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I decided to write this after seeing a artist's rendering of decapitated people on another thread. It made me think of Martyrdom and the death of Christ on the Cross. Martyrdom's such as beheadings are quite common; but there are also other forms of punishment that have been suffered by faithful witnesses of Christ and His testimony. If you're a missionary or evangelizing in areas like the Middle East, there's always a probability of losing one's life for disseminating the Gospel, especially if Christ is hated by a specific sect or extremist factions. When faced in a situation when Martyrdom is a good possibility, we should be encouraged not to back down from being a faithful witness even if death looming around the corner.

". . . and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God...(Rev. 20:4a)

On Revelation 20:4, while the verb does mean, etymologically, to "axe", we should not take this to mean that all of the martyrs will die in this fashion. Beheading was a Roman death penalty for citizens -- quick and easy; non-citizens and those who committed especially foul crimes were dispatched in different, more painful ways, crucifixion, for example.  Church tradition has the apostle Paul beheaded, but the Bible is silent on this score.  John the baptist was beheaded by Herod Antipas, but other than that I can't think of another case of this particular means of execution in scripture.  I am quite sure that martyrdom in the Tribulation will take on many forms -- probably some very horrible ones (cf. Heb.11:36-38 for a parallel -- including other means of martyrdom historically). Crucifixion seems to be the most painful of them all. The word Crucifixion comes from two latin words (ex cruciatus) and it is where the word "excruciating" is derived from.

But we can have faith that the Lord will give those of us destined to face it the wherewithal to suffer through to the glory of the One who suffered far more for us.  As to that very important point, it must be remembered that our Lord did not just die of crucifixion; rather, He also exhaled His spirit . . . but ONLY after He had suffered the wrath of God for the sins of the world.  As terrible as physical crucifixion is, all that our Lord went through in getting to and being nailed to the cross is meant to give us a small sliver of an idea of what it would take to die for a single sin -- and He died for them all.  All of the suffering of all humanity from the beginning to the end of human history rolled into one bitter pill would not come close to equaling what our Lord did in dying for the least sin of the least person -- and He died for every sin of every one of us. The cross is "bigger" than anything that can be imagined in an eternity of imagining.  Nothing is more precious than the blood of Christ, that is, His spiritual death for us all as He rose in the flames without being consumed in the darkness on Calvary's cross.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21)

And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them (Revelation 14:13)

God Bless!

Edited by (Omega)
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