Then Came Eagles and Falcons

They hurried him to the place of burning and a crown of blasphemy was placed on the prisoner’s head, bearing the words This is an arch-heretic, with illustrations depicting devils tearing his soul apart. Falling to his knees the prisoner prayed repeatedly Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. I am willing, he said patiently and publicly to endure this dreadful, shameful and cruel death for the sake of thy gospel and the preaching of thy word. As the fire ascended he continued to call loudly upon God until the smoke took away his last breath. It was the year 1415.

The martyr was a Bohemian priest and precursor to the Protestant Reformation named John Huss who was greatly influenced by another man ahead of his time, John Wycliffe. Huss (or Hus) was the Bohemian name for goose and often his foes used this to deride him. But on one occasion he replied to them: Instead of a silly goose the truth will hereafter send forth eagles and falcons with piercing looks. This statement would prove to be prophetic as just over 100 years later Martin Luther, who depended heavily on Huss’s work, would ignite the Protestant Reformation by posting his 95 theses on October 31, 1517.

October 31st is known by many as Halloween. However, many Christians celebrate the date as Reformation Day in remembrance of the Reformation. It’s also an official holiday in a lot of countries.

Not long after Luther, an explosion of Reformers would emerge to restore faithfulness to Biblical Christianity. Since Luther’s time various reformers like John Calvin, the Westminster Divines, Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon have fought tirelessly for The Gospel over the traditions of men.

For various reasons many Christians choose not to participate in Halloween festivities. However, because of heroes of the faith like Martin Luther, October 31st is indeed a day for celebration. Sadly, today many Christians are ignorant of Church History. On Reformation Day we can use this time as an opportunity to honor the Reformers by learning Church History and as a celebration of our Christian liberty.