White Robed Martyrs
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White Robed Martyrs (Revelation 6.9-12a)

"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. 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?' 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, [The Greek word for "brothers and sisters" (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God's family] were killed just as they had been. I watched as he opened the sixth seal." (Revelation 6.9-12a)✞

Christians Being Executed

Jerusalem TempleThe design layout and details for both the Tabernacle in the wilderness and the Temple in Jerusalem are similar and are described in meticulous detail. They seem to have been repeated in the future Temple in Heaven. Instead of animals' blood from the sacrifices running into the base of the altar, John saw the martyrs who had kept the Word of God and their testimony and shed their blood for Christ.

The Sovereign Lord

Christian Martyr being ExecutedThe martyrs from the Greek word meaning "witnesses" were lifted up and each was given the white robe of purity and victory. God told them that still more Christians would lose their lives for their belief in Christ. The Christian martyrs cried out from under the altar in heaven for vengeance or even revenge!

Begged for Vindication

Vision of the Souls of the MartyrsFrom the Temple, they begged God for vindication "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" But they were told to wait for God was holding back until a certain target number of martyrs was reached, that is "until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters were killed just as they had been." He promised that those who suffered and died for their faith would not be forgotten but would be vindicated and honored soon.✞

Time for the Messiah

Jesus, the Messiah, seated on a ThroneThis waiting for the full number of martyrs corresponds with the Jewish belief that the coming Messiah or "anointed one" or the "Christ" would not come until a certain number of souls had been born. Of course, Christians know and believe that the Christ has already come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The people of Israel however believed that God would not act until this had all taken place.✞

"White Robed Martyrs"
by Ron Meacock © 2017

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