Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Monday, January 25, 2016

After the Four Horsemen: Martyrs!

The "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse"--Conquest, War, Famine, Death & Hell are bad enough, but the next thing we see is the effect of all the war and fighting on Christians. Multitudes are martyred, murdered by the same evil forces that initiate conquest, start wars, and are the instruments of all that follows (See Revelation 6, the 5th Seal). It's an open secret that the 20th Century was an era of martyrdom.  The totalitarian governments of the world almost always mark several groups for extinction: honest reporters, intellectuals who won't change their thinking, and Christians.  The reasons Christians so often get caught up in the murderous rampages of dictators and their regimes are these:
  1. The devil (Satan, "that Serpent of Old," the Dragon) hates God, His Son Jesus Christ, and therefore hates Christians.
  2. These regimes are in league with the devil.  We will meet him as the mighty Dragon in Revelation 12.  Until then, he stands in the background, manipulating men and their thoughts and deeds invisibly.  Once the "war in heaven" occurs in Revelation 12, the devil, we are told, descends to earth, bringing his worst to the world.
  3. Allied to the fact that these regimes are in league with the devil is that demons empower the dictators, so that we wrestle...against the forces of evil (see Ephesians 6).
  4. Men and women who hate God also hate Christians.  It's not necessarily that the Christians do anything wrong.  They are just the objects of the hatred of evil men and women.  This is part of the reaction evil men and women have to men and women of God.  
In any event, the 5th Seal that the Lamb opens gives John a vision of the martyrs, who say, basically, "How long are You going to wait before we are avenged?" That question is both refreshing and chilling.  Refreshing because we know God is not simply going to forget the evil done to His people. Chilling if you are one of the persecutors. The answer is even more chilling: "Just a little while, and I'm going to take vengeance on all the evil men and women who have murdered you."
I suppose that the main question is, "What camp are you in?" There are three possibilities: either you are a potential martyr (every Christian is), you are a bystander who allows it all to happen, or you are one of the persecutors.  The events of Revelation 6 are in the future, but you will still stand before God in one of the three categories. The book of Revelation doesn't give you much solace if you're a bystander, because at some point everyone is going to have to take a stand, either for God or for the devil.  It's your choice.  The consequences will be yours, too. There is no "third road." Judgment or salvation.  Your call.