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204 – July 23 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

The Sentence of burning at the stake was pronounced. But on July 23, 1569, as Jan Block was being led from the prison, it seemed as though he was in charge.

 

Historians said that it seemed that he was on his way to a wedding feast. As they bound him and lit the fire some of his judges wept to see him die.  There was no hesitation of Jan Block as the Lord walked with him through his ordeal.  The Catholic authorities had condemned him to die when they couldn’t convert him. Jan chided him, saying that when he was living a wild and sinful life they were not interested in converting him.  Jan had been a wealthy man living in ease and pleasure in the Dutch city of Nijmegen.  The Anabaptists were active in that area and as early as 1530 several had suffered martyrdom.  Jan’s friend Symon Van Maren spent much time with him in the taverns but was also aware of the Anabaptists because they had given their lives as martyrs in his home town of Hertogenbosch and had fallen under conviction and in time had repented and received Christ as Savior.  It was through his influence that Jan Block began reading the Word of God and too became a believer.  In time the authorities confiscated his estates and he was unable to get meaningful work and was finally arrested after fleeing from town to town.  But what a mighty witness he was.   These Anabaptist Martyrs finally won religious tolerance in Holland which gave the Pilgrims respite before they came to America.

 

 

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