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Beheadings and the Bible

Revelation 20:4



Holocaustic horrors are occurring in Israel, including barbarism, burnings, and butchery.  Torture and rape are rampant.  And it is focused on civilians, and the most precious and innocent among us.  That’s how they murdered and dismembered so many infants, and chopped off many of their heads.  Hamas considers the Jews non-human, like pests to be exterminated.  It’s no wonder they have such a low view of their own lives, and that of their children.


It was rightly said by a past Prime Minister of Israel that this kind of bloodshed will continue until the Palestinians value their own children, who now also suffer because of the war.


ISIS did a lot of public beheadings, and now Hamas is putting them on the internet, because they inflict such terror.  Decapitations are horrific.  They are the essence of nightmares.  From legends like Sleepy Hollow to serial killers who lop off victim's heads, this is the stuff of Halloween scare houses.  The image evokes some of the deepest human fear you can imagine.


It's barbaric!  It is ghoulish terror, intended to be spread virally, and to invoke fear.  They are ghastly savages.  This is why the Bible calls them "The Wild Man." [children of Ishmael]


And yet beheading is their preferred method of execution even for the thousands of Christians and other 'infidels' they are slaughtering.


They are known as the “people of the sword.” They need no guillotines to accomplish their macabre deeds. In fact, according to many cultural sources, there is an Arab tradition that there is honor in the sword. For many centuries, Arabs have boasted about their bravery in the imagery of the sword. 


Arab countries practice capital punishment by beheading. In Saudi Arabia, this practice is sanctioned to the point that some beheadings are public affairs. This is quite understandable as a demonstration of state power. After, all, the “Sword of Islam,” is the image emblazoned on the Saudi Arabian flag.  They are a so-called 'coalition member' in the fight against terrorism [first Muslim pilot to join the fight was shunned by her family].  But they aren't against the evil being done, rather, they are against this brand of their religion which is killing other them!


9 years ago a Muslim in Moore, OK beheaded a co-worker.  He had been fired for proselyting.  The media has done its best to say it was because of the firing, and not about Islam.  We know better.  Their books [Quran / Hadith] command killing of those who do not believe, and specifically call for beheading as a preferred method ...  not just for the public message it sends to others, but also simply as the method of preference.


We are mortified by this savagery.  But how do you feel when I tell you that the Bible is jam-packed full of beheadings and other violence?  Decapitations in the OT were very common, as was the displaying of the heads ... as a token of victory and a deterrent to would-be offenders.


And it's a known fact that the Quran was largely inspired by the Bible.  And so Muhammad was a 'copy cat killer' of sorts!  "Islamic extremism is no different than Christian extremism!" some critics say.

        What do YOU say to that?  We'd better have an answer, because that is where our woke world is going with these modern issues.


Now consider this text,

1 Samuel 17:46-51
46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands.
48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
49 And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.
51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.

So, what is your answer to this apparent conflict in our belief system?  What do you say to those who say all religion is the same, and Jehovah was a brutal murderer / ethnic cleanser?


For starters, this same David condemned beheading of the innocent in 2 Samuel 4, and then cut off the hands and feet of the guilty offenders, and hung their bodies up for display!


Secondly, just because something we deem brutal occurred in the Bible doesn't make it right.  What does God say about it?  Jesus said those who live by the sword will die by the sword.  He was for peace!


But how about the God we see in the OT?


The most often-discussed episodes of violence in the Old Testament are Yahweh’s command for the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites and return to the land that He had promised to them. We must understand the context in which these events took place. The Canaanites were a brutal and wicked culture that frequently engaged in incredibly decadent behavior. As Christian author Norman Geisler put it, “This was a thoroughly evil culture, so much so that the Bible says it nauseated God. They were into brutality, cruelty, incest, bestiality, cultic prostitution, and even child sacrifice by fire. They were an aggressive culture that wanted to annihilate the Israelites.”


In short, God's people were killing guilty barbarians who wouldn't repent of their sin.  On the contrary, Islam kills the innocent...even their own!


By ordering the destruction of the Canaanites, God enacted a form of corporate capital punishment on a people that had been deserving of God’s judgment for some time. God had given the Canaanite people over 400 years to repent (Genesis 15:13–16). When they did not, the Lord used the Israelites as an instrument of judgment on an evil and deeply depraved society. The Canaanites were not ignorant. The news of God’s awesome power had reached them (Joshua 2:10–11; 9:9). Such awareness should have driven them to repentance. The example of Rahab and her family is a sure proof that the Canaanites could have avoided their destruction if they had repented before Israel’s God (Joshua 2). No person had to die. God’s desire is that the wicked turn from their sin rather than perish (Ezekiel 18:31–32; 33:11). We must also remember that Yahweh did not sanction all of the wars recorded in the Old Testament, and that all of the wars that were specifically commissioned by Him beyond the time of Joshua were defensive in nature. A number of the battles that Israel fought on the way to and within Canaan were also defensive in nature (Exodus 17:8; Numbers 21:21–32; Deuteronomy 2:26–37; Joshua 10:4).


There is a radical difference between the violence in the Old Testament and Islamic jihad. First, the violence prescribed by God in the Old Testament was intended for a particular time and limited to a particular people group. There was no precedent set to continue this practice beyond what God had commanded. In contrast, the Quran actually prescribes and condones military jihad in the promotion of Islam. At no time in the Bible do we see God commanding His people to kill unbelievers in the promotion of biblical faith. Second, it is beyond dispute that Islam is promoted by the sword. It is exactly the opposite for Christianity. Many of the early Christians were severely persecuted and martyred for their commitment to Christ. As one Christian philosopher put it, “Both Islam and Christianity were spread by the sword, but the swords were pointing in opposite directions!”


Finally, for the Christian, the final and complete revelation of God is in Jesus Christ, who was remarkably non-violent in His approach. If a Christian engages in violence in the name of Christ, he is doing so in direct disobedience of His Master. Jesus taught that all who live by the sword will die by it (Matthew 26:52). The teachings and example of Muhammad are very different. A Muslim who desires to commit violence in the name of Islam can find ample justification for his action both in the Koran and in the words and actions of the prophet Muhammad.


Back to beheading:

In your NT you can see John the Baptist's head being removed, as were some of the disciples.  Beheading has existed for all human history.  The guillotine of the dark ages was in constant use.  And it is still in use today.  Did you know that beheading was recently legal in one of our states?

ill.-- Georgia House of Representatives - 1995/1996 Sessions - HB 1274

1- 8  The General Assembly finds that while prisoners condemned to
  1- 9  death may wish to donate one or more of their organs for
  1-10  transplant, any such desire is thwarted by the fact that
  1-11  electrocution makes all such organs unsuitable for
  1-12  transplant. The intent of the General Assembly in enacting
  1-13  this legislation is to provide for a method of execution
  1-14  which is compatible with the donation of organs by a
  1-15  condemned prisoner.


As we approach the Tribulation period, Middle East warring factions will no doubt increase their bravado, each group vying for supremacy in ghoulishness. After all, the main weapon of the terrorist is fear, itself.


Bible prophecy shows us a number of horrifying events, most of them centered in the Middle East. During the Tribulation period, Arab factions will certainly be a large factor in the action. And there is not the slightest reason to doubt that they will lose their current zest for public beheading.


When the antichrist is finally unveiled, he will be accepted by the entire world as the answer to all problems. Islam will likely believe that he is their Imam Mahdi – the spiritual leader of their prophetic dreams. They will be only too happy to take off the heads of any who refuse to acknowledge him as promised one.


Fast forward to Revelation 20 and you see Tribulation believers being beheaded in vast numbers.

Revelation 20:4

And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  


Every day we see around us signs of the times.  Jesus said 'lift up your head' [no pun intended].  Truly our redemption draweth nigh!


[some helps from Got Questions Ministries]

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