Hi, I am on a two week trip where writing and internet connection are not easy. Therefore, these are some old posts revamped.
This is the eighth in a series of nine short posts on the martyrdom of Stephen, described in Acts 6-7, exploring if this was a foreshadow of the end-time tribulations that are coming.
To start at the beginning of the series, at the first post, then please click here.
Please either listen to the short audio clip above or read the notes below or both at the same time!
Acts 6:15 ‘All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.’
The death of Stephen may have seemed like a defeat but yet it was a victory. The blood of the martyrs upon the earth always brings a victorious harvest. The Church went on to grow from strength to strength.
As I write, the Taliban are continuing their dreadful persecution of the Church in Afghanistan and we continue to pray for our dear brothers and sisters over there. But yet we know that these persecutions, horrific though they may be, will produce a glorious harvest of righteousness in this whole area.
Acts 8:1 ‘And Saul was there, giving approval to Stephen’s death.‘
Saul, who watched by the side, went on to persecute the church even further.
Acts 8:2 ‘Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.’
But yet God had profound plans for Saul, who was to use his Roman name of Paul, and he would be miraculously saved and go on to become a powerhouse of preaching and teaching to the Gentile world.
Acts 9:15 ‘But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man (Paul) is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.’
We pray that many ‘Pauls’ will be raised up in Afghanistan!
The Church is called to walk in perfect love and forgiveness. Even though it may seem that the Church is being brought to nothing, nevertheless our faith, the faith of Jesus upon the cross, will ensure the victory of King Jesus who will return in power and glory and destroy the enemy with just one breath!
At times it may appear that the Church will have lost the battle and will be done away with.
Isaiah 60:2 ‘See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.’
We have already seen this principle at work, in China and Iran. Whenever the enemy seeks to bring darkness, the bright light of the gospel of salvation shines ever more brightly!
Jesus knows the troubles that we face but he also knows the victory that is coming.
Thank you for reading this.
- Revelation 15:3 A Deeper UnderstandingPlease click image to reaf full post and scroll down. If you struggle with the horror of Revelation then you are certainly not alone. The absolute horror reflects the weight of sin that has corrupted man to the core. But as we embrace these sacred truths, they will bring us deeper, far deeper than ever before, into an understanding of the heart, into an understanding of the perfect holiness of God.
- Revelation 15:3 Moses and JesusPlease tap image to see full post The mention of both Moses and Jesus the Lamb in the same sentence strengthens the idea that Jesus will be the perfect Moses, who will deliver Israel, imprisoned or exiled by the antichrist and lead them victoriously back to Jerusalem.
- Revelation 15:1 Glass and FireThe bitterness of martyrdom gives way to eternal celebration. Their victory has always been dependent upon the strength that God provides and this is reflected in the harps given to them by God. And what a glorious celebration. The enemy has been defeated and the bowls of wrath will bring this evil age to a conclusion. The joy of eternity awaits!
- Revelation 14:20 The battlefieldTo read full post please tap image and scroll down. There is a justice here, that as Christ Jesus was crucified outside of the city, so this battle will take place outside too. Those who hold to the idea that Jesus is a humble servant will be stretched by the description of Jesus as the mighty bloody warrior.
- Revelation 14:20 Trampled winepressTo read full post please click image and scroll down. In the past few posts we have explored the corn harvest which I suggested will be the harvest of the redeemed and then the grape harvest which is clearly the wrath of God being poured out upon the wicked. God will inspire the antichrist to march against Jerusalem but it will be a foolish move.