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To Die Is Gain
August 15, 2005
-----------To Die Is Gain--------
As mortal human beings, we really don't want to die and we will do everything we can to prolong that day even when we are so sick that death would actually be a blessing. As the saying goes, everybody wants to go to heaven but no one wants to die.
We live in the age of grace. Basically, this is the premise that Christ died for your sin and my sin and all we have to do to inherit eternal life is to believe and trust in Christ's redemptive work. There have been many martyrs for Christ since the age of grace began, but the majority of Christians are allowed to live out their lives until old age or sickness claim their bodies. The point is that Christ died for us so that we may live by simply having faith in Him.
Things change during the tribulation period. Antichrist will be the ruler of the world and he will demand allegiance and worship. In fact, he will control the world's economy so that if you don't receive his mark, you can't go shopping. There will be thousands upon thousands of men and women who recognize the Antichrist for who he really is and will not receive the mark of the beast. Instead, they put their trust in Christ but will have to prove their faith by dying for Christ.
Revelation Chapter 6 tells us 9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
Preterists take the point of view that all of Revelation was fulfilled in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem. Since Revelation was written about 95 AD, it makes that point of view ludicrous and ridiculous. Revelation is a book containing events, for the most part, that are still future. The greatest soul harvest in the history of mankind will take place during this time. Christ is getting ready to set up His earthly kingdom and mankind is being forced to choose whom they will serve: God or Satan.
Remember Chapters 4 and 5 has the church being called home and Chapters 6 through 22 are events which take place afterwards. When the church is called home the age of grace will have come to an end. Church age saints have a different role in eternity than Old Testament saints and Tribulation saints. However, everyone is still saved the same way: by the blood of Christ.
The fifth seal shows a great number of men and women who were murdered or executed because they trusted in the word of God and held their testimony to the point of death. This happens today in Communist and Muslim countries. The very fact that these countries persecute Christians should give you a hint of who their master is.
We know that these slain souls are not the church because they are crying out for vengeance. The church is commanded to forgive as we are forgiven. These souls also recognize the scripture, Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19
These tribulation saints are asking God how long before God judges those "earth dwellers" who put them to death unjustly. If you have not committed murder or treason (the only crimes that call for the death penalty) and yet are sentenced to an execution, you know it's wrong.
Interestingly, most of these tribulation saints will have been executed by being beheaded. The Muslim terrorist groups have a habit of beheading people today. I have no doubt that Islam and Muslim terrorists will have a large role to play during the tribulation and will aid the Antichrist in his effort to both destroy Israel (now that it is a nation once again, it will never cease to be a nation) and all Christians.
Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:4
The fact that white robes were given to these "slain saints" shows that they had their sins washed away with the blood of the lamb. The fact they are in heaven asking God to avenge their deaths disproves the doctrine of soul sleep. God told them to wait a while longer, because more were coming.
There will be no fence straddling or shades of gray during the tribulation. You will either serve God or Satan and you will have to make a choice. You won't be able to put it off. God wants us to make a choice today. Whom will you serve? If you say, "I'm not ready to make that decision yet," then you have already made the choice.
Copyright by Gary Goodworth 2005
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