“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” ~ Revelation 6:9-11
If you were to look under the Old Testament altar of sacrifice you would have found the ashes from many sacrifices that had been offered before. The altar had a large grill so that ashes could fall through so that more sacrifices could continue to be offered.
So here we see the result of spiritual battles and physical persecution over more than a thousand years:
“…I saw under the altar souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.”
This is not talking so much about saints slain by open pagans, but rather about Christians slain by those professing to be Christians! Remember that this scripture immediately follows the scriptures describing the four war horses that went before:
- The first was the white horse rider representing Jesus Christ and his church at the beginning of the gospel day. The warfare of a true message of love that brings peace to the soul through deliverance from sin.
- The second was the red horse rider with the great sword that takes away peace and causes people to kill one another. This represents the Word of God in the hands of a ministry not under the control of the Holy Spirit. For the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, not the sword of the ministry!
- The third was the black horse rider which represented a ministry who sold the Word of God for gain. These starved the people of their necessary spiritual nourishment, providing barely enough for those with life to keep spiritually alive. In their warring, anyone who would not bow to their control of the Word was often persecuted and killed.
- The fourth was a pale horse rider, a color that happens when you mix the previous colors before together. This represents a ministry that exercises all of the persecuting powers of those who went before. Therefore he is described as having the ability “to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth”.
So after the work of such a ministry gone before, it should be no surprise that when the fifth seal was opened that we would see “…under the altar souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.”
And so the prayer and cry of these souls that have been persecuted is noted and comes up in remembrance before God.
“And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” ~ Revelation 6:10
God always hears and remembers the cry of his people!
“Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee , then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.” ~ Psalm 56:8-9
Truly “thy book” of remembrance is the book of Revelation! For God in Revelation does remember and judge what fake Christians have done to his true saints! He calls these fake Christians “Babylon” a condition that represents people who claim to be the church, yet they are still flerting with the devil.
“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.” ~ Revelation 18:2-6
The weapons of true Christians are not carnal (physical weapons), but spiritual. True Christians apply the judgements of the Word of God, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, against evil works. This is the cup of judgement that the Revelation message speaks of.
And so the message of the fifth seal states that God remembers and he honors his true people with robes of true righteousness; and that the judgement is soon to come against the fake Christians!
“And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” ~ Revelation 6:11
Judgement will come, for even from Old Testament times the promise from God is to judge the works of the hypocrite.
“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” ~ Daniel 7:21-22
So the question everyone must truthfully answer in their own heart: which side of the battle am I on? The ones who fight carnally, or the ones who fight spiritually? Jesus told Peter:
“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” ~ Matthew 26:52
Peter never took up a physical sword again! He only used the sword of the Spirit: the Word of God.
Are you part of them whose cry goes up from the altar? Are you wearing a robe of righteousness?