by | Jun 2, 1999 | Persecution, Sacrifice

When revival came to Florence, Italy, during 1496-98, God’s instrument was the Italian Roman Catholic monk Savonarloa. At that time, Martin Luther who was greatly influenced by Savonarloa was just a small boy. Savonarola was shocked by the vice and immorality of the world and by the corruption that existed in the Roman Catholic Church. As a youth he would walk beside the River Po, singing to God and weeping for the sins, the injustices, and the poverty of the people. He wept and grieved over the lewdness, luxury, and cruelty of many leaders of the church. He would lie for hours prostrate on the altar steps in the church, weeping and praying for the sins of the age and the sins of the church.

Although he was a devout Catholic, his prayers and Spirit-filled life helped prepare the way for the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther called him a Protestant martyr.

For years he studied the Bible, waited for God and prayed. Suddenly one day God gave him a vision: the heavens opened and a voice commanded him to announce the future calamities of the church to the people. Filled with a new powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit, he began to preach to the people.

When the Spirit of God came upon him, the voice of Savorarola thundered as he denounced the sins of the people. Revival power gripped the whole area. His audience – men and women, poets and philosophers, craftsmen and laborers – all sobbed and wept. On several occasions, while seated in the pulpit, all in the church could see his face seemingly illuminated with a heavenly glow, and he would sit in the pulpit lost in prayer or in a trance for up to 5 hours at a time.

According to his words of prophecy, the city ruler, the pope, and the king of Naples all died within a year. The revival brought tremendous moral change. The people stopped reading vile land worldly books. Merchants made restitut9on to the people for the excessive profits they had been making. Hoodlums and street urchins stopped singing sinful songs and began to sing hymns in the streets.

The corrupt pope, the cardinals, and the priests were outraged. Savonarola and two companion monks were brought out to be executed before a mob of thousands of onlookers. An awesome silence gripped the whole crowd. His last words were, “Should I not die willingly for Him who suffered so much for me?” He then communed so deeply with God that he seemed unaware of what was happening around him. He and his two friends were hanged in the public square, and then their bodies were burned.

With permission from Job Anbalagan