Summary: Our world today is filled with unavoidable suffering. Famine, epidemics, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes inflict untold suffering on humanity. We have no way of counting how many have suffered or died because of such disasters.
WILL THE END REALLY COME?
Our world today is filled with unavoidable suffering. Famine, epidemics, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes inflict untold suffering on humanity. We have no way of counting how many have suffered or died because of such disasters.
On top of that stands man’s inhumanity to man. War, terrorism, crime, domestic abuse, and discrimination heap horror upon horror. In the twentieth century we’ve had several examples.
Adolf Hitler’s goal was to eliminate all the inferior races and create a race of supermen. Joseph Stalin murdered close to 40 million of his own countrymen. Mao Zedong killed over 70 million Chinese in the effort to collectivize the country and then in the Cultural Revolution that followed. Idi Amin purged Uganda of those that didn’t agree with him. It’s not only others that we point to, here in the United States we’ve murdered over 15 million unborn babies since abortion was legalized.
Whenever people turn away from God, unspeakable horror results. Over 100 years ago, James Russell Lowell spoke at a meeting where Christianity was being questioned. He responded, I challenge any skeptic to find a ten square mile spot on this planet where they can live their lives in peace and safety and decency, where womanhood is honored, where infancy and old age are revered, where they can educate their children, where the gospel of Jesus Christ has not gone first to prepare the way. If you find such a place, the I would encourage you to emigrate there and proclaim your unbelief.
Jesus has, and continues to be what makes the difference.
Whether we like it or not, the four horsemen of Chapter 6 have already shown glimpses of what is to come. Now they are ready to ride on the face of the earth.
The Fifth Seal
As with the first four seals, when the Lamb opened the fifth seal another sequence in the unfolding of divine judgment was revealed and John sees under the altar the souls of those who had been slain ... These are the martyrs, those killed during the Tribulation.
Jesus taught the identical sequence of events we see in Revelation chapter 6, in his teaching in Matthew 24. The first seven verses describe the events of the first four seals. Just as the fifth seal describes martyrs, so does verse 9 of Matthew 24, then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
Jesus talked about the persecution the church would face. It all started with Himself and the disciples. i.e. list of disciples, Charisma magazine June 2001, Voice of the Martyrs @ persecution.com.
Andrew Andrew preached the gospel in Macedonia, Greece, Scythia, Asia Minor, Russia and other countries in Asia. Acts of Andrew, a small book from the 3rd century says that he was crucified at Patras (Greece) in AD 60. He suffered on the cross for 2 days, while preaching and encouraging the people gathered around him.
Bartholomew Bartholomew preached the gospel in many countries, but mostly in India, Armenia and Ethiopia. He was beaten, then crucified, and afterwards beheaded in Albanopolis, Armenia.
James, Son of Alphaeus He preached in Persia.
There are two views concerning his death. According to the first view, he was beaten and stoned to death by the Jews at the age of ninety-four; and finally had his brains dashed out with a fuller’s club. The second version says that he was crucified in Persia.
James, Son of Zebedee James is believed to be the first Christian missionary to Spain. James became the first martyr among the apostles when King Herod Agrippa ordered his execution (Acts 12:2) c AD 43. According to Clement, as he was led to the place of his execution, his accuser, seeing James’ extraordinary courage, repented and asked for his forgiveness. This man became a Christian and asked to be martyred with James. They were both beheaded at the same time.
John He preached the gospel in Palestine and Asia Minor. After the death of Domitian, John was freed from the Island of Patmos and lived till his death in Ephesus, where Mary was also burried. John was the only apostle who died a natural death, around AD 98-100, when he was about 100 years old.
Judas, (Not Iscariot) He preached the gospel in Mesopotamia and Persia. One tradition says that magicians killed him with clubs and stones in Persia; according to another one he was crucified in Edessa, Turkey, in AD 72.
Matthew John Foxe states in his Book of Martyrs, that Matthew preached in Egypt and Ethiopia. He was martyred with a spear in the city of Nadabah, Ethiopia, AD 60.
Simon Peter According to the Church History of Eusebius, Peter preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia.