The Fifth Seal: Transition to the End of the Age

Revelation 6:10-11 con’t

9 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 witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”

V. We must realize God always hears our prayers.

6:11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

The Power of God at Mnt. Sinai


The martyr’s prayers are not denied. They have been foreshadowed in Four Horse-men’s readiness to ride across the nations of the earth in judgment on rejection of God and persecution of His people.

The answers to their prayers are only postponed. Prayers are mentioned earlier in Revelation 5:8 as prayers of the saints which are incense in the bowls which the angels before the Throne of God have. They will be answered in Rev. 6:12-17 when the prayers finally are presented for fulfillment. The white robe in Greek is the stolê. It is white and stretches to the floor. It was the standard garment of a priest. Saints are Kings and Priests of God who offer prayers to God.

The saints in heaven are said to be at rest (anapausis) cf. Heb. 4:5. This is not inactivity, but freedom from toil and stress of sin and persecution.

God will wait until all the martyrs he has permitted to die actually do die; and then he will take holy and righteous vengeance. He will spare nothing. Better for us to leave judgment in God’s hands than take into ours.

VI. We are called upon to live faithfully by the Holy Scriptures in the Old and New Testaments today!

In Fifth Seal Vision, we met the martyrs who had been dealt mortal wounds for bearing testimony about Christ and maintaining their belief in His truthful Word.

A. One Example of First Century Faith that clashed with Government.

Albrecht Dürer: The Martyrdom of St John the Evangelist Wikimedia commons

In first Century Roman Asia Minor, holding to God’s revelation of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords could mean a death sentence. Caesar was lord to his subjects.

It is not popular today to hold to absolute truth in God’s revealed Word. In the West we may not be killed for it (not yet, that is). God’s Word is clear about people made in the image and likeness of God. We cannot as a society kill God’s image-bearers and escape judgment.

B. Christians’ Application of the Bible in the Twenty-First Century clashes with government public policy.

We live in a day when legal decisions are based not on the meaning of texts, i.e. The Constitution as written, but on other external factors: modern feelings and sensibilities, “unwritten intentions” read into the text, etc.

“Textualism is adherence to the text of a document—the practice of taking the words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs as they appear… . Conservative Bible scholars sometimes say ‘When the plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense.’ (see Textualism below.)

C. One Example of Christians’ application of the Bible to life that clashes with government and Society.

Nancy Pearcey

People today bend the Bible to read the way they want to live and think instead of bending themselves to what the Bible teaches. For instance, the abortion issue in law rests not on moral considerations. It is based on modern, psychological “person-hood theory.” (see Personhood Theory below.)

In a First Things magazine article, the idea of Post-birth Abortions is discussed. Since personhood is a value and not a fact, the age when one becomes a person is fluid in the minds of “modern ethicists.” Philip K. Dick wrote a satirical, science fiction short story of the ultimate application of the Roe v Wade decision of the US Supreme Court–“The Pre-persons.”

“Dick imagines a future where the United States Congress has decided that abortion is legal until the soul enters the body. The specific instant is defined by the administration, at present the moment a person has the ability to perform simple algebraic calculations (around the age of 12).” (see Dick below; and Dick, P. K. for the link to read the short story.)

The Basis of the Roe v Wade Decision

The US High Court has ruled that the unborn are human beings, but there is no basis for the claim that they are persons entitled to protection in the womb under the Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution (see Pearcey below).

This is a watershed issue since it essentially is decided on the basis of either: (1) what antonymous man thinks; or (2) what the Sovereign Creator has spoken in his Word. God’s judgment continues to fall on those who promote, receive, and practice abortions (unless they repent). We who stand with God are persecuted for believing and acting against the spirit of the age in which we live. After all, persecuters can’t reach God to assault Him directly. His people they can reach! We have the privilege of Hebrews 13:12-13—

12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13 Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. (ESV)

For those wishing to maintain Biblical truth amidst all the miasma and confusion of modern thought, I wholeheartedly recommend Nancy Pearcey’s book! We do not speak for the unborn only, but more importantly we speak for God in His Word! In the modern age God doesn’t seem to be given a place at the table. We must still maintain our testimony at the public table even if people do not want to hear! The passage in Revelation 6 teaches us persecution is inevitable for the Christian who bears faithful witness to God’s infallible Word.

VII. We need to bend our lives to Christ as Lord and Savior and not to public policy or opinion!

Evan Roberts, a Welsh coal miner-turned-preacher [preaching in] a revival in 1904 saw 100,000 converts in one year. But what’s astonishing about this story is how the revival came about. Even while he dug in the coal mines, Roberts prayed. In essence, his prayer was “Lord, bend them.” For 11 years, his request went unanswered.

Picture of Evan Roberts

Finally, Roberts attended a Christian convention with evangelist Seth Joshua. While Joshua prayed over a group of believers, Roberts heard him say, “Lord, bend them.” Roberts took up the prayer, applying it to himself: “Lord, bend me!” Within six months, Roberts was seeing thousands of souls come to Christ through his ministry. (see Roberts below; paraphrased in places for meaning clarity.)

If ever we needed faithful living-out of the Word of God as written, it is today. The Lord needs to bring us to the place where we want to be bent by Him.

VIII. God will vindicate those who faithfully adhere to and witness to His Word!

The next paragraph in the chapter relates directly to the prayers prayed under the fifth seal. Note the chart below and the relationship between the three paragraphs of Chapter Six.

Relationship of paragraphs in Rev 6

I have dealt with the Pro-Life witness in this post since it puts us as Bible-believing and -living Christians in the cross-hairs of persecution in the West. Pray, Friends, that God will end this horrible wiping out of His image-bearers!

In the next couple of blog posts, we look into Rev. 6:12-17.

Notes

Dick, Phillip K. (1974). “The Pre-persons” stub article accessed 18 February 2020 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pre-persons
Note: This article gives us basic information about Dick and his literary output.

Dick, P. K. (1973). “The Pre-Persons,” available online at Pro Life New Zealand, December 29, 2012, http://prolife.org.nz/the-pre-persons-phillip-k-dick/
Note. Phillip K. Dick’s works have inspired the following movies: Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, Screamers, and The Adjustment Bureau. No one even alludes to the “Pre-persons” short story today except Pro-Life groups.

Pearcy, Nancy. (2018). Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

Personhood Theory. (2012). “Infanticide and the Deadly Threat of ‘Personhood Theory'”. In First Things. Accessed 18 February 2020 from https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2012/02/infanticide-and-the-deadly-threat-of-personhood-theory

Roberts, E. (2012). “Lord, Bend Me!” Blog post from Revolutionary Faith: Taking back Christianity Blog. Accessed 14 February 2020 from https://revolfaith.com/2012/11/07/lord-bend-me/
[This story is widespread in different accounts, but I thought this the most succinct telling of it.]

Textualism. (2020). “Textualism: What is It?” Accessed 14 February 2020 from https://www.compellingtruth.org/textualism.html

© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

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