Monday, August 18, 2014

The emphasis on Beheading for those Martyred by The Beast

Revelation 20:4 says.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Those who are focused on an Islamic Antichrist theory like to point out how today it's only in the Islamic world that Decapitation is still a standard form of execution, the West now prefers means that are supposedly more "Humane".

I'm not as sold on the Mahdi theory as I used to be.  I kind of feel like this is the strongest argument it has.  If the End Times scenario is in the near future, (as most contemporary Futurists kind of want to believe), that detial currenlty doesn't fit any other contemporary candidate.  But right now I want to discus other things besides the possible Islam connection this could tell us.

To those focused on a Jewish False Messiah theory, Beheading is NEVER approved of in the Torah as an acceptable means of Capital Punishment.  In fact done right it doesn't even fit the basic requirement demanded from Genesis 9, that Blood be shed.  When decapitation is done cleanly there actually shouldn't be any bleeding.

I've become more open to this theory then I used to be, but this remains possibly it's biggest problem.  I've come to view Chris White's theory as possibly correct only in terms of how he views the first half of The Tribulation.  The beheading of those who refuse to take The Mark comes in the second half, when I think he'll have abandoned any such pretense of pretending to be Pro-Jewish or Christian.  But if you want all details about the Antichrist to back up your view, the beheading is an issue.

Both Preterists, and Bible Skeptics love to insist Revelation was written with the intent to apply to the time it was written, the First Century AD, maybe Second but no later. And that this must be understood in the context of the Persecutions of early Christians by the Roman Empire.

The thing is, Beheading was a standard form of execution for Rome IF you were a Roman citizen. Indeed Paul we know was a Citizen and tradition says he was beheaded. But during the first two centuries the majority of Christians were NOT citizens, even those living in Rome who Paul addressed in the last chapter of his epistle to the Romans, were mostly either Jews or slaves.

Non citizens didn't get it so easy, and indeed, whether it was under Nero or Domitian or Trajan or Marcus Aurelius, most Christians who were Martyred by Rome suffered far more brutal forms of execution.

I also think, this detail is bound to have been interesting to many Christians who lived through The French Revolution.

The French Revolution was mostly the work of Atheists and Deists. Deisism is a philosophy that allows one to effectively be an Atheist/Materialist while still acknowledging the logical common sense arguments of Intelligent Design, but simply claiming God never interferes in his Creation.

Now by no means did all these Atheists and Deists want to persecute Christians, many like Nicolas Bonneville believed strongly in Freedom of Religion, they were a lot like Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. But the violent minority gained the political power, and during the Reign of Terror the mostly Atheist Committee on Public Safety and the Deist Maximilien Robespierre carried out a massive campaign of Dechristianization. They slaughtered entire regions of France for refusing to abandon their faith.

And of the course the Icon of the dark side of the French Revolution was La Guillotine which was a supposedly "Humane" way to decapitate someone. I think many Christians of the time must've felt like they were in the End Times.

Robespierre may well have been seen as The Antichrist, after he was accused of seeking to deify himself. This accusation was a misunderstanding of what he was actually trying to do at the Festival of the Supreme Being.

Robespierre had also turned on his Atheist allies. Indeed if one sees Robespierre a a type of the Antichrist then the Cult of Reason with it's Goddess of Reason would be the Whore of Babylon.

We know now that none of that was the End Times. But I think it's interesting to study past chapters of History in these contexts, because History does Repeat itself.

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