The graphic and gruesome video of the 21 young Christian men being brutally slaughtered has shocked Egypt, but as Ramez Atallah, The General Director of the Bible Society of Egypt reports, the outrage has united Christians and
Muslims as never before. As soon as the video was broadcast on Sunday evening, the President delivered a speech declaring seven days of mourning for the nation. Shortly afterwards the Egyptian Air Force bombed ISIS targets in Libya.
Ramez writes, “As I arrived at the Bible Society of Egypt office in the morning, feeling sad and depressed, I met a young co-worker who told me that she was “very encouraged.” I could not imagine what on earth could encourage her! She replied,
“I am encouraged because now I know that what we have been taught in history books about Egyptian Christians being martyred for their faith is not just history but that there are Christians today who are brave enough to face death rather than deny their Lord! When I saw these young men praying as they were being prepared for execution and then many of them shouting “O Lord Jesus” as their throats were being slit, I realized that the Gospel message can still help us to hold on to the promises of God even when facing death!”
Hebrews chapter eleven is being renenacted today. These men were simple, Egyptian labourers who had gone to Libya to make a living. They were captured and executed by ISIS for being “People of the Cross”. The whole of Egypt has been shocked by this news; it is the most talked about event in our country at this time.
Those Islamic extremists clearly intended to provoke the 10 million Christians in Egypt to rise up violently against their Muslim neighbours. But the loving caring response of Muslims all over the nation softened the anger which many Christians felt. So far Christians in Egypt have responded with restraint, and sorrow, calling out to God.
The President and dozens of political leaders personally sent condolences to the Coptic Pope. The Prime Minister travelled to the small village where most of these men come from, and sat on the floor with their poor relatives to share their grief and express his concern. All this sends a clear message that Christians are considered an integral part of the fabric of Egyptian society.
Let’s pray for the effective mass distribution of a Scripture tract the Egyptian Bible Society have just produced. May the word of God spread far and wide, and both challenge and comfort the many who will receive it.
News is coming in that more Egyptians are being seized in turbulent Libya. Lord have mercy! Bless the land of Egypt at this time, which is home to by far the largest Christian population in the Middle East. Send forth your word – let many open their hearts and come to know You at a far deeper level. In Jesus’ name, Amen.