As we approach All Hallows Eve, I am once again reminded of the price others have paid for the liberty we have today. Pagan Europe was the original home of my ancestral family and it was a brutal place, filled with superstition and fear.
All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, was a part of a multi-day event set aside by the Church to commemorate and remember the winning of Europe to Christ.
All Hallows Eve was a night to remember the darkness. Paganism was defined by superstition and fear. Children played the role of demons, goblins, witches and trolls demanding an offering. If you did not give the offering, they would do something bad–trick or treat. It was a night in which Christians mocked evil and the darkness of pagan superstitions.
It says something about the hearts of men that in our modern time, we celebrate the darkness and forget the rest of the festival.
The morning brought the light and was called “All Hallows Day.” It was also called Martyr’s day and All Saints Day. Later on, it became known as Reformation Day. This day was set aside to remember those who suffered and died for believing in Christ and especially those who suffered and died bringing the Gospel to people trapped in the darkness, especially those who knowing nothing better clung to the darkness.
There is a price to pay for the salvation of the souls of men and for the redemption of the world. The price is paid with blood. Christ will not return to the earth until the blood of the saints willingly offered is sufficient to sanctify the world.
The first of November began with a memorial to the martyrs. Those who chose to die rather than deny Christ–those who willingly added their blood to the great sacrifice.
Persecution of Christians seems to have returned to the world with a vengeance. America has understood until lately that all freedom is derived from the freedom of religion. If you cannot believe what you wish and practice it in your home, family, work and community then there is no true freedom. If the government will not allow us to obey our conscience and offer ourselves to God, then we are chattel, the property of the government and there is nothing that the government cannot take from us.
Because as a tenet of faith, Christians must express our faith in the public domain (it is a rite of passage), the First Amendment includes the right to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. It also protects our right to assemble peaceably and to petition the government. These are all necessary to the Amendment’s primary purpose which is to secure the Freedom of Religion.
Moreover, property rights are guaranteed to prevent government seizure as the Romans did with the Christians (Hebrews 10:34) and jury trials are put forward as a check against laws that lack popular support in the belief that a jury of peers would not find someone guilty of a crime when what the person did was widely viewed as good.
Some months back, while hiking the woods with my dogs I felt the Lord speak to me about honoring our Christian martyrs. Jesus STOOD at the right hand of God when Stephen, the first martyr fell to the ground under a hail of stones. If we are seeking to be Christ-like, then we should imitate Him.
“Jesus stands with those who fall—will you stand with Jesus?”
This year, we have many martyrs to honor. Some are very close to home. At Umpqua Community College near Roseburg, Oregon this month, an assistant professor and eight students were murdered. The shooter demanded to know their faith and murdered those who claimed Christ. It took great courage to answer, “I am a Christian” when the reward was a bullet in the head.
We also should remember the 21 young Christian men who chose to be beheaded by ISIS militants rather than deny Christ. Their orange jumpsuits have become the new color of Christian Martyrs. I am calling on my own church to make Sunday, November 1st, 2015 “ORANGE SUNDAY” to to stand with Jesus and honor those who have fallen.
I hope you will join us.
About the Author
Ken Van Horn has been a pastor for over 25 years–only two years of which was full-time ministry. He has worked as an electrical contractor, editor, probate judge, web developer, consultant and recently completed “A Greater Reward” based upon what the Holy Spirit revealed to him while serving as a judge concerning the work of justice and the imminent Judgment Seat of Christ.
He is currently developing a start up church in Cusseta, Georgia and does itinerant ministry when available.
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