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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.
Most likely under the alter of incense, God has, and is hearing the prayers of all of the redeemed. But, at this moment, He is hearing from all who have been put to death due to their faith in Jesus Christ. What a lonely cry this must be! How it must break the heart of God! This must be why He sets aside a special time to listen to this very painful overture!
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying,"How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
Jesus teaches us in His model of prayer in Matthew 6:10, Your Kingdom Come... For vengeance is ordained for them at the coming of God's kingdom. All Christians, as well as all of creation, long for the day of redemption!
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Then the Father, as only a loving Father would, consoles them in a most comforting fashion!
11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
It is a common saying among Christians that there is a number ordained of those who will be saved, and when that numbered is reached, when the last one comes to Christ, He will call His church home! In this passage however, God is assuring those who have been killed for their faith in Jesus Christ, that there are still a number of those who must be martyred for their faith before He will execute His vengeance on an evil and unbelieving world! They are given a white robe which speaks of the purity, holiness, and righteousness of the saints.
I looked when He opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became like blood. 13 And the stars of heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind. 14 Then the sky receded as a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.
With the opening of this sixth seal, the picture changes dramatically! God has allowed mankind to bring about the calamities of the first five judgments! We have seen false peace give way to world war and the horrific aftermath of war! Killing, starvation, and disease has taken a major toll on mankind! But now God brings about such incredible cosmic disturbances, that all of mankind will be paralyzed in heart stopping fear!
The Psalmist addressed such fear and reminded us just who it is that we serve! Even though new believers in the time of tribulation will experience such horrifying events, God will continue to speak to their hearts; "Be still and know that I Am God!"
1 God is our refuge and strength,A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear,Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us;The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,Who has made desolations in the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;He burns the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations,I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
As God directly intervenes with dazzling displays of His power, the whole world shakes under His hand! The very same power God demonstrated while creating the universe, He now employs to threaten the same! It is likely that some of the imagery of this event, such as the darkening of the sun, and the moon appearing blood red, may be the result of massive volcanic eruptions across the globe! The stars, which are described as falling to the earth, may very well be huge asteroids or meteors entering the earth's atmosphere. The effects of the culmination of all of these disturbances on the earths atmosphere, may create the appearance that the atmosphere has rolled up as a scroll!
Whether these things are the result of natural phenomenon initiated by God or God has created this horrifying scene just as described, is not as important as the message God brings with it! He is shaking up His world and is demanding the worlds attention!
15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!
I would like to point out right here that all that has taken place in regards to these first six seal judgments have all take place during the first half of the tribulation period. Why is this important? I'm glad you asked! Jesus said in Luke 21;
36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
I believe that we have been given the assurance of a pre-tribulation rapture so we won't have to go through the judgments found in these six seals!
Okay, back to the text!
This scene where all kings and all men, great and small recognizing that God is the apparent source of their troubles, is not exactly demonstrating that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, but it's close! The world will see and hear that God means business! Their fear of him will be so great that they would rather die then face this angry God! This is only the beginning of God's incredible wake up call to Israel and the world!
17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"
What is meant by "The great day of His wrath or the great day of the Lord?" The prophets often referred to the great day of the Lord as a day of coming judgment. The day of the Lord is often associated with seismic or cosmic disturbances. Read the OT Book of Joel for examples of this.
Taking a second look at Luke 21:36, we note; "...and to stand before the Son of Man" The question found at the end of Rev. 6:17 is; "...who is able to stand?" Simply put, anyone who has trusted in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior! Have you trusted Him? Would you consider Jesus today? If you have questions as to how you might trust Jesus and be saved, please contact me at: email@example.com.
May God fabulously bless you as you continue to study this incredible book, the Book of Revelation!
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