I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
A while back we heard the story of 21 Coptic Christians from Egypt who did not waver in their faith when faced with death. Back in February, 2015. ISIS beheaded these Christians because they would not follow their God or deny the true God and his son Jesus Christ. But what was perhaps not covered much in this story is that it was in fact 20 Christians, not 21 initially. One of the men was not a Christian at all and wasn’t even from Egypt. He was from Chad.
All 21 men had been working in Libya when they were kidnapped by ISIS. But as can be seen in the picture to the right, one of them indeed looks different and this was the man from Chad. All were given a choice to deny Jesus or die. They all refused to deny Him, knowing it would cost them their heads. So was the man from Chad a Christian? No he was not, however when these terrorists ordered the man from Chad to deny Jesus or die, he sealed his fate when he answered:
“Their God is my God,”
So why would a man who was not a Christian say this, when all he had to do was say what he would have said the day before, that he was not a Christian. The only conclusion is this man was moved by the faith of the men he had worked with and probably disgusted by these savage murderers knowing that the God they served could not be the true God. His was no doubt conscience bearing witness to the truth and the conviction of the Spirit which convicts all men was certainly making the picture clear for him . All these great men were willing to die rather than deny their God and their Lord. While they had hope of heaven and the resurrection, the man from Chad stuck to his confession even when the knife was placed on his throat. His words and testimony sealed not only his fate, but more importantly his salvation.
“Go ahead and behead me,” “Your god is not my God. Their God is my God.”
Could you do the same as these men if you were in the same situation? I guess we really cannot answer that question till we are put in that situation. While I hope we are never put in that situation, is we ever are tested in this way, I wonder how we would choose? Remember the following words of Paul:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
It would be easy and natural to try and preserve our own lives and take up arms. But as Jesus said, we should not love our own lives in this world even unto death.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
The execution was filmed in a five minute video. A caption in the video called the captives the “people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian Church”. Another caption read: “We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission”. ISIS videos often show their captives in orange jump suits in reaction to the attire of Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
Experts say that there was likely some digital manipulation in this video. The militants were around seven feet tall to propagate dominance and fear. Regardless, of any manipulations, experts confirm that the 21 people were executed.
After the beheadings, the Coptic Orthodox church released the identity of the victims, but there were only 20 names. It was then learned that the 21st martyr was named Mathew Ayairga and that he was from Chad. He was originally a non-Christian. Other sources spell his name as Matthew Ayariga and say that he was from Ghana. Source.