—Comments on "Masada"DFO 140212/82
1. DURING THE FIRST CENTURY AFTER CHRIST, ISRAEL WAS AN OCCUPIED COUNTRY. In 66 AD‚ the Jews' revolt against the Romans became a full–scale war which lasted 4 years‚ ending with the fall of Jerusalem & the slaughter of its inhabitants. One outpost alone held out until 73 AD—Masada.
2. THE ROCK OF MASADA IS A NATURAL FORTRESS that rises more than 1300 feet above the western shore of the Dead Sea. For two years the Jews at Masada used it as their base for guerrilla operations against the Romans. Then in 72 AD, the Roman governor marched on Masada with his Legion‚ & with the aid of Jewish slaves, built a huge earthen ramp up the western side of the fortress, which is still visible today! The Romans hoisted a siege tower up the ramp, battered a hole in the wall, & the end was in sight for the Zealots of Masada.
3. THE ZEALOTS COULD HAVE SURRENDERED. But they chose to commit suicide instead. Each man killed his own family, then 10 men were chosen to kill the rest. Finally, one man slew the other 9, set fire to the palace & ran himself through with a sword. When the Romans took Masada there was no one left alive. The taking of Masada is the historical event on which the movie "Masada" is based.
4. What a horrible horrible massacre—massacred themselves! I think this publicising of their massacre is going to backfire on them & show the World how merciless, how cruel, how horrible they are! They would slaughter their own wives & children, their own friends & families, rather than surrender—they're so stubborn!
5. I THINK THE WORLD IS GOING TO BE HORRIFIED AT THE HORROR OF IT! (Maria: Just like they were about Jonestown?) Yes‚ I mean it's no better than Jonestown, it's even worse! I agree with the Roman commander who said, "You're fools! I would have spared you!" But of course the Jews' leader got up there & gave a big speech about how the Romans cut off arms & legs of living people & all that kind of torture to horrify & literally scare them into doing it—just like Jones did at Jonestown.
6. I'D SURE HATE TO CATAPULT MYSELF INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD, OR THE DEATH ANGEL FOR THAT MATTER, BY MY OWN HAND, having destroyed the life that God gave me. Look at the difference in the way the Christians died as martyrs at the stake or on the cross, killed by their enemies! Look what a testimony they were, willing to die for their faith!—But not at their own hand!
7. SELF-DESTRUCTION IS NO VICTORY. I think it would come under the classification of the Scripture, "Abuse not your body, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost." (1Cor.3:16‚17) That would be the final abuse, the worst of all, to kill your own body.
8. WHAT KIND OF TESTIMONY WAS THE DEATH OF 900 JEWS BY THEIR OWN HAND AT MASADA? Did it cause the conversion of those Romans to Judaism? Did it convert the Roman Legion that saw them dead by their own hands, having killed their own wives & children first? Hmmm?—No! It merely sickened & horrified them & the soldiers recoiled in revulsion at the horror, the monstrosity of it, the atrocity of it, the cruelty of it‚ the insanity of it! Ugh!—Killing their own wives & children!
9. THIS MASADA THING NEVER CONVERTED ONE ROMAN TO JUDAISM!—IT ONLY HORRIFIED THEM & repelled them & sickened them! I think people will be more convinced than ever that what they did was horrible, slaughtering their own wives & children like cattle by slitting their throats. Of all the horrible ways to die! I don't even care to talk about it, it's so horrible!
10. THAT'S A COWARD'S WAY TO GO! People commit suicide because of fear.—They're afraid to face life, afraid to face humiliation, afraid to face exposure‚ afraid to face scandal, afraid to face bankruptcy or their families because of something they've done. Most suicides are committed through fear: They fear something else even more than death, even more than God!
11. I DON'T THINK THAT WAS ANY TESTIMONY, except to the horrible religion they have & the horrible faith they have & the horrible conduct they perpetrate! But that's not the way the Christians died!—They went almost cheerfully to the stake or to crucifixion or to the lions, singing & praising God with a glow of faith on their faces so that it converted the Romans by the thousands!
12. "THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS IS THE SEED OF THE CHURCH"—BUT NOT SHED BY THEIR OWN HANDS! God knows when & how you're supposed to die & you'd better wait for God to make the decision & have His way, whatever it is, & not die at your own hand in your own stubborn wilfulness, unwilling to face something!
13. I CERTAINLY WOULDN'T BE PROUD OF MASADA IF I WERE A JEW! But we can be proud of the Christians who died in the arena & at the stake & were crucified & martyred for their faith before the eyes of thousands, dying victoriously, joyfully‚ singing & praising God & witnessing & preaching love to the very enemies who were killing them!—That was a witness that won the Romans to Christ!
14. THEIR VERY DEATH BECAME THEIR FINAL WITNESS. That's what the word "martyr" means in Greek, "witness." Martyrdom is a witness! How much greater & better & more beautiful & more glorious & more victorious was their martyrdom as a witness to their faith & their love, rather than dying at their own hand as did the Jews at Masada. Masada's horror never won a single Roman to Judaism!
15. CHRISTIANS DIDN'T DIE KILLING EACH OTHER IN THE ARENA, THEY DIED BEING KILLED BY THEIR ENEMIES AS A TESTIMONY & WITNESS TO THEIR FAITH & their willingness to die for their faith, willing to confess Christ rather than deny Him! But when the Romans saw how they would rather die at the hands of their enemies—crucified, burned at the stake or whatever—rather than give up their faith or deny Christ, they saw that their faith was real & genuine & that they loved God & loved Christ & loved each other more than life!
16. THAT'S THE KIND OF VOLUNTARY DEATH THAT IS A TESTIMONY & A GLORY & A VICTORY, that you love God & you love Christ & you love others more than life! "Herein is love shown by the greatest love of all, that a man lays down his life for his friends" (Jn.15:13)—to die for others, to die as a testimony‚ to die as a witness, to die as a martyr! What a way to go!—That through your death, many might believe & be saved!
17. IT RESULTED IN THE CONVERSION OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF ROMANS, until so many got saved & became Christians that even the Emperor himself got saved & they had to turn the whole Empire into the Holy Roman Christian Empire! That's what I'd call victory!—That the Christians, through their faith & their love & their love of the Lord more than life & their dying witness & testimony & martyrdom, literally won the Roman Empire to Jesus!
18. THAT'S WHAT I'D CALL A VICTORIOUS DEATH & A GLORIOUS WITNESS & SOMETHING TO DIE FOR: The salvation of souls & to inspire faith!—Not just to die as the Masada massacrists did: Most of them involuntarily‚ not wanting to die, but slaughtered by their own soldiers, & certainly no testimony & no witness to anything but their stubbornness & their horror & their rebellion & their lack of faith in God to save them!
19. I'D RATHER LEAVE MY DEATH UP TO THE LORD! He knows how He wants me to die. God knows, & He'll not suffer you to be tested or tempted above what you're able to bear. (1Cor.10:13) When it comes time to die, He'll give you dying grace—the grace to die gracefully as a witness & a testimony, & even if you die peacefully, to die in the Spirit & in the Lord & in faith & praising the Lord, blessing your family like the Patriarchs did.
20. I BELIEVE THAT IF YOU'RE A CHRISTIAN & LOVE THE LORD, GOD HAS APPOINTED A TIME & A PLACE FOR YOU TO DIE WHEN YOUR JOB IS DONE‚ in such a way that it will certainly not be a testimony against your faith or against your courage or against your love of others, nor be a stumbling block & a bad witness.—Like Masada!
21. IF WE CAN TRUST HIM WITH OUR LIVES, WHY CAN'T WE TRUST HIM WITH OUR DEATHS?—And trust that He knows the best way for us to die, just like He knows the best way for us to live? Why not leave it with the Lord & let Him make the decision? I'd certainly hate to make a decision like that, almost monstrous & incomprehensible‚ to destroy the God-given life which He's given us to live for Him & others! As well as destroy others' lives, like Masada!
22. BUT I'M NOT SAYING THAT I WOULD ALWAYS NECESSARILY CONDEMN IT IN EVERY CASE.—Maybe there are some cases were they just couldn't take it. But I think you could pray to die & the Lord would take you, if you wanted to go & you couldn't stand the torture, suffering, deprivation or whatever. I know there are times when I could have asked the Lord to take me & He would have—without having to kill myself—when I was sick & when I was discouraged & when I couldn't see any way out & when it looked like all was lost.
23. BUT LOOK, I WAS WRONG! All was not lost just because I lost some top leaders & some of my own family. The Devil tried to discourage me.—The Devil is the one behind discouragement! Discouragement is loss & lack of faith, lack of courage, discouragement. The Devil is the one who discourages people & tries to make them give up. But if they fight, he can't win!
24. BUT SUICIDE IS SURRENDER OF THE WORST KIND!—Not only surrendering to the Devil & letting him destroy you‚ but letting him destroy you by your own hand. I don't think that's any way to die as a good witness or testimony!
25. SO LET'S LEAVE OUR DEATH TO THE LORD & NOT WORRY ABOUT IT. (Maria: Would the same go for other people's lives, like in the case of deformed children or [what about] mercy killings? Should [Christians] leave it with the Lord instead & pray that the Lord will take them if that's best?) Of course! God knows what's best, whether it's best for the child to live or die. Pray for the Will of God!
26. WHY NOT TRUST GOD FOR DEATH LIKE WE DO FOR LIFE?—Trust God for the death of our loved ones, our family, ourselves, & leave that up to the Lord!—He knows how to take care of it! He isn't going to let anybody suffer more than they are able to bear, He'll take them first. I believe the Word of God & it says that He will not let you suffer more than you are able to bear! (1Cor.10:13.)
27. WE DO EVERYTHING ELSE IN JESUS' NAME, WHY NOT DIE IN JESUS' NAME & let Him determine the way, the time & the place for His glory & when He feels it's time & you've finished what you came here to do! I'd sooner leave my death up to the Lord & trust Him with it than take such an important decision into my own hands! "For this God is our God forever & ever: He will be our guide even unto death." (Ps.48:14)—And "through the valley of the shadow of death"!—Psa.23:4.
28. OUR DEATH WILL BE A VICTORY OVER THE GRAVE & A VICTORY OVER SIN & A VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL!—A glorious victory & a glorious entry into the Heavenlies like the way my grandmother died: "Earth recedes, Heaven opens, this is my Coronation Day!" She looked up & flung her arms wide & looked like she was seeing Heaven as she died. PTL! That's the way I'd like to die!
29. I THINK MANY A SAINT HAS DIED THAT WAY—GOD GAVE THEM A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN AS THEY DIED! That's the way Stephen died!—Even as a martyr he died a glorious, victorious death seeing Jesus & Heaven & probably didn't even feel the stones! (Acts 7:55,56) That's the way to die!—Even if the dogs are nipping at your heels & the rocks are raining, die victoriously with your eyes on Jesus & entering the heavenlies, rising to your reward while your body falls to the grave‚ praise God! Hallelujah! Sudden death, sudden glory!—For the Christian!—TYJ!—How about you?