Revelation 6:8; 10; 16
These three verses give us the main symbols in Chapter Six. Around them we make application. Note that this chapter is still as relevant to today’s church as it was to the church in the first century. There is no need to offer separate applications for 1st Century Churches and 21st Century Churches.
We apply the second part of chapter six in this post.
II. God alone knows how long the church militant will suffer. Rev. 6:9-11
Key verse in Martyr’s blood crying out for justice section:
6:10 [The martyrs] 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?”
He keeps a tally of martyrs (witnesses who are murdered and those who are attacked but do not immediately die from their wounds.
Here is a description of the procession of clergy into the Council of Nicaea —
Thomas, Bishop of Marash was an object almost frightful to look upon; he had been mutilated by the removal of his eyes, nose and lips; his teeth had been dug out and both his legs and arms had been cut off. He had been kept in prison 22 years by the [Armenians] who used to cut off a member of his body or mutilate him in some way every year.
The fathers took him with them to the Council and when the Emperor saw him, he fell down upon the ground and [honored] him saying, “I [honor] you, O martyr of Christ, who are adorned with many crowns.” Out of 300+ Bishops, only 11 had no marks of persecution. (see Maruta of Maiperqat below.)
None would deny this good man was a martyr. His life was shortened by his sufferings for 22 years even though he did not die immediately from it.
What God says to us today
God would say to modern day church members and clergy worldwide, “I have limited your sufferings. Even though you do not know how long you must endure, I do. I will sustain you to the end.”
Before being burned at the stake (1555), Latimer’s words to the younger Ridley are most apropos — “Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.” (see Foxe’s Book of Martyrs below.)
These words are for our situation of increasing persecution for proclaiming the Gospel and living by the Word of God. We should not draw back, but pray for greater power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Word of God and the Gospel!
Trust in God in the dark places is essential if we are to finish our walk well.
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. (1563). “The execution of Dr. Ridley and Master Latimer.” Accessed 25 February 2020 from https://www.exclassics.com/foxe/foxe323.htm
Hendriksen, Wm. (1930) More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Grand Repide, MI: Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Maruta of Maiperqat. (ca. AD 325). Accessed 26 February 2020 from http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/marutha_nicaea_02_text.htm
Note on the website: This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2007. All material on this page is in the public domain – copy freely.
© 2020 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved