I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. (Revelation 20:4a NIV)

Decapitations are again in vogue among barbarians. Once thought to be relegated to history books, Jihadists from the Middle East to Algeria to Oklahoma are offering previews of last days’ be-headings. What fuels these hideous atrocities? Might it be a demon spirit of religion?

Jesus faced his religious haters. To the Jewish leaders, our Lord said, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town… I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.” (Matthew 23:33-34, 36 NIV)

Jesus’ cruelest of executions would not suffice. Once Christ’s enemies acquired a taste for blood, they wanted more. Matthew 23:33-36 suggests killings and crucifixions will regain their first century A.D. popularity. Persecutions began with the Jews, afterward Roman emperors took over.

In days to come, carrying one’s cross won’t be a figure of speech, but a harsh reality. The masters of religion will convince themselves they will be doing God a favor.

Be-headings, as well as crucifixions, have been performed recently while the knife-holder praises Allah. Murderers are committing their heinous acts out of religious obedience.

Translated into the English, an on-line version of the Koran spells it out. Using the search term “head”, we find this among the 28 matches. Sura 8:12, “…I will cast terror onto the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore, strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”

Who loses their head and other things such as fingertips? Why it is unbelievers, specifically, those who refuse to convert to Islam.

Radical religionists will not be satisfied with just a little blood. Violence begets violence. Less radical Muslim elements will make way or die. As we saw with the early church, saints did not only die at the hands of religious Jews, but by the edicts of emperors as well. So it will be. Soon earth’s kings will take over the business of slaying God’s people.

Take note; in countries like Syria, Christian parents are preparing their children: “Better to lose our head and other things, than to lose our soul.”

There will be terrible times in the last days. Prophecy, however, reveals the reward for the overcomer: “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10 NIV)