by Shawn Brasseaux
[DISCRETION ADVISED: I do warn you that this article is very graphic in nature, as I make reference to the intense persecution and torture of saints down through the ages.]
How far would you go for the sake of getting the Gospel of Grace to our lost and dying world? Could you handle persecution and torture, or would you deny the Lord to escape with your life? Christians down through the ages have suffered so much for their dedication to the Lord and His Word. They refused heresy and religious tradition, and they paid the highest cost—they died at the hands of heartless people. In America, we have freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; nonetheless, there will come a day even in our beloved country that Christians will be imprisoned and killed for their beliefs. For right now, take advantage of your liberty to tell others about the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation that can only be found in Him!
From the A.D. 1200s to the A.D. 1800s, the Inquisition was not only a nightmare for Protestants, but a time of intense persecution for anyone who refused to submit to the pope. There was extremely graphic torture. Bible-believing Christians were sawn in half. Their bones were dislocated and/or broken. Their skin was literally peeled down to their waists (yes, while they were still alive!). Their skulls were crushed. Their eyes, ears, and tongues were extracted. Spikes were forced into various parts of the bodies. They were whipped and flogged. Their muscles were ripped apart. They were denied water and food while imprisoned. But, these types of torture are just the beginning; some torture techniques are far worse, far too graphic to list here.
If you were guilty of translating an English Bible or speaking about Christ, you were arrested and given a mock trial. Those who refused to recant (deny) their faith in the Lord would be tortured and/or burned at the stake. Anyone who was tortured and recanted their faith in Christ was to be imprisoned for life. Those who survived were crippled for the rest of their lives. As many as 50 million people (including Christians) died at the hands of the popes during the Inquisition!
At this present time, there is no complete record containing every single account of injustice that happened during the Inquisition. However, the Lord is sovereign, and He has all of those evil deeds recorded in books in heaven. One day, after all of those evil popes and inquisitors have been bodily resurrected, they will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ, God Almighty, at the Great White Throne Judgment. The Lord will have vengeance on behalf of all those who died for the sake of His Word. Everything they did will be brought up before everyone else, and they will not escape the justice of God. He will see to it that these evil people have their own special place in the everlasting lake of fire.
Believers suffered long before the horrors of Inquisition. Remember the Old Testament saints and their persecution? Read Hebrews 11:33-40 KJV:
“33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
It does get us to thinking: could we ever make it through the suffering? The answer, believe or not, is YES!!!! If the days of persecution in America do take place prior to the rapture, the Lord would give us the grace to endure and He would strengthen us. He helped His people in the past, so there is no doubt that He would help us too. We just have to leave it in the Lord’s hands for now, because we have never been promised persecution-free lives. In fact, we recall what the Apostle Paul wrote about us as members of the Church the Body of Christ: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12 KJV). And, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3 KJV).
Come what may to us as Christians, let it redound to the glory of God!