|Rev.6:||9 And when he had opened
the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were
slain for the WORD OF GOD, and for the testimony which they held:
10: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11: 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 fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Here we are shown religious persecutions involving two groups of martyrs; a) the early martyrs who were slain for their faith before the four horsemen had taken the field, and b) the end-time martyrs who are to be slain after the horsemen (war, famine, and pestilence) have begun to ride.
The Early Martyrs
These are the martyrs who died before the 20th century, died in their millions during the period known as the 'dark ages.' They died, we are told, 'for the Word of God' and 'for their testimony.' The blood of these martyrs has still not been avenged; nor are they rejoicing in heaven right now. Instead they were each given a white robe (accredited with the righteousness of Jesus) and told to rest, to wait for a little season till another great martyrdom took place.
The End-time Martyrs
These martyrs would be killed 'as they (the early martyrs) were.' In other words they would be martyred for the very same reason that the early martyrs died: that is, for the Word of God (the Bible) and their testimony. In short, the martyrdom under the fifth seal pictures an end-time martyrdom, a persecution of believers in our day! There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that in some countries this end-time persecution has already begun. But it is scheduled to intensify and will no doubt reach the free West in due course.
In his Olivet prophecy the Master also places this final martyrdom after the wars, famines and pestilence that are symbolized by the red, black and pale horses. He said this:
|Matthew 24:|| 9 Then shall they
deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall
be hated of all nations for my name's sake.|
10: And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
The scene for this end-time persecution,
which culminates in the death of many leading believers, is already
set. Satanic forces are even now undermining the faith of many
Christians in the real Word of God and love within the
brotherhood is fading away. Jealousy, hatred, slander and outright
rejection are all too common in the churches today and many believers
are giving up their faith altogether. Added to this sad reality
is the fact that the real Word of God, the genuine Bible,
is being jettisoned in favour of scores of counterfeit
Those who cling to the real Word of God will soon be a target for persecution.
Take warning dear reader that you are not deceived by Satan into rejecting the Word of God or into harbouring hatred in your heart towards fellow Christians; especially those who seek to do the Almighty's will. Because jealousy and slander are the stepping stones to betrayal; and betrayal is but one step away from a true believer's martyrdom. When that end-time tribulation arrives in your area it will test the faith of every believer almost to the point of destruction. But God in His infinite mercy has decreed that many will be saved through it all; be saved to stand in faultless splendour before the soul-searching gaze of the Almighty God!
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matt. 24:13)
That is, those who refuse to give up
their faith in the Almighty, even though they may be called to
give up their lives for Him. This end-time persecution is upon
us, so do not be surprised when it starts in your neighbourhood.
We are happy to report, however, that not all the church is scheduled
for martyrdom. Many will be spared and be miraculously protected
from the onslaught of the Evil One. They will live unscathed through
the very worst Satan can do and will stand before God in faultless
splendour in that last day. This reassuring prospect will be looked
at again when we examine Revelation chapters 9, 12 and 13.
|Rev.6:||12 And I beheld when he
had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake;
and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became
as blood; |
13: And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14: And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15: And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16: And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Speaking of these same events in Matthew's gospel the Master said this:
|Matt. 24:29:||Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.|
The prophet Joel writing of this same period wrote:
|Joel 2:|| 30 And I will shew wonders
in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars
31: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
32: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
In the sixth seal the reader is given a preview of that same end-time celestial display. It will be witnessed throughout our galaxy. The language of these prophecies seems to indicate that besides their spiritual counterparts, these signs will also be literally fulfilled. In other words, the whole earth will be shaken to its very foundations; the literal mountains will heave and swell like the waves of the restless sea and every island will be shifted from its primeval moorings.
|Jeremiah 4:||23 I beheld the earth,
and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they
had no light.|
24: I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.
25: I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.
26: I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and ALL the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger.
Panic, blind, uncontrollable panic will
sweep across the globe when the events under the 6th seal occur.
Earth's terror-stricken inhabitants will incorrectly conclude
that the universe is beginning to disintegrate. The sun, we are
told, will become black as sackcloth. It will
disappear for a short period of time and the moon will glow
like blood. Falling stars (meteorites) in their
thousands will criss-cross the sky and the heavens will be rolled
back as a scroll. In that day, every man, woman and child
the world over will be filled with the fear of the Almighty and
nobody will then doubt his existence. Indeed, all mankind will
realize that the day of God's wrath has arrived. (Rev. 6:17)
The events under this seal have obviously not yet happened. Admittedly there have been a few isolated instances in history when unusually large numbers of meteorites have been sighted from certain parts of the globe, or when the sun was darkened for a few hours; but it is forcing the issue to suggest that those local happenings are the fulfilment of this awesome 6th seal, because they are not.
Why not? Simply because all the events under the 6th seal are to occur more or less at the same time, and will be witnessed by the entire population of the earth.
All these signs happen concurrently and that has never happened before: nor has the world's population ever exhibited the kind of blind panic described in Revelation 6:16 when mankind en-mass cried out:
Wait for the 6th seal. It is still future. When it occurs Yahweh's true followers will be galvanized into action. Gone forever will be their reticence in proclaiming the Gospel to the unconverted. Gone too their need to even convince people of the existence of God and His Son, the symbolic Lamb. For after the earthshaking events of the 6th seal, all the world will acknowledge the existence of the Almighty God and the prospect of the soon-coming Day of Judgment.
Oh yes, the world's population will accept
the fact that the Messiah exists; but it will be an acceptance
born of terror, not of love. Nevertheless, it is part of the Almighty's
plan to give mankind a final opportunity to choose between right
and wrong, between obedience and sin, between the worship of Yahweh
as specified in His commandments and the worship of Satan which
manifests itself in various human traditions. That final appeal,
that end-time work of inviting mankind to accept Yahweh's authority
will reach its climax immediately after the 6th seal, after
the state of widespread chaos and panic already described. It
will be a unique message, a special end-time work concentrating
on one aspect of the Everlasting Gospel, the Seal of the Living God!
The unique message concerning the Seal
of God is programmed to go to all the world between the 6th
and 7th seals. Indeed, its importance can only be appreciated
when one considers that the events of the 7th seal are held
up till that special message has reached the whole world.
In Revelation chapter 7 that unique, end-time message is introduced.
We will now turn our attention to that chapter and examine it
carefully; not forgetting that the 7th seal has still to be opened.