Summary of passage: When Jesus opened the fifth seal, John saw those who had been slain because of their faith. They asked God how much longer until He judges the earth’s inhabitants and avenges them. They were given a white robe and told to wait until those who would die for their faith had been completed.
9a) Those who had been killed because of their faith and they wanted to know how much longer until God judged the earth’s inhabitants and avenges them.
b) Personal Question. My answer: It’s not really something I desire. I know God will do it, so I don’t worry about it or give it much thought. I’d much rather focus on His work for me than His judgment on others. It’s between them and God anyways. I’m sure I’d feel different if some travesty occurred against me or my family, but it hasn’t.
10a) To wait until the rest who would die for their faith had joined them. God is waiting for all to come to Him in repentance before final judgment. He is patient beyond words.
b) Righteousness and salvation before God.
11a) We are called to suffer since Jesus suffered. Paul says in Romans to rejoice in our sufferings for suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope. We are blessed in suffering and it’s better to suffer for doing good than evil says Peter. Suffering is a privilege and a way to participate in God’s glory (1 Peter 4:12-16) so rejoice in it. We should commit to God and continue to do good (1 Peter 5:19). After suffering in this life, we will be restored and made strong, firm and steadfast.
b) Personal Question. My answer: God listens; God answers. God is full of grace, holy and true, and sovereign over all. I trust in Him that He has a purpose I cannot see and He will pull me through. For God is in control.
c) Personal Question. My answer: Suffering and persecution as a Christian is part of our life and our calling. Encourage those in the midst of suffering with the grace of God, of His omniscient will, and His power to turn suffering into good.
Conclusions: Good transition into suffering since John is talking about Christian martyrs. Excellent!
I am amazed at my Bible knowledge and I don’t mean that in any pompous way. When I think back to when I first started BSF five years ago, I had no clue where any of the books of the Bible were, which were in the New Testament and the Old Testament, and what they contained. Now, when I’m asked a question here by BSF I often know the answer without looking it up.
I am telling you all this as an encouragement to those new to the Bible or still seeking Jesus. Keep coming to class. Keep doing your homework. Keep attending lectures as much as possible. Keep seeking Him. Even if you feel inadequate and hopeless hang in there. You will be rewarded. By a greater knowledge of Him and His word and a greater heart for Jesus and His people.
Nothing in this world is free and nothing in this world is gained without hard work. Knowing God is hard work. Is there any other work more important?
End Notes: “Under the altar” channels Leviticus 4:7; 17:11 and emphasizes their blood sacrifice for God.
“Testimony” comes from the Greek word martyria, meaning “witness.” Since Christians were often killed for being faithful witnesses of the testimony Christ had given them, they came to be called martyrs. These are the true believers in God being persecuted as Jesus warned would happen (Mark 13:9-13; Luke 21:12-18; Matthew 24:9; John 16:2).
Crying out for vengeance is asking God to do what He promises to do which is administer justice. People in the Bible have been doing this for ages (Genesis 4:10; Numbers 35:33; Isaiah 6:11; Jeremiah 47:6; Zechariah 1:12; Luke 18:1-8). David asked this question repeatedly (Psalm 13:1; 35:17; 74:9; 79:5; 80:4; 89:46). “My soul is in anguish. How long, O Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:3). Habakkuk asked: “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen?” (1:2).
This is a call for judgment on the world, a necessary step for righteousness.
White we know is a symbol or purity, faithfulness, blessedness, and victory. It is also a picture of the redeemed and justified (Revelation 7:11-14).
More are going to die for God. In the first century, the persecutors are mainly the Jews, the synagogue of Satan. Later, it will be the Romans. Today it is extremist Islam and non-believers.