We jumped the fifth seal yesterday because it takes a slightly different perspective from the other five we looked at. Seals 1-4 and seal 6 all have to do with the judgments going on upon the earth.
Here in seal 5, we see something that happens in heaven.
Jesus opens the seal and John sees under the altar the souls of those who died for Jesus’ sake. And they cry out in a loud voice,
How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood? (10)
Who are these martyrs? I think these are all those who have died from the time of Stephen (Acts 7) on.
Throughout history, many have died for the sake of Christ. And it’s easy to wonder, where is the justice?
When we are persecuted and for Christ’s sake, why don’t we see God’s justice?
Jesus’ answer to these martyrs is very interesting. He told them to “wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.” (6:11)
In short, there will be persecution all the way until Christ’s return. Until that time, God is patient. Why? Because he’s still waiting for as many people to enter the kingdom before he returns. But when he comes, justice will come.
And in the meantime, he will give those who have died for his sake peace and rest.
This world often seems unfair. We often suffer and we can’t understand why.
Jesus never promises we won’t face trouble. He guarantees it. (John 16:33)
It’s one of the reasons why I’m skeptical that Jesus will pull the church out before antichrist comes.
But though we may suffer, know justice will eventually come. And remember the words of Jesus.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33b)