Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, September 17, 2015
“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: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Revelation 6:9–11).
During the latter part of the Middle Ages and beyond, the number of God’s people being persecuted and killed was astronomical (A.D. 1517-1755). Just imagine living during those times and seeing fellow believers hunted, tortured, and killed because of their faith. Do you feel forsaken by God? Is your faith strong? Is God paying attention to the atrocities being committed against His own people?
In symbolic language, John describes a scene of faithful martyrs crying to God to avenge their deaths. Obviously, this is in symbol, because the Bible says that the dead know nothing; therefore, they could not actually be crying to God (Ecclesiastes 9:5). Yet, just as God told Cain that his brother Abel’s blood cried out from the ground, when he lost his life for his faith, the testimony of these martyrs cried for justice and vindication.
The symbol under the fifth seal continues to play out with a promise that these righteous ones, who stayed faithful to God even until death, would receive their eternal reward when Jesus comes. There would be many more killed before that time, but the Lord will soon avenge their death.
“Am I willing to die to self daily in the simple things in life, so that when the huge, complex trials come, I will be in the habit of obeying God?”
There is a lot of discussion in the news lately about people being persecuted for their faith. In Africa, people are being gunned down just because they are Christians. In Asia, government authorities have recently assailed churches and destroyed what those churches considered to be symbols of their faith. In the America, there is much discussion in both the public and private sectors about how we can, should, or should not practice our faith as employees. There are many more stories, all over the world of people who would rather give their lives than betray God. The question really is, “Am I willing to die to self daily in the simple things in life, so that when the huge, complex trials come, I will be in the habit of obeying God?”
There is no doubt that persecution is going to ramp up in the final moments of the last days. When I consider the fact, I find immediate courage from the words of Christ. He said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matthew 5:10–12). Continuing, Paul says, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” (Hebrews 10:35–37).
*For further study I have included a link to a brief commentary on the seven seals from Amazing Discoveries here: http://goo.gl/KPmhDL
A Prayer for Your Hearts:
Lord, please give us faithfulness today. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.