Meanwhile I have taken this course with those who were accused before me as Christians: I have asked them whether they were Christians. Those who confessed I asked a second and a third time, threatening punishment. Those who persisted I ordered led away to execution. For I did not doubt that, whatever it was they admitted, obstinacy and unbending perversity certainly deserve to be punished .... Others who were named by an informer said that they were Christians, and soon afterward denied it, saying, indeed, that they had been, but had ceased to be Christians, some three years ago, some many years, and one even twenty years ago. All these also not only worshipped your statue and the images of the gods, but also cursed Christ. (A Treasury of Early Christianity, edited by Anne Fremantle, New York: Viking Press, 1953, pp. 253, 254).
To renounce one's faith under persecution is to be placed under the category of the fearful (Rev. 21:8, KJV), according to A. T. Robertson:
There are eight epithets here used which apply to various sections of this direful list of the doomed and the damned, all in the dative (case of personal interest). For the fearful (tois deilois). Old word (from deido, to fear) for the cowardly, who recanted under persecution, in N.T. only here, Matt. 8:26; Mark 4:40. (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. VI, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1933, p. 469, italics his).To worship the image of the Antichrist and to receive the mark of the beast will mean loss of salvation for the Christian (Rev. 14:9-12). If we are that generation, the following Scriptures will especially be important safeguards for us:
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death (Rev. 12:11, NIV).
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Mt. 10:28, KJV).
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