Tribulation Martyrs

Revelation 6:9-11 When the Lamb 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, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. 

Revelation 20:4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

The context of these verses is the seven year tribulation. We are not in the tribulation. I am not suggesting these events taking place in today’s world (May 2013) are the tribulation. As I write, there is no world dictator. There is no single person demanding worship as God. People are not walking around with marks on their forehead or hand in order to engage in commerce.

These two sets of verses popped into my mind when I heard the news from London. The event I am referring is the soldier murdered in the street by two extremists. The soldier was hit by a car and then violently murdered with a machete and butcher’s knife.

Pope Francis recently recognized 15th Century Christians who were beheaded as martyrs because they refused to convert to Islam. There is recent history of Christians beheaded in Iraq. Western soldiers have met this fate when captured in hostile territories. The point being, this is trend is emerging in the news of our world.

The Bible is clear in what it states. There will come a time in the future when violent deaths and beheading of people who believe that Jesus is the Son of God will increase significantly. The translations are not confusing.

Look at these two words in the Greek. From Revelation 6:9, the word “slain” is sphazo. According to Strong’s Concordance it means to slay, slaughter, butcher, to put to death by violence, mortally wounded.

From Revelation 20:4, the word “beheaded” is pelekizo. It means to cut off with an axe, to behead.

Violence will increase and trend as the tribulation draws closer. But, there is good news.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:57 …but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Those who believe in Christ will miss the Tribulation, so it says…read it for yourself.

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