When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and because of the testimony which they had maintained, and they cried out with a loud voice, saying,
"How long O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. Revelation 6:9-11
I lead a Bible study in my home on Sunday afternoons at 2:30, and we are studying the book of Revelation. It is quite the challenge to try to piece together the meaning of all the prophecies to come. There is no way without the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us into truth as He promises to do in scripture. Jesus speaking in John 16:13-14 declares:
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come. "
I desperately want to know and teach the truth of God’s Word, and I cling to this promise from Jesus as do those who meet with me. How we need to learn not to speak on our own initiative, but only as we hear from the Holy Spirit. He will disclose to us what is to come. I want to know from Him, and so do those He has sent me to disciple.
I wanted to address these two verses pertaining to when Jesus breaks the fifth seal. Martyrdom has always been a part of being a Christian. We must die to our flesh and live in the Spirit doing His will and not our own. Our lives are no longer our own when we chose to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. Our lives now belong to Him to will and do His good pleasure. Once we become His disciple we are told to go and make disciples. That is why I am addressing the parts of scripture that not many want to hear, because they aren’t able to spiritually discern the truth. Hear what Paul is saying in
1 Corinthians 2:12-16:
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that He will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
How profound is the Word of God! When the fifth seal is broken John is allowed to see the souls underneath the altar who have been slain. Why? Because of the Word of God and because of the testimony they had maintained. We know from Jesus we must be overcomers as He told us in Revelation 3:21:
"He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne."
And in Revelation 12:10-11 we are told how we are to overcome:
"Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and did not love their life, even when faced with death."
So we must ask ourselves, are we maintaining our testimony? Do you even have a testimony of how your life has been changed when it became not your own, but His? Are we truly disciples of Christ according to His example and His Word? How much do we love our life? More than Him? Do we know salvation is only through the blood of the Lamb? As we can see we have an enemy who desires to take us with him into the lake of fire forever. Notice night and day he accuses us before the throne of God.
I can honestly say I do have a testimony that continues to grow each day I live as I stay aware of my God’s love for me. It has nothing to do with easy circumstances in life, but knowing He is in control and I am never alone. I will never be alone ever again since inviting Him to be my Savior, and Lord. That is true for anyone who makes that choice in their lifetime.
Your life is made up of your choices. Thankfully before I turned 21 I knew I needed help in making choices concerning my life. I wasn’t nearly as wise as I had believed, and was suffering the consequences of choices made by others I had allowed to take God’s place in my life unintentionally. But we have a God who loves us, and is full of mercy and goodness, and is perfect in all His ways. He sent His Son to save the lost lambs, as we all are, without the true Shepherd. 1 Peter 2:25 states:
For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls."
As we return to the verses in our devotional we hear those saints conversing with God Himself acknowledging Him as holy and true crying out in a loud voice to ask a question:
"How long O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?
God responds with fatherly love:
And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
As I prayerfully meditated, and prayed for deeper understanding of His response I began to see just how good God is once again. He is always about our good. He is love. It is what and who He is. Agape love. Not as the world defines love, but as He who is the author of creation defines love.
Love and sacrifice are synonymous. God so loved the world He sacrificed His only Son for us. Revelation 5:8-10 explains that beautifully. Read it.
I began to realize what a gift from God it would be to have the opportunity to die for Him who asked His Son to die for me, and to die for my Savior. It is the ultimate expression of love when we lay down our life for another according to scripture. I have no idea how my last days on earth are going to play out, but I do know I want to prepare by obeying what I believe He has shown us all along by telling us multiple times in scripture to love Him with all our hearts, minds, body, soul, and strength. He said it is the first and foremost commandment and the whole law depends upon this verse. I know it is true. If we all concentrate on that verse, and allow it to be the focus of our lives, we will become like Him. It is what Jesus did. He lived His life, and died loving the Father with His all. We, as His disciples, are called to the same walk. (You will find the commandment in Matthew 22:34-40, Dueteronomy 6:4-7, Luke 10:25-28, Mark 12:28-32.) Please look them up, underline and read them.
Clearly true disciples desire with all their heart to love our Lord and Savior with their all willing to die for him. Let us remember Peter’s response when Jesus informed His disciples in Matthew 26:31-32 that all His disciples were going to fall away from Him. Peter responds in verse 33-34
"Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away."
Jesus said to him, :"Truly, I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.
Peter says to him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You." All the disciples said the same thing too.
You must read the account that follows in Matthew 26 for deeper understanding. Afterwards Jesus goes into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, deeply grieved to the point of death, and He asked the disciples to keep watch with Him. When He returned He found them sleeping. This was repeated three times as Jesus prayed for the cup of suffering to pass from Him, but not His will, but the will of the Father be done.
When He found them sleeping the third time He said to Peter,
"So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching, and praying, that you may not enter into temptation, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
These scriptures gave me great comfort and encouragement as I pondered my own heart for the Lord. I know Peter meant what he told Jesus, but he was still full of his own strong will. He thought it would be enough; it wasn’t, and it won’t be for us either.
Another verse came to my mind found in the Old Testament. It was true then and it is true now. Zechariah 4:6 declares:
Then he said to me, "This is the Word of the Lord to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts."
We know that after the Holy Spirit was sent, as promised by Jesus, the disciples received power to give their lives as martyrs with the exception of John. Let’s look at Luke 24:49 as Jesus declares to His disciples:
"And behold, I Am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
It is our choice to keep ourselves filled with the Spirit by filling our minds and hearts with the Word, and time spent in prayer communing with our Lord that His heart might become ours on a daily basis, moment by moment. This is a rather lengthy, meaty devotional to help us go from babes in Christ to true disciples according to scriptures. If you truly want to receive this Word you will need to look up the verses and read them in context prayerfully. God will speak to you if you truly seek for truth with all your heart. It is how we express our love to Him – that He might express His love for us. May we always continue to encourage each other with the Words of God Himself. It is without error.
In His love.
The greatness and goodness of our Creator is highly on exhibit this time of year declaring the message of salvation! Do you have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is saying?