Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
We watched the movie: ‘God’s Outlaw’ some time ago, the story of William Tyndale, the man who translated the Bible into English, and who was burned at the stake for distributing it throughout England, in defiance of the king, and the Roman Catholic Church. His final prayer as they burned him: “Lord, open the eyes of the king!” History records that the kings eyes were opened, and he allowed open distribution of the Bible amongst the common people.
History records that ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church’, that as Christians have been killed for refusing to deny their faith, that God vindicated their blood, in establishing strong churches where the gospel had previously been forbidden.
There is a Christian classic book called: ‘Foxes book of Martyrs’ and a ministry today in the earth named ‘Voice of the Martyrs’ that teaches us that wicked people still kill Christians today, and that God still works, even when His servants are slaughtered.
At this point in my life, I have too much left to do for Jesus in the earth, to consider looking for that final crown, Scripture calls ‘the martyrs crown’, shared by all of the apostles, and many, many great saints over the ages.
History records the life of a great martyr, bearing the same name, a theologian named Justin Martyr, who lived during the reign of Emporer Junius Rusticus (who governed from 162 and 168. The Emporer ordered Martyr to bow before him, and this is what history records:
‘The Prefect Rusticus says: Approach and sacrifice, all of you, to the gods. Justin says: No one in his right mind gives up piety for impiety. The Prefect Rusticus says: If you do not obey, you will be tortured without mercy. Justin replies: That is our desire, to be tortured for Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and so to be saved, for that will give us salvation and firm confidence at the more terrible universal tribunal of Our Lord and Saviour. And all the martyrs said: Do as you wish; for we are Christians, and we do not sacrifice to idols. The Prefect Rusticus read the sentence: Those who do not wish to sacrifice to the gods and to obey the emperor will be scourged and beheaded according to the laws. The holy martyrs glorifying God betook themselves to the customary place, where they were beheaded and consummated their martyrdom confessing their Saviour’
I believe we are called to live a long time, and that we can believe for God’s protection:
Ps 91:16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
Ps 92:14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
These are the verses I stand upon for my life, at least the first part of Ps 92:4, I want fruit in my older age, but I got back into shape, so I am not looking to fulfill the ‘fat’ part!
Seriously, though, we as Christians should not fear death. One person held at gunpoint said to their would-be robber: ‘You cannot threaten me with heaven!’.
Heb 2:15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
Death has lost it’s sting and is swallowed up in eternal life. Anyone can die, it takes courage and God’s power to live, and experience Jesus promise of life and life more abundantly!
“Father, I want to live for you. I ask you to make me fruitful today, and that you protect me from all harm, and that the promise of Jesus, of life and life more abundantly, become real in my life. Deliver me from the fear of death, may I have such a revelation of your perfect love, that all of my fears are destroyed. On that final day, if I am to be killed for my faith, give me courage, boldness, and faith, to glorify you in my death, without fear, in your name I pray Lord Jesus