Therefore Stay Awake

I know people don’t like to think about–much less talk about–the Book of Revelation. It is difficult to read, and not just because of its many visions and prophecy. Because it’s about a huge checkmate. But I read it tonight, and it made me think about those 21 men–Coptic Christians–in Libya, and the countless others murdered in that area, by those extremists who claim to hold fast to the tenets of Islam.

“9. When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the heavenly altar the souls of those murdered for holding fast to the word of God and their testimony. 10 They cried out in a great, singular voice.

Murder Victims: How much longer, O Lord, the holy One, the true One, until You pronounce judgment on the inhabitants of the earth? Until You avenge our blood?

11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest for a little while longer—soon their number would be complete. In a little while, more of their fellow servants, brothers, and sisters would be murdered as they had been”

Revelation 6:9-11 (The Voice)

I think there’s a couple of reasons why people are so intimidated by Revelation. I am, too. It’s a super intimidating read. It’s complicated, and abstract in many ways. Thematically, it’s challenging as well. I think most of all, though, it’s because it talks about the end of things, and is specific about what’s coming. I know what you’re thinking: he’s gotten all “end-timesy.”

No, I haven’t. But I can see why people would think along those lines. The world is clearly falling apart. It’s not starting here in the U.S. It hasn’t directly touched me or my family. No one in Yuma has been seriously persecuted, or beheaded for their witness or testimony, or faith. No one probably ever will be, not in this little border town.

I think our whole country has been fortunate that way for a long time (I know you’re thinking of 9/11, but I don’t believe that was an attack on anyone for their faith–probably more so for their politics and idealogies, and for trying to bring democracy and governance by the people to places where there are clearly a great many people who don’t want to give up their thrones. Whether or not those more liberal than myself want to admit it, a great big portion of the Middle East is controlled by a radical Islamic oligarchy. It’s just obvious, and true, whether or not people are afraid to say it. There are a lot of Copts in Libya, and they’re in a lot of danger.

What’s all this about tonight? I think we have to start preparing ourselves. Because Mark 13:35 is all kinds of true.

“Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning.” (ESV)

Clearly, I didn’t know any of those men killed Saturday in Libya. But I saw the stills online of the ISIS “fighters” walking them down a beach in Tripoli to their deaths and it made me sick to my stomach. Yet I felt I needed to bear witness somehow to their martyrdom.

So I thought I would watch the video.

I saw the part where they are walked down the beach and made to kneel. I saw the very western-sounding jihadi pointing a knife and threatening to take Rome. I didn’t get much farther than that–only as far as the black-clad murderers throwing the Copts on the sand and preparing to kill them. Right as that happened, you can hear some of the men–perhaps all–crying out something in their language. All at once, just as the knives began their work.

It took a little more research, and some remarks by Pope Francis to learn they were crying out to Jesus. They weren’t delivered on Earth, but I believe they opened their eyes in Heaven. These men knew Earth was not their home.

That’s going to keep happening, I believe. ISIS may be stopped. They could even all be killed. But it won’t really stop anything. Someone could shoot the sun–which rises and falls on the righteous and unrighteous alike–and the end would still eventually come.

I get why nobody likes to talk about that. Who wants to think about it, for that matter? That line of thought could change a person’s life–or at least the way they live their life, and to whom they present their fealty and service.

I am certainly no end times scholar, and do not claim to be. My remarks are from my perspective, though they are prompted by scriptural evidence I believe to be true. I know many many people don’t believe scripture to be literally true, and follow Jesus only in the “spirit” of true faith (pun intended). I felt that way, too.

It’s just becoming more and more clear to me what’s coming. Sometime. Maybe soon, maybe not so soon.

“Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning.”

I would rather live the rest of my alloted days believing the truth of scripture and find out I was wrong than the opposite.

This ISIS stuff–if you look at it carefully regarding scripture–really does make a good case FOR the truth to be found in scripture. I’m not going to exhaustively point out scripture here, but it’s something worth looking into.

I don’t know, man. I don’t have all the answers. But I know where I can go to look for them. Or at least to look for how to deal with what comes.

It may be that eventually, there will be walks down the beach here in the US like there were in Tripoli over the weekend. Maybe for just “regular” people like us. I read the men killed Saturday were just workers (albeit Coptic Christian workers) who’d been kidnapped by ISIS. With the world as it is today, really anything can happen.

“Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning.”

Still image from video shows men purported to be Egyptian Christians held captive by the Islamic State kneeling in front of armed men along a beach said to be near Tripoli

Author: twilk68

God has changed my life, and changed me. It's that simple. I will ever be grateful, and if I live to be...well, OLD, I will never tire of telling people about the work done in my life, and what can be done in theirs, should they trust God with their innermost everything...

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