|The Martyrs underneath
the Altar (the
fifth seal), Revelation Chapter 6
Verses 9 through 11 (NASB)
And when He broke the FIFTH SEAL,These are most commonly believed to be those martyred during the tribulation period but it may include ALL martyrs since Christ's resurrection.
The expression "under the alter" places this part of the vision in heaven. Recall that the four horsemen under the previous four seals were sent to the earth. There is a symbolic parallel in the Old Testament sacrifices (and the blood related to that) in Leviticus 17:8-16.
It is clear from the use of "the Word of God" and "testimony" that belivers will not be killed because of their 'title' such as 'I am a Christian' or 'I am a church member at ...'. These martyrs MUST HAVE KNOWN the Word of God, and they did TESTIFY to Christ's redeeming power.
Just because the believers are removed in the uptaking, does not mean that there may not be others who will read the Word from the 1000s of Bibles left behind, video tapes left behind, and even this exposition which will be left behind. Even some of the false prophets and false teachers may realize, repent, and believe; these may be among the martyrs.
and they cried out with a loud voice, sayingThese are those souls under the alter in verse 9 who were killed for the Word and their testimony.
"How long, O LORD,This term, O LORD, denotes the Soverign Lord
holy and true,This is the same description of Jesus given by the angel to the church in Philadelphia, Revelation 3:7.
wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our bloodThis is not earthly hateful revenge. These souls are in heaven, pure and bought, BUT God's righteousness demands evil to be judged.
And there was given to each of them a white robe;The white robes are symbolic of their righteous deeds and imputed righteousness by their faith in Christ. We see these souls again in Revelation 7:9. Here they are given their robes; in chapter 7, they are standing around the throne in their white robes giving honor and praise to the One whose blood 'washed their robes', Revelation 7:14.
From physics, white light is the combination of all the colors of light; in a sense, white denotes all radiated energy. This indicates that heaven, since white is the prevalent color, may be a very large concentration of energy. We also know that when material is in close proximity to a source of energy that some of that energy is gained by the material. An example of this is heating a rod of iron; the longer it stays in "the fire" the "whiter" it glows.
So, too, after Moses came back to earth after talking with God, he had to place a veil over his face to not frighten the people, Exodus 34:29-35. When Christ was transfigured before the three disciples, Mark 9:2-8, Christ's garments became radiant and "exceedingly white". Everyone who has had a glimpse of the radiance and majesty comes away TOTALLY changed (2 Peter 1:16-18). Are you looking forward to an encounter like this?
and they were toldWhat is time to an eternal God? So a little while longer may be a long time for us.
UNTIL - the number of
Everything has a time and place in God's timetable. And the recompensing of deeds, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, whether good or bad WILL take place!
from the NEW
AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The
Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975,
1977, 1995 Used by permission."
References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only.