“The Faithful and the Wicked” – Revelation 6:9-17, Pt. 1
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As the Lamb of God continues to open the seals, God's plan for the "faithful's" redemption, and the judgment of the “wicked” continues.
The first four seals, using vivid symbology from the Old Testament, demonstrate how God will fulfill His plan to judge, redeem and establish His promised eternal kingdom.
"Preaching the Gospel of the kingdom" will be accomplished exactly as foretold and demonstrated by the Lord Jesus. (Matt. 4:23)
But since Christ's ascension to the right hand of the Father (Mk. 16:19), the mission of this preaching has been given to us.
So, then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
The proclamation of "the Gospel of the kingdom" will be done “in all the world” as a “witness” to Christ, and “then the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14)
Although there will be much opposition in the hostile environment of the “last days,” increasing as the Lord's second advent comes closer (Matt. 24:8, 15, 21, 29-31), we will prevail as the Lord's servants, but the cost will be high and glorious!
The Faithful Martyrs
When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.
* The Lamb of God (Jn. 1:29), the only one able to open the scroll and reclaim the creation while establishing the kingdom of God. (Rev. 5:1-7)
"...under the altar..."
* This is symbolic of the sacrificial altar of the priests at the tabernacle and temple where the blood of the sacrificed animal was poured out. (Lev. 4:7, 25)
* John saw the souls of those martyred for the Lord Jesus and His Gospel.
* These "souls" are in heaven, in God's temple.
* There is a heaven and a hell.
- For the believer and the unbeliever.
This is our consolation:
"Absent the body, present with the Lord." (2 Cor. 5:8)
"...slain for the Word of God..."
* These martyrs gave their lives for Christ, rather than deny His name.
* And their blood/life was poured out.
"For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul."
The Lord Jesus gave clear instructions to Christians:
"And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me."
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Matt. 16:24)
He was not only speaking about denying our own wants and needs, or bearing heavy burdens, He was commanding us to be willing to be martyred for His name.
The "cross" was simply and symbolically the picture of death and sacrifice, His and potentially ours.
"...without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin."
We will be tempted to deny Christ beyond what we are able to bear, but:
"...God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear...He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."
(1 Cor. 10:3)
The great commission always leads to great persecution:
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.
For the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church!
We need to understand this, and be prepared as the Apostle Paul was:
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
(2 Tim. 3:12)
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
(2 Tim. 4:6)
Because we owe this obedience to our Lord:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
"...the testimony which they held..."
* Testimony is that which is given by a "witness"(Acts 1:8), translated in Greek as "martyr."
Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
(2 Tim. 1:8)
To be continued next week.
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