Ladies of the Faith

Brother Ernest Strubhar presents the challenging and sobering stories of Perpetua, Annekin Jansy, Aisha, the Mother of Seven, and others. What do these all have in common? They refused to recant or turn back from following their Savior no matter the consequences. What are you willing to give up for Christ?


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Transcription:

Prayer by Dale Heisey:

Father, we’ve heard many sermons. We’ve received a lot of instruction. We’re not strangers to Your Word, to Your Truth. But there’s something You want us to hear. There’s an opportunity here, O God, for you to speak to us. We want to pause before we begin this message to prepare our hearts. We want to pause to humble ourselves before You. We want to humble ourselves, dear God, before the Holy One of Israel. We need to hear Your words. We need this to be impressed upon our lives and minds. We need to make commitments here this morning, Father. We need to see this, not in light of history but in light of the present. We are here. The blanks must yet be filled in. The chapter is not yet finished. And dear God, take the faith that was in these dear women, as they demonstrated it, and lived it, and suffered, and hoped, and prayed, and lived – and put that into our own hearts, our mother’s hearts, our grandmothers, our dear sisters, our youth girls, all of us. Fill us, dear God, with this message this morning. And bless the dear brother as he shares it, and give him liberty and freedom. Give him, dear Father, conviction, and let his words move us to bow down and worship and make a complete sacrifice, the utter sacrifice, so that death that one day might overtake us – it begins in this tabernacle today as we surrender ourselves to God. And we pray this special blessing in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ernest Strubhar:

I’ve been asked to tell you the stories of some ladies of faith. Women of faith. In Hebrews 11, there are a couple of women mentioned: Sarah, whose name means “princess” or “mother of a multitude.”

What other lady of faith do you remember in that chapter? Well, it’s Rahab, the harlot. Quite a contrast between those two!

Any more?  Well, verse 35 says, “Women received their dead raised to life.” And this next sentence, I believe is a reference to history that is not well-known, that I’d like to tell you about later in the message. “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.”

I have four stories today of ladies of faith. I’m going to tell those stories with little comment, little commentary. The stories speak for themselves. I suppose that anything that I could say would only detract.

The last story particularly has some graphic descriptions of torture. I’m just going to read them as they are recorded in history, without comment, but I will give you this warning: if you have children who are troubled by things like this, and have sensitive hearts and spirits, and might have nightmares, you might want to just exit when we get to the story of “The Mother of Seven.”

1) Perpetua and Felicitas  (martyred around A.D. 203).

My first story is about a woman named Perpetua and her maid Felicitas. How many of you know the story? A few of you do. Great. Ladies of faith! They were faithful ladies, Christian martyrs, early in the third century.

Perpetua

Perpetua was a noblewoman of about 22 years of age, a resident of North Africa, probably Carthage, preparing for baptism. It’s amazing! This woman left us a diary of her days in prison. Britannica Encyclopedia says, “Her text is one of the rare surviving documents written by a woman in the ancient world” [www.britannica.com/biography/Perpetua]. I’ll be quoting some of that diary this morning, letting her tell her story.

Felicitas

Perpetua’s maid, Felicitas, was a young slave. She was captured and imprisoned along with her mistress. She was expecting a child, and Roman law forbad her execution until she gave birth to that child. My sources for this story are Martyrs Mirror, p. 127; Christianity Today, from their website www.christianitytoday.com/history/people/martyrs/perpetua, and other websites. But especially, you can read this story in The Ante-Nicene Fathers set, Volume 3, near the end of the book, pages 699-706. There you can read Perpetua’s own diary, her own words, with commentary by a contemporary, probably written by Tertullian. An amazing reading!  I had never read it in full until I prepared for this message.

So here is what I read, some of the things. I’m going to make it quite brief this morning.

From Perpetua’s own words:

After her arrest, her pagan father immediately came to her in prison, and told her, “Just deny you are a Christian.”

“Father,” she said, “do you see this vase here? Could it be called by any other name than what it is?”

“No,” he replied.

“Well, neither can I be called anything other than what I am, a Christian.”

At her trial, her father burst into the court room, carrying Perpetua’s son in his arms. He embraced his daughter, pleading, “Perform the sacrifice. Have pity on your baby!”

The governor, probably wanting to avoid executing the mother of a child, added, “Have pity on your father’s gray head; have pity on your infant son. Offer the sacrifice. That’s all you have to do. Just offer the sacrifice on the welfare of the emperor.”

Perpetua replied simply: “I will not.”

“Are you a Christian then?” asked the governor.

“Yes I am,” Perpetua replied.

The eyewitness at Perpetua’s martyrdom wrote:

The prisoners proceeded from the prison into the amphitheater, … joyous and of brilliant countenances.

(I’m abbreviating this story a lot. I’ve got to move quickly today.)

Perpetua sang psalms as they were exiting into the amphitheater. The people demanded that they should be tormented with scourges. … The martyrs rejoiced that they should have incurred any one of their Lord’s passions.

(They could suffer like Jesus.)

For the young women, the devil prepared a very fierce cow, provided especially for that purpose, contrary to custom, matching their sex to that of the beasts. And so, stripped and clothed with nets, they were led forth. She and the other 5 martyrs

(There were a group of them led forth that day to be martyred)

were all attacked by beasts, some by a leopard, some by a bear. And finally, all were killed by the sword. This happened around A.D. 203.

[Picture]  This next picture is not an etching of Perpetua’s martyrdom, but of Blandina who was martyred just a few decades later, up in France. But I think it shows very well what happened to Perpetua, and it matches the description that you can read there of her martyrdom.  

2)  I’d like to tell you next of Anneken Jansz (martyred Jan. 24, 1539).

She was a 16th century lady of faith, This story is told in Martyrs Mirror, pp. 453-454, where she is called “Anna of Rotterdam.” It’s retold by Peter Hoover in The Secret of the Strength, and some of that retelling I quote.

This was many years later [than Perpetua]. This woman was a contemporary of Menno Simons, a contemporary of Casiodoro de Reina that I talked about yesterday. She lived in the same time period, right in the early times of the Anabaptists when there were many martyrs in Holland.

She was an only child, the heiress of a considerable fortune. She married young, to a young man named Arent. They should have been happy. But money, parties, nice dresses, and expensive wines, and all that they had of the world, (things that we have, my friend) did not meet the longings of their hearts.

At the age of 24, was baptized with her husband by a visiting Anabaptist preacher, whom they hosted in their home. She says that she sacrificed everything for her faith. She gave everything up, because she knew what happened to Anabaptists. She and her husband actually moved to London for a season to escape persecution. He died there. I’m not sure why, but she returned to Holland. There, she and a travel companion, Christina, were on a wagon early one morning, singing quietly some Christian songs as they traveled. Because they sang, they were suspected of being Anabaptists. They were reported to the authorities at the city when they arrived there. They were captured, imprisoned, and sentenced to death. (There are more details to the story, but I’m not going to tell them.)

I’ll just say this much: on the morning of the planned execution day, Anneken awoke from her sleep, and wrote a letter to her fifteen-month-old son. She folded it, tied it in a piece of cloth, along with a few coins she had. She addressed her son Isaiah.

At 9:00 they led her and Christina down the street toward the city gates and the river outside. Crowds of people lined the streets. On the way, Anneken called out, “I have a baby, five quarters of a year old. Who will take him? Who will raise him for me?” A baker and a father of six reached out and took him. Anneken gave him the folded piece of cloth with the coins and the letter. Then they tied the women up, broke the ice, and threw them into the river to drown.

How many of you are the age of that mother today? How many of you have a 15-month-old son? Or a child, like Perpetua had? How many of you are women of faith? How many of us are men of faith?

[Picture]  Here’s a little etching from the Martyr’s Mirror that shows Anneken handing her son (you maybe can’t see him real well) to this baker, and this little pouch with the coins that she had, and the letter inside, giving her son on the way into the door of eternity. She went gladly.

And I’d like to just read to you. I don’t know how you can understand these words best. If you can follow along and hear and see both, that’s great. Maybe you want to just close your eyes and listen, depending on what kind of a person you are. I’d like to just read to you the letter that this mother wrote. I think it’s a powerful letter! If it doesn’t touch your heart, ask God to soften your heart.

Anneken’s letter to her infant son:

Isaiah, receive your testament. Listen, my son to the instructions of your mother. I am now going the way of the prophets, apostles, and martyrs to drink from the cup from which they drank. I am going the way of Christ who had to drink from that cup Himself. Since He, the Shepherd, has gone this way, He calls his sheep to come after Him. It is the way to the waterspring of life.

This is the way the kings from the land of the rising sun came to enter the holy age. It is the way of the dead who cry from beneath the altar: “Lord, how long?” It is the way of those who are sealed in their foreheads by God. See, all these had to drink from the cup of bitterness like the One Who rescues us has said:

(These are the words of the Lord Jesus.)

“The servant is not greater than his Lord; rather it is good enough for him to be made equal to his Lord.” No one comes to life except through this way.

(She understood that. Do we? So she wrote to her son, who was only 15 months, and I suppose that he read this letter later in life. I don’t really know.) She wrote to him:

So go through this narrow gate, my son, and be thankful for the Lord’s chastening. If you want to enter the holy world and the inheritance of the saints, follow them! The way to eternal life is only one step wide. On one side is the fire, and on the other side is the river. How shall you make it through? Look my son, there are no shortcuts. There is no easier option. Every alternate route leads to death. The way of life is found by few and walked upon by fewer yet.

My child, don’t follow the crowd. Keep your feet from the way of the majority because it leads to hell. But if you hear of a poor, needy and rejected little group that everyone makes fun of and hates, go there! When you hear of the cross, there is Christ!

(I don’t think I really need to comment about us Christians in America. I think we have something to learn, and the lessons are just around the corner. It’s coming to us.) I’ll read on:

Don’t draw back from the cross. Flee the world. Hold to God and fear Him alone. Keep His commandments. Remember His words. Write them on your heart and bind them to your forehead. Speak of them day and night, and you will become a fruitful plant. Keep your body holy for the Lord’s service so that His name will be made great in you. Do not be ashamed to confess Him before men. Do not be afraid of men. Rather leave your life than depart from the truth.

She wrote on:

My son, struggle for what is right, unto death!

(This world is a battleground, Tozer said, not a playground. We had better take that to heart.)

Put on the armor of God. Be a true Israelite. Kick injustice away with your feet, the world and all that is in it, and love what is from above. Remember that you do not belong to the world, just like your father and mother did not belong to the world. Be a true disciple of Christ and have no community with the world.

Oh my child, remember my instructions and do not leave them. May God let you grow up to fear Him. May the light of the Gospel shine in you.

(And notice what she writes. Take it to heart. I don’t think we understand; maybe we don’t believe this kind of thing. But this is what she said. It’s her testimony, not my words.)

Love your neighbors, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked. Do not keep two of anything because others are sure to need what you do not. Share everything God gives you as a result of the sweat of your brow. Distribute what He gives to you. Give it to those who love God, and hoard nothing, not even until the next morning; then God will bless you.

She concludes:

Oh my son! Lead a life that fits the Gospel, and may the God of peace make you holy in body and soul! Amen.

And then a prayer:

Oh holy Father, sanctify the son of your maidservant! Keep him from evil for Your name’s sake.

That’s her letter. You can read it in Martyr’s Mirror for yourself. I cannot add to that.

3) Aisha   (this century in a Muslim country)

Next, I’d like to tell you very briefly about Aisha, from this book, The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected.  (That’s a strange title.) It’s true stories of faith resurrected. The author of the book – you see his name there; it’s not his real name.

Aisha is not her real name. None of those names dare be shared. These people still live in a very dangerous world. We live in a very dangerous world. I would like to read that whole story, but I’m going to abbreviate it. You can find it in that book.

In Aisha’s home town, there was a medical clinic where Christians provided quality medical care in a large Islamic country. Most of the people appreciated the care and the caring attitude of these Christians in their city, and they just ignored the religion of the staff. But a few radical Muslims opposed the clinic, including Mahmoud, a shop keeper just across the street. Every Friday he went down to the mosque, just down the street a bit, and stirred up the crowd by denouncing those Christians in that medical clinic.

Well, this antagonist contracted incurable cancer. And the Christians in the clinic were more than “nonresistant”; they demonstrated active love. When the Muslims who had shopped in his little store there stopped coming, fearing the contagion of cancer, (they just quit doing business with him, and his business died), then the Christians picked up, and they went over and did their business in his store. They showed him Christ’s love. They prayed for him many times. And you know what? It’s an amazing little story. Mahmoud became a Christian! And he died in peace at age 57.

Aisha was Mahmoud’s youngest wife. (He had several.) She was 24 years old when her husband died, the mother of 4 children, now a widow.

Just before her husband’s death she also became a follower of Jesus. And like those women that Brother Dean told us about yesterday; they “should have” just changed their inside [if they wanted to be safe.] She became an outspoken witness, a very powerful effective evangelist. And though they threatened her and threatened her, she could not be silenced.

Now, they did not normally persecute women in this culture and place, but they finally arrested her and threw her into a cellar under the police station. That cellar had a dirt floor; she was down there where it was pitch black. There were spiders and critters and rats. And there she was, trap-door closed, and she opened her mouth to scream in fear, but . . .

A melody of praise rose out of her soul!

SHE SANG! What was in her soul, came out. My friend, what’s in your heart, comes out.

I’m quoting directly from the book:

Surprised and strengthened by the sound of her own voice, and overwhelmed by the renewed sense of God’s presence beside and within her, she began to sing her praise and worship to Jesus even more loudly. As she sang, she noticed that, office by office, the police station above her head became quiet.

(“Heart Song”: the power of singing!)

A little after midnight, the chief of police opened the trapdoor and spoke down into the darkness, “I am going to release you and let you go home.”

“Please not!” she said.

 (She thought it was a trick. She knew that it was unlawful for a woman to be on the streets after dark. Then they would have some pretext to arrest her.)

“No,” he said, “Don’t be afraid. I am going to personally escort you to your house . . . on one condition.” 

(She imagined the worst.)

But he had nothing sinister in mind. He went on to tell her, “I don’t understand. You are not afraid of anything! . . . My wife, my daughters, and all the women of my family are afraid of everything. So now, I am going to take you safely home tonight. Three days from now . . .”

(And she caught her breath.)

“Three days from now, I’m going to come to your house, and I’m going to take you to my house, and I want you to tell my wife and my daughters and the women of my house, what it is in you that has taken all fear out of your heart. I want them to be like you!

Now that is a powerful testimony. I cannot comprehend, my friend. I cannot comprehend that lady of faith. She lives, I think, yet today. That’s a very current story from some Muslim country where multitudes of Christians suffer today.

Open Doors Ministry in their recent newsletter had a little paragraph. I had copied it, and then I lost it, and didn’t have time to dig it up again. But it said women in today’s world are often especially targeted for persecution, contrary to much of history where women were respected a little more. They’re targeted first because they are women, and then they are targeted because they are Christians. And it’s impossible to know and to count and to comprehend the suffering of women of faith in our generation. It was just a little note that struck my heart. O God!  Why don’t we just stop and pray.

Lord!  Lord God, Father of all faithful men and women, have mercy on those who suffer today. We do not comprehend what women suffer in the Muslim world, in the Hindu world, and many places in our time and generation. Many places, Lord!  We live so far from that. Our hearts are often, we confess, so caught up in the things of this world. We have so little vision for the needs of the world beyond our doorstep. O God, write in our hearts a deep compassion, a sense of responsibility, and help us to hear the words of Anneken of Rotterdam, to give what we have to bless those who have nothing. They need it; we have it. O God, forgive us for our selfishness, our love of pleasure, our love of the world, our love of ease, our love of wealth, our love of so many things. O God, have mercy upon us, and have mercy upon them, those who suffer in our generation! Preserve us all for Your heavenly kingdom. Amen.

4) And now, I’d like to tell you about The Mother of Seven.

I took you through history from the third century to the Reformation time, right up to modern times. This time, I’m taking you back before Christ. I think this mother and her sons are referenced in Hebrews 11:35, where it says, “Women received their dead raised to life again.” (And you can think of some stories in the Old Testament where that happened. Amazing stories they are!)

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.

And I just ask you, can you think of any Old Testament saint of God, hero of faith to whom that really applies, or that fit exactly that description – people who were tortured, who had opportunity to be delivered? (Well, they all did, in one sense.) But they refused because they had in view a better resurrection. This story is the story of such a woman, and her seven sons. It’s found in 2 Maccabees 7. And you can find that. I have a copy of it right here. I could read the whole account, one chapter long. But in chapter 6, it tells a little bit more:

“Antiochus IV Epiphanes determined to force the Jewish people to Hellenize.” (That is, to adopt Greek culture and customs.) And he pursued that aim, I mean, with wicked ferocity! He said, “You must forsake the Torah, the Law of Your God, and all those things about circumcision, and the Sabbath laws, and the dietary laws, and offering sacrifices here in the temple. He desecrated the temple. I think he was one fulfilment of the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet – maybe not the only fulfilment, but certainly one. And he decreed death to those who resisted him, including all who had their sons circumcised. Death to both mother and son. It was relentless and heartless, and tenacious, and persistent. It was horrible. It was a terrible time for Jews, men and women of faith. And it led directly into the Maccabean revolt, which you can read in the book of Maccabees.

There are some beautiful stories there, but I’m just going to tell this one. In chapter 6, we have the story of Eleazar, the aged high priest, a true man of faith, a true man of God, who refused deliverance, though it was offered him. And they pled with him to accept it. They said, “Just eat a little of this swine’s flesh, and we’ll set you free.” I’d love to tell this story, but you go read it. He died heroically (2 Mac. 6).

“Eat swine flesh or die.” What would you do?  What would I do?

Mother and 7 sons arrested (2 Maccabees 7).

I’m going to read from Chapter 7 some selections. That’s all I’m going to do.

 “Seven brothers with their mother were arrested to be bound and tortured with whips and cords until they partook of the unlawful swine’s flesh.

“One of them, acting as spokesman, said, ‘We are ready to die rather than transgress the laws of our fathers.’

“The king became enraged and commanded that pans and caldrons be heated. These were heated immediately; and he commanded them to cut out the spokesman’s tongue and to scalp him and cut off his hands and feet, while the rest of the brothers and the mother watched. When he was utterly helpless, the king ordered them to take him to the fire … and to fry him in a pan. …

“After the first brother died in this manner, they brought forward the second for their sport. They tore away the skin of his head with the hair, and asked him, ‘Will you eat pork rather than have your body punished limb by limb?’  He replied, ‘No.’  Therefore this brother underwent the same torture as the first. …”  (and it describes a bit more.)

And the 4th, the 5th, the 6th all died heroically as their mother watched the gory scenes, exhorting them to be faithful.

(Can you imagine? Can you imagine? I can’t imagine.)

“The fourth son spoke these words to the king before they tortured him to death. ‘One may be chosen to die at the hands of men, and to look for the hope that God gives of being raised again by Him, but for you, there shall be no resurrection to life.’

“The mother was especially admirable. … Though she saw her seven sons perish in the span of a single day, she bore it courageously because of her hope in the Lord. … Filled with a noble spirit, she stirred her womanly reasoning with manly courage, saying to them in their native language, ‘I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you breath and life. Therefore the Creator … who formed man … will give breath and life back to you again in His mercy, since you now disregarded yourselves for the sake of His laws.’

A woman of faith!

At the very end of the story, it goes into more detail. This is 2 Maccabees 7.

“The king took pity on the last son,”

and it tells the conversation between the king and the mother and the king and the son.

“And the king said to this young lad. Just a young lad! ‘I’ll give you position. I’ll make you a friend of the king, a very high position. I will give you all you can imagine, all you want of this world’s goods. I offer it to you if you will but forsake the laws of your God, and eat this swine’s flesh.’

(Such a simple act.)  He refused. Then the king appealed to the mother, and said, Mother, have mercy on your son. All the rest of your sons have perished. Just have mercy on this one. You tell him. You plead with him to give up his stubbornness and his folly.

And she spoke to her son in a language (I guess it was Hebrew) that the king did not understand. And instead of pleading with him, she encouraged him to be faithful to the end. And when the king saw what was happening —

“Then the king became bitterly enraged at the son and his contempt [of his offer] and treated him worse than the others.”

I can’t imagine. It doesn’t give a lot of details in that description. The chapter just ends with these words:

“So, putting his trust completely in the Lord, he died in his innocence.”

Then it says,

“Last of all, the mother died, after her son.”

And it doesn’t tell us how she died. There is some conjecture in history of how she died. Maybe she died of a broken heart. I don’t know. Maybe she was martyred. I don’t know. But the writer says:

“Let this be enough, then, about the eating of sacrifices and the extreme tortures.”

It is enough. It’s horrible to read.

My friend, brother, sister, these were ladies of faith! Four little stories from history. And as we’ve heard, this history is happening today. It’s still being written. There were more Christian martyrs in the 20th century than there were in the 19 preceding centuries of Christian history. And if we live to the end of the 21st century (I doubt we will. God knows), that number will be multiplied.

Hebrews 11:35 speaks of women who “received their dead raised to life again.” And of those who “were tortured, not accepting deliverance” (men and women) “that they might obtain a better resurrection.”

Did you notice the clear testimony to the hope of the resurrection in that account? A clarity and power that is not seen in the Old Testament Scriptures. Though it’s there, it’s a little more disguised. It’s so clear! So clear! They understood a resurrection, and they had a living hope! Do we understand?

Will we be men and women of faith?

I’d like to just talk to you from my heart a little bit. I do not know what I should say. I do not have this figured out in advance. Let’s just pray a minute.

Heavenly Father, please Lord God, control my tongue. Direct me to say what I should say, and keep me from saying what I should not say. And please, Lord, let it not be a stumbling block to anyone, or misunderstood. For Jesus’ sake, the Lamb of God, and for His glory. Amen.

I talked about “forced Hellenization,” and this was pre-Christian world. It was before Christ ever came. But the same thing, my friend, is happening today. Not Hellenization, but the pressures, the forcing of people to abandon the laws of God and the ways of God, and to be pushed and forced into the mold and thinking of the world. It’s happening today right before our eyes. I don’t know what examples I should give. I don’t really know what I should say.

I don’t know how much you pay attention to the news, or even how much you should pay attention to the news of what’s going on. But it’s probably good for at least some of us to be a little bit informed. I did a little bit of reading in preparation for this message, reading that I don’t recommend that we immerse ourselves in because most of the information we have or that comes readily to us comes from sort of the “right” camp of the political world, who oppose the agenda of the elitist world, the leftist, the socialist, the communist – whatever label you put on it, and the pressures that are coming to force us into the mold. And I think there’s a great danger in us reading that kind of rightist literature, because we’ll soon be swept, if we’re not careful, into thinking that their proposed solutions to resist this in the political world is the solution, and it’s NOT the solution; it’s a deception from the devil to think that.

I want to be very clear. (I don’t recommend that we spend much time there, but I did read a little.) The battleground is not between the right and the left in the political world. The battleground is between the kingdom of God/ the kingdom of Christ/ the kingdom of Light [versus] all the works of darkness. And there is no place for us to be involved in the political arena and think that salvation is in President Trump and his policies. We can appreciate some things and we wonder about many. We’ll just leave that all with God and pray for the man. Nor is salvation in President Obama and the other side of the political spectrum. There’s no salvation there. Salvation is in Jesus Christ. And I call us to follow Him.

Let’s read a few verses here. This is from the book of Revelation. Revelation 13:11-18

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

(Well, you know what the dragon is in the Scriptures.)

13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives

(Notice that, “he deceives.” He deceives!)

 he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do . . .

15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

There are a lot of ways people interpret all that, but I know that it pictures the grand battle between the kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness, between the Lamb of God and the dragon of this world. I could talk a long time about all of that, but I don’t really have much time here this morning. I just want to get down to a few points. And I ask this question: What thinking must we accept to be acceptable to the elitist pressures of this world?

I’m just going to name a couple of things. If you don’t believe today that children in the womb can be murdered without conscience, you will be labeled a – well, all kinds of labels. I don’t even need to use them. You’ll just be labeled by those who are pushing that agenda. You will be hated by them. You’ll be called “woman haters.” You’ll be all kinds of wicked things in their description because you don’t believe that women should have full freedom to kill their unborn infants. And the next step is infanticide. It’s all coming. If you don’t believe in the LGBT agenda of today, if you listen to the news at all, you know what kind of labels are put on people like that. You know how hatred is spewed from the mouths of those who are pressuring us to conform to the mark of the beast.

16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads.

Now, I don’t know what all that means. I don’t know how all that’s going to be fulfilled, but I am fully convinced that one fulfilment, one very real fulfilment, is that those people want us to think like they think. And they are going to put all kinds of pressure on us in our world to accept that mark in our foreheads. It’s happening today.

17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. 

Well, again, there are lots of ways to understand this. Lots of differences. Probably there is a wide range of differences right here. You know, when is this happening? When is this going to happen? When are we going to be there? Maybe we’re there already. But if not already, I’m just going to spell two letters at a time – what I see. Maybe you see something better. Why don’t you just repeat? I’ll give you two letters; you repeat them to me; and then tell me what the word is. TO MO RR OW. What is that word? Tomorrow.” It’s tomorrow. It’s right around the corner.

And it’s happening today. If you read just a little bit what’s going on in China today, people who do not accept the agenda that the Chinese government is pushing upon them, similar to the agenda here, they are being marked. They’re using facial recognition technology; they’re using the sites they are visiting online. They’re keeping track of all these things, and if those people who don’t think “the right way” and follow the agenda that’s being imposed upon them, go to buy a plane ticket to travel to another city, they can’t buy a train ticket or a plane ticket. They cannot do business. They’re marked.

The technology is here. The mark of the beast, mind control is coming upon us. How? I’m going to tell you how – at least some of how it’s going to happen. Mr. Google, and Miss Facebook. I just read an article in a news magazine (It’s a rightist news magazine; I don’t recommend it.) how Mr. Google and Miss Facebook are being used to control the thoughts of all Americans who use them. There have been hearings in United States Congress about what’s happening in this media world. They’re talking about it at the highest levels of our government. Some people are calling it treason. It’s mind control. It’s a political agenda that’s being forced upon us by suppressing information that does not fit the agenda, and elevating information that fits the agenda of those who want to control our minds and put the mark of the beast upon us. It’s happening through Mr. Google and Miss Facebook with all their siblings and cousins.

You have a cellphone in your pocket? Do you use that technology? Do you use GPS? Do you understand about face recognition technology like is being used in China, with cameras placed on the street corners, watching where people go? It’s all possible in today’s world, and it’s going to be with us – tomorrow. I’m not a prophet. I don’t know when tomorrow is, exactly. I don’t know what all the Lord’s going to allow. I have no special wisdom. I’m not a researcher. I read very little about all of these things. But I am a man deeply concerned.

Are we men of faith? Are we women of faith?

Can we say, “I am a Christian.” Will we stand the tests that are coming? What’s happened to our Brother Ken Miller (who is here with us, I think); Brother Timo Miller, a good friend of mine; Mr. Philip Zodhiates, who still is in prison – what’s happened to them is just a harbinger of what awaits all of us, I’m afraid. But we need not fear. We need not fear, my friend! We need not fear!  Revelation 12:10-11

“Salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come!”

He rules in heaven and on earth.

The accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

And he has been cast down! And we can be those who

“overcome him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [our] testimony,” 

if we, like those women of faith, those men of faith, like Michael Sattler and many like him, will not love our lives to the death.

God have mercy upon us in our generation. Let us pray.

O God, have mercy, we pray. O God, have mercy, we pray, on Your people in this generation. Preserve a people for Yourself through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.