Pope Francis said Wednesday that “the world is at war” as he addressed the slaying of a Catholic priest by radical Islamists in France. The killing of the priest — by two attackers who struck in the name of ISIS — is the latest terror atrocity to roil Europe in recent weeks.
And in March 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry during a news conference at the State Department said, “(ISIS) is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims.” This is the first time that the United States has declared a genocide since Darfur in 2004. Both Republicans and Democrats in the House joined together 393-0 to condemn the atrocities.
How does the Lord regard the death of His precious children?
Since the entrance of sin there has been “enmity” between Christ and Satan, between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world, and between those who serve God and those who serve Satan (Gen. 3:15; Rev. 12:7–17). This conflict will go on until “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ” (Rev. 11:15; Dan. 2:44; 7:27). But the Lord comforts His faithful saying, “for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye” (Zechariah 2:8).
Jesus spoke about the martyrdom of John saying, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12, 12).
God’s children know that the cross comes before the reward of eternal life. Jesus assures them saying, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). The enemies of the heavenly kingdom persecuted Christ, the King, and they may be expected to persecute His loyal subjects (John 15:20). But God will never forget His faithful.
Citizens of the heavenly kingdom may expect to have tribulation in this world (John 16:33), for their characters, ideals, aspirations, and conduct all bear silent witness against the evil of this present world (1 John 3:12). But they should remember that the Lord Himself goes through tribulation with them. “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee” (Isaiah 43:2).
The sacrifice may be great, but the reward is also great. When the Son of man comes in glory “he shall reward every man according to his works” (Matt. 16:27; Rev. 22:12). Those who were martyred by men will soon be honored and exalted by God the Creator of the universe while wicked will be destroyed with fire. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
For this reason, Paul calls the Christians to have an eternal perspective, so that the present hardship will be seen as transitory in the light of the eternal privileges and glory. Soon this earth will be restored to its rightful Owner, who will share it with the saints. The Lord promises, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Tim. 2:12; Dan. 7:18, 27).
Let’s us pray for the families that have lost their loved ones in the Christian genocide all over the world.