(Read Part 25)
As we have seen illustrated on the following chart, there are four main categories of tribulation judgments: the seal judgments, the trumpet judgments, the thunder judgments and the bowl judgments.
Throughout the seven-year tribulation period these judgments will become progressively worse. Remember that Jesus discussed the progressive nature of the tribulation judgments as He taught His disciples in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25).We have been thinking about the distinctly dispensational doctrine of the birthing process of Jesus Christ’s theocratic millennial kingdom.
In Part 25, we began to examine the fifth seal judgment, which revolves around the martyrdom of believers. This chart displays the timing and importance of this fifth seal:
Fifth Seal: The Martyrdom of Believers
The Martyr’s Petition
The precious saints, who literally give their lives for the cause of Jesus Christ, petition the Lord for justice. The martyrs‘ request that God avenge their deaths may appear very harsh in our contemporary society, which strongly promotes tolerance, acceptance and a lack of accountability. However, though God is loving and merciful (Eph. 2:4), He also is just (Deut. 32:4; Ps. 146:7; Matt. 12:20).
The scene in heaven changes for a brief moment as God clothes the martyred saints in “white robes” (Rev. 7:9). Scripture reveals that the color white represents purity, which is the antithesis of sin (Isa. 1:18; Dan. 12:10; Matt. 28:3; Rev. 3:5). The prophetic Scriptures reveal that Jesus Christ will leave heaven at the end of the seven-year tribulation, with the saints, who will be dressed in pure white linen (Rev. 19:14). Jesus and the saints will come to the earth, and the Lord Jesus Christ will inaugurate His 1,000-year millennial kingdom, where the saints will be privileged to rule and “reign with Him” (Rev. 20:6; cf. 19:11-14; 20:6; 22:5).
The Martyr’s Populace
The Apostle John records an ominous statement told to the martyrs seeking immediate justice:
. . . 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. (Rev. 6:11)
The martyr’s population will greatly increase during the final three-and-a-half years of the tribulation. The Lord backs up this horrific prophecy in Revelation 13. God reveals that the satanically led Antichrist and his chief promoter, “the false prophet” (Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10), will demand that “all” people worship an image of the Antichrist, which is erected in Jerusalem (Rev. 13:16). Anyone who refuses to worship the image of the Antichrist will be killed (Rev. 13:15). In addition, those who refuse to accept the mark of the Antichrist, which in all likelihood is specific to those who place their faith in the Lord Jesus, will not be allowed to “buy or sell,” putting their lives in extreme jeopardy (Rev. 13:17; 13:16-18; 14:9-11).
God vividly proclaims exactly what will happen to a vast number of those receiving Jesus Christ as their personal Savior during the future tribulation period. They will be martyred. God challenges those of us who have presently accepted God’s free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5-6) to tell others, during this church age, the greatest news ever given to mankind, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). We read:
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ. (2 Cor. 5:20)
Christian, God charged us with telling others the gospel of the grace of God (2 Cor. 5:17-21)!
The church age dispensation will end with the pretribulational rapture of God’s people (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-54). The non-Christians will enter the horrific tribulation, and if they receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, they will face probable martyrdom.
May all present-day Christians be motivated to heartily—and passionately—tell others that Jesus Christ loves them and paid the full price for their sin (Rom. 3:10; 3:25; 5:8; 6:23). If the rapture occurs in our lifetime, those left behind face a very ominous future.
Here we stand; we cannot, and must not, be moved from this distinctive dispensational doctrine.
(Read Part 27)
Dr. Richard Schmidt is the founder of Prophecy Focus Ministries, having previously served as a pastor and church planter. His love for the prophetic Scriptures resulted in writing a doctoral dissertation on a dispensational perspective on the mystery church age existing between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel. Dr. Schmidt offers seminars on a variety of prophetic topics to local churches and conferences. We are very excited to involve him as a contributing author to Dispensational Publishing House.
Copyright © 2017 by Dr. Richard Schmidt. Used by permission of the author.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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