“And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar
the souls of those who had been slain
because of the Word of God,
and because of the testimony which they had maintained;”
“and they cried out with a loud voice, saying,
‘How long, O Lord, holy and true,
wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood
on those who dwell on the earth?”
-Now then, there we see this once bloodied and murdered COMPANY OF PEOPLE, the REDEEMED CHRISTIAN MARTYRS OF ALL AGES IN WHITE ROBES IN HEAVEN.
-They had been murdered for their standing up for the Word of God, and for their testimonies of their faith in and commitment to Jesus Christ.
-These include multitudes of Christians in the 1st century who would not bow down to Caesar, and multitudes of Christians in the 21st century who would not bow down to Allah across the world.
-And, they are really crying:
“HOW LONG, O LORD, BEFORE YOU AVENGE
-We self-impose ignorance upon ourselves if we blot out the fact that Christianity has always been a bloodied faith. Whether the precious blood of Jesus on Calvary for the sins of the world, or the blood of saints who have given their lives for Jesus Christ. Hear me:
“THE HATERS OF CHRIST AND CHRISTIANS HAVE
ALWAYS DELIGHTED TO SWIM IN
I. THE CRY FOR JUSTICE
-It is the cry to God of all THOSE:
a. Who have been killed, many very recently, UNDER PERSECUTION AND HARASSMENT OF THE BLACK, RED, PALE HORSES OF REVELATION.
b. And, having GIVEN THEIR LIVES FOR CHRIST:
-They are now appealing to God, that justice be done for all THEY EXPERIENCED AND SAW.
-That justice be brought to those who caused and inflicted so much injustice and murder.
-That is not a cry for revenge, rather,
“IT IS A CRY FOR JUSTICE!”
c. We are living in the AGE OF THE APOSTASY, when the greasy-grace apostates try to convince us that:
“GOD’S HANDS OF JUSTICE ARE BOUND
FOREVER BY HIS MERCY.”
“THE CRY OF THE MARTYRS BEFORE THE THRONE OF
GOD WOULD BE VIEWED BY THE LEFTISTS TODAY
AS A HATE CRIME.”
-Let us remember the words of Psalm 103:6 and 9,
“The Lord performs righteous deeds, and judgments
for the oppressed.”
“He will not always strive with us, nor will He restrain
His anger forever.”
-Here the martyred and glorified saints invoke the JUSTICE OF HEAVEN to make bare its arm against the BLOODSUCKERS of the world.
II. KILLED INTO THIS
-Just a moment, says Revelation 7, what about NOW ALL THOSE MARTYRED CHRISTIANS:
1. Those who have endured PERSECUTION AND DEATH FOR THE GOSPEL’S SAKE!
2. Those who have endured ALL THE WOES OF THE WORLD, like everyone else!
3. Those who have endured GREAT tribulation for the SAKE OF CHRIST!
-Well, there they all are, and take a long look at them now in Revelation 7:9,
“STANDING BEFORE THE THRONE, AND BEFORE THE
LAMB, CLOTHED IN WHITE ROBES, AND PALMS
IN THEIR HANDS.”
-Palms are signs of TRIBUTE AND VICTORY to KING JESUS WHO WON FOR THEM THE ETERNAL VICTORY. All of God’s people shall one day be PALM WAVERS TO JESUS.
1. You see, THEY HAVE BEEN PERSECUTED HERE!
2. They have BEEN BEATEN UP THERE!
3. They have BEEN UNJUSTLY TREATED HERE!
4. They have BEEN MARTYRED HERE AND THERE over the ages!
-There THEY ALL STAND BEFORE THE THRONE AND THE LAMB.
-Including the children very recently BEHEADED IN IRAQ BY ISIS, for these young ones refused to convert to Islam. Isis (the Islamic State) said to those children,
“YOU SAY THE WORDS THAT YOU WILL
“NO, WE HAVE ALWAYS LOVED JESUS, WE HAVE
ALWAYS FOLLOWED JESUS. JESUS HAS
ALWAYS BEEN WITH US.”
-They chopped all of their heads off. The history of Christian martyrdom continues to repeat itself and always will to the end of time.
-Isis leaves no orphans, for they kill the whole family. Equal opportunity murderers! They will not leave the line of Christian faith to continue, so they erase it wherever they can. Isis is truly Satan’s strategy to not only BRUISE BUT RATHER TO OBLITERATE THE SEED OF CHRISTIAN MOTHERS. Listen:
“GENOCIDE AND INFANTICIDE OF THE CHRISTIANS
ARE THE CALLING CARDS OF ISIS.”
-Here are all of the Christian martyrs in Revelation 7:9,
1. The world threw them out, the world didn’t want them!
2. The world thought it could do them a great “DISSERVICE” by in some instances KILLING THEM!
3. And WHEN THEY DID, that’s where THEY KILLED THEM INTO THIS HEAVENLY GLORY. Hallelujah!
-For a Christian, death is NOT ALWAYS TO BE AVOIDED! We have missed that today.
-We have picked up THIS AMERICAN WAY OF LOOKING AT DEATH, namely, as if:
a. We are UNABLE TO DIE! And when it happens, well, that really can’t be!
b. The average AMERICAN ACTS AS IF DEATH NEVER WILL BE!
c. Like the comment from one American to another American:
“WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WHEN YOU
-The other fella said,
“BY THAT TIME, SCIENCE WILL HAVE
d. That’s just about the way Americans think about it.
-We CHRISTIANS MUST UNDERSTAND:
a. That it ONLY LOOKS LIKE DEATH!
b. What happens is that you walk into THE BEATIFIC VISION OF Revelation 7:9-12.
-You become part of THIS WORSHIPING MULTITUDE BEFORE THE THRONE!
-The world says:
“GET OUT OF YOUR FAITH OR WE’LL
-The church says:
“KILL US, AND WE’LL WALK RIGHT INTO
III. NO SELF – ALL CHRIST
-THE WORLD really does HATE CHRISTIANS! I mean, passionately hates Christians. Fiercely!
-It should not surprise us! Jesus told us that it would be that way.
-Jesus said this in many places:
“YE SHALL BE HATED OF ALL MEN FOR MY
“YE SHALL BE HATED OF ALL NATIONS FOR MY
“BLESSED ARE YE WHEN MEN SHALL HATE YOU,
AND WHEN THEY SHALL SEPARATE YOU FROM
THEIR COMPANY, AND SHALL REPROACH YOU,
AND CAST OUT YOUR NAME AS EVIL, FOR THE
SON OF MAN’S SAKE.”
– Well, WHY DOES THE WORLD HATE CHRISTIANS SO FEROCIOUSLY? REMEMBER HOW AND WHERE IT ALL STARTED in the human race.
-At the conclusion of Paradise Lost, Milton describes Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden in these haunting words:
“The world was all before them, where to choose. Their
place of rest, and providence their guide. They hand
in hand with wandering steps and slow, through
Eden took their solitary way.”
“Note that even hand in hand, they were on their
solitary way, because God was no longer with
them as He had been in the early days
in the Garden.”
Remember the words of Isaiah 53:6.
“All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has
turned to his own way…”
-That is the solitary way of sin, cut off from God, and totally rooted in self.
-You see, Christians are those who, by God’s grace in Jesus Christ, choose to go God’s way, and not the solitary, independent, rebellious way of humanity.
-And because, Christians ARE THE TOTAL OPPOSITE-ANTITHESIS TO THE WORLD!
-The world says,
“ALL FOR SELF.”
-The message of Christianity is:
“I DIE TO SELF, AND I RISE AGAIN TO LIVE
UNTO CHRIST WHO DIED FOR MY SINS
AND GIVES ME ETERNAL LIFE.”
-It is the total reverse TO THE TOTAL PHILOSOPHY OF THE TOTAL WORLD!
-And therefore the world rises up in anger and a murderous rage!
-Because of THE MESSAGE THAT’S CONTAINED IN THE GOSPEL!
-Hear the spirit of the world:
“DEATH TO THE CHRISTIANS WHO PREACH
DEATH TO SELF.”
“SIN IS REPLACED BY RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND SELF IS
REPLACED BY THE SAVIOR, AND THE WORLD
BY NATURE VIOLENTLY HATES BOTH
Or to put it another way, will we follow the Divine script in the Bible, or will we follow “The Golden Compass?” That was the title of a much ballyhooed movie several years ago.
It was a beautifully produced fantasy film filled with heroic children, talking animals, and a great battle between good and evil, much like C.S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles, except that “The Golden Compass” was explicitly anti-God. It was extensively advertised and fiercely debated.
I never saw it, because I read a review which pointed out that the books on which the movie is based are filled with the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche had a profound influence on Adolf Hitler, because he taught that life is all about the will to power. What makes us truly human is to assert our will and do what is right in our own eyes. We’re in control and we have to do what is right for ourselves.
That is the philosophy that governs the way so many act out their part in the great drama today. So the question for every child of God is, will we follow that Golden Compass, the fool’s gold compass of our own will? Or will we follow the script written by the Almighty, submitting in obedient faith to the Lamb slain for us?
-Think of it this way. Jesus said about Christians in Matthew 5:14,
“YE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD!”
-If you have been in DEEP DARKNESS! And then somebody puts on a light, that stings your eyes, and you want to run away.
-And suddenly, when the light goes on, in the person of a Christian, they ALL AROUND GET VERY THREATENED AND VERY ANGRY!
-Someone has said that a Christian is:
“ONE WHO CAME INTO LIGHT AND STAYS
THERE INSPITE OF ALL THE INITIAL
-The world says,
“GET THAT BLANKITY BLANK LIGHT OUT OF
-Let’s face it, LIGHT AND DARKNESS CONTINUALLY TRY TO EXTINGUISH EACH OTHER. But no matter how hard darkness tries to extinguish the light, LIGHT ALWAYS PERSISTS, for the CLEAR SHINING OF THE MOON AND STARS LIGHTEN THE DARKNESS.
Outer darkness is the reward for those who love darkness, and there they shall eternally dwell in dense darkness without ANY LIGHT WHATSOEVER. Hear it:
“IT SHALL BE EVERLASTING NIGHT WITHOUT ONE
SPECK OF THE DAY.”
-Or again, THINK OF IT THIS WAY.” Jesus said in Matthew 5:13 about Christians,
“YE ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH.”
-Well, you TAKE A LITTLE SALT, AND PUT IT IN A CUT, and man, THAT HURTS!! Stings!!
-And, they all were doing VERY WELL, THANK YOU, AT THE OFFICE, until YOU GOT SAVED.
-AND NOW YOU ARE SALT! Ouch! And the world starts to hurt, sting, and they get very angry!
“RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE IRRITATE
-True Christians sting the eyes and the consciences of unbelievers, and they want the lights put out and the salt thrown out. Period!
-Don’t you see it?
IV. JESUS THE ONLY WAY
-Well, I believe Christians are hated by the world and the world’s religions, because it IS THE EXCLUSIVENESS OF CHRISTIANITY AS WELL!
-True, the folks before the Throne in Revelation 7:9 are INNUMERABLE:
a. But, they are exclusive! Not inclusive!!
b. They are THOSE, who according to Revelation 7:14,
“HAVE WASHED THEIR ROBES, MADE WHITE IN
THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB.”
a. This is THOROUGHLY UNAMERICAN!
b. Frankly, Christianity is really QUITE UNAMERICAN! And VERY UNWORLDLY!
c. Because we say:
“THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY – JESUS.”
d. We don’t say that:
“JESUS IS A WAY.”
e. We don’t say that:
“THERE ARE LOTS OF WAYS, AND WE ALL LIVED
HAPPILY EVER AFTER IN THE MELTING POT
OF THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS.”
g. “Interfaith” is not some nebulous term that people benignly throw around today. Many in the modern church are pursuing it feverishly with all of their hearts.
h. True Christians however state absolutely THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY, and if you are not IN THAT WAY, you are eternally lost in Hell forever.
i. Jesus said in John 14:6,
“I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE.”
j. Jesus did not say in John 14:6,
“I AM A WAY, A TRUTH, A LIFE.”
k. Jesus said THE, THE, THE!!!
l. Un-American! We don’t allow for anyone else in this freedom of religion to BE THE WAY.
-THINK OF IT THIS WAY – THE ROMAN EMPIRE!
-Whether you know it or not, THE ROMAN EMPIRE WAS VERY TOLERANT.
-When ROME CONQUERED all of its VARIOUS PROVINCES, it allowed them to continue worshiping their gods, whatever they were worshiping at the time! Very tolerant!
-But, though you can have ANY GODS YOU WANT, they really didn’t care.
-YET, there was ONE EXCLUSIVE! ONE CONDITION! Along with all your gods, YOU MUST WORSHIP THE EMPEROR!
-I think then you will understand what the early Christians had to face!
-The pledge of allegiance in Rome was ONCE A YEAR, you must stand before the MAGISTRATES of your town, and before A STATUE OF THE EMPEROR, take a pinch of incense, put it in the fire, and raise your right hand and say CAESAR IS LORD!
-And after you’ve done that, after you’ve WORSHIPED THE EMPEROR, you may then go and worship anyone and anything you want!
-But, once a year, YOU’VE GOT TO PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE EMPEROR, AND WORSHIP HIM AS DIVINE, for summed up in him was the whole spirit of Rome!
-SO, when the Christians stood before THE STATUE OF CAESAR, they would raise their right hand and simply state in front of everybody,
“JESUS CHRIST IS LORD.”
-And they were BEHEADED for that, THROWN TO LIONS, for they were then viewed AS TRAITORS TO ROME!
-Then came THE EMPEROR DOMITIAN, it was bad enough before him!
-That’s what Paul now under DOMITIAN meant in Romans 8:6 when he wrote,
“FOR THY SAKE WE ARE KILLED ALL THE DAY
LONG, WE ARE ACCOUNTED AS SHEEP FOR
-You see, there came EMPEROR DOMITIAN, and when he came by, everyone had to bow and say,
“MY LORD AND MY GOD.”
-All the laws during his reign said:
“THIS SAITH YOUR LORD AND GOD DOMITIAN.”
-And all HIS COURT HAD TO ADDRESS HIM AS LORD AND GOD!
-And he is THE ONE WHO TOOK THE RED AND BLACK HORSES of the book of Revelation TO THEIR EXTREME!
-He is the one who would not allow Christians to worship Jesus, because Domitian knew that THIS JESUS DEMANDED TOTAL ALLEGIANCE!
-And let me tell you, Domitian killed many, and when he did, he threw them into the GLORIOUS VISION OF Revelation 7:9-12.
-You think about it!
1. If we go out into the world, and we say,
“YOU’VE GOT YOUR WAY, AND WE’VE
2. Everybody would tolerate us, for THAT IS NOW THE AMERICAN MANTRA AND SPIRIT!
-But if we go out WITH FINGER POINTING UP TO SKY, ONE WAY JESUS!
-That has been, will be, and is WHERE THE REJECTION IS GOING TO COME FROM!
-Not because YOU GO TO CHURCH, not because YOU ARE RELIGIOUS.
-But because YOU SAY THAT JESUS, THE “LORD OF THE WORD, AND THE WORD OF THE LORD,” IS THE ONLY WAY.
-And, the WORLD HATES THAT AND PUSHES IT AWAY!
-They want a nice, fuzzy thing that keeps everybody happy!
V. NOW THE SCENE BEFORE THE THRONE!
-THE MOST ASKED QUESTION OF THE DAY:
It’s from Eugene Petersen’s Reversed Thunder. I like the Annie Dillard quote at the end. “The puzzling ascendancy of evil must have occupied many Christians’ minds at the time of St. John’s exile. The Gospel declared God’s love for the world; Roman decrees put the people who believed it in prisons and on crosses. Christ lived, suffered, died, and rose again—and the world was getting worse, not better. Annie Dillard asks the question that presses for an answer in this kind of world—she ranks it as the chief theological question of all time,
‘What in the Sam Hill is going on here anyway?’”
(I totally get the spirit of the question, which question I have uttered a time or two in my life. But I have often wondered who Sam Hill is, and how he became identified with this shocked bewilderment.)
Well then, however it is asked, to answer that question, let’s take a strong look at what is really going on not only now around here, but for all eternity in heaven.
“AND THIS I BEHELD, AND LO, A GREAT MULTITUDE,
WHICH NO MAN COULD NUMBER, OF ALL NATIONS,
AND KINDREDS, AND PEOPLE, AND TONGUES,
STOOD BEFORE THE THRONE, AND BEFORE
THE LAMB, CLOTHED IN WHITE ROBES,
AND PALMS IN THEIR HANDS.”
-I AM STRUCK BY HOW THEY LOOK:
1. First of all, they don’t at all look LIKE THEY HAVE BEEN THROUGH what THEY HAVE BEEN THROUGH.
2. I mean, to say:
a. They are STANDING before the throne, not lying down.
b. There is NOBODY being carried IN ON A STRETCHER!
c. There is no FIRST AID to greet them as they come in!
d. They are NOT BEING DRAGGED IN, they come in OTHERWISE:
-STANDING BEFORE THE LAMB JESUS, THAT’S WHERE YOU’LL BE VERY SOON!
-Clothed, not in tattered rags, but in white robes!
-With palm branches in their hands, they are worshiping.
-They are conquering heroes, worshiping their conquering Lord on the WHITE HORSE!
3. When YOU HEAR OF CHRISTIANS:
a. Being PERSECUTED, KILLED, MARTYRED, for their faith around the world!
b. Don’t feel that the church is being defeated:
-Every time a Christian is martyred, the church of Christ has won!
-Why? Because SOMEONE HAS EXPRESSED WHAT WE UNDERSTAND BY FAITH!
-Faith has in fact a martyr’s mind!
-That is to say,
“YOU HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT…YOU HAVE SEEN
THE TRUTH….AND YOU HAVE SEEN IN
THAT LIGHT WHAT LIFE REALLY IS,
AND YOU CANNOT GO BACK,
YOU’VE SEEN TOO MUCH!”
-You may hesitate here or there, drag your feet in the light, you may stumble and fall in the light, but you cannot turn back, you’ve seen too much!
-And when the chips are down, and the cold sweat runs down your back, yet you say,
“No matter what, I cannot give in, I cannot
deny my Lord”!!
-Real faith has a martyr’s mind. Every time a Martyr dies for Christ, shout Hallelujah, for true faith triumphs.
4. NOTE ALSO THEIR CONDITION:
–Verses 16 and 17,
“THEY SHALL HUNGER NO MORE, NEITHER THIRST
ANYMORE, NEITHER SHALL THE SUN LIGHT ON
THEM, NOR ANY HEAT, FOR THE LAMB WHICH
IS IN THE MIDST OF THE THRONE SHALL FEED
THEM AND SHALL LEAD THEM UNTO LIVING
FOUNTAINS OF WATERS, AND GOD SHALL
WIPE AWAY ALL TEARS FROM
1. Now we come TO THAT PLACE where all SUFFERING AND ALL SORROW IS GONE!
2. Where it says:
“GOD SHALL WIPE AWAY ALL TEARS FROM
a. The Greek there really says:
“ALL TEARS OUT OF THEIR EYES.”
b. The implication being:
“YOU WILL LOSE ABILITY TO BE SAD.”
c. The tear, sorrow, shall be “WIPED RIGHT OUT OF YOUR EYES.”
d. “PURE, UNADULTERATED, UNMIXED, ETERNAL JOY.”
3. And part and parcel of that is the truth contained in the words:
“THEY ARE LED TO LIVING FOUNTAINS
a. That means ETERNAL SATISFACTION!
b. Never again, the feeling THAT SOMETHING IS MISSING, SOMETHING IMPERFECT!
c. ETERNALLY FULFILLED, never THIRSTING AFTER ANYTHING AGAIN!
d. NEVER TO BE UNFULFILLED AGAIN:
“NEVER HUNGER OR THIRST ANYMORE.”
VI. THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
-What really is the vision about!
-In Jewish-Biblical history:
1. In Leviticus, you will find all the feasts that were celebrations to God!
2. They happened REGULARLY EACH YEAR!
3. Began with Feast of Passover:
-Remember, they TOOK A LAMB, THEY KILLED THE LAMB, SPRINKLED BLOOD ON THE DOOR!
-They then ate the Lamb together as families!
4. Last Feast of the year was the Feast of Tabernacles:
-That was known singularly as,
“THE HILARIOUS FEAST!”
-They say that NO ONE EVER SAW JOY, AS IT WAS EXPERIENCED IN TABERNACLES!
a. They praised God for all HIS GOODNESS TO THEM OVER THE YEAR!
b. It happened in the Fall of year:
-And had its roots WHEN THEY CAME OUT OF THE WILDERNESS!
-And they REMEMBERED HOW GOD PROVIDED THEM WITH FOOD, DRINK!
-For 40 years, God provided for them in the wilderness!
-Their shoes never wore out, their clothing never wore out!
-All of God’s great provision in the wilderness, in tents, tabernacles!
-And EVERY YEAR they celebrated God’s goodness while in wilderness!
-They built themselves little shelters, made out of sticks and branches.
-Celebrating their tenting in the wilderness.
-They would carry PALM BRANCHES, as when Jesus came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday!
-Palms, waving of Palms, was always associated with worship!
-And they would:
“SHOUT OUT TO GOD, PRAISING HIM FOR HIS GREAT
DELIVERANCE, FOR HIS GREAT SALVATION, AND
THEY WOULD TAKE A GREAT GOLDEN PITCHER
OF WATER, AND THEY POURED IT OUT OVER
THE ALTAR, WAVING THEIR PALM
-And they would sing:
“THIS IS THE DAY, THE LORD HAS MADE LET
US REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN HIM.”
-They would sing from Isaiah 12,
“WITH JOY, WE DRAW WATER OUT OF THE
WELLS OF SALVATION.”
-And they would dance all night before God with great joy!
-Read Revelation 7:9-10,
“HEAVEN SHALL BE ONE HILARIOUS FEAST
OF TABERNACLES.” AMEN!