… I also saw the souls of those
Who had been beheaded
For their testimony to Yeshua and for the word of God.
They had not worshiped the beast or his image
And had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.
They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. …
– Revelation 20:4
There are only five verses in the NT that mention beheading – four concern the beheading of John the Baptist by Herod (Matthew 14:10; Mark 6:16, 27; Luke 9:9); the fifth mention is the verse above from Revelation 20:4, and in context refers to those who are raised in “the first resurrection” (v. 6).
Beheading has quite the history and there have been many famous beheadings but perhaps two of the more infamous instances of beheadings were, first, those done by Christian Crusaders in 1099, when Jerusalem was captured and 10,000 Jews and Arabs were beheaded in the Temple of Solomon; and second, those done by the Mahdi of Sudan and his militant Islamic army in 1884, when Khartoum was overrun and it took from dawn until noon to behead General Gordon and all the residents of Khartoum.
In the past, some countries in the west (Britain, Germany, Sweden, etc.) saw beheading as a much more humane way to detach the soul from the body. However, beheading can only be considered a more ‘humane’ way to execute someone if the blade is long and extremely sharp and the recipient is placed in the optimal position for quick detachment. The types of beheading being performed by IS (ISIS) today, are maximized to produce a torturous death for the recipient (aid workers, journalists, nuns, men, women, children, Jews, Christians, anyone not of the IS bent) – short, dull knives and inexperienced terrorists, or children (!), are given the ‘glorious’ task to carry out.
The collective shuddering of the western world at the barbarity of such acts has still not produced the action necessary to halt the progress of the pursuit of the terrorists bent on beheading all ‘infidels, Jews and foreigners’ within their grasp. They are sweeping their way across the mid-east with a speed reminiscent of the butchering hordes of Genghis Khan, and Attila the Hun.
Perhaps the western world is guilty of thinking that such barbarity could never happen on their shores, at least not on the same scale as that occurring on the other side of the world, so that while it is quick to condemn such acts, it is slow to the real action necessary to protect the innocent, no matter who they are, and halt the progress of the barbarians before they leap continents.
All of these goings-on should give followers of Christ pause to think – What if the barbarians were at my door? Would I be condemned to beheading for my “testimony to Yeshua and for the word of God”? These are very real questions that Christ’s followers deal with today half a world away – and they are dying by the thousands.
Please take time to pray for your brother and sisters in Christ in the mid-east and North Africa.
Please take time to pray . . . .
The Lord is coming!