In the dark ages, martyrdom abounded. It is estimated that 50,000,000 million Bible-believing souls were slain. John was given a startling depiction of these souls that would be slain by the powers of iniquity:
(Rev. 6:9-11) “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.”
We see those souls, “under the altar”, who were slain as lambs to the slaughter, as living sacrifices, and a revelation of Jesus Christ. This is exactly what they were, which is exactly why the prophecy declares the souls slain were at the altar. They cried “How long O Lord do you not judge…then that dwell on the earth?” Their blood cried out as the blood of Abel, (Psa. 94:3-5) “LORD, HOW LONG shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? HOW LONG shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? They BREAK IN PIECES thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage.”
A similar question is asked: (Daniel 8:13-14) “HOW LONG shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”
How long until the judgment? How long will this persecuting power break in pieces? (Dan 7:21-22) ‘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.” This little horn power thought to change times and laws, and made war with God’s children who kept His times and laws; for this reason, Paul styled him “the man of sin”.
(Rev. 13:7) “And it was given unto him to MAKE WAR WITH THE SAINTS, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations…He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. HERE IS THE PATIENCE and the faith OF THE SAINTS.”
“It was the Catholic Church which made the law obliging us to keep Sunday holy. The church made this law long after the Bible was written. Hence said law is not in the Bible. The Cath. [sic.] Church abolished not only the Sabbath, but all the other Jewish festivals.” (Letter by T. Enright, Bishop of St. Alphonsus Church, St. Louis, Missouri, June, 1905)
The patience of the saints brought them to shed their blood at the altar. When these martyrs blood cried out for the judgment to commence, it was not long until the time period of 2300 days, spoken of in the book of Daniel, came to pass, and the Sanctuary was to be cleansed, and the living saints were to be purified to prepare for the second coming of Christ. This is the work which was described in the book of Malachi:
“Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.”
We are told white robes are given to each of the saints at the altar, and a prophecy is given that is for our time. We are told that that same power that made war with the saints will be revived, and that persecution will be ignited again: (Rev. 6:11) “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.”
What is to be fulfilled? That the brethren and fellowservants of the slain saints SHOULD BE KILLED. Here is the prophecy: (Rev. 13:15) And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast SHOULD BE KILLED.” Doubtless, this is exactly what was being referred to, as to what should be fulfilled. So what is to be fulfilled? This very word. This is the Word that is declared figuratively to how long the martyrs are to rest in Christ, until their awakening from the earthly graves into celestial glory. Yet it is not the Papal beast, but a power that makes an image, a likeness, to that apostate power, which will exercise the same persecuting power. Both beast powers will make war against the commandments of God, that were altered by the first beast. And to make war against these, is to make against the redemptive and creative power of God and Christ, as revealed in the holy Sabbath rest, and the holy feasts.
While the first class of saints that the beast made war against manifested patience through their persecution, the second class is described as manifesting just the same while undergoing the wrath of the second beast, who has made an image to the first beast.
(Rev. 14:11-12) “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have NO REST day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. HERE IS THE PATIENCE OF THE SAINTS: here are they that KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, and THE FAITH OF JESUS.”
When does Scripture say this persecution occurs? It says that the second beast “causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, WHOSE DEADLY WOUND WAS HEALED.” It occurs when the wound of the first beast is healed. What is a manifest sign that the papal beast’s wound is healed? Verse three says “his deadly wound was healed: and ALL THE WORLD WONDERED AFTER THE BEAST.” When the world wonders after the Papacy, then we may know that the time of persecution is drawing near. Is the world wondering after the Papacy? Yes. Whether pagans, or athiests, homosexual, evangelical Protestant, elected official or confederacy, all the world is wondering.
The Scripture tells of of the coming persecution: “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (John 16:2-3)
The first persecution in this world was actuated by a man who thought to do God service. When this persecution took place, Cain showed that he had no love for his brother Abel, even though he had thought to present an offering of his own mind, which God commanded him not, to God. As a token of this perverse mindset, a mark was placed upon his forehead. And why is there such hostility against the commandments of God? “Because the fleshly mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” And we see that first beast “thinks to change times and laws.” (Dan. 7:25) And so it is no surprise that those who are at “enmity against God” are opposed to His commandments, and persecute those who keep them, even as Cain did. Thus fulfilling the words of the apostle: “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” (Gal. 4:29)
“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother…. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death… (1 John 3:10,14) “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom. 8:6) “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20)
And just as it was with Cain, there is a mark in the fleshly minds of the worshippers of the beast and his image, thus developing the two sides in the final conflict. This is clearly borne out in the final warning that is to be given to the world:
“If any man worship the beast and his image, and RECEIVE HIS MARK IN HIS FOREHEAD, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb… and they have no rest day nor night…Here is the patience of the saints…”
If John saw the first beast’s persecuting power, and we see it came to pass perfectly, we can soundly conclude that John, who saw the second, saw exactly what is now coming upon the earth, and just as it what was said to the martyrs: It will “be fulfilled”. Events are ushering in this hour of persecution.
Behold, it’s coming quickly! May God that we all enter into that holy rest in the Son of God, bound together by His mercy, and strengthened to stand by His grace. Amen.