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‘Their Names Are Known to God’

The Rt. Rev. Grant LeMarquand, area bishop for the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia, Eretrea, Djibouti), writes:

I have just learned the horrifying news that as many as twenty-eight Ethiopian Christians have been shot or beheaded in Libya by members of the terrorist group known as ISIS or ISIL. This alarming act of violence against those that ISIS calls “people of the cross” comes just two months after twenty-one other Christians — twenty Egyptians and one Ghanian, were beheaded on a Libyan beach.

It is too early to learn the names of these newest martyrs. It is also too early to know what churches they came from. (The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has more than 30 million members, but there are also members of many other churches in this country, including at least 15 million Protestant Christians.) Personal details about the men who have died may emerge. For now we can note the most important things to be said about these victims. Their names are known to God and they are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 13:8). Their denominational affiliation is no longer of any importance: they are among the unnumbered throng from every nation, tribe, people and language gathered before the throne and the Lamb (Rev. 7:9) who have come out of the great persecution (Rev. 7:14) and have had every tear wiped away from their eyes (Rev. 7:17).

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