Summary: In the final day - 'who is able to stand before the Lord?' This is the question asked after the 6th seal at the end of Revelation 6.
“Who Is Able To Stand?”
The Unveiling - #21 of
* The last question in verse 17 is our first challenge of today. “Who is able to stand before the Lamb and the One on the throne in their day of wrath?” Just as surely as God sent the flood waters on evil during the days of Noah and sent the fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah during the days of Abraham, He will send His wrath on this evil world in the ends of days. In those days, “Who will be able to stand?”From the scripture we are getting a picture of the post-rapture and tribulation conditions of this world. Last week we watched as the Lamb popped each of the first four seals and were stunned by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the devastation to this world. In the context of eschatology (end times), we still have 3 mores seals, 7 trumpets, & 7 vials (bowls) of judgment, so things are definitely going to get much worse for the inhabitants of earth. Already over 1.7 billion people have died. What’s next?
* Focus your attention, see the Lamb break the next seal, & we see 2 things;
1) The Protection of the Persecuted – Don’t miss this truth; these two seals are all about the workings of God Himself. We get a picture of souls under the altar.
a) What this means – Let me remind you what the scripture teaches about the tabernacle; the furnishings were a ‘pattern’ of the worship center in heaven. This means in heaven there is a ‘perfected altar’ of sacrifice in the throne room. In the Bible, it was the brazen altar where the animals were sacrificed. The blood poured out at the foot of the altar symbolizing that the animal was sacrificed for the person offering it. NOW get this picture; those souls who are under the altar have literally offered their lives up for our Lord. Their blood was broken and spilled out because of their faith in Christ so now, in heaven; they are afforded a special place. God has a special place for everyone who is faithful until death. They are under the altar & under God’s providential hand.
b) What they endured – We know they were killed or martyred for their faith, but Verse 9 uses a very graphic term to punctuate just exactly what they endured. KJV uses the word “slain”. I suggest that because of our civilized culture, that word which is very violent has lost its punch because we have never witnessed anyone being killed sport in a Lion’s den, or seen a beheading, or watched someone put to death. HCSB uses the word ‘slaughtered’ which is a picture word for us today. These guys were massacred, beheaded, torn apart, and even butchered for one reason; they trusted in Christ. We get upset when someone gets our seat at church, what would happen if persecution were to really come?
* I found this story from the WorldNet Daily (2008)
Hindu extremist groups are offering money, food and alcohol to anyone who murders Christians and destroys their homes. The violence is nothing new in Orissa, India, where India's Communist Party estimates that more than 500 Christians have been killed by Hindu mobs in Orissa since late August, 12 times more than official government claims of only 40 homicides. But now the stakes are even higher and pastors have a bounty on their heads. Faiz Rahman, chairman of Good News India, said Hindu militants are targeting Christian leaders, the Christian Post reported. "The going price to kill a pastor is $250," he said. Rahman, a head of several orphanages in Orissa State, said he's helped 25 pastors to leave refugee camps, but 250 Christian leaders are still in shelters. "All of the pastors are high value targets," Rahman told the UK-based Release International. "We've got to get them out of the refugee camps." An All-India Christian Council spokesman said, "People are being offered rewards to kill, and to destroy churches and Christian properties. They are being offered foreign liquor, chicken, mutton and weapons. They are given petrol and kerosene."
* This was in 2008; can you imagine the price today? What would change in our lives if we knew that the government was offering a reward to find & kill us?
* Those precious souls under the altar are those who have been killed for Christ.
c) What they want – At first blush you may get the ideal that these martyrs are only out for vengeance on those who have mistreated them. Yet their cry is to the Lord saying, “Lord How long will you wait” not to get vengeance for them but vindication for Him. Even as these saints of God are under the altars because of their sacrifice, they want evil to be dealt with so that God & His righteousness can be seen, celebration, and enjoyed by all. Their honorable and righteous desire is for Satan and Sin to be judged and for the Savior to rule on high. And once again we see God’s grace. He gave them a white robe. What a beautiful picture! Remember Jesus desires to present His bride pure, chaste, and spotless. In Revelation 19 we read of the bride of Christ arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. They are given a white robe and told to rest.