9 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 : 10 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? 11 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 Chapter 6
The dispensational or futurist point of view has the fifth seal being opened during a seven year period of time known as the Tribulation. The first four seals let loose the four riders of the Apocalypse. These seals picture the Antichrist coming to power on a peace platform but the result of his rule is war and the result of that war is inflation and famine followed by one fourth of the world's population dying.
The dispensational or futurist point of view has the Antichrist sending out his demonically led followers to hunt down and execute those who refuse to worship him and giving their allegiance to the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. This is supposed to start at the mid point of the tribulation period.
The souls of the people that are executed in the fifth seal is because they preach the word of God and the testimony they offer about how Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one can see God the Father without believing in Him. They are told to wait a little longer because more Christian martyrs are coming.
The people who die as martyrs for their faith in Christ during the coming tribulation period is again talked about in Chapter 7. 13 And one of the elders answered , saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they ? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest . And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 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 their eyes.
The fate of the tribulation saints show that they serve God "day and night in his temple". When the Antichrist comes to power, he will enforce a global currency in which everyone must receive a mark in his right hand or forehead or they will not be able to make purchases. Believers would never accept this mark so they would have to live like homeless people finding food and drink anywhere they could. They probably would be homeless as they would have no means to make rent or house payments
All the judgments in the book of Revelation have previews or shadows of what is to come taking place in everyday life. There have been millions of people executed for professing faith in Christ.
Since Zechariah Chapter 6 identifies the four horsemen of the Apocalypse as being spirits sent forth by God to execute judgment in the world, it is possible that these colored horsemen could represent world belief systems: Catholicism - the rider on the white horse; Communism - the rider on the red horse; Capitalism - the rider on the black horse; and Islam - the rider on the pale (Chloros which means green) horse.
If the prophecy of the fifth seal has both a long term application and a short term application, then it stands to reason that the first four seals do also. Has the four belief systems that influence all major decisions and policies in the world resulted in the martyrdom and persecution of Christians in any way?
Rome killed Christians by the thousands during the early church age until Constantine stopped the persecution and started forcefully making people profess to be Christians. It is impossible to force someone to be a Christian because it takes a trusting faith in Christ to become one and that cannot be forced. Constantine greatly influenced the birth of the Roman Catholic Church which has allowed politics to blend in with faith making the church of Rome a political influence in all the world. When politics blend in with faith, the result is corruption.
The Roman Catholic Church would not allow the general public to have access to a Bible so they kept believers from getting to know the word and kept them in spiritual darkness. This is how the church remained in power. This is a form of persecution. This ended when Martin Luther came along and began the protestant reformation and that had its conflicts. The Catholic Church did try to stop this through persecution. The fifth seal may have been opened a long time ago.
When we think of Communism, we think of China and Russia. In China and North Korea and other communist countries, Christians are executed simply for owning a Bible. Communists have killed thousands, if not millions, of Christians over the past 100 years.
Has Capitalism resulted in the persecution of Christians and how would this be related to the fifth seal? The prosperity gospel, so popular in the United States, transforms Jesus Christ the Savior into Jesus Christ the Great Banker. It twists the gospel around so much that this church is actually preaching about another Jesus who does not exist. Paul warned about this in 2 Cor. 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached , or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received , or another gospel, which ye have not accepted , ye might well bear with him.
Islam will become the biggest persecutor of Christians in the future because it is written in the Koran that if a Muslim cannot convert a Christian or a Jew to the religion of Islam, then they would be doing Allah a favor by killing that Christian or Jew. Muslims are responsible for the deaths of Christians and Jews every single day.
It is interesting that the favorite method of execution by Muslims is beheading. Revelation has something to say about Christians being beheaded during the tribulation. In Chapter 20 we read 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image , neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Apparently, those who refuse to worship the coming Antichrist are beheaded. It is possible that the Twelfth Imam of Islam and the Antichrist could be the same person. Time will tell. Ezekiel Chapters 38 and 39 does show an Islamic army led by the Antichrist (Gog) invading Israel.
There is no question that the so called Arab Spring of 2011 has led to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in all Muslim countries. The result has been on an ongoing persecution of Christian minorities. The western media fears retaliation from the Muslim world if they report these atrocities due to their fear from being accused of "Islamophobia" but there is no question that the Muslim world has a severe case of "Christophobia".
Why does the Muslim world fear and hate both Jews and Christians so much? Neither group wants to harm Muslims. The simple answer is that Jesus is a threat to the Islamic world as the true Jesus would expose them for who they really are - sinners without any hope.
In summary, a false Christian religion will arise that will persecute true Christian believers resulting in the deaths of millions of innocents. Chrislam, a movement that desires to unit Christianity with Islam, could be the seed of this movement. In the end, it is the false Christ, the Antichrist, who will lead the world in a one last ditch effort to rid the world of all Christians fulfilling the prophecy of the fifth seal.
Copyright 2012 by Gary Goodworth
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