Revelation 6:9-11: The seed of the church.

 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ 11 Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters,were killed just as they had been.” NIV

‘Love makes the whole difference between an execution and a martyrdom.’ Evelyn Underhill. Speaking God’s Word is dangerous. It comes at a price, and many have paid the ultimate price. Many still do. Notice the clear indication in verse 11 that such suffering for believers will continue to the end of time. Remaining silent about your faith in Christ may keep you physically safe, but it is spiritually dangerous. There is a way to save your life which means losing it, and a losing of your life that means you keep it. This is how it is in God’s ‘Upside-down Kingdom’. One of the early church leaders famously commented that, ‘The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.’

In verse 9 John uses the word ‘’slain’’ regarding these Christian martyrs. He has previously used it of Jesus (see 5:6,12). This is surely an aspect of what the apostle Paul calls ‘’the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death ‘’ (Philippians 3:10)?  The souls of these Christian dead are ‘’under the altar’’ (9). This speaks to me of safety. They are safely home; sheltered in God’s presence. Warren Wiersbe also makes the point that this was where the blood was placed in the tabernacle (Leviticus 4:7;17:11).  They are conscious, and are communicating with God. They are able to speak.  They are wearing white robes. These are emblematic of purity and victory. In spite of all appearances to the contrary, these dear believers are not life’s losers.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, most worthy and slain Lamb of God, I pray for my brothers and sisters who face danger and death all day long because of their testimony to you.