Summary: the fifth seal
Revelation 6:9, “And when the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the Word of God and for being faithful to their witness.”
When the lamb broke the fifth seal indicates the sequence of things happening. We are now reaching the mid point of the Tribulation since the four seals have been procured. The very fact that John saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the Word of God and for being faithful to their witness indicates that those people had not yet received their resurrected prayers. This judgment and the others to follow are motivated by this principle, prayer! These martyrs were so faithful in there witness for Jesus; they took seriously. The Word martyr is witness. Jesus uses this in commissioning us to be His witnesses in the Great Commission and in Acts 1:8. Tertullian once said that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. The blood of those who have given there lives for the sake of righteousness is not in vain. Those who have killed the martyrs all throughout history will be judged.
In America we are blessed to have a “democracy” where we don’t much have to face persecution for sharing our faith, other than people perhaps ridiculing it and critizing it, but for the most part we don’t face anywhere near the persecution the early Christians did or the Christians in communist and Muslim countries. We must stand firm, praying for those who are imprisoned by this people whose hearts are hardened against the knowledge of God. They believe themselves to be God’s but there is only One God in heaven so they themselves are just like us, in need of a Savior. We cannot keep our life if we hope to gain in the next one. If we wish to live in this life we had better prepare for eternity. Eternity is what matters, it should be our primary focus and concern as believers in the Messiah.
Revelation 6:10, “They called loudly to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge the people who belong to this world for what they have done to us? When will you avenge our blood against these people?”
O Sovereign Lord holy and true does not translate kurios the common New Testament word for Lord, but the stronger term despotes which means master, or rule. This speaks of god the Father’s might, majesty and authority. That these martyrs base their appeal on the aspects of the fact that God is holy is because God is absolutely holy and He must judge sin, because He is true, He must keep His promises and His word. The combination of the two together reinforces His deity and full equality with the Father.
How long will it be before you judge the people who belong to this world for what they have done to us? When will you avenge our blood against these people?”
The martyrs are not questioning God or challenging God, but they are asking is when will Satan and the Antichrist be defeated. How long is a well known cry of suffering Israel reflecting the perplexing question of the righteous as to when their pain will end (Psalm m13:1; 35:17). Judgement is coming, each one of these judgements will increase with the purpose that men will turn from their wicked ways and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. He along is the only one that can save. Come to Him today, repent of your sins and enter into a relationship with His Son!
Revelation 6:11, “Then a white robe was given to each of them. And they were told to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters-their fellow servants of Jesus has been martyred.
Two elements make up God’s response here. First is a symbolic gift and a spoken word. Then a white robe was given to each of them was the symbolic gift. A white robe stole; a long robe flowing to the feet). These long brilliant robes were a reward of grace (7:9,14) symbolizing God’s gift of eternal righteousness, blessedness, dignity and honor (3:5). These were not actual robes since these believers had not yet received their resurrected bodies of the redeemed which occurs for Tribulation saints at Christ’s return (20:4-5). Along with this gift God gives them a spoken word of encouragement, And they were told to rest a little longer. This was not a rebuke for impatientce rather it was an invitation to stop the cry for vengeance and to continue to enjoy the bliss of heavenly rest until God’s time for wrath arrives. A little longer (John 7:33; 12:35) indicates that the time will not be long delayed. This seal is best seen as describing a period in the middle of the seven years of tribulation.