philippines, Indonesia), these often cowardly murderers need to know Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour, is and will avenge the blood they shed. In what is probably the great irony of it all, as Christ shed His blood for sin, and purchased salvation for His saints, with every Christian soul killed by so call Islamic murderers, He demands life, and often this is a harvest of souls for Him from the very families of those killers. The life for a life transaction, as usual in His economy, sees many more souls for Christ, a hundred or a thousand fold, for each life taken. Such a transaction, actually considered for every life these attackers taken, saved or not. Christ has the final victory always.
And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” (Genesis 4:10-12 NKJV)
Revealing Himself to Muslims across the world in dreams and vision, and the faithful proclamation of His gospel, many are coming to Christ….can you not see the hand of His justice here. He is unable to ignore the blood of His martyrs, and will avenge with salvation, but also with the sword of judgment. And so for the unrepentant killers of His saints, they burn in torment and hell forever, and the sword of justice also sweeps them on earth, with many more meeting their end as the Lord guides the kings of earth to deal with such evil.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. (Psalm 116:15)
The taking of the lives of His saints is never overlooked or ignored by God, and indeed precious to Him is their blood. From Genesis to Revelations, the Bible makes this clear, and in the great mystery of our Lord He foresaw this and in many ways is part of His plan for redemption of all those who believe in Jesus Christ. For many are given in to disobedience, in order for Him to show mercy on all. And those in Christ, will receive the reward of such mercy.
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’ Leviticus 17:11
God also does not ignore the blood shed of the unsaved, and will bring justice upon the perpetrator and their families. Again, though, mercy has its opportunity and the exchange of life sees those given the opportunity to gain life in Christ. It should be obvious to those who carry out such murder in the name of their god, that their murders do not galvanise a people for their cause, or create such victory, for eventually the complete opposite happens. The killing of Christians simply resolves in an even greater number of Muslims converted to Christ, the believer and non-believer alike gather to themselves to support and love, and move against the very spirit and people who perpetrate such crimes, and may are caused to reflect on life and where they will end…and surely pursue the way of love not hate. Those true believers deepen their relationship with God, and become passionate for Christ, in prayer, His gospel, and in life.
For those who have not given their lives to Christ, but find themselves caught up in the evil slaughter by those who call themselves soldiers of Allah, the Lord Jesus knows those who are His, and will visit them in their hour of distress, and in the blink of an eye, or a final breath, they too will open their souls to Him. Sadly, others have their lives taken and their destination is not heaven, rather hell, for they have hardened their heart against the Lord, and only He is the door to heaven. This is perhaps the saddest thing of all about such deaths, and is sharp reminder of the need to continue to proclaim and live the gospel of the Kingdom of God, that many others may have the chance to hear and respond to the good news.
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. 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?” 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. (Revelations 6:9-11)
It is one of the great mysteries of God, that the shedding of the blood of His martyrs is part of the plan of redemption. Their reward is wonderful, in such closeness to God for eternity, and yet we cannot ignore the pain and grief that occurs in earth for them and their families. Truly, though, in the kingdom of God eternal life in heaven is so much more real, and without pain or tears, and this reality is the one we are to trust and understand to help respond to the tragedies when they occur. The sublime beauty of eternal life in many ways is much more real than the life we live here on earth, as endures it forever, and consists of a life much closer to our Lord, in a body made to last in the image of Christ. While for many us of this truth is something we only really considers when someone close to us passes away naturally, or through some tragic accident, however the recent attacks provide a much more poignant reminder of the need to believe in true redemption being eternal life.
For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Romans 11:32,33)
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:22)
In these end of days Christ is bring justice and deliverance with His rod and sword, and by Hs mercy and love this is both salvation and judgment. Perhaps because of the sacrificial life He lived, and also commands us to live now, many do not associate Him as the conquering and avenging king, but that is indeed who He truly is, and at His second coming this will most profoundly be revealed.
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.
Summary of some related Bible references
Precious is the death of His saints: Psalms 72:14; 116:15; Revelations 14:13-16
The cries and lives of the martyrs will be heard and avenged: Revelations 3:5; 6:9-11; 7:14-17
The shedding of blood demand’s God response: Genesis 4:10-15; Leviticus 17:11; Numbers 35:33; Deuteronomy 21:1-9; Job 16:18,19; Isaiah 26:21; Matthew 23:34-36; Hebrews 12:24
Christ the conquering King of kings: Psalm 2:8,9; Isaiah 63: 3-6; Revelations 14:20; 19:11-16
God’s mission in Christ will be completed: Matthew 24:4-14; Romans 11:32,33; Galatians 3:22; Revelations 7:9