Summary: This is the 12th sermon in the series "Are You Prepared?"
Series: Are You Prepared? [#12]
I want everybody to get your belongings and stand up. Now, I want every body in the front 2 sections to move to the back 2 sections and those who are in the back 2 sections to change sides.
Take your Bibles out and turn to Revelations 6. If you love Jesus, stand up.
Now be honest, most of you are probably “put out” that you got moved and then had to stand back up; but what a small thing it is to be moved from your “regular pew”. Let me ask you this morning how would you handle real persecution? In our text, we find different people in different locations. Which location will you be found at? Will it be under…
I. The Altar
Once Jesus breaks the 5th seal, the souls of all the martyrs of the world are seen under the altar of God. Remember what Scripture teaches about the tabernacle: the furnishings of the tabernacle were only patterns of the worship center in Heaven. This means that there is a perfected altar of sacrifice in the throne room of Heaven. What is the altar of sacrifice or what is called in the Bible the brazen altar? It was the altar where the animals were sacrificed. The blood was poured out at the foot of the altar, symbolizing that the animal was being sacrificed for the person offering it. This is the picture here: the lives of the martyrs, their blood, has been sacrificed and poured out for God. The martyrs have offered their lives up for God, paid the supreme price and literally sacrificed all they were for God. They offered up their lives upon the altar of sacrifice for God. Therefore, in Heaven the martyrs have a very special place before God: they stand at the foot of the altar. They are a group of believers who are given a very special place near to God for all of eternity.
There is a strong lesson in this for all believers of all ages. God has a very special place for those who are faithful until death, a place that is close and dear to His heart and throne. This should stir us to be faithful every minute of every day. To be close to God, close to His throne and presence, serving Him throughout all of eternity and then laying down one’s life for Him.
These martyrs will be killed for God’s Word and for the testimony they had for Christ. The world will react because God’s Word demands that a person give his first loyalty to Jesus Christ. In the end time under the antichrist, the peoples of the world will be required to give their first loyalty to the state. The government will demand loyalty to the state first, then the people can have freedom of religion and worship whatever god they wish. The state will develop the idea of what could be called a state religion, something close to what exists in some states today. Believers, of course, can only give their first loyalty to Christ; therefore, they will be killed, for they cannot deny the Word of God.
The world will react because God’s Word demands that a person live a pure and righteous life. In the end time people will be as they have always been: unwilling to give up the reins to their lives. They will continue to rebel against God, to do what they want, their own thing, instead of living like God says to live. But in the end time rebellion against God will be intensified.
They were slain for the testimony they had concerning Jesus Christ. The martyrs will believe that Jesus Christ is 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. But the world rejects Jesus Christ, His deity, that He is the Son of God. The world is 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 all those who proclaim Christ to be the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
The 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.
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 them 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. 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 of unrighteousness and to bring righteousness to the universe.