4 occurrences in 4 dictionaries

Reference: Martyr


A witness, Mt 18:16; Lu 24:48; in ecclesiastical history, "a witness, by the shedding of his blood, in testifying to the truth." Thus martyrs are distinguished from "confessors," properly so called, who underwent great afflictions for their confession of the truth, but without suffering death. The term "martyr" occurs only thrice in the New Testament, Ac 22:20; Re 2:13; 17:6. Since the time of Stephen, Ac 7:59; 22:20, myriads of martyrs have sealed the truth of Christianity by a painful death; which they willingly endured through faith, rather than to deny Christ, and which they often eagerly desired as a special privilege. It is doubtless possible to be put to death as a Christian, without real love for Christ, 1Co 13:3; but in general "the noble army of the martyrs" have borne a true and overwhelming testimony to the power and preciousness of faith in Christ; and their blood witnesses before God against their foes, especially against that apostate church which is "drunken with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus," Re 17:6.

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one who bears witness of the truth, and suffers death in the cause of Christ (Ac 22:20; Re 2:13; 17:6). In this sense Stephen was the first martyr. The Greek word so rendered in all other cases is translated "witness." (1.) In a court of justice (Mt 18:16; 26:65; Ac 6:13; 7:58; Heb 10:28; 1Ti 5:19). (2.) As of one bearing testimony to the truth of what he has seen or known (Lu 24:48; Ac 1:8,22; Ro 1:9; 1Th 2:5,10; 1Jo 1:2).

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The Greek word is ??????, and is very frequently translated 'witness;' a martyr is one who meets with death because of the witness he bears. Stephen was a martyr, Ac 22:20; also Antipas, Re 2:13. The 'two witnesses ' in Rev. 11 will also be martyrs, and Babylon the Great is charged with being drunken "with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." Re 17:6. The history of the church records the faithfulness of many of these. There can be no doubt that many of the O.T. saints also died as martyrs. Jezebel cut off the prophets of Jehovah. 1Ki 18:13. The Lord charged the Pharisees with being the children of them which killed the prophets, Mt 23:31; and in the "cloud of witnesses" spoken of in Heb. 11, were some of whom it is said "others were tortured lit. broken on the wheel, not accepting deliverance," as many martyrs since then might have saved their lives by denying their faith. Christ Himself was the faithful and true witness, Re 1:5; 3:14; and He said to His persecutors, "Ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you . . . . ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth." Joh 8:37,40. Thus the Lord Jesus was the true Martyr, though His death comprehended much more than dying as a martyr, namely, atonement.

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