WHAT ABOUT MARTYRDOM? 27.11.18
Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
Rabbi Greg Hershberg, https://youtu.be/AX7RrowqHGw Torah Parsha, Nov. 4, 2017
Mark Grilus,“Ignatius of Antioch,” City Light News, January 2017.
https://www.oneplace.com/ministries/the-voice-of-the-martyrs/listen/hannelie-peace-came-over-me-717634.html , radio interview with Hannelie Groenewald.
https://www.worldwatchmonitor.org/2014/12/taliban-murder-four-humanitarian-aid-workers-in-kabul/ , Werner & Hannelie Groenwald,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiCPRaqBW04 Hannelie Groenewald tells very briefly the story of her family being martyred in Afghanistan.
https://www.vomcanada.com/component/allvideoshare/video/af-risking-all?Itemid=859, The Voice of the Martyrs, Afghanistan: Risking it all for Jesus, Hannelie’s family is martyred!”
So little reference is made to the call of martyrdom in present believing circles, that it would seem obsolete. But is it? Does God still call His people to be martyred for His cause? Didn’t martyrdom end with Messiah’s death on the Cross?
Many would have God’s people believe that God “doesn’t work that way anymore”; that when Yeshua/Christ said “It is finished” that put an end to every form of sacrifice.
Few believers actually believe God would call anyone to give up anything, let alone one’s life. It is largely assumed that if someone is killed because of what they are doing for the Kingdom, it is caused by Satan. Yet Yeshua prophesied to Peter about his upside-down death on the cross, saying “”when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” Now this He said to indicate by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God. And after this, Yeshua said to him, “Follow Me!””(John 21:18,19). And most of Messiah’s disciples were martyred. Jesus/Yeshua warned us that: “they will hand you over to persecution and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of My name” (Matt.24:9). What does this tell us?
Many saints have been martyred for the sake of the Kingdom throughout Biblical times to the present; and it was God’s call on their lives, not “of the Devil,” as many choose to believe. Just as Rabbi Greg Hershberg says, “God does not tempt us; but He does test us” (Rabbi Greg Hershberg, https://youtu.be/AX7RrowqHGw Torah Parsha, Nov. 4, 2017) . . . . Get out of facebook and put your face in His Book,” he wisely advises. Only then will you know what God’s Word really says; and how He works.
Paul taught, in many different messages, that followers of Yeshua should be “rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name”(Acts 5:41). He himself made it very clear that his priority was to serve God, whether it meant death, or otherwise: “we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord . . . . . . and prefer rather to be absent from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether at home or absent, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him” (2 Cor.5:6-9), for “He died for all so that those who live might no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised from the dead” (2 Cor.5:15). Summarizing this, it clearly places the emphasis on living unto the Lord, rather than living for ourselves/our own happiness. He actually indicates that his preference would be to have his life taken so he could be home with the Lord. “And now, look, bound by the Ruach, I am going to Jerusalem—not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Ruach ha-Kodesh bears witness to me from city to city, saying that bondage and afflictions await me. However, I don’t consider my life of any value, except that I might finish my course and the office I received from the Lord Yeshua, to declare the Good News of the grace of God” (Acts 20:22-24). Whatever he must suffer upon arrival in Jerusalem is incidental when compared with God’s greater call for him to the Lord’s service.
Has anything changed? Did God really say. . … . ? Didn’t Christ Yeshua say “It is finished” (John 19:30). Of course He did, because He was! HE was/is finished; He had completed what His Father sent Him to earth to do: “But it was for this reason I came to this hour” (John 12:27). HIS assignment was completed; now, it became human kinds’ turn to do theirs, for each believer to take up their cross and follow Him, to live their lives as He had done. Since he had “not abandon(ed) you/us as orphans; I will come to you”(John 14:18), but made provision, by His Holy Spirit, for His followers to walk in His footsteps.
I’ve always found it very curious how ministers of the Gospel, when teaching, or quoting Rev.12:11, “they overcame him (1) by the blood of the Lamb and (2) by the word of their testimony, and (3) they did not love their lives to the death,” love to expound on the first two points (blood of the Lamb, and the testimony), while omitting that critical third point, not valuing one’s life beyond the service of God/God’s call. While God does not call everyone to martyrdom, the potential call to martyrdom has never been eliminated. The requirement is that we, as believers/followers of Yeshua/Jesus, are to be so sold out to Him, that we would arise to the call, whatever it may include.
Mark Grilus (City Light News, January 2017), in his article “Ignatius of Antioch,” writes about the life of Ignatius and how he was so consecrated unto the Lord that he actually desired to be a martyr (and was so called), states at the end of his write-up: “In our modern “me” society, the account of Ignatius seems so foreign – yet he had his priorities straight. He invested his life in the eternal knowing that all temporal things will pass” (Grilus, “Ignatius of Antioch”). Another good source for this would be a study of the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred near the end of World War II for standing on the principles of God’s Word, taking a stand on behalf of the Jews, (Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, Eric Metaxas, 2010, Nelson). I recommend also, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, 1995, Touchstone Ed. In more immediate times, there are many examples; but in Western society’s protective little bubble, they are easy to ignore.
“Three armed Taliban insurgents swept into a Kabul guesthouse on Nov. 29, 2014, murdering . . . . . . Werner Groenewald and his two teenage children . . . .” (“Missionary mom recalls horror of her family’s murder in Afghanistan,” July 24, 2015, by Nico Bougas. https://blog.godreports.com/2015/07/south-africa-mom-recalls-horror-of-her-familys-murder-in-afghanistan/). The Groenewald family had answered the call as Aid Workers to Kabul in 2002, were aware of the dangers they were living in. For more details on the full story, watch the short video @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiCPRaqBW04 , and also the radio interview, in a bit more detail, @ https://www.oneplace.com/ministries/the-voice-of-the-martyrs/follow?returnUrl=%252fministries%252fthe-voice-of-the-martyrs%252flisten%252fhannelie-peace-came-over-me-717634.html®istrationSourceId=4, and other quoted sources (above). For more accounts of recent martyrs for Yeshua, refer to the links for The Voice of the Martyrs.
It is time for an attitude change, a heart change, and a reality check.Yes, God really does still assign/call people to martyrdom, and a study of Revelation will clearly substantiate that many believers will be martyred during the tribulation. A study of the book of Revelation highlights just how prevalent that call will be as we get nearer and nearer to Messiah’s return: “I saw under the altar the souls of those slaughtered for the sake of the word of God and for the witness they had” (Rev.6:9); “I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Yeshua and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image, nor had they received his mark on their forehead or on their hand. And they came to life and reigned with the Messiah for a thousand years” (Rev.20:4).
© 2017, 2nd Ed. 2017, 2018 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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