We may sometimes forget that infanticide was not Pharaoh’s go-to strategy for addressing his “Jew problem.” Before blatant, sudden infanticide (by means of the Nile river), he tried subtle, progressive infanticide (by means of the Hebrew midwives). Before the latter, he tried good old fashion slavery. On this matter Moses so aptly wrote, “But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad” (Exodus 1:12).

Here is an explicit example in covenant history that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church. “Christianity hits growth spurts in persecution” is a common enough conclusion, but this trend is not novel to the New Covenant. God’s church – those in covenant with Him – have always found oppression to be coincidentally a cause for growth. One clear distinction between Old and New Covenant oppression-growth is that the Old Covenant did eventually fade away, whereas the New Covenant will never end. All the same, even before the Mosaic Law, God provides us images of a persevering church.

Exodus 1:12 may also be a good strategy moving forward for Christians in the United States. We are further and further oppressed for orthodox Christianity. Therefore, let us have all the more babies and spread all the more broadly across the face of this planet. In a way, God’s answer to persecution is the original mandate, “Be fruitful and multiply.”

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