(9) 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:
John now sees seal number five being opened. With the opening of the seal we will see another event that takes place in the world around us that reminds us that Christ’s second coming is near.
So far in this series of visions we have seen four indications of Christ’s second coming that takes place around us today…
- seal one – False teachers and AntiChrists (False Christs)
- seal two – Wars and Rumours of Wars
- seal three – Famines and Shortages of All Kinds.
- seal four – Horrific Death by Sword, Starvation, Disease, Natural Disasters, Wild Beasts etc.
The next event is represented in seal number five… the persecution and martyrdom of followers of Christ.
Christ, Himself, had much to say about the abuse that His followers would experience as they chose to serve Him in the midst of a fallen, sinful world (Matt 5:10-11; Mark 10:28-31; Luke 21:10-19; John 15:18-25 etc etc). Opposition, abuse, persecution, and even the loss of life is to be expected by the people of God. Paul stated it very simply for all of us to understand, when he said…
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2Ti 3:12 KJV)
The martyrdom of the saints reminds us that there is coming a day when Christ will return to the earth and avenge those who were abused for His name’s sake. When we see persecution take place around us, keep in mind, these things is come to an end someday and all will be made right. No one will escape the justice of our Lord when He returns to end the abuse and judge those who have opposed His work throughout time.
But in addition, when we expereince persecution and then see other Christians persecuted in the world around us, it reminds us that there are others faced with these same life choices. They are choosing to serve Christ on a daily basis. We are not alone. We, along with many others, are choosing the eternal over the temporal, to honor our Lord over pleasing men.
Anyone persecuted in Christ’s name is following the example set by Moses declaring that he is willing to suffer loss of earthly things to gain the spiritual things of eternity…
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. (Heb 11:24-27 KJV)
What a powerful example for us all! When we are faced with a choice to either serve the Lord or gain the favor and things of this world what will be our choice? Will we stedfastly choose to honor Christ knowing He is coming again to bring deliverance and justice? Or will we choose to enjoy the world’s offerings in an effort to avoid persecution at the expense of Christ’s glory? Every day, the choice is ours to make.
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation:
Seals 1-4: http://wp.me/pU88A-3TJ
Next weeks’ posting – Seals 5-6: http://wp.me/pU88A-3Uc