Sunday, October 7, 2012

the souls of the martyrs

Good afternoon friends,
Friday we read about Jesus, the lamb of God who was slaughter, being worthy to open the seal on a scroll God was holding. As it turns out, there are seven seals (seven is a number that for Biblical writers represented completion, so several things happen in sevens). When each seal is opened something dramatic happens. In today's reading one of the seals reveals the souls of Christian martyrs waiting for Christ's return and victory over evil. Throughout Revelation we are reminded over and over again about the importance of giving testimony to Christ's lordship and love.

Revelation was written to a persecuted church, a church that didn't have any power in the typical sense of the word. The main point of the Revelation is to remind the church that they are on God's side. Even though it seems like other powers (Rome, evil, pagan rulers, etc) appear stronger, God is actually in charge and God will be victorious one day. The way God conquers is through Jesus' death (the lamb that was slaughtered), and the way Christians play their part is by testifying. This is a different way of thinking about power, but it is how God calls us to think. That's a good reminder for the church today that is worried about loosing financial, social or political power. Like our Lord, we are strong when we are weak, and faithful when we testify.

God bless,

Revelation 6:9-11, 7:9-17
9When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; 10they cried out with a loud voice, “Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” 11They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed.

9After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. 16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 17for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

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