May 26, 2013
“Not Whether but When” – “Suffering and Justice”
The Fifth Seal—Martyrs
Revelation 6:9 – When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; (10) and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (11) And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
What do you see in the future?
Let’s consider life on earth.
Matthew 24:12 – Because iniquity, evil, lawlessness shall increase the love of many will grow cold.
Two main reasons for the persecution.
First: The unwillingness for the faithful to give up their faith in the Bible as THE WORD of God.
John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (NAS)
Second: They were martyred because of their testimony of Jesus.
Revelation 12:17 – So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus..
What is the condition of these souls?
They are souls without a body. The Resurrection had not taken
Luke 16:19 – “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. (20) And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, (21) and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. (22) Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. (23) In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. (24) And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ (25) But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. (26) And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ (27) And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— (28) for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ (29) But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ (30) But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ (31) But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
2 Peter 2:4 – For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, (tartarus) putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;
There is another cry coming from the martyrs. It is a cry for God to do something.
Revelation 6:10 – and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Even though they understood that vengeance belonged to God they still did not have the gracious words of Stephen who said to God.
Acts 7:60 -Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. (NIV)
Nor the words of Jesus who cried out.
Luke 23:34 – “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Luke 23:46 – Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.
You can accept and expect God’s intervention in His timing not yours.
Revelation 6:11 – And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
God had an answer.
2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Revelation 19:7 – Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.
Revelation 19:8 – It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
Revelation 19:9 – Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.”
The marriage supper of the Lamb is the final resurrection.
Rewards will be given, a great banquet will be held. All the souls of the martyrs will receive a new body.
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.