The Souls of The Slain Martyrs – Part Two – Prophecy, Part 70, Revelation 6:9-11
In our previous study we had begun to look at the souls of those who had been slain for their firm testimony of Jesus Christ and their belief in the Word of God. Their special location was under the altar.
MARTYRS SLAIN FOR STRONG TESTIMONY
These folks will be slain for the testimony they will bear concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. The martyrs will [remember that this is still future] believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the true Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. They will believe that God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to save the world and that they will get to know God the Father.
WORLD REJECTS JESUS CHRIST
Like now, the world will reject Jesus Christ, His deity and that He is the Son of God. The world, like now, will be willing to accept that Jesus Christ was a great religious and moral teacher, but no more than that. In the end time, the world’s rejection of Christ as the Son of God will be intensified so much that they will kill those who proclaim Christ to be the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
Believers of the end time will be martyred because they refuse to deny Christ. They will not deny their Savior and Lord, the Son of God Himself.
John recorded two responses to the opening of the seal, one in heaven and the other on earth.
The martyrs (Revelation 6: 9-11). When the Old Testament priest presented an animal sacrifice, the victim’s blood was poured out at the base of the brazen altar (Leviticus 4:7, 18, 25, 30).
In the Old Testament, blood represented life (Leviticus 17:11). So here in Revelation the souls of the martyrs “under the altar” indicates that their lives were given sacrificially for the glory of God.
(Philippians 2:12-18) – Our lives should be characterized by moral purity, patience and peacefulness so that we “shine as lights” in a dark and depraved world. A transformed life is an effective witness to the power of God’s Word. The good question is, “Are you clouded by complaining and disputing?” We are to shine out for God.
The Apostle Paul had the same idea in mind when he wrote Philippians 2:17 and 2 Timothy 4:6. “Yes, and if I am being poured out as a DRINK OFFERING on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:17-18, NKJV).
THERE ARE SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: – We find the altar mentioned SEVEN times throughout Revelation 6:9; 8:3; 8:5; 9:13; 11:1; 14:18; 16:7.
Consider the Martyrs and the justice they faced [or lack thereof]. The slain martyrs cry out for justice.
Note two facts:
- The Martyrs address God as the SOVEREIGN LORD, HOLY AND TRUE (Revelation 6:10).
A. The Word used here for “Lord” (despots) means Master or Sovereign. God is the supreme Master and Sovereign of the universe. Therefore, ALL prayer is to be directed to Him (Matthew 6:6-14). Why? Because all lives belong to Him, the lives of the martyrs and the lives of their persecutors.
GOOD QUESTION: Even though we are looking at the future, this attitude still applies to those in the Age of Grace [current time]. So, the question for you and me simply is, “Do I today acknowledge Christ as my Sovereign Lord, Holy and true?” Does my life reflect that confession
B. God is holy, completely set apart from all other beings in the universe. He deserves to look upon nothing but righteousness and purity and holiness. The martyrs want all sin and evil erased so that God will not be disobeyed anymore by unholy living. Therefore, they address Him as Sovereign and Holy Lord. Peter tells us that God expects current age Christians to live a holy life. The question for us is, “Are we actually living holy lives?”
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the REVELATION of Jesus Christ; as OBEDIENT children, not CONFORMING yourselves to the FORMER LUSTS, as in your ignorance; but as HE WHO HAS CALLED YOU IS HOLY, YOU ALSO BE HOLY IN ALL YOUR CONDUCT, because it is written ‘Be holy, for I am holy’ ” (I Peter 1:13-16, emphasis added, NKJV). The question is, “Am I living a holy life?”
C. Further, God is true to His Word and His promises. Therefore, He is the One who is to execute justice and bring ALL THINGS to a climax in the end time. He is the One who has to stop all the evil and terrible things done by men. If justice is to be executed upon earth, He is the One who has to do it. Therefore, MARTYRS address God as Sovereign Lord, holy and true.
- The martyrs cry out for justice and for vengeance against their persecutors. This is shocking, that believers in heaven would seek vengeance against men upon earth instead of loving and longing for them to be saved. Is this an accurate picture? No, it is not. This is not what the martyrs are doing. Their cry is a cry for vindication of the Word of God and of Christ, not a cry for vengeance.
Note exactly what they are saying: They are crying out for God to avenge their blood. Why was their blood spilt? Why were they killed? Because the persecutors rebelled against the Word of God and against Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
This is that for which the martyrs are crying out, for vindication, not for vengeance. They are crying out for God…
- to stop the injustice against His Word and against His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- to stop the injustice against His own glory and justice.
- to stop the injustice of sin and evil against Himself.
- to stop the injustice and unrighteousness and to bring righteousness to the universe.
They were, in essence, praying for God’s kingdom to come upon earth. Their Lord had taught them to pray both “your kingdom come” as well as “forgive those who do evil against you.”
Revelation 6:10 – Slain Martyrs Cry For Justice.
Remember this as well: no one suffers the hell and wrath of sin any more than a martyr. A MARTYR HAS ENDURED THE GREATEST WRATH AND HELL THAT SIN CAN CAST AGAINST A PERSON: IT IS THE FIRE AND WRATH OF SIN THAT KILLS HIM.
Therefore, the martyr above all others knows how terrible sin insults and rages against God. When a martyr reaches heaven, sees the Lord and the Father and all the glory and majesty of heaven and then begins to share with the Lord, the martyr is bound to cry out:
“…How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10, emphasis added, KJV).
“O God, how long shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme thy name forever?” (Psalm 74:10, emphasis added, KJV).
“How long, LORD? Wilt thou be angry forever? Shall thy jealousy burn like fire? Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name” (Psalm 79:5-6, emphasis added, KJV).
“LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves” (Psalm 94:3-4, emphasis added, KJV).
(Revelation 6:11) – The slain martyrs are given white robes. The white robes STAND FOR PURITY AND RIGHTEOUSNESS. Believers are made pure and righteous in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. These martyrs are wearing the robes that all believers upon the earth will wear, the white robes of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
(6:11) – Martyrs – Justice: the slain martyrs are assured of justice.
- Note a glorious thing: the martyrs are said to be at REST in heaven.
- They are resting in the peace of Christ, free from all struggle.
“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9, KJV).
“And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should REST yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Revelation 6:11).
- They are resting from all their exhausting labor upon earth.
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them: (Revelation 14:13, KJV).
- They are resting from the wicked of the earth.
“There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest” (Job 3:17, emphasis added, KJV).
- They are resting from all the trials and temptations of life; they are to be freed from all tears and sorrow and crying and pain and death.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:4, KJV).
- They are resting in the perfection of a new life, even the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV).
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV).
“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24, KJV).
“And he that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful’ ” (Revelation 21:5, KJV).
“He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness” (Isaiah 57:2, KJV).
2. Note what the Lord tells the martyrs: it will be a little while before THE END OF THE WORLD COMES. The question is whether or not the end will ever come. IT IS COMING! It is, just that it is not time for it.
There is still to be more witness borne to the world. The name of Jesus Christ has not been proclaimed enough to the world, not yet. And some believers are still to be martyred for the name of Christ. The number of martyrs is not yet fulfilled. The place for martyrs in heaven is not yet filled. More believers must be sold out to Christ and on fire proclaiming His salvation; more believers must die for His testimony before the end of the world comes.
NOTE: What a dynamic challenge for us! To be on fire for God and to be proclaiming Jesus Christ! We must not fear, we must be willing to witness for Him even if it means that we must die for Him and His case of eternal salvation.
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” (2 Timothy 1:8, KJV).
“And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;” (2 Peter 3:15, KJV).
“But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost (Spirit) is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8, KJV).
“For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20, KJV).
Philippians 1:12-14 – Being imprisoned would cause many people to become bitter or to give up, but Paul saw it as one more opportunity to spread the Good News of Christ. Paul realized that his current circumstances weren’t as important as what he did with them. Turning a bad situation into a good one, he reached out to the Roman soldiers who made up the palace guard and encouraged those Christians who were afraid of persecution. We may not be in prison, but we still have plenty of opportunities to be discouraged – times of indecision, financial burdens, family conflict, church conflict or the loss of our jobs. How we act in such situations will reflect what we believe. Like Paul, look for ways to demonstrate your faith even in bad situations. Whether or not the situations improve, your faith will grow stronger; the way the martyrs handled their circumstances can help us today.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only BUT ALSO TO ALL who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8, emphasis added, NKJV).
NOTE: A DRINK OFFERING CONSISTED OF WINE POURED OUT ON AN ALTAR AS A SACRIFICE TO God (see Genesis 35:14; Exodus 29:41). Its fragrance was considered pleasing to God. Paul viewed his life as an offering to God.
2 Timothy 4:8 –In Roman athletic games, a laurel wreath was given to the winners. A symbol of triumph and honor, it was the most coveted prize in ancient Rome. This is probably what Paul was referring to when he spoke of a crown.
But his would be a crown of righteousness. See 2 Corinthians 5:10 and Matthew 19:27 for more on the rewards awaiting the Christian for our faith and deeds. Although Paul would not receive an earthly reward, he would be rewarded in heaven. Whatever we may face – discouragement, persecution, or death – we know our reward is waiting for us in heaven.
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (I John 2:22-23, emphasis added, KJV).
“By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now ALREADY in the world” (I John 4:2-3, emphasis added, NKJV).
NOTE: “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits” means that we shouldn’t believe everything we hear just because someone says it is a message inspired by God. Christian, this is your responsibility, test everything. Why? Because Satan is the great deceiver.
There are a great many ways to test the spirits [pastors and teachers] who claim to be teaching the Bible.
1. One is to check to see if their words match what God says in the Bible.
2. Two, test their commitment to the body of believers (John 2:19). The false teachers were not total strangers to the church; they once had been in the church, but they did not really belong to it. John does not say WHY they left, it is clear that their reasons for joining in the first place were wrong.
Some people may call themselves Christ followers for less than the best reasons. There are several possible reasons which might have brought them back to church.
- Perhaps going to church is a family tradition.
- Maybe they like the social and business contacts they make in the church.
- Or, possibly going to church is a longstanding family habit and they have never stopped to ask themselves why they do it.
- Good Question, “What is your main reason for calling yourself a Christian?
- Why do you bother to go to various church services?
- Unless you have a Christ-centered reason for calling yourself a Christ follower [a true believer or go to church] you may not belong.
- However, you do not have to settle for less than the best. You can become personally acquainted with THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (John 3:16). If you want, you can become a Christ follower, you can become personally acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ.
3. The third way to check out a possible false teacher is to check out their lifestyle (I John 3:23,24).
I John 5:9-13 has some further help for those who doubt their salvation.
Whoever believes in God’s Son has eternal life – period! The Lord Jesus Christ is all you need to go to heaven. You don’t need to wait for eternal life because eternal life is yours the moment you believe.
“If we receive the witness of men, THE WITNESS OF GOD IS GREATER; for this the witness of God which He has testified of His Son. HE WHO BELIEVES IN THE SON OF GOD HAS THE WITNESS IN HIMSELF; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. HE WHO HAS THE SON HAS LIFE; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know you have eternal life, and that you may CONTINUE to believe in the name of the Son of God” (I John 5:9-13, emphasis added, NKJV).
Good Question: Do you know that you have eternal life? If not, why not? Please turn to John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13. Talk with God in prayer and ask Him to clarify your heart’s condition.