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the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which the y held: fifth seal With the opening of the fifth seal, we break from the judgments associated with the four horsemen. There are no voices of command from heaven under this seal, and no messengers dispatched from the throne; for the reason that bloody persecutions of God’s servants come from beneath—not from above. We now leave the “beginning sorrows” spoken of by Jesus behind and enter the time of tribulation characterized by martyrdom (Matt 24:8-10). The beginning of sorrows (birth pangs) have passed and the Great Tribulation is now upon the world, a time of unprecedented martyrdom and antiSemitism (Matt. 24:15-22; Rev. 12:6, 13-15). under the altar From Exodus, we learn that there were two altars in the tabernacle (and later in the Temple). The first was the altar of gold for incense (Exod 40:5-6) and the second was the altar of bronze for the burnt offering (Exod 29:10-12). The heavenly altar of Revelation also seems to be thought of as an altar of incense, as found in its use in the rest of the book of Revelation: Rev. 6:9; 8:3, 5; 9:13; 14:18; 16:7. When Aaron and his sons were consecrated to the priesthood, after the blood of the bull was put on the horns of the altar of sacrifice (or burnt offering), the remaining blood was poured “beside the bottom of the altar” (Ex. 29:12; Lev. 8:15). This pattern was also followed for the sin offering (Lev. 4:7; Lev. 17:11-14). The blood of the martyred saints is considered as an “offering” before God as it accumulates at the base of the altar during this time of intense persecution of all who name the name of Christ (Matt. 24:9). Like sacrifices, they had been slain for their testimony. Not sacrifices of atonement, but of devotion. So these martyrs will sacrifice their lives, with their blood poured out at the bottom of the altar for God, and Heaven acknowledges this. Some see this altar to be the altar of incense rather than the altar of sacrifice. Search the word ‘incense’ in E-sword, you will find that the last reference was Rev 8:3 & 4. So here is a heavenly altar close to the altar of incense in the Old Testament, but unique to heaven, near the place where God has His throne. The next question, now that we know where, is who? Who is here at this altar? It says, "the souls of them that were slain." Those souls belong to the martyrs of the Great Tribulation. They're described for us in Rev 7:9. The great multitude consists of the souls of those who were martyred “for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.” The souls were separated from the bodies when they died. Search E-sword to see what testimony was all about in Revelation. The truth is that we are not sure whether which altar it is in Heaven. It could either be the altar of sacrifice or the altar of incense. The above exercise of trying to unravel the meaning of the altar apparently ended in futility. Do not be dismayed, it is an exercise in possibility because we have learned to the possible explanations to the altar. It does not matter which type of altar it is as long as we know that there is one altar, near to the throne of God, where the souls of the martyrs were praying under the altar and the smoke of the incense were like a sweet smelling sacrifice offered to God. the souls G5590 psuch psoo-khay' From G5594; breath, that is, (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from G4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the other from G2222,
the souls of the martyrs reside under the heavenly altar. then. death is not the end and the soul exist eternally.which is mere vitality . though their material tongues had been burnt to ashes. 17:6). 12:11). Given the location of the martyrs under the altar. But it is difficult to avoid the emphasis a plain reading of the verse puts upon the timing of the fifth seal and the revelation of the martyrs. 2:13) they will hold a consistent testimony up to and beyond the point of death (Rev. or oblivion. is not the end of them. It makes them invisible to men in the flesh. dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Cried (G2896) kradzo 1) to croak: 1a) of the cry of a raven. you. It is not the total interruption of their being in all respects. 8:36).heart ( -ily). they themselves are still very much alive. The holy Apocalyptist tells us that he “saw” them. in the natural state. Acts 7:59) and Antipas of the church at Pergamos (Rev. 1b) hence. Rev 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice. and their corporeal organs of speech had been stiffened in death. How long. we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter” (Ps 44:22 cf. unconsciousness. By now. 20:4). Some argue that they were martyred prior to the opening of the fifth seal. Those who “die in the Lord” have works which follow them (Rev. but it does not hinder their living on as souls. 2:9). O Lord Lord is δεσπότης [ despotēs ] which emphasizes His ownership of the saints. 1c) to cry or pray for vengeance. At this point in the sequence of events. They are faithful sheep whose blood is spilled for God’s sake. a heightened religious persecution attends the events upon the earth for these saints did not perish due to beasts. mind. It seems clear that with the opening of the fifth seal God intends us to realize that we have gone past the beginning of sorrows into the actual Tribulation period. How long. holy and true. 29:12). vociferate. “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb. cry aloud. or to the eyes of John in his supernatural and prophetic exaltation. It is altogether a wrong interpretation of the Scriptures which represents the dead in a state of nonexistence. us. life. 17:11) and the blood was poured beneath the altar (Ex. during the preceding four seals. In other words. or war—but were slain for the word of God . and they loved not their life ( ὴν [psychēn] ) even unto death” (Rev. or a ruler over a household (Tit. souls may be intended to convey life. the Antichrist has not yet become the center of all worship. or their being visible to heavenly eyes. Let us always keep in mind that He can 2 . Their slaying. “Yet for Your sake we are killed all day long. 14:13). pestilence. who had been slain for the word of God It is difficult to establish exactly when these saints were martyred. and because of the word of their testimony. O Lord. as a master has slaves. Though their physical life was terminated. famine. 12:11). soul. to cry out. These souls have yet to attain a resurrection body which they will receive prior to the Millennial Kingdom (Rev. In the same way that the “life ( [nphesh] ) of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. [H7307] and [H2416]: . Their testimony was seen as a dangerous and undesirable witness against the false religious system riding the beast (Rev. 2) to cry: 2a) cry out aloud. Rom. although they “had been slain. The word can also denote physical life. even of plants: these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew [H5315]. speak with a loud voice. the testimony which they held Like the first martyr of the Church (Stephen. Their death is as much a part of their testimony as their life.” and heard them speaking with loud voices. saying.
One of the duties of the Goel . 12:11 cf. the glorious testimony being accrued by the martyred saints. 10:3. Jas. their names are not written in the Book of Life (Rev. purity. 20:3). 10:6). (long) robe. 18). should be killed Their fellowservants and also their brethren denotes a single category. These are the ones being tested by this time of trial from God (Rev. white robe (G4749) stole stol-ay' From G4724. Fellow servants and brethren’ denote by this figure not two separate classes of persons. by His great mercy toward those who have not yet turned. beauty) robes promised to the overcomers. 14. 13:8. and continue to blaspheme God in the midst of judgment (Rev. . their fellow servants who were their brethren. as He declared to His servants the prophets” (Rev. Perhaps the two time periods coincide in that martyrdom continues until the time of the final victory (Rev. dignity. It is they who are subject to the wrath of both God and the devil (Rev. God Who has the power to step in and end this holocaust at any moment instead chooses to allow it to play out in all its gruesome detail. But the context of the angel’s proclamation here concerns the completion of “the mystery of God . persecute the saints. holiness. they continue in their rejection of God to the end. He allows their slaughter as a testimony to their faith and the evil unfolding below which will finally be judged. . not by works. for their nakedness is clothed (Rev. and the filling up of the cup of injustice of the perpetrators. 14). In this book. 2Cor. that should be killed as they were. 11:10. that is. 5:21. Even though an angel preaches the everlasting gospel to each one (Rev.do whatever He desires with His sheep. Rev 6:11 And white robes were given unto every one of them. Therefore. until their fellowservants also and their brethren. 11:10). it takes on a soteriological and eschatological sense as a technical phrase describing those in the end times who refuse salvation. that they should rest yet for a little season. but by faith (Rom. judge and avenge When God finally tramples the winepress of His wrath it is described as “the day of vengeance. These are the white (honour. 3:9. This phrase denotes the earth dwellers and has significance far beyond merely designating people who happen to be living upon the earth. Jos. In this case. 3:5. Deu. in part. and it was said unto them. righteousness. 14:6). Php. was to avenge the blood of the family member who had been murdered (Num. 1:20). is the judgment associated with the fifth seal—that petition of God by the martyred saints seals the fate of those who put them to death. until their fellowservants also and their brethren .” for “the year of My redeemed has come” (Isa. 13:12. 21-26. 17:8). then some would be 3 . 6:10. 19:6. dwell on the earth Their persecutors appear to be currently living on the earth which argues for understanding these as recent martyrs from the times described by the seals. (specifically) a “stole” or long fitting gown (as a mark of dignity): . This is the righteousness of God which is obtained. but one class. 10:7). should be fulfilled. a little while longer Some see the announcement of the angel that “there should be delay no longer” as the terminus of this period (Rev. Although we will never fully apprehend His divine patience. 63:3-4). Here again a most difficult reality presents itself. If He were to move immediately in vengeance at the time of their request. 12.long clothing (garment). equipment. Rev. 14:6. . 3:10) and rejoice when God’s two witnesses are killed (Rev. 19). we know that it is explained. 12:12. 3:5. 3:10. the nearest of kin. This then. . 12:12) and who will be deceived into worshiping the beast (Rev. 17:8). 35:19-21.
But as you get within seven years of that arrival. O Judge of the earth. with reference to Israel's role in it. or the Sermon on the Mount of Olives. We are now in a seven-year period that we have called the time of Tribulation. to whom vengeance belongs . when God unleashes His judgment and His wrath on the earth like never before. And what our Lord is saying is there is a great event. we call it the Olivet Discourse. 17:6). or 1260 days. or 42 month. should be fulfilled. 94:1-3). A golden age will come. Nevertheless. but not by worldwide response to the gospel. it is also called the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer 30:6-7). It will start out somewhat slowly and it will rapidly increase. when God's anger has been revealed. the beginning of those birth pains will occur in the first three and a half years. the Son of God. and the furious pain will come in the second half and that our Lord designated as a time called the Great Tribulation. this brief period of time is the time when God unleashes His vengeance. This is the seven-year period when Jesus Christ not only judges the ungodly but takes back the earth and the universe for His own possession. Lord. And He said this seven years will be divided into two halves. the earth is going to feel the pain. 20:4). m ore millions will be saved under the preaching of God’s witnesses in these seven years than in many times that period in this present age. This section of Scripture is the first intimation that the reign of Antichrist is to witness the greatest revival that the world has ever seen. They are probably being slain initially at the hand of the harlot who is “drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. the birth pains are going to start to come. 17:16-17). And some of those times have even been called "days of the Lord. The “golden age” to be ushered in by the preaching of the gospel as all the world turns to Christ is an unscriptural myth. It's a very vivid term. APPLICATION Vengeance of God Now as we look at the passage this morning in Revelation chapter 6. then the beast himself will carry out their martyrdom. to whom vengeance belongs." but this final time is greater than any other time to precede it. render punishment to the proud. So 4 . shine forth! Rise up.O God. there are a series of birth pains that get increasingly more intense and closer together as you get nearer to the great event of birth itself. This seven-year period identified in the book of Daniel as seven years.eternally lost that are yet to become their brethren. and identified again in the book of Revelation as to half of it being three and a half years. Now you'll remember that in Matthew's gospel Jesus is recorded to have preached a sermon. how long will the wicked. in which He discussed this period of time. the first half He called the beginning of sorrows (birth pain). we come face to face with God's vengeance. when God's wrath has been manifest. Once she is destroyed (Rev. She rides the beast who probably does the actual execution at her command. Now there have been past times when God's vengeance has been manifest. Their request has much in common with the prayers of the saints in the bowls in Revelation 5:8 and is recorded by the Psalmist. “O Lord God. The time of grace is really coming to its end. killed as they were. How long will the wicked triumph?” (Ps. namely the arrival not of a child but the arrival of the King. When a child is to be born prior to the birth. Many will be beheaded (Rev.
5 . Paul noted there was coming a day of retribution. In Isaiah chapter 59 and verse 17 we see God putting on what Isaiah says. stretches across the midpoint. as Luke looked at the same period of time in the twenty-first chapter of his gospel.” After all.. Luke added the fact that Jesus called that Great Tribulation time. "Garments of vengeance for clothing. or a day of vengeance. This fifth seal begins in the first part. those days in the second half days of vengeance. 64:7-10. it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire. fury to his adversaries. as Luke at the same period of time and recorded our Lord's words in the same sermon. and they're the ones Jesus called the beginning of the birth pains." according to Luke 21:22. The fury of God's vengeance really hits following the midpoint. "According to their deeds. and the year of my redeemed is come. that all things which are written may be fulfilled. or dealing out vengeance on those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus and they will pay the penalty of eternal destruction away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. Luk 21:22 For these be the days of vengeance. which is not mentioned in Luke 21 but the succeeding events are mentioned. the righteous will be glad. 79:10. And vengeance displays God's justice.. the first three and a half. or the great time of trouble. This is something to keep in mind for the chronology of all of this. "days of vengeance. And vengeance displays God's holiness. And vengeance displays God's righteousness. is accelerated in the second part and is followed by the vengeance. in Isaiah 59. "For the day of vengeance is in mine heart. that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God. so when he calls this particular time the day of vengeance. to the islands he will repay recompence. after the midpoint.the vengeance of God.the first half in Matthew 24:8 is called the beginning of birth pains. "Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God. After the abomination of desolations which is identified as the midpoint by Daniel in chapter 9. that second half. accordingly he will repay. 69. Vengeance belongs to God alone (Deut 32:35. Luke calls those days. Psalm 94:1). the second half in Matthew 24:21 is called The Great Tribulation. And when all of that is put on display and God is fully vindicated. for which ye also suffer. the first four seals occur in the front part." So. Now that is very important because that's consistent with what we're going to see here in the fifth seal. recompence to his enemies. 58:10. persecution and pain." And verse 18 says.” In Isaiah 63:4 we read. Here it is dealing out retribution. Imprecatory psalms (35. namely the second half. which is also mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 24. they happen in the first part." God is a God of vengeance and vengeance displays God's glory. he's talking about the time after the abomination. In 2 Thess 1:5. 99:8 & 109) were written pleading for God to avenge His people. The chronology is very clear. Paul saw this vengeance of God coming.
He will judge the world in righteousness through a man.” There's coming a great day of God's vengeance which will bring about holocausts of destruction like the world has never known. John is told to take the book which is opened in the hand of the angel in verse 8. Satan. in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise.whom He has appointed. down in Rev10:9. It does bring an end to iniquity which we despise. And it is true that believers rejoice in that day because it does put God's glory on display. There is coming a day when grace is over with and judgment falls. Paul’s deep and extensive knowledge of the Scriptures marry Deut 32:35 to Prov 25:21 in dispensing his teachings for Christians to live in this sinful & hostile world. give him bread to eat. we're to demonstrate the love of God toward sinners. but at the same time we know it's a fearful day for the ungodly. There is a sweetness in it because it brings in everlasting righteousness. but there is coming a day. It does vindicate the Lord who has been so mocked and abused.Peter saw the same thing. whereof he hath given assurance unto all men. there will come an end to the time of grace. There is a day of vengeance coming. give him water to drink:" That's the other side of it. 6 . even though it meant the destruction of the ungodly to whom they were sent for purposes of evangelism. In Rom 12:19-20. In one of the really rich chapters in this book." It's the book that describes the final judgment which is both sweet and bitter. and he's told. but that doesn't mean we treat sinners with revenge or vengeful spirits or retributive attitudes..” One day. pray and leave vengeance to the Lord. So we do rejoice. " If thine enemy be hungry. Proverbs 25:21 says. and if he be thirsty. We understand the hope and the joy that was in the hearts of the apostles as they anticipated this event. in that he hath raised him from the dead. a day when the just God and the righteous God and the holy God brings His lon g awaited justice on sinful men and women. In Acts 17 the Apostle Paul preached that. and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. This is the bittersweet taste of judgment. He said God has been somewhat tolerant in times past. it does bring in everlasting righteousness and end the reign of sin. and in the meantime we reach out in love and compassion and mercy to them. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.. the same kind of vengeance. There is a sweetness in it because it is vindication for God. Yes we long for the day when God's holiness and justice and righteousness is vindicated. And there's a bitterness in it because it devastates the ungodly. just as the love of God was demonstrated toward us while we were yet sinners. we're to be compassionate... the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.he says in Act 17:31 “Because he hath appointed a day. for those who are under the judgment of God. and eat it up. It says God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Remember.. It does take back the universe from that usurper. But. There is a balance.that is Christ. as well as seeking and longing for vengeance which puts God on display and vindicates His holiness and His righteousness. "Take it. to which we will give great attention in the future. we understand the gladness that was expressed by the psalmist. The Bible says God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained.. in 2 Pet 3:10. There is this delicate balance of joy and sadness is indicated in Revelation chapter 10:910. We are to seek mercy and compassion. There's a sweetness in it because it destroys sin.
ELDER LEE ST 7 .