“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. 10They 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?” 11Then 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.” - Revelation 6:9-11
As Christians, when we see the atrocities of martyrdom our hearts cry out. However, I wonder if our cries match the cries of the martyrs. In Revelation 6, we see that the cry of the martyrs is not focused on the physical pain, or their absence from this earth, or even their separation from their family. Their cry is focused on the injustice of their death.
These martyrs were those who were “slain for the word of God” and “for the witness they had borne.” This word and witness that they proclaimed was the love of God made manifest in Jesus Christ.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
The Love of a Sovereign, Holy, and True God towards rebellious sinners is unfathomable. It is a love that is scandalous. Every one of us deserves Hell for our rejection of God, yet God provides a Way to be forgiven. The way is through faith in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus. The depth of this act of God’s Grace is truly immeasurable and unsearchable.
It is this love that these men and women were sent to proclaim. They were sent by God to be light in the midst of darkness and salt in the midst of decay. They were sent by God to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them. They were sent by God as clay pots full of the treasure of the gospel of Christ. And what is the world’s response to their love? They smashed the pots.
Does my heart ache for those families who lost loved ones? Absolutely. I pray that God would comfort them with the same comfort that He clothes the martyrs with, but my heart also aches for the justice of God. God deserves the Glory due his name, and a penalty must be paid.
In light of this, I pray for those who held the sword against my brothers’ neck. I pray that they would feel the weight of God’s justice and it would drive them to the cross of Jesus before the return of Jesus. For the day will come when the full number of God’s servants come into the Kingdom, and when that happens Christ will return, and his second coming will not resemble his first.
“From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.” – Revelation 19:15