Summary: A look at the martyrs in the book of Daniel and the Revelation
Throughout the history of the faithful, martyrdom was prevalent as “Foxes Book of Martyrs” accurately chronicles, for the Church of Jesus Christ has experienced an almost countless number of saints being put to death for their unwavering faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
As the end of the age draws near, martyrdom of God’s people is increasing. As Daniel 11:32-35 indicates, after the abomination of desolation (Matthew 24:15) when the Antichrist demands world worship (Revelation 13), there will be many who will not take the mark of the beast and will consequently be put to death for their faithfulness to the Lord:
“And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil many days.” (Daniel 11:33)
“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.” (Revelation 6:9)
These specific martyrs are inquiring of the Lord:
“How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:10)
They want to know how long it will be until the Lord judges those who are responsible for their deaths indicating that God’s Day of the Lord judgment of those responsible, who are still alive, had not yet begun.
That one of the seven seals is fully devoted to these end of the age martyrs, reveals the prominence of martyrdom during the close of this age when the Antichrist has his way in the world causing God’s
people to be slaughtered for their obedience to the Word of God, and
their Christian testimony.
The Lord’s response to these martyrs supplies additional information concerning end of the age martyrs:
“And white robes were given unto every one of them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”
According to this text, they are given a three-fold response:
1. They are given white robes like their brethren the raptured and resurrected saints who also appear in heaven
(Revelation 7:9, 13, 14).
2. They are told to rest yet for a little [brief] season.
3. They are told that there is a certain predetermined number of their "fellow servants" who will have the
high privilege of being martyred for the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ, just as most of the apostles
and many prophets and saints of past ages have accomplished in their service for their Lord.
The book of the Revelation records the Holy Spirit-filled warfare principles of these end of the age martyrs:
“For the accuser of our brethren [Satan] is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:10b, 11)
There are three key elements to having victory over Satan:
1. The overcoming warrior will rely totally upon the atoning sacrificial Blood of the Lamb which supplies
The necessary cleansing power (I John 1:9) to give the saint the required personal holiness needed to stand blameless before the throne of God victorious over the accusations of Satan.
2. The word of their testimony is the result of personal holiness which provides the saint with access into
the very presence of the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
3. They loved not their lives unto the death describes their attitude of complete selflessness totally
giving themselves as "Sheep unto the slaughter" for the glory of their Lord as was the Apostle
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering being made conformable unto His death.” (Philippians 3:10)
The next incident of martyrdom in Scripture supplies much detail and is a most graphic incident of martyrdom as the “two witnesses” of (Revelation 11:3-13) are killed by the Antichrist after their ministry on earth is complete:
“The beast...shall make war with them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” (Revelation 11:7, 8)
Although they will have a powerful ministry of judgment in the earth during the last half of Daniel’s 70th Week, they will come to a violent end as they die at the hands of “the beast” being martyred and subsequently left lying in the streets of Jerusalem:
“And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.” (Revelation 11:9, 10)