I am reading the apocryphal books currently, as well as nearing the completion of ‘the bible’ itself (ironically finishing with the book of Malachi). There are some inspirational stories in the apocrypha, but today I was sobbing for minutes at the tales of the incredible faith and bravery of some of my Father’s people described in 2 Maccabees, chapters 6 and 7.
I wanted to share the stories, to remind you all that death by guillotine will be an easy death, compared to what these people suffered. Prepare for death, hope to be spared somehow, but tens of millions, maybe billions, will die as martyrs before this era passes away. Every death as a martyr is a victory for the martyr and for the Kingdom of God, and a defeat for the enemy. I hope these stories hit you in the centre of your heart, and I look forward so much to meeting these people when the Millennium reign begins in late 2032:
1 Not long after this the king sent an old man of Athens to compel the Jews to depart from the laws of their fathers, and not to live after the laws of God:
2 And to pollute also the temple in Jerusalem, and to call it the temple of Jupiter Olympius; and that in Garizim, of Jupiter the Defender of strangers, as they did desire that dwelt in the place.
3 The coming in of this mischief was sore and grievous to the people:
4 For the temple was filled with riot and revelling by the Gentiles, who dallied with harlots, and had to do with women within the circuit of the holy places, and besides that brought in things that were not lawful.
5 The altar also was filled with profane things, which the law forbiddeth.
6 Neither was it lawful for a man to keep sabbath days or ancient fasts, or to profess himself at all to be a Jew.
7 And in the day of the king’s birth every month they were brought by bitter constraint to eat of the sacrifices; and when the fast of Bacchus was kept, the Jews were compelled to go in procession to Bacchus, carrying ivy.
8 Moreover there went out a decree to the neighbour cities of the heathen, by the suggestion of Ptolemee, against the Jews, that they should observe the same fashions, and be partakers of their sacrifices:
9 And whoso would not conform themselves to the manners of the Gentiles should be put to death. Then might a man have seen the present misery.
10 For there were two women brought, who had circumcised their children; whom when they had openly led round about the city, the babes handing at their breasts, they cast them down headlong from the wall.
11 And others, that had run together into caves near by, to keep the sabbath day secretly, being discovered by Philip, were all burnt together, because they made a conscience to help themselves for the honour of the most sacred day.
12 Now I beseech those that read this book, that they be not discouraged for these calamities, but that they judge those punishments not to be for destruction, but for a chastening of our nation.
13 For it is a token of his great goodness, when wicked doers are not suffered any long time, but forthwith punished.
14 For not as with other nations, whom the Lord patiently forbeareth to punish, till they be come to the fulness of their sins, so dealeth he with us,
15 Lest that, being come to the height of sin, afterwards he should take vengeance of us.
16 And therefore he never withdraweth his mercy from us: and though he punish with adversity, yet doth he never forsake his people.
17 But let this that we at spoken be for a warning unto us. And now will we come to the declaring of the matter in a few words.
18 Eleazar, one of the principal scribes, an aged man, and of a well favoured countenance, was constrained to open his mouth, and to eat swine’s flesh.
19 But he, choosing rather to die gloriously, than to live stained with such an abomination, spit it forth, and came of his own accord to the torment,
20 As it behoved them to come, that are resolute to stand out against such things, as are not lawful for love of life to be tasted.
21 But they that had the charge of that wicked feast, for the old acquaintance they had with the man, taking him aside, besought him to bring flesh of his own provision, such as was lawful for him to use, and make as if he did eat of the flesh taken from the sacrifice commanded by the king;
22 That in so doing he might be delivered from death, and for the old friendship with them find favour.
23 But he began to consider discreetly, and as became his age, and the excellency of his ancient years, and the honour of his gray head, whereon was come, and his most honest education from a child, or rather the holy law made and given by God: therefore he answered accordingly, and willed them straightways to send him to the grave.
24 For it becometh not our age, said he, in any wise to dissemble, whereby many young persons might think that Eleazar, being fourscore years old and ten, were now gone to a strange religion;
25 And so they through mine hypocrisy, and desire to live a little time and a moment longer, should be deceived by me, and I get a stain to mine old age, and make it abominable.
26 For though for the present time I should be delivered from the punishment of men: yet should I not escape the hand of the Almighty, neither alive, nor dead.
27 Wherefore now, manfully changing this life, I will shew myself such an one as mine age requireth,
28 And leave a notable example to such as be young to die willingly and courageously for the honourable and holy laws. And when he had said these words, immediately he went to the torment:
29 They that led him changing the good will they bare him a little before into hatred, because the foresaid speeches proceeded, as they thought, from a desperate mind.
30 But when he was ready to die with stripes, he groaned, and said, It is manifest unto the Lord, that hath the holy knowledge, that whereas I might have been delivered from death, I now endure sore pains in body by being beaten: but in soul am well content to suffer these things, because I fear him.
31 And thus this man died, leaving his death for an example of a noble courage, and a memorial of virtue, not only unto young men, but unto all his nation.
Eleazar, I honour your memory today, and your great faith and obedience to my Father’s laws. Bless your soul in heaven, your resurrection to eternal life is near at hand now.
1 It came to pass also, that seven brethren with their mother were taken, and compelled by the king against the law to taste swine’s flesh, and were tormented with scourges and whips.
2 But one of them that spake first said thus, What wouldest thou ask or learn of us? we are ready to die, rather than to transgress the laws of our fathers.
3 Then the king, being in a rage, commanded pans and caldrons to be made hot:
4 Which forthwith being heated, he commanded to cut out the tongue of him that spake first, and to cut off the utmost parts of his body, the rest of his brethren and his mother looking on.
5 Now when he was thus maimed in all his members, he commanded him being yet alive to be brought to the fire, and to be fried in the pan: and as the vapour of the pan was for a good space dispersed, they exhorted one another with the mother to die manfully, saying thus,
6 The Lord God looketh upon us, and in truth hath comfort in us, as Moses in his song, which witnessed to their faces, declared, saying, And he shall be comforted in his servants.
7 So when the first was dead after this number, they brought the second to make him a mocking stock: and when they had pulled off the skin of his head with the hair, they asked him, Wilt thou eat, before thou be punished throughout every member of thy body?
8 But he answered in his own language, and said, No. Wherefore he also received the next torment in order, as the former did.
9 And when he was at the last gasp, he said, Thou like a fury takest us out of this present life, but the King of the world shall raise us up, who have died for his laws, unto everlasting life.
10 After him was the third made a mocking stock: and when he was required, he put out his tongue, and that right soon, holding forth his hands manfully.
11 And said courageously, These I had from heaven; and for his laws I despise them; and from him I hope to receive them again.
12 Insomuch that the king, and they that were with him, marvelled at the young man’s courage, for that he nothing regarded the pains.
13 Now when this man was dead also, they tormented and mangled the fourth in like manner.
14 So when he was ready to die he said thus, It is good, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God to be raised up again by him: as for thee, thou shalt have no resurrection to life.
15 Afterward they brought the fifth also, and mangled him.
16 Then looked he unto the king, and said, Thou hast power over men, thou art corruptible, thou doest what thou wilt; yet think not that our nation is forsaken of God;
17 But abide a while, and behold his great power, how he will torment thee and thy seed.
18 After him also they brought the sixth, who being ready to die said, Be not deceived without cause: for we suffer these things for ourselves, having sinned against our God: therefore marvellous things are done unto us.
19 But think not thou, that takest in hand to strive against God, that thou shalt escape unpunished.
20 But the mother was marvellous above all, and worthy of honourable memory: for when she saw her seven sons slain within the space of one day, she bare it with a good courage, because of the hope that she had in the Lord.
21 Yea, she exhorted every one of them in her own language, filled with courageous spirits; and stirring up her womanish thoughts with a manly stomach, she said unto them,
22 I cannot tell how ye came into my womb: for I neither gave you breath nor life, neither was it I that formed the members of every one of you;
23 But doubtless the Creator of the world, who formed the generation of man, and found out the beginning of all things, will also of his own mercy give you breath and life again, as ye now regard not your own selves for his laws’ sake.
24 Now Antiochus, thinking himself despised, and suspecting it to be a reproachful speech, whilst the youngest was yet alive, did not only exhort him by words, but also assured him with oaths, that he would make him both a rich and a happy man, if he would turn from the laws of his fathers; and that also he would take him for his friend, and trust him with affairs.
25 But when the young man would in no case hearken unto him, the king called his mother, and exhorted her that she would counsel the young man to save his life.
26 And when he had exhorted her with many words, she promised him that she would counsel her son.
27 But she bowing herself toward him, laughing the cruel tyrant to scorn, spake in her country language on this manner; O my son, have pity upon me that bare thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee such three years, and nourished thee, and brought thee up unto this age, and endured the troubles of education.
28 I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were not; and so was mankind made likewise.
29 Fear not this tormentor, but, being worthy of thy brethren, take thy death that I may receive thee again in mercy with thy brethren.
30 Whiles she was yet speaking these words, the young man said, Whom wait ye for? I will not obey the king’s commandment: but I will obey the commandment of the law that was given unto our fathers by Moses.
31 And thou, that hast been the author of all mischief against the Hebrews, shalt not escape the hands of God.
32 For we suffer because of our sins.
33 And though the living Lord be angry with us a little while for our chastening and correction, yet shall he be at one again with his servants.
34 But thou, O godless man, and of all other most wicked, be not lifted up without a cause, nor puffed up with uncertain hopes, lifting up thy hand against the servants of God:
35 For thou hast not yet escaped the judgment of Almighty God, who seeth all things.
36 For our brethren, who now have suffered a short pain, are dead under God’s covenant of everlasting life: but thou, through the judgment of God, shalt receive just punishment for thy pride.
37 But I, as my brethren, offer up my body and life for the laws of our fathers, beseeching God that he would speedily be merciful unto our nation; and that thou by torments and plagues mayest confess, that he alone is God;
38 And that in me and my brethren the wrath of the Almighty, which is justly brought upon our nation, may cease.
39 Than the king’ being in a rage, handed him worse than all the rest, and took it grievously that he was mocked.
40 So this man died undefiled, and put his whole trust in the Lord.
41 Last of all after the sons the mother died.
42 Let this be enough now to have spoken concerning the idolatrous feasts, and the extreme tortures.
We do not learn the names of this mother and her seven sons, but I honour them all today with this post, and bless their souls in heaven. I guarantee that these people in these chapters will be guests of honour at my home in the Millennium reign, where I hope to be able to celebrate in great style and honour them in person, and we shall all praise and bless my Father for keeping His promises to His people, to reward them with eternal life for their great meekness and faith.
I pray that these historical stories give you courage to face what lies ahead, do not be fearful of death, they can only kill your body, but in doing so they cannot separate you from your God and from your place in His Eternal Kingdom. Thank you Father for sharing with us today the good news of the fearless faith Israel (your people) had for you in the past, and grant us all the same fearless faith in these times of sorrows and tests. In Yahshua’s name I pray, amen.