Posted tagged ‘Perseverance’

THE NIGHT OF THE 39 CROWNS

March 10, 2018

(Story time):

I’ll try to do this story with a lot of pictures, but this happened before cameras . . .  and it’s only a side story to the main one,a story about one witness.

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“It was a dark and stormy night…”   Actually it was an eerie cold winter night, when the darkness is deep.   Like this:

NIGHT Pond 370

I woke up one night,  restless, and looked out my window at the snow and ice.  The night felt strange, and the “strange”  dark spots on my pond fed my imagination  that something was not “the same.”    Things can feel different in the middle of the night!

(They say, if only the Veil could be removed from our “eyes,”  we would be able to see the spiritual activity around us, the energy,  the forces,  the beings  and what they are doing, right now, to affect us.  When we partially perceive this spiritual world, it feels  eerie like something weird and other-worldly is nearby.)

40 spirits

On this night,  March 10,  “a little while ago,”  40 soldiers of the Roman army stood naked on the ice in the middle of a small lake.   Only a few torches lit the scene around a frosty little lake.   Strange enough!

What were those 40 men doing there?   After all,  they had been loyal soldiers of the Roman army.

40 const

(A necessary bit of history, especially for those of you who have been taught that the  Constantine,a pagan,  made Christianity the official religion of the Empire — which he didn’t;  and to make Christianity more acceptable,  he mingled pagan practices with what was left of the Christian  teachings,   thereby corrupting Christianity and causing  “The Great Apostasy”  (that actually never was).

 It didn’t happen.   (Constantine pretty much remained a pagan all his life,  being baptized as a heretic, not a  Christian,   just before he died.)   In fact,  shortly after that Edict of Constantine – which did happen – the other Ruler of the Empire more forcefully imposed his version of pagan religion onto vast areas under his rule.  

One needed to have a lot of courage to be a Christian (then —  and now, I  think too).

40 chr sold

These 40 soldiers in one of his armies in Asia Minor happened to be Christian, and after they had refused to honor the gods with a little pinch of incense on a little statue, they were arrested,  they were stripped naked in the cold winter air,  some accounts say flogged   —

40 for the whip

— and then forced to stand on the ice in the middle of the little lake until they froze to death.

At the edge of the lake was a steaming bathhouse,  promising warmth and safety to any of the soldiers who changed their mind and would renounce their faith in Christ.  If they were willing to publicly reject Christ  Jesus,  they could be comfortably warm and live on.

Many hundreds stood around to watch the execution:  fellow soldiers, families, and local village people.    It was a public execution, meant to instill fear of the government into  the people.

40 naked frieze

But in the darkness of night things got “eerie,”  as I said.    One man,  Aglaius,  was awake,  keeping guard over the prisoners, naked and bleeding,  huddled together on the ice in the middle of the lake.

As Aglaius watched.  he saw the first man falter, and break,  and run to the bathhouse.   Just as that man reached the doorway of then bathhouse, with its promise of relief,  he died.

40 naked

It was something to make you think.

And that’s when the night sky above Aglaius changed.  It revealed spiritual beings  holding 39 crowns, one for each of the soon-to-be martyrs.
And Aglaius was thinking.

40 crown and crown

What do these crowns mean?     The crown of the Christ these soldiers worship was made of thorns,  but the crowns the angels held were looked like shining golden crowns –  full of light and glory,  suitable for Heaven.

And why start out with 40 soldiers?     In the ancient world as well as in the biblical world, “40”  signifies  “Enough!”   Time enough or deeds enough  or  people enough to accomplish the intentions of God for that purpose.     It is completeness, a full testimony.

But now the angels brought only 39 crowns.

Aglaius  was deeply moved by the absence of one crown.    Whatever he had heard about Christ before,  whatever he had seen in Christian behavior and honor and love,  whatever he had learned about Christianity,  now worked inside of him touching his spirit, and he responded  to the spiritual aid that always comes down to us —
In a sudden, firm act of his will,   Aglaius bolted!    He ran toward the lake,.    Tearing off his clothes he proclaimed his faith in Jesus Christ and joined the martyrs.

Now Forty martyrs are crowned this day.

40 heaven giving crown

 

Not 39.  Not almost a strong testimony to Jesus Christ.     But the faith of these soldiers stand as a full, complete witness to the absolute Faith in Christ –  which saves.

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St John in his Revelation saw martyrs arrayed  in a privileged position around the Throne of God.     They were doing two things:

They were “casting down”  their golden crowns before the feet of Jesus Who alone had made their home in Heaven possible.

40 casting

Martyrdom is not the only way to gain a Golden Crown,  but the way in this world is difficult and sometimes dangerous.     Today, all over the world,  it is often dangerous.

The second thing the martyrs around the Throne of God were doing was praying, begging, interceding:  How long, O Lord,  how long —   “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”  (in the Apocalypse, chapter 6, verse 10)

There are things you can do to bring honor to Christ.        There are things you can do, however, to diminish the honor of Christ.    Join the Christian soldiers on the icy lake – and pray for the gift of Final Preservation!

March 10th.   An important day of instruction and remembrance.

 

Many around the world still remember in churches and monasteries.

40 bulgaria

  Church of the 40  Holy Martyrs,  Bulgaria.

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